HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE SNOWY VILLAGE!

This set of cookies was fun to make but a little challenging in some ways. You must be attentive to the dimension of the roof components, particularly the thickness of the cookie. Those parts cannot be rolled too thick, they won’t look good and won’t assemble properly. The whole design was conceived and demonstrated by Marlyn (livestream video available in two parts, here and here). I simplified mine a bit, eliminating wafer paper decorations on the edge of the roof. One of my favorite parts of this set was making the rocky path in front of the door. Check out Marlyn’s version to be amazed!

When I first made the cookies, the roof components would not align properly on top of the house, bringing back nightmares of what happened to me in a certain tent. Catastrophic developments that later were broadcast to a few million viewers. Family members and friends included. I quickly donated those roof parts for three very happy pups, and re-made them with more attention to overall dimensions. I used my roller cutter the second time around, and it worked like a charm.

Another component I had to re-make was the snowman. First I used a mini cookie cutter from Sugarbelle, but it ended up too big. The snowman looked like a giant in front of the house. I decided to cut the shape by hand instead.

Each set then takes a base (I used a tumbstone shape), a big triangle for the face of the house, two sticks for the roof, and either a small snowman or a tree to decorate the front. The pebble path is of course optional, but I loved making it.

The roof parts got painted with a light coating of Royal icing, and the front of the house was flooded in red, leaving an opening for the door that was iced with purple. White and green Royal icing in piping consistency were used for all details.

I hate to sound repetitive, but if you want to take your cookie decorating to a higher place, consider joining Marlyn’s site at Patreon. It is one of the best investments you can make, the only “problem” is that she is so productive and shares so many interesting projects that it’s hard to decide what to do next. So stay tuned for more adventures in cookie decorating as 2022 rolls around… Soon this little baby blog of mine will turn 1 year old!

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!

A super fun cookie project, following the cookie-steps of Marlyn once again. Her full tutorial and templates are available in her Patreon page with a click here. You can conceivably make the design without cutting stencils for it, but they make life a lot easier. Same thing goes for the Royal icing transfers, you can skip and just pipe on the cookie but they add a lot, so my advice is to enjoy the path and go with the flow. I am so happy with my little chubby Santas, even if one of them indulged a bit much in the eggnog and got wasted.

Yeap, the bottom right one took over the eggnog and would not let go… Truth is, the air-sprayer malfunctioned and let’s say he got more blush than advisable for a respectable Santa. My apologies. He is very merry, though.

Below you see the items you must prepare in advance, if you want to do the decorations as transfers. You will need Marlyn’s templates for that (link here), or if you are a pro at drawing, you can try to make them yourself. The stencil helps air-brushing the basic design on the naked cookie, but you ca definitely draw it by hand.

I made the beard using two different styles, either air-brushing with the stencil, or piping with Royal icing. I like them both, actually.

Marlyn does so many cute details in her cookies, and I learn a lot trying to incorporate them all. I need to get better at handling the air-brush and judging the distance, amount of dye, and how hard to press the little trigger. But only one Santa out of four got hopelessly drunk because of my actions. Not bad, not bad.

I wish all my readers happy holidays and, if you celebrate….

MARLYN’S HUNGARIAN TREE

As I mentioned in my last post, this cookie is a work in progress, because the intricate piping was a a bit beyond my skill level. Marlyn designed a real masterpiece, and I knew it would be a challenge to try and get it right. But if we don’t get out of our comfort zone, we never improve. So here is my first attempt, not sure I’ll have a chance to re-visit it before the holiday season is over, but there is always next year… Marlyn’s detailed tutorial and template for the stencil are part of her Patreon site. You can find it here.

The cookie starts by flooding with Royal icing in the color of your choice for the background. That layer needs to fully set, so you can apply the stencil on top (available at Marlyn’s site as a Silhouette or Cricut file), and use that to spray paint the design (using a very soft color that will be barely visible). Once that dries, you can lay the drawing with piping consistency Royal icing, and that is the tricky part. I reduced the size of the cookie, which was not a very clever move. For a drawing as complex as this, bigger is easier.

For the air-brushing I used pearl white, so that even if I was not able to cover each detail, it would not be a problem.

Some of my colors were a little off in the consistency, so the piping was not as sharp as I wanted. But for a first attempt I am pretty happy with them. Of course, there is no need to wait for the next holiday season to practice this technique. It can be used for all kinds of cookies, and Valentine’s will be a perfect excuse for me to try it again… Stay tuned!

BABY BLUE FROM ME TO YOU

Winter is coming. Might as well dress up for it. Mittens, hats, and don’t forget to keep your snowman warm outside. All designs were made following the cookiesteps of Marlyn, from Montreal Confections.

If you want to considerably simplify the cookies, you can omit the knitted pattern made with piping consistency Royal Icing. Maybe go for air-brushing a stencil. But the piping adds a lot to the design, and I was anxious to give it a try.

Marlyn has a perfect tutorial in her Patreon site, you can check it out with a click here. In the same tutorial she shares beautiful snowflakes, I intend to try them soon.

