AMY’S PINEAPPLE COOKIES

If you’ve been around this baby blog of mine for a while, you may have noticed that I follow a few selected “cookiers” very closely. Amy, from Seriously Sweet on Davis Street, is always inspiring me and pushing me to try more challenging techniques. At some point I will gather the courage to attempt one of her super elaborate “Tiki” creations. Hopefully soon. But today I share one small component of that series, her cute Pineapple Cookies. They were a ton of fun to make. My favorite part? The leaves, piped with a tipless bag, generating a cool 3-D texture. I was super scared to try it, but Amy’s tutorial is perfect! You can watch it here, the pineapple decorating starts around the 12 minute mark. Cutting the bag to pipe the leaves is shown at 27 minutes, give or take a few seconds. Brilliant!

It all starts with a little drawing on the baked cookie to help you out….

Then the sections of the pineapple are piped, allowing sections that are not touching each other to crust. Just 15 minutes or so, is more than enough, and you can come and complete the remaining sections.

Once the pineapple segments are crusted, Amy suggests using the air-brush to spray the edges with a very light touch of green. Ideally try to get all the outlines of each section, working very gently. These small details make the pineapple come to life. A bit of gold brushed on the leaves is also a nice touch. A cookie without those details would still be pretty nice, but if you can go the extra mile, why not?

I highly recommend that you watch Amy’s tutorials on Facebook, and consider joining her fun Facebook group called “Cookie Snack Attack with Seriously Sweet.” If you love to bake cookies and want to improve your technique while interacting with a bunch of people hooked on all things Royal icing… that group is for you!

GILDING THE LILY WITH SILICONE MOLDS

All molds used are listed in the end of the post.

There are so many ways to decorate cookies, but one of the simplest ones is using small silicone molds with fondant or molding chocolate. They are often quite inexpensive and you can take an hour or so in the evening to make quite a few decorations, saving them for a future cookie project. They can be painted right away (after allowing the surface to dry for a few minutes), or you can save them plain and decide on a color scheme when you are ready to finalize the cookies. In this post, I show you a small collection made in the past 3 months. I hope you like them.

Starting with my favorite… The Peacock! Fondant painted with Luster powder and vodka.

Small flowers can be used in many different ways…

They can go on a fully smooth Royal icing base, or over a base with added texture created with the handle of a brush or a fondant sculpting tool. This is a method I first learned from Marlyn (check it out here) and fell in love with. In the skinny hexagon cookie, I used the fondant flowers without any paint, except for the golden center. I like the modern look of that cookie.

And let’s keep in mind, they are not just for sugar cookies… here they help nut-free macarons get dressed up.

Bigger flowers can be nice also…

In the cookie above the leaves were also molded fondant, and then a food pen was used to add the branch.

The cracked base is very easy to achieve: just paint AMERICOLOR white gel dye on the unbaked cookie, and bake as you normally would. The cookie expands and generates this type of design. It must be Americolor, though. Other brands do not work the same way.

Another favorite of mine, joining small flowers with a vase (those were made in modeling chocolate)

Butterflies, always a nice addition to a cookie…

Because hearts are not just for February…

Bees, always present in my cookie universe… I list a different mold in the end of the post for you, because I actually used a wooden mold and it was not the best option.

I wrap this post with two types of molds that were very tricky to use. The first one was hard to un-mold without breaking its many delicate sections.

I love the way it completed this cookie, but it was truly a labor of love.

And finally, three little owls that demanded quite a bit of patience…

I like the way they turned out, but the mold is very shallow and removing the shapes without breaking was a bit of a hassle. Also, trimming the final fondant shape with an X-Acto knife was time-consuming.

All molds used in this post are listed below

Peacock

Tiny Flowers

Mini-Flowers 18-set

Daisies

Flower Mold

Cherry Blossom and leaves

Vase

Butterfly mold

Butterfly

Heart Mold

Mini-bees

Golfing Mold

Little Owls mold

BURNING BUSH, A CUSTOM-MADE COOKIE

Last month a colleague celebrated 10 years of work in our department. There was a surprise party for him, and I contributed with a small batch of sugar cookies. The burning bush, his subject or research, is a very cool plant: its leaves turn a very bright red-fuchsia in the Fall. He studies complex fatty acids synthesized by the plant. I designed two types of decorations, for rectangular and oval sugar cookies flavored with blood orange. They got a full coating with white Royal icing, and next day the painting began!

