COOKIES FOR A FIRST BIRTHDAY

I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I love the most is making a set of cookies for a special someone. The daughter of one of our former graduate students just turned 1 year old, and I sent them a little package to celebrate the occasion. I hope you’ll find some ideas to inspire you in this small collection.

The number one is a tiny little cookie, not what I had originally in mind. I had ordered a larger cookie cutter and amazon messed up. My package was “lost”, they refunded the money. Oddly enough, a few days after the birthday (when the cookies had already been made and delivered), the package got transferred from UPS to USPS (?????) and arrived at the front door. Maybe I should order right now a number 2 for next year?

I chose a basic pink theme, using different techniques to decorate. From mini-projector to piped and painted Royal icing, brush embroidery, and Royal icing transfers.

Butterflies seemed also appropriate for a little girl…

So here is the full collection, a little Baker’s Dozen….

ONE YEAR AGO: Vamos a la Playa

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

WATERCOLOR FUN

One of the easiest ways to add a lot of color to a cookie is painting the background in watercolor. Often bakers dilute the gel dye with vodka, but I find that water is more user-friendly. The liquid takes longer to dry, which means it is much easier to get the different tones to mingle together, without areas in which the color gets overly intense. The drawback is having to wait a little longer for the painted area to dry, but I think it’s worth it. Today I share three types of cookies that rely on a tie-dye look as starting point.

DESIGN #1
ELEPHANTS

It all starts with a fully set base of white Royal icing… Then the colors are diluted with water and placed in different little spots of a paint palette. A brush with a very small amount of water is used to lightly wet the surface of the cookie, and patches of different colors are painted over the entire surface.

Once that is fully set, piping consistency Royal icing is added for extra decoration, in any pattern you like. Don’t forget to plan a little spot for the eye!

DESIGN #2
BUTTERFLIES

The exact same method is used, I love this cookie cutter (available here at etsy.com) that shows the butterflies from a side view…. Make sure to make some in opposite orientation so they can be grouped together in a more interesting array.

DESIGN #3
THE GOLFER

For this final design, after the base was fully dry, I used a stencil to air-brush the silhouette. Finally, a little bead border was added and painted with bronze luster powder.

A colorful base of watercolor can make many different cookie shapes and design shine, so consider that for your upcoming cookie adventures…

ZOO ANIMALS, A BIRTHDAY SET

As far as cookie decorating goes, I have two passions: learning new techniques, and making a set of cookies with someone in mind. This small collection was made for a sweet girl who turned 7 years old earlier this month. She loves animals, in fact, her mind is set on becoming a veterinarian when she grows up. Isn’t that super cool? Her Birthday party had Zoo Animals as the theme. I put my cookie mind to work, and made a few to match the theme. I start with a very sweet lion, design by Marlyn. It is made by joining two heart-shaped cookies: one for the head, one for the body. Royal icing transfers help compose his face. I fell in love with this set when I first watched Marlyn making it, so I knew it had to be part of this group. If you are not her supporter on Patreon, you can still see a quick video of this double cookie with a visit to this link on her IG page.

From lions, to llamas… Very simple design, just white flooding and then a few details with piping consistency icing and some sprinkles. The nose is made with thicker consistency white icing, after setting overnight the details of eyes and nose are made with a fine tip food safe pen.

Moving on, another cookie I’ve made in the past, but had to repeat for this set, I adore the goofiness of these giraffes… They were made with the help of a mini-projector (AKASO).

One of my favorites, also a repeat from my past… Pandas!

The simplest pair of this set… Koalas… Gray Royal icing flooded in stages, allowed to fully set, and a few details added with food safe pen.

And of course, how could I not include my favorite animal ever? This technique was inspired by Haniela, watercolor method using vodka and gel colors.

Some of the steps to make the cookies, including the Royal icing transfers for the lion’s face…

And, of course, stencils are always a nice way to compose a design…. I love the star shape-flip turning it into a modern lion. Cookie cutter and stencil from Sugarbelle.

I hope this batch of cookies gave a smile to the Birthday girl!

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.

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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FOR THE LOVE OF UKRAINE

I don’t know what it is like to wake up to the sound of bombs. To be forced to say goodbye to a husband, a father, a brother, and flee with a suitcase and kids. Or to stay and face the unthinkable. From far away I admire the courage of the Ukrainian people, and the leadership of Mr. Zelenskyy. May they be strong enough to win this senseless war. May we all help in any way we possibly can.

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!

BURNING BUSH, A CUSTOM-MADE COOKIE

Last month a colleague celebrated 10 years of work in our department. There was a surprise party for him, and I contributed with a small batch of sugar cookies. The burning bush, his subject or research, is a very cool plant: its leaves turn a very bright red-fuchsia in the Fall. He studies complex fatty acids synthesized by the plant. I designed two types of decorations, for rectangular and oval sugar cookies flavored with blood orange. They got a full coating with white Royal icing, and next day the painting began!

For the number 10, I used a mini-projector, as it would be very hard for me to get a nice drawing without it. To draw the leaves around it, I started with a projected image but after a couple of cookies I improvised the design freely. Leaves were painted with food-safe pen.

We have a series of burning bushes planted alongside our house and it is amazing to see them in their full Fall beauty.

The trees were painted with luster powder + everclear, using Super Pink, Passion Red, Mexican Rose, and Baby Black (all from OhSweetArt). Background sky made with luster powder I brought from Brazil a couple of years ago, a gift from my dear niece Raquel.

I love making cookies designed for an occasion or with someone in mind. To me, it makes a batch feel very special. I do get a bit stressed out, but it might just be my favorite type of baking these days.

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…