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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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

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.)

IMG_2463
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. ***

IMG_2464
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.

IMG_2407

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.

IMG_2410

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.

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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

 

Whoo, Whoo Wants To Make Some Festive Owls?

Hi Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Spring is finally in the air and I’ve been working on cookies with a ton of colors lately.  I thought it would be nice to share a fun project with you – Festive Owls.  I’m thinking my next project for my blog will be festive flowers so tune in for that upcoming blog! Tons of fun, I promise!

Festive Owls
Festive Owls

I don’t own an Owl Cookie Cutter so I use my egg cutter and my oval cutter and I simply cut out a piece from the top of each to create an owl design.  If I happen to find an Owl Cutter that I like and is a good size I’ll purchase it but to-date, I haven’t found anything I really like yet.

Two Ovals CutUsing smaller cutters, I cut out the top to make it look like an owl.Baked up Owls with Wings

I cut a couple of cookies using my egg and oval cutters (First Photo).  I then took a small egg cutter and a round scalloped cutter and cut off the tops of the original shapes to create the head of the owls (Second Photo).  I saved the cutouts to use as wings on the Oval Owls (Third Photo).

Outlined Owls
Outlined Owls
Flooded Owls
Flooded Owls

I then outlined each of the cookies and flooded in the main colors.  For the wings, I used a simple wet-on-wet technique using a base dot color and then a lighter dot color on top of that.  I did let these dry overnight…not because I’m a patient person…because I knew I would be adding even more layers and texture to the cookies and if I make a mistake it’s easier to correct on totally dry cookies.  Soooo, try to let them dry overnight.

Royal Icing Dots
Royal Icing Dots

A little side note about the picture above.  If you don’t do this already, you may want to try this with any leftover royal icing you don’t want to throw out.  Whenever I have extra royal icing that is too loose to make roses with, I make all different size dots and store them for a project such as this one. I also use them for my Colorful Flowers as the centers and it saves me a ton of time decorating.  I sometimes use a template to ensure they actually come out round but sometimes I just wing it!  Below, you can see how I used different color dots to start the Owls’ eyes.

Owls with Eyes Attached
Owls with Eyes Attached
Second Set of Owls with Eyes Attached
Second Set of Owls with Eyes Attached

I chose some of the colorful dots for the eyes of each of the owls and attached them with royal icing. In the second picture where the owls have the scalloped head, you can see the lines (a bit hard to see, however-sorry) I drew in using the wings as a guide so I could place the eyes knowing when I attach the wings they won’t be in the way.  That’s important when you’re doing the 2-D Owls.

Outlined Eyes and Nose

I then split my owls into two projects; the first are the one dimensional Owls.  I outlined the eyes with a flowering sort of design and outlined the nose (above). Adding the wings/breast I then flooded the nose, drew in a design for the wings and outlined and flooded the chest of the owls (above). Flooded Owls You can see in the photo above, I went ahead and flooded the wings.  Then I simply added a highlight color above the chest half circle, added dots to the ear section and added some orange dots around the eyes. I have to admit I started to get a little crazy with the colors at this point.  Go crazy with color on your first project; you can always scale back when you make them again, but have fun and explore. Make the first set for yourself, they are equally as fun to EAT!!

Finished Owls Made from Egg Cutter.

And these are the owls completed (made from the Egg Cutter).  I used both Royal Icing and food markers to add the remaining details.  I’ve been exploring with the food writers lately and they come in handy for some lighter details but I’m not totally sold on the full value of them.  I like the FooDoodlers better than the Wilton fine tips but all of the food writers’ tips do “smash” in a bit and get thicker.  They have their value but I get more mileage from Royal Icing and a paint brush.  Try them yourself – I’d suggest fine or extra fine tips as the regular tips sold in most Craft Stores are way too thick to have much value in the design process.  I do, however, use the food writers a lot for outlining some preliminary guidelines and for this purpose they are invaluable.

Okay, moving on to the Owls made using the Oval Cutter.  For these Owls, I also used the cutouts I had when I cut the head of the Owls out.  I thought they’d make nice wings.  In hindsight, ehhh, they make it a bit more interesting but I think the one dimensional owls are equally as nice and faster to make. But, see how you like the process of adding dimension to yours.

