HAPPY EASTER!

I am already a bit sad that Easter is going to be over… As far as cookie decorating goes, it is hard to beat the diversity and cuteness level that this holiday brings. Sadly, I still have some cookie cutters that were left unused, and must wait for next year to make their appearance. Today I share a few designs, my favorite is Marlyn’s Bunny Head, crowned with flowers. So so cute! But there is more: a bunny carrying a basket of flowers, a few Easter eggs, and a naughty bunny stealing a fancy Easter egg to run away with it.

Marlyn has a super detailed tutorial available in YouTube for the bunny head (click here). If you are a member of her Patreon site, you’ll find the stencil file to make decorating the cookie easier (click here).

I opted for a chocolate cookie, so I air-brushed the design in white over the naked cookie as a starting point. The stencil is used again over the iced cookie to add the final details.

Marlyn piped the floral design on the cookie, I made my life a bit easier by using fondant decorations, and the piped small leaves to tie the design together.

MOVING ON…

For the bunny with a basket, I followed a tutorial available in Cookie-a-thon by Lauren Jacobs, aka The Cheerful Baker (click here for her IG page). Some of the steps are shown below…

I modified a few details in the basket and added a little facial feature. I love this cookie shape!

To go along with it, I used a similar technique for florals to make Easter eggs.

I could not help but make a Zentangle design, so it all starts with dots equally spaced on the iced cookie, and then a little drawing with a food safe pen. PME pearl luster spray gives the cookie a shine I really like.

So here is my little Easter collection…

I close this post with the Naughty Bunny, made after a tutorial from Timbo Sullivan during a Facebook live. It is mostly fondant, so if you don’t like the taste, consider the cookie just as a decoration. Lots of different techniques were explained in his tutorial, and the take home message for me is that I need a lot of practice to make eyes. His work is flawless! But I still like my little Naughty Bunny… Everything is fondant, except the pink details on ears and paws, and the grass the bunny is sitting on.

FLORAL BUNNY EARS

This was another super fun project, following a detailed tutorial from Amber. Her work is always so elegant and whimsical, I love it. She shared two different variations for the ear decoration, one with plaid wet-on-wet,the other piping a square pattern, which is what I decided to do, as it was new to me. I am so in love with these cookies!

Two basic components to decorate the cookie: the Royal icing plaid motif for the ears, and Royal icing transfers + piped leaves for the lower half. The composite below shows the overall steps. Amber demonstrates one version in a recent Facebook live. You can watch it here, starting at 4 min.

The grid pattern is drawn with a light food pen on the baked, cooled cookie. Then the two colors of squares are piped, one color at a time, so that the edges don’t touch. No need to wait for a long time, just pipe the second color when the first is starting to crust. The lines can be added right away or if you prefer some more definition, they can be added later. Once that is set, I piped a thin border and added rose gold sanding sugar to it.

The flowers were made the day before, then the edges painted with silver luster powder + vodka. Once they were glued to the cookie, I piped leaves with stiff royal icing, and that helps set the whole arrangement in place.

It is a little labor-intensive, but not that bad. Once you have the royal icing transfer flowers ready, the piping of the ears is straightforward. You can also simplify and make it plain, or with little dots wet-on-wet. The plaid is a nice touch, and once you master this technique, you can use it in many different cookie shapes and designs.

Amber, thank you for yet another great tutorial!

FOR THE LOVE OF BUNNIES

Easter is just a few days away, so I better share some of my latest cookie bakes that celebrate the occasion… I love the shape of this bunny (cutter available here), standing up to sniff some flowers. To decorate, I went with a gray background and pink flowers piped wet-on-wet, along the same lines of a batch I made last year. I also love the set of Easter stick cookies I ordered recently (available here).

For the bunnies, it all start with the white areas, that are iced first and allowed to set for a little while, 15 minutes or so. Then the gray larger area is piped and immediately decorated with the white and pink details, wet-on-wet. The outline of white on flowers, face and ears was added the following day, as well as the little luster powder in pink for the cheeks, and the eye details. For the stick cookies, two kept the scheme of gray, pink and white…

The other two cookies in the stick set begged for more color, so that’s what I chose to do…

I love this series of cookies, the standing bunny is adorable, I caved and ordered it after watching Amy decorating some in one of her Facebook live events. Resistance was futile.

