CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE

This is a very simple project, two colors of icing to flood a plaque-shaped cookie, then four additional colors needed in very small amounts, to pipe the details. I added a gold air-brushed border, but that step is optional, the cookies will look ok without the border. But as you may have noticed, sometimes it is hard for me to leave a poor cookie alone…


For flooding the cookie, make a green and light blue Royal icing, and flood the two regions, let them set….

Then make a brown thicker consistency to pipe the tree. Just free-hand it, make a few branches and allow that to set for 10 minutes or so.


Next, add little dots for flowers, and using a very small leaf piping tip (or improvising by cutting a piping bag with scissors at an angle), pipe leaves.


The air-brush on the edges is the final optional step. And you are done!

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Portugal

PLAYING WITH LEAVES

Inspired by a recent Facebook live from Haniela, this is a fun, unique way to decorate a simple leaf-shaped cookie. A mixture of textures, colors, and sprinkles come together to play with the basic design. Some cookies used the perforated mat as a component of the design, similar to what I shared in the latest online class by Amy (click here). Haniela used piped Royal icing flowers, I went with fondant decorations.

The cookie in the center is from the Mother’s Day Florals shared a couple of weeks ago (see post here).

For some of the cookies, the leaf was divided in two, the background painted with gold (or lightly brushed with a thin layer of green royal icing), and after flooding the other half, cookie crumbs dyed with green were added for textural contrast. Haniela’s tutorial goes over every detail of all these designs. Video available here.

Texture can also be added by laying a piece of crumpled parchment paper on wet Royal icing, and allowing that to set overnight. Once the paper is gently peeled off, the texture stays on the surface. Pretty cool technique. You see those in the picture below.

They can form a nice trio by coupling with a happy sun cookie, made with a spider-web cutter
(design by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections).

And the set below would be perfect for a Mother’s Day gift…

I love the use of the perforated mat to help decorate a cookie, and have some ideas for future projects using this approach. Stay tuned!

AMY’S FABULOUS FLORAL CLASS

I fell in love with these cookies moment she shared their pictures to announce the online event. I would not say this was a beginner’s level adventure, but Amy explains each step so well, that I believe even someone very new to cookie decorating could follow. Plus, to give you an idea of her level of detail when preparing for the event, the week before she uploaded SIX videos of cookie preparation. Some cookies had to be flooded, some fondant decorations had to be made and painted. It is a set perfect for Mother’s Day or any romantic occasion. Engagements, weddings… Pure beauty.

The set is designed as seven hexagon cookies to form a beautiful platter when joined together. One of the things that are required is baking the cookies over a perforated mat. Actually, these mats are a complete game changer as far as cookie baking goes, so I highly recommend you get one. I simply never bake over parchment anymore. The base of the cookies is perfect when you use the mats. Many brands available, like this one. Amy used the texture given by the mat as part of the design in two of the cookies.

The cookie on the left is flooded allowing part of the base to show. That gets painted in gold. The effect is simply amazing, don’t you think? On the right, several colors of icing in thicker consistency are smeared over the base.

The day before class, this is what we had to get ready… Several cookies flooded, some wet-on-wet flower motif, and one cookie flooded and immediately covered with embossed parchment paper.

Apart from that, fondant decorations and wafer paper decorations made and painted.

Side-note…. Amy demonstrated how the exact same silicone mold can give you two quite different flowers, depending on how much fondant (or modeling chocolate) you add to it.

There were a few techniques totally new to me, like working with edible fabric to make a bow. It is a little tricky but not that bad, actually. A little patience is required.

I also got to use this super cute ring to hold glue for the first time. It makes it a lot easier to work with the wafer paper bits and tiny sprinkles. You touch the glue with the needle and apply where you want it, no need to reach for the big bottle and risk making a mess. She included one in the box sold independently of the online class, I’ve only found it for sale in bulk (click here).

It was also my first time working with printed wafer paper, which adds a lot of elegance to a cookie.

I’ve participated of several classes online with Amy, each one teaches me so much, but this was truly special. Each cookie fascinated me. Below, my top three favorites. The first one required piping the roses and leaves on the cookie, so perhaps it was the most advanced of all, but Amy guides each step of the piping with perfect attention to details. How to hold the piping bag in the perfect angle, how to move your hand at each petal. A great learning experience!

Amy, I cannot thank you enough for yet another amazing online event. Already looking forward to our next adventure together…

DREAM CATCHER FLORAL

One of my favorite cookies of the past couple of months, I saw this design on a post in Facebook, and made my own. I simplified by using fondant flowers instead of piping them. It is not exactly a dream catcher motif, but I suppose it’s close enough….

You’ll need to get those fine lines going, the finer you can get them, the better the outcome. I went as fine as I could, but intend to repeat this type of design in the future and aim higher. Or, maybe I should say aim finer? 😉

It all starts with a frame-shape cookie cutter flooded in red. Then just eye-ball the design, going down the cookie in rows, as shown in the composite below.

For one of them, I tried to do a more complex pattern, that could have worked better with finer lines. Still, for a first attempt, I like the way they turned out. Once you have the lines piped, get some fondant flower and add them with a tiny bit of Royal icing. The leaves were piped with thick consistency icing and a very small leaf tip from Ateco (ST50).

Since I had the fine lines going, I did one more design over white background. I think they go well together.

I visualize similar designs with a background in Americolor Wedgewood, or Dusty Rose, or even a simple gold, flowers with different shapes and colors. Perfect for Mother’s Day, or just to offer to a special friend.

