SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!

A super fun cookie project, following the cookie-steps of Marlyn once again. Her full tutorial and templates are available in her Patreon page with a click here. You can conceivably make the design without cutting stencils for it, but they make life a lot easier. Same thing goes for the Royal icing transfers, you can skip and just pipe on the cookie but they add a lot, so my advice is to enjoy the path and go with the flow. I am so happy with my little chubby Santas, even if one of them indulged a bit much in the eggnog and got wasted.

Yeap, the bottom right one took over the eggnog and would not let go… Truth is, the air-sprayer malfunctioned and let’s say he got more blush than advisable for a respectable Santa. My apologies. He is very merry, though.

Below you see the items you must prepare in advance, if you want to do the decorations as transfers. You will need Marlyn’s templates for that (link here), or if you are a pro at drawing, you can try to make them yourself. The stencil helps air-brushing the basic design on the naked cookie, but you ca definitely draw it by hand.

I made the beard using two different styles, either air-brushing with the stencil, or piping with Royal icing. I like them both, actually.

Marlyn does so many cute details in her cookies, and I learn a lot trying to incorporate them all. I need to get better at handling the air-brush and judging the distance, amount of dye, and how hard to press the little trigger. But only one Santa out of four got hopelessly drunk because of my actions. Not bad, not bad.

I wish all my readers happy holidays and, if you celebrate….

LET THE HOLIDAY BAKES BEGIN!

I admit that I’m always finding little boo-boos in my cookie projects, but every once in a while a batch makes me totally happy… This was definitely one. A million thanks go to Haniela, I slightly adapted one of her recent productions shared during a Facebook live. You can check the full tutorial for her version here (starts at 7 min 30 sec).

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!

So there you have it, my favorite cookie project in the past few months…

First thing to do is get the Royal icing transfer decorations ready. They can be made days, weeks in advance. Basically you pipe little rounds with yellow icing, let that set and add a band of same color in the middle. The little balls must fully set before the next step, which is drawing with a food pen the little decorations. Hani shows exactly how to do them in the video (link in the initial paragraph of this post). I used gold luster powder mixed with vodka to highlight the central ribbon. The hexagon cookie is iced with white, and after overnight drying the plaid design was air-brushed using a stencil. After that, the branches and red ribbon are piped, and the jingle bells glued. I really love these cookies!

Stay tuned for more Holiday bakes coming your way!

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?

FOR THE LOVE OF FLAMINGOS

Flamingos are magnificent birds and the cookie world devotes a lot of attention to them. If you don’t believe me, do a search for “flamingo cookie cutters”, and you will see what I mean. Today I share my take on one adorable version demonstrated recently by Amy, Cookier Extraordinaire. You can follow her detailed instructions here. Cookie cutter available here.

The day before (or many days before), you’ll need to prepare the wings, which are made using a petal tip such as Wilton 104, and stiff consistency Royal Icing. Amy has printable templates in her ko-fi shop, or you can wing it (did you see what I did here? Apologies).

A little touch with pink air-brushing around the edges brightens up the cookie. I used fondant molded flowers to decorate the head of the flamingos, you can use a different shape of flower as Amy did in her tutorial. Cookie cutter used for this project from etsy.com.

Here are all my girls!

If you are a beginner cookie decorator, don’t be intimidated by this series because they are not hard to make at all. If you want to simplify, the wings can be made with a food pen instead of a transfer. The air-brushing step can also be omitted. But of course, each small detail brings a lot to the final product.

I must say I’m a bit surprised by how strong-willed flamingos can be…

Mary and Monique get along well most of the time…

But Maribel and Margaret just don’t see eye-to-eye!

Amy, thank you once again for the great tutorial, you make it all easy and fun…

That’s all for now, folks! See you next time…

TWO BUSY BEES

Amy and Amber

Two awesome “cookiers”, two different takes on bees. Each brought some new technique for yours truly to learn. With Amy, I got into pressure piping and brush embroidery, but on my first attempt, I did not do a very good job. Amber brought very elegant Royal icing transfers, and border piping.

For Amy’s version, the wings were made with a brush embroidery technique. You can see her demonstrating the technique and making three different types of bees in this Facebook live (starting around the 17 min mark).The body uses what is known as pressure piping. The Royal icing is on the thick side, and you keep pushing it out of the piping bag and allowing some shape to take place, moving the bag gently up and down to create a bit of texture. The bodies of my bees were not too bad, my problem was the brush embroidery. The icing was not thick enough. I re-visited the technique a few weeks later, applying it to a different shape of cookie (briefly letting go of those training wheels). In the name of genetic diversity, each wing was a little different…

A little overview of the steps to make this cookie. It is easier if you draw the basic design on the naked cookie and go from there. Add the eyes, mouth and blush to the bee’s face after the iced cookie is fully dry (12 to 24 hours).

