FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE


Coffee lovers, these are for you! Sugar cookies and macarons take the spotlight today. The sugar cookies were made quite some time ago, inspired by Amber (click here for her blog post about it). I love when a cookie requires very few colors to shine, and these are a perfect example. White, plus two shades of brown. Nothing else needed. The wet-on-wet design is simple by default, making these cookies a great option for beginners.

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It is a very simple design to make. Choose the background tone, flood, then make a very loose design with white Royal icing. Immediately outline with the second, darker tone of brown, and use a needle to pull the lines in or out, whichever way you like. For the flowers, just pipe concentric circles and pull with the needle. Quite relaxing to do, and no matter what happens, it will look nice in the end. A perfect cookie decorating adventure! A border with two tones of icing dots is optional, but it does make the cookie more festive.

And now, for Java Macarons! I made French meringue macarons with buttercream coffee in the filling. The shells were light beige, and I painted the coffee beans with luster powder + vodka. The outline is food safe pen (thick brush type), also used to write JAVA on the shells (but a pen with very fine tip). A little more time-consuming, but not too bad.

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To draw images on macarons, the only thing to worry about is having a reasonably smooth shell. If it gets too rough, the drawing won’t look very good. I like to go a little longer in the macaronage, just to make sure I get a smoother shell.

If you are a coffee lover, this post is dedicated to YOU!

ONE YEAR AGO: A Bouquet of Flowers

OUT OF THIS WORLD COOKIES

I’ve made this set almost a full year ago, but for some reason they never showed up on the blog. They were designed by Amber, and each one is painted by hand, so it’s not the type of cookie you want to rush or make a few dozen at a time. But if you enjoy painting, they are a nice way to spend a couple of hours of your weekend. To read Amber’s post and find her tutorial, click here

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To make these cookies, you start from a flooded, fully set background with white Royal icing. Then you decide on the shape and size of your planet (or star) and paint a background trying to get the edges darker. Once that is done, have fun imagining colors and of course, aim for a Saturn-like entity with a nice ring around it.

A few white dots or luster gold sprinkles will make the design even better. Just have fun with it, I am not a talented painter as Amber, but I still had fun and liked my babies.

I also made a little batch of stars, these quite simple to do, you just marble the icing and then add sprinkles. Together, they form a nice group of cookies to give to a special friend or share with your family.

ONE YEAR AGO: Springerle Cookies

THE MANY FACES OF FACES

Time to have some fun with cookies! Some are super easy to decorate, some required (for me) a mini-projector but you might be able to draw them free hand. They all make me smile, and I do hope they gave a smile to those who received them…

I first saw this design on a closed group on Facebook for Sugarprism painting. I used the food projector to get the image on Royal iced cookies, and painted with a food safe pen, then added the blush detail with red luster powder. Once I made them, I realized that a search for snowman faces gives many examples, so I “cookied” some more. Aren’t those super cute?

I also made some to work as real Christmas ornaments, by including a small hole in the cookie, as you see below…

They seem quite comfortable around a certain infamous character…

I had a lot of fun making the trio of cookies below….

Now let me share cookies that are a lot simpler to make… The gingerbread stars were suggested by my friend Toni, and I modified a few things from the picture she shared. The eyes were piped with black icing, and the blush is again red luster powder on the naked cookie. Eyebrows and smile were made with a food safe pen.

I loved them so much that I made a second batch, this time with chocolate-chipotle dough, and green eyes, for better contrast.

Another fun way to play with faces is using store bought sugar eyes, which makes it all even simpler. Those are popular on Halloween but you can still find them in places such as Jo-Ann or even big grocery stores. I used thick Royal icing to make the metal part of the bulbs, but you can just flood the whole thing and draw the details with a food pen. It will be equally cute.

I hope you enjoyed this fun collection of cookies. Just remember that cookie decorating should bring you joy, not stress. So keep calm, and pipe on!

A PRINCESS CARRIAGE

How adorable is this cookie? I won’t sugar coat the pill (I only sugar coat cookies), this one is a labor of love. I cannot imagine making a dozen of them, but it is a cookie that you can include in a set of simpler ones to make it special. The design has Haniela’s name written all over it. You can see the video of her recent live clicking here, and to get all the templates for the decoration you can visit her ko-fi shop here.