Outlined Owls and Wings

First (Photo Above), I outlined a scalloped design on the top of the Owls and used a wet-on-wet technique for the wings.

Second Set of Owls with Eyes Attached
Second Set of Owls with Eyes Attached

Then, I added those same pre-made dots for the eyes.

Owls with Nose Added

After adding the eyes, I added the nose by outlining it first and then flooding it.  I then outlined the top scallop with a contrasting color to make it stand out a bit more.

Features Added to Owls

Okay, yes, I went a “little” crazy with the colors and designs.  Next time I’d tone it down a bit but like I said earlier, go crazy, you get a better sense of what you like and don’t like only with trial and error.  I rarely sketch things out on paper – too impatient.  I think it works for a lot of Cookiers but I’d rather just grab a variety of colors and tips and “wing it” – no pun intended. 🙂  Time to add the wings.

Adding wings to the Owls

In order to add the wings, I needed to have something underneath each of the wings that was level with the cookie itself so the wings were flat against the body of the Owls.  I then let them dry for about and hour. And…wha-la…Festive Owls.

Completed Owls
Completed Owls

Kinda fun…don’t you think?  Definitely learned some lessons along the way and I’m inspired to do another set using those lessons.  I hope you try something festive.  Make up a batch of four or five colors, use several different size tips and explore.  I think you’ll be surprised how easy it can be!

Diane

Painting on Cookies Technique

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

This blog posting will be all about painting on cookies.  Now, in all fairness, I literally JUST STARTED to paint on cookies about two months ago so I am not an expert. However, I do have an art background and have painted throughout the last 40 years of my life.  Painting on cookies is similar, and…different, at the same time.  So with that disclaimer in place, I’ll share with you what I can and hopefully it inspires you to JUST TRY it.  Number one, it’s fun.  Number two, it’s a cookie; what do you have to lose?  Some dough, some icing?  So, start with small cookies.  And if you want to see some real expert cookie painters, check out these Facebook pages of some of my all time favorite talented Cookiers/Painters/Artists (MézesmannaThe Cookie Lab – Bolachas Decoradas Artesanais) – you will not be disappointed! I promise!

Some of you have asked me specifically what my process is for the “Folk Art” collection I’ve presented on this blog and on my FaceBook account. The pictures below are the five cookies I’ve done to date – the newest being “Confetti Flower.”

Folk Art Collection: Turtle Love, Calico Cat, Spoiled Dog, Peacock, and Confetti Flower.
Folk Art Collection: Turtle Love, Calico Cat, Spoiled Dog, Peacock, and Confetti Flower.

I’ll be using “Confetti Flower” to demonstrate this process.  Keep in mind that all of these cookies are large in size; I have found it has enabled me to be more creative while at the same time practicing a variety of designs all on one cookie.  For you, working on a smaller cookie might work better so try what feels right to you.

CUTTING THE DOUGH

Okay, so, I rolled out the dough! I then placed the dough onto my Silpat-lined baking sheet before cutting the design out. I find this keeps the shape intact better than cutting it and then transferring it onto the sheet.  When you see the cutter in the photos below, you might be wondering where I obtained such a large cutter. It is one of the “Pancake Molds” I wrote about in my last blog. I’m always on the lookout for new ones!!

Rolled Out Dough on Silpat
Rolled Out Dough on Silpat

Using the Pancake Mold Flower Shape to cut the dough directly on the Silpat

Dough Cut

At this stage, I knew I wanted to do something with the middle so I took a smaller cookie cutter and decided to stamp the design into the dough so I could save myself time when outlining my initial shapes.

Stamping the smaller design onto the dough
Stamping the smaller design onto the dough

This is what the cookie looked like prior to baking…and then after baking.

Cookie prior to baking
Cookie prior to baking
Cookie after baking
Cookie after baking

OUTLINING THE SECTIONS OF THE COOKIE

At this point in the process, I start having some idea of how I want to break the cookie up into sections. I start with a general outlining of the larger shapes. I wanted smaller circles in the middle of the flower so I used a food writer to draw those in.  I added leaves and then simply outlined the rest of the cookie into shapes I knew I could easily work with from a design standpoint. You will notice in the last picture I drew in some additional circles using the food writer but after outlining the petals decided not to include those in the overall design of the flower.  This really is an organic process that reveals itself to you as you work with the cookie. Just go with the flow!

