For those celebrating the occasion today, I offer a centerpiece of a cookie that was a recent adventure online with Amy from @seriouslysweet (click here for her website and to join the group). Many cookie-addict friends joined for that live event. We learned A LOT of different piping techniques and they were done – like I use to call them – without anesthesia. That means right on the cookie, not as Royal icing transfers. With transfers, you can make plenty and pick the best ones. Piping straight on the cookie adds quite a bit of anxiety, but it is super cool and rewarding. The level of detail in this cookie was truly something else!
Let me walk you through the process. First there is the drawing to get the correct perspective – which is not easy for me but Amy makes it doable for common mortals. Then stenciling with icing which is another skill I struggle with, then the wood effect around the chalkboard, and finally all the flower piping. Amy demonstrated everything in real time, at a pace we could all follow. Perfect online class!
It is a bit intimidating at first, to work on such a large cookie with so many features, there is always that fear of messing some step and ruining it, but the Cookie Gods were smiling at me that day…
This cute set was made after a tutorial from Shirlyn (you can find her info here). I consider this an advanced project, in which consistency of the Royal icing must be as close to perfect as possible. You will also need to make Royal icing transfers with quite a bit of detail, and finally use diluted gel dye to do shading on the transfers and the fully set icing. It is a labor of love, but as usual, I learned a lot from my boo-boos.
There they are, four little guys, one pretty happy with his huge beer… Judging by his smile, it was not his first! The cookies have many details that make them shine. Below I go through some of the steps to make them, all very well-explained in her video tutorials. It all starts with making the transfers and allowing them to set overnight. The basic design is added to each cookie (I used a mini-projector for that), and icing in 5 colors is prepared, each in the correct consistency for the job. Shirlyn uses a single consistency for piping and flooding, and that is the way to get more lift on the icing, but it requires quite a bit of skill to ensure a smooth surface. My icing was perhaps a little too thick in some cases.
The trickiest part for me were the hands. Shirlyn makes perfect fingers, I just could not do it like hers, but maybe next time it will be better. It is the kind details that requires the icing to be EXACTLY right. Mine was too thick, I diluted a bit and it got too thin right away. But I know people who get the cookies won’t be inspecting each little component of it.
My favorite guy is this one, I just adore all the little details!
Online cookie tutorials are a great way to improve your cookie skills, and I love that I can just have the videos available whenever is most convenient for me. If you don’t own the cookie cutters, you can always cut by hand using the images she provides. Just make sure your rolled out dough is VERY cold, preferably frozen and removed from the freezer for 5 minutes to get it just right.
It is time to bring a new design by Amy from @seriouslysweet, in her cool series of matching gnome with flowers. In perfect tune with the month of March, here are my babies! Visit her site to join the fun, and get access to all the gnome-florals of 2023, past and future.
So many details in these cookies! I am particularly smitten by the shoes – what a clever way to make them! Same mold as the clover leaf, but cut in individual pieces and dyed black. And the a little golden coin on top. Kill me with cuteness, Amy! The other amazing detail is the beard, and finally the piping of the white roses branching down from the floral composition. Super cool. Below you see some of the steps in the preparation of this set.
All things considered, this is not a difficult cookie to make, and as Amy said in her tutorial video, it goes really fast, especially if you make the fondant pieces in advance. Not that many colors involved either, in fact for the gnome you only need black, green, and then a little terracota in thick consistency for the beard. The trickiest part was piping the white spiky bits to make the flowers, my hand was hurting a bit. But it was worth it!
Can you tell how much I loved this little project?
Get your bags of red, white and blue Royal icing, because we will get busy here! Almost any cookie shape can be dressed up for this special holiday in the USA. Butterflies, hearts hexagons, surfboards, pretty much anything goes… Today I share a few ideas, and to get some more, visit my main food blog for last year’s post (click here).
HEARTS AND BUTTERFLIES
To make the butterflies, the body is iced first with dark gray Royal icing, thick consistency. Silver sanding sugar is sprinkled on top, then both sides of the butterfly are iced, ether in stages (white and red stripes), or as a solid layer of Royal blue. These were inspired by a recent live Facebook session with Haniela (check it out here).
The hearts are iced in stages also, following any type of wavy shape you like. A fondant ball can add texture for extra fun.