To make the cookie base, Haniela used the larger heart of the Wilton 101 cookie cutter set. It is going to be a two day process. First, flood with blue, add the grass and clouds with wet-on-wet Royal icing. Then, once the base is fully set, draw the design (I used a yellow food pen), and flood the carriage part in stages, and pipe the wheels. Once that sets – no need for a long time, maybe a couple of hours, add the final details with thick consistency icing (I used gold color), and a small star tip and a number 3 piping tip. Later those details can be painted in gold.

I also painted the pink carriage with luster powder in Rose Gold just to give it more dimension. I just adore this little cookie!

ONE YEAR AGO: A Christmas Tree Party

MOLDED, STAMPED, ROLLED

When you want to minimize icing and glazes on your cookies, resorting to molds, stamps and embossed rolling pins is the answer. The cookies will look great even if nothing else is done to them as far as decorating goes, but of course, if you go the extra mile, they will look super special. The key is to use a dough with little to no leavening agent. You might have to play with a few of your recipes to see which one performs best for each different pattern. It is fun to experiment, and even if some end up as failures, they will still taste great…

Links to every mold, stamp and rolling pin used in the cookies are included in the text.

DESIGN #1

FLOWER MOLD

For these cookies, I used this mold. Once they were baked, I sprayed the surface with PME pearl spray and then went over the details with luster powder mixed with vodka.

I love working with this mold, you can do egg yolk painting, egg white painting, work with marbled dough, or just add a simple light glaze with the color of your choice, for a more dramatic effect like below…

DESIGN #2

WOODEN MOONCAKE MOLD


I used this mold for the cookies, except the center one, which I don’t remember where I got, a while ago. They don’t need any adornment, the pattern is beautiful as it is, but a little bit of gold or copper never hurt! Working with these wooden molds takes a little bit of getting used to, but soon you will realize how much flour or cocoa powder to add to the mold for easier release. Chilling the dough helps a lot also.

DESIGN #3

PLASTIC MOONCAKE MOLD


For these cookies, I used molds similar to these. These make small but thick cookies. The plastic molds are easier to work with, because they come with a little thingie that pushes the dough out. Again, working with chilled dough is a must to help the pattern form well.

DESIGN #4

DRAGON STAMP


Stamp used can be found here. One of my favorites for sure. I just love the Game of Throne-ish look of this pattern. I do believe this one shines with a little gold or copper, but if you don’t have that available, no major harm done. Chocolate is a must, or any cookie dough that is dark and won’t expand during baking.

DESIGN #6

SPRINGERLE ROSES


Most of my springerle molds are from this shop at etsy. I need to optimize the recipe for these, that used strawberry powder in the dough, once I do that the recipe will be available on my main blog. I often paint springerle type cookies, but left these exactly as they baked for a change.

DESIGN #7

ROSES ROLLING PIN



The rolling pin used is available here. The cookies above were painted with Sugarprism, and made into Oreo-type sandwich cookies.

DESIGN #8

MODERN LEAVES ROLLING PIN

The rolling pin used is from this etsy store. I have used this pattern countless times, it looks great without any adornment, but I liked the mixture of copper and red that I used in this batch. It is just luster powder diluted with vodka and applied with a brush.

DESIGN #9

FOREST ROLLING PIN


This is the rolling pin used. In the batch above, the cookies were baked and left naked. The pattern alone is enough to give it a nice elegant look.

DESIGN #10

HIEROGLYPHS ROLLING PIN


This cute rolling pin is available here. In this batch I used lime and a touch of coconut, but they puffed a little more than usual, so the design was not as sharp. They were made into sandwich cookies with a lemon buttercream as filling.


ONE YEAR AGO: Baby Blue, from Me to You

QUEEN OF HEARTS

These cookies were featured in one of my favorite baking cookbooks, Sprinkle Bakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire your Inner Artist. The title says it all. The book if full of incredibly creative ideas, I love it, and highly recommend you get a copy. All things considered, these are not hard to make. Think three colors of Royal icing, black with piping consistency, white and red in flooding consistency. No complicated piping, no wet-on-wet work. What makes these cookies special is the use of fondant pieces to give extra dimension and pizzazz. In the book you’ll find templates to make life easier…

Below, a picture of the book with the template I made to make my cookies…

And a little overview of the process, which is pretty straightforward. I used a Wilton tip 3 to outline in black. And a white pearl for the earring, added right after flooding the white portion.

