SUGARPRISM PAINTING TIME!

If you don’t know what Sugarprism is all about, visit this post from July last year. Michelle offers online classes for free almost on a monthly basis, and I always try to join because I learn so much from her. I share today cookies made in two of her recent tutorials, all with a Spring-Easter feel, perfect for the season. The Peekaboo Chick was the most challenging, I still cannot believe I made it, as I cannot draw to save my life.

For the Sugarprism website, click here. For Michelle’s facebook page, click here.

The composite picture below shows the main stages. Michelle explains exactly what to do, where to start each line, how to angle it, how to hold the brush, and the design slowly comes to life…

It blows my mind how an artist can see the drawing in all its many parts. I have major problems with spacial orientation of things. For instance, I cannot read a map, I am unable to “transfer” the map to my surroundings. All those things they place in stores or streets with the – “You are here” – label… they are of no help to me. This handicap translates into issues if I have to draw things by looking at an image. The fact that I can do it with Michelle’s instructions still amazes me. Huge thank you to her!

Moving on, a trio from her tutorial “Bunnies Gone Wild”… Three departures on the bunny motif to make a zebra, a cheetah, and a giraffe pattern. Compared to the peekaboo cookie, those were quite a bit easier. You almost get into a zen-mood painting each pattern. I loved them all!

All cookies started from a white background, the zebra was ready to paint, and the other two got a little background color using very diluted Sugarprism acrylic color. Once that sits for a while, the painting of patterns on top can begin…

These cookies take a little time to paint, but mastering the patterns is a nice skill to have. As Michelle pointed out during the class, you can use the patterns in so many different cookies – imagine swimming suit cookies for the summer, dresses, hats, handbags… I will definitely be playing with them… and of course, let’s not forget…macarons!

Michelle, thank you so much for the tutorials!
Already revving my engines for the next…

BEAR WITH ME

For a non-native speaker of English, some expressions can be quite amusing. Bear with me is definitely one that makes me smile because no matter how hard I try to avoid it, the image of a teddy bear jumps in my mind. Playful and cute. So, bear with me as I go from English to baking. Sugar cookies, sandwich cookies, macarons. With bears in mind…

THE LITTLE PANDA BEAR

This design was based on a picture my niece Carla shared in our family whatsapp group. I knew I had to “cookie-it”. So I used the mini-projector to draw the basic design, and then applied the same technique used for bunny rabbits in previous posts. Sugarprism was used to paint the body. The only additional detail was piping non-adjacent sections of the bamboo, allowing to set and then pipe the remaining parts. This way the stalks are more realistic. I used a food pen to make the leaves.

BEARS WITH HEART BALLOONS

The cookie cutter set used for these cookies can be found here. I love Semisweet Designs! Not only they sell unique cutters, but they share blog posts with ideas to decorate them.

Below I show some of the steps to bring these little bears to life… The ears, arms and legs get a small amount of icing that is allowed to set before fully flooding them. This prevents cratering, which might happen in such small areas.

The eyes were 4mm black pearls from PME, added right after flooding. Finally, after the cookie was fully set, I painted the balloon with luster powder, added the eye details and smile, and a little ribbon to tie the balloon.

KIM-JOY’S LITTLE BEAR SANDWICH COOKIES

Kim-Joy always makes the cutest productions celebrating animals, and this is a good example. You can find her recipe here. Bake a full round for the base, and a top with a slightly off-center hole. All you need then is a bit of ganache to sandwich the cookie, sprinkles, and Royal icing details. For the ears, I baked tiny little rounds of cookie dough, and inserted in between the two cookies, the ganache worked well to keep them in place.

TEDDY BEAR MACARONS

For these macs, color most of your batter brown, and separate a very small amount without any color, adding it to a piping bag with a very small round piping tip. Then pipe rounds with little ears, and add a touch of light batter for the nose area. Bake, fill, and then use a food safe pen to add the eyes, mouth and nose. The filling for those was a ganache noisette (recipe available in my food blog here).

Because this is a very simple design, a French meringue recipe (like this one) will work well. For complex drawings with multiple colors, most people prefer Italian meringue because it is a lot more stable and gives a larger window of time to work.

I hope you enjoyed this small selection of bear cookies.
Stay tuned for more sweetness in cookie format soon…

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

EGG WHITE PAINTED COOKIES

Not too long ago I shared with you a method to decorate cookies that calls for very little icing (click here for details). Today I share another one along the same lines, this time using egg whites instead of yolks. It is simple and works on many types of cookies, as long as they have a design imprinted or are molded with a tri-dimensional image. The only thing to pay attention to: allow the glaze to fully dry before painting.

The mold I used can be found at etsy following this link. Worked like a charm. For the glaze, mix 1 egg white with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until fully dissolved. Brush on the surface of the baked cookie after it is cold. Let the glaze set. Add the colors you want to use to separate wells, and mix water to dilute them well. You can reduce the amount of water to get a more intense color (like I did for the body of the little bird).

The same technique works on cookies with a design imprinted. Many options available at amazon.com, but I got my set at aliexpress, a very affordable source when you are not in a hurry to get your goodies.

