FOUR LITTLE PUMPKINS

Who said pumpkin-shaped cookies need to be always orange and brown, same old same old?
Today I share four versions that expand the horizons of the Pumpkin World.

VERSION #1

WOODLAND PUMPKIN

I was absolutely smitten by this design, created by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections. You can see her tutorial clicking here. I modified just a few little details, like using chocolate dough, so that the background was already dark and I did not need to paint it.

Cookies are baked with a circular indentation in the center, then the outer region is flooded with orange Royal icing. Once that sets, thick Royal icing dyed with a marbled brown makes the decorative stems. Little decorations are added (mine were painted fondant), and you are all set!


Of course, I had to make a little Halloween version at the time….

VERSION #2

BLACK AND WHITE PUMPKIN

This was my own design, could not be simpler. Just flood the center portion of the pumpkin with white, wait about 15 minutes, flood the adjacent sections and immediately pipe black dots of icing. Once that sets, add the details in black, with thicker consistency icing.


VERSION #3

THE HAUNTED PUMPKIN


If you miss Halloween, here is a little comfort for you… can a design be any more adorable? This was posted by Haniela in a Facebook live a couple of weeks before Halloween. She gilds the lily using air-brush, but if you don’t have that, a little luster powder will work too. To watch her tutorial, click here.

General steps shown below…


VERSION #4

PLAID PUMPKIN


Another super cute design by Haniela, I lost my pictures of the different steps in the design, but it is quite straightforward, and you can watch Haniela demonstrate it with a click here. All wet-on-wet, flood with the color of your choice, and then add straight lines in two contrasting colors. Allow that to set, then add details. Mine were Royal icing transfers in the shape of sunflowers and small leaves. I need more practice with the fine lines, so I consider these a “work in progress.”



I hope you can find some inspiration in this set, as the season for pumpkin in cookie shape is still going strong… I know for sure I am not done yet!


ONE YEAR AGO: Zentangle Cookies, Tangled up in Zen

AMBER’S JEWELED SPIDER

I realize Halloween is over, but these cookies are so cool that I believe they deserve a post just for themselves… Plus, they would be great to give to that special person who is into gothic looks, and appreciate that mood any day of the year. You will need a mold to make the body of the spider, but other than that, the cookies are not that complicated to make.

For Amber’s tutorial, visit this youtube link.


It all starts by making the body of the spider, using this mold. You can use candy melts but Amber recommends Celebakes brand. I played with two other brands I had around and they did not work, it never hardened enough. So I used Almond Bark (dark chocolate flavored) and it worked like a charm! Much easier to melt and work with, hardened with a nice shine. After that, it is just a matter of painting it with luster powder in any color you like. Make it shiny, though.

Below the overall plan of the design, that will go once you flood the cookies with Royal icing in the color of your choice.

Once the flooding is done (I used a mixture of wedgewood, dark blue and black to make a color I probably won’t ever be able to repeat… 😉 you are ready to work.

The body of the spider is glued with a small amount of Royal icing, and then the details added with piping consistency icing, using a Wilton tip #3. A little border on the edge of the cookie and the outline of the spider. Nothing else needed. You can paint the black with silver as Amber did in her video, or leave it dark. Your cookies, your choice…

I really love this design and intend to make it again soon, maybe with a Christmas color schemed and details painted in gold. Also, the jewels can be used as simple stones in cookie compositions, so it is a nice mold to play with.

ONE YEAR AGO: Halloween Withdrawal Syndrome

HAPPY HALLOWEEN WITH SWEET 16!

With this post, I share a collection of 16 cookie designs made in the past month, with a very brief description of the techniques used. It might be too late to inspire you for this Halloween, but the horror must go on next year, so keep that in mind!


Cookie cutter flip! The wreath cutter turned upside down to make friendly little monsters. Flooded with purple and orange. Eyes made as Royal icing transfers, details with black and white Royal icing, piping consistency.


Some monsters love ice cream, but it must be of a special kind… Ice cream cone cutter, flooded in orange, spider web in dark purple added after the base was set. Ice cream is thick Royal icing marbled green and white.


Bats flooded in black. Large candy corn flooded in orange. Once base is set, details in the bat made with orange Royal icing, piping consistency or a stencil for the little spider drawings, air-brushed in black.

