A LOVELINESS OF COOKIES

Did you know that a group of ladybugs is called a “loveliness?” Cannot think of a more appropriate term… Today I share a set of cookies that made me very happy. I normally find a lot of boo-boos in my bakes, things that I wish I had done in a slightly different way, but sometimes… sometimes they come out the way I hoped. Without further ado, some loveliness for you!

The inspiration for these cookies came from painted rocks. It is amazing what artists can do, and the shape of a rock is quite appropriate to turn it into a ladybug. Cookies are flat, but I think they worked ok too. This batch was flavored with hazelnut and vanilla. Here are the steps to bring loveliness to cookie life…

First, I drew the basic design with a food pen…

Then, I used baby black luster powder + vodka to paint the area in between the wings…

Using flesh tone gel dye from Americolor, I flooded the head region, let that crust for 10 minutes, then outlined and flooded the wings, adding dots of black (wet-on-wet icing).

Here is the loveliness, waiting for final details…

After a few hours, a line of black icing was added to the separation of head and body, gold sanding sugar sprinkled on top (I used this product from Wilton), and a little golden bow (made with fondant) glued in the center.

The loveliness was then ready, just waiting for the facial details next morning…

All that was left to do is adding eyes, a nose and a smile… oh, yes, some blush to the little faces too!

ONE YEAR AGO: Royal Icing Etching

MARLYN’S INSPIRATION FOR AUGUST

If you follow this little virtual spot of mine, you’ve heard that Marlyn proposes little homework challenges each month. For August, her suggestion was to use Royal icing to generate texture on a cookie. I had just made her 3D underwater scene (my previous post) and loved so much the method to make fish scales using a petal piping tip, that I wanted to practice a bit more. So here are two versions of a pretty colorful fish, using a cookie cutter I love, as its shape is unusual, I’d say funky and modern. Available here.

This is really a very simple cookie to decorate, but might give the impression it is labor-intensive. The steps are shown in the composite picture below…

Do a little sketch to help you separate head from body as you pipe the scales. Add them with Royal icing and a 102 tip, it will crust quickly since it is a thicker consistency. Use flooding consistency of the same color to add the head and tail – or if you prefer to do the purple style of the tail, just continue piping with the petal tip. Add a PME black pearl for the eye. Let that crust and add a little fine line defining the division between head and body. That step is optional but it makes for a more polished cookie. Now let it all set, and have fun painting. I used several colors of luster powder with vodka. A little smile with a food pen, and you are SET! Let them swim freely…

ONE YEAR AGO: Mr. Seahorse and his friends

SUNFLOWERS FOR UKRAINE

Another design using piped Royal icing coupled with painting, this time I used Sugarprism.

Similar to what I shared recentl (click here), this version relied on a stencil air-brushed with gold as starting point… The surface was iced and fully set (color used for the base was Artisan Accents Azure Blue). White Royal icing was piped in sections that were not adjacent, so that if they accidentally touched, they would not merge.

Once all sections were piped, I waited for the center to start crusting, and then used a special little tool to add texture…

This step is optional, or you can use the handle side of a brush. But I find that it adds a more interesting look to the final design. A few hours later the fun – aka painting – starts. I used Sugarprism in Dandelion Yellow + Monarch Orange for the petals, Green + Teddy Bear Brown for the leaves. Teddy Bear Brown was also used to paint the stem.

The final step was the bling: center of the flower painted with gold luster + vodka.

It is hard to find hope sometimes. So many horrible things happen in our world, leaving us with a very intense feeling of impotence and frustration. At least through cookies, we can bring some sunshine and joy to those around us.

Stay tuned for more adventures with Sugarprism!

ONE YEAR AGO: Eyelet-Lace Strawberry Cookies

SUNNY SUMMER DAYS

Here I am to share the outcome of yet another super fun online class taught by Amy, from Seriously Sweet on Davis St. If you like color, if you like all things Summer, this set will have your name written all over it…

To join Amy’s Facebook group and be on top of future online classes, click here.

