RUFFLED HEARTS

To watch Marlyn’s tutorial on youtube, click here

This design is perfect to practice different skills using Royal icing, and that was Marlyn’s goal when she came up with it. I suggest that you use a large cookie because it will make the whole process a lot easier, more space, more freedom to move the icing tip around. I used the largest heart-shape cutter from the 101 Wilton Set. Come to think of it, you don’t even need to add all the bells and whistles. The design looks pretty nice even in the initial stages. I loved making them!

At first glance, you might think that this would be a two-day cookie adventure, but it is not. There is no need to wait for each layer to dry for more than 30 minutes, or even less if you own a dehydrator. So a few of these can be made in a little over one hour, start to finish.

I strongly advise that you watch Marlyn’s tutorial because she shows the whole process in detail. The diagonal lines are very effective, but if you prefer to avoid piping them, you can add white dots to the center (wet-on-wet), and that will look cute also, simplifying the piping. Adding the two final edges of ruffles hides any imperfection in the joining of the fine lines with the edge, so the cookie will look very polished. I added a little diamond dust in the end because I cannot skip the opportunity for bling. You know how I roll… 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Diwali-Inspired Gingerbread Cookies

GINGERBREAD PEOPLE

Probably the most popular shape for the season, these days you can find super cute cutters with all sorts of twists on the classic. But these? These are the classic, simple shape, made special by the little details as Royal icing transfers. Who else but Marlyn could come up with all that, right? To see her recent live on this design click here. To have access to her template sheets to pipe the decorations in the correct size for the cookie, you’ll need to join her Patreon site.


Aren’t those adorable? Marlyn made chocolate cookies with gingerbread color icing, but I opted for gingerbread cookies, and used my default recipe that is available on my food blog (click here). The cookies are very very big, part of Wilton 101 cookies. The price in amazon is ridiculous. I found it at Michael’s for less, but I am offering you the link so you can see what to look for.

It all starts by piping the transfers. I made icing in black, red and green, but the little hearts for the mouth I made in white and then painted with pink gel dye.

The final touch is to add a little blush to the cheeks with a soft brush….


The cookies are really big, but you could adapt the same style of decoration to smaller cookies, as long as you decrease the size of the details proportionally. Or you can just draw them with a pen or even use wet-on-wet. It will still look pretty cute.


I also made a little variation on the theme, this time for a very small cookie… but the overall idea is the same.



ONE YEAR AGO: Christmas Time Macarons

HOCUS POCUS, A COOKIE ADVENTURE!


Talk about pushing the limits with the decorating, this was definitely challenging but SO MUCH FUN! Needless to say, it is one of Marlyn’s designs, and full of details that make it special. I simplified things a bit. As originally planned, this is a 3D cookie, supposed to form a box to hold Halloween candy inside. I went with just the top of the box as a stand-alone cookie. I absolutely loved bringing this design to life… The link to this particular tutorial from Montreal Confections is available here.


The base for my cookie is a chocolate-chipotle, which is usually what I go for because everybody loves the flavor so much. Since the cookie is dark to start with, I though it would be a good base for it. As I am a member of Marlyn’s Patreon site, I have access to all that is needed to make the design. Most of it relies on Royal icing transfers, which are the cookie decorator’s best friend. You can make many and use the best ones. Three transfers are needed: the stretched out snake, the coiled snake, and the eye. The most challenging – to me – was the coiled snake, that needs to be piped in the correct order. I messed up my first set, had to re-do them. Things that have precise spacial orientation are very hard for me. Long story, enough said.


You can make the transfers way in advance, they stay good forever. Then the decoration of the base cookie is not that complicated and Marlyn gives a full step-by-step guidance.


I had extra transfers and used the eye (my favorite) as a single accent in a cookie…


This is a real tour-de-force of a cookie, but once again it gives you the chance to learn a ton of things. I loved it!

