Sunset Hearts

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I said this is the year I would branch out and try new things and I’ve kept that promise to myself.  This blog will be a combination of both old and new.  Old, hearts…because I love ’em!  New, Petal Dust by Wilton.

I love the idea of Petal Dust and I only own a few and only those by Wilton.  Once I get more comfortable with using them, I plan on getting some other colors by other companies because the variety of colors and sheens is unlimited.

Without further ado, these are the cookies we’ll be making.  I call them “Sunset Hearts” because I tried to mimic the look of a glorious sunset with the symbolic love of a heart.  They are smaller in size than the cookies I normally work with, but not quite minis.  These cookies measure 2 1/2″ across and 2″ from top to bottom.

Piping Final

SUPPLIES

There are a few things you’ll need for this project.

  1. Pre-bake 6 hearts, I used a scalloped edge heart cutter (2 1/2″ wide X 2″ high).
  2. Four Wilton #1 tips for piping, One #101S tip to make the small roses, and One Wilton #59 tip for the small leaves (sorry, I forgot to include this in the picture below).
  3. Pre-make about 14-15 small roses and dry fully (I use the toothpick method so you’ll need some toothpicks if you want to try this method).
  4. You will  need four icing colors: a light peach, a light rose, a light yellow, and a light green.  The colors I used for each mix are noted in the photo below. You will need piping consistency of all four colors and flooding consistency for the peach and rose icings.
  5. Wilton red Petal Dust.
  6. A Blunt-edged or square-edged paint brush to apply the Petal Dust to the Cookies.

Sunset Icings

Sunset Tools

Flood the Cookies

The first part of the process is to outline your cookies in the corresponding flood colors using a Wilton #1 tip.

Sunset Outline Flood

Sunset Flood Let Dry

After you flood all six cookies, set them aside and let them dry overnight.  You want to have a very hard surface to work with when you apply the red Petal Dust to the cookies.

Making the Roses

As your cookies dry overnight, it’s a good time to make your royal icing, mini roses.  This way they can dry overnight along with the flooded cookies.

I use the basic Wilton Royal Icing Recipe (noted below) and use the icing straight from the mixer without adding any additional water.  You’ll know it is the right consistency if, when you hold your spoon up, it doesn’t even budge from your spoon.  It will also have sharp/solid edges to it and if you push your finger into it there will be an impression that remains in the icing.

Roses 1

I use the toothpick method of making roses rather than using the Wilton Flower Stem.  I find I can get a better angle for my roses and have an easier time turning the flower as I go.

Wilton has several rose tutorials online that explain the overall process better than I ever could, they just use their Flower Stem instead of a toothpick.  I use the same concept, the only difference is that they show you how to make roses using buttercream.  Using royal icing is a bit different in that I find it does work better with a little drying in between the first couple of petal layers.

The supplies I use are as follows:

  • A piece of floral foam to insert the toothpicks while working on the flowers
  • Coconut Oil or Lard
  • Wilton Buttercup Yellow Stiff Royal Icing
  • Pointed tipped toothpicks
  • Wilton #101S piping tip

Roses 2

I use a pointed tip toothpick but have used the flat edged ones as well.  The pointed edge ones work very well for the small roses.  I then apply a very light coating of Coconut Oil to the tip of the toothpick (you can use lard, like Crisco as well) – just enough so that the rose will come off easily once dried.

Roses 3Roses 4

So instead of “recreating the wheel,” here is the  tutorial I used from Sweetness Online and found that I use this technique for both small and large roses.

I typically let the roses dry as long as I can, sometimes overnight, but you can transfer these small ones after about an hour of drying if you lift from the bottom of the toothpick very gently and place on the cookie. If you let them dry completely, you do not have to be so careful when applying them.  I do let them dry on the toothpick and then remove them when ready to use.  If I make more than I need, I simply remove them and store them in a container – they last FOREVER!!  It’s something I do when I have extra icing – make roses, other flower, and other types of royal icing transfers (bows, circles, hearts, etc.)

Applying the Petal Dust

So now you are ready to add some dimension and interest to the heart cookies you flooded yesterday…

I’ve learned a few things working with petal dust but I am far from being expert .  First, a little goes a long way. Second, All colors do not work the same; using some colors right out of the jar works well, others, not well at all.  Colors like silver, gold, and pearl dusts work very well from the jar to the cookie as they are so much lighter in color.  For darker colors being applied to a much lighter base, you will want to use the procedure described in the next paragraph.

For this project, you will not go from jar to cookie with the brush.  You will be tapping and swirling most of the color off into the lid and on a paper towel before applying it to the cookie.  I find the darker colors work best using this technique.

The main thing to remember when applying the Petal Dust is to build the color up as you go.  Don’t try to get the end result with one application simply by using more of the dust. A small amount, used sparingly, built up layer by layer gives you a nice blended look.

So here are the tools you will need…

Sunset Dust 1

You will want to place a small amount of Petal Dust in the lid of the container to work with.

Sunset Dust 2B

Next, you’ll dip your brush into the Petal dust and swirl off the excess dust onto your paper towel.

After dipping my brush into the petal dust and swirling it onto the paper towel, I work from the sides of the cookies and up along the edges, I swirl my brush in a circular motion, constantly moving the brush around the cookie so as not to deposit too much color in one spot.   I do this several times and stop once the color has built to the density I like.

 

Your cookie should look like this after you apply the first level of the Petal Dust…

Sunset Dust 6

You can then move on to applying a second coat of the Petal Dust.  Same procedure as before, only this time you will start working your brush onto the top of the cookie.  You’ll want to stay about 1/4″ into the cookie – any deeper than that will close this small sized cookie in too much.

Sunset Dust 5

And, this is what the final rose-colored cookie will look like after the second application of the Petal Dust.

Sunset Dust 7

The next couple of pictures show the peach-colored cookie being tinted using the exact same process that you did for the rose-colored cookie.

This is what you should end up with before we move on to piping the details.

Piping 1

Adding the Details:  Piping

Most of you know I like to work with a less stiff royal icing because I usually use a much smaller tip (PME#0 and PME #00) for my piping work; however, for this project, I am using a stiff piping royal icing and a number one Wilton #1 tip and like the results.

  • I’ll be using three piping designs so you should end up with one peach-colored and one rose-colored cookie in each design.  I am adding a design that does not have a rose on it for those of you who don’t feel like you can pull off the creation of royal icing roses yet.  This way, you can still make some nice looking cookies and not stress out about your flower making skills.  Remember too, you can always achieve a nice looking flower simply by using a “Star” tip and some green leaves. It really does work.
  • For the peach cookies, you will pipe the details with the rose icing.  For the rose cookies, you will pipe the details with the peach icing.
  • The process is very easy once you break it down into logical steps; outlined below.

Piping 2Piping 3Piping 4

The next picture only shows the peach cookies because, ahem, I forgot to take a picture of the next stage before I started piping the rose-colored cookies.

Piping 5

And the last of the piping details…

Piping 6

Adding the Details:  Roses and Leaves

I like to let the piping dry/setup a bit before adding the roses so I don’t smear anything – especially when you are working with cookies this small.  I usually give the piping about 1/2 hour to setup and then add the roses. Just remember they are still not 100% dry.

I usually don’t plan how many roses I’ll use ahead of time, I usually let my piping design set the design for the number of roses I use; so go with what you personally like.

Piping 7Piping 8

Once the roses have been applied, I let them setup about 1/2 hour as well before I pipe the leaves, otherwise you will find the roses move.

I don’t have a small leaf tip and wanted something very tiny for these roses.  I decided the Wilton #59 tip works nicely.  I added a couple of leaves to each rose and some dots in the middle design where we didn’t use any roses.  I also decided to add a small ribbon to the third design.

Piping 9

Adding the Details:  Final Flourishes

To finish off the cookies, I simply go in and add two lines, slightly curved, with the Wilton #1 tip using the light green icing (see picture below).

Piping 10

I then use the same Wilton #1 tip to add leaves to the top line.

Piping 11

And for the final detail, I used the Wilton #1 tip and the light yellow icing to pipe in some small dots on the lower green piped line.

Piping 12

Sunset Hearts

I went ahead and added a rose to the middle cookie design but if you don’t feel strong making the roses, you can simply adjust your designs.

Such pretty hearts and I really liked working with the Petal Dust.  It gives the cookies a sort of vintage look and a bit of depth.  I’ll definitely experiment more with other colors.

Piping Final

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Try them out for Mother’s Day or simply to cheer up someone’s day.  I think you will like the effect you get with the Petal Dust.

Your Fellow Cookie Lover,

Diane

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Working with Colored Dough

Dear Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I recently shared some Valentine cookies on my Facebook page that utilized pink colored cookie dough – an idea I was inspired to use after reviewing Sweet Sugarbelle’s Website November 24, 2015 Facebook post.  Ever since then, I’ve wanted to try even more cookies using this technique and I thought, what better way than to try then out on Easter cookies! So, if you’ve ever wanted to try out this technique, here is my experience, to-date because there will be more! – of working with colored dough.

