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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Mother’s Day Flowers

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I thought I would blog something fun and relatively easy that uses a cutter I know you most likely have on hand.  It’s the “Cupcake” cutter.  If you don’t have one…hmmm…you can basically get one anywhere – Michael’s Craft Store, AC Moore, Target, Walmart, Kmart, etc.  Any cupcake cutter will work.  I happen to have three different cupcake cutters; I’m sure I picked up a couple with some mixed sets I found at thrift stores.  I find it interesting there are so many different types.

Cut and Bake Cookies

I am using all three cutters I have so I can show you that you can basically use any cutter, and, the more the merrier by way of designs you can make.

IMG_2771

I cut two of each cutter style and I will be doing three different designs.

Here are the three cookie shapes baked and ready to go.

MD Cookies Baked

Design and Flood the Cookies

After baking, I take an edible marker and give a quick sketch of what I want to do on each cookie.  I just want to get an overall idea for the initial “flooding” of each cookie.

MD Cookies Outlined

As you can see, I am creating a basket of flowers, a bouquet of flowers, and a terra-cotta pot with flowers.

Next I go ahead and flood the basic shapes onto the cookie.  The colors I used are Ameircolor Brown, Americolor Leaf Green with a bit of Americilor Ivory, and Wilton Copper with a bit of Americolor Ivory and Brown mixed in.  All are in flooding consistency. This is what you should end up with.

MD Cookies Flooded

I wanted a bit more depth to the basket and terra-cotta pots so after letting the first flood dry, I went back in with the same relative colors and added a second layer.  I then let the cookies dry overnight.

MD Cookie Flood Second Layer

At this stage you might be thinking 1) they still look like cupcakes, and/or 2) they look very boring.  Trust me, adding the details will make all of the difference.

Adding the Details

The first of the details I added was dry brushing some brown petal dust onto the terra-cotta pot.  I brushed some under the rim and along the sides of the pots to give it a more textured, worn look.

IMG_2746

Next, I went in with a slightly lighter brown in piping consistency to add the basket weave to the basket.

The next set of details were the flower stems and the petals.  For the basket, I wanted to do a small purple flower that mimicked a violet and so I used a round tip #2 to add some lighter green leaves using a piping consistency icing.

 

IMG_2750

For the bouquet, I added some stems to the bottom and left the top white.  I am going to add an array of flowers to the bouquet and want to see how the overall layout turns out before I add any leaves to the mix.

For the terra-cotta pot, I am going to add African Violets so I went with a larger leaf in the same piping consistency color I have been using.  The leaves of African Violets are darker but the edges tend to be lighter green so I will go in and paint in some darker details later on.

Making and Adding the Flowers

Most of the flowers for this project were done as royal icing transfers using a stiff icing.  The reason I did them as transfers was because I wanted a lot of dimension to the cookies.  You could easily pipe flowers directly onto the cookies (as I did for the small violets), but I feel I always have more control with the design when I do the flowers separately. I’ pretty good at roses, am getting better at violets and daffodils, but I still want to practice more.  But that’s half the fun.  You look back and see how your skill set changes with time.  If you don’t feel confident piping royal icing flowers, the star tips work just as nicely to get a variation of shapes and sizes.

For the basket of violets, I used a #101s tip and piped the flowers directly onto the cookie over the leaves added earlier.  I then went in and added some white dots to both the center of the flowers and the background in between the leaves.

IMG_2772

For the terra-cotta African Violets (below), I used a # 59 tip and made royal icing transfers.  I added a couple of yellow dots to the centers, and, once dry, transferred them to the cookie.

For the bouquet, I made royal icing transfers of the roses and daffodils.  For the orange flowers, I used a star tip and added a yellow dot.

IMG_2773

TIPS USED:

  • African Violets – Tip #59
  • Small Violets – Tip # 101s
  • Roses – Tip #101
  • Daffodils – Tip #59 for the petals, and a round #1 tip for the middle of the flower
  • Orange Flowers – Tip #107

I let the cookies dry for several hours and then it was time to add some additional elements.   I added the ribbon and bows to the flower bouquet.  I outlined the ribbon directly onto the cookie and flooded it. I made royal icing transfers for the bows for the basket and the bouquet.

Final Details

In order to give the cookies a bit more interest, I went in with my paint brush, and the same  food gel colors, and added some shading and details to the leaves and flowers.

And this was the final result. Wha-la – no more cupcakes here Cookie! 😉

Mother's Day Flowers

I hope you enjoyed this post and give the Cupcake Cutter a try.  Let your own imagination run wild, have fun, and most importantly…eat the cookies!!

Your Fellow Cookie Lover,

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

 

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