LET THE HOLIDAY BAKES BEGIN!

I admit that I’m always finding little boo-boos in my cookie projects, but every once in a while a batch makes me totally happy… This was definitely one. A million thanks go to Haniela, I slightly adapted one of her recent productions shared during a Facebook live. You can check the full tutorial for her version here (starts at 7 min 30 sec).

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!

So there you have it, my favorite cookie project in the past few months…

First thing to do is get the Royal icing transfer decorations ready. They can be made days, weeks in advance. Basically you pipe little rounds with yellow icing, let that set and add a band of same color in the middle. The little balls must fully set before the next step, which is drawing with a food pen the little decorations. Hani shows exactly how to do them in the video (link in the initial paragraph of this post). I used gold luster powder mixed with vodka to highlight the central ribbon. The hexagon cookie is iced with white, and after overnight drying the plaid design was air-brushed using a stencil. After that, the branches and red ribbon are piped, and the jingle bells glued. I really love these cookies!

Stay tuned for more Holiday bakes coming your way!

ZENTANGLE STRIKES AGAIN

If you don’t know the meaning of zentangles and how I like to adapt them for cookies, read my previous post on the subject. Today I share a few more, and include my first adventure with Instagram reels showing how I make my very favorite kind because is is so simple and the end result always pleases me. The cookie can be left simple or further decorated with fondant, modeling chocolate, or Royal icing transfers. Below, fondant stars painted silver. Purple and silver, the colors of our university, in the zentangle way.

I like the intensity of the purple but this type of design works well in any color…

A second addition of the same pattern inside each little square changes it completely but it is still quite straightforward to do…

A variation on the same type of curved line…

And now for a few adventures on patterns and colors, some turned out the way I wanted, some I consider “work in progress”.

The one below is my representation of a brain with insomnia: busy with many thoughts, not necessarily connected…

Here’s looking at you, kid!

Whenever I make sugar cookies, I always make sure to flood a few with any color I have leftover. Then, all I have to do is choose a pattern out of the thousands available out there, or make a composite design. I love the zentangle path…

BABY BLUE FROM ME TO YOU

Winter is coming. Might as well dress up for it. Mittens, hats, and don’t forget to keep your snowman warm outside. All designs were made following the cookiesteps of Marlyn, from Montreal Confections.

If you want to considerably simplify the cookies, you can omit the knitted pattern made with piping consistency Royal Icing. Maybe go for air-brushing a stencil. But the piping adds a lot to the design, and I was anxious to give it a try.

Marlyn has a perfect tutorial in her Patreon site, you can check it out with a click here. In the same tutorial she shares beautiful snowflakes, I intend to try them soon.

Now let’s take care of that poor snowman, guarding your home, facing the elements…

Another cute tutorial from Marlyn, the knitting pattern is a little more advanced, I think. Again, you can omit it if you don’t want to try it. But the border made with a small star shaped tip is definitely a must. Other than that, a very simple cookie to put together. Once you make the hat and ice the face with white you are 90% of the way there. This tutorial is available on youtube (click here), and you can also see her Santa Claus made with the candy corn shape. So versatile!

I loved making these cookies, and hope you will give them a try too!

EGG WHITE PAINTED COOKIES

Not too long ago I shared with you a method to decorate cookies that calls for very little icing (click here for details). Today I share another one along the same lines, this time using egg whites instead of yolks. It is simple and works on many types of cookies, as long as they have a design imprinted or are molded with a tri-dimensional image. The only thing to pay attention to: allow the glaze to fully dry before painting.

The mold I used can be found at etsy following this link. Worked like a charm. For the glaze, mix 1 egg white with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until fully dissolved. Brush on the surface of the baked cookie after it is cold. Let the glaze set. Add the colors you want to use to separate wells, and mix water to dilute them well. You can reduce the amount of water to get a more intense color (like I did for the body of the little bird).

The same technique works on cookies with a design imprinted. Many options available at amazon.com, but I got my set at aliexpress, a very affordable source when you are not in a hurry to get your goodies.

If you love decorating cookies but dislike working with Royal Icing, this method will definitely please you. So many possibilities! I intend to try painting with Sugarprism and with colored cocoa butter in the near future, so stay tuned. Of course, you can mix and match decorating techniques to please all the cookie lovers in your home…

Below they get paired with regular iced cookies, Royal icing.

BABY TURKEY COOKIE PLATTER

I made this set for a person who did something very nice for me, but prefers not to be named. The cookie cutter set comes from Dots and Bows Designs. Available at etsy following this link.