Witches’ hats… simple wet-on-wet design, and a little store-bought skull sprinkle for a final touch…

Another cookie cutter flip, this one a tulip turned upside down. Wet-on-wet for all the design, facial features using a pen, and the flower is painted fondant.

Cauldrons, similar design to what I did last Halloween, but this time I added a few extra fondant decoration, and the Royal icing eyeballs. I am totally in love with the broom, even if it was not a very easy mold to work with, very delicate. But freezing the fondant in the mold helps.


The candy corn cookie cutter in a simple design, flooded with orange and green, then air-brushed in black with stencils.

Sometimes with just two colors of icing, you can do a lot. Green and black, eyes are store-bought sprinkles, finger is painted fondant. Talk about creepy…

Pumpkin with a hat… love this cutter! Basic flooding in stages for the pumpkin component, leaving empty space for the facial features Details in black Royal icing, piping consistency.

Another design I loved! Skeletons. Very simple, most of the cookie is left naked. All details piped in white Royal icing, including the yes. Final features with a food pen, and some pink luster powder. A spray of PME pearl luster ties everything together nicely.

Also re-visited from last year, spider web and casket are classics that you cannot skip at Halloween!

Candy Corn strikes again! I have a little video to show the drawing, over full set Royal icing.


Sally closes the post with Sally. This was the most time-consuming cookie of this set, as it was all done by hand, with the aid of a mini-projector. I might have to make one of this each year, because…. how could I not?

ONE YEAR AGO: Halloween Pizza Box Scene

MARLYN’S INSPIRATION FOR OCTOBER

Every month,  Marlyn  from Montreal Confections suggests little challenges so that her followers can work on creativity. For October, she proposed that we work on making cookies using different colors of dough. I made two different cookies, both with Halloween in mind. I hope you like them!

DESIGN #1

DAY OF THE DEAD SKULLS

I did not have a large enough skull cookie cutter, so I cut the shape by hand. I wanted the cookie to be big so I could use smaller cutters to make the pattern. Next, I made sugar cookie dough and divided it in pieces: one left without any color that was used for the skull, three dyed in pink, orange, and purple. Below you see the steps for assembling the cookies.

Once baked, the pieces naturally join together, and the final step was to add al little black and orange Royal icing for details, and a light spray with PME pearl luster, because I love the look it gives to the cookie. A delicate shine.

So there they are, my little Day of the Dead Skulls, sitting in the sun and getting ready to scare people…


DESIGN #2

FRIENDLY GHOSTS


For this version, I opted for a marbled background (chocolate dough + sugar dough dyed with bright orange). Once that was rolled out, I distributed over it small ghosts made from plain sugar cookie dough. The steps are shown below.

I made a tactical error in the design, which you may be able to figure out quickly. I used one particular ghost that was too big, so when cutting the final cookies those were compromised, the shape of the ghost was not evident. If you try this method, make sure to think about dimensions of the design in relation to the size of the cookie you are aiming for. I ended up placing a small ghost on top of the large ones to bring the design back, and that worked ok.

A little white Royal icing to pipe the details, and that’s all you’ll need…

I hope you liked this set of cookies, and consider using this cool technique to make different designs. Once you are left with pieces of colored dough, you can marble them together and cut all sorts of shapes.

Marlyn, I loved this month’s challenge, and will be anxious to see what’s waiting for me in November!


ONE YEAR AGO: Let’s Get Spooky!

LITTLE SPIDER BROOCH COOKIE


This cool design was demonstrated by Amber in a recent Facebook live, and later she shared full details through her Patreon site. I loved everything about it, and of course wanted to give it a try. She designed it as a cupcake topper, making legs that hang to the sides, super realistic. I made a single one with that feature, but opted for piping the legs sitting on a larger cookie instead. Later I made another version with a different cookie cutter. If you want to practice piping fine lines, this is a great project. Just don’t be disappointed if yours lacks the elegance and finesse of Amber’s. Mastering these techniques takes time and patience. We all have the former, but some of us lack the latter (cough, cough).

Below, some of the steps to make them… First flooding in black, then adding the marbled effect with luster powder diluted with vodka. Legs piped over parchment paper using thicker consistency icing, details on the body with piping consistency. Finally, all the details and legs are painted with gold.


