CARDINALS IN A TREE: A PIZZA BOX SET

Marlyn first shared this tutorial last August in her Patreon site (you can also watch a simplified version here). At the time I felt a bit intimidated by all the details, and kept postponing the making of it. I said to myself “maybe I can do it before the end of this coming winter.” With a little more than 1 month to spare, I finally went for it… And now of course, I think I should have done it sooner!

Let me walk you through the steps… It all starts with baking the base cookies cutting them according to the template that Marlyn designed. Additionally, two cardinal cookies that will fit together, and the decorative corner pieces.

Added details are the cute acorn pieces, made by coating brown M&Ms with Royal icing, using a small petal tip. And if you look closer, you’ll see she uses a technique to add white splatter on the blue base, mimicking snow falling.

The corner pieces are decorated with piping consistency green and brown…

And of course, the most important component is the cardinal couple…

The whole design is very clever… The branches are piped following the separation between the base components, and once that is fully set, Marlyn gilds the lily further: piping green leaves and adding a little snow on top of the branches, white icing + sanding sugar.

Of course, the cardinal cookies stand alone without any problem… I love them so much!

A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

For a little IG video on this pizza box concoction, click here
(I am still learning my way through the reels)

We need something to counteract winter. Valentine’s is just around the corner. Two reasons to make a flower bouquet composition. There is a little story behind it, though. Marlyn, Cookie-Guru-Extraordinaire, asked members of her group what they would like to learn in 2022. Several of us (yours truly included) said that creating our own stuff was a big issue. Unless I see a cookie design to follow, I get paralyzed. A couple of days later Marlyn posted a pizza-box cookie sketch, and suggested we used that as a starting point to come up with our own design. I will share her sketch at the end of the post. In a way, this blog post is like a homework assignment…

For the cookies, I used this recipe (I omitted the black cocoa, used the full amount of Dutch processed). Following Marlyn’s sketch, I used my Cricut to cut a piece of cardboard to use as a template for the cookies (base and little card). Regular mini-cookie cutters were used to make flowers. Everything was baked and then the real adventure began…

From this point, I worked on the pieces of the base and the little card, as they needed to fully set before continuing. The wrap was iced with Chefmaster Gold + Cork, then a piece of crumbled parchment was placed on the still wet surface. The paper is removed next day, revealing the structure underneath. Next, I lightly brushed some copper luster powder in a few spots of the wrap.

The lateral cookies were iced with Laurel green, then air-brushed with gold. I also air-brushed the central base, without any icing. The little card was painted with food safe pen, using a stencil to guide the writing. Then the flowers were decorated, and a little heart added just because… The whole process is shown below.

This was challenging but fun… I now share the initial sketch planned by Marlyn so you can see the starting point.

It was fun to put to use several different techniques to make this box. I debated whether to add leaves, but I like the look with the flowers only. If I used royal icing to pipe leaves, it would be messy to eat the cookies, as I would have to pipe them in between the pieces. So there you have it, a little shout-out for Spring, with romance in the background.

Huge thank you to Marlyn for taking the time to devise this challenge…

HALOWEEN PIZZA BOX SCENE

STAY CREEPY, MY FRIENDS!

I am thrilled to contribute with my little pizza box concoction to the goodies made by my Great American Baking Show friends. It’s been a while since we got together to bake on a set theme, but better late than never!

I love the concept of pizza box scenes, devised by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and in fact used one of her ideas for the background cookie. The cookie was made with an impression mat for the wood grain texture. Chocolate sugar cookies are the best for the effect, right before baking you brush a little white food gel to reveal the texture in all its glory. The same cookie was used for the night sky.

COMPONENTS OF THE PIZZA BOX SCENE

A pumpkin-hat combo that I made using two cookie cutters joined together…

A little black cat pressed into the night-sky component, painted with Sugarprism…

A caldron with store-bought spooky eyes and neon-green bubbles…

Fondant decorations for the little ghost (he is friendly!) and bat (he is not rabid)…

Royal icing, piping consistency for the full moon…

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The caldron must be made in stages, so that each group of bubbles has a chance to crust, otherwise they just join together, and the effect will be los

I hope you enjoyed this little pizza box cookie combo. One of the things I like about this version is that some cookies are left plain, so those who prefer less sweetness will appreciate their inclusion. Make sure you use a very flavorful cookie recipe, for the chocolate I recommend this one.

Make sure to stop by the homebakers IG page to see what my tent-baking friends made for this virtual get-together.