ONE YEAR AGO: Fun with the Mini-Projector

APRIL INSPIRATION POST: COLORS AND SHAPES

As I mentioned, Marlyn from Montreal Confections has been proposing challenges for her cookie-followers to work on their own. Here is the assigned task for the month of April.

That was it, my friends. Two shapes. A few colors. Go to work.

After much mental back and forth, hyperventilation, monologues around the house, I came up with a flower composition to use all colors. Had a few issues with the fine lines, but other than that, I am reasonably satisfied with my cookie set…

It all started by planning the petals around the center, and adding one leaf, making it easier to incorporate the electric green…

Once the cookies were baked and the colors mixed, the fun began… Flooding the different components and adding some wet on wet for the center.

For the final details, everything had to set for a few hours, and the colors mixed in piping consistency. I hit the dark green so well that I spent a few minutes doing a short version of the Happy Dance.
Look at those green lines! Don’t you love them? I thought so.

All that was left was some colorful piping to use the other colors, and tie the whole design together.

I really love these little challenges because they force me to do something on my own. Yet another thing to love about cookie decorating. Getting out of your comfort zone to explore the universe of colors and shapes.

Thank you, Marlyn!

FOUR LITTLE CHICKS

Every Tuesday and Friday at noon (Central Time), Marlyn and Haniela go live on Facebook and spend one hour decorating cookies, explaining techniques, and chit-chatting about all things sweet. Last month they came up with a very cool idea: have viewers participate decorating cookies at the same time. Of course, they shared all the needed materials – cookies to be baked and flooded before, Royal icing transfers, and icing colors. It was cool beyond words… Without further ado, these are my four little ladies, born from that adventure… I made two during the live, and two right when it ended.

I am totally in love with them! To get ready for the live, we had to get some items prepared, and the composite photo below shows them all. If you don’t have a stencil cutter, you can just draw the lines by hand, no need to be super precise.

The eggs were flooded in light blue, and I used a darker shade of blue to air-brush the design. We made three kinds of Royal icing transfers, wings, eggs, and flowers. Then the fun started, using wet-on-wet, and piping details with thick consistency in white. The pace was perfect. I would not say this was a beginner’s level decorating, but if you have a little experience working with Royal icing, you would be totally fine.

If you would like to join or simply watch the lives, check Marlyn’s Facebook page with a click here. I learn so much just by watching them, but decorating together was a ton of fun. I look forward to the next adventure, which will be hosted by Haniela on March 25th. We will make a mini-gingerbread house!

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

CHERRY BLOSSOM BUTTERFLIES

I promised you more butterflies, and here I am to deliver them. Haniela skillfully joined one beautiful springtime theme (the cherry blossom) with one gorgeous creature of our planet to come up with these unique cookies. Her tutorial can be found on youtube, or a more detailed version on her Patreon page. I made just a minor modification by using fondant molded blossoms instead of Royal icing transfers.

The sugar cookies were made with my default recipe, flavored with Sakura extract and a little vanilla. The mold I used for the flowers was from this store at etsy.com, but it is currently unavailable. Amazon has several types that might work, like this one.

The molded flowers were painted with luster powder in two tones of pink and the center got a touch of Egyptian gold. After the cookies are flooded and decorated using black and white Royal icing, they are allowed to crust before the final decorations are added: brown tree branches and green small leaves. Finally, glue the flowers, and you are done. Haniela added additional decoration to the wings of her butterflies, but I simplified mine a bit, knowing my limitations.

The molded blossoms will also work well on a simple white butterfly. I painted the body in Egyptian gold for additional contrast. And bling. Because bling makes a baker sing… (sorry, could not resist).

If you want the whole truth, this white butterfly was born because I ran out of black icing. There. Confession is good, I feel a lot better.

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.

AMY’S DOGWOOD SUGAR COOKIES

Every Tuesday at noon I try to join the Facebook live event called Cookie Therapy, hosted by Marlyn and Amy. You can read more about it here, and watch all episodes whenever convenient. Last month Amy showed how to make cookies decorated with my very favorite flower: dogwood. It was just a matter of time for me to gather the necessary gadgets and try to reproduce them. For Amy’s super detailed tutorial to make these cookies, click here. You can advance to 8 minutes to get to the beginning of her demonstration.

The flowers can be made way in advance, using an impression mold from Wilton and fondant. I have intense dislike for fondant, but after reading great reviews about this brand, I caved and tried it. I don’t think you can get fondant to taste better, unless maybe if you make it from scratch. That is not happening in my kitchen in the foreseeable future, so that’s what I used for my flowers.

In the video tutorial, Amy shows exactly how to form the flowers, leaves and centers using this cool mold from Wilton. The fondant is dyed green using Americolor Laurel. The ends of the petals are dusted lightly with luster powder after the fondant is set. I used Ruby from Oh Sweet Art.

A word about shaping of leaves. You can make those using special fondant cutters like this one:

It makes a leaf, alright. But it is quite artificial-looking. Using the impression mold from Wilton is a game-changer. Each leaf is unique, and you can cut it with a leaf-shaped cutter or even do it free hand.

Once you have the flowers ready, time to work on the cookie. The idea is to set the flower over a blue base (Wedgewood from Americolor is a favorite of mine), but with a white and green area more or less framing flower and leaf. Amy advises to plan the design, draw with a food pen, and then flood accordingly.

I absolutely LOVED making these cookies. Amy went the extra-mile drawing a delicate outline of the dogwood in the flooded area, but to do that I think I would need a slightly larger cookie and plan the area more carefully. So I skipped that step.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please stop by Amy’s Instagram page (@seriouslysweetondavisst) and Facebook page to see the many beauties she bakes (she is a professional cookie and cake baker).