I baked large spider web cookies to accommodate the little spiders on top. In the end, these are very large cookies, probably best to share with a friend. Or call it dinner & dessert!


The spider webs were super simple, just wet-on-wet Royal icing, black over purple.

After I made these, I decided to try a similar decoration using a small cookie cutter, in which the legs are incorporated in the shape. The basic preparation was the same, but since the legs are piped on the cookie itself, it is a lot easier.


It is not as dramatic as the original, but it is also fun to put together. I made some leaves to go along with them, perfect for those who prefer little to no icing in their cookies. Just pipe an outline in black with a tip 2 icing tip, let that dry and paint the surface with luster powder + vodka.

I hope you liked this little spider series, and consider joining the Live Facebook sessions every Tuesday at 1pm EST. Follow this link to watch previously recorded sessions and to join future recordings.

ONE YEAR AGO: Autumn Leaves

ARE WE SCARED YET?

Just in time for Halloween, Marlyn shared a tutorial to make Frankenstein’s little creature. Let’s call him Frankie and see how he came to life. Not in our lab, mind you. In the comfort of our own kitchen.


Once again, I was not sure I could go through this little marathon of cookie decorating, but it seemed like too much fun to pass. Through her Patreon site, Marlyn provides the stencil (svg file) to facilitate piping on the cookie, and all templates for the Royal icing transfers (nose + eyebrows and chin). Still it was a bit intimidating. I started with three large cookies but one of them had a very sad death when Sally lost her temper. Enough said. He was going to be too ugly even for Viktor Frankenstein’s standards. Obviously, I cannot go through every single detail, as this is a paid tutorial from Marlyn, but the composite picture gives you an idea of what is involved: making the transfers, piping each section (including the eyes), and assembling everything. The screws are molded fondant painted with silver dust.


One of the things I need to be more attentive to, is making enough icing so that I don’t run out of the color and have to make more midway in the design. Especially when making large cookies, I tend to underestimate amounts. As a result, my poor monsters have two different shades of green, plus the green used for the transfers. Not a huge problem, but definitely something to correct in future projects.


What I enjoyed the most about this was piping the eyes! Odd, because I was so scared of it, but that part did not give me any troubles. The icing on other areas had some boo-boos, but the good thing about Halloween is that the cookies don’t have to be perfect. So there you go…

ONE YEAR AGO: And now for Pumpkin Completely Different

AMY’S HAUNTED HALLOWEEN MANOR

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

One more class under my belt, but this one I messed up a bit. The full set contains 4 cookies, but you will only see three, because… tragedy took place. What is Sally’s life without a little drama?


I cut the cookies by hand because instead of buying the cutters. Their shape is so unique, I did not anticipate using them again until next Halloween. If you’d like to buy them, the set can be found online (check the store clicking here). Lots of little details went into the making of this composition. Before class, we made fondant decorations and prepared all the icing. I also made a few bones as Royal icing transfers. If you have a mold for that, you can go with fondant or modeling chocolate.


In the beginning of class, we made the little green eyeballs, and with that step out of the way, we were ready for decorating action!

The bottom cookie, which had a door and two tombs, gave me a lot of trouble. I made a few mistakes, ran out of black icing in the middle of the class, had to rush to make more, and things went downhill fast. So that cookie was sacrificed to the Cookie Gods, hoping that they will be kinder on me in future projects.


They work great together as a set, but also as individual cookies, as you can see below. The one with the windows was a lot of fun to make. Amy makes us draw everything free-hand, which blows my little mind. One line at a time, she takes us there. I love it!


And of course, the spider web piped as wet-on-wet is a great technique to keep in mind for this time of the year. You can add that to all sorts of cookie shapes, place a fondant spider or a ghost on top, and you are all set! Simple, yet effective…

Amy, thanks again for yet another amazing class! I just wished I had not messed up the bottom cookie, but I know everybody else in class did a great job with that one, so trust me, not your fault!

ONE YEAR AGO: Cookie Lace Designs

HALLOWEEN WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME

I dedicate this post to all who struggle with a harsh reality: Halloween won’t be back for 363 days. I invite you to sit back for a virtual tour of many spooky cookies I’ve baked and donated in the weeks before the greatest cookie holiday of all times…

Perhaps my favorite of all…

Sugar Cookie flavored with Pumpkin Spice, flooded with Royal icing orange and white, then painted free-hand with Sugarprism Tuxedo Black… For the little witch in the center I used a stencil.

