TUNDE’S BEAUTIFUL BLUE COOKIES

This online tutorial by Tunde Dugantsi was posted on January 5th, but I was away on a trip. The moment I came back I went to work, baking the seven hexagon cookies and making enough icing to play with them all. Truth is, after being away I was a bit rusty, and struggled a little with a couple of the designs. Still, I love this set, and felt that the class was at the same time challenging and fun. Tunde has a very soothing voice and is quite reassuring, plus she gives many tips to help you navigate all the different techniques. In this set, we had to master fine lines (very fine, to pipe a grid on two cookies), brush embroidery, border piping, and of course, smooth flooding.

To join Tunde’s Facebook page and learn about her upcoming classes, click here.

Tunde planned the whole class in a very efficient way. We started by flooding two cookies in a single color (light and dark blue), and the others had a design scratched on the surface, so that two colors would be used to flood, in stages. or a single color leaving a round circle in the center to pipe the grid. Some of the steps are shown in the composite picture below.

After I baked the cookies, I realized that my hexagons were a little bit smaller than the ones Tunde used. It was no big deal for most of the patterns, but for the grid, bigger would have worked better. We were supposed to pipe a beautiful snowflake design, but I did not have enough squares in my grid to do that, so I improvised a much simpler pattern. You can see them below….

For the brush embroidery, Tunde showed two different designs, but I could only make one of them work. I will definitely try the second one in the near future. The four cookies below were definitely my favorites!

I find the combination of dark and light blue pretty magical,
and the white details take it all to a higher level.

I had a few hexagon cookies left, and a couple of days later I decided to bring the center cookie back to life with a different color scheme.

I really want to re-visit this whole class, now that I am back into the swing of decorating. My goal is to make the snowflake design on the grid, and then tackle the second embroidery cookie, which has a beautiful single rose in the center, with a long stem. The shaping of the petals is not that easy for me, but I want to make that happen.

Tunde, thank you for another great tutorial, I learned a lot with this one…

ONE YEAR AGO: Smitten Kitten Mittens

THE MANY FACES OF WHITE

Every weekend I like to work on a special cookie decorating project, either to learn a new technique or to practice something I still feel insecure about. But I also like to have a set of cookies waiting without any specific design in mind. My favorite approach is to just pick some simple shapes (squares, ovals, circles) and flood them with white or a very light pastel tone Royal Icing. Next day they are ready to be decorated. The possibilities are pretty much endless. Today I share a series of cookies in which the starting point was a simple white background.

DESIGN #1
STRIPES & DETAILS

Maybe my favorite of this series… I used food safe pens to paint a series of bands of color, then used piping consistency icing to add little details. Super basic. Inspiration came from painted rocks, if you go on Instagram or Pinterest you can find a ton of designs to inspire you.

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DESIGN #2
STRIPES & FONDANT ACCENTS

A lot simpler to do because the stripes don’t need to be precisely separated, I just used luster powder in 4 different colors to paint the background. Fondant shells in gold complete the look.

Even simpler, stripes can be added with a fan type brush, just touches of gold coupled with a modern fondant flower (made with this mold)

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DESIGN #3
MINI-PROJECTOR

So many images available in the internet or in coloring books, just google something, grab your projector and go to work… Lately, I’ve been a little focused on a certain breed of dog… The one below was painted with food safe pens and the bubbles added with piping consistency Royal icing.

The two images below were “borrowed” from one of my favorite pages in Instagram, Jillfcsrocks. And no worries, she is aware that I get her images on my cookies… She is also a cookie-maker! They were painted with Sugarprism.

Another cookie painted with Sugarprism, this one demanded a little more time, but I had fun letting my inner Van Gogh coming out (cough, cough).

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DESIGN #4
STENCILS

Probably the easiest, most efficient way to decorate a cookie, coupling stencils with the air-brush. My main advice is to invest on a screen (like this one) to get really sharp edges on the design. That is not too important in busy patterns such as the black random spots, but it will help other types of drawings like the paw prints and the dragon. Are you watching House of Dragons? Fun show…

Stencils can also be joined with piping in white and then painted. Probably the most involved decorating method of all the examples in this post. When you couple it with painting (in this case, Sugarprism), it is a very nice way to get a more realistic image. Big thank you for Marlyn from @montrealconfections for helping me with the design of this stencil.

ONE YEAR AGO: Heart of Honey Pizza Box Cookie

A TRILOGY OF SUGARPRISM

Today I share three different ways to decorate cookies using Sugarprism, starting from the simplest version…

DESIGN #1 – YELLOW FLOWERS

For these cookies, my inspiration were flowers I saw in my walking-jogging route. Intense orange, with a reddish center. I iced the 8 petal flower shape with orange, and once that set I drew a circle that was iced with chocolate brown plus a touch of red. Once that set overnight, I painted the details with Sugarprism red, and finally added little dots of Royal icing in bright yellow.

It is a very simple design, maybe the trickiest part is adding the little yellow dots, because the consistency of the icing has to be just right. It is a good idea to practice on a piece of parchment paper, so that you can adjust with water or powdered sugar if necessary.