Once the cookie is fully set – I allowed it to sit overnight – the fondant pieces are rolled, cut, and painted, then glued with a small amount of Royal icing. All details are then added with a black, food safe pen.

You can change the expression by altering the shape of the lips or the way you place the eyes, but I must say I like the aura of introspection, maybe even a bit of sadness, that these cookies portray. Sometimes it is how I feel when I think about the world.

ONE YEAR AGO: Shark Attack!

PIRATES ROLL THIS WAY

To join Amy’s Facebook group and be on top of future online classes, click here.

One more amazing online decorating class taught by Amy from Seriously Sweet on Davis Street. Just as the trial of Mr Depp – the forever Caribbean Pirate – was coming to an end, we attacked the making of this set of six cookies. Serendipity in cookie format. The class was described as Intermediate, but as usual, Amy explains it all so clearly that even beginners could follow. Maybe not in real time, but definitely playing the video later and taking their time.

Here they are, my six babies

Amy taught us many different techniques in this class. To prepare for it, we needed to bake all cookies, flood the compass one with ivory icing, and prepare all the fondant decorations using molds and then paint them with the “dry dust method” in which luster powder is applied straight to the fondant with a brush. Three different colors of dust worked together to give the aged look of coins and compass. Brilliant! Notice that the pirate’s head is a Christmas ornament cookie cutter. Cute cookie cutter flip…

Once all the fondant pieces are painted, the fun begins….

The most elaborate cookie was the treasure chest, maybe… All the small details that Amy planned for it, made it super special in the end. You can see some of the steps below. The cookie cutter used is originally to make an open book, and we did some trimming and shaping with a Microplane before decorating.

By piping the edges and then painting with gold (I used a mixture of gold and copper dust), the whole design comes to life. Then, all you need to do is place the pieces to decorate, flowing out of the treasure chest.

The two trickiest components of this class, in my opinion, were the fondant skull and the black net, made with Flextfrost sheets. I had to make the skull several times, it kept breaking as I removed it from the mold. I had to use a heavy hand with cornstarch, and freeze it overnight to get one piece to come out whole. And the Flexfrost sheet is temperamental. You need to hit the amount of water right, and also the extent of drying before pulling it out of the mat. But, all things considered, there was light in the end of the cookie tunnel.

Another cookie that involved several cool techniques was the treasure map…

The texture is made pressing a gloved finger delicately on the surface after it has crusted for a while. And the details with food pen are aged with vodka.

A cute pirate and his rum bottle were the simplest cookies to make. My pirate has a congenital problem in the ears, but he is a happy pirate. When he manages to control his friendship with the bottle of rum, he is quite good at negotiating the compass….

Amy, cannot thank you enough for yet another great Saturday afternoon in your company and the company of all the other cookiers. Even if only virtually.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sugar Cookies, the Groovy Series

MAY INSPIRATION POST: CHARACTER COOKIE

For the month of May, Marlyn proposed a slightly more challenging task: make a character cookie preferably using stencils that we would design ourselves. She gave Winnie the Pooh as an example. During the past few months, Marlyn has shared very detailed tutorials coupling Procreate (a drawing software for iPad) and stencil cutters, which is pretty much all you need to make your own cookie stencils. I will not go in too much technical detail, but even if you cannot draw (like yours truly), Procreate allows you to start from any image you find in the internet. You draw the outline and other details as independent layers that will then be made into a stencil using any machine you have (I have a Cricut, Marlyn uses a Silhouette). I tried super hard, but just could not make it work. At this point, I am not sure if the issue is my pen (to save money I bought a knock-off brand, and not the original Apple), my iPad (old model), or a combination of the two. Still, I could not stand the idea of skipping the Inspo challenge. Soooo, I cheated my way out and got a stencil available online.

The problem with stencils bought online is that they do not always work as expected. I downloaded three that were a waste of material, and the one I settled on was also not ideal. What Marlyn hoped we would do is make a stencil in which the outline gets air-brushed and then maybe two or three additional stencils could be used to do the whole thing by air-brushing. But the stencil I found gives a full image, without a defining outline, and no way to color different areas independently. As you can see below… I air-brushed with a sheen golden color that would not end up too dark.

I had to start from that, and then use food pens to add color and details.

