A CHRISTMAS TREE PARTY

Moving along the Holiday Baking Path, today I share a series of Christmas Tree Cookies with different styles of decoration. Some are gingerbread with very little icing, some are sugar cookies also very austere in the icing department. Some are simple, some a bit more involved. Some are modern, some more traditional. I hope you will find a cookie with your name written on it…

This is the perfect cookie for those who are anti-Royalists, as far as icing is concerned. I used a large oval cookie cutter and a mini-tree shape. Cut the tree from the center of the oval cookie, lifted it out, painted green with Sugarprism. The great thing about Sugarprism is that the color is unchanged during baking. And it tastes great, a nice vanilla flavor that won’t interfere with your cookies. Placed the painted tree inside, and baked them together. Finally I just glued some confetti sprinkles with a tiny drop of icing. Basically, it is a naked cookie, but looks pretty decorated, right?

Now for a slightly unusual shape, I used this cookie cutter. I think it calls for a more modern design, so I went with three different types, the first with minimal icing + white sanding sugar, and the other two either flooded white and with added swirls, or iced with fine green lines all over. In that one, a bit of copper luster powder was added for a little extra bling, as well as a golden star made as royal icing transfer the day before.

As some may know, I have a hard time resisting the Call of the Zentangle, so I had to incorporate a black and white tree version. Flooded white and details added next day with a black food pen. The white star is molded fondant sprayed with PME luster pearl.

Same shape, same white flooding as a starting point, a super simple design: draw lines with black pen and glue confetti sprinkles all over the lines.

If you are good at drawing, you can do a similar design free-hand, but I used a mini-projector to help me out… The candy corn shape works well for that.

Another option that is pretty simple: ice with white and wait for that to set for about 30 minutes. The do little indentations with the handle of a brush or a fondant tool. Glue the confetti and a golden star. Simple and I think pretty cute, particularly for a small cookie.

For another modern-ish version, after flooding the angled tree with white, I used a stencil to add a delicate leaf pattern. The design was made a bit more evident with a beige food pen, and gold luster powder added to the base and accent star. The whole cookie was then lightly sprayed with PME gold.

For the next design, I was inspired by a recent Facebook live from Marlyn (watch it here, starts at 25 minutes). Her tree was much more complex, but I simplified mine a bit to go with the simple triangle shape of the cookie.

To make the snowflakes I used a puncher thingie (similar to this one) to cut wafer paper, then glued a silver nonpareil in the center.

I intend to go for the tree design that Marlyn shared before this season is over, so stay tuned.

Brush embroidery is also a very easy way to decorate this type of cookie, sanding sugar giving it a nice, snowy look.

But of course I must close the post with my obsession of 2021…

I hope I’ve inspired you to bake some Christmas trees cookies for your family and friends. I saved a design from Marlyn for a post that should be published the day after tomorrow, as I consider it a work in progress. Stay tuned!

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!

SALLY COOKIES SALLY

I am so so excited about this post! My inability to draw anything free-hand has always bothered me. When I saw that Michelle (the very inventor of Sugarprism in flesh, blood and awesomeness) was going to teach a class online about painting Sally, from the Nightmare before Christmas, I was tempted. Imagine that: creating a very complex image on a cookie without the help of a projector. I admit that my first reaction was to run away screaming. But she convinced me to give it a try, and said she was SURE she could help me. It would be a slow, step-by-step thing, and painless. So one particular Sunday afternoon, I spent two hours surrounded by Sugarprism, brushes, and guess what? There was almost no pain involved. Instead, I was rewarded by a cookie staring at me with a surprised look. Did you really just paint me?

YES I DID!!!!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was by the time we finished it. I know it pales in comparison to Michelle’s version, and to many made by people in class, but it felt like a masterpiece to me. All credit to Michelle, she just explains every detail so well, how to hold the brush, how much product to add to it, the consistency, and how to approach the design. It was a ton of fun, made me feel on top of the world… And can you believe she did that tutorial FOR FREE? I mean, seriously! Join her Facebook group and come have some fun…

Below a little progression of the cookie painting. I swear, I still cannot believe I painted this. Michelle, have I thanked you enough?