Girly Girl 2
My recent Valentine’s Day “Girly Girl” Cookies in which I utilized Americolor Deep Pink colored cookie dough.  What a timesaver and a gorgeous result in the end.

This is such an easy technique that the real challenge lies only in your imagination on how to apply the technique to your own cookie designs.  For me, I wanted to try the technique out to see if I could  1) save time,  and/or, 2) enhance the overall look of the finished cookie. Anything I learned after that would be a bonus. So without further ado…

Coloring the Dough

I tried coloring the dough in two ways.  The first time I tried it, I had already refrigerated the dough and then added the coloring to it.  The second time I tried it, I added it to newly mixed dough PRIOR to refrigeration, which is the technique I preferred and use in this post.  I found I got equally good results but it was obviously much easier to knead the color in on the unrefrigerated dough.  I mention both ways in the event you want to rush off and try the technique on dough you’ve already made and happens to be in your refrigerator – which is what happened to me.

A few things to know:

  1. I used both Americolor and Wilton gel food colors.  I personally prefer Americolor food coloring but only because of the packaging whereby you can add the coloring by “drops” rather than scooping out the color on a toothpick for the Wilton colors. You’ll see the toothpick technique in my picture in this blog.
  2. I used the coloring process on sugar cookie dough only, not chocolate,not gingerbread, or any other flavor.
  3. I found the coloring did not dye my hands when I added it to the unrefrigerated dough but it did when I colored the refrigerated dough.

Pictured below you will see how I add the color to the dough. And…that’s it! Not kidding. Once you add the color to the dough, all you “need” to do is “knead” the color into the dough – a process that took me about three minutes for each color. (Remember to wash your hands after each color to get off any slight discoloration.)

Coloring the Dough
I know we all like precise recipes when it comes to making cookies but the amount of color I used for coloring my dough was really trial and error.  I can tell you that I used approximately one cup of dough to about 3 – 4 drops of Americolor food coloring, and the amount for the Wilton colors is pictured above.  The one thing I can tell you is that the baked cookies come out VERY CLOSE to the color of your unbaked dough color. Sort of “what you see is what you get.”

Knead, knead, knead until the color is even in the dough and wrap and refrigerate as usual. I used Americolor Leaf Green, Wilton Golden Yellow, Americolor Deep Pink, and Wilton Violet as seen below and Wilton Copper and Americilor Chocolate Brown (both not pictured below).

Colored Dough
Colored dough ready to go into the refrigerator.

 

The Baked Tinted Dough Cookie – To Decorate or Not To Decorate

As I stated in my intro, the real beauty of tinted dough comes in the application of use.  Below, are baked cookies that I used for this blog posting but, seriously, you could use these cookies exactly like they are when they come out of the oven.   In the inspiration cookies from Sweet Sugarbelle’s Facebook page (11/24/15 posting), she used a yellowish tinted dough with a simple brushing of Pearl Dust over them which came out gorgeous without any further decorating.  So for anyone looking to do something super easy and to arrange into a beautiful platter of cookies for the host, this technique will leave you smiling!

One thing I want to mention at this point.  I’ve used a total of 8 different colors (outside of this blog) and the only color you really have to watch is the Wilton Violet color.  I baked them about 1 – 2 minutes less than the others because the color tends to change  – it came out a bit brown – odd.  But all of the other colors really were close to the original colored dough color prior to baking.

The Cookie is Your Palette

Okay, for the cookies I did, I used a variety of ways to try out the tinted cookies.  First, I used the cookies fully iced with just the edges or a small amount of the cookie showing, and, two, the cookies completely bare with royal icing in white piped over them.

Below is the first set of cookies iced and ready to go.

Iced Cookies Mix
In this set of cookies you can see how I completely iced most of the cookie leaving only the edges of the colored dough showing. Pictured below, you will see how the painted technique I used on top of these cookies was further enhanced by the actual color of the cookie.

I went ahead and painted the cookies in three different ways.  The first was painting two stripes on the iced cookie and then piping an intricate lace design on top – one of my favorite styles to work in.

Finished Rabbits

For the second set, I painted the cookies in a watercolor type of technique and then piped white lines and some outer details on the edge to get yet another effect.  I like how these came out and the little hint of the cookie left as an edging on the top of the cookie really was the way to go with these rabbits.  I think I would leave some cookie showing on top for all of the rabbits I did next time around.

Finished Rabbits 2

I love a natural looking egg and had to try them with the colored dough.  I simply painted the white iced cookie with the same colors I used for tinting the dough, and then took Americolor Chocolate Brown with a stiff brush and splattered the cookies. I then went in with Wilton White-White Icing Color and a very tiny-tipped brush and added some white dots as well.

Finished Eggs

So fun right?!  The many uses of colored dough.  I am a fan.  Okay, some more ideas.

I have wanted to try the “moss” technique on cookies for some time and decided colored dough might look nice with this technique.  I simply took one of those green cookies I baked and used my handy zester to turn it into cookie dust. I painted a thin coat of royal icing onto the cookie and sprinkled with “moss” cookie dust.  I think next time I would go over it with some darker paint in some areas but I liked the clean look of these eggs without it.  You could easily use a green-base or brown-base of royal icing and dust with the moss cookie dust before it dried but I was not sure what I was going to do with all of the egg cookies until I got into the decorating process.  That is why I then painted a thin coating of royal icing on top and then dusted.

Moss Eggs

Now, I’ve saved my favorite for last.  You all probably know by now how much I love to pipe so this may not come as a surprise to you.  Well, the thing I really don’t like is having to wait for my iced cookies to dry before I can actually get to the piping.  So this technique of leaving the cookie un-iced and going strait to the piping process THRILLED ME!!  Just bake and grab my piping bag.  THIS is a technique you will be sick of seeing me do before I am done with it.  Hey, just a fair warning for you all!

Finished Cookies 1

Finished Flowers 2
In this photo, I used the Copper-colored dough cookie and simply piped white icing over it.

Fabulous fun!!!  I like this application of the colored dough process the best because…it SAVES ME TIME!!  Not that I’m in a rush, I’m just impatient to get to the part of the decorating process that I really enjoy…which is piping!!

And, for the last view, a combination of all the Easter cookies I did using the colored dough technique.  I hope I’ve inspired you to try out this technique and let your mind go wild with ideas.  I am still thinking of ways to use it!  Most of all, remember to have fun…and…eat the cookies!!

Colored Dough Cookies All

Your fellow cookie lover,

Diane

 

Working with Royal Icing Textures

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I know, I know!  It’s been a long while since I’ve posted to my blog!  I’ve been in a total state of transition (still am!), and I am finally finding the time to post something of value for all of you.  I’ll leave it at that and keep you updated on some changes with regard to my website, blog, etc. in the near future.

I made a promise to myself that 2016 would be the year that I tried out new techniques in cookie decorating.  I’ve taken a break from producing cookies for sale and it has been very beneficial as it’s a different creative process when you have total and complete free reign of the design with no time challenges to be concerned about.

Onto the tutorial for this post. I want to share with you some new techniques I’ve been working with – specifically achieving texture on cookies with royal icing and hand painting.  I’m sort of new to it myself, so I’ll share what I can and encourage all of you to seek out other Cookiers who have a passion for these techniques as well.

In the cookies I recently created for a mixed media challenge on Julia Usher’s Cookie Connection website, I was challenged to use texture, painting, wafer paper, lustre dusts, intricate piping, royal icing transfers, and sugar beads.  It was fun!!! Really, the worst of the cookies still came out nice proving that you don’t have to be an expert in any one technique; you just have to want to challenge yourself and try new things and know that a mix of media really adds a level of beauty you might not have otherwise achieved.  I found that I got better with practice.  Some techniques took longer than others to master and I still practice all the time.

Textured Hearts 1

I’m totally hooked on the “plastered look technique” used on my recent cookies and will show you how easy it is to do.  I’ve omitted the make the dough, roll the dough, cut the dough, blah, blah, blah, assuming you want to move on to the creative stuff quickly!!  Me too!

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED AND THE COLOR SCHEME USED

Pictured below are the tools that I used for this technique.  If you do not own a Zester tool, I have tried it with the small side of a generic shredder used for cheeses and it comes out good enough to use – just a little more coarse. Don’t make yourself crazy with having the exact items I used, this technique is very forgiving. For instance, if you only have one size brush and it is either larger or smaller – use it! You can always add to your inventory if you fall in love with the overall technique. Just promise me you won’t use SANDPAPER! I honestly had someone ask me if they could use that. NO!! Use a metallic utensil that can be washed and is used for food sources only.

Texured Cookies Tools
Tools used to achieve the color scheme and the texturizing on the cookies

 

MIXING THE ICING

This is the Royal Icing recipe I use:

  • 3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
  • 6 Tablespoons of water

Put all ingredients into a stand mixer and whip on high for about 5-6 minutes. The icing should stay on a spoon if you turn it upside down and leave a dent in it if you push your finger into the icing.  Similar to what you may use to make royal icing roses.

