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

MARLYN’S UNDER THE SEA 3D COMPOSITION

I am totally smitten by this set designed by Marlyn, using several different techniques in cookie decorating. A very detailed tutorial is available for her supporters through Patreon (click here). I cut the background cookie and the fish tail by hand (templates provided by Marlyn) so that they would fit perfectly together, but you can definitely search your cookie cutters and come up with slightly different variations. On a side note, I usually have no idea who gets my cookies, but this set was an exception (read on).

I opted for my default chocolate cookie recipe (you can find it on my food blog clicking here), and used mini cookie cutters from this set from Sugarbelle. The rock at the bottom was made with a flower cutter cut in half. Marlyn used a cloud-shaped cutter.

Here are all the pieces baked and iced, waiting for assembling… Some pieces I made extra just in case something bad happened, and also for practice.

So many techniques: the rock texture made with parchment paper, the fish tail with a small petal tip, and a lot of painting with the air-brush. For the first time I thought I managed to direct the air-brush gun with more precision. For instance the little fish’s mouth, tail and fin were air-brushed in orange without messing up the rest of the body. Yes, there was some hyperventilation associated with the process…

This was really fun to put together, and the icing on the cake is that these cookies were donated for a homeless family of four that has been struggling quite a bit. It made me happy to learn that maybe this little 3D scene could give them a reason to smile.

ONE YEAR AGO: Mr. Seahorse and his friends

FLORALS

Spring and Summer, time to celebrate color, flowers, being outside and allowing the beauty of the universe to inspire us. I share with you cookies made in the past few weeks, using several different techniques, but all with flowers in mind. I start with my favorite, following as closely as possible a Facebook tutorial from Marlyn. For this one, sequential piping is coupled with air-brushing to bring to cookie-life Plumeria blooms.

Marlyn is a pro with the air-brush, it is not something I do without considerable hyperventilation, but slowly I am getting the gist of it. The yellow part worked well, I found the pink to spray too wildly at times.

Below some of the steps to make these cookies…

I love the simple elegance of this design, typical of Marlyn. If you don’t have an air-brush, you can still do the same by painting with gel color diluted with vodka or water. It will take a little longer, but other than that, no issues.

Moving on, some other florals that happened in our kitchen lately….

SUGARPRISM PAINTING

AIR-BRUSHING + STENCIL

CRACKED BACKGROUND + PAINTED FONDANT

Design inspired by Amber, from @sweetambs
tutorial from Craftsy

ROYAL ICING TRANSFERS

(drawing designed inspired by Amber, from @sweetambs)

I still have many floral compositions waiting in line to materialize as cookies,
so stay tuned for more soon!

ONE YEAR AGO: Gilding the Lily with Silicone Molds

FOR THE LOVE OF HORSES

Marlyn is back inspiring me, I had this tutorial bookmarked for a while and finally gave it a go a couple of weeks ago. The cookie cutter (available at amazon.com), shaped as the head of a horse, is a little tricky as far as decorating goes, but as usual, Marlyn figures out a way to make it shine. Several different techniques went into the making of these cookies. You can pipe the flowers by hand using Royal icing, or simplify a bit and go with molded, painted fondant pieces. It is up to you.

Let me walk you through the steps to make this colorful design…. First, flood the cookie with light brown Royal icing, and let it set overnight. Then add the details using a stencil and brown air-brushing color (I used Totally Brown from Cookie Countess).

Once that is done, it is just a matter of adding some details with piping consistency Royal icing in green and brown, some confetti shaped gold bits, and the fondant pieces in the end…

Once the fondant pieces are added, the cookies are ready to party!

I love the modern-romantic look of these horses… I simplified a bit the design compared to what Marlyn did, so I advise you to watch her video and consider adding all the bells and whistles. What I love about her design is how unique it is, playful and whimsical at the same time. I bet any horse lover would be very happy getting a platter of these cookies.

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of the Sea

SUNFLOWERS FOR UKRAINE

Another design using piped Royal icing coupled with painting, this time I used Sugarprism.

Similar to what I shared recentl (click here), this version relied on a stencil air-brushed with gold as starting point… The surface was iced and fully set (color used for the base was Artisan Accents Azure Blue). White Royal icing was piped in sections that were not adjacent, so that if they accidentally touched, they would not merge.

Once all sections were piped, I waited for the center to start crusting, and then used a special little tool to add texture…

This step is optional, or you can use the handle side of a brush. But I find that it adds a more interesting look to the final design. A few hours later the fun – aka painting – starts. I used Sugarprism in Dandelion Yellow + Monarch Orange for the petals, Green + Teddy Bear Brown for the leaves. Teddy Bear Brown was also used to paint the stem.

The final step was the bling: center of the flower painted with gold luster + vodka.

It is hard to find hope sometimes. So many horrible things happen in our world, leaving us with a very intense feeling of impotence and frustration. At least through cookies, we can bring some sunshine and joy to those around us.

Stay tuned for more adventures with Sugarprism!

