BRUSH EMBROIDERY

This might be the technique I struggled the most with. My first four attempts were huge failures, but I kept trying. My advice, in case you’ve experienced the same, is to focus on the consistency of the Royal icing, and practice on a piece of parchment paper or, if you have one, a plastic fake cookie like this. Don’t put pressure on yourself trying to decorate a cookie you have a special friend in mind to offer to. Once you get comfortable with the consistency, you are 80% of the way there. Today I share a few examples, made in the past three months or so.

I think these might be my favorites, but oddly enough they were born from a little mistake. When I made guidelines for the pattern, I used a yellow pen, thinking it would not show after piping the details, but unfortunately it was obviously there, underneath. I then had the idea of using yellow luster powder and gold to paint the design, so that the lines would not be noticeable anymore. Worked like a charm, and I must say I was quite proud of myself.

The same basic design works well as white on any color you like…

The one below I did not quite get right the embroidery effect, so I decided to paint the design to make it work better. The bottom line is, even if you don’t get it 100% right, you can add some color, a bit of Diamond dust, and all will be fine.

Inspired by the great cookier Amber, I used a two-color embroidery, which is actually quite simple to do. You pipe the first color at the outer edge of the design (in this case white), then the second color right next to it, and gently pull them with a brush. The second color was Fuchsia, from Sugarflair (thank you for the wonderful gift, Caro!). These were piped on a naked chocolate cookie, so you don’t really need the royal icing base to make it work.

I shared this final cookie in the past, but I will include it again here, because it is a nice departure from brush embroidery conceived by Amber, in which the effect with the brush is made on a wet-on-wet base. Give it a try, it is simpler because you can use regular flooding consistency.

I love the elegance that brush embroidery brings to cookies. And when I speak of elegance, someone comes to my mind right away…

I hope you enjoyed this small collection of ideas for brush embroidery. It is also a nice method to use for bee’s wings as I showed not too long ago.

Stay tuned for a next adventure in cookie decorating, which will bring a Fall atmosphere to the blog.

ROYAL ICING ETCHING

This is a very nice technique to play with, and deceptively simple. All you need is to flood a cookie with icing, preferably a dark color. Let it fully set overnight. Then, use a mini-projector or any other method you like to get an image on the surface. Keep in mind that the final drawing will be made by hurting the surface of the icing with the tip of the scribe tool. That will be a very thin line, so any food pen you use to mark the drawing will show because it is wider. That’s why in this case a food projector or free-hand drawing will be your best options. Once you scratch the design, you can brush the surface with a super light dust of pearl luster powder (dry, with a soft brush), to make the image brighter. This step if optional, but it does improve the final cookie. I first used this method last year, but only added some straight lines to a decorated cookie. My friend Dorothy pointed me to some Instagram posts in which they used etching to draw simple flowers. I loved the idea and made my own versions.

You can leave the design simple, as a white on dark drawing, or go one step further and use additional color like I did in this one, in part because the background was a bit light and the drawing too faded.

I find that for this type of design a border around the cookie adds a touch of elegance that complements well the look.

The possibilities are once again, pretty much endless… And you can mix decoration styles and colors to a platter of cookies, to add contrast but keep the elegant aura going. Along those lines, I believe that brush embroidery and a simple etching design go very well together. What do you think?

I am definitely going to explore this method further in the near future, and I hope you’ll give it a try!

HEART OF HONEY PIZZA BOX COOKIE

My final (for the time being) pizza box production, this time the inspiration came from Marlyn, with some minor modifications (IG video available here). Her original box is very clever, it was made as a gender reveal thing. Each little bee in her box was a cookie filled with a particular color. As you bite into it the gender is revealed. My little bees are simple molded fondant, and I incorporated some flower cookies and other small details around the center. A pizza box perfect for a little girl who is sweet as honey…

All cookies were chocolate, and the base was cut in a heart shape and then four pieces around it, to mimic a tree bark. The texture comes from laying a piece of wrinkled parchment paper on top of the Royal icing as soon as it is piped. That sits for many hours (overnight is best), then you can peel the paper and get the design to stay. I brushed some gold luster powder to add more contrast. You can see Marlyn demonstrating that technique here.

To get the subtle pattern on the heart, Marllyn air-brushes the image with a stencil, then uses those lines to guide the piping with Royal icing. Once that sets (30 minutes is enough as the icing is thick), a very thin royal icing of the same color is gently brushed on the surface. I finished with a little gold air-brush on the edges.

For the little flowers I made the centers as Royal icing transfers, covering them with silver non-pareils. After all the cookies are decorated and fully set, the final scene can be assembled inside the box… The little butterfly is also molded fondant.