In the picture below, you will see I am using a Navy Blue, Ivory and White color scheme (Americolor Gel Food Coloring).   The first layer should be a 5 second icing that flows over the cookie to get a smooth base.  For the second and third layers, I will be using a thicker royal icing than the first layer.  You can see the difference in texture in the picture.  The white and Ivory icing consistency was achieved using icing straight out of the mixer. When mixing, I used one cup of icing to which I added 13 drops of Navy Blue for the blue, and, 1 drop of Ivory for the off white color.

Textured Cookies Color Scheme
Color Scheme: Navy Blue, Ivory, White

ICE THE COOKIES

I iced my cookies in two colors – Navy Blue and White – leaving the Ivory to be a texture layer on both cookies.   I then let them dry overnight.  It’s really important to dry the first layer 24 hours as you will be really “working” these cookies with some tools and a couple of other layers of icing.  I’m showing a dark base and a white base version so you can see how the cookies come out in the end and the variety you can get simply by using the same color scheme.

Although I create in an organic way, (not much planning on paper but rather in my head) I do have a sense of the color scheme I want to achieve in the final cookie before I start.  For those of you who find this intimidating, just copy this color schemes to start and, once you get the feel for it, experiment with your own colors – look in your closet for inspiration! I think we tend to dress and decorate in color schemes we subconsciously, or knowingly, like.

Texture Cookies Iced

Iced Cookies

TEXTURIZING THE COOKIES: SECOND LAYER

This is the fun part, especially if you’ve never intentionally “messed up” a cookie!  For this part I used a mini offset spatula to apply the icing.  If you don’t have one, use a butter knife.  In this stage, you will use the Ivory icing for both of the cookies’ second layer.

Take your Ivory icing and simply smear it on the cookie trying to leave “about” 50% of the first layer exposed.  Don’t get too smooth on this layer. Move your spatula in different directions and apply different pressure in some areas. I try and keep this layer fairly thin – about 1/16″.   The only “rule” here is to clean up the edges after you apply this layer as you probably will want to do some kind of edging on the cookie in the end.  Once you’ve completed this stage, let it dry a couple of hours.  This layer will dry quickly as it is much less thick than the initial layer.

Spackle 1
Grab a small amount of the second layer icing color on an offset spatula.
Spackle 2
This is what your cookies should look like after “spackling” on the second layer of the cookie. Notice it is not even, not smooth, and I have tried to keep the edges fairly clean.
Spackle 4
I kept the second layer of icing for the white-based cookies the same as the blue-based cookies as I wanted the blue on top of this cookie just to get a lighter look.

At this point, you want to let the cookies dry for about two hours.

TEXTURIZING THE COOKIES: THIRD LAYER

For the third, and final, layers, I used Blue icing for the white-based cookie, and White icing for the blue-based cookie.  Same technique using the offset spatula; spread the icing over the entire cookie, this time leaving about 25% of the first layer exposed and 50% of the second layer exposed.  Keep it a bit chunkier/coarser on this layer (chunkier/coarser on texture, not thickness – stick with the same 1/16″ as in the second step).  Again, clean up those edges and then let the cookie dry overnight.

Spackle 8
For the white-based cookie, this is what the end product will look like (prior to drying) with the second and third layers applied to the first smooth layer.  Let dry overnight.
Spackle 10
For the blue-based cookie, this is what the end product will look like (prior to drying) with the second and third layers applied to the first smooth layer.  Let dry overnight.

FILING/SANDING DOWN THE ICING

Time to really get those cookies looking spectacular.  My favorite stage, actually.  We’re going to “sand” the cookie down with the zester tool.  If you’ve never sanded down royal icing before, just remember to keep the pressure a bit light for this technique as you don’t want to 1) crack the cookie, and 2) take too much icing off all at once.  It’s a gradual process.  Once you get more comfortable with this process, you’ll get a feel for the level of pressure you can use on the icing/cookie.

It is important to “sand down” the icing you just meticulously spread onto your cookie over the last day in order to get that Old World Venetian Plaster look to your cookies.  We are NOT going for the 1970’s stucco look!!  Oh yes, I’m that old!

The idea here is two fold: 1) smooth out the roughness of the icing, and 2) create a visual layering of all three icing layers.  I do this by moving the zester – constantly turning it and the cookie, and angling it in all directions as I pull it across the icing.  As you work near the edges, I like to angle the zester to obtain a rounded edge.  You’ll want to keep a clean, dry brush next to you to brush away the “royal icing dust” so you can see how the layers are starting to look.  Keep in mind when you sand the icing down, it will make it much more porous to your “paint” you will create with food gel, so you don’t want heavy pressure here.  Keep it light enough to remove the roughness but heavy enough to get the crustier edges sanded down.

Sanding 1
This is what the cookies look like when they are fully dried and prior to sanding with the zester.

I’m going to share a lot of pictures with you for this step of the process so you can see the level of beauty the sanded cookies have prior to painting.

Sanding 2
This is what the blue-based cookies look like when I finished sanding but haven’t yet brushed the royal icing dust off the cookies.
Sanding 3
This is what the white-based cookies look like when I finished sanding but haven’t yet brushed the royal icing dust off the cookies.
And…this is what the cookies will look like after you have brushed off the royal icing dust!!!! I’ve included individual pictures below so you can see the closeup details.Sanding Final

Sanding 8

Sanding 9

Sanding 7

Sanding 4

Sanding 14

Sanding 6

Prior to moving on to the next stage, make sure you brush, brush, brush the dust off those cookies.  I also take a clean, dry towel and wipe down the cookies, front and back.

PAINTING THE COOKIE

You probably feel like this is a lot of work for a cookie, but trust me, reading it takes much longer than it actually takes to do.  The results at each step are so fun to see and I promise you will be really excited along the way to see how the cookie will turn out.

Before we start painting the cookie, you MUST make sure you have thoroughly brushed off the “icing dust” on the front, back and sides of the cookies.  If not, your colors and textures tend to get muddied rather than enhance the overall texture.  So, brush, brush, brush, those cookies.

Similar to the coloring of the icing, selecting your paint colors is one part trial and error and another part sticking to a color scheme.  Remember I told you that your icing becomes more porous as you sand it?  Well, that means that as you apply the paint color the overall color will be darker, and in some cases a bit pitted looking.  That’s okay, it just takes some “trial and error” to get a knack for how colors change when applying them to porous icing and other colors.  For instance, you will find using an ivory wash over pink will turn it orange and over blue it will turn it green.  This is something I really didn’t have a problem with as I have used acrylic paints and watercolors in my past and had that knowledge.  If you don’t have this baseline knowledge, don’t worry, just go with the flow – it will be more fun to see what you create!! 😉

A couple of things about creating the “paint wash”:

  • I used Americolor gel colors for this project but also use Wilton colors.
  • I used paint brushes I only use when working with my cookies.
  • You need a lot of water and very little gel color.
  • Keep a wad of paper towels next to your paint palette.

The idea for this stage is to get a variety of colors in your icing and a depth of color by laying the paint over the textured layers you painstakingly created. For the cookies pictured in this post, I used Americolor’s Navy Blue and Ivory colors – the same colors I used when tinting the royal icing.  Sometimes I use totally different colors than the ones I used to tint the icing, but, again, it’s trial and error, so explore.

  1. I put a very tiny amount of color on my palette and mix a lot of water into the gel to get what looks like a steeped tea, translucent color.
  2. I then dip my brush in the mix and wipe it on my paper towel to see if the color needs to be watered down further.
  3. I re-dip the brush and slightly blot it on the paper towel again to get off some of the wash.
  4. I then “brush” it and “blot” it across the cookie.
  5. Once the brush gets dry I repeat the process from step 3 on.
  6. I don’t typically color the cookie entirely with color; instead, I try to leave some white/ivory showing to keep the range of depth strong.
  7. For this project, I used the Navy Blue and the Ivory gel colors.  You can go crazy with more than two colors to get some really beautiful looks; for this project, I am using just two to keep it easy.
  8. The painting process is similar to the “spackling” process in that I use the first color and then layer the second color on.  As you will see in the following pictures, I don’t wait for each paint color to dry, I work with the colors one right after the other.  After the cookies fully dry, I sometimes go back in to add some darker color but most of the time I am finished after using the two colors while they are both wet.
Painting 1
This is what I start with. I’ve put a couple of drops of blue in one crevice of my painting tray and two drops of ivory in a couple of other crevices. I’m using a flat head brush and a rounded brush.  I have my water and paper towels handy as well.

I’m starting with the Navy Blue gel and watering it down.  I test it on my paper towel to make sure it is a light wash.

Painting 2

 

 

 

Painting 4
I next watered down my Ivory gel and blot it on the paper towel to get a light wash.  You can see how beautiful your paper towels are already starting to look!!
Painting 8
For the blue-based cookies, I left some white and blue showing as I will then be applying the Navy Blue as the next color.