Stay tuned for more Easter-inspired 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…

SUGARPRISM PAINTING TIME!

If you don’t know what Sugarprism is all about, visit this post from July last year. Michelle offers online classes for free almost on a monthly basis, and I always try to join because I learn so much from her. I share today cookies made in two of her recent tutorials, all with a Spring-Easter feel, perfect for the season. The Peekaboo Chick was the most challenging, I still cannot believe I made it, as I cannot draw to save my life.

For the Sugarprism website, click here. For Michelle’s facebook page, click here.

The composite picture below shows the main stages. Michelle explains exactly what to do, where to start each line, how to angle it, how to hold the brush, and the design slowly comes to life…

It blows my mind how an artist can see the drawing in all its many parts. I have major problems with spacial orientation of things. For instance, I cannot read a map, I am unable to “transfer” the map to my surroundings. All those things they place in stores or streets with the – “You are here” – label… they are of no help to me. This handicap translates into issues if I have to draw things by looking at an image. The fact that I can do it with Michelle’s instructions still amazes me. Huge thank you to her!

Moving on, a trio from her tutorial “Bunnies Gone Wild”… Three departures on the bunny motif to make a zebra, a cheetah, and a giraffe pattern. Compared to the peekaboo cookie, those were quite a bit easier. You almost get into a zen-mood painting each pattern. I loved them all!

All cookies started from a white background, the zebra was ready to paint, and the other two got a little background color using very diluted Sugarprism acrylic color. Once that sits for a while, the painting of patterns on top can begin…

These cookies take a little time to paint, but mastering the patterns is a nice skill to have. As Michelle pointed out during the class, you can use the patterns in so many different cookies – imagine swimming suit cookies for the summer, dresses, hats, handbags… I will definitely be playing with them… and of course, let’s not forget…macarons!

Michelle, thank you so much for the tutorials!
Already revving my engines for the next…

AMY’S EASTER COOKIE DECORATING

One more online event accomplished, this was quite an amazing class taught by Amy, from Seriously Sweet at Davis St… Please, consider following  her Facebook group, so you can join the fun next time. The class was classified as “advanced” because there were quite a few techniques involved, mainly making fondant decorations in advance and piping leaves and a woven basket. The class centered around one silicone mold with multiple Easter-inspired designs in it (available here). I had that mold for a long time sitting in our basement, so it was a great opportunity to bring it out to play. We used a single shape cookie cutter (basket from this set), and decorated them with assorted fondant pieces, tying it all together with piped leaves and sprinkles. Here are the four babies made during the class.

It all starts with fondant decorations. Those are best made the day before, as you’ll need to paint the fondant pieces and allow that to dry too. The trickiest was the basket handle, very fragile. I ended up using only one, and piping the handle on the other cookies.

Also the day before, flood the cookies either in two colors (I used green and baby blue), or a solid background, I went with yellow. Gather your icing, sprinkles, and let the fun begin!

These four I made during the class, that lasted less than 2 hours… By the way, you don’t need to join in real time, you can sign up and watch the class later, if more convenient, decorating on your own.

You may have noticed that the mold had tiny chick’s heads, but I did not have a chance to use them during class. So, next day I made another cookie, this time with a crackled background (paint Americolor white before baking over the surface). The white over the chocolate cookie gave it a blue-ish tone I really liked.

I loved Amy’s technique to pipe the handle. Very very cool. Pretty useful in many cookie designs, I am sure.

I hope you enjoyed this little set of Easter-inspired cookies…
Amy, thank you again for a great class!

MONTREAL CONFECTIONS & PYOC

If you are a cookie baker, I am sure you are familiar with the acronym PYOC: Paint Your Own Cookies. But what you may or may not know, is that the person who originally invented those was Marlyn, from Montreal Confections. Nowadays, many bakers sell kits to make them, others sell boxes with this kind of cookies, but she takes no credit and makes zero profit from it. Incredibly unfair, if you ask me. Over the years, she’s been sharing many tutorials that show her technique. For one of her Easter versions, click here.

