INTRODUCING THE GNOME & FLORAL ADVENTURE

If you’ve been following my cookie blog, you are familiar with all the online classes taught by Amy from Seriouslysweet. For the new year, she came up with a very fun series: each month we get to make two cookies, one gnome and one floral, with a similar color scheme so that they go together like a perfect match. January started with Frosty Gnome and his blue-tone flower. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to bring these cookies to life, and you can do it too! Just join her site (link below) and sign up for the whole series. You will need the cookie cutters also, although you could conceivably cut them by hand or use a similar cutter you already own. The videos are all pre-recorded and the classes follow her usual format, so you will also receive a little card with all the specific things you need for each cookie.

To join Amy’s online tutorials, visit her site clicking here.

I love when cookies make me smile, and these gnomes do it, big time! So many details… First, you need to make the nose with fondant or modeling chocolate, once that is ready you can start piping the different sections and adding all the bells and whistles.

Apart from the fondant noses, you’ll need little snowflakes made with wafer paper and a small punch type cutter, but if you don’t have that, you can add snow-shaped sprinkles. The paper creates a nice lift, though. The gloves get some texture with the needle, and the beard is made using one of Amy’s favorite techniques, which I don’t feel it is right to share, as the class is a paid event. The final touch is a large snowflake made with fondant, and spray painted with Wilton pearl Color Mist. I made a little heart to go with that set also… Aren’t the gnomes the cutest?

The matching flowers are much simpler to make, even if they seem complicated. All you need is Royal icing in the right consistency (thick), a petal and a leaf piping tips. I added some sprinkles to the center and once the icing was fully set I painted the edges with luster powder, white for the petals and copper for the leaves.

I’ve enjoyed every single online class from Amy, but this one has got to be one of my favorites of all times! It was wonderful to see that little gnome taking shape, and although it is not a class for beginners – you need to be comfortable making and handling Royal icing in several different consistencies – it is not over the top advanced.

If you’d like to challenge your cookie decorating a bit, I urge you to join Amy’s site and sign up for the upcoming classes. Her group on Facebook keeps getting bigger and bigger, it is great to see everybody making progress in their own path of decorating cookies.

Amy, I look forward to February and its set of gnome and floral!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Year of the Tiger Cookie Platter

AMY’S STACKABLE PUMPKIN SET

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


Here I am to report on yet another great online class taught by Amy. If you don’t want to cut the cookies by hand (which is what I did), the set is available at dotsandbowsdesigns, with a click here. Amy’s classes are great to teach several different tricks using the same basic cookie and this was no exception. This particular set takes the pumpkin concept to a higher level of elegance, and it would be a perfect centerpiece to a Fall get-together or a Thanksgiving meal. I learned so many cool tricks… So let me just briefly walk you through the process. Obviously, I cannot share specific details, as it is part of her class.

The cookies are baked, and the pumpkin piped in stages to allow the different sections to have enough definition…

This step is quite straightforward, the only thing you need to master for that is the icing consistency, but that is pretty much the most important aspect of cookie decorating, and only practice will give you what it takes. Keep in mind that no one was born with that skill, we all more or less struggle through the learning process until it becomes second nature. Do not get discouraged. The real fun begins with the side floral panels, and a progression is shown below.

Every step of this process used a new technique. Once again, it is all in the consistency and I got all of them ok, except the blue roses, the icing was just a tiny bit too soft. But I think I still got the shape to stay. My favorite bit is the grapevine, such a cool way to pipe it! And the little pumpkin shown from the top, another brilliant way to bring that to life. Cookie life, that is…


To finish the set, I just added a little shading to the pumpkin and a little touch of luster powder (Khaki color) on the stem and leaves.

I just love all the details and how much I learned in this class. Amy is very encouraging, and even when we need to do something that is intimidating, she insists it is easy and doable, and makes us try it on parchment paper first. That really helps a lot.

Amy, thank you so much for this fantastic online experience!


ONE YEAR AGO: Sally Cookies Sally

AMY’S FABULOUS FLORAL CLASS

I fell in love with these cookies moment she shared their pictures to announce the online event. I would not say this was a beginner’s level adventure, but Amy explains each step so well, that I believe even someone very new to cookie decorating could follow. Plus, to give you an idea of her level of detail when preparing for the event, the week before she uploaded SIX videos of cookie preparation. Some cookies had to be flooded, some fondant decorations had to be made and painted. It is a set perfect for Mother’s Day or any romantic occasion. Engagements, weddings… Pure beauty.

The set is designed as seven hexagon cookies to form a beautiful platter when joined together. One of the things that are required is baking the cookies over a perforated mat. Actually, these mats are a complete game changer as far as cookie baking goes, so I highly recommend you get one. I simply never bake over parchment anymore. The base of the cookies is perfect when you use the mats. Many brands available, like this one. Amy used the texture given by the mat as part of the design in two of the cookies.