 

Painting 6
For the white-based cookies, I also left some blue and white showing, and then went ahead and layered on a very light wash of the blue.
Painting 9
After putting a light wash of blue on the blue-based cookies, I dipped my brush directly in the Navy Blue gel without watering it down and dapped it into key areas and crevices on the cookie to get the look above.  Below is a picture of just how dark the Navy Blue color was that I used.

Painting 5

After the cookies dried for about 30 minutes, I went back in and used a dried brush technique with my rounded brush and VERY lightly swirled my brush over the cookies to get an even more subtle level of texture.

Dry Brush 1
When using the dry brush technique, put the tip of your brush into the full color gel and then in a circular motion, swipe the brush over your paper towel until the gel is more dry than moist.  At that point you can take it to your cookie.  Swirl the brush lightly over the cookie and as you go over the textures of the cookie, you will see even more texture comes out than when you used the watered down gel colors.

This is what the cookies looked like after I painted with watered down colors, and the second picture is what they looked like after applying the dry brush technique.

Painting Final
After applying watered down gel colors but prior to final dry brushing technique.
Dry Brush Final
The effect is subtle but if you look at some of the lighter areas, you can see that the dry brushing has just deposited a small speck of color here and there emphasizing the texture from sanding the icing.

Now, let the cookie dry a bit (about one hour) before getting into the metallic layer – if you want to add a metallic layer.  (For these, I do!!)  I find waiting for them to dry a bit works best so that the metallic really “pops” the overall design of the cookie.

In applying the metallic layer, less is more.  I decided to use both silver and gold dusts on the cookies as I haven’t tried that before.  Focus on putting a concentration of metallic in just a few areas so the metallic is bold but not overpowering.  I used the Wilton lustre dusts mixed with vodka to get a smooth paste that brushes on without clumping.  I then let the cookie dry overnight before I add any decorative details such as royal icing transfers, stamping details, wafer paper, beads, etc.

Metallic 1
I am showing the silver dust mixed with the vodka and the gold dust strait out of the bottle.  I used each color mixed with vodka, but wanted to show the dry version as well.

 

Metallic 3
Up close look at one of the cookies with some gold washed over it.
Metallic 4
In the cookies on the left you can see I used silver dust.  For the cookies on the right I used gold.
Metallic 2
Up close look of some silver dust on the cookies.

Metallic 5

Let dry overnight so that you can literally use any decorative technique you want when the cookie is fully dry.

ADDING OTHER ELEMENTS 

Once you have your gorgeous, textured cookies, you can do just about anything on top of them.  In the pictures below, you will see that I explored using a stencil and royal icing to get even more texture to the cookie.  I also added royal icing transfers (roses) and gold and pearl white beads.  I also piped some design because, well, I’m a PIPE-A-HOLIC!! (I seriously get the jitters if I go 48 hours without piping SOMETHING! Hey, don’t judge me, you’ll get there!)  Your options are unlimited and I encourage you to imagine anything.  Add wafer paper, some Cookiers like fondant transfers, others use SugarVeil (I have not tried it yet), you can use beads/dragees, and even dry lustre dust adds a nice element to the textured cookie.

 

Blog 4
Of the six cookies that I made for this Blog Posting, I did four of them with an emphasis on gold.
Blog 3
For the other two cookies, I tried to stay with a silver tone to them and kept the overall look of the cookie lighter.
Textured Hearts 1
These are the Valentine Hearts I recently made using a textured base, stencils with royal icing, hand piping, royal icing transfers (flowers), and gold beads.  For the cookie in the upper right corner, I used a stamp before using the stencil over the cookie.

And the pictures below are some closeups of the cookies done for this Blog Posting.

Blog 5

Blog 6

Blog 7

Blog 8

Blog 10

Blog 9

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope to share more with you, ahem, in a more timely manner in 2016.  Thanks for following me fellow cookie lovers and remember to just have fun! They are cookies! Even if you aren’t completely satisfied with your end result the first time around, your consolation prize is that you have a tasty cookie to eat, which will give you the inspiration to try another batch!!  I know I did!!

Diane.

 

 

Valentine Cookie: LOVE

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I think you are going to like this post.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, it’s a fun cookie to make, and, it will also teach you how to use any Letter Cookie Cutters you have in different ways.  This post is a bit different in that it is the first time I am making this cookie design so you will get to see what turned out right, what could have been better and how to get around things that may not turn out the “exact” way you wanted them to.

I tried three designs with the word “L-O-V-E” and I’ll show you how to cut all three and decorate the first one.  Once you do the first one you can basically figure out how the other two are done – and even create your own designs!

So here are the finished cookies…

"L-O-V-E" Cookies using LETTER COOKIE CUTTERS
“L-O-V-E” Cookies using LETTER COOKIE CUTTERS

So, let’s begin. Here is what I used:

Letter Cookie Cutters: “L, O, V, E”

Heart Cookie Cutter

Mini Round Cutter

Mini Heart Cutter

White Piping Icing

Red Piping Icing

White Flooding Icing

Red Flooding Icing

Number 4 tip

Number 1 tip

THE CUTTERS

Here are the cutters I used for all three cookies:

Letter Cutters: L-O-V-E
Letter Cutters: L-O-V-E
IMG_1307
Letter Cutters: L-O-E Heart Cutter in place of the Letter V

I should mention that I’m going to be doing A LOT of letter cookies as my Sister gave me the entire alphabet for Christmas!!!  So much fun.  I can’t wait to get my hands on other sets (Especially the ones by Ximena) and explore further.  But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself here!

The Cutouts

Okay, so once you have your dough letters (and/or heart) cut out, you want to arrange them in the way that you want for your design.

L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged

Notice how I have laid them out, overlapping to make a cookie that, when cooked, will blend together to form a solid cookie out of the four letters.  This part is important; you want to get an idea of how you’ll pipe your design at this step, so it’s a good way to see what letter will look good in front or in back of another letter. SPECIAL NOTES: I have to admit, when I cut the first set of letters, they got soft as I started to cut, press together, photograph, etc. so here is an important couple of tips.  First, after you cut out each shape, place them on a tray and freeze them for about ten minutes to get them firm.  Then, take out the shapes you are going to use and work with them very cold.  They cut and merge better.  Two, place the shapes on your baking sheet BEFORE you start your second cuts and putting the letters/heart together.  I learned this as I was doing it.  Since my dough was so soft, it was impossible to transfer the cookies to my Silpat and cook!  So I did it over directly on my Silpat and it worked out fine.

Now, don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged at this point, the actual cutting of the shapes really is easy but it may look difficult in my pictures.  It’s really not difficult, just take your time. The first thing I did was to take a small knife and cut some small guidelines where the cookies overlapped. This served as a guide to cut the one letter into the other.

L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged
Use the small guidelines to cut into each letter
Use the small guidelines to cut into each letter
Cutting into the letter O
Cutting into the letter O

In the picture above, you’ll see that I used those small guidelines to position the letter L onto the letter O and cut into it.

The L cutout into the letter O
The L cutout into the letter O

This is what it should look like.  You then simply take the letter L and insert it into the cutout area of the letter O and nudge the dough together as in the photo below.

The letters L and O merged
The letters L and O merged

Next, we’ll move on to the letters V and E.  Again, I’ll use my guidelines to cutout the dough in order to merge the V and E into the overall design

Guidelines for the letters V and E
Guidelines for the letters V and E
Cut out the letter E into the letter O
Cut out the letter E into the letter O
Letter E ready to merge with the letter O
Letter E ready to merge with the letter O

Before I slip the Letter E into the O, I cutout the small triangular tip where the V will merge into the E.

Cutting the tip of the letter V into the letter E
Cutting the tip of the letter V into the letter E

And…this is what it will look like when you merge all of the letters together.

Merged Letters prior to baking
Merged Letters prior to baking

Remember, this was my first attempt with the “soft” dough and I re-did it directly on my Silpat pad after freezing the cutout shapes for ten minutes.

Letters re-done directly on my Silpat Pad
Letters re-done directly on my Silpat Pad

Much better!  And, you can also see I went ahead and using a small round cutter, I cut a hole in the letter O.  I offset it for some extra fun!

Okay, onto the two other cookies.  I’ll fast pace it here so you get the overall idea of how I cut each one just so you can see how it was done.  Pretty much all the same; it just requires some thinking and arranging to get what you like.

L-O-V-E with a Heart. This is how I overlaid the letters before cutting and merging them.
L-O-V-E with a Heart. This is how I overlaid the letters before cutting and merging them.
Cutting the Heart into the letters L and O
Cutting the Heart into the letters L and O
I then cut the letter E into the letter O
I then cut the letter E into the letter O
Here is what it will look like before you merge the letters and the heart
Here is what it will look like before you merge the letters and the heart
And...here is what the merged cookie will look like.  In this cookie, I used the mini heart to cut the middle out of the letter O.
And…here is what the merged cookie will look like. In this cookie, I used the mini heart to cut the middle out of the letter O.

