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…

HUNGARIAN FOLK ART COOKIES

A long time ago – before my cookie obsession started – I stumbled on cookies that were like small pieces of pure art. They were made by Tunde Dugantsi. You can marvel at many of her masterpieces with a visit to her Instagram page. Recently I joined Tunde’s Cookie Club Academy and today I share with you my first attempt at Hungarian Folk Art Cookies. They are far from perfect, but I still love my babies and will practice the technique again soon. Her tutorials are very detailed and she is one of the nicest human beings I’ve met online.

I used the mini-projector to get the basic design on a naked cookie, and from there what matters the most is the consistency of your Royal Icing. Tunde explains it quite clearly in the video, but of course it takes practice. The most important step is the final piping with white icing to form the lace work, and of course, it is the one that I have most trouble with.

Tunde’s work is nothing short of amazing, and she has tutorials for all levels of cookie decorating. Some of her productions are so elaborate, I hope one day I will develop the skill to try them. Baby steps, baby cookie steps.

The stained glass cookies are also a favorite technique of mine, which I shared with you in the past. I thought these cookies go well together, don’t you agree?

Tunde, thanks so much for the tutorials you share, and above all for your constant words of encouragement!

NOT ALWAYS BLACK AND WHITE

In life, as well as in cookies, it’s not always black and white…

But then again… sometimes it is…

All images drawn on Royal iced cookies allowed to fully set overnight, using a black food safe pen and mini-projector (AKASIO). Sprinkles, watercolor, luster powder with vodka to bring accents of color.

For first series with the sprinkles, I was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook a while ago, but unfortunately I did not save the precise link. It was one of those images that you see, fall in love with and when you try to retrieve it again… no luck. Wish I could give proper credit.

SEE YOU SOON!

Until then, keep dancing to the music…

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!

AMY’S PINEAPPLE COOKIES

If you’ve been around this baby blog of mine for a while, you may have noticed that I follow a few selected “cookiers” very closely. Amy, from Seriously Sweet on Davis Street, is always inspiring me and pushing me to try more challenging techniques. At some point I will gather the courage to attempt one of her super elaborate “Tiki” creations. Hopefully soon. But today I share one small component of that series, her cute Pineapple Cookies. They were a ton of fun to make. My favorite part? The leaves, piped with a tipless bag, generating a cool 3-D texture. I was super scared to try it, but Amy’s tutorial is perfect! You can watch it here, the pineapple decorating starts around the 12 minute mark. Cutting the bag to pipe the leaves is shown at 27 minutes, give or take a few seconds. Brilliant!

It all starts with a little drawing on the baked cookie to help you out….

Then the sections of the pineapple are piped, allowing sections that are not touching each other to crust. Just 15 minutes or so, is more than enough, and you can come and complete the remaining sections.

Once the pineapple segments are crusted, Amy suggests using the air-brush to spray the edges with a very light touch of green. Ideally try to get all the outlines of each section, working very gently. These small details make the pineapple come to life. A bit of gold brushed on the leaves is also a nice touch. A cookie without those details would still be pretty nice, but if you can go the extra mile, why not?

I highly recommend that you watch Amy’s tutorials on Facebook, and consider joining her fun Facebook group called “Cookie Snack Attack with Seriously Sweet.” If you love to bake cookies and want to improve your technique while interacting with a bunch of people hooked on all things Royal icing… that group is for you!

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.

FUN WITH ROYAL ICING LEFTOVERS

No matter how carefully we calculate the amount of Royal icing to make of each color needed, there will always be some amount left in the bag. Some people have the patience to turn them into sprinkles. I have zero interest in doing that. However, Marlyn found out a perfect use for leftovers: spread a thin layer on parchment paper, let that dry overnight, and break into pieces. In this post, I share two examples of cookies using crumbled dried royal icing as part of the decoration. Full credit to Marlyn for coming up with such cool ideas. I close the post with a little hexagon-departure that I hope will inspire you for the 4th of July.

TERRAZZO COOKIES
(Instagram video available here)

BICOLOR HEXAGON COOKIES

Starting with the Terrazzo cookies, you will need a little parchment paper cut in the shape of your cookie. Distribute the pieces on top in any arrangement you like, any color combination. Gently cover with white Royal icing, place the cookie on top, and flip the whole thing over. Let it dry overnight (very important). Peel the paper off and then all you need to do is make the edges neat with a boo-boo stick or a microplane, and finalize a decoration on the edges. A little Diamond dust is always a nice final touch too. Make sure to watch Marlyn’s video to get a better understanding about how it all works.

It can be a little tricky to get the pieces to stay in the place you want them to be, and also to make sure the icing does not sip too much under the pieces. I did not get cookies as beautiful as Marlyn’s (check her IG video here), but I am still pretty happy with them. After making the edges straight, you can add icing and sanding sugar to get the final look.

The bicolor is quite a bit simpler to make and I also love the effect, very modern. The coral color got a bit of air-brush while still wet, a technique I’ve been using often. Again, this step is optional, but it does add a lot to the design.

Once both sides set, pipe the center with white Royal icing and lay the pieces on top. One more little detail about the icing fragments: before crumbling into pieces, I followed Marlyn’s tip and air-brushed the dried layer with a little gold. The step is optional, of course, but it adds a nice shimmer.

This basic pattern works with many different types of decorations, I’ve used the crumbles, nonpareils, and sanding sugar for variety.

As I promised in the beginning of this post, here is my little departure on this design, adapting it for the upcoming holiday of 4th of July.

SUGAR COOKIES: THE GROOVY SERIES

I dedicate this post to Dr. Aritri Majumdar.

From black and white, I do a 180. This time is all about color. The mini-projector is the easiest way to deal with all the designs, so if you are seriously into cookie decorating, I must tell you this little gadget will shake your world, in a very positive way… Please, sit back and let me show you some of the cookies that happened in our kitchen in the past few weeks.

Mandalas are wonderful to play with…

And you don’t have to limit yourself to simple circular shapes, the same basic style can be applied to many different designs…

Mandala or not, just embrace the colors, and have fun!

All cookies were made either with my default Neat Edges recipe, or the recently blogged Spicy Chocolate Cookie. For decoration, links to the food safe pens and luster powders can all be found in the end of this post.