LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I am totally, completely, absolutely, overwhelmingly in love with these cookies! Why? Because they were painted free-hand, thanks to the guidance of the one and only Michelle, inventor of Sugarprism. She hosted a Facebook event where several members of her group got busy decorating with her in real time. I had so much fun bringing these two guys to cookie-life.

Find Michelle’s info through her IG page with a click here.

Below you see some of the steps in the painting process, that happened on a naked cookie, no Royal icing at all… Michelle uses little guiding dots to space the different portions of the design, so that everything ends up with perfect proportion in the end. Even to paint the star, she had a cute method so that the points would end up exactly where they are supposed to. We started making a blue background darker in the edges and lighter in the center, and then slowly painted all the components on top.

As usual, her classes are fun, light, and make you feel super empowered – that feeling of – I PAINTED THAT – did not leave me for a long, long time!

Another advantage of this method is that you will use no Royal icing at all. Sugarprism has excellent coverage even on the naked cookie, and its delicious vanilla flavor won’t negatively interfere with your bake.

I am not sure I will ever be able to paint something without a guiding hand to lay out the path for me, but maybe one day I might be able to look at a painting and figure out how to do it myself. Could be a little goal for the new year…

ONE YEAR AGO: Christmas Cookies

THE MANY FACES OF FACES

Time to have some fun with cookies! Some are super easy to decorate, some required (for me) a mini-projector but you might be able to draw them free hand. They all make me smile, and I do hope they gave a smile to those who received them…

I first saw this design on a closed group on Facebook for Sugarprism painting. I used the food projector to get the image on Royal iced cookies, and painted with a food safe pen, then added the blush detail with red luster powder. Once I made them, I realized that a search for snowman faces gives many examples, so I “cookied” some more. Aren’t those super cute?

I also made some to work as real Christmas ornaments, by including a small hole in the cookie, as you see below…

They seem quite comfortable around a certain infamous character…

I had a lot of fun making the trio of cookies below….

Now let me share cookies that are a lot simpler to make… The gingerbread stars were suggested by my friend Toni, and I modified a few things from the picture she shared. The eyes were piped with black icing, and the blush is again red luster powder on the naked cookie. Eyebrows and smile were made with a food safe pen.

I loved them so much that I made a second batch, this time with chocolate-chipotle dough, and green eyes, for better contrast.

Another fun way to play with faces is using store bought sugar eyes, which makes it all even simpler. Those are popular on Halloween but you can still find them in places such as Jo-Ann or even big grocery stores. I used thick Royal icing to make the metal part of the bulbs, but you can just flood the whole thing and draw the details with a food pen. It will be equally cute.

I hope you enjoyed this fun collection of cookies. Just remember that cookie decorating should bring you joy, not stress. So keep calm, and pipe on!

MARLYN’S INSPIRATION POST FOR DECEMBER

Once again, the task for the month of December was very simply stated: use metallics to decorate your cookies. There are two ways to do it, you can air-brush or spray paint using products available from Wilton (such as this one) or from PME (such as this one). When you consider how fast the spray painting can go, it is a super efficient way to decorate many cookies at the same time. Of course, if you are going to gild the lily with extra piping or sprinkles, that will add a bit more time and effort, but in my opinion it is totally worth it.


For all the designs I used flooding either with Americolor Gold (to spray gold later) or Americolor Gun Metal (to spray silver). Once that base is set, I added details in piping consistency using either a similar color or white. That then gets painted with luster powder. If you start from white flooding, the metallic effect will be less pronounced, and the final color a bit more faded.

A similar approach will also work with silver…


I also like pairing silver and gold…


Of course, other shapes benefit from metallic decoration also… For the light bulb, I coupled Wilton Silver spray with luster powder bronze for the top and gold for the streak of light on the left side. The modern tree got gold on silver.

Bells also love a little shine, the one below quite simple to decorate, with a border using brush embroidery.


Solid gold pairs nicely with some sprinkles, in this case to make a real ornament that can be hung from a Christmas tree…

So many possibilities, including adding a metallic finish to Springerle cookies….

