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!

JURASSIC PARK PIZZA COOKIE BOX

As I promised, here is my second pizza box cookie, made to please a certain young boy who is fascinated by all things dragon. For a change, I did not follow any particular design, made this one from my own imagination. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.

I baked the base divided in two parts, one for the sky (with a cloud made with wet-on-wet icing), one for the grass field. Two dinosaurs and a little palm tree to complete the scene. Sugar cookies were flavored with orange, and the dinosaurs were made with a chocolate dough.

The sky was decorated with luster powder in baby blue, and got the silhouette of a Pterodactyl in full flight…

The green also got a little more detail by air-brushing in copper a few spots here and there. Same copper tone was used to brush the tree trunk, just ever so slightly. Then, all that was left to do was decorate the dinosaurs and assemble the scene…

I think I need a new dinosaur cookie cutter, so that my next box will include two different species of this important extinct family. Maybe a little lizard could go well too, although it’s important not to crowd the box too much. A tiny lizard? Yeah, that will do…

Stay tuned for one more Pizza Box Cookie Scene!

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!

FOR THE LOVE OF FLAMINGOS

Flamingos are magnificent birds and the cookie world devotes a lot of attention to them. If you don’t believe me, do a search for “flamingo cookie cutters”, and you will see what I mean. Today I share my take on one adorable version demonstrated recently by Amy, Cookier Extraordinaire. You can follow her detailed instructions here. Cookie cutter available here.

The day before (or many days before), you’ll need to prepare the wings, which are made using a petal tip such as Wilton 104, and stiff consistency Royal Icing. Amy has printable templates in her ko-fi shop, or you can wing it (did you see what I did here? Apologies).

A little touch with pink air-brushing around the edges brightens up the cookie. I used fondant molded flowers to decorate the head of the flamingos, you can use a different shape of flower as Amy did in her tutorial. Cookie cutter used for this project from etsy.com.

Here are all my girls!

If you are a beginner cookie decorator, don’t be intimidated by this series because they are not hard to make at all. If you want to simplify, the wings can be made with a food pen instead of a transfer. The air-brushing step can also be omitted. But of course, each small detail brings a lot to the final product.

I must say I’m a bit surprised by how strong-willed flamingos can be…

Mary and Monique get along well most of the time…

But Maribel and Margaret just don’t see eye-to-eye!

Amy, thank you once again for the great tutorial, you make it all easy and fun…

That’s all for now, folks! See you next time…

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!

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.

TWO BUSY BEES

Amy and Amber

Two awesome “cookiers”, two different takes on bees. Each brought some new technique for yours truly to learn. With Amy, I got into pressure piping and brush embroidery, but on my first attempt, I did not do a very good job. Amber brought very elegant Royal icing transfers, and border piping.

For Amy’s version, the wings were made with a brush embroidery technique. You can see her demonstrating the technique and making three different types of bees in this Facebook live (starting around the 17 min mark).The body uses what is known as pressure piping. The Royal icing is on the thick side, and you keep pushing it out of the piping bag and allowing some shape to take place, moving the bag gently up and down to create a bit of texture. The bodies of my bees were not too bad, my problem was the brush embroidery. The icing was not thick enough. I re-visited the technique a few weeks later, applying it to a different shape of cookie (briefly letting go of those training wheels). In the name of genetic diversity, each wing was a little different…

A little overview of the steps to make this cookie. It is easier if you draw the basic design on the naked cookie and go from there. Add the eyes, mouth and blush to the bee’s face after the iced cookie is fully dry (12 to 24 hours).

Amber shared a very unusual and elegant cookie. Starting with the color, a beautiful shade of blue, not normally associated with bees. That already called my attention. The hive was piped wet-on-wet, and the bee component was a royal transfer painted in gold and bronze. All details available in her own blog (click here), and you can see an Instagram video here. She is a magician with Royal icing, her bee hive is sheer perfection.

The bees are super fragile, so I advise you to make more than you need, as they might break when you remove them from parchment.

Bees were the subject of a blog post not too long ago (following a tutorial from Amy), and I incorporated some of those elements in a new design, joining the blue color with a stencil, and adding bee and hive made from Amy’s templates of my past.

Both border piping and brush embroidery are techniques I struggle with, so these cookies gave me an opportunity to practice. Maybe there is a little light at the end of this tunnel…

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT POST!

SHARK ATTACK!

At some point this month it was Shark Week. I am horrible about keeping track of this type of stuff, and honestly I don’t really care. But when Amber made some super cool shark cookies, I decided that they can be featured anytime. Period. Her cookies are a lot more elaborate, using a tie-dye background. You can follow her tutorial on a Facebook live clicking here. The fun starts at exactly 5 min.

It all starts with the sharks made the day before using Royal icing transfers. You will need 4 colors + white just for that part. The shark template is available in her Patreon page.

I opted for a three color blue background to simplify it a bit. And also made a slightly different version, with ocean and sky.

The trickiest component is definitely the Royal icing transfer. When you see Amber making hers in the video, you realize how good she is at getting the consistency of the icing just right. I struggle a lot with it. In this batch of cookies, the icing for the transfers was a bit too thin, and the icing for the cookies a bit too thick. There you go.

Looks like my sharks had been swimming through rough waters. And they need braces… But, all joking aside, I loved making these cookies, learned a lot, and will definitely bring them back in the future. Now… what to do to get rid of an ear worm from a certain Spielberg’s movie?

EYELET-LACE STRAWBERRY COOKIES

I loved trying this technique because it took me a little out of my comfort zone. You can see Amber demonstrating each step on a live Facebook video that is available here. She starts at 7 min and 50 sec. The cookie dough was flavored with strawberries, her copyrighted recipe is available through Patreon. Of course, you can use any sugar cookie recipe you like. I slightly simplified the decoration of my cookies, and used Royal icing transfer roses for the center. They were leftover from another project.

The cookie dough is pretty cool with little bits of freeze-dried strawberry in it…

Then the fun begins… All steps shown in the composite photo below… Paint a layer of Royal icing with the base color of your choice (thicker then flooding consistency it will dry a lot faster). I used the same color as Amber, you cannot go wrong with teal. The mini-projector helped me draft the eyelet design, and from there all I needed was to trace the outline, and flood the appropriate area.

Next, I filled the center with pink and added the white polka dots
(wet on wet)…

Let that set for half an hour or so, add fine lines to outline the design, and gently glue your central decoration. And voilĂ : your cookie is ready!

I made this cookie a couple of months ago, and plan to do it again, as I would like to do a better job with the fine lines. Those can be very tricky to get right.

Jeweled Butterflies made as described previously.