AMY’S CHRISTMAS HEXAGONS

One more series of cookies designed by Amy, this time the class was not live, but a series of videos pre-recorded so that each person made the cookies whenever most convenient. The full set had 10 cookies, I did not make them all, but loved each one that was born in my kitchen. Here you can see some of them…

To find out more about Amy’s online classes, check her Instagram page with a click here.

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I also made a couple of Christmas trees to match some of the cookies, and some round ones with the swirl border which I absolutely love.


Below, some of the prep stages of the cookies. The candy cane design was not from class, I had watched a reel on Instagram showing the technique and decided to add to Amy’s designs.

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My favorite design from class was definitely the one below…

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I love the elegance and simplicity, the division of the cookie in two sections adding texture as sanding sugar to half of it. Definitely my favorite. I made a little Christmas tree inspired by it.

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Another great design that I confess I did not hit correctly, is the poinsettia. I should have been more careful when I planned the positioning of the petals, but I still like the way they turned out. Amy teaches how to pipe all the petals using tipless piping bag, a great skill to have under your belt.

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We also made a nice little snow-covered brunch…

And, bringing back the hexagon with the swirl border, my green colors were a little thick, but I love the way that gave a little bit of extra lift to the design, so I will keep that in mind for the future.

I love this series, and hope to re-visit the techniques again in the future, as well as making the few I did not get to yet. The swirl border can be made in many different ways, as you can see in the composite picture in the beginning of my post. Great for Valentine’s also, so get your imagination going!

Amy, those were amazing designs, thank you once again for the super detailed instructions in all of the videos!

ONE YEAR AGO: Happy New Year from the Snowy Village!

FLORALS

Spring and Summer, time to celebrate color, flowers, being outside and allowing the beauty of the universe to inspire us. I share with you cookies made in the past few weeks, using several different techniques, but all with flowers in mind. I start with my favorite, following as closely as possible a Facebook tutorial from Marlyn. For this one, sequential piping is coupled with air-brushing to bring to cookie-life Plumeria blooms.

Marlyn is a pro with the air-brush, it is not something I do without considerable hyperventilation, but slowly I am getting the gist of it. The yellow part worked well, I found the pink to spray too wildly at times.

Below some of the steps to make these cookies…

I love the simple elegance of this design, typical of Marlyn. If you don’t have an air-brush, you can still do the same by painting with gel color diluted with vodka or water. It will take a little longer, but other than that, no issues.

Moving on, some other florals that happened in our kitchen lately….

SUGARPRISM PAINTING

AIR-BRUSHING + STENCIL

CRACKED BACKGROUND + PAINTED FONDANT

Design inspired by Amber, from @sweetambs
tutorial from Craftsy

ROYAL ICING TRANSFERS

(drawing designed inspired by Amber, from @sweetambs)

I still have many floral compositions waiting in line to materialize as cookies,
so stay tuned for more soon!

ONE YEAR AGO: Gilding the Lily with Silicone Molds

COLORFUL HEARTS

Every once in a while someone sends me pictures of decorated cookies they love and tell me I should make them. Some are totally out of my skill level, so I just reply with a very gentle “are you out of your mind?”, and move on…. But not too long ago my friend Louise sent me a video of a great cookie artist at work and I decided to give that one a try. I actually changed the whole method around. Originally those were made with many (and I really mean many) colors and consistencies of Royal icing. Each cookie requiring several different colors for piping and flooding, then even more colors for the final details. I simplified it quite a bit by using Sugarprism painting over the basic white design.

As I mentioned, these were made with super labor intensive Royal icing work. I took shortcuts, not only to minimize the need to make so many different colors, but because I love the process of painting, and Sugarprism makes it so nice. Plus it tastes like vanilla, so no fear of adding odd flavors to the cookie. I started with fully set white cookies, and used two consistencies of icing to add the outlines and then flood. Make sure that your icing has some “muscle” in it, you need the flowers not to be flat.

Once that is fully set, the fun part is waiting for you… grab your colors (if you don’t have Sugarprism, food safe pens, diluted gel colors, or luster powders will work also).

I waited for the base colors to dry a bit, not more than 15 minutes were needed, and added the details on top, also with Sugarprism and a very fine brush.

I had some extra cookies and decided to play with a simpler design. I made random flowers using golden luster powder diluted with vodka, when that was dry, I added the outlines and details with black Sugarprism and a very fine brush.

So there you have, six heart-shaped cookies, in two different floral styles, one will require some time and effort, but the golden ones are the easiest cookies you can dream of. Apart from grabbing a box at the grocery store, that is…

ONE YEAR AGO: Burning Bush, A Custom-Made Cookie

FRAMED FLORALS


Many occasions can be celebrated with floral cookies… engagement parties, weddings, Valentine’s, Birthdays… adding a frame to the design makes it even more special. Oval shapes are perfect for that. You can use a cookie cutter with scalloped edges. Or you can follow the cute idea of Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and shape the cookie using what is normally reserved for fondant: a silicone mold. Sugar or chocolate cookie dough with no leavening agent work best, making sure to bake the cookies from frozen. Once the cookies are baked, the central area is flooded and decorated.

