Artistic cooks will probably already own a set of edible ink pens. Looking just like normal felt pens but containing food colouring rather than the usual ink, these are fun to use, especially when decorating cookies and so on for Christmas or birthday parties.
But it’s hard to get too creative, because the end result depends very much on the surface of your cake or cookie – a rough texture leaves you with wobbly lines, and anything porous means the colour can soak in or spread.
This is a fun and fascinating way round those problems, wafer thin film discs made of corn starch on which you can draw your own designs before applying them to the surface of your food. As the discs are completely see-through, you can even use them to trace a picture which you may not have the talent to draw freehand.
In practice, this is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The discs are so thin that they curl up with a life of their own, and you need a deft hand to hold them down and complete your artwork successfully. They also dissolve instantly on contact with water, so you have to work smartly to get the picture on the cake rather than on your hands or the table.
I had varying degrees of success whilst experimenting with different surfaces. It was hard to get the bread or the ginger cookie wet enough to hold the picture without it actually dissolving away, and the disc left a slightly slimy layer on top. The yoghurt held the colours beautifully, though, which leads me to suspect that this might work very well indeed if applied to wet frosting.
This was a seasonal special at Tokyu Hands, and for less than S$5 for a container of 50 discs, I think it is a great bargain. I just know it will be a lot of fun to play with when daughters #1 and #2 arrive to celebrate Christmas later this week.