Easy Peasy Cookies for the Weekend

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I don’t use black much when making cookies because it turns your mouth black. Not a little, not a bit, but black…a lot of it!  But lately I’ve wanted to try out some ideas using a “little” black with white, and black with white and some colors.  I thought I’d share this process with you because it is a great cookie to make for kids and for adults.

For kids, these cookies are a great giveaway or craft project for birthday parties or even classroom fun. (Just make sure there are no school restrictions like peanut free, wheat free, etc.) Additionally, they make a fun weekend project for kids to color using edible markers – just like they would in a coloring book. And…they are good anytime of the year and are super simple to make.

For adults? Well, I’ve been seeing a ton of these “adult” coloring books. What makes them “adult” are the intricate designs intended to act as a relaxing project to get your mind off the craziness of your day.  I, personally, doodle and color with icing, so this could be a new way for you to color and destress.

I’ve also had requests for these cookies for those “painting/wine nights” that seem to be popular too.  You meet at someone’s home, a company comes in with canvases and paints and wine, and the night begins.  Well, these cookies make a great favor to hand out at the end.

The best thing about these cookies is that you can make them and keep them on hand, and, they can be used at anytime of the year by mixing it up with your favorite seasonal cutters.

What You’ll Need

  • White Outlining Consistency Icing
  • White Flooding Consistency Icing
  • Black Flooding Consistency Icing
  • #2 Piping Tip and Piping Bag
  • #0 or #1 Piping Tip and Piping Bag
  • Flooding Bottle

Bird 8

Techniques You’ll Use

  • Outlining
  • Flooding
  • Wet-on-Wet Design

Basically, the cookie requires only two colors; white and black.  I mixed up a white “outlining” consistency icing and used a number 2 tip to outline.  I also mixed a white flooding icing and a black flooding icing.  The black outlining details of the cookies are going to be achieved using a wet-on-wet process.

I used the Flooding Bottle for the White Flooding Icing since this is the color I used to fill in the largest areas.  The Black Flooding Icing was used in a Piping Bag with a #0 tip to get a thin line to outline the designs.

The Process

I used a bird cutter for this project and using the  white outlining icing, I created three different sections. Keep in mind, you don’t have to create separate sections for flooding, you can outline the entire cookie and flood the entire cookie with white and then add the outlining details with the black.  I’m using three different sections to get a bit more interest to the cookie.

Bird 1

After the outline has setup a bit, I then went in with a white flooding icing and filled in the first section.

Bird 2

While the white icing is still wet, go in with the black flooding icing in your Piping Bag and #0 (or #1) tip and using a wet-on-wet technique, outline the design you want to create – these will be your “coloring areas.” Think “stained glass” for this process and that will give you an idea of how you want to create the design.

Bird 3

I then moved on to the next section which is the body of the bird.  Keep this in mind…when you are flooding separate areas of any cookie, you want to make sure that you  let the flooded areas setup for about 15 minutes before you flood any section that is adjacent to the area you just flooded.  If you don’t, the icing will simply flood together blurring the edges you meticulously outlined in the previous step, ruining your overall design.  In this case, I chose to flood the body second since it was NOT adjacent to the wind I just flooded.

Bird 4

Again, just as you did for the wing area, go in with your black flooding icing and add a design to the body of the bird.  I started by adding a wind design and then outlined the entire body, added a dot for the eye, and then added some “coloring areas” within the body and tail areas of the bird.

Bird 5

And lastly, after letting the first wing and the body of the bird setup (about 15 minutes), I went back in and used the same process to finish the second wing of the bird.

Bird 6

You then want to let the cookie dry overnight before coloring the cookie.  Below are four cookies I did using this technique and I will continue on to show you what you can do with these cookies if you want to get “fancy” and take it to another level.  If not, use your food gel colors and/or edible markers to color in your cookies and just have fun!  Wouldn’t this make a great handout at Thanksgiving using Christmas ornament cookies?  Your kids could sit down after eating their meal and start creating memories for the upcoming Christmas season. Just make sure put a hole in the cookie before baking so you can add a ribbon at the end to make it an ornament.