I loved this month’s inspiration challenge, and confess it was hard for me to stop making more designs…



I hope you’ll consider incorporating metallics into your cookie decorating, I am already dreaming about some serious shine for Valentine’s!

ONE YEAR AGO: Amy’s Christmas Cookies

SPRINGERLE BAKING TIME!

One of my favorite cookies to make this time of the year, they are a bit of a labor of love, but the more I make them, the more I love their unique flavor and texture.

My default recipe for springerle is published in my food blog (click here). I have shared a detailed post and video about painting springerle cookies, and you can find those here.

In this batch, the new technique was glazing instead of painting. I used this method to make the green-teal cookies shown below.

The method is very simple: mix honey and vodka 1:1 BY WEIGHT, not by volume. If you do by volume there won’t be enough alcohol and the honey will stay sticky. You can even use a little more vodka than honey to make sure it will dry without any issues. Add a tiny amount of the gel color of your choice. Paint that with a brush, preferably not silicone brush, because those tend to add too much liquid. Once that is dry, you can paint the final details with an accent color (I used gold luster).

All other biscuits from this batch were painted as I have shown in the video, with luster powder mixed with vodka. I’ve had these flower molds for many years, and I never get tired of using them.


This is another favorite mold of mine, that can be decorated in many different ways as far as colors go.

Another great mold I use every year is the rectangular one below…

Springerle is perfumed with anise, and lasts for a long time, so they are perfect as cookie gifts. The molds are not cheap, so if you are interested in starting to bake this type of cookie, brace yourself for the initial investment. But if you have a good quality mold, it will last for a lifetime.

ONE YEAR AGO: Marlyn’s Hungarian Tree

A PRINCESS CARRIAGE

How adorable is this cookie? I won’t sugar coat the pill (I only sugar coat cookies), this one is a labor of love. I cannot imagine making a dozen of them, but it is a cookie that you can include in a set of simpler ones to make it special. The design has Haniela’s name written all over it. You can see the video of her recent live clicking here, and to get all the templates for the decoration you can visit her ko-fi shop here.

To make the cookie base, Haniela used the larger heart of the Wilton 101 cookie cutter set. It is going to be a two day process. First, flood with blue, add the grass and clouds with wet-on-wet Royal icing. Then, once the base is fully set, draw the design (I used a yellow food pen), and flood the carriage part in stages, and pipe the wheels. Once that sets – no need for a long time, maybe a couple of hours, add the final details with thick consistency icing (I used gold color), and a small star tip and a number 3 piping tip. Later those details can be painted in gold.

I also painted the pink carriage with luster powder in Rose Gold just to give it more dimension. I just adore this little cookie!

ONE YEAR AGO: A Christmas Tree Party

GINGERBREAD PEOPLE

Probably the most popular shape for the season, these days you can find super cute cutters with all sorts of twists on the classic. But these? These are the classic, simple shape, made special by the little details as Royal icing transfers. Who else but Marlyn could come up with all that, right? To see her recent live on this design click here. To have access to her template sheets to pipe the decorations in the correct size for the cookie, you’ll need to join her Patreon site.


Aren’t those adorable? Marlyn made chocolate cookies with gingerbread color icing, but I opted for gingerbread cookies, and used my default recipe that is available on my food blog (click here). The cookies are very very big, part of Wilton 101 cookies. The price in amazon is ridiculous. I found it at Michael’s for less, but I am offering you the link so you can see what to look for.

It all starts by piping the transfers. I made icing in black, red and green, but the little hearts for the mouth I made in white and then painted with pink gel dye.

The final touch is to add a little blush to the cheeks with a soft brush….


The cookies are really big, but you could adapt the same style of decoration to smaller cookies, as long as you decrease the size of the details proportionally. Or you can just draw them with a pen or even use wet-on-wet. It will still look pretty cute.


I also made a little variation on the theme, this time for a very small cookie… but the overall idea is the same.