Okay, and on to the last cookie…

This is how I overlaid the letters for this design.
This is how I overlaid the letters for this design.
Cutting the letters for merging
Cutting the letters for merging…hmm, somehow I didn’t take a picture of cutting the letter O into the letter L…oops, sorry.
And this is the final merged cookie prior to baking
And this is the final merged cookie prior to baking

So, now that we have everything cut and ready to bake – Bake Away!  I thought I would show you two views of how the cookies baked – the front of the cookie, and the back. The reason I want to show you the back is so you can see how fully the letters/heart merge together. This is what you want to achieve – fully merged letters/heart so the cookie is solid and can be handled more easily.

3 Designs prior to baking
3 Designs prior to baking
3 Designs after Baking (front)
3 Designs after Baking (front)
3 Designs after Baking (back)
3 Designs after Baking (back)

Decorating the Cookie!

I started by outlining the entire cookie with the number 4 tip.  I used a thick tip to do the border because I want the cookie to look as if it is one big cookie, and, by adding a thicker border, it will sort of group the letters together.  I then used a number 1 tip to outline the interior parts of the letters in preparation for the flooding.

Cookie Prior to Outlining
Cookie Prior to Outlining
Outlined cookie with number 4 tip
Outlined cookie with number 4 tip
Here is the cookie with the interior outline as well as the O flooded with white
Here is the cookie with the interior outline as well as the O flooded with white

In the picture above, I went ahead and flooded the O with white flooding icing.  Next will be the letter V in white but I am going to also use the red flooding icing with the number 1 tip to add a wet-on-wet stripe design. Work quickly after you flood the V with white as you want the red to sink into the white and have a smooth surface when it dries.

Flood the V with white flooding icing
Flood the V with white flooding icing
Work quickly while the white flooding icing is still wet - add diagonal red stripes using the red flooding icing and a number 1 tip
Work quickly while the white flooding icing is still wet – add diagonal red stripes using the red flooding icing and a number 1 tip

It’s coming together!  I do love to see the transition of the cookie!  On to the red!

I go ahead and flood the letter L and then move on to the letter E.  Similar to the letter V, I used a wet-on-wet design for the letter E so I used the red flooding icing as my base and then used the white flooding icing with a number 1 tip to add the dots.

I flood the letter L and then the letter E.  Again, work quickly to add the white dots to the wet, red icing on the letter E
I flood the letter L and then the letter E. Again, work quickly to add the white dots to the wet, red icing on the letter E

Now the part we all hate…let it dry overnight.  I KNOW!!!  I hate it too!  I have no patience, but really, it is worth it.  You’ve gone through so much to get to this point, let it dry thoroughly, you’ll be glad you did.

Adding the Final Details

Yaaaay! Day two…you did let it dry overnight…didn’t you?  Now comes the fun part.  So, remember I said I was taking pictures as I did this for the first time?  Well, here is one of those situations where I came upon a problem after the cookie dried overnight.  If you look closely at the letter L, you will notice it dried with some white areas around the edges.  This sometimes happens if too much water settles into the one area, or if I didn’t properly run a toothpick through the color to make sure it had no air bubbles, etc.  So, a bit of a design change will cover up this problem.  I was originally going to leave the letter L red, but now it will get some nice dashes and dots! 😉

Dried Cookie (notice the white patches on the edges of the letter L)
Dried Cookie (notice the white patches on the edges of the letter L)

The first thing I add are some strings to the letter O (using a number 1 tip) which will hold some pretty little hearts.

Add some stripes to the letter O making sure to leave some space below the end of the line to add a small heart
Add some stripes to the letter O making sure to leave some space below the end of the line to add a small heart

Now I go ahead and add the small hearts.  If you are a beginner, here is how these simple, little hearts are done.  I used a number 1 tip for this.  You simply start with a dot and while letting up on the icing flow you drag the dot into a small line.

First part of heart - a little dot that is dragged to a short line by dragging the tip and easing up on the icing flow
First part of heart – a little dot that is dragged to a short line by dragging the tip and easing up on the icing flow
Complete the heart by adding a second dot/line to the other side connecting the two points
Complete the heart by adding a second dot/line to the other side connecting the two points

Ta-da! Heart!

So finish up adding the hearts to all of the strings in the letter O. I then added some dots (bottom picture) around the hearts so they weren’t hanging out there all alone!

Finish adding the hearts to the end of each of the strings
Finish adding the hearts to the end of each of the strings

I then went ahead and added a simple string with a bow (using number 1 tip) to the letters V and E.

Add string and bows to the letters V and E using a number 1 tip
Add string and bows to the letters V and E using a number 1 tip

Almost there!  That pesky L!  I simply used a dash, dot, dash, dot line across the letter to cover up any of the whitish areas in the letter L.

Add a dash, dot, dash design to the letter L
Add a dash, dot, dash design to the letter L

Lastly, I decided to go ahead and outline the letters with the number 1 tip.  Sometimes you don’t need it, depending on how nicely the individual letters were flooded…hmmm, I did a bit better on the second LOVE with a heart.

Outlined Letters
Outlined Letters

And you are done!  Nice, right?  I kind of like this idea of merging letters.  I hope you try your hand at this.  Even if you don’t use it for Valentine’s Day, it has so many uses!!!  Let your imagination go wild – names, short sayings, words of inspiration, etc.

And here are the finished cookies.  I like the two Valentine designs and the third design I decided to try out my painting skills again for a Baby Design (love baby cookies!!).  It’s something I just started doing on cookies after seeing so many amazing hand-painted cookies by other Cookiers.  Can’t say I’m great at it, but I keep trying it in small doses and it’s fun.  We have to keep challenging ourselves. And I added a recent “Happy New Year” set I did where each of the letters were separate. So see, it may pay to put a complete alphabet set on your Birthday list, right?  If, however, you just want to start with a few letters, most online sites sell letters separately, and if you happen to have a Sur La Table in a mall near you, they sell letters separately for $1.25 each (New York price)

LOVE Valentine Designs
LOVE Valentine Designs
Love Baby Design
Love Baby Design
Happy New Year Letters
Happy New Year Letters

Happy Baking.

Diane

Valentine’s Day Heart

Hi Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Today I am going to show you how to make a very simple heart; one of several I used last year for Valentine’s Day.  They also make great favors for Bridal Showers and Weddings.

I get a lot of questions about how to make these hearts, specifically because of the “lattice” work on them.  Believe it or not, this is a VERY simple design and I am certain that you will be pleased with the results if this is your first time making a heart like this.

Valentine Heart

I have picked this particular design because it gives you a chance to perfect your lattice skills in a small area and you get some ideas about adding borders to otherwise simple cookie shapes.  So here is how I start…

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

A 4″ baked cookie in the shape of a heart

3″ heart shaped cookie cutter

#1 Decorating Tip

Etching tool

Toothpicks

White Royal Icing – pipping consistency

White Royal Icing – flooding consistency

“Patience” 🙂

DIRECTIONS

Bake a heart cookie; in this example I chose a cookie cutter about 4″ so as to give you enough room to work with but not to much to make the project cumbersome.

Step 1: Bake a 4" Heart Cookie
Step 1: Bake a 4″ Heart Cookie

I am using a chocolate cookie because the royal icing detail shows up particularly well against the chocolate.  I then take a smaller heart – about 3″ – and place it in the center of the cookie and then use a etching tool to outline the shape onto the cookie.  This sets a pattern on which I will then pipe an outline.

Step 2: Place a 3" heart in the middle of your cookie and etch the pattern onto your cookie.
Step 2: Place a 3″ heart in the middle of your cookie and etch the pattern onto your cookie.
This is what the etched heart should look like.
This is what the etched heart should look like.

I then take my Piping Icing with a # 1 decorating tip and outline the interior heart.

Step 4: Using a #1 tip, pipe the interior heart with white piping consistency icing.
Step 3: Using a #1 tip, pipe the interior heart with white piping consistency icing. 

Once you have finished Step 3, you have the entire foundation of your cookie design in place. Everything you do from this point on is based on this heart outline.  Easy so far.

Next, using the same #1 tip, I draw a line down the middle of the interior heart to divide the heart in half.  On the left side of the heart I am going to flood it entirely in white icing of flooding consistency.  I am going to use the right side of the cookie to do the lattice work.  If you have a preference for doing the lattice on the left instead, that’s fine, whatever way feels more comfortable for you.

Step 5: Draw a line down the middle of the interior heart and flood the left, or right, your preference, of the heart with flooding consistency icing.
Step 4: Draw a line down the middle of the interior heart and flood the left, or right, your preference, of the heart with flooding consistency icing.

At this point, I set the cookie aside for about 20 minutes to allow the flooded area to harden up a bit before proceeding on to the outside border.

Step 5: Add half circles around the perimeter of the interior heart, leaving about 1/8" border.
Step 5: Add half circles around the perimeter of the interior heart, leaving about 1/8″ border.