Bird 7

You’ll notice I tried to do some different designs for each of the cookies just to keep things interesting.  At this point, you can simply color in the sections.  If you want to take it a bit further…read on…

Taking It Up A Notch

If you’re ready to have a bit more fun with these cookies, you can see what can be achieved simply by painting in some different designs and colors.   I used both Americolor and Wilton food gel colors, Wilton and FooDoodler edible markers, and, my new favorite tool, Rainbow Dust edible writing marker with a super fine point.

Bird 9

With a few tools, you can create the following birds…

Bird 10

Cookie #1 was done using only the Rainbow Dust Jet Black Edible Food Pen.

Cookie #2 was done using the Wilton and FooDoodler colored edible markers and the Rainbow Dust Edible Food Pen.

Cookies #3 and #4 were done using the Wilton and Americolor food gels and some of the details were added using the Wilton and FoodDoodler colored edible markers and the Rainbow Dust Edible Food Pen.

I hope you try it out.  It’s a fun project and unlike a coloring book…you get to eat your artwork.  Happy coloring!

Your fellow cookie lover,

Diane

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Glass Cookies

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Today’s post is something completely out of the box – a new technique I recently tried and sort of….well, LOVE!  It’s not for everyone; 1) because it is labor intensive, and, 2) perhaps the look isn’t your style.  But…even if it’s not your style or too labor intensive for you, let me tell you what these cookies taste like!! Pure deliciousness!! You bite into the cookie, you get a crunch of the candy with a sort of caramel, pure sugar taste.  Then the royal icing flavor hits your tongue and it’s a bit less crunchy. And then, the cookie; soft and a wonderful texture against the crunch of the candy and icing. YUM!! I tell you, it’s my all time favorite right now.  If you’d like to give this a shot, I invite you to read further and try your hand at this.  I’m new to it, of course, but hopefully I can share some tips with you that will make your initial try successful.

It’s sort of a joke that I came up with this idea after “dreaming” about it one night.  True story.  I woke up and thought, hmmm, that’s really odd…could it work?  And, it did work. And I could not get over the look I achieved.  They turn out looking like glass stones – even the royal icing parts that are painted look like stones.  Okay, here we go.

These are the supplies you will need to get started.

  • A Silpat mat
  • A candy thermometer
  • A wooden spoon and a smaller spoon to drizzle the syrup
  • Vanilla or any other flavoring you like
  • Corn syrup (here I had lite syrup on hand but it works with regular too)
  • Food gel – any color you want to work with (I bet it would work great with BLACK for Halloween!!)
  • Cookie cutters.  I used cookie cutters to keep the  syrup contained in the overall shape and size of the cookies I am making

Tools you need

The recipe below is the one I used when making the sugar candy.  It’s not the only way to make a hard candy, I’ve seen the dry process but have not had luck with it, and, I bet if you melted down colored hard candy, it would work as wll.  So, if you have another hard candy recipe you like, try it with that.  As long as the candy sets hard after you create your design it will work.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • gel food coloring

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING THE SUGAR CANDY

In a small pot, attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot.  Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water in the pot and place on the stove over medium-high heat.  As the sugar starts to melt, give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon and then DO NOT MIX the mixture at all during the remainder of the process.

Let the mixture come to a boil.  I usually reduce the temp to medium heat once it comes to a boil and then let it continue to boil until the temperature on the candy thermometer hits 280 degrees which is considered just under a “hard crack.”  (Most candy makers boil it to 300 – 310, but I find going to about 280 works better for this project as it is a bit less sticky.)

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This is what your mixture will look like as it boils down.  It looks so pretty at every stage. I just love the amber color you get without adding food gel, play with that color by itself if you like it.

While your sugar boils down into a thick syrup, setup your Silpat mat with your cutter(s).

Also, have your vanilla and food gel color ready to add to the mixture after it boils up to the proper temperature.

