SPRINGERLE FOR LOVE

Someone is getting married today!

I made these as party favors for my niece Camila’s wedding. Normally I don’t do large batches of cookies, but this was a special occasion, so twenty-five cookies of each style materialized in our kitchen. It was – I cannot lie – a labor of love, but totally worth it! Unfortunately I could not attend the ceremony, as we are back in the US, but I am definitely there, at least in cookie format…

It all starts with baking the cookies and allowing them to dry for 48 hours. I used my default recipe for Springerle, which you can find in my main food blog clicking here. Once they are baked, the fun begins. Yes, each one is painted by hand, I do one color at a time in all cookies to make the process easier and faster. You can find a video showing the whole process included in this post of my recent past. In this batch, the heart-shaped cookies were not painted, just sprayed with PME luster (pearl or a combination of pearl and pink).

I chose to make Springerle because they are supposed to last for a long time, and I had to make them 6 weeks before the big day. These are small cookies, and each guest received two in a small package. I hope they liked them…

Four colors were used for the floral cookies: pink, green, peacock blue, and gold for the edge. Some of them got an extra detail of pearl here and there just to add variety.

For the hearts, things happened a lot faster, as I used the spray to coat the surface. Some got white, some got pink mixed with white, as the pink alone would be a little too strong for what I had in mind. I wanted the to be delicate and subtle.

ONE YEAR AGO: Of Bears and Bunnies

FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE


Coffee lovers, these are for you! Sugar cookies and macarons take the spotlight today. The sugar cookies were made quite some time ago, inspired by Amber (click here for her blog post about it). I love when a cookie requires very few colors to shine, and these are a perfect example. White, plus two shades of brown. Nothing else needed. The wet-on-wet design is simple by default, making these cookies a great option for beginners.

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It is a very simple design to make. Choose the background tone, flood, then make a very loose design with white Royal icing. Immediately outline with the second, darker tone of brown, and use a needle to pull the lines in or out, whichever way you like. For the flowers, just pipe concentric circles and pull with the needle. Quite relaxing to do, and no matter what happens, it will look nice in the end. A perfect cookie decorating adventure! A border with two tones of icing dots is optional, but it does make the cookie more festive.

And now, for Java Macarons! I made French meringue macarons with buttercream coffee in the filling. The shells were light beige, and I painted the coffee beans with luster powder + vodka. The outline is food safe pen (thick brush type), also used to write JAVA on the shells (but a pen with very fine tip). A little more time-consuming, but not too bad.

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To draw images on macarons, the only thing to worry about is having a reasonably smooth shell. If it gets too rough, the drawing won’t look very good. I like to go a little longer in the macaronage, just to make sure I get a smoother shell.

If you are a coffee lover, this post is dedicated to YOU!

ONE YEAR AGO: A Bouquet of Flowers

OUT OF THIS WORLD COOKIES

I’ve made this set almost a full year ago, but for some reason they never showed up on the blog. They were designed by Amber, and each one is painted by hand, so it’s not the type of cookie you want to rush or make a few dozen at a time. But if you enjoy painting, they are a nice way to spend a couple of hours of your weekend. To read Amber’s post and find her tutorial, click here

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To make these cookies, you start from a flooded, fully set background with white Royal icing. Then you decide on the shape and size of your planet (or star) and paint a background trying to get the edges darker. Once that is done, have fun imagining colors and of course, aim for a Saturn-like entity with a nice ring around it.

A few white dots or luster gold sprinkles will make the design even better. Just have fun with it, I am not a talented painter as Amber, but I still had fun and liked my babies.

I also made a little batch of stars, these quite simple to do, you just marble the icing and then add sprinkles. Together, they form a nice group of cookies to give to a special friend or share with your family.

ONE YEAR AGO: Springerle Cookies

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I am totally, completely, absolutely, overwhelmingly in love with these cookies! Why? Because they were painted free-hand, thanks to the guidance of the one and only Michelle, inventor of Sugarprism. She hosted a Facebook event where several members of her group got busy decorating with her in real time. I had so much fun bringing these two guys to cookie-life.

Find Michelle’s info through her IG page with a click here.

Below you see some of the steps in the painting process, that happened on a naked cookie, no Royal icing at all… Michelle uses little guiding dots to space the different portions of the design, so that everything ends up with perfect proportion in the end. Even to paint the star, she had a cute method so that the points would end up exactly where they are supposed to. We started making a blue background darker in the edges and lighter in the center, and then slowly painted all the components on top.

As usual, her classes are fun, light, and make you feel super empowered – that feeling of – I PAINTED THAT – did not leave me for a long, long time!

Another advantage of this method is that you will use no Royal icing at all. Sugarprism has excellent coverage even on the naked cookie, and its delicious vanilla flavor won’t negatively interfere with your bake.