Don’t get scared at this point.  Making half circles around the heart really is easy, it just take a bit of practice.  When I first started making these hearts, my half circles were different sizes, even still they are never perfect.  I just try and keep them all the same size.  I typically start at the bottom and work my way around the heart.  This process is somewhat forgiving as you get better and better at it.  The overall design looks good even if the half circles aren’t exactly the same size!  If you are not familiar with the “dragging” process, it is a process where you anchor your icing onto the cookie and then squeeze and pull the line of icing letting the icing fall onto the cookie while you control the shape it takes.  On details this small, I don’t really drag and drop until I get to the lattice work so I keep the tip close to the working surface for this step.

Next, I continue on by adding a design in between each of the half circles.  I do this by placing my icing tip (still #1 tip) about 1/8″ away from the area where each half circle meets the other.  I then start making a medium-sized dot but rather than picking up my tip, I keep pushing icing through the tip and slowly drag the tip towards the area where the half circles meet slowing stopping the pressure on the icing flow.

Step 6: Using the #1 tip, I place it about 1/8" away from where the half circles intersect and start piping a dot and then pull it towards the center.
Step 6: Using the #1 tip, I place it about 1/8″ away from where the half circles intersect and start piping a dot and then pull it towards the center. 

Next, I add the tiny dots on the crest of each half circle.  I place two dots at the top and then another dot in between those two dots.  I continue to do this on every crest of each half circle working my way around the entire heart. You will see at the top and bottom of the heart there are some areas that won’t allow for all three dots, I just use one to balance out the overall design.

Step 7: Continue using the #1 tip to place three tiny dots at the crest of each half circle.
Step 7: Continue using the #1 tip to place three tiny dots at the crest of each half circle.

Next, I add a large dot in each half circle.

Step 8:  Add large dots to the inside of each half circle.
Step 8: Add large dots to the inside of each half circle.

Again, I put the heart aside for about 20 minutes for the work to harden a bit before moving on to the lattice work.  You want to make sure if your icing tip hits any part of the decorated sections that it won’t ruin your overall design.  I tend to do the border first and then the lattice but a lot of other cookie artists do all of the lattice work first and then move on to the flooding and border work.  See what feels comfortable to you.  I’ve had a lot of practice with the lattice work and get a better idea of what design I want to put on top of the lattice only after I do the border work.  You’ll find your own style/way of working.

Okay…the LATTICE WORK!!  If I can tell you only one thing about doing lattice work it is this…practice, practice, practice.  Last year, I had an order for 700 Valentine’s Day cookies that had to be completed in a two week time period!!  It was the first time I did lattice work, if you can believe it, but I continued to get better and better even after that production nightmare was over.  After you do a few of these you will laugh at how difficult you thought it would be.  If you want to view an excellent tutorial on making lattice/lace cookies, you absolutely need to visit Julia Usher’s website and search her tutorial database.  She has a couple of videos that helped me out tremendously and I don’t think anyone teaches it better.  I think you’ll really enjoy all of her tutorials but the lattice/lace cookies especially.  Just a warning, DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED by her cookie creations.  She truly is an artist who is “off the charts” talented.  I admire her work so much and am constantly inspired by her.  I don’t think I’ll ever be THAT good, but I appreciate each level I get to in my own time.

Okay, moving on to the lattice work.  As I stated, I selected this cookie design because the lattice lines are much easier to do if the distance between starting the line and finishing the line is short.  If I have a larger cookie that requires a distance of 3+ inches or more in line length, I always use a ruler to start my first line.  I simply place the ruler on the cookie and etch in my first line.  This sets a straight guide for me from the beginning.  Again, it’s a bit forgiving, so don’t worry so much about getting the lines perfect.

I lay out my first line and usually like to start in the middle of the area I am going to do lattice work in. I place my decorating tip at the left, squeeze a bit to anchor the icing onto the cookie, keep squeezing as I drag the icing across to the other side, drop the line and push down a bit to anchor the line down.  You may find you get a small dot at the start and end points of your lines but with practice, you will get the feel of how much, or how little, to squeeze to eliminate the dots.

Step 8: Lay your first line down in the middle of the section of the heart where you will be doing the lattice work. This will serve as your guide for keeping all of the other lines straight.
Step 9: Lay your first line down in the middle of the section of the heart where you will be doing the lattice work. This will serve as your guide for keeping all of the other lines straight.

Here’s a hint, if you don’t get his line straight, simply take a toothpick and lift the line off the cookie and start over! That is also one of the benefits of doing lattice work straight onto the cookie (rather than on top of a flooded/dried area).  Once you have that line straight, simply work up and down to fill in the area.  You may find that your icing breaks from time to time.  This can either mean that your icing is a bit too dry for this technique, or, an air bubble breaks the line.  Again, use your toothpick to pick up the line and redo it.

Working up to fill in the space with horizontal lines.
Step 10:  Working up to fill in the space with horizontal lines.
Complete all of the horizontal lines in this space.
Step 11:  Complete all of the horizontal lines in this space.

Okay, sorry, time to let the cookie dry for about 10 minutes.  Trust me, I let the first layer dry because if you make a mistake laying down the vertical lines, it is MUCH EASIER to pick up the icing line with a toothpick if the horizontal lines are dry to the touch.

Next, I repeat the same process for the vertical lines that I used to pipe the horizontal lines.

Start by laying down your first vertical line in the middle of the space.
Step 12:  Start by laying down your first vertical line in the middle of the space.
Step 13: Finish laying down the vertical lines.
Step 13: Finish laying down the vertical lines.

I let the cookie dry, yes, again, for ten minutes.  I find letting the lattice work dry a bit lets the dots keep their shape better when you pipe them onto the lattice.  At this point, you can do any design you like.  One suggestion, however, I start in the middle first.  It keeps your overall design balanced.  In the example I simply used a straight line, every other dot, design and then added a couple of daisies and dots to the flooded area to complete the design.

Step 14: Add the dots to the lattice work to create any design you would like.
Step 14: Add the dots to the lattice work to create any design you would like.
Step 15: I added two simple daisies and a few dots to the flooded area of the heart.
Step 15: I added two simple daisies and a few dots to the flooded area of the heart.

I hope you enjoy this process and I promise you it get’s easier and easier the more you do.  I wouldn’t suggest practicing on 700 cookies at once but trying your hand a few cookies at a time is fun.  And don’t forget to search out other cookie lovers who do lattice work.  You can always learn by trying their designs; it helps inspire you to create your own designs based on your skill level at any point in time.

I started my “love affair” with cookies when I saw lattice/lace cookies and have never looked back.  They are still my FAVORITE cookies to make.

All the best,

Diane

 

My favorite cookie cutter of 2014

Hi Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Whew! The year is winding down; I just finished the last minute rush of Christmas Cookie orders and have been thinking about Valentine’s Day.  I KNOW!!!  Crazy, but that’s the business…one step ahead of the next holiday. I’m sure to have another post shortly after the New Year with a tutorial or two about hearts, but today, I wanted to share with you my favorite cookie cutter (and most recent acquisition) of 2014.  I’ve shared it in my other posts but it warrants a second look for Fellow Cookie Lovers as you can do so much with it!  I love when you get real mileage out of one cutter! Drum roll please…it is the “BABY” cookie cutter exclusive to KarensCookies.net.

Baby Cookie Cutter from Karen's Cookies
Baby Cookie Cutter from Karen’s Cookies

I recently started working with this cookie cutter and so far have used it in SIX different ways. Today, I thought I’d share with you how I utilized the baby cutter by itself for baby boy and a baby girl versions, another with a top hat, one with a birthday party hat, one with angel wings to use as Cupid for Valentine’s day, AND, as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!  Yes, it’s true!! Keep reading.  Each of these cookies are so easy to make and I hope you give one or two…or all of them…a try.

BABY IN DIAPER OR ONESIE

The photos below show how I first used the baby cutter – to make a baby girl and to make a baby boy.

Baby Cookie Cutter from Karen's Cookies
Baby Cookie Cutter from Karen’s Cookies

Baby girl

Baby cutter used to make a baby boy
Baby cutter used to make a baby boy

For both versions, simply cut out the baby cutter shape and bake.  The difference is in the decorating.  For the girl baby, I iced the entire cookie in a flushed, skin tone royal icing.  I outlined it in white first so that when I flood the cookie it didn’t run off the edge.  Some people like to outline the shape of the diaper, the feet, the head, and the body separate (and you’ll see that in the baby boy version below) and then flood each section on its own.  But lately, I’ve been adding a layered look to my cookies that I like a lot so I now ice the entire cookie in skin tone icing and then add the feet and clothing to give the cookies a lot more dimension.

