AMBER’S JEWELED SPIDER

I realize Halloween is over, but these cookies are so cool that I believe they deserve a post just for themselves… Plus, they would be great to give to that special person who is into gothic looks, and appreciate that mood any day of the year. You will need a mold to make the body of the spider, but other than that, the cookies are not that complicated to make.

For Amber’s tutorial, visit this youtube link.


It all starts by making the body of the spider, using this mold. You can use candy melts but Amber recommends Celebakes brand. I played with two other brands I had around and they did not work, it never hardened enough. So I used Almond Bark (dark chocolate flavored) and it worked like a charm! Much easier to melt and work with, hardened with a nice shine. After that, it is just a matter of painting it with luster powder in any color you like. Make it shiny, though.

Below the overall plan of the design, that will go once you flood the cookies with Royal icing in the color of your choice.

Once the flooding is done (I used a mixture of wedgewood, dark blue and black to make a color I probably won’t ever be able to repeat… 😉 you are ready to work.

The body of the spider is glued with a small amount of Royal icing, and then the details added with piping consistency icing, using a Wilton tip #3. A little border on the edge of the cookie and the outline of the spider. Nothing else needed. You can paint the black with silver as Amber did in her video, or leave it dark. Your cookies, your choice…

I really love this design and intend to make it again soon, maybe with a Christmas color schemed and details painted in gold. Also, the jewels can be used as simple stones in cookie compositions, so it is a nice mold to play with.

ONE YEAR AGO: Halloween Withdrawal Syndrome

LITTLE SPIDER BROOCH COOKIE


This cool design was demonstrated by Amber in a recent Facebook live, and later she shared full details through her Patreon site. I loved everything about it, and of course wanted to give it a try. She designed it as a cupcake topper, making legs that hang to the sides, super realistic. I made a single one with that feature, but opted for piping the legs sitting on a larger cookie instead. Later I made another version with a different cookie cutter. If you want to practice piping fine lines, this is a great project. Just don’t be disappointed if yours lacks the elegance and finesse of Amber’s. Mastering these techniques takes time and patience. We all have the former, but some of us lack the latter (cough, cough).

Below, some of the steps to make them… First flooding in black, then adding the marbled effect with luster powder diluted with vodka. Legs piped over parchment paper using thicker consistency icing, details on the body with piping consistency. Finally, all the details and legs are painted with gold.


I baked large spider web cookies to accommodate the little spiders on top. In the end, these are very large cookies, probably best to share with a friend. Or call it dinner & dessert!


The spider webs were super simple, just wet-on-wet Royal icing, black over purple.

After I made these, I decided to try a similar decoration using a small cookie cutter, in which the legs are incorporated in the shape. The basic preparation was the same, but since the legs are piped on the cookie itself, it is a lot easier.


It is not as dramatic as the original, but it is also fun to put together. I made some leaves to go along with them, perfect for those who prefer little to no icing in their cookies. Just pipe an outline in black with a tip 2 icing tip, let that dry and paint the surface with luster powder + vodka.

I hope you liked this little spider series, and consider joining the Live Facebook sessions every Tuesday at 1pm EST. Follow this link to watch previously recorded sessions and to join future recordings.

ONE YEAR AGO: Autumn Leaves

TWO MODERN LIONS

Two simple cookie designs, that give the King of the Jungle a fun and modern spin.

DESIGN #1


Don’t you love it when a cookie cutter helps you with the decoration? This adorable cutter is available at etsy (click here). Once you bake the cookie, the design is laid out for you. I used two colors of Royal icing, light gold in flooding consistency to cover the whole extension. Let that set, and used piping consistency for the details, in light brown. Next day I used a fine tip food pen to add the eyes, whiskers and mouth. Super simple, and I think the end result is pretty cute…

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DESIGN #2


I borrowed this design from the IG page of Kathy Barbro (artprojectsforkids). I used my mini-projector to draw the image on fully set iced cookie (white background). Then, I used a food pen for the face, and luster powder mixed with vodka for the sections around the lion’s head.


Once the painting was fully set, I went back over the lines with a slightly thicker tip food pen, for a more polished look.