Starting the outlining process
Starting the outlining process
Adding small circles to the overall design
Adding small circles to the overall design
Finished outlining process
Finished outlining process

When I tell you I never really know what I am going to do at this time…well, it’s true.  I have a general sense of the colors I want to use but not the actual details I will eventually paint.  I say, just go with your gut on the colors and the rest really does fall into place. I decided on yellow, pink, green, and purple for this flower.  Some painters flood their entire cookie sections in white and work from there.  I’ve done this, however, typically, I like to flood a couple of colors to help me along with the design process and save some time during the painting stage.  I started with the yellow, added the green and then flooded the rest in white.

First, I flooded some bright golden yellow.
First, I flooded some bright golden yellow.
Then, I added the green for the petals
Then, I added the green for the petals
Finally, I flooded the rest of the flower in white
Finally, I flooded the rest of the flower in white

I then let the entire cookie dry overnight.  I find I need to have a really hard shell on the cookie prior to painting.  The painting process adds some water to the icing so a harder shells helps when you start to blend colors.

PAINTING

Okay, next step…PAINTING!!

My first thought when I start to paint is “How Can I Add Dimension?” I like to add a darker color to the outside edges of each section so they start to stand out on their own.  Once you start this process, you get an overall idea of the color balance of the cookie. I knew I wanted yellow, pink, purple, and green and I wanted your eye to move around the cookie when it was done.  For me, the best way to balance each color is to have symmetry; yellow opposite yellow, pink opposite pink, etc. and that’s how I started to paint the colors within each section.

Adding Dimension
Adding Dimension
First Layer of color completed
First Layer of color completed

Now, I want to mention something here at this stage because it is something that happens to me EVERY SINGLE TIME I get to this stage. Without exception, I am ready to throw the cookie out at this point and start all over.  It’s true.  I think, I like the overall dimension I’ve added, and I like the colors I’ve used, but, something, something makes me doubt the overall outcome of the cookie at this point. STOP!!! DON’T THROW THAT COOKIE OUT! Just stay with it through to the end and I promise you it will work out! Painting on cookies is very forgiving in that you can make changes late in the game and still come out with something wonderful. So, talk yourself out of doing something drastic at this point.

Moving on the the decorating. I started with the yellow sections as I knew I wanted to keep them light. So I used white Wilton food color and a Number 2 brush to paint in this swirly design over one of the two yellow petals

Flower 1

On the second yellow petal, I painted a circle design. Keeping with the balanced approach, I kept the overall coloring light and added some orange dots to the middle of each circle.  Where do I get my ideas for the patterns? It is mostly trial and error, however, when I am in a fabric store, I am always looking at the quilting squares.  Some patterns stick with me.  If looking in a fabric store isn’t your thing…Google quilt fabric and up pops millions of ideas to inspire you!

Flower2

Flower3

Once I get a couple of areas under my belt, I step back and decide if I want to add any additional dimension to the cookie through piping. With all of the other Folk Art cookies I added a lot more, but for this cookie, I really didn’t want to overdo it.  I sort of knew in the end I wanted it to be called “Confetti Flower” and would be adding a lot of dots so I restrained myself from adding to much more depth via icing.  So I added some piped elements and moved on to the rest of the painting.

Flower4

More about those added flowers and dots in a minute!! Uggh.  I then went about painting in the rest of the designs on each of the petals until I was satisfied with the overall look.

Flower6

Flower7

Now, about those flowers and dots! In hind site, I didn’t like that I added them.  I was going to wait for them to dry and then pluck them off and paint over the design but I thought I’d try and make it work. So, in the end, it’s not 100% of what I would do if I had to do it over but nothing earth shattering…it is a COOKIE after all!  I went on to paint the leaves and added dots around the edge of the cookie.

