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!

PUPPY LOVE

In my mind, cookie decorating has similarities with riding a bike. I am at the stage of riding with training wheels, insecure to let them go and find my balance. I rely on tutorials, on things I see and try to mimic. This post is one rare example in which I tried to let the training wheels go to make something out of my own imagination. The cookies were designed as a Birthday gift for someone who adores his puppy. I did my best to “cookie it.”

Once again, the recipe was my default: Grown-Up Spicy Chocolate Cookies, baked in two shapes, round and oval. Due to my complete inability to draw, I rely on images found in the internet to project on the cookies. A very fine black tip food pen, and then the fun part begins, painting them .

I used luster powder in several tones of beige, brown and copper, mixed with Everclear. Once the paint dries, the food pen comes back to refresh the outlines, as some parts are inevitably covered with paint. The birthday cake was a bonus cookie in the set…

This was my first time making 12 custom-designed cookies. It was a bit stressful, but I am happy with the way they turned out.

To wrap up this post, a few of the practice cookies I was playing with before settling on the final ones.

I also like the plain, black and white outlined cookies, but it’s too hard to resist the appeal of colors. Painting is just so relaxing, I love it.

Hopefully I will be letting go of the training wheels a little more often. Then I might share my productions with you. Assuming they don’t have to be consumed as evidence of decorating crimes…

SUGARPRISM, A NEW KID ON MY BLOCK

It is interesting how you may stumble on something amazing just by accident. I honestly don’t remember what exactly took me to Michelle’s Facebook group page (Painting with Sugarprism), but once I got there and saw everything she does and teaches on that page, I could not wait to try her product, called Sugarprism. It is a powder that you mix with water and use as you would acrylic paint. But it is fully edible and… wait for it… wait for it… delicious! It is vanilla-flavored and it will never ever negatively interfere with any of your cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates. You can read about Michelle Tincombe with a click here. She is an award-winning cake baker (HBO-MAX Baketopia episode 7) and painter-extraordinaire. Her In this post I will show you some of the cookies I’ve made in the past few weeks, using Sugarprism in different ways. I am still learning, and some of my concoctions I consider “work in progress.”

Sugarprism comes in pouches with 40g each and all you need is a TINY amount diluted with water to the consistency you like. It all depends on what exactly is your goal. For instance, to make this flower over fully set Royal icing, I used a reasonably thick consistency of the colors, so that each brush stroke stayed where I wanted it to stay…

A person with good painting skills would be able to add the black details with black Sugarprism and a super fine brush. I don’t see that happening in this lifespan of mine, so I did that with a fine tip food pen. Painting is so relaxing! I know I do it like a 5yo, but I promise you, I thoroughly enjoy it…

A similar approach was used in the flowers below…

I used a slightly more diluted version to paint the blue background in these chocolate stick cookies, also previously flooded with white Royal icing… And a concentrated solution for the center of the little flowers.

I then mixed the pink and the blue and used the mixture in different proportions to make the background for the doggies, drawn with a projector (you know I cannot draw to save my neck).

The paint is truly very forgiving and a pleasure to work with!

Another way to use Sugarprism is over a naked cookie. Many people prefer cookies without icing and I think those people deserve some decorations too…

Those are chocolate cookies (recipe here), made with an embossed rolling pin. Flowers were painted with red Sugarprism and outlined with gold luster powder + vodka. The taste of red food dye can be a problem, it is often bitter. No worries if you use Sugarprism.

The same approach works wonders on a regular sugar cookie. Below a Honey Sugar Cookie made with a springerle-type mold. I used a set of Fall colors from Sugarprism for my little bee.

I’ve been playing with geometric designs lately, and will talk more about them soon. These were inspired by one amazing cookier, Tunde Dugantsi, from Tunde’s Creations.

I made them in two versions, plain and with a Royal icing transfer flower in the center.

Sugarprism gives amazing coverage and if you use a concentrated suspension it will be very bright and happy.

But the technique I am most excited about? Stained-glass effect. I diluted Sugarprism with water, making it a thick suspension. That was mixed with corn syrup and used to paint sections of a Royal iced cookie. The sections were piped with white Royal icing (icing tip #3) dyed gold with luster powder + vodka. A bit of a labor of love… A little fondant flower in the center finished the cookie, but it will also work well without it.

Finally, one from my “work in progress-folder.” Michelle shared an amazing cookie she made using the “galaxy” design, and I tried it myself. It is not nearly as cool as hers, but she gave me some advice and I might try it again soon. Check hers out in this post of her facebook page, it is very beautiful.

