ZENTANGLE STRIKES AGAIN

If you don’t know the meaning of zentangles and how I like to adapt them for cookies, read my previous post on the subject. Today I share a few more, and include my first adventure with Instagram reels showing how I make my very favorite kind because is is so simple and the end result always pleases me. The cookie can be left simple or further decorated with fondant, modeling chocolate, or Royal icing transfers. Below, fondant stars painted silver. Purple and silver, the colors of our university, in the zentangle way.

I like the intensity of the purple but this type of design works well in any color…

A second addition of the same pattern inside each little square changes it completely but it is still quite straightforward to do…

A variation on the same type of curved line…

And now for a few adventures on patterns and colors, some turned out the way I wanted, some I consider “work in progress”.

The one below is my representation of a brain with insomnia: busy with many thoughts, not necessarily connected…

Here’s looking at you, kid!

Whenever I make sugar cookies, I always make sure to flood a few with any color I have leftover. Then, all I have to do is choose a pattern out of the thousands available out there, or make a composite design. I love the zentangle path…

EGG WHITE PAINTED COOKIES

Not too long ago I shared with you a method to decorate cookies that calls for very little icing (click here for details). Today I share another one along the same lines, this time using egg whites instead of yolks. It is simple and works on many types of cookies, as long as they have a design imprinted or are molded with a tri-dimensional image. The only thing to pay attention to: allow the glaze to fully dry before painting.

The mold I used can be found at etsy following this link. Worked like a charm. For the glaze, mix 1 egg white with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until fully dissolved. Brush on the surface of the baked cookie after it is cold. Let the glaze set. Add the colors you want to use to separate wells, and mix water to dilute them well. You can reduce the amount of water to get a more intense color (like I did for the body of the little bird).

The same technique works on cookies with a design imprinted. Many options available at amazon.com, but I got my set at aliexpress, a very affordable source when you are not in a hurry to get your goodies.

If you love decorating cookies but dislike working with Royal Icing, this method will definitely please you. So many possibilities! I intend to try painting with Sugarprism and with colored cocoa butter in the near future, so stay tuned. Of course, you can mix and match decorating techniques to please all the cookie lovers in your home…

Below they get paired with regular iced cookies, Royal icing.

EGG YOLK PAINTED COOKIES

This is a technique I’ve seen in cookbooks and kept wanting to try, but only recently I finally went for it. It is super simple and straightforward. It also has the advantage of pleasing those who don’t care for a layer of Royal icing on their cookies. The effect is quite striking, and even if you just paint a layer of colors and do nothing after the cookies are baked, they will still be very cute.

You start by choosing the colors for the base of your cookies. I’ve used four: yellow, orange, red and pink. Get a couple of egg yolks, whisk them, then separate in small wells, one for each color. Add a tiny amount of gel color to each well, and a little water (a drop or two) to thin the paint. Brush the color(s) to the surface of your unbaked cookie. Bake as you normally would. Let the cookies cool and, if desired, add details with piping consistency Royal icing.

I like the simplicity of the designs, but cannot take credit for them. My niece Kalu sent me a picture she found somewhere in the internet and thought I could use it as cookie-inspiration. This was the starting point…

I thought the base could be either watercolor or this egg yolk method, so it was a perfect chance to try something new. I now think it is quite likely the best approach to get this nice washed out effect.

It goes without saying that I’ll be making other versions soon, I am really in love with this concept…

SALLY COOKIES SALLY

I am so so excited about this post! My inability to draw anything free-hand has always bothered me. When I saw that Michelle (the very inventor of Sugarprism in flesh, blood and awesomeness) was going to teach a class online about painting Sally, from the Nightmare before Christmas, I was tempted. Imagine that: creating a very complex image on a cookie without the help of a projector. I admit that my first reaction was to run away screaming. But she convinced me to give it a try, and said she was SURE she could help me. It would be a slow, step-by-step thing, and painless. So one particular Sunday afternoon, I spent two hours surrounded by Sugarprism, brushes, and guess what? There was almost no pain involved. Instead, I was rewarded by a cookie staring at me with a surprised look. Did you really just paint me?

YES I DID!!!!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was by the time we finished it. I know it pales in comparison to Michelle’s version, and to many made by people in class, but it felt like a masterpiece to me. All credit to Michelle, she just explains every detail so well, how to hold the brush, how much product to add to it, the consistency, and how to approach the design. It was a ton of fun, made me feel on top of the world… And can you believe she did that tutorial FOR FREE? I mean, seriously! Join her Facebook group and come have some fun…

Below a little progression of the cookie painting. I swear, I still cannot believe I painted this. Michelle, have I thanked you enough?

The whole tutorial was to make Phil and Sally, ooops, sorry, I meant Jack and Sally, but I ran out of time and had to leave class. My Jack was not in the best of his shape. Still, it’s Nightmare Before Christmas, I am hoping it just adds to the spirit!

CAT IN A TEACUP

Teacups are cute. Cats are cute. When you join them both, the Cuteness-meter goes nuts. I cannot take credit for the idea, I simply followed Marlyn in one of her video tutorials. You can join two cookie shapes if you have the appropriate cutters. I did not have anything that would work well, so I cut them by hand.

I made some with my default chocolate cookie recipe, and some Sugar cookies flavored with Elderflower (Olive Nation essence). Once the cookies are baked and cooled, the basic design is added with a food pen, and sections are piped with Royal icing.

The spoons are baked separately. To decorate them, I used Gold royal icing coupled with gold air-brushing.

The fine gold lines really make the design come to life. I was terrified of messing up the cookie in this final step, but overall I am pretty happy with the outcome.

These cookies were part of a gift for dear friends who are cat-lovers. So in the package a few other kittens were included.

I think what I love the most about cookies is making up a gift-set. Thinking about a theme the person will like, a color scheme, I find the whole process absolutely wonderful.

A WELCOME TO FALL

It is that time of the year. Temperatures will drop, and the trees will soon change color. These cookies are my little shout out to Autumn. Some inspired by Marlyn, from Montreal Confections, and adapted to my skill level.

I fell in love with these cookies the moment I saw the video by Marlyn. The challenging part for me was piping the basket, and I do need more practice, but overall I am happy with the outcome. You should definitely see Marlyn’s version, because she added a little bear peeking from inside the basket, the cutest little detail (Instagram entry here). I simplified it by using fondant flowers instead. The chocolate dough is my default, by the way. I sent these cookies to a dear friend, and used the smallest amount of chipotle, as I did not know her take on the pairing of cocoa with pepper…

The cookie cutter I used was this one. It all starts by piping an outline for each balloon section, and piping the basket weave. Then, flood the different regions according to your choice of pattern (dots, swirls), and you are almost there. Some fondant decorations and additional piping is all you’ll need. I had some leftover Royal icing which I put to use in my Hexagon Ode to Fall. I had no idea where I was going with it, but I liked it a lot. It ended up with an ET-meets-Aztec aura…

Another cute cookie project conceived by Marlyn (her creativity is unreal), involves the candy corn shape. Recently I got a special cutter that makes four small cookies at a time. It is what I’ve used in this fun batch. Check her IG post for all details.

This is a much simpler project, although it does require the piping of fine lines as a starting point. You can get by without them, but some of the visual impact will be lost.

The final detail is a little luster powder in red or pink to make the cheeks blush. I tell you, my friends, cookie decorating is all in the small details, and if you follow the artists out there, you will learn a ton from them.

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!