Now, that turquoise flower in the middle.  I knew I didn’t want a design in each of the petals because I wanted it to be the “unifying” element of the cookie. I think it would have been way too much pattern if I did separate patterns on all of those petals.  So I added white and some dots and put some design onto the yellow middle sections. Then I went CRAZY with the white dots! I mean CRAZY!! I love dots on cookies anyway but this one was so much fun. And…this is the final product.

Flower 8

To give you an idea of how this process worked for another cookie, below are the pictures for “Spoiled Dog.”  With this cookie, I knew I wanted to use blues and browns for this dog prior to starting and I knew I wanted him to have an “attitude.”  I tried to accomplish that by giving him that “eye” that hopefully says it all.

Dog1Dog2Dog3Dog4
Dog5And that is how I paint my Folk Art Cookies.  It is fun so I encourage you to give it a try.  I have to say I’ve fallen in love with this technique and each time I do another painted cookie I learn something new!  You probably have most of what you need to accomplish this: royal icing, gel colors, small paintbrushes.  If you are just buying paintbrushes, I’ve used number 1 and number 2 brushes and a small square brush on all of these cookies.  ALSO, you can accomplish a lot of this with food writers so try those as well. I think my next Folk Art cookie will be the giant heart cutter I have!! I’ll share with you when I’m done with it!  😉

All the best Cookie Lovers,

Diane

“Hey, Where Did You Get That Cutter?”

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Last post I showed you how I utilized the Flag Cutter to make Spring Birds. It was a total fluke that I picked up the cutter upside down and thought it was a Bird Cutter I forgot about- nope, it was the flag. I just ran with this lucky find as I love to explore new ways to use cutters. Sometimes it is so obvious what a cutter can double as, other times, not so much.

So, in this post, I thought I would share with you the other, “not so obvious” things I use as cutters or molds for cookies.  If you have been doing cookies for awhile, I’m betting you have over 100 cutters in your baking arsenal.  I am also betting you scour the cookie cutter websites looking for unique and new cutters.  I do that as well.  I especially like the unique cutters at Whisked Away Cutters, and you will find some of your favorite Cookiers doing designs for them as well (Sugarbelle’s, LilaLoa).

But, sometimes you just don’t find anything new or exciting. You can always design and have your own cutters made; something I haven’t done yet, and, I am not even close to doing! 🙂 So where do you look? What do you look for? Some of these suggestions might be new to you and open you up to a new world of cookie designs. I haven’t used all of the molds/cutters shown here so I have only a couple of cookies to share, but I think it is worth sharing the ideas with you so you can get started on your own collection.  Happy hunting!

Pancake Molds

I happen to love oversized molds.  I don’t find many of them – not even online.  And when I do, they are a fortune! One day, I was shopping, I think I was in Target, and I saw this cute pancake mold; the kind that are black and have a small handle sticking up…you know the ones, right? And I knew right away it would work as a cookie cutter! I was so excited that this new venue opened up to me I now kept my eyes open for other designs in the pancake mold world.  They tend to be cheaper than oversized, and sometimes even regular sized, cutters. But, hold on to your seats for this one…I find them in Thrift Stores ALL THE TIME! Can you imagine someone donating these gems? So glad they do, by the way.  Below are some of the Pancake Molds I have in my inventory; most of them were found in Thrift Stores! And, they cost no more than $1 to $2 a piece!!! I know, you had to sit down didn’t you?  So excited to share that one with you.

Pancake Molds
Pancake Molds
Heart Pancake Mold - I tend to use this Pancake Mold the most.
Heart Pancake Mold – I tend to use this Pancake Mold the most.

I haven’t used all of the pancake molds as cookie cutters yet but since most of them are oversized, I have been using them to create a Folk Art Cookie Collection.  The larger cutters work well because it allows me to explore different shapes and textures as well as my “painting on cookies” techniques. Below are two of the large pancake molds I used recently.

Turtle Love
Turtle Love
Calico Cat
Calico Cat

Children’s Playdough Cutters

My niece was going through her toys last year and deciding which ones to donate (her Mom may have helped 😉 ). She had a bag full of these plastic, tiny, playdough cutters and the bell in my head went off!  MINIS!!! So I confiscated them before they hit the Thrift Store – I was probably going to find them at the Thrift Store the following week anyway!  I then set out to incorporate them into my designs. Don’t discount these little cutters, they are great for adding elements to your larger cookies or use them as minis.  I’ve used the mini trees, stocking, stars, flowers, people, etc. to trim my larger Christmas Tree Cookies and Wreath Cookies.  You can use the people and trees for your Gingerbread Wonderlands, the ideas are endless.

