ZENTANGLE STRIKES AGAIN

If you don’t know the meaning of zentangles and how I like to adapt them for cookies, read my previous post on the subject. Today I share a few more, and include my first adventure with Instagram reels showing how I make my very favorite kind because is is so simple and the end result always pleases me. The cookie can be left simple or further decorated with fondant, modeling chocolate, or Royal icing transfers. Below, fondant stars painted silver. Purple and silver, the colors of our university, in the zentangle way.

I like the intensity of the purple but this type of design works well in any color…

A second addition of the same pattern inside each little square changes it completely but it is still quite straightforward to do…

A variation on the same type of curved line…

And now for a few adventures on patterns and colors, some turned out the way I wanted, some I consider “work in progress”.

The one below is my representation of a brain with insomnia: busy with many thoughts, not necessarily connected…

Here’s looking at you, kid!

Whenever I make sugar cookies, I always make sure to flood a few with any color I have leftover. Then, all I have to do is choose a pattern out of the thousands available out there, or make a composite design. I love the zentangle path…

BABY BLUE FROM ME TO YOU

Winter is coming. Might as well dress up for it. Mittens, hats, and don’t forget to keep your snowman warm outside. All designs were made following the cookiesteps of Marlyn, from Montreal Confections.

If you want to considerably simplify the cookies, you can omit the knitted pattern made with piping consistency Royal Icing. Maybe go for air-brushing a stencil. But the piping adds a lot to the design, and I was anxious to give it a try.

Marlyn has a perfect tutorial in her Patreon site, you can check it out with a click here. In the same tutorial she shares beautiful snowflakes, I intend to try them soon.

Now let’s take care of that poor snowman, guarding your home, facing the elements…

Another cute tutorial from Marlyn, the knitting pattern is a little more advanced, I think. Again, you can omit it if you don’t want to try it. But the border made with a small star shaped tip is definitely a must. Other than that, a very simple cookie to put together. Once you make the hat and ice the face with white you are 90% of the way there. This tutorial is available on youtube (click here), and you can also see her Santa Claus made with the candy corn shape. So versatile!

I loved making these cookies, and hope you will give them a try too!

EGG WHITE PAINTED COOKIES

Not too long ago I shared with you a method to decorate cookies that calls for very little icing (click here for details). Today I share another one along the same lines, this time using egg whites instead of yolks. It is simple and works on many types of cookies, as long as they have a design imprinted or are molded with a tri-dimensional image. The only thing to pay attention to: allow the glaze to fully dry before painting.

The mold I used can be found at etsy following this link. Worked like a charm. For the glaze, mix 1 egg white with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until fully dissolved. Brush on the surface of the baked cookie after it is cold. Let the glaze set. Add the colors you want to use to separate wells, and mix water to dilute them well. You can reduce the amount of water to get a more intense color (like I did for the body of the little bird).

The same technique works on cookies with a design imprinted. Many options available at amazon.com, but I got my set at aliexpress, a very affordable source when you are not in a hurry to get your goodies.

If you love decorating cookies but dislike working with Royal Icing, this method will definitely please you. So many possibilities! I intend to try painting with Sugarprism and with colored cocoa butter in the near future, so stay tuned. Of course, you can mix and match decorating techniques to please all the cookie lovers in your home…

Below they get paired with regular iced cookies, Royal icing.

GOBBLE GOBBLE!

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!

HALLOWEEN WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME

I dedicate this post to all who struggle with a harsh reality: Halloween won’t be back for 363 days. I invite you to sit back for a virtual tour of many spooky cookies I’ve baked and donated in the weeks before the greatest cookie holiday of all times…

Perhaps my favorite of all…

Sugar Cookie flavored with Pumpkin Spice, flooded with Royal icing orange and white, then painted free-hand with Sugarprism Tuxedo Black… For the little witch in the center I used a stencil.

Some additional cookies got the “zentangle” treatment I am so fond of…

Moving on… some cookies made with the help of a mini-projector and pictures found online (artprojectforkids is a favorite source of mine)

Basic white cookies for a black-and-white spooky look, painted with food pen, free-hand, as it’s such a simple design. Bat and skull are fondant additions.

Zentangle can be interesting to change the background, and particularly for a Halloween cookie, no need to strive for perfection. Or so I hope.

A little more spookiness, the bat cookie was inspired by Haniela…

I really love the candy corn shape, so versatile! The purple ones below are not iced, just sugar cookies painted with Sugarprism, or with little fondant ghosts.

Below, a couple of crackled cookie attempts using Sugarprism once again. I will re-visit the technique soon and blog about it once I get it right.

Shortbread is also wonderful to decorate using cookie stamps like these from Nordic Ware. After baking, they were painted with luster dust diluted with vodka.

Linzer Cookies can be scary too! Just use your favorite recipe and create a spooky face. I painted the edges with luster dust and vodka.

And finally, a couple of macarons, because… how could I NOT include them?