BABY GIRL COOKIE

I've outlined the cookie in white and then flooded it with skin tone royal icing.
I’ve outlined the cookie in white and then flooded it with skin tone royal icing.
Once the icing dries (I like to give it 24 hours to dry to a hard finish), I add the overall outline of my design.
Once the icing dries (I like to give it 24 hours to dry to a hard finish), I add the overall outline of my design.
I then go ahead and flood the feet and add the belly button and nose with the same icing.
I then go ahead and flood the feet and add the belly button and nose with the same icing.
Once the skin tone feet dry, I add the pink shirt.
Once the feet dry, I add the pink shirt.
While the pink icing is still wet, I add white dots.
While the pink icing is still wet, I add white dots.
Working quickly while the pink and white icing are both wet, I drag a toothpick through each of the dots to make hearts.
Working quickly while the pink and white icing are both wet, I drag a toothpick through each of the dots to make hearts.
I then flood the white diaper and add a blonde hair curl.
I then flood the white diaper and add a blonde hair curl.
And lastly, after the pink and white icings dry a bit, I add the finishing details: toes, diaper details, eyes, pink bow and blush to the cheeks and toes.
And lastly, after the pink and white icings dry a bit, I add the finishing details: toes, diaper details, eyes, pink bow and blush to the cheeks and toes.

BABY BOY COOKIE

I went ahead on this one and iced the outline like I did for the girl cookie, flooded the feet, waited for that to dry a bit, and then flooded the baby blue onesie.
I went ahead on this one and outlined all of the pieces I wanted to flood.  I then iced each section separately – waiting for sections that touched each other to dry before flooding the next section. I let this dry 24 hours before adding details.
Since the process is so similar to the baby girl cookie, I've gone ahead and shown you the final cookie with the details already added: eyes, nose, details on the onesie, and brown hair curl.
This is the final cookie with the details already added: eyes, nose, details on the onesie, and brown hair curl. So simple!

BABY NEW YEAR 2015

Okay, moving along. Here is how I utilized the cutter to make Baby New Year.  For this cookie, I utilized one of the MANY snowmen cookie cutters I have that had the right size top hat to fit the baby cutter.

Baby Cookie Cutter from Karen's Cookies
Baby Cookie Cutter from Karen’s Cookies
Snowman Cutter used to cut out the top hat
Snowman Cutter used to cut out the top hat
Place baby cutter over the top hat you cut out
Place baby cutter over the top hat you cut out
Combined baby cutter and top hat together prior to baking
Combined baby cutter & top hat together

Moving from left to right in the photos above; first simply cut out the baby shape using the baby cutter.  On a separate piece of dough, take a snowman cutter that has a top hat and cut that shape out.  You can chop off the bottom half as you will not need it.  Next, take your baby cutter again, place it over the snowman top hat piece you just cut and press down so that you get the shape of the head to fit into the bottom of the hat.  The picture all the way to the right are simply the two pieces simply nudged together prior to baking.

Baked Baby New Year Cookie
Baked Baby New Year Cookie
Decorated Baby New Year
Decorated Baby New Year

Once baked, here is what the cookie looks like (left), and here is what the cookie looks like decorated.  I added a bow tie to dress it up a bit but you can also add a banner across the baby’s body that says 2015, or New Year.

BABY CUPID

This cookie is one I am going to include in my Valentine’s collection in 2015. The cookie itself baked up a little crooked but nonetheless you get the idea.

Start with the Baby Cutter.
Start with the Baby Cutter.
Start by cutting out the cookie shape out of your dough.
Start by cutting out the cookie shape out of your dough.
You'll need the small mustache cookie cutter next.
You’ll need the small mustache cookie cutter next.
Once the two pieces are cut, they will look like this.
Once the two pieces are cut, they will look like this.
Next you will want to lay the Baby Cutter over the cutout mustache to make the two wings for the cherub.
Next you will want to lay the Baby Cutter over the cutout mustache to make the two wings for the cherub.
You want to gently nudge the pieces together to make the cherub...this is what it should look like prior to baking.
You want to gently nudge the pieces together to make the cherub…this is what it should look like prior to baking.
Here is the cooked version of the assembled cookie ready to be frosted.
Here is the cooked version of the assembled cookie ready to be frosted.
Again, I start with the outlining.  Here, I iced the head and body separate to get a little more definition at the cherub's neck.
Again, I start with the outlining. Here, I iced the head and body separate to get a little more definition at the cherub’s neck.
I then flooded the wings in white royal icing and sprinkled white sanding sugar over them and let the cookie dry for about 20 minutes.
I then flooded the wings in white royal icing and sprinkled white sanding sugar over them and let the cookie dry for about 20 minutes.
Next I flooded the cherub's body and let that dry 20 minutes.
Next I flooded the cherub’s body and let that dry 20 minutes.
Next I flooded the cherub's head.  I then let this entire cookie dry overnight because I wanted a hard surface to work with because I was going to add so many details.
Next I flooded the cherub’s head. I then let this entire cookie dry overnight because I wanted a hard surface to work with because I was going to add so many details.
I then added the nose and belly button and outlined the areas I was going to flood.
I then added the nose and belly button and outlined the areas I was going to flood.
I flooded the cherub's feet first.
I flooded the cherub’s feet first.
After letting the feet dry for 20 minutes, I then flooded the white diaper and added the eyes and blonde curl.
After letting the feet dry for 20 minutes, I then flooded the white diaper and added the eyes and blonde curl.
I added the toes to Cupid and let the entire cookie dry for 24 hours.
I added the toes to Cupid and let the entire cookie dry for 24 hours.
After letting the cookie dry completely, I added the heart arrow (OOPS, I put the heart the WRONG way.  Not going to pierce a heart with the rounded edges!! - make sure you reverse the heart),
After letting the cookie dry completely, I added the heart arrow (OOPS, I put the heart the WRONG way. Not going to pierce a heart with the rounded edges!! – make sure you reverse the heart),
After drying 24 hours, I flushed the cheeks pink, and added the pin to the diaper.
I then flushed the cheeks pink with pink dust, and added the pin to the diaper.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!

Babies first birthdays are so big now and the celebrations get more and more creative that I thought this would be fun to use.

This process is similar to Baby New Year only I have substituted the top hat with a party hat.  You can find these party hats just about anywhere! They are very popular.  I think I got this one at Joann’s Fabric store.

You'll start with the Baby Cookie Cutter again.
You’ll start with the Baby Cookie Cutter again.
Cut the baby out of your dough.
Cut the baby out of your dough.
You'll then use the Party Hat Cutter.
You’ll then use the Party Hat Cutter.
You should have two piece of dough that look like this.
You should have two piece of dough that look like this.
You then want to take the Party Hat Cutter again and place it over the cutout of the baby strategically placing it where you would like the hat to be. I've tilted it a bit.
You then want to take the Party Hat Cutter again and place it over the cutout of the baby strategically placing it where you would like the hat to be. I’ve tilted it a bit.
You will now have two pieces that look like this.
You will now have two pieces that look like this.
Nudge the pieces together to look like this prior to baking.
Nudge the pieces together to look like this prior to baking.
This is what the baked version of the Birthday Baby will look like.
This is what the baked version of the Birthday Baby will look like.
I then outline the Birthday Baby and get it ready for flooding.
I then outline the Birthday Baby and get it ready for flooding.
I then flood the Birthday Baby body.  I let it dry about 20 minutes before the next step.
I then flood the Birthday Baby body. I let it dry about 20 minutes before the next step.
I then flood the Birthday Baby's head.
I then flood the Birthday Baby’s head.
I then flood the Party Hat with a "wet-on-wet" technique that adds the white dots to the red hat.
I then flood the Party Hat with a “wet-on-wet” technique that adds the white dots to the red hat.
After the hat dries (again, 20 minutes), I then flood the white part of the Party Hat.  I then let the entire cookie dry for 24 hours.
After the hat dries (again, 20 minutes), I then flood the white part of the Party Hat. I then let the entire cookie dry for 24 hours.
I then add the nose to the face and outline the feet for flooding.
I then add the nose to the face and outline the feet for flooding.
I flood the feet and let dry 20 minutes.
I flood the feet and let dry 20 minutes.
I add a white onesie and add red polka dots using the "wet-on-wet" technique again. Let dry another 24 hours.
I add a white onesie and add red polka dots using the “wet-on-wet” technique again. Let dry another 24 hours.
I then finish the cookie by outlining the hat and the onesie and adding a flush to the cheeks and toes.
I then finish the cookie by adding the toes, outlining the hat and the onesie, and adding a flush to the cheeks and toes.

WHAT???? RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER?!

That’s right, I am going to use this cookie cutter in a totally different way…UPSIDE DOWN.  In the photos below, I simply cut out the baby shape and baked the cookie.  Once cooled, I turned the cookie upside down and sketched out the reindeer design! Cool, right!!?? I don’t have a reindeer cutter, I have seen them done with upside down gingerbread men cutters, but I liked the width and overall size of this cookie.  It’s a bit late to add to my 2014 Christmas Collection, but this is one I will definitely include next year.