Kids Playdough Cutters
Children’s Playdough Cutters

Super Mini Cutters

Another surprise I came upon while shopping in Joanne’s Craft Store were these super mini cutters. I was wandering down the clay aisle and found an entire section of super mini cutters that clay designers use. They are really tiny (1/4″ – 1/2″) and I’ve recently started using them along with my minis in gift sets and they are so cute for little kids all boxed up.  Bite sized little sweet treats!  I think you will love these.  They look like they wouldn’t bake up big enough to do anything with, but, trust me, they do!  I haven’t even used them in all of the ways I am thinking of using them yet, but I am excited to use them on some new designs I am working on.

Super Mini Cutters
Super Mini Cutters

Cake Pans

I don’t find these treasures as often, and they are a bit more work to use, but every now and then (yep, in the Thrift Store!) I find one shallow enough to use with my cookie dough.  One of the pans below is a seashell pan that I used to make my 3-D shell cookies (to be posted to my website soon!). it was so much fun and fairly easy.  I simply cut a circle larger than the opening to the pan and then gently nudged it into place so that the design was imprinted on the dough.  I cooked it as if I were baking it on a flat cookie tray, same amount of time. The only thing I did differently was, halfway through the baking, I took a teaspoon and pressed the dough down in the middle and sides of the each shell.  It didn’t puff up like a cake but it did puff up a bit thicker than it would have if baked flat on a tray.  they popped out easily once “fully” cooled.  The other pan pictured below is one I received as a Christmas Gift – haven’t tried it yet. But I will soon! And don’t forget to look at some of the Whoopie Pie Molds; some are shallow enough to make great designs you can use in 3-D designs.

Baking Pan Molds
Baking Pan Molds

Bread Cutters/Molds

I typically find these cutters/molds with a middle section that is intended to cut the sandwich in half while it also cuts the outer edge of the bread with the design. Sometimes I take a serrated knife and cut through the middle, and carefully snap each side to remove it. I then use it to cut cookies from.  Some of the designs are cute, others, not so ingenious. I only pick them up if it is something different and something I couldn’t easily replicate with a regular cookie cutter.  To be honest with you, I have no idea what the green cutter below is!!!  But, I see an elephant, or two cats. We’ll see what it turns out to be!

Bread Cutter Molds
Bread Cutter Molds

Silicone Molds

Okay, I have to be totally honest, I am including this in here because Julia Usher designs a lot of her 3-D work with embellishments made with silicone molds.  I have tried them without much success.  I don’t think it is the molds, I truly think it is me.  Most of the effect I can get with a mold I can replicate (to a certain degree!) with Royal Icing on a mini cookie. Not a lot of the really fancy ones, but enough not to be too impressed with using the molds.  But, having said that, I encourage you to try it out for yourself.  As for the molds, I looked high and low for silicone molds that said you could bake in them to no avail.   After researching this, and querying other Cookiers, I found most of the silicone molds are heat resistant up to 500 degrees. So, where can you find them? Obviously on websites; I don’t have one special one, I just Google it. Second, craft stores such as Michael’s, AC Moore, Joanne’s Crafts. Now, when you shop at the craft stores, don’t limit yourself to the baking aisle. You will, also find them in the fondant section but wander over to the Mod Podge section (yes, they have an entire section – who knew?) and look at their mini silicone molds.  Usually a bit cheaper and I like the small designs better.  Unfortunately, this is not an item I have found in thrift stores, lol!, but I don’t buy them without my 50% off coupon for the craft stores!! The only way to go if you want to experiment.  In the picture below, the orange mini molds are from Mod Podge and the larger ivory-colored mold is a Wilton fondant mold.

Silicone Molds
Silicone Molds

I’m happy to share these cookie cutter ideas with you and hope they help your creativity and inspire you in new and different ways.  Have fun and explore. In the meantime, i am keeping my eyes open for new and interesting cookie cutters.

