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

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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.