In these cookies, I flooded the center with Royal icing in Gold, allowed it to set overnight, then stamped the designs… I thought a little kitten could look cute in place of flowers…


To order the mold I used to bake these cookies, follow this link. It takes a little bit of trial and error to get the right amount of dough in the mold, and pull it without losing the shape. But once you get the gist of it, it will go smoothly.


Using sugar cookies will give a totally different look. In the cookies below, I flooded the center with white Royal icing and then used wet-on-wet to make flowers. For a little bling, I painted the edge with luster gold.


A scalloped oval cookie cutter can give a stronger impression of a frame by piping a line on the perimeter and then flooding the center. Once that was fully set, I painted flowers using Sugarprism.


Just a few hours after I made these cookies, we stopped at Marshall’s and I found the absolutely perfect little platter! Serendipity in full force…


Another way to make a framed floral is flooding with a bright color, in this case Wedgewood with a touch of Royal blue, allowing the icing to fully set, and scratching a design with a needle, as I blogged about in September last year (visit post here)…

ONE YEAR AGO: Fun with Royal Icing Leftovers

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

THREE YEARS, THREE BAKES FOR ARITRI

I dedicate this post to Mrs. Shyamasree Majumdar

Three years ago today the world lost someone very special. A brilliant young woman, who was getting ready to embrace science as a life-time commitment. She loved color. She loved to sing. She loved life. Some cookies that I make have what I call the “Aura of Aritri.” Like these ones. I think they would have made her smile.

This series, with a mandala-design was made with stencils and air-brushing. I think she would have appreciated both the patterns and the colors. They were flavored with Chai extract from Olive Nation, and a touch of vanilla.

FLORALS

This series was flavored with Fiori di Sicilia, and decorated either with brush embroidery + luster powder painting, or by stamping, a technique I definitely need to practice a bit more.

MACARONS

Aritri loved macarons, and these, flavored with Pistachio-Lemon, were decorated with her in mind. Just food-safe pen over the baked shells, and a light spray of PME pearl luster.

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ROYAL ICING ETCHING

This is a very nice technique to play with, and deceptively simple. All you need is to flood a cookie with icing, preferably a dark color. Let it fully set overnight. Then, use a mini-projector or any other method you like to get an image on the surface. Keep in mind that the final drawing will be made by hurting the surface of the icing with the tip of the scribe tool. That will be a very thin line, so any food pen you use to mark the drawing will show because it is wider. That’s why in this case a food projector or free-hand drawing will be your best options. Once you scratch the design, you can brush the surface with a super light dust of pearl luster powder (dry, with a soft brush), to make the image brighter. This step if optional, but it does improve the final cookie. I first used this method last year, but only added some straight lines to a decorated cookie. My friend Dorothy pointed me to some Instagram posts in which they used etching to draw simple flowers. I loved the idea and made my own versions.

You can leave the design simple, as a white on dark drawing, or go one step further and use additional color like I did in this one, in part because the background was a bit light and the drawing too faded.

I find that for this type of design a border around the cookie adds a touch of elegance that complements well the look.

The possibilities are once again, pretty much endless… And you can mix decoration styles and colors to a platter of cookies, to add contrast but keep the elegant aura going. Along those lines, I believe that brush embroidery and a simple etching design go very well together. What do you think?

I am definitely going to explore this method further in the near future, and I hope you’ll give it a try!

AMY’S DOGWOOD SUGAR COOKIES

Every Tuesday at noon I try to join the Facebook live event called Cookie Therapy, hosted by Marlyn and Amy. You can read more about it here, and watch all episodes whenever convenient. Last month Amy showed how to make cookies decorated with my very favorite flower: dogwood. It was just a matter of time for me to gather the necessary gadgets and try to reproduce them. For Amy’s super detailed tutorial to make these cookies, click here. You can advance to 8 minutes to get to the beginning of her demonstration.

The flowers can be made way in advance, using an impression mold from Wilton and fondant. I have intense dislike for fondant, but after reading great reviews about this brand, I caved and tried it. I don’t think you can get fondant to taste better, unless maybe if you make it from scratch. That is not happening in my kitchen in the foreseeable future, so that’s what I used for my flowers.

In the video tutorial, Amy shows exactly how to form the flowers, leaves and centers using this cool mold from Wilton. The fondant is dyed green using Americolor Laurel. The ends of the petals are dusted lightly with luster powder after the fondant is set. I used Ruby from Oh Sweet Art.

A word about shaping of leaves. You can make those using special fondant cutters like this one:

It makes a leaf, alright. But it is quite artificial-looking. Using the impression mold from Wilton is a game-changer. Each leaf is unique, and you can cut it with a leaf-shaped cutter or even do it free hand.

Once you have the flowers ready, time to work on the cookie. The idea is to set the flower over a blue base (Wedgewood from Americolor is a favorite of mine), but with a white and green area more or less framing flower and leaf. Amy advises to plan the design, draw with a food pen, and then flood accordingly.

I absolutely LOVED making these cookies. Amy went the extra-mile drawing a delicate outline of the dogwood in the flooded area, but to do that I think I would need a slightly larger cookie and plan the area more carefully. So I skipped that step.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please stop by Amy’s Instagram page (@seriouslysweetondavisst) and Facebook page to see the many beauties she bakes (she is a professional cookie and cake baker).