If you like painting cookies, you need Sugarprism in your life. Michelle Tincombe, the official inventor and double-patent holder of the product, worked for 4 years to get approvals and patents, and finally place Sugarprism in the market. Her page on Facebook and her youtube channel are endless sources of inspiration, although I must say a lot of it is beyond my skill level.

BEE YOURSELF!

FOR THE LOVE OF WATERMELONS

I am married to a watermelon-addict. When I saw that Marlyn created a trilogy of watermelon-based sugar cookies, I knew I was going to make them all. And so I did. Not in the same day, mind you… but taking the scenic route, which is the best route, always. Each cookie brought a little new thing to try. I cannot pick a favorite, love them all. Thank you, Marlyn! So here they are, in order of increasing complexity.

WATERMELON POPSICLE

A simple cookie shape, made more interesting when playing the role of a watermelon. New trick learned in this cookie? Using the air-brush to add some pizzazz to the basic color. The air-brush works on the wet icing, no need to wait for it to crust, in fact it is best used this way to get the desired effect.

WATERMELON ICE CREAM CONE

From this cookie the main lesson learned was piping the cone. Super nice technique that can be used in many designs… think baskets for instance!

Next time I might reduce the amount of icing in the piped swirls over the cone, maybe make a single layer of swirls instead of two, or piping a flattish layer then adding sprinkles on top. Who knows, maybe there are watermelon-shaped sprinkles out there?…

WATERMELON SUNDAES

This time I switched things around and went with a Chocolate-Mint Sugar Cookie base. For this design, the techniques incorporated are related with air-brushing: making a shield (I used regular paper) and cutting two stencils (like described in the previous post).

The shield (top left) is used to airbrush the edges of the glass. Then two different stencils come to play, one to make the light pink base, and the other to intensify the pink color.

All these designs were demonstrated in a single video tutorial by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections, in her Patreon page, where you also have access to a printout for the templates. You need to be a supporter to have access to this series. If you are passionate about cookie decorating, I believe that becoming a supporter is a great move. Nothing beats getting detailed instructions from a pro in a format that allows you to ask questions and get feedback.

Cookie cutters are from Ann Clark collection, available on amazon.com.

PAINTED BUTTERFLIES

A couple of weeks ago I spotted something on Instagram and fell in love with it instantly. It was in the page of one incredibly talented baker, Mary Mansfield, check her work here. I dropped her a message asking some details about her painting technique, and she was adorable, super helpful. So I took a deep breath and tried it myself. Basically you flood the cookies with white Royal icing, let it set for a day, and then use diluted gel dye to paint them. I tried Everclear and I tried water. Everclear has so much alcohol in it that it dries super fast and gives the icing a matte finish. I had trouble controlling the intensity of the color and their mixing, so I ended up switching to water. But you should figure out what works best for you.

This is your white canvas… I went with small cookies, because the smaller they are, the less likely I would mess them up beyond recognition as butterflies. Or so I thought. Once they are flooded and totally dry, you can gather your weapons of choice and start playing. My favorite of all was this blue baby. Reminds me of some that used to be common in Brazil.

You can use sharp strokes with the brush, or add a little water or alcohol to the surface of the icing and then do a kind of watercolor painting touching the dye on that wet spot and moving it around. Things sometimes get a bit out of control. I told Phil that this painting is similar to driving on icy roads: you slide here, you do a save there, you almost crash, but in the end it’s all good. If not happy with the outcome, follow my advice to quickly eat the evidence. As to the body, add it after the paint is dry, using toothpaste consistency royal icing. Let it dry and if desired, paint it.

So here are my 12 little butterflies, in different tones and styles…

THE RED SERIES

In some cases I painted the bodies because they developed craters, a real nightmare that I’m not that good at avoiding. Additionally, when the paint dried on the wings, I went back on some and added a few details with silver or gold luster powder.

THE BLUE SERIES

And the final four, which in fact were the ones I made first, so I was struggling a bit. Particularly with the one of the top left, there were “issues.” I went through a few “Oh, NO, what have I done?”, but decided to keep it. It also developed a huge crater, the poor baby. One abused butterfly.

You might think this is too time-consuming, but in fact the dye dries so fast that you cannot spend too much time fiddling with it. Decide what you want to do, pick a set of two, three colors at most to work on a single cookie, and hope for the best.

Butterflies are one of my favorite subjects to “cookie.” I have a few more examples to share in the near future, using different techniques. So hopefully I’ll see you back here soon!

SUGAR COOKIES: THE GROOVY SERIES

I dedicate this post to Dr. Aritri Majumdar.

From black and white, I do a 180. This time is all about color. The mini-projector is the easiest way to deal with all the designs, so if you are seriously into cookie decorating, I must tell you this little gadget will shake your world, in a very positive way… Please, sit back and let me show you some of the cookies that happened in our kitchen in the past few weeks.