To add a bit more detail to the design, I made little bees with fondant…

Soooo, I give myself a C to this homework. I love the cookies, so that’s not the issue. I just feel that I could not rise to the challenge of designing a stencil myself. But, I lose a battle, not the war. Once I recover from the self-inflicted soap opera, I will try again, maybe with a simpler image. Stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Out of this World Sugar Cookies

THE MANDALA HAND

Of the many cookie adventures I’ve embarked in the past year, I suppose this was the most challenging. Maybe. It is a heavy competition with the Chinese New Year of the Tiger set, also designed by Marlyn. It involved cutting four different stencils, layering the different colors by air-brushing, and once all is said and done, piping fine lines all over the design. I made the cookie twice, and share two different ways to do it. The second version a little easier because you will be using a food safe pen to make the outline.

This is a very large cookie, about 7 inches tall. It needs to be large or you will have too much trouble working the details. Marlyn shared the stencils needed for the air-brushing. I had some trouble adjusting their sizes to match nicely, but managed to make the design work. It is so busy that some small variations did not compromise too much. Below you see the steps, each stencil is used in a particular order so that the colors will not only work on their own, but also combine with the previous color added, to give a different one. Super clever.

The first stencil is the yellow color, and also requires a mask (eye-shaped) so that the eye stays white. The air-brush would blow that mask away, so a little magnet is added to keep it in place – however, when I decided to tweak that layer of color, I forgot to put the magnet back, and the mask flew away, so some yellow went into the white region. Live and learn. Cookie and learn, actually. The top right photo has two colors layered already (yellow and pink). The bottom right has the blue stencil added, and finally the bottom left shows all the colors applied (yellow, pink, blue, and green). Pink and yellow at parts combine to give orange, and blue and pink combine to give purple. Once all that is done and dry, the fine line piping can begin…

It is really a labor of love, but so much fun to see this cookie take shape!

I made a second one the following day because I felt I needed to practice. And decided to try filling the outlines with a food pen instead of piping Royal icing. It gives it a different look, and it is considerably easier to do, so keep that in mind. In this case, I flooded the background with gray icing. And added a spray of PME luster over the whole cookie once it was dry.

Every once in a while, I try to challenge myself by making a cookie that scares me to death… this was one. Huge thank you to Marlyn, who manages to demonstrate every single step so well that common mortals feel like they just might be able to cookie-it!

A VINTAGE DRESS SET

A couple of weeks ago during a weekly Facebook live, Marlyn hosted a tutorial in which people could decorate in real time with her. Cookies were hand-cut and baked before class. Handbag and shoes were not part of the live demo, she had a little tutorial to show how to do those previously posted in her Patreon site. The skirt and blouse had some pre-decorating done, and were then finalized during the event. This set would be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day, or Teacher’s Appreciation Day, or a simple “I Think You Are Special” offering. You can watch the whole video following this link.

The cookies required stencils to provide guidelines for piping, but you could conceivably draw that free-hand. Some of the steps of the preparation are detailed below

For the shoes, after flooding in white, the stencil is used to add the red details, using an air-brush. You could draw them by hand and fill the red using a food safe pen. Once that is done, the rest is all piping with Royal icing. The shoes were by far the trickiest for me, my first pair was not fit to be seen in public and had to be consumed as evidence of a cookie-crime. I did a little better on the second pair, which is the one included in the group photo.

The handbag has a very clever design. The rough texture is made with sugar dyed with blue food color. I love the tiny details of gold, which are sequin sprinkles such as these. They also go in the blouse, tying the design together nicely.

For the skirt, a petal tip was used to decorate the border, and after that flooding with yellow + air-brushing lines to guide in the final decoration during class.

So these components were all we needed to attack the decoration with Marlyn…

It went by super fast, and again I learned a lot. This basic design can be tweaked to do all kinds of colors and patterns but I loved the look that Marlyn planned for the set. She puts so much attention to small details, they do elevate a cookie to higher levels. And often it’s not that complicated, but just a little something extra to consider. Like the lighter color on the inside of the shirt, the ruffles on the bottom of the shirt and skirt, the little golden sequins.

There we were, hard at work!

Marlyn and Hani, thanks for another great live session on Facebook! I am not sure there will be more of this kind, but I had fun with every single one of them so far…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of a Golfer