My favorite component is the center heart, I find it very sweet and charming…

So that concludes my trilogy of pizza box cookie scenes. I am sure I will be making new ones in the near future, because I love the concept and it is so nice to adapt it for a particular occasion or person.

Pizza boxes, 7-inch square available at amazon.com

JURASSIC PARK PIZZA COOKIE BOX

As I promised, here is my second pizza box cookie, made to please a certain young boy who is fascinated by all things dragon. For a change, I did not follow any particular design, made this one from my own imagination. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.

I baked the base divided in two parts, one for the sky (with a cloud made with wet-on-wet icing), one for the grass field. Two dinosaurs and a little palm tree to complete the scene. Sugar cookies were flavored with orange, and the dinosaurs were made with a chocolate dough.

The sky was decorated with luster powder in baby blue, and got the silhouette of a Pterodactyl in full flight…

The green also got a little more detail by air-brushing in copper a few spots here and there. Same copper tone was used to brush the tree trunk, just ever so slightly. Then, all that was left to do was decorate the dinosaurs and assemble the scene…

I think I need a new dinosaur cookie cutter, so that my next box will include two different species of this important extinct family. Maybe a little lizard could go well too, although it’s important not to crowd the box too much. A tiny lizard? Yeah, that will do…

Stay tuned for one more Pizza Box Cookie Scene!

MARLYN’S PIZZA BOX BEACH COOKIES

I’ve been excited about cookies more than once. Who am I trying to fool? Countless times, I admit. But I am just over the moon with these. Marlyn came up with this cool idea of arranging cookies inside a small (7-inch square) pizza box (available here), and I totally fell in love with the concept. This first one I made following Marlyn’s tutorial pretty closely. Perfect for the summer, my favorite season.

The idea is to fit the cookies to form a scene inside the pizza box. Marlyn shared templates for her Patreon supporters so that you can cut the cookies to fit. Check her site here.

First you bake the cookies and make sure to trim them if needed, using a microplane. I actually did not need to do that, they all fit nicely together.

Next, decorate each cookie according to her detailed tutorial, or using your own ideas and color scheme.

The trickiest part for me was piping the weave pattern in the bag, I almost decided to skip it, but I’m glad I gave it a try. Mine is far from perfect, but I am happy with it. It is a bag that has seen a few Summer vacations already…

Once all the individual cookies are decorated and fully set, comes the fun part, assembling the design!

Isn’t this a fantastic concept? The possibilities are endless, boxes designed for Halloween, for Valentine’s, for a wedding anniversary, anything you can dream of. Marlyn keeps adding new versions and I keep dreaming…

Stay tuned for two more versions of Pizza Box Cookie scenes… And make sure to check Marlyn’s IG page to get truly inspired…

MR. SEAHORSE AND HIS FRIENDS

All cookies in this post were inspired by Instagram videos published by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections.

MR. SEAHORSE
(quick tutorial here)

A very distinguished creature, this was perhaps the most complex cookie of today’s series, but if you take your time and don’t worry too much about making it perfect, you’ll be fine. Actually this advice I should follow myself (wink, wink).

The tricky part of this cookie was its shape, very delicate and easy to break. Handle it with care. Stiff consistency was used to pipe the details of the back with a petal tip, I used 104. Once that is done, the rest is straightforward. Pink dots and drawing with black food pen were done after the base was fully dry. I added a little shimmer on the details, pearl dust powder with vodka.

RAINBOW TROUT
(quick tutorial here)

I absolutely loved making these cookies! Piping consistency for the fins, a simple white flooding on the body part. Then, the air-brushing comes (watch Marlyn’s video for the proper way to handle the gadget, it does take practice). You can play with different colors. Two fishes got additional markings with luster powder in copper color. They all got some shimmer on their fins, because bling makes everything nicer.

LITTLE TROPICAL FISH
(quick tutorial here)

These are the simplest to make and they do have a nice visual impact. All kinds of bright colors will work, it’s all wet-on-wet plus some food pen for the little details, but that step is optional.

Watch Marlyn’s video, this is a nice cookie project that you could even tackle with kids. Make sure to use PME black pearls for the eyes, because those do not bleed into the icing, a very common problem with other products. You can always paint a little black dot with a food pen to make it easier.

And here they are, swimming together…

Stay tuned for another Summer-inspired cookie concoction!

