DON’T CALL THE GNOME POLICE!

Is there such a thing? Could I be in serious blogging trouble for publishing two gnome posts in a row? Let’s hope not, because today I want you to meet Pippin, The Gnome. Design and tutorial by Amy from Seriously Sweet on Davis St (click here for her IG page).

This was part of a “simple” online class taught by Amy… I say “simple” because there were only two cookies, and not much preparation required for class. We only had to make a few fondant pieces and paint them, nothing else. In fact, Amy told us we could do them early in the morning as the class was around 4pm. A few colors of Royal icing – not that many – and some in very small amounts. A real “no big deal” event, right? Right? Well, let me tell you, I went into a few cycles of hyperventilation during the adventure. Have you noticed Pippin is showing his feet and hands? It turns out that we were asked to pipe his fingers and toes. Please be kind and don’t go carefully checking how many fingers in each hand. Pippin has a genetic condition, but it is a minor thing and he lives a happy and fulfilled life.

So here is our countertop right before class started, all pieces of fondant painted, cookies baked, and Royal icing colors ready in bags.

It all starts by drawing the overall placement of all the cookie’s features. Then the hat is made with pieces of fondant (I used modeling chocolate instead), rolled into small ribbons and then sculpted with a clay tool. Amy had a pretty clever way to make the very top, but I could not quite do it like she demonstrated…

By far the trickiest part was piping the fingers and toes, all made in stages so they would not all glue together. Pippin is not a frog, so please, no webbed feet. I loved the detail of Pippin’s nose, which is made with a tiny shell painted gold.

The second cookie of the set was a sandcastle, quite a bit simpler. We did the whole thing during class, speeding things up with a dehydrator. That cookie would probably go well in a beginner’s class, whereas I consider the gnome as advanced. Too many things can go wrong.

Painting the hat was left for the following day so that the fondant(or modeling chocolate) was fully set. We used dry dusting with many shades of luster powder, super fun!

The level of detail in this project was something! I don’t know now Amy can think of so many little bells and whistles to add to her productions, but I am glad she does, and also explains so well how we can do the same. The shading done to turn the feet a little dirty was brilliant!

I close this post with all the cookies I made that afternoon, which had a beach-summer feel…

Amy, thank you one more time for yet another great adventure,
you always push my limits, and I LOVE IT!

ONE YEAR AGO: Hungarian Folk Art Cookies

SHIRLYN’S FLAMINGO GNOME FUN

A couple of weeks ago I took a very deep breath and joined an online cookie decorating class that seemed way WAY out of my skill level. Let me just show you the kind of cookies this amazing artist does, by sharing her Instagram page. Still, I decided that if I don’t push my limits, I might be missing something. I won’t lie to you, this was hard on many levels, but once I saw these cookies staring at me, I could not stop smiling…

The class involved two videos, each one 3 hours long. Yes, big investment of time but you get to see Shirlyn making every single step (except of course baking the cookies), in a super detailed way. On day one you’ll make all the Royal icing transfers, and the basic icing of the cookies. Day two is devoted to painting and assembling everything. So many different techniques! She is big on shading, which is a method of painting using diluted gel colors and an almost dry brush to spread it. Sugarprism will also work, but this time I stuck with the gels. By joining the class you get a ton of materials, including all recipes for dough and icing, plus all the templates for Royal icing transfers. Also access to basic videos demonstrating specific techniques of general interest for cookie decorating. You can of course use your own recipes if you prefer, which is what I did. Below, some of the steps involved in making the cookies. I watched the videos and made the cookies a couple of days later, it would be too hard for me to try to decorate in real time with Shirlyn.

On the end of the first day, I had the four cookies iced, and the Royal icing transfers made and painted (I made them early in the morning and could paint them in the evening). Once that was all done, the following day was devoted to adding all bells and whistles. It is truly amazing how shading will bring life to any design…

The coconut cookie was actually one of the trickiest for me. It is a simple design but the details are not easy to do. A lot of room for improvement in that one… But for a first time, I am happy with it. I intend to re-visit all these cookies in the future.

If you would like to learn of future online classes by Shirlyn, visit her website and subscribe to her feed. I will definitely be joining her again, she is super sweet and incredibly talented. And has the patience of a saint to answer questions…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Flamingos