ONE YEAR AGO: Henna-Inspired Vegan Macarons

MARLYN’S SUNFLOWER PUMPKIN

I cannot lie, I hate that Summer has ended, but I must also admit that Fall might very well be the greatest season for cookie decorating… because…. pumpkins, autumn leaves, and let’s not forget: HALLOWEEN! So, to start things on the best possible mood, I kick the season with a set of cookies created by Marlyn. I fell in love with them at first sight: a mixture of pumpkin and sunflower, in a composition full of small details that make a simple design shine. You can watch her tutorial with a click here.

The background of the pumpkin is made a little more special by spray painting the edges and then splashing some gold on the whole surface. I love that technique, which she demonstrates very well in the video. Just adding these two additional steps to the background makes the cookie special. But, of course, the icing on the cake is the sunflower, petals piped over a ring of icing to give it a little more lift. With Marlyn, it is all in the small details. Below, you can see some of the steps in the preparation of the cookies.

I loved making these cookies because you slowly see the image coming to life. Moreover, they stand as a very nice lesson in decorating, because you need to work on so many skills: a nice smooth flooding, then some air-brushing, working with luster powder, and finally piping designs with different icing consistencies (for the flowers, leaves, and fine line details).


For the sunflower center I used two different methods: black sanding sugar, and adding texture to Royal icing using a fondant ball. I like them both, but working with sanding sugar can be tricky, if you go that route, make sure the petals and areas around the center are fully set so the sugar won’t glue to them.

I hope you enjoyed this set, that represents the essence of Fall so well!

ONE YEAR AGO: Welcome to Fall!

MARLYN’S UNDER THE SEA 3D COMPOSITION

I am totally smitten by this set designed by Marlyn, using several different techniques in cookie decorating. A very detailed tutorial is available for her supporters through Patreon (click here). I cut the background cookie and the fish tail by hand (templates provided by Marlyn) so that they would fit perfectly together, but you can definitely search your cookie cutters and come up with slightly different variations. On a side note, I usually have no idea who gets my cookies, but this set was an exception (read on).

I opted for my default chocolate cookie recipe (you can find it on my food blog clicking here), and used mini cookie cutters from this set from Sugarbelle. The rock at the bottom was made with a flower cutter cut in half. Marlyn used a cloud-shaped cutter.

Here are all the pieces baked and iced, waiting for assembling… Some pieces I made extra just in case something bad happened, and also for practice.

So many techniques: the rock texture made with parchment paper, the fish tail with a small petal tip, and a lot of painting with the air-brush. For the first time I thought I managed to direct the air-brush gun with more precision. For instance the little fish’s mouth, tail and fin were air-brushed in orange without messing up the rest of the body. Yes, there was some hyperventilation associated with the process…

This was really fun to put together, and the icing on the cake is that these cookies were donated for a homeless family of four that has been struggling quite a bit. It made me happy to learn that maybe this little 3D scene could give them a reason to smile.

ONE YEAR AGO: Mr. Seahorse and his friends

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

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

FOR THE LOVE OF A TEDDY BEAR

I fell in love with this cookie concept the moment I saw it in Marlyn’s IG page and then on her Patreon site. The twisted legs and the goofy expression won my heart. At that time, I felt the techniques involved were way out of my skill level. But I hoped that one day…. one day I would be brave to give it a try. Finally, it materialized. One little step at a time. Steps taken with twisted legs, to match the cookie spirit…

I just love this cutie pie! I opted for chocolate cookies as the starting point.. The head and legs are made from heart-shaped cutters, the body a simple oval shape. Next, a bit of “frankensteining” happens to add ears and arms to the head and body. Marlyn has it all very clearly explained in her Patreon tutorial.

From that point, you will need two tones of Royal icing for the basic components (outlining darker), and a fun technique with a plastic wrap to make the texture.

A little black royal icing for the eyes, some finishing details for nose and paws, and that goofy boy is ready to make a kid smile!

