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

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!

MARBLED COOKIE DOUGH

This is another example of sugar cookie with minimal to no icing. The decoration comes from marbling several colors of dough together. The clever method was shared by Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and was one of the techniques showed in this youtube video (starting at 18 min 15 sec). The moment I watched it, I could not wait to give it a try. Today I share a few adventures with this concept, starting with her original design for Easter egg cookies, then a couple of things I tried on my own with leftover dough.

MARBLED EASTER EGGS
(from Montreal Confections tutorial)

Aren’t those super cool? You will need one little special tool to bring these cookies to life – a clay sculpting gadget. They are pretty inexpensive and available at stores such as Jo-Ann or Michael’s. Of course, the Seller Of All Things will have it for you (click here).

Get your favorite cookie dough recipe, make a batch and divide it in three. Use food gel color to dye each batch with a color of your choice. I used green (with some yellow barely mixed into it), purple and pink. Then roll each piece of dough as a log, place them side by side and marble them. Not too much so that the colors don’t mix. Check Marlyn’s video for all the details. Roll the dough as you would normally do, and cut the shapes. After that, mix some white food gel with egg white, whisk and brush a light coating on the surface of the cookie. Immediately use the clay sculpting tool to cut patterns that will expose the dough underneath. That is all you need to do. Bake and admire the results!

Those will please people who don’t like Royal icing, opting for a more austere cookie. The very thin layer of egg white glaze contributes no taste, no added sweetness. I used a heavy hand with the colors, you can definitely get a more pastel tone.

MARBLED COOKIES WITH FONDANT DECORATIONS
(from yours truly)

For an even simpler cookie, just cut any shape you like, bake them without any glaze. Once they are baked and cooled, place fondant decorations with a bit of Royal icing as glue.

Those are some of my favorite shapes – skinny hexagon, scalloped oval, and sticks…


MARBLED COOKIES WITH A CRACKED FINISH
(from yours truly)

For these cookies, before baking I brushed a thin layer of Americolor white food gel. It must be Americolor, or it won’t work the same way. I should have brushed slightly less dye, make a thinner layer, so that the effect would be more evident. But the general idea still worked. Once they were baked, I added a few decorations with Royal icing, medium-stiff consistency for the stems and flowers.

Stay tuned for one more adventure using colored cookie dough in a different way…

FOUR LITTLE CHICKS

Every Tuesday and Friday at noon (Central Time), Marlyn and Haniela go live on Facebook and spend one hour decorating cookies, explaining techniques, and chit-chatting about all things sweet. Last month they came up with a very cool idea: have viewers participate decorating cookies at the same time. Of course, they shared all the needed materials – cookies to be baked and flooded before, Royal icing transfers, and icing colors. It was cool beyond words… Without further ado, these are my four little ladies, born from that adventure… I made two during the live, and two right when it ended.

I am totally in love with them! To get ready for the live, we had to get some items prepared, and the composite photo below shows them all. If you don’t have a stencil cutter, you can just draw the lines by hand, no need to be super precise.

The eggs were flooded in light blue, and I used a darker shade of blue to air-brush the design. We made three kinds of Royal icing transfers, wings, eggs, and flowers. Then the fun started, using wet-on-wet, and piping details with thick consistency in white. The pace was perfect. I would not say this was a beginner’s level decorating, but if you have a little experience working with Royal icing, you would be totally fine.

If you would like to join or simply watch the lives, check Marlyn’s Facebook page with a click here. I learn so much just by watching them, but decorating together was a ton of fun. I look forward to the next adventure, which will be hosted by Haniela on March 25th. We will make a mini-gingerbread house!

MONTREAL CONFECTIONS & PYOC

If you are a cookie baker, I am sure you are familiar with the acronym PYOC: Paint Your Own Cookies. But what you may or may not know, is that the person who originally invented those was Marlyn, from Montreal Confections. Nowadays, many bakers sell kits to make them, others sell boxes with this kind of cookies, but she takes no credit and makes zero profit from it. Incredibly unfair, if you ask me. Over the years, she’s been sharing many tutorials that show her technique. For one of her Easter versions, click here.

The most basic way to do a PYOC, is to flood with white Royal Icing, and pipe a design with black right away, using wet-on-wet. This way the black lines will lay flat with the icing and make it easier to paint, either with M&M as the source of color, or with food pens. I’ve made a few sets in the past year and offered them as gifts with food safe pens alongside (this is a good option). Usually I send one or two cookies already painted, and several others as a white canvas. If you have kids around, a little afternoon of painting cookies can be a ton of fun…

If you watch the video I linked in the beginning, Marlyn shows how to incorporate M&M’s in a cookie design, so that the person can simply use a brush and water to get some paint from the surface of the candy and use that to paint.

A similar way to do PYOC is adding the black outline (with piping consistency) once the flooding is set. This way the lines will be a bit tridimensional. It will give the cookie a stained glass feel. A little trickier to paint, but I like the way they turn out.

Finally, you can also flood the cookie, let it fully set and draw the design with a food safe pen… As I am no Monet, I resort to a mini-projector to make the designs…

The possibilities are endless, you can draw animals, flowers, or even stick with abstract motifs. All you need is a source of color, and release your inner Van Gogh…

Whatever you do, if you make a set of PYOC and share your masterpieces online, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due…

Marlyn’s Facebook Page

Marlyn’s Instagram

Marlyn’s Youtube

Marlyn’s Patreon siteaint

CARDINALS IN A TREE: A PIZZA BOX SET

Marlyn first shared this tutorial last August in her Patreon site (you can also watch a simplified version here). At the time I felt a bit intimidated by all the details, and kept postponing the making of it. I said to myself “maybe I can do it before the end of this coming winter.” With a little more than 1 month to spare, I finally went for it… And now of course, I think I should have done it sooner!

Let me walk you through the steps… It all starts with baking the base cookies cutting them according to the template that Marlyn designed. Additionally, two cardinal cookies that will fit together, and the decorative corner pieces.

Added details are the cute acorn pieces, made by coating brown M&Ms with Royal icing, using a small petal tip. And if you look closer, you’ll see she uses a technique to add white splatter on the blue base, mimicking snow falling.

The corner pieces are decorated with piping consistency green and brown…

And of course, the most important component is the cardinal couple…

The whole design is very clever… The branches are piped following the separation between the base components, and once that is fully set, Marlyn gilds the lily further: piping green leaves and adding a little snow on top of the branches, white icing + sanding sugar.

Of course, the cardinal cookies stand alone without any problem… I love them so much!