Amber shared a very unusual and elegant cookie. Starting with the color, a beautiful shade of blue, not normally associated with bees. That already called my attention. The hive was piped wet-on-wet, and the bee component was a royal transfer painted in gold and bronze. All details available in her own blog (click here), and you can see an Instagram video here. She is a magician with Royal icing, her bee hive is sheer perfection.

The bees are super fragile, so I advise you to make more than you need, as they might break when you remove them from parchment.

Bees were the subject of a blog post not too long ago (following a tutorial from Amy), and I incorporated some of those elements in a new design, joining the blue color with a stencil, and adding bee and hive made from Amy’s templates of my past.

Both border piping and brush embroidery are techniques I struggle with, so these cookies gave me an opportunity to practice. Maybe there is a little light at the end of this tunnel…

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT POST!

SHARK ATTACK!

At some point this month it was Shark Week. I am horrible about keeping track of this type of stuff, and honestly I don’t really care. But when Amber made some super cool shark cookies, I decided that they can be featured anytime. Period. Her cookies are a lot more elaborate, using a tie-dye background. You can follow her tutorial on a Facebook live clicking here. The fun starts at exactly 5 min.

It all starts with the sharks made the day before using Royal icing transfers. You will need 4 colors + white just for that part. The shark template is available in her Patreon page.

I opted for a three color blue background to simplify it a bit. And also made a slightly different version, with ocean and sky.

The trickiest component is definitely the Royal icing transfer. When you see Amber making hers in the video, you realize how good she is at getting the consistency of the icing just right. I struggle a lot with it. In this batch of cookies, the icing for the transfers was a bit too thin, and the icing for the cookies a bit too thick. There you go.

Looks like my sharks had been swimming through rough waters. And they need braces… But, all joking aside, I loved making these cookies, learned a lot, and will definitely bring them back in the future. Now… what to do to get rid of an ear worm from a certain Spielberg’s movie?

FOR THE LOVE OF PORTUGAL

It took me a long time to finally go to the place where my maternal grandparents were born. That trip materialized when Phil and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We were living in Paris and flew to Lisbon to meet our dear friends from the US, Marijo and Vlad. A magical trip. If you’ve been to Lisbon you’ve certainly marveled at the tiles that seem to decorate every little corner of that town. Almost always dark blue and white. I share two ways to “cookie” them, and close the post by bringing the “Lucky Portuguese Rooster” to the party.

To make the tiles simply flood square cookies and let it set overnight. In this first style I used a mini-projector to copy images I found in the internet.

Then it is just a little labor of love, filling the spaces with a food safe pen.

Those are labor-intensive, but they are my favorite way to bring the tiles into the cookie universe.

Another way to do it, simpler and faster is using stencils like the one below:

Starting with the same type of flooded cookie, all you need is to couple the stencil with air-brushing. In this case, after the dye was dry, I sprayed a coating of Edible Lustre, from PME, to give a shiny look. The picture does not show it too well.

This method is easier and faster, but stencils can be temperamental. A little more enthusiasm and the dye might sip underneath and give a blurred edge.

And now, for the Lucky Portuguese Roosters… they remind me so much of my parents’ home! My Mom had a set in porcelain, they are usually sold in a group of three: large, medium, and small.

To make them, I used a special cookie cutter and made two sizes of hearts as Royal Icing transfers.

In Brazil we call them “Galo de Barcelos“, and they are almost always black, although other versions exist.

I also improvised on the little rooster, making a bit of a Portuguese-tile version of it. Apologies to purists, I promise to stick with tradition from now on…

I hope you enjoyed this small collection of Portugal-inspired cookies. Mexican tiles are also a fun source of inspiration, bringing more color into the equation. I will definitely explore that in the near future.

THE FLAMINGO PRINCESS

She is flashy. She is self-confident. She is goofy and charming at the same time. Meet the Flamingo Princess, courtesy of Haniela.

This was super fun to make. Yes, I repeat myself, but what can I do? It’s been one fun project after another in this cookie adventure of mine. This one seems a little involved, but the glasses and the leaves must be made in advance (at least the day before so they can fully set), and the fondant molded flower doesn’t need a long time to set but it will also wait for you for days if it makes your life easier. The templates for the cookie as well as the glasses are available at Hani’s ko-fi shop, or you can use a regular strawberry cookie cutter, but then you must make sure the size of the glasses will work. A little adjustment might be needed when you print it out.