THE MANDALA HAND

Of the many cookie adventures I’ve embarked in the past year, I suppose this was the most challenging. Maybe. It is a heavy competition with the Chinese New Year of the Tiger set, also designed by Marlyn. It involved cutting four different stencils, layering the different colors by air-brushing, and once all is said and done, piping fine lines all over the design. I made the cookie twice, and share two different ways to do it. The second version a little easier because you will be using a food safe pen to make the outline.

This is a very large cookie, about 7 inches tall. It needs to be large or you will have too much trouble working the details. Marlyn shared the stencils needed for the air-brushing. I had some trouble adjusting their sizes to match nicely, but managed to make the design work. It is so busy that some small variations did not compromise too much. Below you see the steps, each stencil is used in a particular order so that the colors will not only work on their own, but also combine with the previous color added, to give a different one. Super clever.

The first stencil is the yellow color, and also requires a mask (eye-shaped) so that the eye stays white. The air-brush would blow that mask away, so a little magnet is added to keep it in place – however, when I decided to tweak that layer of color, I forgot to put the magnet back, and the mask flew away, so some yellow went into the white region. Live and learn. Cookie and learn, actually. The top right photo has two colors layered already (yellow and pink). The bottom right has the blue stencil added, and finally the bottom left shows all the colors applied (yellow, pink, blue, and green). Pink and yellow at parts combine to give orange, and blue and pink combine to give purple. Once all that is done and dry, the fine line piping can begin…

It is really a labor of love, but so much fun to see this cookie take shape!

I made a second one the following day because I felt I needed to practice. And decided to try filling the outlines with a food pen instead of piping Royal icing. It gives it a different look, and it is considerably easier to do, so keep that in mind. In this case, I flooded the background with gray icing. And added a spray of PME luster over the whole cookie once it was dry.

Every once in a while, I try to challenge myself by making a cookie that scares me to death… this was one. Huge thank you to Marlyn, who manages to demonstrate every single step so well that common mortals feel like they just might be able to cookie-it!

A VINTAGE DRESS SET

A couple of weeks ago during a weekly Facebook live, Marlyn hosted a tutorial in which people could decorate in real time with her. Cookies were hand-cut and baked before class. Handbag and shoes were not part of the live demo, she had a little tutorial to show how to do those previously posted in her Patreon site. The skirt and blouse had some pre-decorating done, and were then finalized during the event. This set would be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day, or Teacher’s Appreciation Day, or a simple “I Think You Are Special” offering. You can watch the whole video following this link.

The cookies required stencils to provide guidelines for piping, but you could conceivably draw that free-hand. Some of the steps of the preparation are detailed below

For the shoes, after flooding in white, the stencil is used to add the red details, using an air-brush. You could draw them by hand and fill the red using a food safe pen. Once that is done, the rest is all piping with Royal icing. The shoes were by far the trickiest for me, my first pair was not fit to be seen in public and had to be consumed as evidence of a cookie-crime. I did a little better on the second pair, which is the one included in the group photo.

The handbag has a very clever design. The rough texture is made with sugar dyed with blue food color. I love the tiny details of gold, which are sequin sprinkles such as these. They also go in the blouse, tying the design together nicely.

For the skirt, a petal tip was used to decorate the border, and after that flooding with yellow + air-brushing lines to guide in the final decoration during class.

So these components were all we needed to attack the decoration with Marlyn…

It went by super fast, and again I learned a lot. This basic design can be tweaked to do all kinds of colors and patterns but I loved the look that Marlyn planned for the set. She puts so much attention to small details, they do elevate a cookie to higher levels. And often it’s not that complicated, but just a little something extra to consider. Like the lighter color on the inside of the shirt, the ruffles on the bottom of the shirt and skirt, the little golden sequins.

There we were, hard at work!

Marlyn and Hani, thanks for another great live session on Facebook! I am not sure there will be more of this kind, but I had fun with every single one of them so far…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of a Golfer