Once the syrup reaches 280 degrees, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and then mix in the food gel (I used about 1/4 teaspoon of Wilton’s Teal food gel/icing color for this recipe.)

*** Be careful, because the syrup can burn you severely so wear a protective glove and use a wooden spoon to mix.  The mixture will boil up a bit as you mix it. ***

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Here is what the mixture looks like after I added Wilton’s Teal Food Gel – the mixture is now ready to be spooned into  the cutters.

LAYING THE SUGAR ONTO THE SILPAT

You have to work quickly at this point as the syrup sets up very quickly. The idea is to control the syrup as you lay it down on the Silpat.   Poor the colored syrup into a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout so the mixture doesn’t get overheated in your pan.

Getting ready to pour

I used a teaspoon to lay the syrup into the cookie cutter.  If, during the process, the syrup starts to harden, you can “zap” it in the microwave to get it back to a flowing consistency.

Pouring the Syrup

A few tips about laying the sugar into the cookie cutter:

  1. Try to get the syrup close to the edge of the cutter to make sure you get a solid design of candy to lay over the cookie and then add some layering of syrup inside the outline.  I’m still working this out as the height of the cutters and the quick setup of the syrup makes it difficult to get the syrup right to the edge of the cookie.  I just work with the design as it comes out.  You can pour it, but, due to the tendency of the syrup to set quickly, it tends to pour thicker than I like for the cookie.
  2. Try not to get large blobs of candy in one spot – the lighter you go with the candy, the easier the cookie is to eat.  I think lines about 1/8″ to 1/4″ wide work best. You will get lines that are thicker and thinner and I would not worry about it as the royal icing sometimes covers the smaller lines, softens the wider lines, and the variations of thickness adds to the overall design of the painted cookie.
  3. Don’t move the cutters during this process; only when it sets up fully can you remove the cutter. The candy sets up really fast and you can remove the cutters in about 3 minutes or less.
  4. You will get some stringy syrup lines and drops outside of the cutters – I let them fall and simply remove them after they dry.

The picture below on the left is the design I made inside the cutter. The picture below on the right is what the candy form looks like after removing the cutter.

Once the candy has hardened (2-3 minutes!) I get my hand under the Silpat and roll the mat off of the candy while I gently let the candy fall into my other hand. (If you try to lift the candy off of the Silpat, rather than roll the Silpat off of the cookie, odds are the candy will break.)

Lifting candy off of silpat
You will have more success by rolling the mat off of the candy rather than lifting the candy off of the mat.

 

Candy overlay on plain cookie

I lay the candy over my baked cookie to see what it will look like.

PREPARING THE COOKIES

From here on, the process is so simple; more in line with what you probably do with your cookies normally.

Here is the baked cookie ready for royal icing.  As you can see, sometimes the candy breaks.  Don’t worry about it because the royal icing will help you cover up the break; it is very forgiving.

Icing 1

I simply outline as usual and flood the cookie with icing.

Icing 2

Icing 3

I used white for my flood color but you can use any color depending on the look you want to achieve.  I like the white because it leaves me with unlimited options on final colors and designs and I know how the gels will appear on the white.  With other colors, you will have to know how your gels react to colors – for instance, if you flood in pink and then paint over it with yellow, you will get orange in your final paint color, run pink over a blue base and you will get violet.

LAYING THE CANDY ON TOP OF THE COOKIES

The next step is to place the candy on top of the WET royal icing.  For this stage I use both hands (not shone in picture because, well, I am taking the picture!) and hold the candy parallel to the royal icing.  By doing this, you won’t have the edges hit the icing first, the flat back of the candy hitting the icing will prevent it from sinking unevenly.  The candy will slowly sink into the royal icing and the royal icing will cover some of the very light lines and puff up inside the open areas of the candy design.

Icing 4

This is what the candy will look like on top of the wet icing.  See how the icing covers up the break that occurred earlier?

Icing 5

Let the cookie dry overnight because the candy keeps the royal icing moist longer than if you simply iced the cookie and you do not want the candy to move when painting it.