The whole tutorial was to make Phil and Sally, ooops, sorry, I meant Jack and Sally, but I ran out of time and had to leave class. My Jack was not in the best of his shape. Still, it’s Nightmare Before Christmas, I am hoping it just adds to the spirit!

SUGARPRISM, A NEW KID ON MY BLOCK

It is interesting how you may stumble on something amazing just by accident. I honestly don’t remember what exactly took me to Michelle’s Facebook group page (Painting with Sugarprism), but once I got there and saw everything she does and teaches on that page, I could not wait to try her product, called Sugarprism. It is a powder that you mix with water and use as you would acrylic paint. But it is fully edible and… wait for it… wait for it… delicious! It is vanilla-flavored and it will never ever negatively interfere with any of your cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates. You can read about Michelle Tincombe with a click here. She is an award-winning cake baker (HBO-MAX Baketopia episode 7) and painter-extraordinaire. Her In this post I will show you some of the cookies I’ve made in the past few weeks, using Sugarprism in different ways. I am still learning, and some of my concoctions I consider “work in progress.”

Sugarprism comes in pouches with 40g each and all you need is a TINY amount diluted with water to the consistency you like. It all depends on what exactly is your goal. For instance, to make this flower over fully set Royal icing, I used a reasonably thick consistency of the colors, so that each brush stroke stayed where I wanted it to stay…

A person with good painting skills would be able to add the black details with black Sugarprism and a super fine brush. I don’t see that happening in this lifespan of mine, so I did that with a fine tip food pen. Painting is so relaxing! I know I do it like a 5yo, but I promise you, I thoroughly enjoy it…

A similar approach was used in the flowers below…

I used a slightly more diluted version to paint the blue background in these chocolate stick cookies, also previously flooded with white Royal icing… And a concentrated solution for the center of the little flowers.

I then mixed the pink and the blue and used the mixture in different proportions to make the background for the doggies, drawn with a projector (you know I cannot draw to save my neck).

The paint is truly very forgiving and a pleasure to work with!

Another way to use Sugarprism is over a naked cookie. Many people prefer cookies without icing and I think those people deserve some decorations too…

Those are chocolate cookies (recipe here), made with an embossed rolling pin. Flowers were painted with red Sugarprism and outlined with gold luster powder + vodka. The taste of red food dye can be a problem, it is often bitter. No worries if you use Sugarprism.

The same approach works wonders on a regular sugar cookie. Below a Honey Sugar Cookie made with a springerle-type mold. I used a set of Fall colors from Sugarprism for my little bee.

I’ve been playing with geometric designs lately, and will talk more about them soon. These were inspired by one amazing cookier, Tunde Dugantsi, from Tunde’s Creations.

I made them in two versions, plain and with a Royal icing transfer flower in the center.

Sugarprism gives amazing coverage and if you use a concentrated suspension it will be very bright and happy.

But the technique I am most excited about? Stained-glass effect. I diluted Sugarprism with water, making it a thick suspension. That was mixed with corn syrup and used to paint sections of a Royal iced cookie. The sections were piped with white Royal icing (icing tip #3) dyed gold with luster powder + vodka. A bit of a labor of love… A little fondant flower in the center finished the cookie, but it will also work well without it.

Finally, one from my “work in progress-folder.” Michelle shared an amazing cookie she made using the “galaxy” design, and I tried it myself. It is not nearly as cool as hers, but she gave me some advice and I might try it again soon. Check hers out in this post of her facebook page, it is very beautiful.

If you like painting cookies, you need Sugarprism in your life. Michelle Tincombe, the official inventor and double-patent holder of the product, worked for 4 years to get approvals and patents, and finally place Sugarprism in the market. Her page on Facebook and her youtube channel are endless sources of inspiration, although I must say a lot of it is beyond my skill level.

BEE YOURSELF!