MARLYN’S INSPIRATION FOR OCTOBER

Every month,  Marlyn  from Montreal Confections suggests little challenges so that her followers can work on creativity. For October, she proposed that we work on making cookies using different colors of dough. I made two different cookies, both with Halloween in mind. I hope you like them!

DESIGN #1

DAY OF THE DEAD SKULLS

I did not have a large enough skull cookie cutter, so I cut the shape by hand. I wanted the cookie to be big so I could use smaller cutters to make the pattern. Next, I made sugar cookie dough and divided it in pieces: one left without any color that was used for the skull, three dyed in pink, orange, and purple. Below you see the steps for assembling the cookies.

Once baked, the pieces naturally join together, and the final step was to add al little black and orange Royal icing for details, and a light spray with PME pearl luster, because I love the look it gives to the cookie. A delicate shine.

So there they are, my little Day of the Dead Skulls, sitting in the sun and getting ready to scare people…


DESIGN #2

FRIENDLY GHOSTS


For this version, I opted for a marbled background (chocolate dough + sugar dough dyed with bright orange). Once that was rolled out, I distributed over it small ghosts made from plain sugar cookie dough. The steps are shown below.

I made a tactical error in the design, which you may be able to figure out quickly. I used one particular ghost that was too big, so when cutting the final cookies those were compromised, the shape of the ghost was not evident. If you try this method, make sure to think about dimensions of the design in relation to the size of the cookie you are aiming for. I ended up placing a small ghost on top of the large ones to bring the design back, and that worked ok.

A little white Royal icing to pipe the details, and that’s all you’ll need…

I hope you liked this set of cookies, and consider using this cool technique to make different designs. Once you are left with pieces of colored dough, you can marble them together and cut all sorts of shapes.

Marlyn, I loved this month’s challenge, and will be anxious to see what’s waiting for me in November!


ONE YEAR AGO: Let’s Get Spooky!

PLAYING WITH COLORED DOUGH

Recently Marlyn from @montrealconfections shared several ideas to make very cool cookies using colored dough instead of relying on icing. I love the concept! You can see one of her videos clicking here. If you are a member of her Patreon site, a much more detailed tutorial is available here.

Without further ado, my first attempt with this technique…


I love the way these cookies are super “decorated” but without a single drop of icing. You can follow Marlyn’s video to get a better idea of how it is done, but it all starts with a batch of chocolate dough (any recipe you like), and several batches of sugar dough, split in different colors. What I do is make a regular batch, and before the dough gets fully mixed, I divide it in portions. Then, I grab the first portion and place it in the Kitchen Aid, adding the lighter color to it (in this case, yellow). Mix that, add the other dough, add another color, no need to wash the bowl.

From that point, all you need to do is roll the colored dough and play with shapes and colors…

Roll the chocolate dough, place the pieces on top, roll it again
(with a parchment paper on top) to make it all flat…


Cut shapes…. and bake!


Any leftover dough can be squished together to make a nice marbled dough that you can use in many different ways…


Marlyn proposed the Inspiration Challenge for October using this type of technique, so stay tuned for my “homework” coming up in my next post…


ONE YEAR AGO: Spooktacular Shortbread Cookies

COLORED COOKIE DOUGH

Along the same lines of last post, today I share one more technique to decorate cookies using different colors of dough. Again, a method that will please those who, for one reason or another, prefer not to have Royal icing. When you couple a chocolate base with the colorful dough, the effect can be quite striking. Marlyn, from Montreal Confections, is once again behind the idea (all details are demonstrated in her youtube video). Dough can also be molded or cut with small cookie cutters and used to decorate a larger cookie. So let’s get to work!

I baked several egg-shaped chocolate cookies and used them in different designs on the same day. For the stripes, you need to roll dyed cookie dough super thin and freeze the stripes, as Marlyn demonstrates in her video. Then, the frozen stripes are placed on your room temperature cookie, gently rolled to press, and cut. Using a plastic wrap between the cutter and the cookie gives a very nice rounded shape. Marlyn comes up with details that are simply brilliant!

Whenever we make cookies, there is always some small amount of dough left, not enough to roll again and cut. That is a perfect source for adding color and saving in the freezer. Just dye each leftover bath a different color, and wait for the right opportunity to bring them out, roll, cut stripes – or different shapes – and add to cookies.

Another simple way to decorate is adding fondant shapes, and a little border with Royal icing and sprinkles. The smaller oval around the head of the bunny is made with a smaller cookie cutter gently pressed in the raw dough right before baking.

The final technique I used that day was cutting a little piece of dough with a very small cutter (using the plastic wrap trick), and placing on the cookie. For contrast, I brushed the surface with Americolor white food dye, to give that cracked effect I like a lot.

A few details around the edge, and here it is, together with the fondant bunnies…

Since my mind cannot get too far from Ukraine these days, I made a couple of cookies inspired by that amazing country.

This post reflects my approach to baking cookies. I don’t sell them, so I never need to worry about making many cookies with the same design as part of a set. Each set of cookies I bake, I can take in different directions to practice new techniques. Below you see all the cookies I made that afternoon. One cookie dough, one shape, several designs.

MARBLED COOKIE DOUGH

This is another example of sugar cookie with minimal to no icing. The decoration comes from marbling several colors of dough together. The clever method was shared by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and was one of the techniques showed in this youtube video (starting at 18 min 15 sec). The moment I watched it, I could not wait to give it a try. Today I share a few adventures with this concept, starting with her original design for Easter egg cookies, then a couple of things I tried on my own with leftover dough.

MARBLED EASTER EGGS
(from Montreal Confections tutorial)

Aren’t those super cool? You will need one little special tool to bring these cookies to life – a clay sculpting gadget. They are pretty inexpensive and available at stores such as Jo-Ann or Michael’s. Of course, the Seller Of All Things will have it for you (click here).

Get your favorite cookie dough recipe, make a batch and divide it in three. Use food gel color to dye each batch with a color of your choice. I used green (with some yellow barely mixed into it), purple and pink. Then roll each piece of dough as a log, place them side by side and marble them. Not too much so that the colors don’t mix. Check Marlyn’s video for all the details. Roll the dough as you would normally do, and cut the shapes. After that, mix some white food gel with egg white, whisk and brush a light coating on the surface of the cookie. Immediately use the clay sculpting tool to cut patterns that will expose the dough underneath. That is all you need to do. Bake and admire the results!

Those will please people who don’t like Royal icing, opting for a more austere cookie. The very thin layer of egg white glaze contributes no taste, no added sweetness. I used a heavy hand with the colors, you can definitely get a more pastel tone.

MARBLED COOKIES WITH FONDANT DECORATIONS
(from yours truly)

For an even simpler cookie, just cut any shape you like, bake them without any glaze. Once they are baked and cooled, place fondant decorations with a bit of Royal icing as glue.

Those are some of my favorite shapes – skinny hexagon, scalloped oval, and sticks…


MARBLED COOKIES WITH A CRACKED FINISH
(from yours truly)

For these cookies, before baking I brushed a thin layer of Americolor white food gel. It must be Americolor, or it won’t work the same way. I should have brushed slightly less dye, make a thinner layer, so that the effect would be more evident. But the general idea still worked. Once they were baked, I added a few decorations with Royal icing, medium-stiff consistency for the stems and flowers.

Stay tuned for one more adventure using colored cookie dough in a different way…