The most basic way to do a PYOC, is to flood with white Royal Icing, and pipe a design with black right away, using wet-on-wet. This way the black lines will lay flat with the icing and make it easier to paint, either with M&M as the source of color, or with food pens. I’ve made a few sets in the past year and offered them as gifts with food safe pens alongside (this is a good option). Usually I send one or two cookies already painted, and several others as a white canvas. If you have kids around, a little afternoon of painting cookies can be a ton of fun…

If you watch the video I linked in the beginning, Marlyn shows how to incorporate M&M’s in a cookie design, so that the person can simply use a brush and water to get some paint from the surface of the candy and use that to paint.

A similar way to do PYOC is adding the black outline (with piping consistency) once the flooding is set. This way the lines will be a bit tridimensional. It will give the cookie a stained glass feel. A little trickier to paint, but I like the way they turn out.

Finally, you can also flood the cookie, let it fully set and draw the design with a food safe pen… As I am no Monet, I resort to a mini-projector to make the designs…

The possibilities are endless, you can draw animals, flowers, or even stick with abstract motifs. All you need is a source of color, and release your inner Van Gogh…

Whatever you do, if you make a set of PYOC and share your masterpieces online, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due…

Marlyn’s Facebook Page

Marlyn’s Instagram

Marlyn’s Youtube

Marlyn’s Patreon siteaint

FROM CHRISTMAS TO SPRING

Back in January I shared my first cookie “challenge”, making a pizza box concoction after Marlyn suggested a basic motif as a starting point. You can see my homework here. Once again, Marlyn proposed a little cookie challenge to make us work on creativity. The task was to use a wreath-shape cookie cutter (common for Christmas designs) but decorate it with a Spring-Easter motif. So here is what I came up with…

I really wanted to work on a basket weave, so that was the initial idea for the design. Next, I added a bunny to apply the technique I recently learned in one of the online tutorials I followed (blogged about here). I used a stencil and air-brushing to add a little detail to the golden background, and finished the cookie with fondant decorations. Some of the steps are shown below.

For the basket weave, I used a PME tip 1.5 with brown icing in piping consistency. I worked slowly, taking deep breaths… Once that was done, I piped the bunny’s head and planned the details in fondant.

I felt that the whole design needed a little green to bring a bit more Spring into the mood… And the face of the bunny got a little shading with luster powder once it was fully set.

So there you have it, my second “homework assignment”, turning a Christmas wreath into a Spring composition… What do you think? Do I get a passing grade?

EGGSCELLENT EGG HUNT: ONLINE CLASS WITH AMY

Today I share the outcome of yet another zoom event organized by Amy, from Seriously Sweet at Davis St… This time the whole set was Easter-inspired, and I am absolutely smitten by this collection… Several different techniques were used to make them. We finished the six cookies in under 2 hours, they went by so fast. Yes, we had fun! I invite you to join her Facebook group, so you consider joining us next time.

Before class, we were supposed to bake the cookies, have two of the Easter eggs iced in white and fully set, and make a few Royal icing transfers using the templates that Amy designed and shared earlier. A few more details as fondant decorations, and we were all set!

Below you see some of the steps involved for a few of the cookies.

The lamb used thick icing pressure-piped to make the wool appearance. And the eyes were Royal icing transfers, super cute… The watercolor egg used a technique new to me, coupling luster powder with everclear sprayed with a little atomizer. So cool! The wooden sign used royal icing sculpting, and the egg a nice wet-on-wet pulled with a needle.

To me, the trickiest technique once again was using the stencil coupled with thick royal icing. The present version was a little more complex than the one we made for Christmas cookies because we now used three different colors at the same time. I barely managed to get the design to show, as you can see in the photo below, on the left.

I loved them all, and everybody did well in the class, even those who were just beginning to decorate cookies, because Amy goes at a nice pace, and explains everything in great detail.

It is hard to pick favorites, but my heart flips between the two below…

And to add my own interpretation to my favorite cookie of this series, I made a batch of chocolate dough and used it for the sheep, in a way that considerably reduces the amount of Royal icing. It does not have the same dramatic look of Amy’s version, but if thick icing is a concern for those enjoying your cookies, this version might please you.

All you need is to ice the body in white, wait 20 minutes or so and add texture with a fondant ball…

Once that is done, pipe and/or glue your decorations and you are done!

Amy, thank you for another great class, I can hardly wait for the next!