HUNGARIAN FOLK ART COOKIES

A long time ago – before my cookie obsession started – I stumbled on cookies that were like small pieces of pure art. They were made by Tunde Dugantsi. You can marvel at many of her masterpieces with a visit to her Instagram page. Recently I joined Tunde’s Cookie Club Academy and today I share with you my first attempt at Hungarian Folk Art Cookies. They are far from perfect, but I still love my babies and will practice the technique again soon. Her tutorials are very detailed and she is one of the nicest human beings I’ve met online.

I used the mini-projector to get the basic design on a naked cookie, and from there what matters the most is the consistency of your Royal Icing. Tunde explains it quite clearly in the video, but of course it takes practice. The most important step is the final piping with white icing to form the lace work, and of course, it is the one that I have most trouble with.

Tunde’s work is nothing short of amazing, and she has tutorials for all levels of cookie decorating. Some of her productions are so elaborate, I hope one day I will develop the skill to try them. Baby steps, baby cookie steps.

The stained glass cookies are also a favorite technique of mine, which I shared with you in the past. I thought these cookies go well together, don’t you agree?

Tunde, thanks so much for the tutorials you share, and above all for your constant words of encouragement!

FOR THE LOVE OF FLAMINGOS

Flamingos are magnificent birds and the cookie world devotes a lot of attention to them. If you don’t believe me, do a search for “flamingo cookie cutters”, and you will see what I mean. Today I share my take on one adorable version demonstrated recently by Amy, Cookier Extraordinaire. You can follow her detailed instructions here. Cookie cutter available here.

The day before (or many days before), you’ll need to prepare the wings, which are made using a petal tip such as Wilton 104, and stiff consistency Royal Icing. Amy has printable templates in her ko-fi shop, or you can wing it (did you see what I did here? Apologies).

A little touch with pink air-brushing around the edges brightens up the cookie. I used fondant molded flowers to decorate the head of the flamingos, you can use a different shape of flower as Amy did in her tutorial. Cookie cutter used for this project from etsy.com.

Here are all my girls!

If you are a beginner cookie decorator, don’t be intimidated by this series because they are not hard to make at all. If you want to simplify, the wings can be made with a food pen instead of a transfer. The air-brushing step can also be omitted. But of course, each small detail brings a lot to the final product.

I must say I’m a bit surprised by how strong-willed flamingos can be…

Mary and Monique get along well most of the time…

But Maribel and Margaret just don’t see eye-to-eye!

Amy, thank you once again for the great tutorial, you make it all easy and fun…

That’s all for now, folks! See you next time…

NOT ALWAYS BLACK AND WHITE

In life, as well as in cookies, it’s not always black and white…

But then again… sometimes it is…

All images drawn on Royal iced cookies allowed to fully set overnight, using a black food safe pen and mini-projector (AKASIO). Sprinkles, watercolor, luster powder with vodka to bring accents of color.

For first series with the sprinkles, I was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook a while ago, but unfortunately I did not save the precise link. It was one of those images that you see, fall in love with and when you try to retrieve it again… no luck. Wish I could give proper credit.

SEE YOU SOON!

Until then, keep dancing to the music…

VAMOS A LA PLAYA!

Some cookie projects are a complete pleasure, beginning to end. Once again I followed a tutorial from Marlyn (Montreal Confections). You can watch the basic process here, as part of a recent Live Facebook event. A full, detailed tutorial (with a nice supply list) is available in her Patreon page. The basic idea is quite simple: two colors flood the cookie, mimicking sea and sand. But then she brings the details, the real gilding of the lily. And the simple details turn each cookie into a fun, adorable beach scene.

The adventure starts with a round cookie, pick a size compatible with the decorations that will be added in the end. However, I generally dislike cookies that end up too big, so I went as small as feasible for my shells and starfish.

For the water component, Marlyn suggests painting a wavy design with the air-brush, and a final shiny coat with a spray of PME luster. Those two small details considerably embellish the cookies.

The sand component is added after the water part is fully set. I used Golden Rocks from Wilton, lightly processed in a mini-grinder. You can use Graham cracker crumbs too. Finally, brush embroidery comes in to play the role of waves. Just make sure that the Royal icing is in piping consistency and don’t use water in the brush because it can interfere with the air-brushing. It is all clearly explained in Marlyn’s tutorial, by the way.

The shells and decorations were made using this mold.

I find making decorations with silicone molds very relaxing, as you may have noticed from a recent post. And they last for a long time, so you can make them way in advance. I added a light spray of PME luster to all of them, but painting with luster powder + alcohol works great too. The spray is just faster and simpler.

If you love baking cookies, make sure to follow Marlyn through her IG page. She is always coming up with new ideas, it’s hard to keep up, but I have fun trying, that’s for sure!