MARLYN’S INSPIRATION POST FOR DECEMBER

Once again, the task for the month of December was very simply stated: use metallics to decorate your cookies. There are two ways to do it, you can air-brush or spray paint using products available from Wilton (such as this one) or from PME (such as this one). When you consider how fast the spray painting can go, it is a super efficient way to decorate many cookies at the same time. Of course, if you are going to gild the lily with extra piping or sprinkles, that will add a bit more time and effort, but in my opinion it is totally worth it.


For all the designs I used flooding either with Americolor Gold (to spray gold later) or Americolor Gun Metal (to spray silver). Once that base is set, I added details in piping consistency using either a similar color or white. That then gets painted with luster powder. If you start from white flooding, the metallic effect will be less pronounced, and the final color a bit more faded.

A similar approach will also work with silver…


I also like pairing silver and gold…


Of course, other shapes benefit from metallic decoration also… For the light bulb, I coupled Wilton Silver spray with luster powder bronze for the top and gold for the streak of light on the left side. The modern tree got gold on silver.

Bells also love a little shine, the one below quite simple to decorate, with a border using brush embroidery.


Solid gold pairs nicely with some sprinkles, in this case to make a real ornament that can be hung from a Christmas tree…

So many possibilities, including adding a metallic finish to Springerle cookies….

I loved this month’s inspiration challenge, and confess it was hard for me to stop making more designs…



I hope you’ll consider incorporating metallics into your cookie decorating, I am already dreaming about some serious shine for Valentine’s!

ONE YEAR AGO: Amy’s Christmas Cookies

MARLYN’S INSPIRATION CHALLENGE FOR NOVEMBER

This month, the challenge was summarized in four simple words: “stand up your cookies.” Sounds like something out of a certain tent, right? Not sure if you are watching Great British Bake Off this year, but one technical challenge had an empty page with “make a lemon meringue pie,” Poor contestants…. But, I am not in a tent, no pressure, no cameras, no microphone shoved in my face as things get tricky. Here I am to share the results of my labor, I am quite happy about this composition, and hope you like it too…

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The base for the composition is my default chocolate cookie recipe, which you can find in my main food blog with a click here. I constructed a little box, but ended up not using the base, just the sides as it went glued on the base anyway. So here are all the parts baked.

Once the basic components were baked, I started decorating. A couple of weeks ago I took an online class with Haniela where she taught us how to pipe succulents using Royal icing, and I made a bunch during class, and decided to incorporate them in my cookie scene.

The random-shaped base was iced in green with a thicker consistency so I could give it some texture using a brush. The box was also iced with a thicker consistency and the lines added after 15 minutes or so with a needle. Air-brushing gave it a more natural look, so that the color is not too homogeneous. The copper color of the base was just luster powder, applied dry with a soft brush. Acorns are painted fondant, made using a silicone mold.


Squirrels and pumpkins were decorated with Royal icing.


The fun part is definitely assembling it all together… I really enjoyed planning and then making the scene happen. I took the cookie set to our department and I got pretty nice feedback on it. Of all the inspiration posts so far, maybe this is my favorite. Let’s see what Marlyn has in mind for December… Stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Egg Yolk Painted Cookies

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!

MARLYN’S INSPIRATION FOR AUGUST

If you follow this little virtual spot of mine, you’ve heard that Marlyn proposes little homework challenges each month. For August, her suggestion was to use Royal icing to generate texture on a cookie. I had just made her 3D underwater scene (my previous post) and loved so much the method to make fish scales using a petal piping tip, that I wanted to practice a bit more. So here are two versions of a pretty colorful fish, using a cookie cutter I love, as its shape is unusual, I’d say funky and modern. Available here.

This is really a very simple cookie to decorate, but might give the impression it is labor-intensive. The steps are shown in the composite picture below…

Do a little sketch to help you separate head from body as you pipe the scales. Add them with Royal icing and a 102 tip, it will crust quickly since it is a thicker consistency. Use flooding consistency of the same color to add the head and tail – or if you prefer to do the purple style of the tail, just continue piping with the petal tip. Add a PME black pearl for the eye. Let that crust and add a little fine line defining the division between head and body. That step is optional but it makes for a more polished cookie. Now let it all set, and have fun painting. I used several colors of luster powder with vodka. A little smile with a food pen, and you are SET! Let them swim freely…

ONE YEAR AGO: Mr. Seahorse and his friends

MAY INSPIRATION POST: CHARACTER COOKIE

For the month of May, Marlyn proposed a slightly more challenging task: make a character cookie preferably using stencils that we would design ourselves. She gave Winnie the Pooh as an example. During the past few months, Marlyn has shared very detailed tutorials coupling Procreate (a drawing software for iPad) and stencil cutters, which is pretty much all you need to make your own cookie stencils. I will not go in too much technical detail, but even if you cannot draw (like yours truly), Procreate allows you to start from any image you find in the internet. You draw the outline and other details as independent layers that will then be made into a stencil using any machine you have (I have a Cricut, Marlyn uses a Silhouette). I tried super hard, but just could not make it work. At this point, I am not sure if the issue is my pen (to save money I bought a knock-off brand, and not the original Apple), my iPad (old model), or a combination of the two. Still, I could not stand the idea of skipping the Inspo challenge. Soooo, I cheated my way out and got a stencil available online.

The problem with stencils bought online is that they do not always work as expected. I downloaded three that were a waste of material, and the one I settled on was also not ideal. What Marlyn hoped we would do is make a stencil in which the outline gets air-brushed and then maybe two or three additional stencils could be used to do the whole thing by air-brushing. But the stencil I found gives a full image, without a defining outline, and no way to color different areas independently. As you can see below… I air-brushed with a sheen golden color that would not end up too dark.

I had to start from that, and then use food pens to add color and details.

To add a bit more detail to the design, I made little bees with fondant…

Soooo, I give myself a C to this homework. I love the cookies, so that’s not the issue. I just feel that I could not rise to the challenge of designing a stencil myself. But, I lose a battle, not the war. Once I recover from the self-inflicted soap opera, I will try again, maybe with a simpler image. Stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Out of this World Sugar Cookies

APRIL INSPIRATION POST: COLORS AND SHAPES

As I mentioned, Marlyn from Montreal Confections has been proposing challenges for her cookie-followers to work on their own. Here is the assigned task for the month of April.

That was it, my friends. Two shapes. A few colors. Go to work.

After much mental back and forth, hyperventilation, monologues around the house, I came up with a flower composition to use all colors. Had a few issues with the fine lines, but other than that, I am reasonably satisfied with my cookie set…

It all started by planning the petals around the center, and adding one leaf, making it easier to incorporate the electric green…

Once the cookies were baked and the colors mixed, the fun began… Flooding the different components and adding some wet on wet for the center.

For the final details, everything had to set for a few hours, and the colors mixed in piping consistency. I hit the dark green so well that I spent a few minutes doing a short version of the Happy Dance.
Look at those green lines! Don’t you love them? I thought so.

All that was left was some colorful piping to use the other colors, and tie the whole design together.

I really love these little challenges because they force me to do something on my own. Yet another thing to love about cookie decorating. Getting out of your comfort zone to explore the universe of colors and shapes.

Thank you, Marlyn!