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.

FOLLOWING MY HEART

Yes, it is that time of the year, all we can think about in the cookie department is romance, hearts, reds and pinks. I have quite a few cookie ideas to share – as I followed several tutorials in the recent past – but today I launch this party with my own designs.

DESIGN #1
THE PUZZLED HEART

This cookie cutter was a gift from Tanya, my tent-baking friend. She used her 3D printer to bring it to life. Last year she made a stunning composition using it, and I decided to give it a try now. Several decorating methods were used: brush embroidery for the small heart off-center, texture with a fondant ball, wet-on-wet and air-brushing with stencil.

It is very important to use a recipe without any leavening agent when making a cookie puzzle in which the pieces should join together nicely after baking. I baked them slightly apart from each other, and used my default chocolate cookie recipe which has no baking powder. Once that is done, the decorating fun can begin. All the wet-on-wet and the brush embroidery can be finalized once the cookies are cold. The air-brushing requires many hours for setting the base, even better if you do it the following day. The texture is added about 30 minutes after flooding, but you must be gentle and carefully test it. You don’t want to break the skin, just form a nice rounded indentation. However, don’t worry if it cracks at certain spots, in the end it won’t be a problem.

DESIGN #2
MODERN HEARTS

I like this type of design because it is so exotic and unique. I used this set of cutter + stencil. Very high quality cutter, it comes with two stencils, I’ve only tried one of them so far. Cookies are flooded in different colors, then the pattern is air-brushed. All that’s left to do is pipe the design with a Wilton 3 tip, to get thick lines.

In a similar spirit, but with a free-hand approach, my duo of “Game of Thrones” inspired hearts…

I did not know exactly where I was going with them, but in the end, I loved the combination of gray and fuchsia. I flooded the cookies in white, piped a simple design, and then used luster powder + vodka to paint the different sections.

DESIGN #3
BRUSH EMBROIDERY

In this set I used chocolate cookies because I find that the brush embroidery looks particularly interesting with a dark background. Very easy to decorate, once you do the embroidery, just flood the center in any color of your choice, and add dots while still wet. I like to pipe dots of different sizes because then a random pattern looks nice. When the dots are all the same size, the spacing needs to be more carefully planned, as the ones below.

Same style in red and white, and a little departure using fine lines to make a lace ribbon in the center. After that the upper and lower regions are flooded with red. It is a bit more work, so making a dozen of those would be time consuming and tedious maybe. But I made only a couple, to practice the fine lines. I try to incorporate a design with fine lines in some of my weekly bakes.

Another style, super simple. Gray at the edges, white to flood the center, and when that sets a red food pen is used to make the red stitches. Easier than piping, but you can definitely pipe Royal icing if you prefer.


DESIGN #4
ZENTANGLES

Cannot stop making those at every change I get… They closed my latest post with the Gnomes, and now they show up again. The one above is my favorite Zentangle pattern because it is easy and fast to do, but it gives the impression of being labor-intensive.

Not quite zentangles, but in the same style of repetitive pattern…


DESIGN #5
LOVE MESSAGE

These were imagined by my beloved husband, and transformed into cookies by yours truly. It turns out that I have a little daily routine with Buck, our 14 year old Jack Russell: I hold him and keep telling him over and over… “I love you to pieces”. Phil thought it would be cool to make a little series celebrating different pets. I used a mini-projector for all except the kitten, which was – very bravely – drawn free-hand, from a cartoon I found online.

DESIGN #6
THE BAROQUE HEART

For this set of cookies, I used Cricut to cut a stencil exactly in the shape of the cookie. Then all that’s needed is flooding the base, allowing to to fully set, then air-brush the design. I used fuchsia from Sugarflair as the base, and air-brushed purple, which I also used later to make a beaded border. With PME tip #2.

The trickiest part is air-brushing. To minimize the possibility of smudging, I use a screen placed on top of the stencil, but that makes it hard to judge how well the dye is reaching the cookie. It is not very easy to get all cookies with exactly the same intensity of color, but maybe that’s part of their charm… never two exactly alike!

This closes the series of hearts I’ve made since the year started.
In the next blog post, I will share versions made following tutorials online.

Sneak Preview

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!

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 TURKEY COOKIE PLATTER

I made this set for a person who did something very nice for me, but prefers not to be named. The cookie cutter set comes from Dots and Bows Designs. Available at etsy following this link.

Several techniques were used to make this set. For the back feathers, I used wet-on-wet for the little dots decorating three of them. The bottom feathers were flooded with Royal icing (Americolor Gold), and air-brushed with bronze sheen color using a stencil. The same bronze color was air-brushed on the edges of the feet and the head. They are a bit hidden in the final cookie composition, but you can see them below.

The body was given some texture using a little fondant ball tool, but you can also use the handle of a brush. You do that texturing once the icing sits for about 20 minutes, or a bit longer. Just be gentle. Once it was fully set, I brushed a little copper luster powder mixed with vodka, very diluted. The wings were decorated with wet-on-wet, similar to what I’ve done recently in this set.

If you omit the stencil decoration, the set can be fully made in one day. But the stencil component requires the base to be fully set, so take that in consideration when you plan it.

The black pupils were painted with a food safe black pen after the white was fully set. I did not want to mix just a little bit of black Royal icing, but do as you prefer.

Once the set was ready, I glued the pieces in place with stiff Royal icing, and placed them in a gift box with a few extra cookies. Small maple leaves, and a Zentangle heart…

ZENTANGLE COOKIES: TANGLED UP IN ZEN

Have you heard of zentangle? It is an art form that uses repetitive patterns, ideally on a 3.5 inch square piece of paper, or as zenganglers call it, a “tile”. I’ve always enjoyed doodling, much to despair or my Mom, as I would do it on the wall by the phone (remember landlines?) with a pencil. We’ve had quite a few heated arguments those days. I would be on the phone for more than 3 hours, talking to my boyfriend Roberto late at night, and next morning my Mom would wake up and have a royal fit when she saw my “art” on the wall. Fun times. Fast forward a few decades and doodles turned into zentangles, what was a wall became a cookie. All you need is a smooth base of Royal icing, fully set. And a fine tip food-safe pen. Embrace the patterns and have fun!

The classic pattern is black and white, and you can design your own little tangles or search online for ideas. The Tangled Universe is waiting for you!

I like to use other shapes also, rectangular and candy corn are favorites or mine, but pretty much anything works.

The pumpkin design is not exactly a zentangle, but it has repetitive patterns that are also quite soothing to draw. For the design above I used a mini-projector.

Free hand also works, just don’t be too concerned with perfection… in the end it all works fine, I promise.

I like to add a little color to a zentangle pattern, even if not traditional… Another way to bring color is to add it to the background, as I show in the cookies below.

For this cookie, Americolor Cork was used in the background, and the Zentangle pattern worked as the petals in the flower.

It is quite amazing how much the pattern changes if you do it black and white or bring a very assertive color to play.

These two above might be my favorites, maybe. The contrast of bright orange with the pattern makes my heart sing!

That could be a nice cookie platter for a dessert table, with a Halloween vibe…

So many patterns… so little time! I have a long list of zentangles to “cookie”, so expect to see more popping up in this baby blog of mine.