If you love decorating cookies but dislike working with Royal Icing, this method will definitely please you. So many possibilities! I intend to try painting with Sugarprism and with colored cocoa butter in the near future, so stay tuned. Of course, you can mix and match decorating techniques to please all the cookie lovers in your home…

Below they get paired with regular iced cookies, Royal icing.

SALLY COOKIES SALLY

I am so so excited about this post! My inability to draw anything free-hand has always bothered me. When I saw that Michelle (the very inventor of Sugarprism in flesh, blood and awesomeness) was going to teach a class online about painting Sally, from the Nightmare before Christmas, I was tempted. Imagine that: creating a very complex image on a cookie without the help of a projector. I admit that my first reaction was to run away screaming. But she convinced me to give it a try, and said she was SURE she could help me. It would be a slow, step-by-step thing, and painless. So one particular Sunday afternoon, I spent two hours surrounded by Sugarprism, brushes, and guess what? There was almost no pain involved. Instead, I was rewarded by a cookie staring at me with a surprised look. Did you really just paint me?

YES I DID!!!!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was by the time we finished it. I know it pales in comparison to Michelle’s version, and to many made by people in class, but it felt like a masterpiece to me. All credit to Michelle, she just explains every detail so well, how to hold the brush, how much product to add to it, the consistency, and how to approach the design. It was a ton of fun, made me feel on top of the world… And can you believe she did that tutorial FOR FREE? I mean, seriously! Join her Facebook group and come have some fun…

Below a little progression of the cookie painting. I swear, I still cannot believe I painted this. Michelle, have I thanked you enough?

The whole tutorial was to make Phil and Sally, ooops, sorry, I meant Jack and Sally, but I ran out of time and had to leave class. My Jack was not in the best of his shape. Still, it’s Nightmare Before Christmas, I am hoping it just adds to the spirit!

AUTUMN LEAVES

In my previous post I shared a slightly unusual take on pumpkins, and now I bring you a black and white alternative for Fall-inspired leaves. The basic idea is very simple, and you can do anything you want for each pattern. Don’t worry about it, don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s not about perfection. If you really hate one particular section you made, go ahead and paint it black… Inspiration came from this Instagram page.

The whole process could not be simpler… just flood the cookies with white Royal icing, and allow it to fully set, overnight is best. Then, divide the leaf in sections using a food-safe black pen, with a fine tip. Create different patterns for each of the sections, pretty much anything you imagine will do.

You can make the cookies big or small, it’s very relaxing to draw the patterns, time flies by…

Leaves are definitely one of the top shapes for cookies during this time of the year. No matter your preference, there is always a style out there for you… I actually like to mix and match, modern and traditional on the same batch.

The same basic idea can be applied to many different shapes of cookies, either decorating the whole area of just a small portion. Colors could be fun too instead of black and white. Once again, as usual with cookies, one simple method and so many things you can do with it!

ROYAL ICING ETCHING

This is a very nice technique to play with, and deceptively simple. All you need is to flood a cookie with icing, preferably a dark color. Let it fully set overnight. Then, use a mini-projector or any other method you like to get an image on the surface. Keep in mind that the final drawing will be made by hurting the surface of the icing with the tip of the scribe tool. That will be a very thin line, so any food pen you use to mark the drawing will show because it is wider. That’s why in this case a food projector or free-hand drawing will be your best options. Once you scratch the design, you can brush the surface with a super light dust of pearl luster powder (dry, with a soft brush), to make the image brighter. This step if optional, but it does improve the final cookie. I first used this method last year, but only added some straight lines to a decorated cookie. My friend Dorothy pointed me to some Instagram posts in which they used etching to draw simple flowers. I loved the idea and made my own versions.

You can leave the design simple, as a white on dark drawing, or go one step further and use additional color like I did in this one, in part because the background was a bit light and the drawing too faded.

I find that for this type of design a border around the cookie adds a touch of elegance that complements well the look.

The possibilities are once again, pretty much endless… And you can mix decoration styles and colors to a platter of cookies, to add contrast but keep the elegant aura going. Along those lines, I believe that brush embroidery and a simple etching design go very well together. What do you think?

I am definitely going to explore this method further in the near future, and I hope you’ll give it a try!

BURNING BUSH, A CUSTOM-MADE COOKIE

Last month a colleague celebrated 10 years of work in our department. There was a surprise party for him, and I contributed with a small batch of sugar cookies. The burning bush, his subject or research, is a very cool plant: its leaves turn a very bright red-fuchsia in the Fall. He studies complex fatty acids synthesized by the plant. I designed two types of decorations, for rectangular and oval sugar cookies flavored with blood orange. They got a full coating with white Royal icing, and next day the painting began!

For the number 10, I used a mini-projector, as it would be very hard for me to get a nice drawing without it. To draw the leaves around it, I started with a projected image but after a couple of cookies I improvised the design freely. Leaves were painted with food-safe pen.

We have a series of burning bushes planted alongside our house and it is amazing to see them in their full Fall beauty.

The trees were painted with luster powder + everclear, using Super Pink, Passion Red, Mexican Rose, and Baby Black (all from OhSweetArt). Background sky made with luster powder I brought from Brazil a couple of years ago, a gift from my dear niece Raquel.