THE PATRIOTIC CAMPER
For a cute and maybe unusual shape, the camper cookie cutter can be dressed in red, white and blue… First a basic design is drawn with a food pen over the naked cookie, then the window area is painted gold. Next, the lines are piped with Royal icing in black, with a #3 tip.
When summer camping, don’t forget to take sandals, surfboards, some ice cream to keep you cool…
Sandals, surfboard and ice cream are simple designs, based on red and white stripes plus the classic blue. Each section needs to crust a little before you pipe the one next to it. But other than that, pretty straightforward. The blue straps need thicker consistency icing. Surfboards were wet on wet, and after it all set, I piped a center line with white icing and covered with sanding sugar.
THE AGED WOOD LOOK
Minimal icing goes in this design. I thinned royal icing and applied the different colors with a brush, painting them, so a super thin layer goes on the naked cookie. Once that set for a few hours, I added a touch of luster powder bronze and brown very diluted with vodka. Stars were cut from wafer paper with a paper punch gadget.
I hope you enjoyed this little collection of 4th of July cookies, and whatever you do to celebrate, keep in mind that fireworks are very tough for pups. Do your part to minimize their ordeal…
Around 50 countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May… If you are curious about this issue, in the end of this post I include a world map with all the details. Floral cookies are often the theme. Today I share with you a small collection made in the past few weeks. Some following tutorials online, some of my own making.
Perhaps my favorite, this version was inspired from the one and only Amber….
Round cookies are flooded in the color of your choice. Amber then uses a needle to scratch the basic design and pipes beads and details. She made a central flower with Royal icing, I went with fondant decorations sprayed with PME luster. It is a very good opportunity to practice bead piping, as you will be doing it over and over. Gather your Zen…
From yours truly…
This was my first time coupling decorated chocolate discs with Royal iced cookies. I love making these decorations because they are super effective but quite simple. For a detailed explanation, you can visit an old blog post of mine with a click here. You can take an easier route and use candy melts, as it is such a small component of the cookie, but it is up to you how much work you’d like to invest in it. I flooded the cookie with dusty rose icing, waited just 5 minutes and set the disc on top. Once it was all set, I piped a border in brown. The universe of chocolate transfer sheets is huge, like all universes are… I have a hard time picking patterns, but these butterflies won my heart at first sight.
From Haniela, a star-to-flower cookie flip…
I loved this cookie so much! It is a little more involved, but Haniela’s tutorial goes through every step in deep detail (video available here, starting at 10 min). Piping Royal icing in sections, air-brushing, and fine lines are all part of this wonderful cookie.
From yours truly…
A cookie flip of my own… Ice cream cone cookie cutter upside down, made into a little basket with a flower and leaves.
From Haniela, Daffodils
From Amber, two floral motifs…
Brush embroidery is one effective way to bring elegance to a cookie, and Amber is a total pro at this. I used her Royal icing recipe that calls for a higher amount of meringue powder for both of these floral cookies. It has a little more elasticity and it takes slightly longer to crust, so when you need to pipe several colors it is easier to work with. Like the example below, many different colors need to be incorporated and worked with a needle, so if the icing crusts too quickly, you’ll have problems.
For the above cookie, you can follow Amber’s tutorial, available here. Other options are shown in the tutorial also, all quite amazing.
From yours truly…
Very simple design, cookies were flooded with wedgewood blue, once fully set I painted simple flowers using Sugarprism. A similar pattern was recently featured on macarons (see here).
Another adventure using Sugarprism, painting flowers over white iced cookies. I used pink, red, black and green colors. These are very small cookies, two-bites…
Stick cookies, a format I adore… Very simple also, using Royal icing transfers set over iced cookies. Simple lines with green Royal icing, piping consistency, and you are done!
I hope you enjoyed this small selection of florals to celebrate Mother’s Day… Speaking of it, as I promised in the beginning, here is the day around the world
“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow. And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.”
This year I was not able to indulge in baking St. Patrick’s cookies, in part because we were away on a trip. But I could not resist making a small batch, inspired by a recent video posted by Amber (link here). Irish Coffee, anyone? Perhaps Irish Cupcakes suit you better? I changed slightly the decoration but kept most elements the same. The tiny shamrocks are prepared as Royal icing transfers the day before using medium consistency and a piping tip #2. I brushed some with luster powder (Green Touch, by The Sugar Art).