I really love this design, and it is super easy to do. I imagine that most people can draw it free-hand, but as you may have noticed, I need all the help I can get. You can do the outside in two colors only, or even keep the whole thing black-and-white. But of course, I am slightly addicted to colors…

ONE YEAR AGO: Cat in a Teacup

A LOVELINESS OF COOKIES

Did you know that a group of ladybugs is called a “loveliness?” Cannot think of a more appropriate term… Today I share a set of cookies that made me very happy. I normally find a lot of boo-boos in my bakes, things that I wish I had done in a slightly different way, but sometimes… sometimes they come out the way I hoped. Without further ado, some loveliness for you!

The inspiration for these cookies came from painted rocks. It is amazing what artists can do, and the shape of a rock is quite appropriate to turn it into a ladybug. Cookies are flat, but I think they worked ok too. This batch was flavored with hazelnut and vanilla. Here are the steps to bring loveliness to cookie life…

First, I drew the basic design with a food pen…

Then, I used baby black luster powder + vodka to paint the area in between the wings…

Using flesh tone gel dye from Americolor, I flooded the head region, let that crust for 10 minutes, then outlined and flooded the wings, adding dots of black (wet-on-wet icing).

Here is the loveliness, waiting for final details…

After a few hours, a line of black icing was added to the separation of head and body, gold sanding sugar sprinkled on top (I used this product from Wilton), and a little golden bow (made with fondant) glued in the center.

The loveliness was then ready, just waiting for the facial details next morning…

All that was left to do is adding eyes, a nose and a smile… oh, yes, some blush to the little faces too!

ONE YEAR AGO: Royal Icing Etching

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 TOUCAN ADVENTURE

This cookie composition was designed by Amber. A short video demonstrating how to make it is available on her youtube channel (click here). For a much more detailed tutorial and access to the templates, you need to be a supporter in her Patreon site (click here).

I cannot lie to you, these are a bit of a labor of love. I actually made it a lot easier by piping the Royal icing transfers in white, allowing to fully dry, and then painting. Amber has incredible skill and did the whole thing piping different colors in each section of the beak. I loved the whole process, and assembling the final cookie to reveal the full bird sitting on a branch. How does she come up with this stuff? I have no idea, but I am so glad she does!

First things first, making all the transfers – either following Amber’s method, or if you prefer to paint, do them all in white first. She has the templates sized perfectly not only to cut the cookie by hand, but to draw the image of the toucan so you can pipe the basic shape and add the transfers. Using paint you can do the beaks with different color combinations. I used Sugarprism and food pen for all components.

Once those are painted and dry, you can work on the cookies…

I made two with a very smooth background, and one with a bit of texture, working the surface with a thick brush. Because it would be important to get the surface of the bird smooth, I just cut its shape with parchment paper and laid on top of the icing while wet. That area stayed flat, and once the icing was sightly crusted I worked the regions outside the bird with the brush. Next morning I removed the parchment paper with the shape of the toucan, and proceeded with the Royal icing step.

Some of my piping could have been a little more precise, but overall I am very happy with these cookies. Once you spread the preparation in a couple of days, it is not overwhelming. If you watch Amber’s tutorial you’ll see she gilds the lily further by doing brush embroidery over the black wing. I confess I was afraid of ruining the cookie, so I skipped it.

This would be a nice center piece to include in a set of tropical smaller cookies,
or simply to offer as a gift to a special friend.

Huge thank you to Amber for sharing very detailed tutorials in her Patreon site!

ONE YEAR AGO: Marlyn’s Pizza Box Beach Cookies

MARLYN’S INSPIRATION FOR AUGUST

If you follow this little virtual spot of mine, you’ve heard that Marlyn proposes little homework challenges each month. For August, her suggestion was to use Royal icing to generate texture on a cookie. I had just made her 3D underwater scene (my previous post) and loved so much the method to make fish scales using a petal piping tip, that I wanted to practice a bit more. So here are two versions of a pretty colorful fish, using a cookie cutter I love, as its shape is unusual, I’d say funky and modern. Available here.

