HAPPY HALLOWEEN WITH SWEET 16!

With this post, I share a collection of 16 cookie designs made in the past month, with a very brief description of the techniques used. It might be too late to inspire you for this Halloween, but the horror must go on next year, so keep that in mind!


Cookie cutter flip! The wreath cutter turned upside down to make friendly little monsters. Flooded with purple and orange. Eyes made as Royal icing transfers, details with black and white Royal icing, piping consistency.


Some monsters love ice cream, but it must be of a special kind… Ice cream cone cutter, flooded in orange, spider web in dark purple added after the base was set. Ice cream is thick Royal icing marbled green and white.


Bats flooded in black. Large candy corn flooded in orange. Once base is set, details in the bat made with orange Royal icing, piping consistency or a stencil for the little spider drawings, air-brushed in black.

Witches’ hats… simple wet-on-wet design, and a little store-bought skull sprinkle for a final touch…

Another cookie cutter flip, this one a tulip turned upside down. Wet-on-wet for all the design, facial features using a pen, and the flower is painted fondant.

Cauldrons, similar design to what I did last Halloween, but this time I added a few extra fondant decoration, and the Royal icing eyeballs. I am totally in love with the broom, even if it was not a very easy mold to work with, very delicate. But freezing the fondant in the mold helps.


The candy corn cookie cutter in a simple design, flooded with orange and green, then air-brushed in black with stencils.

Sometimes with just two colors of icing, you can do a lot. Green and black, eyes are store-bought sprinkles, finger is painted fondant. Talk about creepy…

Pumpkin with a hat… love this cutter! Basic flooding in stages for the pumpkin component, leaving empty space for the facial features Details in black Royal icing, piping consistency.

Another design I loved! Skeletons. Very simple, most of the cookie is left naked. All details piped in white Royal icing, including the yes. Final features with a food pen, and some pink luster powder. A spray of PME pearl luster ties everything together nicely.

Also re-visited from last year, spider web and casket are classics that you cannot skip at Halloween!

Candy Corn strikes again! I have a little video to show the drawing, over full set Royal icing.


Sally closes the post with Sally. This was the most time-consuming cookie of this set, as it was all done by hand, with the aid of a mini-projector. I might have to make one of this each year, because…. how could I not?

ONE YEAR AGO: Halloween Pizza Box Scene

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

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

SUMMER GIRLS

Sometimes I decide to throw caution to the wind and try something way out of my comfort zone. Remember the gnomes I made recently? This set of cookies were also designed by Shirlyn, and they pushed me to the limit of my abilities. For sure. Character cookies are not easy, and the only way I could attempt those was following the very detailed instructions in her tutorial. If you compare my cookies to hers, you will realize I have a long ways to go, but every marathon starts with the first mile. So here I am to share my first attempt at these cute cookies, perfect to celebrate all things Summer.

I am thrilled with my girls, because I never imagined being able to even attempt this type of cookie a year or so ago. It was not that easy, I have to admit. My Royal icing was a little too thick, the colors a tad too strong. But I’ve learned quite a few things, and at some point intend to repeat them, trying to keep in mind the level of finesse that Shirlyn achieves.

A mini-projector is a huge help to transfer the image onto the cookie, but there are ways to do it without it, using paper, as demonstrated by my tent-baker friend Tanya (click here)

Below, a few of the steps in this cookie decorating marathon that involved 10 colors of icing…

You might notice (bottom right picture) that my icing consistency was not perfect. I think the lesson to learn is that even if it seems pretty painful to stop and adjust it, in the end it will be worth it. Shirlyn suggested opening the bag, spraying a little water, and massaging it to distribute. That makes it possible to thin it without having to go through the trouble of un-bagging, and wasting a lot of icing in the process. I intend to try it next time.

By the end of the first day, the cookies will be all fully piped with the design, and next day you will have a great painting adventure waiting for you!

I kept thinking that selling cookies like these would be pretty much impossible because they are very labor-intensive and unless you are a famous cookie-artist with a million followers in Instagram, no one would be willing to pay for the amount of work that goes into each one. But since I make them and give them away, this is not an issue. I am just happy thinking that maybe a little girl got the cookies and that they made her smile…

If you are interested in online tutorials by Shirlyn, jump to her Instagram page and stay tuned for her upcoming lessons. And you can still sign up for any lesson she has available right now, including the Flamingo-Gnome and the Summer Girls. I love her style of teaching, and also appreciate that she tells you how to get better, what to focus on next time.

ONE YEAR AGO: Jurassic Park Pizza Cookie Box

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

LET’S SQUARE THINGS UP

Today I share five designs for square cookies, a shape that I think is under-estimated. Square cookies offer lots of possibilities for cookie decorating, and can also be grouped together to create a composite image. Remember the Quilt Challenge proposed by Marlyn a few months ago? When Marlyn did her version, she turned a simple square cookie into a quilt design made complete by joining four of the basic pieces together. Super clever! So to kick things off, I share my version of Marlyn’s Quilt cookie. I simply changed the color scheme and a few details.