I am not sure I will ever be able to paint something without a guiding hand to lay out the path for me, but maybe one day I might be able to look at a painting and figure out how to do it myself. Could be a little goal for the new year…

ONE YEAR AGO: Christmas Cookies

SPRINGERLE BAKING TIME!

One of my favorite cookies to make this time of the year, they are a bit of a labor of love, but the more I make them, the more I love their unique flavor and texture.

My default recipe for springerle is published in my food blog (click here). I have shared a detailed post and video about painting springerle cookies, and you can find those here.

In this batch, the new technique was glazing instead of painting. I used this method to make the green-teal cookies shown below.

The method is very simple: mix honey and vodka 1:1 BY WEIGHT, not by volume. If you do by volume there won’t be enough alcohol and the honey will stay sticky. You can even use a little more vodka than honey to make sure it will dry without any issues. Add a tiny amount of the gel color of your choice. Paint that with a brush, preferably not silicone brush, because those tend to add too much liquid. Once that is dry, you can paint the final details with an accent color (I used gold luster).

All other biscuits from this batch were painted as I have shown in the video, with luster powder mixed with vodka. I’ve had these flower molds for many years, and I never get tired of using them.


This is another favorite mold of mine, that can be decorated in many different ways as far as colors go.

Another great mold I use every year is the rectangular one below…

Springerle is perfumed with anise, and lasts for a long time, so they are perfect as cookie gifts. The molds are not cheap, so if you are interested in starting to bake this type of cookie, brace yourself for the initial investment. But if you have a good quality mold, it will last for a lifetime.

ONE YEAR AGO: Marlyn’s Hungarian Tree

TWO MODERN LIONS

Two simple cookie designs, that give the King of the Jungle a fun and modern spin.

DESIGN #1


Don’t you love it when a cookie cutter helps you with the decoration? This adorable cutter is available at etsy (click here). Once you bake the cookie, the design is laid out for you. I used two colors of Royal icing, light gold in flooding consistency to cover the whole extension. Let that set, and used piping consistency for the details, in light brown. Next day I used a fine tip food pen to add the eyes, whiskers and mouth. Super simple, and I think the end result is pretty cute…

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DESIGN #2


I borrowed this design from the IG page of Kathy Barbro (artprojectsforkids). I used my mini-projector to draw the image on fully set iced cookie (white background). Then, I used a food pen for the face, and luster powder mixed with vodka for the sections around the lion’s head.


Once the painting was fully set, I went back over the lines with a slightly thicker tip food pen, for a more polished look.


I really love this design, and it is super easy to do. I imagine that most people can draw it free-hand, but as you may have noticed, I need all the help I can get. You can do the outside in two colors only, or even keep the whole thing black-and-white. But of course, I am slightly addicted to colors…

ONE YEAR AGO: Cat in a Teacup

THE MANY FACES OF WHITE

Every weekend I like to work on a special cookie decorating project, either to learn a new technique or to practice something I still feel insecure about. But I also like to have a set of cookies waiting without any specific design in mind. My favorite approach is to just pick some simple shapes (squares, ovals, circles) and flood them with white or a very light pastel tone Royal Icing. Next day they are ready to be decorated. The possibilities are pretty much endless. Today I share a series of cookies in which the starting point was a simple white background.

DESIGN #1
STRIPES & DETAILS

Maybe my favorite of this series… I used food safe pens to paint a series of bands of color, then used piping consistency icing to add little details. Super basic. Inspiration came from painted rocks, if you go on Instagram or Pinterest you can find a ton of designs to inspire you.

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DESIGN #2
STRIPES & FONDANT ACCENTS

A lot simpler to do because the stripes don’t need to be precisely separated, I just used luster powder in 4 different colors to paint the background. Fondant shells in gold complete the look.

Even simpler, stripes can be added with a fan type brush, just touches of gold coupled with a modern fondant flower (made with this mold)

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DESIGN #3
MINI-PROJECTOR

So many images available in the internet or in coloring books, just google something, grab your projector and go to work… Lately, I’ve been a little focused on a certain breed of dog… The one below was painted with food safe pens and the bubbles added with piping consistency Royal icing.

The two images below were “borrowed” from one of my favorite pages in Instagram, Jillfcsrocks. And no worries, she is aware that I get her images on my cookies… She is also a cookie-maker! They were painted with Sugarprism.

Another cookie painted with Sugarprism, this one demanded a little more time, but I had fun letting my inner Van Gogh coming out (cough, cough).

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DESIGN #4
STENCILS

Probably the easiest, most efficient way to decorate a cookie, coupling stencils with the air-brush. My main advice is to invest on a screen (like this one) to get really sharp edges on the design. That is not too important in busy patterns such as the black random spots, but it will help other types of drawings like the paw prints and the dragon. Are you watching House of Dragons? Fun show…

Stencils can also be joined with piping in white and then painted. Probably the most involved decorating method of all the examples in this post. When you couple it with painting (in this case, Sugarprism), it is a very nice way to get a more realistic image. Big thank you for Marlyn from @montrealconfections for helping me with the design of this stencil.