Several techniques were used to make this set. For the back feathers, I used wet-on-wet for the little dots decorating three of them. The bottom feathers were flooded with Royal icing (Americolor Gold), and air-brushed with bronze sheen color using a stencil. The same bronze color was air-brushed on the edges of the feet and the head. They are a bit hidden in the final cookie composition, but you can see them below.

The body was given some texture using a little fondant ball tool, but you can also use the handle of a brush. You do that texturing once the icing sits for about 20 minutes, or a bit longer. Just be gentle. Once it was fully set, I brushed a little copper luster powder mixed with vodka, very diluted. The wings were decorated with wet-on-wet, similar to what I’ve done recently in this set.

If you omit the stencil decoration, the set can be fully made in one day. But the stencil component requires the base to be fully set, so take that in consideration when you plan it.

The black pupils were painted with a food safe black pen after the white was fully set. I did not want to mix just a little bit of black Royal icing, but do as you prefer.

Once the set was ready, I glued the pieces in place with stiff Royal icing, and placed them in a gift box with a few extra cookies. Small maple leaves, and a Zentangle heart…

EGG YOLK PAINTED COOKIES

This is a technique I’ve seen in cookbooks and kept wanting to try, but only recently I finally went for it. It is super simple and straightforward. It also has the advantage of pleasing those who don’t care for a layer of Royal icing on their cookies. The effect is quite striking, and even if you just paint a layer of colors and do nothing after the cookies are baked, they will still be very cute.

You start by choosing the colors for the base of your cookies. I’ve used four: yellow, orange, red and pink. Get a couple of egg yolks, whisk them, then separate in small wells, one for each color. Add a tiny amount of gel color to each well, and a little water (a drop or two) to thin the paint. Brush the color(s) to the surface of your unbaked cookie. Bake as you normally would. Let the cookies cool and, if desired, add details with piping consistency Royal icing.

I like the simplicity of the designs, but cannot take credit for them. My niece Kalu sent me a picture she found somewhere in the internet and thought I could use it as cookie-inspiration. This was the starting point…

I thought the base could be either watercolor or this egg yolk method, so it was a perfect chance to try something new. I now think it is quite likely the best approach to get this nice washed out effect.

It goes without saying that I’ll be making other versions soon, I am really in love with this concept…

ZENTANGLE COOKIES: TANGLED UP IN ZEN

Have you heard of zentangle? It is an art form that uses repetitive patterns, ideally on a 3.5 inch square piece of paper, or as zenganglers call it, a “tile”. I’ve always enjoyed doodling, much to despair or my Mom, as I would do it on the wall by the phone (remember landlines?) with a pencil. We’ve had quite a few heated arguments those days. I would be on the phone for more than 3 hours, talking to my boyfriend Roberto late at night, and next morning my Mom would wake up and have a royal fit when she saw my “art” on the wall. Fun times. Fast forward a few decades and doodles turned into zentangles, what was a wall became a cookie. All you need is a smooth base of Royal icing, fully set. And a fine tip food-safe pen. Embrace the patterns and have fun!

The classic pattern is black and white, and you can design your own little tangles or search online for ideas. The Tangled Universe is waiting for you!

I like to use other shapes also, rectangular and candy corn are favorites or mine, but pretty much anything works.

The pumpkin design is not exactly a zentangle, but it has repetitive patterns that are also quite soothing to draw. For the design above I used a mini-projector.

Free hand also works, just don’t be too concerned with perfection… in the end it all works fine, I promise.

I like to add a little color to a zentangle pattern, even if not traditional… Another way to bring color is to add it to the background, as I show in the cookies below.

For this cookie, Americolor Cork was used in the background, and the Zentangle pattern worked as the petals in the flower.

It is quite amazing how much the pattern changes if you do it black and white or bring a very assertive color to play.

These two above might be my favorites, maybe. The contrast of bright orange with the pattern makes my heart sing!

That could be a nice cookie platter for a dessert table, with a Halloween vibe…

So many patterns… so little time! I have a long list of zentangles to “cookie”, so expect to see more popping up in this baby blog of mine.

GOBBLE GOBBLE!

A trio of turkeys, all very vocal members of the distinguished group
Go Vegan This Thanksgiving!”