Okay, I had to add another picture here because, after I let the cookie (pictured above) dry overnight, I DROPPED IT ON THE FLOOR!! It happens. So, below is a picture of the new cookie I’ll be using in the remainder of the blog.  I wanted to post this picture so you weren’t totally confused and scrolling up and asking yourself if you are crazy…well, you may be, but not in this case. 😉  Same process though, as outlined prior to this section.

New Cookie

PAINTING THE COOKIE

After the cookie has dried overnight, you are ready to paint.

And, a note of encouragement here…if you are not a painter, or still aren’t satisfied with the results you’ve been getting, you can still make these cookies really look gorgeous with very little effort.  In the following pictures, you will see that I go ahead and paint in most of the areas with various colors and leaving some white, all the while, keeping in mind what kind of designs I might paint on top of them later.  You can stop after this stage and still have really nice cookies!! They look like stained glass. Also, you don’t have to be a painter either, you can easily use edible markers to color in the area and add details with the edible markers as well.  Like coloring in a coloring book – so simple, right?

This is how I start most of the cookies that I paint.  I “color block” a portion of the cookie so I get a balance of colors.

Glass Color Blocking
Color Blocked Cookie:  for the color blocking I used  Americolor Royal Blue, Wilton Sky Blue, and Americolor Leaf Green.  As I add details to the cookie, I also included Wilton Lemon Yellow (mixed with the Leaf Green), and Wilton Teal.

After I lay down my initial color blogging, I then go in and start adding some details to various shapes that I left white.  Overall, this is really just a layering process. You can see in the picture the little brush that I used.

Glass Adding Details

At this stage, you can see I added some more tools to the picture that I will use moving forward.  Edible food writers, toothpicks, and my paintbrush.

Glass Adding More Details

You can see how I start building the design of the cookie.  You’ll notice I added a “Craftsmart” wooden sponge-tipped instrument (below).  I found this in the paint aisle of Michaels and I decided I wanted to use it for this cookie so I added it here for your reference.  (More on these little sponges that come in different sizes and brands, in another blog post.)

Glass Tools
With the teal color of the candy, I decided to “think” SEA design for this cookie but in somewhat abstract ways.  So you will see that I added some designs that sort of look like fish fins, some bubbles, some little fish shapes and some coral-like, flowy shapes.

It would be painstakingly boring to show you each step of the design process but I’ll try to give you some idea of how I did some of the more detailed designs in the final picture below.

Glass Green Finished Cookie

 

In addition to the notes show in the picture above, I used the edible writers for the confetti-looking design and some of the dots.  I typically go in last with the white, using the toothpick dipped in the white, the small paintbrush to paint some bubbles and swirly designs around the edges and some highlights on the actual glass.  ***A note about white; I used Wilton white-white icing color in my designs but the one thing I do not like about it, it takes a long time to dry.  So if you are going to package ANY cookies using white in this way, allow a couple of days for the white to dry completely or it will be sticky.

THE FINAL COOKIES

And here are the finished cookies I’ve done using this process.  I really like the look…and TASTE…of the cookies and it’s something new to try.  I’m sure it won’t be a weekly thing as it is labor intensive, but for some special looking, great tasting cookies, it’s a fun technique to try.

Glass Three Cookies

SOME ADDITIONAL WAYS TO USE THE CANDY

I’ve had fun exploring this new technique and I am sure I’ll work with it in several ways in the near future.  For instance, I used the leftover syrup to make some organic designs  simply by drizzling it on a Silpat and then broke them apart into smaller pieces. You can then use them in a myriad of ways; build an abstract design, use the pieces as mosaics, crush the candy to make your own sprinkle dust! And, since it becomes a hard candy, you can use it to make stained glass cookies by making cutouts in your dough, placing the hard candy in the opening, and cooking along with the cookie in the oven. Oh, and you can actually eat it just as it is too!! 🙂  Also, I found that if you keep the hardened candy and want to use it at a later date, you can reheat it in a pan or in the microwave with good results.

Have fun with this process and remember this is not a perfect technique, it’s very organic in nature since you have to work so quickly with the sugar syrup. And…I promise you will love the taste!