That’s all for now, folks! I am really sad that Halloween is over, and all the cookies I did not get a chance to make will have to wait. But hey, there’s always Thanksgiving… and Christmas… and when you blink twice, Valentine’s will be knocking on your door!

HALOWEEN PIZZA BOX SCENE

STAY CREEPY, MY FRIENDS!

I am thrilled to contribute with my little pizza box concoction to the goodies made by my Great American Baking Show friends. It’s been a while since we got together to bake on a set theme, but better late than never!

I love the concept of pizza box scenes, devised by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and in fact used one of her ideas for the background cookie. The cookie was made with an impression mat for the wood grain texture. Chocolate sugar cookies are the best for the effect, right before baking you brush a little white food gel to reveal the texture in all its glory. The same cookie was used for the night sky.

COMPONENTS OF THE PIZZA BOX SCENE

A pumpkin-hat combo that I made using two cookie cutters joined together…

A little black cat pressed into the night-sky component, painted with Sugarprism…

A caldron with store-bought spooky eyes and neon-green bubbles…

Fondant decorations for the little ghost (he is friendly!) and bat (he is not rabid)…

Royal icing, piping consistency for the full moon…

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The caldron must be made in stages, so that each group of bubbles has a chance to crust, otherwise they just join together, and the effect will be los

I hope you enjoyed this little pizza box cookie combo. One of the things I like about this version is that some cookies are left plain, so those who prefer less sweetness will appreciate their inclusion. Make sure you use a very flavorful cookie recipe, for the chocolate I recommend this one.

Make sure to stop by the homebakers IG page to see what my tent-baking friends made for this virtual get-together.

LET’S GET SPOOKY!

But let’s do it in style, under the guidance of the great Amy, from Seriously Sweet on Davis St. I could not join her tutorial live, as when that happened I was too concerned with teaching, but a few days later I jumped into it. The great thing about her tutorials is that you can watch them whenever you want in case you cannot join the live session.

I absolutely loved making this series. There were additional cookies demonstrated in the tutorial, but I only managed to make these two. Introducing…

Susie, the Happy Spider!

For the spiderweb cookie, Amy taught us how to give the background a nice texture, and all the details to pipe the web, how to get the dimensions correctly. I made my spider with fondant and dyed it silver. Eyes were tiny little drops of Rainbow Dust Metallic Red.

As to the background it’s all in the consistency of the black Royal icing, as well as the technique to spread it.

SPOOKY TOMB DUET

Aren’t those super cool? Once again Amy taught us how to get the funky background, that can come in handy for many types of cookies.

In the same tutorial she shared a very nice tombstone cookie, and a cauldron. I had made a cauldron the week before, but hers had extra touches of cool, like addition texture to the surface. I will have to re-visit the cauldron issue next year, as spooky baking season is coming to an end. I am not sure how I will deal with Halloween withdrawal syndrome. Am I alone in my misery?

MARBLED SPOOKY COOKIES

The technique of marbling using dots of gel color on the surface of Royal icing is a nice and straightforward method to generate colorful effects. Recently I saw Marlyn achieve a similar effect by swirling three batches of Royal icing with different colors. She did that on a baking sheet, to get a shallow surface, quite a bit easier to work with the cookies. It all ends up very smooth, with perfect coverage. I picked Halloween-friendly colors and coupled the marbling with spooky fondant decorations or silhouette painting. I ended up feeling pretty spooked. How about you?

This is how Marlyn does the marbling… It is very easy to coat the surface of the cookie when the icing is poured this way, and since the icing needs to be a bit thicker it also covers quite well.

From that point, you can add decorations while the icing is still wet, or wait and glue them later with Royal icing.

For the witch below, I used a stencil and painted the image with a black food pen. The white cookies were just flooded with white icing and painted, free hand with a food pen. That is a simple design, no need to worry about making it perfectly symmetrical or anything.

I tell you one thing, I will be sad when Halloween is over… So. Much. Fun.

CAT IN A TEACUP

Teacups are cute. Cats are cute. When you join them both, the Cuteness-meter goes nuts. I cannot take credit for the idea, I simply followed Marlyn in one of her video tutorials. You can join two cookie shapes if you have the appropriate cutters. I did not have anything that would work well, so I cut them by hand.

I made some with my default chocolate cookie recipe, and some Sugar cookies flavored with Elderflower (Olive Nation essence). Once the cookies are baked and cooled, the basic design is added with a food pen, and sections are piped with Royal icing.

The spoons are baked separately. To decorate them, I used Gold royal icing coupled with gold air-brushing.

The fine gold lines really make the design come to life. I was terrified of messing up the cookie in this final step, but overall I am pretty happy with the outcome.

These cookies were part of a gift for dear friends who are cat-lovers. So in the package a few other kittens were included.

I think what I love the most about cookies is making up a gift-set. Thinking about a theme the person will like, a color scheme, I find the whole process absolutely wonderful.

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