ONE YEAR AGO: Christmas Time Macarons

OF BELLS, CANES AND ACORNS

No more holding back! The holiday season is here to stay, at least for a while, because truth is, we will blink our eyes twice and Valentine’s will be peeking from the corner. Today I share three cookie shapes very popular for the season.

HOLIDAY GOLDEN BELLS

This beautiful design comes from a recent Facebook live from Marlyn. You can watch it with a click here. I want to repeat these cookies making a composite like she suggested, and also using the same spray she did to get the golden coverage. I ordered a can, but it has not arrived yet. For this batch I used my air-brush but the gold is not very strong. I painted the details with luster powder to make the gold more evident.

I love everything about this design, if you make it, try to get a bigger curvature at the bottom, so that the inside of the bell is more evident. Every detail you pay attention to can make the cookie look better in the end. I just find it hard to cover all the details on the first time, it is hard for me to see the “bigger picture.”

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GINGERBREAD BELLS

These are my own design. All details of these cookies are made with piping consistency icing, either over a naked cookie, or on a fully set background of icing in the color of your choice. The light shine on the cookies is a coating with PME pearl spray, which I think does a nice job particularly on the naked cookie. I also played with a different color combination, using black piping consistency for the details.

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DIPPED MARBLED HOLIDAY CANES


These cookies, like the golden bells, also come from Marlyn. For a quick tutorial to see exactly how to make them, check this video. These are fun and simple to make. Marbling in many cases calls for drops of food gel on the surface of runny icing, but that method has some drawbacks. The density of the dye and the icing is different, if there is accumulation of dye in some spots it won’t look very smooth. The trick that Marlyn uses is to make royal icing in the colors to be marbled and add that to the surface instead. Works like a charm! Once you do that marbling, the cookies already look pretty cute, and you can be done. But of course, if you have time and want to add the further embellishment, go for it. You’ll need piping consistency icing. I used Gold from Americolor and then painted with luster powder, exactly as demonstrated in the video.



ACORNS


Definitely the simplest of all designs, all you need is flooding with brown, same color of icing in piping consistency for the details. Once it is all set, I brushed some copper luster powder on the piped area, and called it a day!

I hope you enjoyed this small set of holiday-inspired cookies. I have many things planned and looking at the calendar, I am not sure I’ll be able to get to them all this year. Way too many cookies, way too little time!

ONE YEAR AGO: Let the Holiday Bakes Begin!

MR. CLAUS IS ALSO COMING TO TOWN

There is no way Mr. Claus would leave the love of his life alone, so here he is! Another amazing online event by Amy, from @seriouslysweet, I could not decorate live with all the other participants because we were away on a trip, but the moment I came back home, I baked the cookies and went to work. This cookie cutter set is also available at dotsandbows with a click here. For a flashback to Mrs. Claus, go here.

Totally smitten with this cute old guy… So many details and techniques in this set! I finally got the hat effect – a folding of the fabric – to work. As I mentioned before, this type of detail I do not feel ok about sharing, as this was a paid event hosted by Amy. I am thrilled that it now worked ok for me. Poor Mrs. Claus went with a flat hat, without enough pizzazz.

We started by sketching all the details on the cookies, then slowing decorating each area, using all the methods of piping, from flood consistency to very thick for the white details. I feel that I messed up the eyes a bit, they did not turn out as good as Mrs. Claus’ but overall I am happy with this set.

My favorite technique is definitely the little ruffle on top of the gloves and boots. I just love doing it, and once you get the consistency and strength to squeeze the bag (with no icing tip), it’s very easy and fun.

So this closes the double Christmas set, the Claus Couple, ready to spread Holiday Joy around the world!

Amy, thank you once again for your super detailed instruction and patience with all of us following your online adventures!

ONE YEAR AGO: Zentangle Strikes Again

MOLDED, STAMPED, ROLLED

When you want to minimize icing and glazes on your cookies, resorting to molds, stamps and embossed rolling pins is the answer. The cookies will look great even if nothing else is done to them as far as decorating goes, but of course, if you go the extra mile, they will look super special. The key is to use a dough with little to no leavening agent. You might have to play with a few of your recipes to see which one performs best for each different pattern. It is fun to experiment, and even if some end up as failures, they will still taste great…

Links to every mold, stamp and rolling pin used in the cookies are included in the text.

