THE MANY FACES OF WHITE

Every weekend I like to work on a special cookie decorating project, either to learn a new technique or to practice something I still feel insecure about. But I also like to have a set of cookies waiting without any specific design in mind. My favorite approach is to just pick some simple shapes (squares, ovals, circles) and flood them with white or a very light pastel tone Royal Icing. Next day they are ready to be decorated. The possibilities are pretty much endless. Today I share a series of cookies in which the starting point was a simple white background.

DESIGN #1
STRIPES & DETAILS

Maybe my favorite of this series… I used food safe pens to paint a series of bands of color, then used piping consistency icing to add little details. Super basic. Inspiration came from painted rocks, if you go on Instagram or Pinterest you can find a ton of designs to inspire you.

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DESIGN #2
STRIPES & FONDANT ACCENTS

A lot simpler to do because the stripes don’t need to be precisely separated, I just used luster powder in 4 different colors to paint the background. Fondant shells in gold complete the look.

Even simpler, stripes can be added with a fan type brush, just touches of gold coupled with a modern fondant flower (made with this mold)

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DESIGN #3
MINI-PROJECTOR

So many images available in the internet or in coloring books, just google something, grab your projector and go to work… Lately, I’ve been a little focused on a certain breed of dog… The one below was painted with food safe pens and the bubbles added with piping consistency Royal icing.

The two images below were “borrowed” from one of my favorite pages in Instagram, Jillfcsrocks. And no worries, she is aware that I get her images on my cookies… She is also a cookie-maker! They were painted with Sugarprism.

Another cookie painted with Sugarprism, this one demanded a little more time, but I had fun letting my inner Van Gogh coming out (cough, cough).

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DESIGN #4
STENCILS

Probably the easiest, most efficient way to decorate a cookie, coupling stencils with the air-brush. My main advice is to invest on a screen (like this one) to get really sharp edges on the design. That is not too important in busy patterns such as the black random spots, but it will help other types of drawings like the paw prints and the dragon. Are you watching House of Dragons? Fun show…

Stencils can also be joined with piping in white and then painted. Probably the most involved decorating method of all the examples in this post. When you couple it with painting (in this case, Sugarprism), it is a very nice way to get a more realistic image. Big thank you for Marlyn from @montrealconfections for helping me with the design of this stencil.

ONE YEAR AGO: Heart of Honey Pizza Box Cookie

FOR THE LOVE OF HORSES

Marlyn is back inspiring me, I had this tutorial bookmarked for a while and finally gave it a go a couple of weeks ago. The cookie cutter (available at amazon.com), shaped as the head of a horse, is a little tricky as far as decorating goes, but as usual, Marlyn figures out a way to make it shine. Several different techniques went into the making of these cookies. You can pipe the flowers by hand using Royal icing, or simplify a bit and go with molded, painted fondant pieces. It is up to you.

Let me walk you through the steps to make this colorful design…. First, flood the cookie with light brown Royal icing, and let it set overnight. Then add the details using a stencil and brown air-brushing color (I used Totally Brown from Cookie Countess).

Once that is done, it is just a matter of adding some details with piping consistency Royal icing in green and brown, some confetti shaped gold bits, and the fondant pieces in the end…

Once the fondant pieces are added, the cookies are ready to party!

I love the modern-romantic look of these horses… I simplified a bit the design compared to what Marlyn did, so I advise you to watch her video and consider adding all the bells and whistles. What I love about her design is how unique it is, playful and whimsical at the same time. I bet any horse lover would be very happy getting a platter of these cookies.

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of the Sea

AMY’S TROPICAL TREASURES

To join Amy’s Facebook group and be on top of future online classes, click here.


This is the 8th online lesson I took from Amy… time flies when we are having so much fun, right? This lesson was medium to advanced, and as is often the case with Amy’s designs, lots of different techniques were involved, often several in a single cookie. There were three videos before the online event to make sure we had all the preparation done correctly. Without further ado, here is the full set of my tropical babies!


There were seven cookies made as the main set, and we also had the option of making a few more in the shape of half-hexagon.


Below you can see all the prep work for class made the evening before…


Some pieces are painted fondant, some are Royal icing transfers (like the hibiscus, made in two stages, flower and stamen).