DESIGN #2 – MODERN STICK FIGURE

I fell in love with this image the moment I saw it on the Instagram page of Kathy Barbro, who teaches drawing for kids. I knew I had to “cookie it.” So I started with a Royal iced white background, and drew the design with a light food pen. Then I used Sugarprism to paint the different sections, and once that was fully dry, I went over the design and details with a black food pen. You can see some of the phases in the composite below

Little black dots with Royal icing made for a fun border that complemented the design well, I think.

DESIGN #3 – SINGLE STROKE PAINTING

I consider these cookies a work in progress. If you go on youtube and search for “single stroke painting”, you’ll find many wonderful examples, and many tutorials trying to teach you how to do it. They make it seem very easy, but clearly, there is a steep learning curve. Basically, you load two different colors on opposite sides of a flattish brush, press the brush on the surface and twist it to form a petal. I made a “canvas” of royal icing to practice and – full disclosure – my countertop once I was done with the cookies looked like a war zone!

It is a fun technique to work with. I intend to keep trying and also work on different types of flowers and leaves. So expect to see more of my amateurish attempts featured here… Lolita, the flamingo, does not mind, she actually seems quite smitten with my painting!

If you want to play with Sugarprism, visit Michelle’s website with a click here.


ONE YEAR AGO: Sugarprism, a New Kid on My Block

MARBLED ICING

As far as a high-impact design requiring very basic piping skills, you cannot beat marbled icing. These cookies were all made with this technique designed by Haniela. You can use anywhere from five to seven colors, but I made some using only four. The marbling is not as dramatic in the end, but the cookies are still quite beautiful. You can use one single color and simply vary the intensity, or add two different colors, each in two or three shades. It all starts with piping the outline (using the darkest color), then some horizontal guide lines to separate the blocks of repeating tones. Working quickly, pipe lines of each color and marble them in two directions using a needle. Piping the border is optional, but it does make the cookie more elegant.

Below, some of the steps to make this type of cookie…

The piping of the stripes does not have to be perfect, as everything will get mixed up by marbling. The only thing to keep in mind is working reasonably fast, otherwise the icing will start to set and it won’t pull smoothly, the surface will be all bumpy.

The same design using brown-orange-red tones…

Some of the borders I left white, some I painted with bronze…

For these cookies I used 6 different colors, including white. In some cookies I omitted the white, using just the other colors.

Finally, a blue series, with border in gold luster.

I love this cookie shape. It is perfect for marbling, but works with many different designs also.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sugar Cookies, Black and White Series

LET’S SQUARE THINGS UP

Today I share five designs for square cookies, a shape that I think is under-estimated. Square cookies offer lots of possibilities for cookie decorating, and can also be grouped together to create a composite image. Remember the Quilt Challenge proposed by Marlyn a few months ago? When Marlyn did her version, she turned a simple square cookie into a quilt design made complete by joining four of the basic pieces together. Super clever! So to kick things off, I share my version of Marlyn’s Quilt cookie. I simply changed the color scheme and a few details.

DESIGN #1 – MARLYN’S QUILT

For a geometric pattern such as this to work well, you have to draw guiding lines on the naked cookie as a starting point. Then use piping consistency black to make a reasonably thick outline of all sections, add details with fine lines. As you can see below, I started with a yellow draft but made a few mistakes, so I started all over with a black pen. It all gets hidden by the icing, so no major harm done.

Once the outline and fine lines are set, it’s time to proceed with the flooding, using any decoration and color scheme of your choice.

It is fun to see the full design come to life as the cookies are placed together…

DESIGN #2 – COLORFUL TILES

For this design, I used a stencil downloaded from Cricut workspace, and a very light sheen airbrush color to paint it on a white flooded cookie. Next, I highlighted all details using several different colors of food safe pens, and added a little outline with black.

Since the sheen color is so subtle, it does not really interfere with the painting… The sheen color I used is from this set. For these cookies I opted for Blue Sheen.

DESIGN #3 – GRADUATION COOKIES

Once again, stencils come to the rescue… Another image downloaded from Cricut Workspace, I made these for a friend’s daughter who graduated last month. With a bonus round cookie, just because…

Similarly to the Colorful Tiles, I used a stencil air-brushed with a sheen orange color, and went over the details with food pen.

DESIGN #4 – MODERN WHITE SQUARES

I was inspired by Connie, a member of the Great British Bake Off group from Facebook. It was her first time decorating sugar cookies, and she came up with a design I loved, very elegant and polished. Monochromatic. Clean. This is my version of her cookies.

Cookies are flooded with white royal icing, and then the details are piped, with a few silver sprinkles added while the icing is wet.

DESIGN #5 – FUN WITH PROJECTOR

Recently I stumbled on this IG page and almost lost my mind with the amazing drawings she does on rocks. I contacted her to see how she fell about some of her images turning up in cookies, and she was fine with it, in fact she also makes cookies herself! These were my first versions, I particularly adore the meditating frog… I think the square shape is perfect to this type of cute design.