DESIGN #1 – MARLYN’S QUILT

For a geometric pattern such as this to work well, you have to draw guiding lines on the naked cookie as a starting point. Then use piping consistency black to make a reasonably thick outline of all sections, add details with fine lines. As you can see below, I started with a yellow draft but made a few mistakes, so I started all over with a black pen. It all gets hidden by the icing, so no major harm done.

Once the outline and fine lines are set, it’s time to proceed with the flooding, using any decoration and color scheme of your choice.

It is fun to see the full design come to life as the cookies are placed together…

DESIGN #2 – COLORFUL TILES

For this design, I used a stencil downloaded from Cricut workspace, and a very light sheen airbrush color to paint it on a white flooded cookie. Next, I highlighted all details using several different colors of food safe pens, and added a little outline with black.

Since the sheen color is so subtle, it does not really interfere with the painting… The sheen color I used is from this set. For these cookies I opted for Blue Sheen.

DESIGN #3 – GRADUATION COOKIES

Once again, stencils come to the rescue… Another image downloaded from Cricut Workspace, I made these for a friend’s daughter who graduated last month. With a bonus round cookie, just because…

Similarly to the Colorful Tiles, I used a stencil air-brushed with a sheen orange color, and went over the details with food pen.

DESIGN #4 – MODERN WHITE SQUARES

I was inspired by Connie, a member of the Great British Bake Off group from Facebook. It was her first time decorating sugar cookies, and she came up with a design I loved, very elegant and polished. Monochromatic. Clean. This is my version of her cookies.

Cookies are flooded with white royal icing, and then the details are piped, with a few silver sprinkles added while the icing is wet.

DESIGN #5 – FUN WITH PROJECTOR

Recently I stumbled on this IG page and almost lost my mind with the amazing drawings she does on rocks. I contacted her to see how she fell about some of her images turning up in cookies, and she was fine with it, in fact she also makes cookies herself! These were my first versions, I particularly adore the meditating frog… I think the square shape is perfect to this type of cute design.

That’s all for now, folks! I hope I gave you some ideas to play with using a very basic cookie shape, that can be arranged in sets of four, potentially expanding the horizons of the final composition.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Many Faces of the Oreo Cookie

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.

BEAR WITH ME

For a non-native speaker of English, some expressions can be quite amusing. Bear with me is definitely one that makes me smile because no matter how hard I try to avoid it, the image of a teddy bear jumps in my mind. Playful and cute. So, bear with me as I go from English to baking. Sugar cookies, sandwich cookies, macarons. With bears in mind…

THE LITTLE PANDA BEAR

This design was based on a picture my niece Carla shared in our family whatsapp group. I knew I had to “cookie-it”. So I used the mini-projector to draw the basic design, and then applied the same technique used for bunny rabbits in previous posts. Sugarprism was used to paint the body. The only additional detail was piping non-adjacent sections of the bamboo, allowing to set and then pipe the remaining parts. This way the stalks are more realistic. I used a food pen to make the leaves.

BEARS WITH HEART BALLOONS

The cookie cutter set used for these cookies can be found here. I love Semisweet Designs! Not only they sell unique cutters, but they share blog posts with ideas to decorate them.

Below I show some of the steps to bring these little bears to life… The ears, arms and legs get a small amount of icing that is allowed to set before fully flooding them. This prevents cratering, which might happen in such small areas.

The eyes were 4mm black pearls from PME, added right after flooding. Finally, after the cookie was fully set, I painted the balloon with luster powder, added the eye details and smile, and a little ribbon to tie the balloon.

KIM-JOY’S LITTLE BEAR SANDWICH COOKIES

Kim-Joy always makes the cutest productions celebrating animals, and this is a good example. You can find her recipe here. Bake a full round for the base, and a top with a slightly off-center hole. All you need then is a bit of ganache to sandwich the cookie, sprinkles, and Royal icing details. For the ears, I baked tiny little rounds of cookie dough, and inserted in between the two cookies, the ganache worked well to keep them in place.

TEDDY BEAR MACARONS

For these macs, color most of your batter brown, and separate a very small amount without any color, adding it to a piping bag with a very small round piping tip. Then pipe rounds with little ears, and add a touch of light batter for the nose area. Bake, fill, and then use a food safe pen to add the eyes, mouth and nose. The filling for those was a ganache noisette (recipe available in my food blog here).

Because this is a very simple design, a French meringue recipe (like this one) will work well. For complex drawings with multiple colors, most people prefer Italian meringue because it is a lot more stable and gives a larger window of time to work.

I hope you enjoyed this small selection of bear cookies.
Stay tuned for more sweetness in cookie format soon…

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