I love making cookies designed for an occasion or with someone in mind. To me, it makes a batch feel very special. I do get a bit stressed out, but it might just be my favorite type of baking these days.

SUGARPRISM, A NEW KID ON MY BLOCK

It is interesting how you may stumble on something amazing just by accident. I honestly don’t remember what exactly took me to Michelle’s Facebook group page (Painting with Sugarprism), but once I got there and saw everything she does and teaches on that page, I could not wait to try her product, called Sugarprism. It is a powder that you mix with water and use as you would acrylic paint. But it is fully edible and… wait for it… wait for it… delicious! It is vanilla-flavored and it will never ever negatively interfere with any of your cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates. You can read about Michelle Tincombe with a click here. She is an award-winning cake baker (HBO-MAX Baketopia episode 7) and painter-extraordinaire. Her In this post I will show you some of the cookies I’ve made in the past few weeks, using Sugarprism in different ways. I am still learning, and some of my concoctions I consider “work in progress.”

Sugarprism comes in pouches with 40g each and all you need is a TINY amount diluted with water to the consistency you like. It all depends on what exactly is your goal. For instance, to make this flower over fully set Royal icing, I used a reasonably thick consistency of the colors, so that each brush stroke stayed where I wanted it to stay…

A person with good painting skills would be able to add the black details with black Sugarprism and a super fine brush. I don’t see that happening in this lifespan of mine, so I did that with a fine tip food pen. Painting is so relaxing! I know I do it like a 5yo, but I promise you, I thoroughly enjoy it…

A similar approach was used in the flowers below…

I used a slightly more diluted version to paint the blue background in these chocolate stick cookies, also previously flooded with white Royal icing… And a concentrated solution for the center of the little flowers.

I then mixed the pink and the blue and used the mixture in different proportions to make the background for the doggies, drawn with a projector (you know I cannot draw to save my neck).

The paint is truly very forgiving and a pleasure to work with!

Another way to use Sugarprism is over a naked cookie. Many people prefer cookies without icing and I think those people deserve some decorations too…

Those are chocolate cookies (recipe here), made with an embossed rolling pin. Flowers were painted with red Sugarprism and outlined with gold luster powder + vodka. The taste of red food dye can be a problem, it is often bitter. No worries if you use Sugarprism.

The same approach works wonders on a regular sugar cookie. Below a Honey Sugar Cookie made with a springerle-type mold. I used a set of Fall colors from Sugarprism for my little bee.

I’ve been playing with geometric designs lately, and will talk more about them soon. These were inspired by one amazing cookier, Tunde Dugantsi, from Tunde’s Creations.

I made them in two versions, plain and with a Royal icing transfer flower in the center.

Sugarprism gives amazing coverage and if you use a concentrated suspension it will be very bright and happy.

But the technique I am most excited about? Stained-glass effect. I diluted Sugarprism with water, making it a thick suspension. That was mixed with corn syrup and used to paint sections of a Royal iced cookie. The sections were piped with white Royal icing (icing tip #3) dyed gold with luster powder + vodka. A bit of a labor of love… A little fondant flower in the center finished the cookie, but it will also work well without it.

Finally, one from my “work in progress-folder.” Michelle shared an amazing cookie she made using the “galaxy” design, and I tried it myself. It is not nearly as cool as hers, but she gave me some advice and I might try it again soon. Check hers out in this post of her facebook page, it is very beautiful.

If you like painting cookies, you need Sugarprism in your life. Michelle Tincombe, the official inventor and double-patent holder of the product, worked for 4 years to get approvals and patents, and finally place Sugarprism in the market. Her page on Facebook and her youtube channel are endless sources of inspiration, although I must say a lot of it is beyond my skill level.

BEE YOURSELF!

FOR THE LOVE OF FRIDA KAHLO

Born July 6th, 1907

A great Mexican painter with a life-story plagued by serious health problems and chronic pain, she was famous for her self-portraits, all very colorful, showcasing her beautiful, profound eyes and dark hair. This post joins a few “Frida-cookies” I’ve made using two different methods: traditional Royal icing flooding and piping, or drawing with a mini-projector.

To cut the shapes I used this set from Sugarbelle. Those are very small – not quite 2 inches – perfect for those who just like a little taste of sweets, or as decoration details in cookie platters.

By joining two flowers with Frida’s head, the resulting cookie is about 3.5 x 2.2 inches, still small as far as cookies are concerned.

A very detailed tutorial can be found at Sugarbelle blog with a click here. I cannot lie to you, they were a lot more work than they seemed. Mainly because there are several colors. In addition to the flooding consistency you’ll need red, yellow and black in piping consistency (for the hair and roses), and green in stiff consistency (for the leaves). You will be dealing with a lot of piping bags and tips. But it was worth it! I really like the way they turned out.

Moving on, I used some of the countless images of Frida available in the internet to work with my mini-projector, after flooding the cookies with a pink or white Royal icing base and allowing it to set overnight.

I think the stick format is pretty nice to showcase Frida, and I like to imagine she would love some red roses too… Painting was done with food pens and luster powder + everclear.