Now let’s take care of that poor snowman, guarding your home, facing the elements…

Another cute tutorial from Marlyn, the knitting pattern is a little more advanced, I think. Again, you can omit it if you don’t want to try it. But the border made with a small star shaped tip is definitely a must. Other than that, a very simple cookie to put together. Once you make the hat and ice the face with white you are 90% of the way there. This tutorial is available on youtube (click here), and you can also see her Santa Claus made with the candy corn shape. So versatile!

I loved making these cookies, and hope you will give them a try too!

CAT IN A TEACUP

Teacups are cute. Cats are cute. When you join them both, the Cuteness-meter goes nuts. I cannot take credit for the idea, I simply followed Marlyn in one of her video tutorials. You can join two cookie shapes if you have the appropriate cutters. I did not have anything that would work well, so I cut them by hand.

I made some with my default chocolate cookie recipe, and some Sugar cookies flavored with Elderflower (Olive Nation essence). Once the cookies are baked and cooled, the basic design is added with a food pen, and sections are piped with Royal icing.

The spoons are baked separately. To decorate them, I used Gold royal icing coupled with gold air-brushing.

The fine gold lines really make the design come to life. I was terrified of messing up the cookie in this final step, but overall I am pretty happy with the outcome.

These cookies were part of a gift for dear friends who are cat-lovers. So in the package a few other kittens were included.

I think what I love the most about cookies is making up a gift-set. Thinking about a theme the person will like, a color scheme, I find the whole process absolutely wonderful.

MARLYN’S PIZZA BOX BEACH COOKIES

I’ve been excited about cookies more than once. Who am I trying to fool? Countless times, I admit. But I am just over the moon with these. Marlyn came up with this cool idea of arranging cookies inside a small (7-inch square) pizza box (available here), and I totally fell in love with the concept. This first one I made following Marlyn’s tutorial pretty closely. Perfect for the summer, my favorite season.

The idea is to fit the cookies to form a scene inside the pizza box. Marlyn shared templates for her Patreon supporters so that you can cut the cookies to fit. Check her site here.

First you bake the cookies and make sure to trim them if needed, using a microplane. I actually did not need to do that, they all fit nicely together.

Next, decorate each cookie according to her detailed tutorial, or using your own ideas and color scheme.

The trickiest part for me was piping the weave pattern in the bag, I almost decided to skip it, but I’m glad I gave it a try. Mine is far from perfect, but I am happy with it. It is a bag that has seen a few Summer vacations already…

Once all the individual cookies are decorated and fully set, comes the fun part, assembling the design!

Isn’t this a fantastic concept? The possibilities are endless, boxes designed for Halloween, for Valentine’s, for a wedding anniversary, anything you can dream of. Marlyn keeps adding new versions and I keep dreaming…

Stay tuned for two more versions of Pizza Box Cookie scenes… And make sure to check Marlyn’s IG page to get truly inspired…

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!

JEWELED BUTTERFLIES

These cookies were made following a tutorial from Marlyn (available in her Patreon site), and although a little involved, they will make you happy and relaxed as you see them develop, one little section at a time.

It all starts by painting a very thin layer of Royal icing on the cookie. After just a few minutes it was dried and I could draw the sections with a food pen. White icing was used to draw the outline of all sections, allowed to dry and air-brushed with gold. Then three different tones of the same color (I used teal from Chefmaster) filled the wing sections. Some steps are shown in the composite picture below.

Finally the body is filled with white Royal icing, and gets a shower of sparkling sugar.

The same design works on different shapes of butterflies. The first time I used a different cookie cutter and had some issues with the fine lines, but still like the overall look.

MY FIRST COOKIE PLATTER

This would be perfect for a Mother’s Day gift, don’t you think? Cookie platters can be made with sets of cookies especially designed for the purpose (as the clam petal in today’s example), or you can create a composite by grabbing cookie cutters you already own and coming up with your own unique design. To make my first platter, I followed an online class taught by Marlyn. It was set as a group meeting in which the participants could show their progress and ask questions. In other words: 2 hours of pure fun! You can join Marlyn’s Facebook page or Instagram account to get notification of her new classes, and also visit her youtube channel for many free tutorials available.

Materials used for this cookie platter:

Clam 3-petal cookie cutter + teardrop leaf cutter, any 3-inch round cutter and any mini-daisy cutter, with 5 or 6 petals, about 1.5 inches.

You can bake the leaves separated from the petals and place them together after baking, or do as I did, joining them as one cookie. They will end up as a solid single piece.

Choose your weapons and charge them…

Petals from the large central cookie and the small daisies are piped with stiff consistency Royal icing and a Wilton 104 tip. Everything else takes flooding consistency (about 15 seconds), and two tones per color, no need for tips. Thanks to Marlyn’s guidelines, I finally feel better about using the 104 tip.

Once everything is done, let the pieces set overnight…

It was a lot of fun to decorate live with Marlyn. She made it all seem very easy and simple, and was quite attentive to the timing so that no one was left behind. The pace was perfect. I learned a lot, and also realized that practice is everything. You can watch videos for hours and hours, but you won’t develop that “feel” for the consistency of your Royal icing until you grab the bag and try it yourself.

I close this post with one of many sayings by Marlyn:

Some days you make great cookies, some days you learn.