THE MANDALA HAND

Of the many cookie adventures I’ve embarked in the past year, I suppose this was the most challenging. Maybe. It is a heavy competition with the Chinese New Year of the Tiger set, also designed by Marlyn. It involved cutting four different stencils, layering the different colors by air-brushing, and once all is said and done, piping fine lines all over the design. I made the cookie twice, and share two different ways to do it. The second version a little easier because you will be using a food safe pen to make the outline.

This is a very large cookie, about 7 inches tall. It needs to be large or you will have too much trouble working the details. Marlyn shared the stencils needed for the air-brushing. I had some trouble adjusting their sizes to match nicely, but managed to make the design work. It is so busy that some small variations did not compromise too much. Below you see the steps, each stencil is used in a particular order so that the colors will not only work on their own, but also combine with the previous color added, to give a different one. Super clever.

The first stencil is the yellow color, and also requires a mask (eye-shaped) so that the eye stays white. The air-brush would blow that mask away, so a little magnet is added to keep it in place – however, when I decided to tweak that layer of color, I forgot to put the magnet back, and the mask flew away, so some yellow went into the white region. Live and learn. Cookie and learn, actually. The top right photo has two colors layered already (yellow and pink). The bottom right has the blue stencil added, and finally the bottom left shows all the colors applied (yellow, pink, blue, and green). Pink and yellow at parts combine to give orange, and blue and pink combine to give purple. Once all that is done and dry, the fine line piping can begin…

It is really a labor of love, but so much fun to see this cookie take shape!

I made a second one the following day because I felt I needed to practice. And decided to try filling the outlines with a food pen instead of piping Royal icing. It gives it a different look, and it is considerably easier to do, so keep that in mind. In this case, I flooded the background with gray icing. And added a spray of PME luster over the whole cookie once it was dry.

Every once in a while, I try to challenge myself by making a cookie that scares me to death… this was one. Huge thank you to Marlyn, who manages to demonstrate every single step so well that common mortals feel like they just might be able to cookie-it!

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!

STENCIL FUN: A TESLA COOKIE SET

I’ve had my Cricut cutter since Christmas last year, a very thoughtful gift from my beloved husband. The learning curve to play with that baby is steep. So far I’ve mostly used stencils available online – many provided by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections, many from shops at etsy.com. In this post, I share with you my first adventure designing stencils myself. They were all super simple, using images available in the internet, and a straightforward cut. Stencils are great to design cookies for special occasions. This set was made for a potluck party we hosted recently for all Tesla owners in our town.

The simplest one was just the Tesla logo with the characteristic modern font. Once the image is found online, Cricut can size it to the desired cookie area. For that cookie, I flooded the base with red, let it set overnight, and spray painted with black. Since this is such a simple image, it is very important that the lines are sharp. I use a screen between the stencil and the air-brush to make sure no under-spray takes place. That takes a little practice, but now I feel a bit more confident using it. Some screens sold especially for cookies can be expensive. I am quite happy with this one, that is large enough to cover any size stencil, and also more affordable.

For the second type of cookie, I went with a gray background and either black or red air-brushing of the stencil image.

Yet another image – also found with a search for Tesla clipart in google – used a gold background and brown air-brushing. And finally the classic image of Tesla Model X (the one we own) with the Falcon wings open. I made some silver, some black.

Just for variety, I made a set of charging stations using the mini-projector and food pen.

This was a fun set to plan and make. Stencils make it quite straightforward, comparing the time needed to make each of the charging station cookies, the ones with the stencil are ready in the blink of an eye!

You can get by ordering stencils online, but it will limit a lot what you can do. In many cases you can order a stencil in different sizes, but there is little flexibility. For instance, some might offer three sizes, small, medium, or large, and you will have to bake your cookies to fit those sizes. If you own a Cricut (or Silhouette), you can tweak stencils to your needs, and also make your own. I have a lot to learn still, and to be absolutely honest, I feel quite discouraged at times. But I guess that is expected when learning a new skill.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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


Full tutorial available here… I actually made these cookies around Easter 2021, and never blogged about them, so better late than never. For the center, piped details, Haniela mixes two colors, yellow and orange, for a beautiful effect.



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

picture from this site.

ONE YEAR AGO: Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

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!

HAPPY EASTER!

I am already a bit sad that Easter is going to be over… As far as cookie decorating goes, it is hard to beat the diversity and cuteness level that this holiday brings. Sadly, I still have some cookie cutters that were left unused, and must wait for next year to make their appearance. Today I share a few designs, my favorite is Marlyn’s Bunny Head, crowned with flowers. So so cute! But there is more: a bunny carrying a basket of flowers, a few Easter eggs, and a naughty bunny stealing a fancy Easter egg to run away with it.