Of all the techniques involved, the one I need to get better at is stenciling with thick royal icing. I have issues keeping the stencil in place (even using the frame to hold it), and making a smooth layer. We did three different cookies, one with a solid color to stencil, and the other two with two-tones (purple and green). I had some issues with each of these three, but in the end they got other decorations on top and I did my best to hide the “boo-boos.”


Let me highlight some of the cookies and list the techniques used for them…


Flood with purple. Two-tone stencil with thick Royal icing. Flower is painted fondant. Leaves are fondant and Royal icing transfer.



Flood with purple with texture (embossed paper). Brush embroidery flower. Leaves are wafer paper and fondant.


Flood with green and diamond dust for shimmer. Royal icing stencil. Hibiscus flower is Royal icing transfer. Leaf is painted fondant.


Flood with solid purple. Royal icing transfer for hibiscus flower and leaf. Maybe my favorite cookie of the set.

I loved this class and the use of very few colors to make all cookies, so that they flow together beautifully. Purple, green and ivory, in different shades and textures. Perfect for a wedding or as a Birthday gift for a special friend. Thank you so much, Amy, you ARE a master teacher!

ONE YEAR AGO: Jeweled Butterflies

PIRATES ROLL THIS WAY

To join Amy’s Facebook group and be on top of future online classes, click here.

One more amazing online decorating class taught by Amy from Seriously Sweet on Davis Street. Just as the trial of Mr Depp – the forever Caribbean Pirate – was coming to an end, we attacked the making of this set of six cookies. Serendipity in cookie format. The class was described as Intermediate, but as usual, Amy explains it all so clearly that even beginners could follow. Maybe not in real time, but definitely playing the video later and taking their time.

Here they are, my six babies

Amy taught us many different techniques in this class. To prepare for it, we needed to bake all cookies, flood the compass one with ivory icing, and prepare all the fondant decorations using molds and then paint them with the “dry dust method” in which luster powder is applied straight to the fondant with a brush. Three different colors of dust worked together to give the aged look of coins and compass. Brilliant! Notice that the pirate’s head is a Christmas ornament cookie cutter. Cute cookie cutter flip…

Once all the fondant pieces are painted, the fun begins….

The most elaborate cookie was the treasure chest, maybe… All the small details that Amy planned for it, made it super special in the end. You can see some of the steps below. The cookie cutter used is originally to make an open book, and we did some trimming and shaping with a Microplane before decorating.

By piping the edges and then painting with gold (I used a mixture of gold and copper dust), the whole design comes to life. Then, all you need to do is place the pieces to decorate, flowing out of the treasure chest.

The two trickiest components of this class, in my opinion, were the fondant skull and the black net, made with Flextfrost sheets. I had to make the skull several times, it kept breaking as I removed it from the mold. I had to use a heavy hand with cornstarch, and freeze it overnight to get one piece to come out whole. And the Flexfrost sheet is temperamental. You need to hit the amount of water right, and also the extent of drying before pulling it out of the mat. But, all things considered, there was light in the end of the cookie tunnel.

Another cookie that involved several cool techniques was the treasure map…

The texture is made pressing a gloved finger delicately on the surface after it has crusted for a while. And the details with food pen are aged with vodka.

A cute pirate and his rum bottle were the simplest cookies to make. My pirate has a congenital problem in the ears, but he is a happy pirate. When he manages to control his friendship with the bottle of rum, he is quite good at negotiating the compass….

Amy, cannot thank you enough for yet another great Saturday afternoon in your company and the company of all the other cookiers. Even if only virtually.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sugar Cookies, the Groovy Series

AMY’S EASTER COOKIE DECORATING

One more online event accomplished, this was quite an amazing class taught by Amy, from Seriously Sweet at Davis St… Please, consider following  her Facebook group, so you can join the fun next time. The class was classified as “advanced” because there were quite a few techniques involved, mainly making fondant decorations in advance and piping leaves and a woven basket. The class centered around one silicone mold with multiple Easter-inspired designs in it (available here). I had that mold for a long time sitting in our basement, so it was a great opportunity to bring it out to play. We used a single shape cookie cutter (basket from this set), and decorated them with assorted fondant pieces, tying it all together with piped leaves and sprinkles. Here are the four babies made during the class.

It all starts with fondant decorations. Those are best made the day before, as you’ll need to paint the fondant pieces and allow that to dry too. The trickiest was the basket handle, very fragile. I ended up using only one, and piping the handle on the other cookies.