The Irish Coffee design is actually a “franken-cookie”: a coffee cup joined with the top of the small cupcake, also included in this group. Keep in mind that it makes a pretty large cookie, but I find the design very clever. Credit of course must go to Amber. I used a stencil to decorate the coffee cup, and just piped lines on the little cupcake.
For a little more inspiration, I share cookies made last year, when I did not have a cookie-dedicated blog, so they all went into the Bewitching Kitchen spot.
A jar with shamrocks, also inspired by Amber…
A few shamrocks and clover leaves decorated in different ways…
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.”
The Chinese New Year starts on the second New Moon after the Winter solstice, therefore it is celebrated usually between Jan 21st and Feb 20th. This year, the two-week festivities will start in China on Feb 1st. To make this cookie platter designed by Marlyn (check her step-by-step tutorial here), I meditated for a few hours, took 2022 deep breaths, and hoped for the best. I cannot lie, it was by far the most complex cookie adventure I’ve ever faced. A few little issues here and there – but I don’t think they affected the outcome. I am thrilled to share today, my little platter of cookies to welcome The Year of the Tiger…
Starting from the cookie shapes, this is the cookie cutter set you will need to make this platter. Or you can cut the shapes by hand, and use a round cutter for the center. Make sure to use a cookie recipe that won’t spread, with little to no leavening agent, so they will fit nicely together like this:
The day before, or several days in advance, you can make the tiger heads by Royal icing transfers. Marlyn is much more experienced and she just piped the heads straight on the iced cookie, then air-brushed the details once it all set. But I just could not bring myself to take that route. Too risky. I made more little tiger heads than I would need, so I could mess some up and still have enough to do the platter. The orange color is also air-brushed lightly on the edges once the pattern is dry.
One of the details to pay attention to, is making sure the head is not too big for the cookie. I realize I could have made my a bit smaller. But still fit ok, and had enough space for the final decorations.
The other components all get airbrushed using Marlyn’s stencils, to facilitate piping all designs… My favorite part? The ideograms…
Airbrushing with a stencil is a very nice way to guide piping details, especially if the cookie involves a repeating pattern. It is hard to pipe with Royal icing using a projector because you cannot move the cookie as you do it. Air-brushing solve that problem. Or you can also use a pen to draw the design using the stencil to guide you.
Once all the components are ready, all that is left to do is painting the yellow parts with gold. That step is optional but it does add a lot of drama to the composition. You know, the good kind of drama.
The trickiest part of the cookie set for me was writing Happy New Year… very VERY tough. I need practice. Other than that, I had a reasonably smooth ride. It is the kind of project that cannot be rushed. Pick a weekend, go slowly, and enjoy the ride.
I had a few extra little tiger heads, and incorporated them in another, simple cookie. I iced the cookie with red, let that dry completely, air-brushed the design with a stencil using gold. Then I glued the tiger head in the center, and finished the cookie with a black border.
So there you have it, The Year of the Tiger Cookie Platter!
A trio of turkeys, all very vocal members of the distinguished group “Go Vegan This Thanksgiving!”
I am totally in love with these little turkeys designed by Amber and demonstrated in one of her recent live Facebooks videos with Marlyn and Haniela (starts at 32 minutes). I am also quite fond of using cookies in ways that change them from the expected shape. This is in fact a ten-petal flower cookie cutter, but playing the role of a turkey. How clever is that? The possibilities of colors and patterns is pretty much endless. Have fun with it, and watch Amber’s tutorials for all the little details that matter.
The process is not complicated, just requires a little patience because the back feathers must be piped in stages. But it’s all wet-on-wet, very forgiving.
Once the feathers are all piped and crusted, the body and wings are added, with final details of beak and sexy wattle.
Another little trio of turkeys, this time in a PYO (paint your own) cookie approach, designed by the very one who invented the concept, Marlyn. Check her Instagram video clicking here.
The idea is to flood the cookies with white Royal icing and draw a design right away with black icing. The cookies can be then offered as a gift with a set of food-safe pens for the person to paint them. Or, if you are like me, have all the fun yourself, and THEN give the cookies away…
You can use anything to paint them. Food-safe pen, Sugarprism, luster powder with vodka, each will have a different outcome. The cookie must be piped in two stages, with head and body piped after the base is crusted.
I close the post with a much simpler cookie, all you need is to flood the base, let it crust and then pipe the little details. Inspired by thebearfootbaker.
I still miss the Halloween spirit, but I realize there is a lot of cookie potential in the upcoming season of Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Let’s dance to the music!