Marlyn has a super detailed tutorial available in YouTube for the bunny head (click here). If you are a member of her Patreon site, you’ll find the stencil file to make decorating the cookie easier (click here).

I opted for a chocolate cookie, so I air-brushed the design in white over the naked cookie as a starting point. The stencil is used again over the iced cookie to add the final details.

Marlyn piped the floral design on the cookie, I made my life a bit easier by using fondant decorations, and the piped small leaves to tie the design together.

MOVING ON…

For the bunny with a basket, I followed a tutorial available in Cookie-a-thon by Lauren Jacobs, aka The Cheerful Baker (click here for her IG page). Some of the steps are shown below…

I modified a few details in the basket and added a little facial feature. I love this cookie shape!

To go along with it, I used a similar technique for florals to make Easter eggs.

I could not help but make a Zentangle design, so it all starts with dots equally spaced on the iced cookie, and then a little drawing with a food safe pen. PME pearl luster spray gives the cookie a shine I really like.

So here is my little Easter collection…

I close this post with the Naughty Bunny, made after a tutorial from Timbo Sullivan during a Facebook live. It is mostly fondant, so if you don’t like the taste, consider the cookie just as a decoration. Lots of different techniques were explained in his tutorial, and the take home message for me is that I need a lot of practice to make eyes. His work is flawless! But I still like my little Naughty Bunny… Everything is fondant, except the pink details on ears and paws, and the grass the bunny is sitting on.

FOR THE LOVE OF BUNNIES

Easter is just a few days away, so I better share some of my latest cookie bakes that celebrate the occasion… I love the shape of this bunny (cutter available here), standing up to sniff some flowers. To decorate, I went with a gray background and pink flowers piped wet-on-wet, along the same lines of a batch I made last year. I also love the set of Easter stick cookies I ordered recently (available here).

For the bunnies, it all start with the white areas, that are iced first and allowed to set for a little while, 15 minutes or so. Then the gray larger area is piped and immediately decorated with the white and pink details, wet-on-wet. The outline of white on flowers, face and ears was added the following day, as well as the little luster powder in pink for the cheeks, and the eye details. For the stick cookies, two kept the scheme of gray, pink and white…

The other two cookies in the stick set begged for more color, so that’s what I chose to do…

I love this series of cookies, the standing bunny is adorable, I caved and ordered it after watching Amy decorating some in one of her Facebook live events. Resistance was futile.

Stay tuned for more Easter-inspired cookies…

MARBLED COOKIE DOUGH

This is another example of sugar cookie with minimal to no icing. The decoration comes from marbling several colors of dough together. The clever method was shared by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and was one of the techniques showed in this youtube video (starting at 18 min 15 sec). The moment I watched it, I could not wait to give it a try. Today I share a few adventures with this concept, starting with her original design for Easter egg cookies, then a couple of things I tried on my own with leftover dough.

MARBLED EASTER EGGS
(from Montreal Confections tutorial)

Aren’t those super cool? You will need one little special tool to bring these cookies to life – a clay sculpting gadget. They are pretty inexpensive and available at stores such as Jo-Ann or Michael’s. Of course, the Seller Of All Things will have it for you (click here).

Get your favorite cookie dough recipe, make a batch and divide it in three. Use food gel color to dye each batch with a color of your choice. I used green (with some yellow barely mixed into it), purple and pink. Then roll each piece of dough as a log, place them side by side and marble them. Not too much so that the colors don’t mix. Check Marlyn’s video for all the details. Roll the dough as you would normally do, and cut the shapes. After that, mix some white food gel with egg white, whisk and brush a light coating on the surface of the cookie. Immediately use the clay sculpting tool to cut patterns that will expose the dough underneath. That is all you need to do. Bake and admire the results!

Those will please people who don’t like Royal icing, opting for a more austere cookie. The very thin layer of egg white glaze contributes no taste, no added sweetness. I used a heavy hand with the colors, you can definitely get a more pastel tone.

MARBLED COOKIES WITH FONDANT DECORATIONS
(from yours truly)

For an even simpler cookie, just cut any shape you like, bake them without any glaze. Once they are baked and cooled, place fondant decorations with a bit of Royal icing as glue.

Those are some of my favorite shapes – skinny hexagon, scalloped oval, and sticks…


MARBLED COOKIES WITH A CRACKED FINISH
(from yours truly)

For these cookies, before baking I brushed a thin layer of Americolor white food gel. It must be Americolor, or it won’t work the same way. I should have brushed slightly less dye, make a thinner layer, so that the effect would be more evident. But the general idea still worked. Once they were baked, I added a few decorations with Royal icing, medium-stiff consistency for the stems and flowers.

Stay tuned for one more adventure using colored cookie dough in a different way…