The glasses are made with black royal icing plus a little sparkle (I used Tourmaline Pink Prism Powder). Then the center is piped with electric green. Once that sets, all you need is to have your fondant decorations ready and painted, and flooding consistency icing in pink, yellow, black and white.

The beaks were piped free hand, but I have trouble judging size and keeping things similar from one cookie to the next. They can conceivably be made as Royal icing transfers, which would be my choice when I make them again.

I had one extra cookie that was decorated as its expected shape…

Hani, thanks for the constant inspiration,
and for your help and support online!

FUN WITH ROYAL ICING LEFTOVERS

No matter how carefully we calculate the amount of Royal icing to make of each color needed, there will always be some amount left in the bag. Some people have the patience to turn them into sprinkles. I have zero interest in doing that. However, Marlyn found out a perfect use for leftovers: spread a thin layer on parchment paper, let that dry overnight, and break into pieces. In this post, I share two examples of cookies using crumbled dried royal icing as part of the decoration. Full credit to Marlyn for coming up with such cool ideas. I close the post with a little hexagon-departure that I hope will inspire you for the 4th of July.

TERRAZZO COOKIES
(Instagram video available here)

BICOLOR HEXAGON COOKIES

Starting with the Terrazzo cookies, you will need a little parchment paper cut in the shape of your cookie. Distribute the pieces on top in any arrangement you like, any color combination. Gently cover with white Royal icing, place the cookie on top, and flip the whole thing over. Let it dry overnight (very important). Peel the paper off and then all you need to do is make the edges neat with a boo-boo stick or a microplane, and finalize a decoration on the edges. A little Diamond dust is always a nice final touch too. Make sure to watch Marlyn’s video to get a better understanding about how it all works.

It can be a little tricky to get the pieces to stay in the place you want them to be, and also to make sure the icing does not sip too much under the pieces. I did not get cookies as beautiful as Marlyn’s (check her IG video here), but I am still pretty happy with them. After making the edges straight, you can add icing and sanding sugar to get the final look.

The bicolor is quite a bit simpler to make and I also love the effect, very modern. The coral color got a bit of air-brush while still wet, a technique I’ve been using often. Again, this step is optional, but it does add a lot to the design.

Once both sides set, pipe the center with white Royal icing and lay the pieces on top. One more little detail about the icing fragments: before crumbling into pieces, I followed Marlyn’s tip and air-brushed the dried layer with a little gold. The step is optional, of course, but it adds a nice shimmer.

This basic pattern works with many different types of decorations, I’ve used the crumbles, nonpareils, and sanding sugar for variety.

As I promised in the beginning of this post, here is my little departure on this design, adapting it for the upcoming holiday of 4th of July.

OUT OF THIS WORLD SUGAR COOKIES

I faithfully follow four Cookie Gurus to guide my path through all things Royal icing: Marlyn, Amy, Haniela and Amber. Today I share my adventure with Amber’s Alien cookie design. I thought the whole thing was super clever, joining the “galaxy” theme for the basic decoration with a cute little green being. Here they are, surrounding their Queen, my personal contribution to the theme. You can watch Amber’s detailed video as part of a recent Tuesday Cookie Therapy, with a click here.

Once again the shape of choice is the hexagon, these are 3 inches wide. Amber’s template (available in her ko-fi shop) is used to make the alien’s head, first the green part is piped, and after just a few minutes you can pipe the eyes in black. As usual, the transfers need to be made the day before.

They are centered on the flooded base later. For that step you will need five colors to be piped concentrically: black, turquoise, purple, pink and white.

Amber shows in her tutorial a perfect way to get the galaxy effect using a spatula, not a needle. She also made beautiful stars as transfers, but I failed at those and used star-shaped sprinkles instead. I will try them again in the future, those need a lot of skill to pipe and to handle later. After placing the transfers, add the sprinkles of your choice, and you could be done.

But I could not leave them alone, decided to shower the edges with some diamond dust. To do that, I made a little shield with parchment paper to protect Mr. Alien’s head.

Diamond dust sticks in every surface, so the only way to be selective about the coverage is protecting spots you want to keep without it.

For the Queen, I simply googled “alien coloring pages” and found that drawing ready for my projector. I thought it was a perfect match for these little guys.