The cookie on the left is flooded allowing part of the base to show. That gets painted in gold. The effect is simply amazing, don’t you think? On the right, several colors of icing in thicker consistency are smeared over the base.

The day before class, this is what we had to get ready… Several cookies flooded, some wet-on-wet flower motif, and one cookie flooded and immediately covered with embossed parchment paper.

Apart from that, fondant decorations and wafer paper decorations made and painted.

Side-note…. Amy demonstrated how the exact same silicone mold can give you two quite different flowers, depending on how much fondant (or modeling chocolate) you add to it.

There were a few techniques totally new to me, like working with edible fabric to make a bow. It is a little tricky but not that bad, actually. A little patience is required.

I also got to use this super cute ring to hold glue for the first time. It makes it a lot easier to work with the wafer paper bits and tiny sprinkles. You touch the glue with the needle and apply where you want it, no need to reach for the big bottle and risk making a mess. She included one in the box sold independently of the online class, I’ve only found it for sale in bulk (click here).

It was also my first time working with printed wafer paper, which adds a lot of elegance to a cookie.

I’ve participated of several classes online with Amy, each one teaches me so much, but this was truly special. Each cookie fascinated me. Below, my top three favorites. The first one required piping the roses and leaves on the cookie, so perhaps it was the most advanced of all, but Amy guides each step of the piping with perfect attention to details. How to hold the piping bag in the perfect angle, how to move your hand at each petal. A great learning experience!

Amy, I cannot thank you enough for yet another amazing online event. Already looking forward to our next adventure together…

AMY’S EASTER COOKIE DECORATING

One more online event accomplished, this was quite an amazing class taught by Amy, from Seriously Sweet at Davis St… Please, consider following  her Facebook group, so you can join the fun next time. The class was classified as “advanced” because there were quite a few techniques involved, mainly making fondant decorations in advance and piping leaves and a woven basket. The class centered around one silicone mold with multiple Easter-inspired designs in it (available here). I had that mold for a long time sitting in our basement, so it was a great opportunity to bring it out to play. We used a single shape cookie cutter (basket from this set), and decorated them with assorted fondant pieces, tying it all together with piped leaves and sprinkles. Here are the four babies made during the class.

It all starts with fondant decorations. Those are best made the day before, as you’ll need to paint the fondant pieces and allow that to dry too. The trickiest was the basket handle, very fragile. I ended up using only one, and piping the handle on the other cookies.

Also the day before, flood the cookies either in two colors (I used green and baby blue), or a solid background, I went with yellow. Gather your icing, sprinkles, and let the fun begin!

These four I made during the class, that lasted less than 2 hours… By the way, you don’t need to join in real time, you can sign up and watch the class later, if more convenient, decorating on your own.

You may have noticed that the mold had tiny chick’s heads, but I did not have a chance to use them during class. So, next day I made another cookie, this time with a crackled background (paint Americolor white before baking over the surface). The white over the chocolate cookie gave it a blue-ish tone I really liked.

I loved Amy’s technique to pipe the handle. Very very cool. Pretty useful in many cookie designs, I am sure.

I hope you enjoyed this little set of Easter-inspired cookies…
Amy, thank you again for a great class!

AMY’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES: A FUN VIRTUAL CLASS

If you follow my cookie adventures, you know that I am always trying to learn from the great decorators out there. I recently joined a virtual event hosted by Amy, from Seriously Sweet in Davis St, and it was a lot of fun! The class was supposed to be beginner to intermediate level, and we had to make six designs. The picture above shows two of them, plus two small cookies I made with leftover icing from class. Everything super well explained, all we had to do was bake the 6 different shapes, and have four of them iced the day before, so we could work with stencils, stamps, and colors during class. Since the event was by zoom, we could always ask specific questions and even show our cookies to her and other participants in case of eventual drama.

For the preparation, we flooded the angle tree with green, the center of the ornament with red, the candle and the star with white. We also had the option of making little fondant decorations, if we wanted to follow her exact design, which I obviously chose to do. During class we did brush embroidery for the angel, and painting with watercolor technique for the star and candle. All at a nice pace, with very detailed instructions by Amy, who was decorating hers, in real time. The only cookie that gave me trouble was the tree, I could not make the stamp go smoothly over the whole surface, but still like the effect. I need to practice stamping, it is not that easy for me.

It is hard to pick a favorite, for me it is a tie between the ornament and the wreath…

The painting method for the star was very cool, and as Amy pointed out during class, the technique can be used for many different designs. For a more advanced adventure, she suggested we could write “Fa-la-la” over the tree with the musical sheet in the background, but I did not feel quite up to the challenge. Writing with Royal icing will require a bit more mental prep from me.

So here they are, my six babies from class!

Amy, thank you so much for organizing this class, I always learn a ton of stuff during your events… I look forward to the next one!

If you’d like to join one of Amy’s future classes, visit her IG page and join her Facebook group, you will meet lots of cookie-addicts and will improve your skills while having a lot of fun.