ONE YEAR AGO: Eyelet-Lace Strawberry Cookies

A ROSE

Stencils can come in very handy for those who cannot draw to save their lives. For this cookie, I coupled air-brushing with royal icing, and after the design set, I used luster powder to paint the details. It is a bit of a labor of love, I won’t lie. But if you enjoy painting, it is a pretty nice way to spend a few minutes of your time…


It all starts with a fully set, white flooded cookie. Then, a stencil such as this one, is used to lay the base for the drawing. I used only part of the stencil, which is quite large, appropriate for cake decoration.


You could conceivably stop right there. Maybe add a beaded border or spray the edges with gold. But, if you want to take the cookie one step further, get some piping consistency Royal icing and fill each section.


It is a three-day process, two-day minimum. You will need to flood the cookie on day 1, air-brush the design on the following day, pipe the icing and then wait at least 6 hours to paint, overnight is best.


Once again, the cookie could be left all white. It is polished, simple and elegant. But to me, the fun really starts with painting. So that’s what I did…


Many different kinds of stencils will work, but I find that larger designs are easier to negotiate. Depending on your skill with piping, you can go for more intricate drawings. If the areas are very close together, make sure to pipe regions that are not adjacent, let them set briefly, then continue. I will be playing more with this technique in the near future for sure…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Frida Kahlo

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

STENCIL FUN: A TESLA COOKIE SET

I’ve had my Cricut cutter since Christmas last year, a very thoughtful gift from my beloved husband. The learning curve to play with that baby is steep. So far I’ve mostly used stencils available online – many provided by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections, many from shops at etsy.com. In this post, I share with you my first adventure designing stencils myself. They were all super simple, using images available in the internet, and a straightforward cut. Stencils are great to design cookies for special occasions. This set was made for a potluck party we hosted recently for all Tesla owners in our town.

The simplest one was just the Tesla logo with the characteristic modern font. Once the image is found online, Cricut can size it to the desired cookie area. For that cookie, I flooded the base with red, let it set overnight, and spray painted with black. Since this is such a simple image, it is very important that the lines are sharp. I use a screen between the stencil and the air-brush to make sure no under-spray takes place. That takes a little practice, but now I feel a bit more confident using it. Some screens sold especially for cookies can be expensive. I am quite happy with this one, that is large enough to cover any size stencil, and also more affordable.

For the second type of cookie, I went with a gray background and either black or red air-brushing of the stencil image.

Yet another image – also found with a search for Tesla clipart in google – used a gold background and brown air-brushing. And finally the classic image of Tesla Model X (the one we own) with the Falcon wings open. I made some silver, some black.

Just for variety, I made a set of charging stations using the mini-projector and food pen.

This was a fun set to plan and make. Stencils make it quite straightforward, comparing the time needed to make each of the charging station cookies, the ones with the stencil are ready in the blink of an eye!

You can get by ordering stencils online, but it will limit a lot what you can do. In many cases you can order a stencil in different sizes, but there is little flexibility. For instance, some might offer three sizes, small, medium, or large, and you will have to bake your cookies to fit those sizes. If you own a Cricut (or Silhouette), you can tweak stencils to your needs, and also make your own. I have a lot to learn still, and to be absolutely honest, I feel quite discouraged at times. But I guess that is expected when learning a new skill.

A VINTAGE DRESS SET

A couple of weeks ago during a weekly Facebook live, Marlyn hosted a tutorial in which people could decorate in real time with her. Cookies were hand-cut and baked before class. Handbag and shoes were not part of the live demo, she had a little tutorial to show how to do those previously posted in her Patreon site. The skirt and blouse had some pre-decorating done, and were then finalized during the event. This set would be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day, or Teacher’s Appreciation Day, or a simple “I Think You Are Special” offering. You can watch the whole video following this link.

The cookies required stencils to provide guidelines for piping, but you could conceivably draw that free-hand. Some of the steps of the preparation are detailed below

For the shoes, after flooding in white, the stencil is used to add the red details, using an air-brush. You could draw them by hand and fill the red using a food safe pen. Once that is done, the rest is all piping with Royal icing. The shoes were by far the trickiest for me, my first pair was not fit to be seen in public and had to be consumed as evidence of a cookie-crime. I did a little better on the second pair, which is the one included in the group photo.

The handbag has a very clever design. The rough texture is made with sugar dyed with blue food color. I love the tiny details of gold, which are sequin sprinkles such as these. They also go in the blouse, tying the design together nicely.

For the skirt, a petal tip was used to decorate the border, and after that flooding with yellow + air-brushing lines to guide in the final decoration during class.

So these components were all we needed to attack the decoration with Marlyn…

It went by super fast, and again I learned a lot. This basic design can be tweaked to do all kinds of colors and patterns but I loved the look that Marlyn planned for the set. She puts so much attention to small details, they do elevate a cookie to higher levels. And often it’s not that complicated, but just a little something extra to consider. Like the lighter color on the inside of the shirt, the ruffles on the bottom of the shirt and skirt, the little golden sequins.

There we were, hard at work!

Marlyn and Hani, thanks for another great live session on Facebook! I am not sure there will be more of this kind, but I had fun with every single one of them so far…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of a Golfer

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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