A FAIRY COTTAGE COOKIE COMPOSITION

If you are serious about cookie decorating, I am sure you follow Amber, from @sweetambs. A while ago she posted a very special tutorial (exclusive to Patreon supporters) to make a Fairy Cottage cookie composition. A real masterpiece with quite a few steps. The thing that fascinated me the most was the pebble work on the surface of the house. You pipe each pebble individually as a Royal icing transfer, and then glue them to the cookie right after brushing some thick icing as a base. Each pebble is also painted with luster powder and vodka in black and brown, to make the final product even more realistic. I wanted to turn that into a pizza box concoction, so I reduced the dimensions of the house to fit inside the 7 x 7 inch box, and simplified the details a bit.

The two large cookies for the house were cut by hand, and I did the same for the small mushrooms, as I did not have any cookie cutter that would be compatible with the final dimension of the composition. Just make sure to keep an eye during baking because the small cookies will bake a lot faster.

The prep steps start with piping the pebbles with gray icing and letting them dry overnight. Paint them while still glued to the paper. Ice the walls and chimney, glue the pebbles. The hard work is done! The window panels were simple white icing painted later in yellow. The door was made with slightly thicker icing, to get some texture with a brush. Amber’s video is very detailed and you will have no issues following it. My favorite part was perhaps the roof, made with brush embroidery. Since the method allows the background to show, it is a nice touch to paint it brown with luster powder before proceeding with the embroidery step. Amber does a lot more to her fairy cottage in terms of details under the windows, and around the house, so make sure to check it out and be amazed. Here is the short version of her video, as posted on IG.

I hope you liked my Little Cottage, I am quite smitten with the pizza box format, which I find perfect to offer as a gift. That reminds me… I need to place another order at amazon for those boxes, because how could I risk running out of them?

HEART OF HONEY PIZZA BOX COOKIE

My final (for the time being) pizza box production, this time the inspiration came from Marlyn, with some minor modifications (IG video available here). Her original box is very clever, it was made as a gender reveal thing. Each little bee in her box was a cookie filled with a particular color. As you bite into it the gender is revealed. My little bees are simple molded fondant, and I incorporated some flower cookies and other small details around the center. A pizza box perfect for a little girl who is sweet as honey…

All cookies were chocolate, and the base was cut in a heart shape and then four pieces around it, to mimic a tree bark. The texture comes from laying a piece of wrinkled parchment paper on top of the Royal icing as soon as it is piped. That sits for many hours (overnight is best), then you can peel the paper and get the design to stay. I brushed some gold luster powder to add more contrast. You can see Marlyn demonstrating that technique here.

To get the subtle pattern on the heart, Marllyn air-brushes the image with a stencil, then uses those lines to guide the piping with Royal icing. Once that sets (30 minutes is enough as the icing is thick), a very thin royal icing of the same color is gently brushed on the surface. I finished with a little gold air-brush on the edges.

For the little flowers I made the centers as Royal icing transfers, covering them with silver non-pareils. After all the cookies are decorated and fully set, the final scene can be assembled inside the box… The little butterfly is also molded fondant.

My favorite component is the center heart, I find it very sweet and charming…

So that concludes my trilogy of pizza box cookie scenes. I am sure I will be making new ones in the near future, because I love the concept and it is so nice to adapt it for a particular occasion or person.

Pizza boxes, 7-inch square available at amazon.com

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!

MARLYN’S PIZZA BOX BEACH COOKIES

I’ve been excited about cookies more than once. Who am I trying to fool? Countless times, I admit. But I am just over the moon with these. Marlyn came up with this cool idea of arranging cookies inside a small (7-inch square) pizza box (available here), and I totally fell in love with the concept. This first one I made following Marlyn’s tutorial pretty closely. Perfect for the summer, my favorite season.

The idea is to fit the cookies to form a scene inside the pizza box. Marlyn shared templates for her Patreon supporters so that you can cut the cookies to fit. Check her site here.

First you bake the cookies and make sure to trim them if needed, using a microplane. I actually did not need to do that, they all fit nicely together.

Next, decorate each cookie according to her detailed tutorial, or using your own ideas and color scheme.

The trickiest part for me was piping the weave pattern in the bag, I almost decided to skip it, but I’m glad I gave it a try. Mine is far from perfect, but I am happy with it. It is a bag that has seen a few Summer vacations already…

Once all the individual cookies are decorated and fully set, comes the fun part, assembling the design!

Isn’t this a fantastic concept? The possibilities are endless, boxes designed for Halloween, for Valentine’s, for a wedding anniversary, anything you can dream of. Marlyn keeps adding new versions and I keep dreaming…

Stay tuned for two more versions of Pizza Box Cookie scenes… And make sure to check Marlyn’s IG page to get truly inspired…