Also the day before, flood the cookies either in two colors (I used green and baby blue), or a solid background, I went with yellow. Gather your icing, sprinkles, and let the fun begin!

These four I made during the class, that lasted less than 2 hours… By the way, you don’t need to join in real time, you can sign up and watch the class later, if more convenient, decorating on your own.

You may have noticed that the mold had tiny chick’s heads, but I did not have a chance to use them during class. So, next day I made another cookie, this time with a crackled background (paint Americolor white before baking over the surface). The white over the chocolate cookie gave it a blue-ish tone I really liked.

I loved Amy’s technique to pipe the handle. Very very cool. Pretty useful in many cookie designs, I am sure.

I hope you enjoyed this little set of Easter-inspired cookies…
Amy, thank you again for a great class!

SPOOKTACULAR SHORTBREAD COOKIES

This is a sister-post from yesterday’s publication in my main blog, where you can find the full recipe for these babies. I truly loved their taste and texture and hope you’ll give them a try. In these versions, the spooky quotient was increased with skulls and scary eyes. The shortbread has no leavening agent, so it is a good choice to bake the little skulls, molded in a plastic ice cube tray (available here). Just make sure to keep an eye during baking, as they bake fast. It seems obvious, but let me make sure to reinforce it, you do not bake in the tray, you mold them, release them and bake them free. Maybe there are molds out there made of silicone or metal and you could conceivably do the full baking in them.

As to the scary eyes, those were a ton of fun to make. I followed a very detailed tutorial from Heather Salmon, available in the closed Facebook group “Painting with Sugarprism.” She actually shared two different ways, one with isomalt, which I think is even nicer, but because my cookies are donated and I don’t know who gets them, I was afraid that a young kid could choke on the isomalt. It can be a bit hard. So I opted for fondant. My mold had a little hole for the pupils, so I had to do a bit of patching up with extra fondant to get a fully round surface. Then it was all a matter of painting with Sugarprism, and a final spray with PME pearl luster.

The advantage of all the Halloween decorating things, is that you don’t need to be artistically gifted. It is all good in the end. Imperfections just make it all more real.

The little cat was painted with Baby Black luster powder and the eyes with red. I left the skulls plain, straight from baking, but they could look great with bright red eyes also.

The eyes were placed over black royal icing, thick consistency, piped with a petal tip. After it was fully set, I painted a bit of metallic red from RainbowDust on the edges (available here).

Halloween and cookies are a match made in heaven. Or would it be hell? I have quite a few more designs to share, so stay tuned for more spooky things popping up on your screen…

ARE WE SCARED YET?

VAMOS A LA PLAYA!

Some cookie projects are a complete pleasure, beginning to end. Once again I followed a tutorial from Marlyn (Montreal Confections). You can watch the basic process here, as part of a recent Live Facebook event. A full, detailed tutorial (with a nice supply list) is available in her Patreon page. The basic idea is quite simple: two colors flood the cookie, mimicking sea and sand. But then she brings the details, the real gilding of the lily. And the simple details turn each cookie into a fun, adorable beach scene.

The adventure starts with a round cookie, pick a size compatible with the decorations that will be added in the end. However, I generally dislike cookies that end up too big, so I went as small as feasible for my shells and starfish.

For the water component, Marlyn suggests painting a wavy design with the air-brush, and a final shiny coat with a spray of PME luster. Those two small details considerably embellish the cookies.

The sand component is added after the water part is fully set. I used Golden Rocks from Wilton, lightly processed in a mini-grinder. You can use Graham cracker crumbs too. Finally, brush embroidery comes in to play the role of waves. Just make sure that the Royal icing is in piping consistency and don’t use water in the brush because it can interfere with the air-brushing. It is all clearly explained in Marlyn’s tutorial, by the way.

The shells and decorations were made using this mold.

I find making decorations with silicone molds very relaxing, as you may have noticed from a recent post. And they last for a long time, so you can make them way in advance. I added a light spray of PME luster to all of them, but painting with luster powder + alcohol works great too. The spray is just faster and simpler.

If you love baking cookies, make sure to follow Marlyn through her IG page. She is always coming up with new ideas, it’s hard to keep up, but I have fun trying, that’s for sure!

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).