Mandalas are wonderful to play with…

And you don’t have to limit yourself to simple circular shapes, the same basic style can be applied to many different designs…

Mandala or not, just embrace the colors, and have fun!

All cookies were made either with my default Neat Edges recipe, or the recently blogged Spicy Chocolate Cookie. For decoration, links to the food safe pens and luster powders can all be found in the end of this post.

THE MANY FACES OF THE OREO COOKIE

As I just published on my regular blog, this is a cookie recipe I am quite fond of. It has a grown-up aura due to the chipotle heat (but kids love it too), and it holds any pattern during baking, making it perfect to play with patterned rolling pins and cookie molds. In my original post I shared simple cookies imprinted with a fondant mat (check it out here). Now let me show you a few variations using the same exact dough.

OREO STYLE COOKIES

You can use a patterned rolling pin and cut rounds, filling the with the traditional Oreo-type cream. I used the filling recipe from this post. Simple and delicious. A little gold dust with vodka, Everclear or lemon extract to paint the design, does a nice job.

You can also use a little impression gadget made for fondant (this set from Wilton is wonderful) and go with happy colors. They are all luster dust from Oh Sweet Art, my favorite brand.

For a totally different look, they can also be cut in small squares. I love this patterned rolling pin, very modern. All my patterned rolling pins were bought at etsy.com. Do a search for embossed rolling pins and get busy!

You can also keep it very simple, roll the dough, cut and just add a brush with gold in the end.

ICING ON THE COOKIE

They can also play the role of the traditional sugar cookie, the sweetness of the icing goes well with the chocolate base.

For this version, I flooded with white, let it set overnight, then used a stencil to paint a pattern with the air-brush. A little black pen makes the design pop. I am quite fond of the hexagon shape.

In this final version, I flooded the flowers and leaves (for flowers I used fuchsia from Sugarflair and Tulip Red from Americolor), let it set briefly (maybe 30 minutes), and added details with piping consistency icing. A little Diamond dust to finish them with some sparkle. Because… I am addicted to sparkle.

I hope you enjoyed this small collection of cookies, and try the recipe, using it in any way you like. You might have to play with the amount of chipotle, so I advise you to start with the small amount and see how you like it.

MARLYN’S PEACOCK PAISLEY COOKIES

I fell in love with these cookies the moment I saw them on Marlyn’s Facebook page. They seemed way beyond my skill level, but when I watched her tutorial, she stated that they would be a great ‘beginner’s project.” I tried to make them back in January, but was not too happy with the outcome. Not only my royal icing was a bit “flat”, but I messed up the dimensions of the design in relation to the cookie size. Since then I’ve been meaning to re-visit the project, and now I finally did. To speak like they do in a certain tent of my past, “I am chuffed.” Truly. Thank you, Marlyn!

These cookies are a labor of love, but so much fun to put together! If you become a supporter of Marlyn on Patreon, all her detailed tutorials and templates are available for you (she has almost 600 posts listed on Patreon). But you can also download just the templates for these cookies on her ko-fi page for a very small fee.

The cookie has three components: a base layer with flooding consistency (two colors), a floral Royal icing transfer, and decorative lines added with piping consistency icing. The most important thing is to make sure the size of your cookie matches well the template of the design.

I could have printed the design a tiny bit smaller, but I am ok with the way it turned out. One easy way to get the cookie ready to work on is to air-brush the exposed region, so that you can easily see where to pipe the flooded base. But you can always just draw the outline with a food pen.

Start by making the Royal icing transfer, keep in mind it must dry for 24 hours so it can be peeled off safely from the parchment paper.

My advice would be to pipe it on acetate instead of parchment. Maybe brands of parchment behave differently, but mine wrinkled a bit, and that resulted in some of the transfers not laying fully flat on the flooded base, particularly the pointed edges.

Next, time to work on the flooding. You will need two colors, teal and green, but as you can see, the green part ended up exactly the same as the color of the Royal icing transfer. Of course, if I wanted to do that, it would never happen! Murphy’s Law. Note to self: create more contrast next time.

The final details rely on piping fine lines, the step that can truly make or break your cookies. The Royal icing transfer is super smart, because it serves as a guide, but you still need to get the consistency of the icing right. I am always afraid of it, but keep picking projects that force me to do it, because that’s the only way to improve.

The cookie also works on a white background, but it is not as dramatic, in my opinion. At any rate, this cookie shape is one of my favorites to play with. So many possibilities!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and consider following Marlyn on IG and Facebook. She comes up with free tutorials at least twice every week, and her creativity and skill will blow your mind.