That’s all for now, folks! I hope I gave you some ideas to play with using a very basic cookie shape, that can be arranged in sets of four, potentially expanding the horizons of the final composition.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Many Faces of the Oreo Cookie

FUN WITH PAPER STRIPS

A couple of months ago Haniela showcased in one of the Facebook lives a cool idea she had to decorate sugar cookies. She used thin strips of parchment paper that are laid on top of wet Royal icing. Then the cookies are decorated either with wet-on-wet, or other painting techniques. The final step is pulling off the paper strips, which of course only happens next day, when the icing if fully set. I know that it’s not easy to visualize the technique from this description, but once you see the step by step, it will become clear. Her full video tutorial is available here. I was so excited about the technique, that I made a few cookies a couple of days later. Today’s post is a series of cookies made in March and April with variations of her basic method.

For this tile-cookie, it started with white Royal icing to flood the entire surface, and then the paper stripes were placed in a geometric pattern.

The composite below shows the steps – I let the icing set and used luster powder to paint, with the strips of paper still glued. Then, pulling the paper reveals the white underneath.

As you can imagine, the possibilities of colors and designs are endless, and so much fun to play with!

It all starts with making the strips of paper. Using a very thin blade, cut strips on parchment paper, try to do them of equal width, but some variation is ok, you can even incorporate that in the design. Once you have plenty of strips available, you can start flooding the cookies and coming up with ways to decorate.

The ones below were made following her tutorial a little more closely, starting with hexagons and using wet-on-wet to create the design.

Some of the steps you can see below (but keep in mind Haniela’s tutorial on Facebook is the best way to follow the technique).

Another thing she demonstrated in the video was using a special type of scissors (available here) to cut the strips, so that the edges get wavy. I love the end result! Using the scissors is a little more involved, but not too bad.

To make this Ukraine-inspired cookie, I cut the strips a little larger, added to turquoise Royal icing, and next day painted some areas with gold. The sunflower is a fondant addition. The picture below show this cookie in its initial stage.

I hope this post gave you some ideas to play in the future. There are so many ways to incorporate the paper strips into designs, and once you have them all cut, the hard work is done. It’s all downhill from there.

Haniela, thank you for the tutorial, I had a ton of fun playing with your concept…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of All Things Bees

THREE YEARS, THREE BAKES FOR ARITRI

I dedicate this post to Mrs. Shyamasree Majumdar

Three years ago today the world lost someone very special. A brilliant young woman, who was getting ready to embrace science as a life-time commitment. She loved color. She loved to sing. She loved life. Some cookies that I make have what I call the “Aura of Aritri.” Like these ones. I think they would have made her smile.

This series, with a mandala-design was made with stencils and air-brushing. I think she would have appreciated both the patterns and the colors. They were flavored with Chai extract from Olive Nation, and a touch of vanilla.

FLORALS

This series was flavored with Fiori di Sicilia, and decorated either with brush embroidery + luster powder painting, or by stamping, a technique I definitely need to practice a bit more.

MACARONS

Aritri loved macarons, and these, flavored with Pistachio-Lemon, were decorated with her in mind. Just food-safe pen over the baked shells, and a light spray of PME pearl luster.

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THE QUILT CHALLENGE

Marlyn (from Montreal Confections) is on a mission to make her followers work on their creativity. Every month she proposes a little challenge, like the bouquet (click here) and the Christmas wreath-flip (click here). For the month of March, she suggested a quilt-cookie. That got me a bit frozen with fear, and I felt unable to come up with ideas. But the fact that my mind is so set on all things Ukraine, gave me that light at the end of the tunnel. A quilt with the colors of Ukraine. A quilt with the flower that is the symbol of that amazing country.

I started from the baked and cooled cookie, and drew with a food safe pen the basic quilt design. I did not know exactly where I was headed, so I started by brushing a thick coating of brown in the center, and adding texture with a brush. Once that was fully set, I added copper luster for bling. Then I worked on the yellow and blue components, flooding areas that were not touching, and allowing them to set for about 30 minutes before flooding the other areas. A little painting with orange to add contrast to the petals, and fine lines pipes to finish the design. You can see the progress in the composite picture below.

This was a challenge that terrified me, but I am quite happy with the outcome. It gave me one more opportunity to celebrate Ukraine. And hope that they can do what seemed impossible in the beginning: prevent Putin from winning. As they say, the impossible just takes a little longer.

DIWALI-INSPIRED GINGERBREAD COOKIES

When I look outside and it’s all covered in snow, I miss the colors of Spring. In this batch of cookies, I brought vivid colors to play together. Inspiration came from my friend and former graduate student Aritri. I think she would have loved them. She was The Queen of Color.

To make these cookies, I used a paisley-shape cutter, and flooded with purple or turquoise. Let that set for a few hours, then made small batches of several colors of Royal icing, piping consistency.

Once that is done, it’s all a matter of letting the patterns freely form…

The candy corn is a nice shape to play with also… The cookies below were designed to minimize the amount of icing. This first cookie was sprayed with PME pearl luster, and the set below painted with TruColor Blue Turquoise.

I hope you like these cookies, I really loved making them…

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA!

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…