This is really a very simple cookie to decorate, but might give the impression it is labor-intensive. The steps are shown in the composite picture below…

Do a little sketch to help you separate head from body as you pipe the scales. Add them with Royal icing and a 102 tip, it will crust quickly since it is a thicker consistency. Use flooding consistency of the same color to add the head and tail – or if you prefer to do the purple style of the tail, just continue piping with the petal tip. Add a PME black pearl for the eye. Let that crust and add a little fine line defining the division between head and body. That step is optional but it makes for a more polished cookie. Now let it all set, and have fun painting. I used several colors of luster powder with vodka. A little smile with a food pen, and you are SET! Let them swim freely…

ONE YEAR AGO: Mr. Seahorse and his friends

SHIRLYN’S FLAMINGO GNOME FUN

A couple of weeks ago I took a very deep breath and joined an online cookie decorating class that seemed way WAY out of my skill level. Let me just show you the kind of cookies this amazing artist does, by sharing her Instagram page. Still, I decided that if I don’t push my limits, I might be missing something. I won’t lie to you, this was hard on many levels, but once I saw these cookies staring at me, I could not stop smiling…

The class involved two videos, each one 3 hours long. Yes, big investment of time but you get to see Shirlyn making every single step (except of course baking the cookies), in a super detailed way. On day one you’ll make all the Royal icing transfers, and the basic icing of the cookies. Day two is devoted to painting and assembling everything. So many different techniques! She is big on shading, which is a method of painting using diluted gel colors and an almost dry brush to spread it. Sugarprism will also work, but this time I stuck with the gels. By joining the class you get a ton of materials, including all recipes for dough and icing, plus all the templates for Royal icing transfers. Also access to basic videos demonstrating specific techniques of general interest for cookie decorating. You can of course use your own recipes if you prefer, which is what I did. Below, some of the steps involved in making the cookies. I watched the videos and made the cookies a couple of days later, it would be too hard for me to try to decorate in real time with Shirlyn.

On the end of the first day, I had the four cookies iced, and the Royal icing transfers made and painted (I made them early in the morning and could paint them in the evening). Once that was all done, the following day was devoted to adding all bells and whistles. It is truly amazing how shading will bring life to any design…

The coconut cookie was actually one of the trickiest for me. It is a simple design but the details are not easy to do. A lot of room for improvement in that one… But for a first time, I am happy with it. I intend to re-visit all these cookies in the future.

If you would like to learn of future online classes by Shirlyn, visit her website and subscribe to her feed. I will definitely be joining her again, she is super sweet and incredibly talented. And has the patience of a saint to answer questions…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Flamingos

PAINTED ROYAL ICING TRANSFERS

When you decorate cookies, it’s pretty common to have leftover Royal icing. It does freeze well, but you can also make royal icing transfers in all sorts of shapes without worrying about color at this point. Let them set for a few hours or overnight, and then use any method of your choice to color them. Michelle, the inventor of Sugarprism, is a pro at this. The birds below were made following her lead.

I got so hooked into the process that right away I started making several different transfers. The advantage of making them all white, is that you can choose the colors later, to match any cookie you are working on. Here are my first two babies… The first one coupled with Royal icing in piping consistency, and the second with painting (luster powder) + food pen.

The main thing to consider when making the transfers is using a slightly thicker consistency and piping in stages so the design won’t be flat. This works when making flowers, butterflies, birds, pretty much any image. As to how to add color? Any method works: food pens, Sugarprism (both the acrylic and the watercolor types), food gel diluted with vodka, luster powder. I normally bring all my tools out to play and go with the flow.

A few more designs using the transfers… The one below is definitely one of my favorites ever! I brought back my days of studying Mandarin and incorporated a modern rose with the ideogram for love. I find that particular ideogram very beautiful. One of its components (the central motif) is the ideogram that represents the heart. The Chinese language has incredibly beautiful details that captivate the mind.

For the butterflies, I used a different method to paint flowers: dry dusting with luster powder using a sponge brush in a very loose pattern. Next, a food pen adds the real drawing, which does not need any precision.

That is a very easy method to add flowers, and it will give the impression that you spent a lot of time in each cookie, but that’s really not the case. Plus, it is very forgiving.

So here is my small collection of cookies using the transfers I made in the past couple of weeks. As you can see, a transfer can stand alone on its own, or you can add details around it. Your cookie, your choice. But whatever you decide to do, having a little treasure chest with transfers ready to be painted is a very efficient way to decorate cookies. I hope you give that a try!

ONE YEAR AGO: Not Always Black and White

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