I am totally in love with these little turkeys designed by Amber and demonstrated in one of her recent live Facebooks videos with Marlyn and Haniela (starts at 32 minutes). I am also quite fond of using cookies in ways that change them from the expected shape. This is in fact a ten-petal flower cookie cutter, but playing the role of a turkey. How clever is that? The possibilities of colors and patterns is pretty much endless. Have fun with it, and watch Amber’s tutorials for all the little details that matter.

The process is not complicated, just requires a little patience because the back feathers must be piped in stages. But it’s all wet-on-wet, very forgiving.

Once the feathers are all piped and crusted, the body and wings are added, with final details of beak and sexy wattle.

Another little trio of turkeys, this time in a PYO (paint your own) cookie approach, designed by the very one who invented the concept, Marlyn. Check her Instagram video clicking here.

The idea is to flood the cookies with white Royal icing and draw a design right away with black icing. The cookies can be then offered as a gift with a set of food-safe pens for the person to paint them. Or, if you are like me, have all the fun yourself, and THEN give the cookies away…

You can use anything to paint them. Food-safe pen, Sugarprism, luster powder with vodka, each will have a different outcome. The cookie must be piped in two stages, with head and body piped after the base is crusted.

I close the post with a much simpler cookie, all you need is to flood the base, let it crust and then pipe the little details. Inspired by thebearfootbaker.

I still miss the Halloween spirit, but I realize there is a lot of cookie potential in the upcoming season of Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Let’s dance to the music!

HALLOWEEN WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME

I dedicate this post to all who struggle with a harsh reality: Halloween won’t be back for 363 days. I invite you to sit back for a virtual tour of many spooky cookies I’ve baked and donated in the weeks before the greatest cookie holiday of all times…

Perhaps my favorite of all…

Sugar Cookie flavored with Pumpkin Spice, flooded with Royal icing orange and white, then painted free-hand with Sugarprism Tuxedo Black… For the little witch in the center I used a stencil.

Some additional cookies got the “zentangle” treatment I am so fond of…

Moving on… some cookies made with the help of a mini-projector and pictures found online (artprojectforkids is a favorite source of mine)

Basic white cookies for a black-and-white spooky look, painted with food pen, free-hand, as it’s such a simple design. Bat and skull are fondant additions.

Zentangle can be interesting to change the background, and particularly for a Halloween cookie, no need to strive for perfection. Or so I hope.

A little more spookiness, the bat cookie was inspired by Haniela…

I really love the candy corn shape, so versatile! The purple ones below are not iced, just sugar cookies painted with Sugarprism, or with little fondant ghosts.

Below, a couple of crackled cookie attempts using Sugarprism once again. I will re-visit the technique soon and blog about it once I get it right.

Shortbread is also wonderful to decorate using cookie stamps like these from Nordic Ware. After baking, they were painted with luster dust diluted with vodka.

Linzer Cookies can be scary too! Just use your favorite recipe and create a spooky face. I painted the edges with luster dust and vodka.

And finally, a couple of macarons, because… how could I NOT include them?

That’s all for now, folks! I am really sad that Halloween is over, and all the cookies I did not get a chance to make will have to wait. But hey, there’s always Thanksgiving… and Christmas… and when you blink twice, Valentine’s will be knocking on your door!

HALOWEEN PIZZA BOX SCENE

STAY CREEPY, MY FRIENDS!

I am thrilled to contribute with my little pizza box concoction to the goodies made by my Great American Baking Show friends. It’s been a while since we got together to bake on a set theme, but better late than never!

I love the concept of pizza box scenes, devised by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and in fact used one of her ideas for the background cookie. The cookie was made with an impression mat for the wood grain texture. Chocolate sugar cookies are the best for the effect, right before baking you brush a little white food gel to reveal the texture in all its glory. The same cookie was used for the night sky.

COMPONENTS OF THE PIZZA BOX SCENE

A pumpkin-hat combo that I made using two cookie cutters joined together…

A little black cat pressed into the night-sky component, painted with Sugarprism…

A caldron with store-bought spooky eyes and neon-green bubbles…

Fondant decorations for the little ghost (he is friendly!) and bat (he is not rabid)…

Royal icing, piping consistency for the full moon…

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The caldron must be made in stages, so that each group of bubbles has a chance to crust, otherwise they just join together, and the effect will be los

I hope you enjoyed this little pizza box cookie combo. One of the things I like about this version is that some cookies are left plain, so those who prefer less sweetness will appreciate their inclusion. Make sure you use a very flavorful cookie recipe, for the chocolate I recommend this one.

Make sure to stop by the homebakers IG page to see what my tent-baking friends made for this virtual get-together.