DESIGN #1

FLOWER MOLD

For these cookies, I used this mold. Once they were baked, I sprayed the surface with PME pearl spray and then went over the details with luster powder mixed with vodka.

I love working with this mold, you can do egg yolk painting, egg white painting, work with marbled dough, or just add a simple light glaze with the color of your choice, for a more dramatic effect like below…

DESIGN #2

WOODEN MOONCAKE MOLD


I used this mold for the cookies, except the center one, which I don’t remember where I got, a while ago. They don’t need any adornment, the pattern is beautiful as it is, but a little bit of gold or copper never hurt! Working with these wooden molds takes a little bit of getting used to, but soon you will realize how much flour or cocoa powder to add to the mold for easier release. Chilling the dough helps a lot also.

DESIGN #3

PLASTIC MOONCAKE MOLD


For these cookies, I used molds similar to these. These make small but thick cookies. The plastic molds are easier to work with, because they come with a little thingie that pushes the dough out. Again, working with chilled dough is a must to help the pattern form well.

DESIGN #4

DRAGON STAMP


Stamp used can be found here. One of my favorites for sure. I just love the Game of Throne-ish look of this pattern. I do believe this one shines with a little gold or copper, but if you don’t have that available, no major harm done. Chocolate is a must, or any cookie dough that is dark and won’t expand during baking.

DESIGN #6

SPRINGERLE ROSES


Most of my springerle molds are from this shop at etsy. I need to optimize the recipe for these, that used strawberry powder in the dough, once I do that the recipe will be available on my main blog. I often paint springerle type cookies, but left these exactly as they baked for a change.

DESIGN #7

ROSES ROLLING PIN



The rolling pin used is available here. The cookies above were painted with Sugarprism, and made into Oreo-type sandwich cookies.

DESIGN #8

MODERN LEAVES ROLLING PIN

The rolling pin used is from this etsy store. I have used this pattern countless times, it looks great without any adornment, but I liked the mixture of copper and red that I used in this batch. It is just luster powder diluted with vodka and applied with a brush.

DESIGN #9

FOREST ROLLING PIN


This is the rolling pin used. In the batch above, the cookies were baked and left naked. The pattern alone is enough to give it a nice elegant look.

DESIGN #10

HIEROGLYPHS ROLLING PIN


This cute rolling pin is available here. In this batch I used lime and a touch of coconut, but they puffed a little more than usual, so the design was not as sharp. They were made into sandwich cookies with a lemon buttercream as filling.


ONE YEAR AGO: Baby Blue, from Me to You

BLACK LACE HEART

This design was imagined by Amber from @sweetambs a while ago and I changed just a few details when I made mine. The lace component is made with Sugar Veil and a special silicone mat (click here for details). I was very scared to use it because my previous experiences with sugarveil were very stressful and most did not have a happy ending at all. But Amber gave a few important pointers, like allowing the product to sit on the mat overnight instead of baking it in a low oven to dry. That’s what I did.

The other important thing is to roll the mat away from the veil, not pull the veil out of the mat, because it will tear, it is very delicate. You need to work slowly and gently guide the veil down the surface, as you pull the mat away from it. Pictures below show the process.


Once the lace is ready, pieces large enough to cover the cookie are cut, and placed over the fully set icing, using either a light brush with water or corn syrup (diluted with a bit of water for easier spreading with a brush). The edges won’t be very smooth, but after that step a little bead border will hide the imperfections. Rose details are fondant painted with luster powder and sprayed with PME pearl luster after drying.


After the lace is set, the fondant roses are glued to the cookie with a small amount of Royal icing. The bead border is important so that the edges of the lace do not show. I still need a lot of practice because my lace turned out super brittle, but compared to my previous attempts, this was much much better…

ONE YEAR AGO: Egg White Painted Cookies