You'll start with the Baby Cookie Cutter again.
You’ll start with the Baby Cookie Cutter again.
Once I bake the cookie, I dot in the outline of the reindeer using a Food Safe Marker.
Once I bake the cookie, I dot in the outline of the reindeer using a Food Safe Marker. (Click on the picture to get a larger image for viewing)
I then outline and flood the reindeer head.  I this picture, you will notice I went a little higher on the top of the head than I originally drew.  It just seemed like it would look better.
I then outline and flood the reindeer head. In this picture, you will notice I went a little higher on the top of the head than I originally outlined. It just seemed like it would look better.
I then used a number 3 tip and piped in the antlers.  You will notice I left them a little bumpy...this was intentional as I didn't want a perfect, flooded look.  (You'll see later on why I did this!)
I then used a number 3 tip and piped in the antlers. You will notice I left them a little bumpy…this was intentional as I didn’t want a perfect, flooded look. (You’ll see later on why I did this!)
I then took a #1 tip and used black icing to pipe in a curly string to make lights.
I then took a #1 tip and used black icing to pipe in a curly string to make lights.
I then used a few colors to make oval-like shapes to represent Christmas lights! Love that! So much fun. :)
I then used a few colors to make oval-like shapes to represent Christmas lights! Love that! So much fun. 🙂
And this is what the final cookie looks like after all of the final details (ears in pink, nose in red with a white highlight, white eyes with black pupils, a black smile and a little fur at the top of the head).  And remember those bumpy antlers?  I then took some gold dust and dusted them to bring out the texture of the antlers and give it a more festive feel.
And this is what the final cookie looks like after all of the final details (ears in pink, nose in red with a white highlight, white eyes with black pupils, a black smile and a little fur at the top of the head). And remember those bumpy antlers? I then took some gold dust and dusted them to bring out the texture of the antlers and give it a more festive feel.

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And if that is not enough!! Try this link to  LilaLoa to see this cookie cutter used in yet ANOTHER cool way – for Christmas Snowmen!  You’ll love it!

I hope this spurs your own imagination for the Baby Cutter.  I am sure I have just touched on the many, many uses this cutter can be used for.  If you’d like to own this cutter, don’t forget you can only get it at Karen’s Cookies as it was designed by her, visit Karen’s Cookies to order.  And what’s more, it is on sale right now for $2.49 (regularly $2.99).  While you are there, take a look at the other exclusive cutters she has. They all lend themselves to a variety of uses. Wishing all of you a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy and Healthy New Year.  My next post will be the beginning of January…Valentine’s cookies!   Yaaay!

All the best,

Diane

A Cookie Year in Review

I can hardly believe we are only a few weeks away from Christmas…much less the NEW YEAR!  But that is how time works – it has a way of sneaking up on you and then flying by.  Most months, I am focusing on the next holiday cookie, sort of like retail, always one step ahead of the customers’ expectations.  So I thought I’d take a moment, exhale, and appreciate all of the cookies I’ve made for my customers, friends, family, and visitors to my website and FACEBOOK page in 2014.

Well, it happened in January of 2014 that I officially started my cookie company www.CookieCelebration.com.  I created a website, printed up marketing materials and business cards, and set off to make Royal Icing Cookies that actually tasted good.  I’ve been baking for over 20 years as a love/hobby and of course used my family and friends as the recipients of my great, good, and not so good baked treats.  It wasn’t until I started making Royal Icing Cookies that something clicked in me that I just had to do this full time!  I loved it.   And so, once the baseline was in place by the end of January, February was my official kickoff of the website and my first grand scale of cookies.  Oh, trust me, in hindsight I wasn’t thinking at all.  SEVEN HUNDRED COOKIES in two weeks later, I thought, can I sustain this? As quickly as I thought about it, I pushed the thought aside because Spring, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter were right in front of me and people were asking to see what was going to be for sale.

The rest of the year has pretty much been the same story.  Always trying to be a month ahead of my customers’ requests and cooking nonstop.  But the year has not been without its ups and downs.  The holidays I thought would mimic the insane schedule of Valentine’s day did not come to pass, and the holidays I thought would be slow caught me by surprise with non-stop orders.  It was a year of great learning, great inspiration, huge frustrations, A LOT of hard work, never-ending hours, challenging packaging and design solutions, financial concerns, and sleep deprivation!!  But, it was worth it.  I am able to do what I love which keeps the passion alive and motivates me to find solutions to some of the business challenges that just come with the territory.  For those of you fellow Cookie Lovers, I hope to use this blog in 2015 as a forum to provide you with information that you may not normally have access to, share resources with you that have helped me tremendously, keep you inspired, and provide you with tutorials and tips & tricks that make the cookie decorating process easier.

I’ve had my favorite cookie moments throughout the year that I’d like to share with you.  There are quite a lot of designs I’ve done, but I think every baker has their favorite cookie designs and those they really never want to make again!

Decorated White on White Heart
FEBRUARY: Decorated White on White Heart
FEBRUARY:  Classic Linzer Tarts and Decorated Hearts
FEBRUARY: Classic Linzer Tarts and Decorated Hearts

I have to admit, after doing so many hearts in February, I swore I never wanted to see another one again.  That lasted for about a month until my love relationship with hearts grabbed hold of my heart again.

WEDDINGS
WEDDINGS
WEDDINGS
WEDDINGS

When it comes to favorites, I cannot leave out Wedding Cookies.  Whether it be a Wedding Favor or Bridal Shower Favors, these are hands down my favorite cookies to make.

NINJA INVASION
NINJA INVASION

These Ninja cookies were fun to make for little Hawk’s and Liam’s Birthday party.  They were a big hit and I just love all of the cookies together in one big group.  Makes a statement, I think.

MARCH: Sunflower Bouquet
MARCH: Sunflower Bouquet

Sunflowers…they just said total sunshine and spring to me.

Folk Cats
Folk Cats

Just something fun I played around with.  I liked them, although they weren’t for everyone! 🙂

Baby Collection
Baby Collection
Christening Outfits
Christening Outfits
First Communion
First Communion

BABIES & CHILDREN!  A close second to my love of Wedding Cookies but baby/children cookies are irresistible to me.  In fact, it is hard to narrow the selections down!  We’ll see what evolves in 2015.

Halloween Collection 2014
Halloween Collection 2014

Truth be told, I am not a big fan of Halloween.  I KNOW!  Shoot me, sorry, I don’t know what it is but I am willing to go along with the hoopla about it and celebrate it with cookies.  I do love this collection.  Each and every one of these cookies were so much fun to make.  Can’t wait for Halloween 2015; I have some great new ideas!!

Thanksgiving Collection 2014
Thanksgiving Collection 2014

Although my Thanksgiving Designs were a bit more detailed than I wanted to shoot for, I really liked the mix of the turkey, pilgrim girl and indian.  Next year, however, I think the designs will be simpler.

Football Collection
Football Collection

Well, we all know how I feel about this collection. I did a tutorial on it, so I must like it!  They are fun cookies to do because they are so different from most things I do.

SANTA
SANTA
GINGERBREAD MAN
GINGERBREAD MAN
CHRISTMAS COOKIES
CHRISTMAS COOKIES

What can I say about Christmas Cookies?  What would a year be without the most famous cookies of the year?  I loved my oversized Santa and oversized Gingerbread man.  There were a few other favorites but I think every Christmas Cookie is special.

New Year's Collection 2015
New Year’s Collection 2015

Technically, not a part of 2015, however, being in the cookie business, I post pre-holiday.  So as I end this year, I introduce to you  how I will enter my second year of Cookie Celebration.

I hope you continue on this journey with me as I grow and learn and pass on to you what I’ve discovered.  I’d love to hear what topics you would like to see discussed in 2015, so please feel free to leave your comments and I promise to review each and every one of them.

Happy Holidays to each of you.  May you celebrate all the special moments in your life with custom cookies.  There is something satisfying about an all natural, homemade, hand-decorated, delicious and beautiful cookie that will help you build memories throughout the year.  So keep rolling dough, explore with new cookie cutters, and practice your new skills.

 

Diane

 

Welcome to Cookie Celebration’s Blog

Dear Fellow Cookie Lover,

I’m so excited to be able to share this blog with each of you and look forward to embarking on a journey of inspiration, instruction, learning and honing the craft of Royal Icing Cookies.  There are many topics scheduled over the next several weeks and I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful in your own quest to create personalized cookies that look great and taste great!  This forum will focus on what I am currently working on, some tutorials on how to recreate some of my favorite cookies, how to find your own inspiration, other websites that inspire me (and I am sure will inspire you as well), and much more.  I hope you will join me in growing the site by providing feedback, ideas, and questions about topics you would like to see addressed.  Several other generous Bloggers have helped me create better cookies, create my own designs, learn tips and tricks to speed up the process and/or save you time, and much more.  Let this be one more resource you have at your fingertips…the more the merrier.  We all have to start somewhere.

Football, Football Favors, Football Cookies, Football Player, Cheerleader Cookie, Footballs, Football Helmet
Football Cookies 2014

Look for my FIRST TUTORIAL on how to create some of the Football Season cookies pictured above.  You might just find yourself inspired enough to create a batch for SUPERBOWL 2015!!  See you soon.

All the best,

Diane