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.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS BEES

Once again I followed the cookie-steps of Amy to make these adorable cookies that celebrate one of the most fascinating creatures of this world of ours. Honey bees. Her tutorial can be found as part of Tuesday Cookie Therapy here (starting at 36 min and 30 seconds) and a more detailed version focused only on the bee cookie is available here.

Three different cookie shapes. Royal icing templates make two sizes of bees, and the little bee hive. All templates for transfers are available at Amy’s ko-fi shop for a very small fee. You get 4 PDF downloads, one of them lists all gadgets used in the project, from cookie cutters to cordless air-brush.

THE ROYAL ICING TRANSFERS

You can use parchment paper placed over the template, or stick them in plastic bags (or those plastic page protectors for folders) and pipe away. For the cookie recipe, I used my default (Neat Edges Sugar Cookies), flavored with 1/2 tsp honey extract and 1/4 tsp almond emulsion. Keep in mind those need to be made the day before to fully set before you add the details with a food pen. Once they are ready, you can plan their placement over the cookie.

THE BEEHIVE COOKIE

Amy designed a very nice method to make the beehive shine (make sure to watch her tutorial). Flood it in sections (so they are kept nicely defined), but when you do half of the sections, air-brush some brown color just at the edges. If you don’t have an-air brush, you can conceivably brush some powder but you will have to do that when the icing is totally set, so the cookies will take longer to be finished. Once the icing is crusted (probably after an hour or so) you can glue the bees on top.

But the final details must wait another day, as the fine pen can hurt the icing if not fully set. Add the antennas and flight path, and you are done!

For the hexagonal and honey pot, I flooded the whole cookie, let it fully set, and then air-brushed a honey comb stencil with brown dye. Bees and a honey drip were added, plus the final touches with a food pen. Diamond Dust gave some of the cookies a final shine I like very much. Amy is big on Diamond Dust too.

I painted the honey drip and the small hive with Baby Yellow pearl dust from Oh Sweet Art. Unfortunately it seems to be unavailable at the present time. It is one of my favorite colors, very subtle.

Hexagons are one of the most versatile shapes in the cookie universe. I have made bee cookies in a more simplified way, just piping small blobs of icing for the bee’s body. It works, but Amy definitely takes the concept to a whole new level!

BAKE COOKIES!

BEE HAPPY!

MARLYN’S PEACOCK PAISLEY COOKIES

I fell in love with these cookies the moment I saw them on Marlyn’s Facebook page. They seemed way beyond my skill level, but when I watched her tutorial, she stated that they would be a great ‘beginner’s project.” I tried to make them back in January, but was not too happy with the outcome. Not only my royal icing was a bit “flat”, but I messed up the dimensions of the design in relation to the cookie size. Since then I’ve been meaning to re-visit the project, and now I finally did. To speak like they do in a certain tent of my past, “I am chuffed.” Truly. Thank you, Marlyn!

These cookies are a labor of love, but so much fun to put together! If you become a supporter of Marlyn on Patreon, all her detailed tutorials and templates are available for you (she has almost 600 posts listed on Patreon). But you can also download just the templates for these cookies on her ko-fi page for a very small fee.

The cookie has three components: a base layer with flooding consistency (two colors), a floral Royal icing transfer, and decorative lines added with piping consistency icing. The most important thing is to make sure the size of your cookie matches well the template of the design.

I could have printed the design a tiny bit smaller, but I am ok with the way it turned out. One easy way to get the cookie ready to work on is to air-brush the exposed region, so that you can easily see where to pipe the flooded base. But you can always just draw the outline with a food pen.

Start by making the Royal icing transfer, keep in mind it must dry for 24 hours so it can be peeled off safely from the parchment paper.

My advice would be to pipe it on acetate instead of parchment. Maybe brands of parchment behave differently, but mine wrinkled a bit, and that resulted in some of the transfers not laying fully flat on the flooded base, particularly the pointed edges.

Next, time to work on the flooding. You will need two colors, teal and green, but as you can see, the green part ended up exactly the same as the color of the Royal icing transfer. Of course, if I wanted to do that, it would never happen! Murphy’s Law. Note to self: create more contrast next time.

The final details rely on piping fine lines, the step that can truly make or break your cookies. The Royal icing transfer is super smart, because it serves as a guide, but you still need to get the consistency of the icing right. I am always afraid of it, but keep picking projects that force me to do it, because that’s the only way to improve.

The cookie also works on a white background, but it is not as dramatic, in my opinion. At any rate, this cookie shape is one of my favorites to play with. So many possibilities!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and consider following Marlyn on IG and Facebook. She comes up with free tutorials at least twice every week, and her creativity and skill will blow your mind.

FOR THE LOVE OF LADYBUGS

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my Mom’s death.
I think she would have loved these cookies…

Ladybugs are adorable. We must ignore the sad fact that they can bite, although as stated in the link “they prefer not to.” I find that statement almost as adorable as ladybugs themselves… These cookies were made following a quick video of Haniela, a cookie artist who lives in Spain. I used my default recipe for neat-edges sugar cookies. These were perfumed with chai extract from Olive Nation. Make the ladybugs the day before, and follow the self-explanatory pictures to decorate them or the IG video from Hani. Air-brushing the edges is optional, the cookies look fine without it.

Let’s get started!

The day before, make your little ladybug friends…. I did not use a template, just eye-balled a red body and a little black head. You can make many more than you’ll need, as they keep forever.

Let them sit at room temperature overnight, then gently add the details with a black food pen…

Now, let’s work on the cookies…

Start outlining the edge and the empty spaces… You can eye-ball it all, or draw with a food pen to guide you. Keep in mind you will need to pipe a central vein on the leaf, so plan your empty spots accordingly.

Flood with green royal icing…

Let that set for 30 minutes or so, add details with piping consistency black icing…

Let that set for 10 minutes and pipe little decorative dots all around the empty spaces.

The basic cookie is ready… Now add the ladybug with a small dot of royal icing as glue, and if you like, air-brush a slightly darker green around the edges. I did, but it is a bit hard to notice (check the first or the last picture of this post).

I think those turned out pretty cute, and were not at all complicated to make. I still struggle with the fine lines, and feel that there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I try to have fun on my path to reach Nirvana.