I have to confess that joining the class was a bit of a stretch for me. We had a ton of commitments that weekend and the days leading up to it, so my prep work was rushed and I miscalculated the amount of icing needed. That led to running out of it during class, then to make everything even more exciting a very messy bag explosion! Still, I am calling this set the Miracle Cookies, because somehow I was able to make them all, with some adaptations due to the universe conspiring against me.

Here are some steps of the prep work and class…

Let me now go over each of the cookies and what was involved…

Perhaps my favorite, definitely Phil’s favorite, the Bashful Happy Sun! I did not do a good job piping the edges, but I still love it… We used two different consistencies for the Royal icing, and the hibiscus details was made as a Royal icing transfer using templates provided by Amy. I love the eye detail and the delicate blushing face…

The pineapple was Phil’s second favorite, and maybe mine also. This cookie took a tragic turn when I made a mistake and added a huge blob of green dye to its left side. I thought it was the end of its life, but I squirted vodka all over it, rubbed it with a paper towel and somehow managed to save it. It almost felt as if I was in a tent trying to avoid elimination (which, trust me, is not always possible).

The flower… Thick Royal icing in two colors were used to make it. I used a 104 piping tip for the petals and a medium-size leaf tip for the greenery. Some gold luster powder with vodka gave the cookie the necessary bling.

I adore the little flamingo with the flowers on the head… and the sleepy eye… I colored the Royal icing with a powder from The Sugar Art called Sassy Pink. It is super powerful and maybe I used a bit of a heavy hand with it. So my flamingo is not a shy bird. She is out there, super confident, fearless like a Jack Russell!

I loved this class, even though I had to quit part way into it, and finish the cookies later that night. I love the sun cookie so much, I had to do a few more next day, because I wanted to get the margins better.

Techniques learned in this class: textured icing using wrinkled parchment paper, dry dusting and painting on Royal icing, piping sections for the pineapple, making flowers for decorations, piping petals with a custom-modified 104 tip, piping greenery.

Amy, thank you for another great cookie adventure! I am ready for more, whenever you are….

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Audrey

CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE

This is a very simple project, two colors of icing to flood a plaque-shaped cookie, then four additional colors needed in very small amounts, to pipe the details. I added a gold air-brushed border, but that step is optional, the cookies will look ok without the border. But as you may have noticed, sometimes it is hard for me to leave a poor cookie alone…


For flooding the cookie, make a green and light blue Royal icing, and flood the two regions, let them set….

Then make a brown thicker consistency to pipe the tree. Just free-hand it, make a few branches and allow that to set for 10 minutes or so.


Next, add little dots for flowers, and using a very small leaf piping tip (or improvising by cutting a piping bag with scissors at an angle), pipe leaves.


The air-brush on the edges is the final optional step. And you are done!

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of Portugal

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!

SUGARPRISM BUTTERFLIES

Sometimes we might get lazy and not want to mix a lot of different colors for Royal icing. But we still want colorful cookies… That is called a conundrum, and it is easily solved: make white icing, grab your favorite Sugarprism colors, and paint away! I cannot take credit for the idea, I simply followed the steps of Michelle, artist extraordinaire, and the very inventor of Sugarprism

Let me walk you through the steps…

First, I made an outline with dark pink, using a PME #3 tip…

Then, flood the different areas with white Royal icing, and allow it to crust for 1 hour or so…

From this point, you can leave the cookie without any added decoration, for a simple,
understated look, or add little dots and swirls to the wings.

Once all those additions are fully set, grab your Sugarprism colors
(or use a food pen), and have some fun.

Gold luster powder mixed with vodka also works quite well to add some bling…

I hope you enjoyed this simple technique, and
consider using it in one of your future cookie adventures…

ONE YEAR AGO: Cherry Blossom Butterflies

FUN WITH PAPER STRIPS

A couple of months ago Haniela showcased in one of the Facebook lives a cool idea she had to decorate sugar cookies. She used thin strips of parchment paper that are laid on top of wet Royal icing. Then the cookies are decorated either with wet-on-wet, or other painting techniques. The final step is pulling off the paper strips, which of course only happens next day, when the icing if fully set. I know that it’s not easy to visualize the technique from this description, but once you see the step by step, it will become clear. Her full video tutorial is available here. I was so excited about the technique, that I made a few cookies a couple of days later. Today’s post is a series of cookies made in March and April with variations of her basic method.