For the number 10, I used a mini-projector, as it would be very hard for me to get a nice drawing without it. To draw the leaves around it, I started with a projected image but after a couple of cookies I improvised the design freely. Leaves were painted with food-safe pen.

We have a series of burning bushes planted alongside our house and it is amazing to see them in their full Fall beauty.

The trees were painted with luster powder + everclear, using Super Pink, Passion Red, Mexican Rose, and Baby Black (all from OhSweetArt). Background sky made with luster powder I brought from Brazil a couple of years ago, a gift from my dear niece Raquel.

I love making cookies designed for an occasion or with someone in mind. To me, it makes a batch feel very special. I do get a bit stressed out, but it might just be my favorite type of baking these days.

FOR THE LOVE OF THE SEA

Mermaid tails and shells, to bring the spirit of summer vacations into the cookie world. This time, I join Marlyn and Amber in her tutorials, and then contribute with my own little cookie, a bit more austere, for those who are not too wild about Royal icing.

Marlyn’s sea shells are deceptively simple, but will have you mix two consistencies of icing, so that you can make the decorative swirl thick enough to preserve the shape. Her tutorial is available in her Patreon site.

A little Diamond Dust never hurts…

For the mermaid tail, you can see Amber’s tutorial here. The two colors are gently marbled together, then after the icing is fully set, some shimmer powder is brushed on the surface and the details added with a stencil. You could free-hand it also, I am not that brave.

Finally, for a more austere cookie, I used a springerle type mold to bake the exact same dough. Once it cooled completely, I painted the shells with luster powder + vodka. Super simple.

TWO BUSY BEES

Amy and Amber

Two awesome “cookiers”, two different takes on bees. Each brought some new technique for yours truly to learn. With Amy, I got into pressure piping and brush embroidery, but on my first attempt, I did not do a very good job. Amber brought very elegant Royal icing transfers, and border piping.

For Amy’s version, the wings were made with a brush embroidery technique. You can see her demonstrating the technique and making three different types of bees in this Facebook live (starting around the 17 min mark).The body uses what is known as pressure piping. The Royal icing is on the thick side, and you keep pushing it out of the piping bag and allowing some shape to take place, moving the bag gently up and down to create a bit of texture. The bodies of my bees were not too bad, my problem was the brush embroidery. The icing was not thick enough. I re-visited the technique a few weeks later, applying it to a different shape of cookie (briefly letting go of those training wheels). In the name of genetic diversity, each wing was a little different…

A little overview of the steps to make this cookie. It is easier if you draw the basic design on the naked cookie and go from there. Add the eyes, mouth and blush to the bee’s face after the iced cookie is fully dry (12 to 24 hours).

Amber shared a very unusual and elegant cookie. Starting with the color, a beautiful shade of blue, not normally associated with bees. That already called my attention. The hive was piped wet-on-wet, and the bee component was a royal transfer painted in gold and bronze. All details available in her own blog (click here), and you can see an Instagram video here. She is a magician with Royal icing, her bee hive is sheer perfection.

The bees are super fragile, so I advise you to make more than you need, as they might break when you remove them from parchment.

Bees were the subject of a blog post not too long ago (following a tutorial from Amy), and I incorporated some of those elements in a new design, joining the blue color with a stencil, and adding bee and hive made from Amy’s templates of my past.

Both border piping and brush embroidery are techniques I struggle with, so these cookies gave me an opportunity to practice. Maybe there is a little light at the end of this tunnel…

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT POST!

PUPPY LOVE

In my mind, cookie decorating has similarities with riding a bike. I am at the stage of riding with training wheels, insecure to let them go and find my balance. I rely on tutorials, on things I see and try to mimic. This post is one rare example in which I tried to let the training wheels go to make something out of my own imagination. The cookies were designed as a Birthday gift for someone who adores his puppy. I did my best to “cookie it.”

Once again, the recipe was my default: Grown-Up Spicy Chocolate Cookies, baked in two shapes, round and oval. Due to my complete inability to draw, I rely on images found in the internet to project on the cookies. A very fine black tip food pen, and then the fun part begins, painting them .

I used luster powder in several tones of beige, brown and copper, mixed with Everclear. Once the paint dries, the food pen comes back to refresh the outlines, as some parts are inevitably covered with paint. The birthday cake was a bonus cookie in the set…

This was my first time making 12 custom-designed cookies. It was a bit stressful, but I am happy with the way they turned out.

To wrap up this post, a few of the practice cookies I was playing with before settling on the final ones.