Some additional cookies got the “zentangle” treatment I am so fond of…

Moving on… some cookies made with the help of a mini-projector and pictures found online (artprojectforkids is a favorite source of mine)

Basic white cookies for a black-and-white spooky look, painted with food pen, free-hand, as it’s such a simple design. Bat and skull are fondant additions.

Zentangle can be interesting to change the background, and particularly for a Halloween cookie, no need to strive for perfection. Or so I hope.

A little more spookiness, the bat cookie was inspired by Haniela…

I really love the candy corn shape, so versatile! The purple ones below are not iced, just sugar cookies painted with Sugarprism, or with little fondant ghosts.

Below, a couple of crackled cookie attempts using Sugarprism once again. I will re-visit the technique soon and blog about it once I get it right.

Shortbread is also wonderful to decorate using cookie stamps like these from Nordic Ware. After baking, they were painted with luster dust diluted with vodka.

Linzer Cookies can be scary too! Just use your favorite recipe and create a spooky face. I painted the edges with luster dust and vodka.

And finally, a couple of macarons, because… how could I NOT include them?

That’s all for now, folks! I am really sad that Halloween is over, and all the cookies I did not get a chance to make will have to wait. But hey, there’s always Thanksgiving… and Christmas… and when you blink twice, Valentine’s will be knocking on your door!

HALOWEEN PIZZA BOX SCENE

STAY CREEPY, MY FRIENDS!

I am thrilled to contribute with my little pizza box concoction to the goodies made by my Great American Baking Show friends. It’s been a while since we got together to bake on a set theme, but better late than never!

I love the concept of pizza box scenes, devised by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and in fact used one of her ideas for the background cookie. The cookie was made with an impression mat for the wood grain texture. Chocolate sugar cookies are the best for the effect, right before baking you brush a little white food gel to reveal the texture in all its glory. The same cookie was used for the night sky.

COMPONENTS OF THE PIZZA BOX SCENE

A pumpkin-hat combo that I made using two cookie cutters joined together…

A little black cat pressed into the night-sky component, painted with Sugarprism…

A caldron with store-bought spooky eyes and neon-green bubbles…

Fondant decorations for the little ghost (he is friendly!) and bat (he is not rabid)…

Royal icing, piping consistency for the full moon…

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The caldron must be made in stages, so that each group of bubbles has a chance to crust, otherwise they just join together, and the effect will be los

I hope you enjoyed this little pizza box cookie combo. One of the things I like about this version is that some cookies are left plain, so those who prefer less sweetness will appreciate their inclusion. Make sure you use a very flavorful cookie recipe, for the chocolate I recommend this one.

Make sure to stop by the homebakers IG page to see what my tent-baking friends made for this virtual get-together.

LET’S GET SPOOKY!

But let’s do it in style, under the guidance of the great Amy, from Seriously Sweet on Davis St. I could not join her tutorial live, as when that happened I was too concerned with teaching, but a few days later I jumped into it. The great thing about her tutorials is that you can watch them whenever you want in case you cannot join the live session.

I absolutely loved making this series. There were additional cookies demonstrated in the tutorial, but I only managed to make these two. Introducing…

Susie, the Happy Spider!

For the spiderweb cookie, Amy taught us how to give the background a nice texture, and all the details to pipe the web, how to get the dimensions correctly. I made my spider with fondant and dyed it silver. Eyes were tiny little drops of Rainbow Dust Metallic Red.

As to the background it’s all in the consistency of the black Royal icing, as well as the technique to spread it.

SPOOKY TOMB DUET

Aren’t those super cool? Once again Amy taught us how to get the funky background, that can come in handy for many types of cookies.

In the same tutorial she shared a very nice tombstone cookie, and a cauldron. I had made a cauldron the week before, but hers had extra touches of cool, like addition texture to the surface. I will have to re-visit the cauldron issue next year, as spooky baking season is coming to an end. I am not sure how I will deal with Halloween withdrawal syndrome. Am I alone in my misery?