For this tile-cookie, it started with white Royal icing to flood the entire surface, and then the paper stripes were placed in a geometric pattern.

The composite below shows the steps – I let the icing set and used luster powder to paint, with the strips of paper still glued. Then, pulling the paper reveals the white underneath.

As you can imagine, the possibilities of colors and designs are endless, and so much fun to play with!

It all starts with making the strips of paper. Using a very thin blade, cut strips on parchment paper, try to do them of equal width, but some variation is ok, you can even incorporate that in the design. Once you have plenty of strips available, you can start flooding the cookies and coming up with ways to decorate.

The ones below were made following her tutorial a little more closely, starting with hexagons and using wet-on-wet to create the design.

Some of the steps you can see below (but keep in mind Haniela’s tutorial on Facebook is the best way to follow the technique).

Another thing she demonstrated in the video was using a special type of scissors (available here) to cut the strips, so that the edges get wavy. I love the end result! Using the scissors is a little more involved, but not too bad.

To make this Ukraine-inspired cookie, I cut the strips a little larger, added to turquoise Royal icing, and next day painted some areas with gold. The sunflower is a fondant addition. The picture below show this cookie in its initial stage.

I hope this post gave you some ideas to play in the future. There are so many ways to incorporate the paper strips into designs, and once you have them all cut, the hard work is done. It’s all downhill from there.

Haniela, thank you for the tutorial, I had a ton of fun playing with your concept…

ONE YEAR AGO: For the Love of All Things Bees

THE QUILT CHALLENGE

Marlyn (from Montreal Confections) is on a mission to make her followers work on their creativity. Every month she proposes a little challenge, like the bouquet (click here) and the Christmas wreath-flip (click here). For the month of March, she suggested a quilt-cookie. That got me a bit frozen with fear, and I felt unable to come up with ideas. But the fact that my mind is so set on all things Ukraine, gave me that light at the end of the tunnel. A quilt with the colors of Ukraine. A quilt with the flower that is the symbol of that amazing country.

I started from the baked and cooled cookie, and drew with a food safe pen the basic quilt design. I did not know exactly where I was headed, so I started by brushing a thick coating of brown in the center, and adding texture with a brush. Once that was fully set, I added copper luster for bling. Then I worked on the yellow and blue components, flooding areas that were not touching, and allowing them to set for about 30 minutes before flooding the other areas. A little painting with orange to add contrast to the petals, and fine lines pipes to finish the design. You can see the progress in the composite picture below.

This was a challenge that terrified me, but I am quite happy with the outcome. It gave me one more opportunity to celebrate Ukraine. And hope that they can do what seemed impossible in the beginning: prevent Putin from winning. As they say, the impossible just takes a little longer.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.”

This year I was not able to indulge in baking St. Patrick’s cookies, in part because we were away on a trip. But I could not resist making a small batch, inspired by a recent video posted by Amber (link here). Irish Coffee, anyone? Perhaps Irish Cupcakes suit you better? I changed slightly the decoration but kept most elements the same. The tiny shamrocks are prepared as Royal icing transfers the day before using medium consistency and a piping tip #2. I brushed some with luster powder (Green Touch, by The Sugar Art).

The Irish Coffee design is actually a “franken-cookie”: a coffee cup joined with the top of the small cupcake, also included in this group. Keep in mind that it makes a pretty large cookie, but I find the design very clever. Credit of course must go to Amber. I used a stencil to decorate the coffee cup, and just piped lines on the little cupcake.

For a little more inspiration, I share cookies made last year, when I did not have a cookie-dedicated blog, so they all went into the Bewitching Kitchen spot.

A jar with shamrocks, also inspired by Amber…

A few shamrocks and clover leaves decorated in different ways…

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.”