I also like the plain, black and white outlined cookies, but it’s too hard to resist the appeal of colors. Painting is just so relaxing, I love it.

Hopefully I will be letting go of the training wheels a little more often. Then I might share my productions with you. Assuming they don’t have to be consumed as evidence of decorating crimes…

SHARK ATTACK!

At some point this month it was Shark Week. I am horrible about keeping track of this type of stuff, and honestly I don’t really care. But when Amber made some super cool shark cookies, I decided that they can be featured anytime. Period. Her cookies are a lot more elaborate, using a tie-dye background. You can follow her tutorial on a Facebook live clicking here. The fun starts at exactly 5 min.

It all starts with the sharks made the day before using Royal icing transfers. You will need 4 colors + white just for that part. The shark template is available in her Patreon page.

I opted for a three color blue background to simplify it a bit. And also made a slightly different version, with ocean and sky.

The trickiest component is definitely the Royal icing transfer. When you see Amber making hers in the video, you realize how good she is at getting the consistency of the icing just right. I struggle a lot with it. In this batch of cookies, the icing for the transfers was a bit too thin, and the icing for the cookies a bit too thick. There you go.

Looks like my sharks had been swimming through rough waters. And they need braces… But, all joking aside, I loved making these cookies, learned a lot, and will definitely bring them back in the future. Now… what to do to get rid of an ear worm from a certain Spielberg’s movie?

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!

EYELET-LACE STRAWBERRY COOKIES

I loved trying this technique because it took me a little out of my comfort zone. You can see Amber demonstrating each step on a live Facebook video that is available here. She starts at 7 min and 50 sec. The cookie dough was flavored with strawberries, her copyrighted recipe is available through Patreon. Of course, you can use any sugar cookie recipe you like. I slightly simplified the decoration of my cookies, and used Royal icing transfer roses for the center. They were leftover from another project.

The cookie dough is pretty cool with little bits of freeze-dried strawberry in it…

Then the fun begins… All steps shown in the composite photo below… Paint a layer of Royal icing with the base color of your choice (thicker then flooding consistency it will dry a lot faster). I used the same color as Amber, you cannot go wrong with teal. The mini-projector helped me draft the eyelet design, and from there all I needed was to trace the outline, and flood the appropriate area.

Next, I filled the center with pink and added the white polka dots
(wet on wet)…

Let that set for half an hour or so, add fine lines to outline the design, and gently glue your central decoration. And voilĂ : your cookie is ready!

I made this cookie a couple of months ago, and plan to do it again, as I would like to do a better job with the fine lines. Those can be very tricky to get right.

Jeweled Butterflies made as described previously.

FOR THE LOVE OF AUDREY

Audrey Hepburn. Class, beauty, sophistication and sweetness in equal parts. I firmly believe we should cookie what we love, and since I’ve always been fascinated by her, it was just a matter of time. I would not dare trying to draw from a picture, not even with the help of a mini-projector. But this stencil captured her essence well enough. The whole process is simple, but some small details can have a huge impact on the final product. Read on…

I think her image begs for an oval cookie shape, so that’s what I used. I can visualize a Tiffany blue for the background, but this time I went with gold, using Americolor Gold gel dye in the icing.

The trickiest part of the cookie is air-brushing the stencil. Lighter colors are more forgiving, but black requires a lot of attention or you will have blurred edges.

One important detail to avoid blurred edges is a totally flat icing. If your icing dries with even very subtle waves, it will be pretty much impossible to lay the stencil flat and some parts of it will allow the dye to leak underneath. I made some in black and white, and like that look too.

Another way to get sharper edges is using a screen like this one placing it right on top of the stencil, and air-brushing over it. I have a love-hate relationship with the screen, because it is very hard to judge how much of the dye is reaching the icing, how much is retained in the screen. Particularly with dark colors, it is a tough call. You also have to clean the screen every couple of cookies, and that is a hassle too. So some of my cookies were made with the screen, some without. It turned out that all the ones made with the screen had sharper edges, but were too light and I had to go over the black areas with a pen.

To keep the festive atmosphere in play, I painted the beaded edges gold with Edibleart Decorative Cake Paint. It is the fastest and easiest way to do it. Luster powder + vodka is quite time consuming, as the suspension dries so quickly and it is hard to keep the level of gold constant as you work.

I have to say that this is one of my favorite cookies!
But then again… I am a self-professed Audrey-Cheerleader