If you read this cookie blog of mine, you know that I follow a few cookie artists, trying to learn their techniques as demonstrated in tutorials and Facebook live sessions. Amber, from @sweetambs, is one of my favorite cookie decorators. She was a regular presence in Facebook lives, but last year took some time off to work on a special project. It turns out that the special project was the making of her latest cookbook, Cookie Canvas! I am absolutely thrilled to share with you two cookie compositions from this new book, as well as a little overview of the different chapters. In two simple words: the book is a “must-have” if you are into cookie decorating, or if you are simply fascinated by this unique art.
Without further ado, this is my version of her composition entitled
“FALL BOUQUET” (page 124).
I was mesmerized by this set from the moment I laid my eyes on that page. The trickiest part is definitely the vase. It requires piping one of Amber’s trademark designs: the filigree! For Amber, piping filigree is second nature. She can do it on live camera, they turn out perfectly spaced, it all works like a symphony. I admit that I had to resort to the mini-projector. Still, it is a very nice design to practice, because you can use it in countless types of cookies that call for a touch of elegance. Once that is done (and the instructions on the book are flawless), the other components are not hard at all. Bake the cookies (template for the vase is provided in the book), make icing colors, and dive in!
I changed just a few details, to incorporate extra cookies in the shape of small flowers. The vase would work for many different arrangements: big flowers, tropical foliage, fruits on sticks… Just tweak the shapes and colors. Of course, if the filigree is too intimidating, you can do something else, including air-brushing with a stencil. But in my opinion, the filigree really makes this set absolutely whimsical.
Another cookie I made from the book was a Lantern design. I could not quite do it the same way Amber instructs, because I did not have matte white powder. If you have her book, you can look for it on page 106, and you will see that by using that product she managed to produce the perfect effect of light getting dimmer and dimmer as you move away from the lantern. Absolutely gorgeous. I went with a sparkly background instead, spraying a bit of Diamond Dust.
And now that I shared two of my cookies, let me walk you through the book…
To order the book, follow this link.
The book opens with three chapters that will cover all the basics needed to indulge in the hobby of cookie decorating. If you are a total beginner, that’s where you should start.
Chapter 1: Cookie Decorating Basics
In this chapter she talks about the equipment needed, shares her favorite recipe for cookies and frosting, and goes over the basic methods of dyeing the icing, checking consistency (VERY important), flooding, piping borders and making piped roses. It ends with troubleshooting, I urge you to read that part, it will come in handy at times (wink, wink).
Chapter 2: Icing and Frosting Recipes
Amber shares several recipes to make alternative icings, and it really shocked me that I’ve never departed from my basic vanilla-lemon base. Will work on that soon, stay tuned.
Chapter 3: Cookie Recipes
I am always trying different ways to flavor my basic sugar cookie dough, and in this chapter Amber offers several tasty possibilities, such as Pumpkin Spice, Lemon and Almond, Lime and Coconut, Maple, Strawberry. I have tried a couple, and the Strawberry Cookie is worth buying the book for. There, I said it!
Chapter 4: Celebration Cookies
Now the decorating fun begins! This chapter is perhaps the one with most advanced cookies. You will learn how to make piped roses (wet on wet), use filigree (for beautiful wedding cookies), and brush embroidery to decorate a gift box (which you can of course simplify and make as a regular cookie). I love all the designs in this chapter, the Birthday Cake maybe is my favorite. The Graduation Cookie teaches a very cool way to do a marbled background (which I intend to try soon), and the Back to School, that closes the chapter, shows how to come up with a chalkboard look. Super cool.
Chapter 5: Seasonal Cookies
I love this chapter, beginning to end! It opens with Valentine’s Day. Amber is a pro at making designs that mimic leopard print, and that’s what she chose to feature a heart-shaped cookie. Totally modern! I considered making it to feature the post, but ended up picking the Fall Bouquet instead. Tulip Bouquets (with clear explanation on how to make the cookie stay on the stick), Marbled Eggs, Fall Bouquet, Lanterns and Stars (I made the lantern as a bonus featured in this post), are just a few of the examples. Maybe my favorite of this chapter is the Goth Pumpkin, on page 117. I absolutely MUST make it soon, before Halloween says goodbye. It is unique, elegant and vibrant. I am also smitten by her take on Snowflakes. I would say that in this chapter you’ll find designs that are friendly to beginners and even the Snowflakes (page 142) that look absolutely stunning, are in fact doable with her detailed step-by-step instructions.
Chapter 6: Anytime Cookies
This is simply FUN. She opens the chapter with Pizza Slices, perfect for a Summer party. Ice Cream Cups, Coffee and Donuts (love this series), Fruit Slices, Tie-Dye T-Shirts (cool to the limit!), Butterflies… I think (but it is hard to choose) my favorite would be the Dinosaurs (page 175). Very creative and not too difficult to put together. The way she cracked the icing to have the dinosaur little foot coming out of the egg, is just brilliant. Yes, I want to make that one soon.
Chapter 7: Templates
In this chapter you will find everything you need to make cookies that need to be cut by hand (such as the vase I featured), or piped on the cookie (like the lantern, also featured today). Also sketches to help you pipe borders and the amazing filigree.
So that’s that, my friends. Amber’s book is clearly a labor of love! Every design has many step-by-step pictures and a very detailed list of everything you need, from equipment to colors and consistencies of icing, to make the cookie come to life. I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into the making of this book! Beginners in cookie decorating will find plenty of designs to play with, and those who like to stretch their limits will also have a blast with the book. I think Amber says it all in the final paragraph of her Introduction to the book, and I will transcribe it here for you:
The designs in this book came with step-by-step instructions and are meant to be recreated by you so you can learn to decorate cookies. As you get more comfortable with decorating, I encourage you to combine these techniques to create your own unique works of edible art. Most importantly, have fun!
Amber, thank you so much for allowing me to share the designs I made so far. I cannot wait to make more of them, and to continue following you on tutorials both through Patreon and Facebook lives. It is a hobby that I embraced a couple of years ago, and thanks to the help of cookie artists such as yourself, I love more and more each day!
ONE YEAR AGO: Marbled Spooky Cookies
These are amazing little pieces of art.
Wow, it’s such a lot of work. I look at your cookies and wonder if I could do it. First I have to find a place to donate them to. Thanks for this review, Amber sounds nearly as talented as you are.
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well, I am very glad I have a venue to donate my cookies otherwise I would weigh 100kg 😉
The only problem is that they are too beautiful to eat!