ONE YEAR AGO: Heart of Honey Pizza Box Cookie

COLORFUL HEARTS

Every once in a while someone sends me pictures of decorated cookies they love and tell me I should make them. Some are totally out of my skill level, so I just reply with a very gentle “are you out of your mind?”, and move on…. But not too long ago my friend Louise sent me a video of a great cookie artist at work and I decided to give that one a try. I actually changed the whole method around. Originally those were made with many (and I really mean many) colors and consistencies of Royal icing. Each cookie requiring several different colors for piping and flooding, then even more colors for the final details. I simplified it quite a bit by using Sugarprism painting over the basic white design.

As I mentioned, these were made with super labor intensive Royal icing work. I took shortcuts, not only to minimize the need to make so many different colors, but because I love the process of painting, and Sugarprism makes it so nice. Plus it tastes like vanilla, so no fear of adding odd flavors to the cookie. I started with fully set white cookies, and used two consistencies of icing to add the outlines and then flood. Make sure that your icing has some “muscle” in it, you need the flowers not to be flat.

Once that is fully set, the fun part is waiting for you… grab your colors (if you don’t have Sugarprism, food safe pens, diluted gel colors, or luster powders will work also).

I waited for the base colors to dry a bit, not more than 15 minutes were needed, and added the details on top, also with Sugarprism and a very fine brush.

I had some extra cookies and decided to play with a simpler design. I made random flowers using golden luster powder diluted with vodka, when that was dry, I added the outlines and details with black Sugarprism and a very fine brush.

So there you have, six heart-shaped cookies, in two different floral styles, one will require some time and effort, but the golden ones are the easiest cookies you can dream of. Apart from grabbing a box at the grocery store, that is…

ONE YEAR AGO: Burning Bush, A Custom-Made Cookie

A ROSE

Stencils can come in very handy for those who cannot draw to save their lives. For this cookie, I coupled air-brushing with royal icing, and after the design set, I used luster powder to paint the details. It is a bit of a labor of love, I won’t lie. But if you enjoy painting, it is a pretty nice way to spend a few minutes of your time…


It all starts with a fully set, white flooded cookie. Then, a stencil such as this one, is used to lay the base for the drawing. I used only part of the stencil, which is quite large, appropriate for cake decoration.


You could conceivably stop right there. Maybe add a beaded border or spray the edges with gold. But, if you want to take the cookie one step further, get some piping consistency Royal icing and fill each section.


It is a three-day process, two-day minimum. You will need to flood the cookie on day 1, air-brush the design on the following day, pipe the icing and then wait at least 6 hours to paint, overnight is best.


Once again, the cookie could be left all white. It is polished, simple and elegant. But to me, the fun really starts with painting. So that’s what I did…


Many different kinds of stencils will work, but I find that larger designs are easier to negotiate. Depending on your skill with piping, you can go for more intricate drawings. If the areas are very close together, make sure to pipe regions that are not adjacent, let them set briefly, then continue. I will be playing more with this technique in the near future for sure…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Frida Kahlo

FRAMED FLORALS


Many occasions can be celebrated with floral cookies… engagement parties, weddings, Valentine’s, Birthdays… adding a frame to the design makes it even more special. Oval shapes are perfect for that. You can use a cookie cutter with scalloped edges. Or you can follow the cute idea of Marlyn from Montreal Confections, and shape the cookie using what is normally reserved for fondant: a silicone mold. Sugar or chocolate cookie dough with no leavening agent work best, making sure to bake the cookies from frozen. Once the cookies are baked, the central area is flooded and decorated.

In these cookies, I flooded the center with Royal icing in Gold, allowed it to set overnight, then stamped the designs… I thought a little kitten could look cute in place of flowers…


To order the mold I used to bake these cookies, follow this link. It takes a little bit of trial and error to get the right amount of dough in the mold, and pull it without losing the shape. But once you get the gist of it, it will go smoothly.


Using sugar cookies will give a totally different look. In the cookies below, I flooded the center with white Royal icing and then used wet-on-wet to make flowers. For a little bling, I painted the edge with luster gold.


A scalloped oval cookie cutter can give a stronger impression of a frame by piping a line on the perimeter and then flooding the center. Once that was fully set, I painted flowers using Sugarprism.


Just a few hours after I made these cookies, we stopped at Marshall’s and I found the absolutely perfect little platter! Serendipity in full force…


Another way to make a framed floral is flooding with a bright color, in this case Wedgewood with a touch of Royal blue, allowing the icing to fully set, and scratching a design with a needle, as I blogged about in September last year (visit post here)…

ONE YEAR AGO: Fun with Royal Icing Leftovers