Your fellow cookie lover,

Diane

 

 

Hand-Painting and Piping Process

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

This week I took part in Julia Usher’s Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge on her Cookie Connection website.  If you are not familiar with the site, it is a fantastic resource for learning, sharing, and being inspired by EVERYTHING cookies.

This recent challenge was to take inspiration from a Pinterest Board created from gorgeous pictures of an Istanbul trip that were taken by Christine of Bakerloo Station on Facebook.

I’ve been exploring with several new techniques this year and I decided to use hand-painting, piping and wafer paper for this challenge.  I thought I would share with you how the creative process occurs and how this cookie actually came about.  This post is intended to primarily show you the hand-painting and piping process more so than the wafer paper process as I am still new to  wafer paper and have only used it as accents in my cookies thus far.

Istanbul Inspiration (Cookie Celebration)

To start, I was inspired by these two photographs (below) of tiles posted on the Pinterest board.  Additionally, I loved the blue-green, sea colors and wanted to utilize them as well.  I wanted there to be movement in the cookies and, of course, have texture, which I always try to achieve in my cookies.

I tried to do a mosaic technique at first and really did not like the outcome.  So, I decided to use a large cookie cutter and cut it into smaller pieces, similar to creating mosaics.  I was then free to design each of the individual cookies as tiles.

Painting the Base

After icing the cookie and letting it dry overnight, I used Teal and Sky Blue (Wilton colors) to paint some designs on which to build.

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You can see in the photo, I used a plastic template to create the swirly teal design.  I can usually free-hand my designs but for this cookie set I knew I wanted the pattern to be very consistent in order to get “movement” in the design.

Next, I went ahead and added some green to the cookies and darkened it a bit on the one edge with navy blue to get some depth.

IMG_2409

Once I was happy with the base painting, I moved on to the piping part of the process.

Piping the Design

I used four colors for the piping:  Teal, Navy Blue, Grey, and White (All Wilton Colors. White is plain RI without coloring added).  I started with the navy blue as I wanted this to be the predominant detail color.  I piped an outline on each of the shapes with a number 1.5 tip.  Note:  I tend to use a very small tip like this as I use a looser icing to pipe than most Cookiers.  Use what feels comfortable to you.

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Next, I added some grey by outlining inside the teal shape and creating a scalloped edge to each of the cookies. This was done using a number 1 tip.

IMG_2411

When I get to this stage of a cookie, where most of the overall design of the cookie is in place, I really use a freestyle form to add the details and dots.  I started by adding detail in white using a number 1.0 tip.  I added dots and some leaf-like detail over the navy blue colors.

IMG_2412

I then moved on to adding details in navy blue and then finished up with adding the teal details.  The teal was used on the outer edge of the cookie, as very tiny dots around the grey scalloped edging, and few details along the leaf-like design.  The navy blue was used for the remaining designs.

IMG_2413

Adding Some Whimsy

At this point, you could really be finished with the cookie.  I, however, have been exploring with wafer paper and wanted to added something a bit whimsical to the cookie design.  I’ll not go through the wafer paper process as I am certainly not a pro at it yet, but included it in the final picture so you could see how the overall design changed with this little addition.

Istanbul Inspiration (Cookie Celebration)

I hope you’ll try some hand-painting with detailed piping over it as it is so much fun and takes very little to accomplish something creative.  The wafer paper, hmmmm, I really like working with it and I am getting better at it and would recommend it as well, but, you really do need to have a lot of patience for that process!  You’ll see more wafer paper in my upcoming posts as I find more and more ways to add some creative and different elements to my cookies.  Hopefully I’ll get good enough to show you some of the techniques with wafer paper in the near future.

Pictured below are some other designs that used this very same process to show you the diversity you can achieve with this painting and then piping technique.

Spoiled DogSpoiled Dog 2Turtle Love

I hope you have enjoyed the post and feel inspired to create some whimsy of your own!

Have fun fellow Cookie Lovers,

Diane