With warm weather, rabbits start to emerge and remind us of the coming season. Yeah! They are the perfect symbol for Spring and many of us have old metal cookie cutters that will work perfectly to make Rabbit Ice Cookies that we can put on our globe ice lanterns to have a little fun.
Because Globe Ice Lanterns are round and Ice Cookies are flat, it is important to flatten one side of a Globe Ice Lantern before attaching an Ice Cookie.
So, let's begin. As always, the first step is to make a beautiful Globe Ice Lantern using Wintercraft balloons so the globes are nice and round. I would suggest making the globe on the thin side (1-2"/2.5-5cm) so the ice is very clear*. If you are planning on using a candle, now would be a good time to create the chimney.
2. Flatten the side of a Globe Ice Lantern with a flat metal surface, such as the back of a metal baking pan. Just hold the pan to the side of the globe until it starts to melt. Then lay the pan in a sink and lay the globe with the slightly flattened side of the globe in contact with the pan. As it sits there, the flat side should get larger. Once the flat surface of ice becomes slightly larger than your cookie cutter, remove the ice and put the Globe Ice Lantern into a plastic bag and store it somewhere cold until ready to use. A storage temp of 8° F (-13°C) or lower is best, but any temps close will work.
3. Locate some metal cookie cutters**. If you are going to put the Ice Cookie on a small Globe Ice Lantern, the cookie cutters should be around 2.5" (6.5cm) or smaller and for a large globe ice lantern, the cookie cutters should be under 4" (10cm).
4. Place the cookie cutters in a metal baking pan with a flat bottom. Add water to the pan until the water comes to 1/4" (.5 cm) under the tops of the cookie cutter tops*.
5. Place the water-filled metal pan with the cookie cutters in the freezer or outside if cold enough to freeze. Allow the water to freeze solid.
6. After the water in the pan freezes solid, put the pan upside-down in a sink and run warm water over the bottom until the ice drops out.
7. Put the rectangle of ice on a cutting board and with a screwdriver and hammer, gently break up the ice outside of the the cookie cutters. Remove as much of the ice outside the cookie cutters as possible.
8. Put the cookie cutters with ice inside them back into the baking pan and then into the freezer again for 30 min or so to refreeze any cracks or fissures in the ice.
9. Bring the baking pan with the cookie cutters back inside and allow to sit for 15 min. The ice should slip out of the cookie cutters. (If not ready to put in place, put the Ice Cookies in a plastic bag until ready. Be sure to leave in room temp for at least 5-10 min when ready to use.)
10. Bring the Globe Ice Lantern with a flattened side out of storage and place on a work surface. While the lantern is very cold, position the slightly wet Ice Cookie (with the flattest side toward the ice) on the flat surface of the Ice Globe and hold until stuck in place.
10B. For ice to really stick well, it is important to put flat sides together. So, if you want your Ice Cookie to face the other way, it is important to make the other side flat. To do this, run warm water in your sink for a minute or two to make the surface of the sink warm. Then, place the Ice Cookie in the sink, with the side you want to be flat, down. The warm sink will melt the ice side until flat.
11. Light up the Globe Ice Lantern that has now been stylized for Spring . . . or save it for another day by putting it in a plastic bag and storing it in below freezing temps until ready to use.
*Opaque ice will absorb the light of the candle and clear ice will allow the light through. If the Globe Ice Lantern is clear and the Ice Cookie is opaque, the shape of the Ice Cookie will be seen better.
There are two ways to make opaque ice that do not weaken the ice:
1. Add a small amount of milk to the water when freezing. I add about 1/2 cup (.25 liter) milk to the water needed in a 9x13" baking pan.
2. Use the released water from making a Globe Ice Lantern. Why would that work? Pure water freezes first and pushes all the minerals etc to the inside. After all the pure water in a water-filled Globe Ice Lantern Balloon has been frozen into a beautiful Globe Ice Lantern, the water that is released will be filled with minerals. When you freeze that water, it will be more opaque. Think about the inside of a homemade ice cube. There is usually a white star in the middle. If you take away the clear outside, you have the white star!
**Alternative to Cookie Cutters: Soap and candy molds will works as well. Just fill the molds with water, allow to freeze and then flatten the back side before attaching. To flatten, run warm water in the sink to get the bottom of the sink warm. Place the ice form in the sink and allow that back to melt until flat.
If your plan is to attach many small Ice Cookies, there is not as much need to flatten the surface first. For instance, this Globe Ice Lantern made by Mary Arneson at the 2016 Middlemoon Creekwalk is covered by hundreds of tiny thimble-sized ice pieces. Marvelous!
Enjoy the Glow!
-- Jennifer Shea Hedberg, The Ice Wrangler
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