All the best,

Diane

Spring Birds

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

You may have noticed that I love to find different uses for cookie cutters.  Well this particular post is no exception.  And…it came about by accident!  Love when that happens.  I was going through my “Misc” cutter box the other day, searching for a particular cutter and I picked this cutter up and thought, “where did I get this from?”  Then I realized, it was the “Flag” cookie cutter.  But, that is not what I saw.  So here is how it all started and where it ended up.

This is what the cookie cutter looks like when it is viewed in the ordinary position.

Flag Cookie Cutter
Flag Cookie Cutter

But…here is what I saw.  Do you see what I see?

It's a Bird Cutter!
It’s a Bird Cutter!

It looks like a bird, right?   I was so excited and I thought, let me give this a try. So, I cut out a couple of cookies, baked them up and started to decorate. This picture shows you the same cookie but simply turned in a different way (pre-baked).

Flag Cookie  and Bird Cookie
Flag Cookie and Bird Cookie

Here is how the cookies baked up.

Baked Bird Cookies
Baked Bird Cookies

And, as a side note, you can always flip the cookie over (pre-baked; my picture is post-bake 😉 ) and you could have “Love Birds” for Valentine’s Day!  I opted NOT to do another Valentine’s Day cookie, thank you very much! But for those of you who are still baking up some “love,” go for it.

Love Birds
Love Birds

I started by outlining of the major areas to be flooded: Bird’s body, feet, tail feathers.  

Outline the body of the bird
Outline the body of the bird
Add in the bird feet
Add in the bird feet
Outline a shape for the Bird's tail
Outline a shape for the Bird’s tail
Second part of the Bird's tail
Second part of the Bird’s tail

Next, I flooded the outlined areas.

Flood the bird's body
Flood the bird’s body
Flood the first color of the tail
Flood the first color of the tail
After the first color sets up, flood the second part of the Bird's tail
After the first color sets up, flood the second part of the Bird’s tail
Let it dry - 24 hours is ideal but several hours will work if you're impatient!
Flood the Bird’s feet and let it dry – 24 hours is ideal but several hours will work if you’re impatient!

Once dry, I then went ahead and drew in the eye, beak, and wing of the Bird.  Sometimes I skip this step and start the outline with my Royal Icing but, for instruction purposes, it helps to see where we are going with this.

Using a food marker, I quickly outline the Bird's eye, beak and wing.
Using a food marker, I quickly outline the Bird’s eye, beak and wing.

Same outlining process as before, outline the second layer of details and flood each area. On the wing I did a wet-on-wet technique to add the white dots.

Once the outline sets up a bit (10 minutes), go ahead and flood the second layer of details.
Once the outline sets up a bit (10 minutes), go ahead and flood the second layer of details.

Once the second layer dries for about ten minutes, I add the circle to the middle of the flower shape; which will be the Bird’s eye.

Add a circle of icing to the middle of the flower which becomes the eye of the Bird.
Add a circle of icing to the middle of the flower which becomes the eye of the Bird.

Drying time…again! I know, I’m impatient as well!  But once that is done (4-24 hours), I go ahead and add the fun details.

At this stage, outline the beak, add a black dot to the eye of the Bird, outline the flower/eye with tiny brown dots, and finally, outline the wing and tail feathers with small white dots.
At this stage, outline the beak, add a black dot to the eye of the Bird, and finally, outline the wing and tail feathers with small white dots.

At this point you can consider the Bird done, however, since I am practicing my “painting on cookies” skills, I went ahead and added some additional fine details to cozy it up a bit. And, wha-la, final version of my FLAG/BIRD cookie.  Fun!!

I added the outline to the beak, the black eyeball, dots around the wing and tail feathers, and brown dots around the flower/eye of the Bird.
I went ahead and painted some fine lines on the flower/eye and added a bit of dark brown shadow to the Bird’s feet. I also painted in some fine lines on the tail feathers, and I panted a dashed line to outline the Bird’s body. I went back with some brown Royal Icing (outlining consistency) and added some tiny brown dots around the flower/eye.

Below is a list of what you need to complete this project but experiment with your own style too!  Use colors you love, try the “Love Birds”, try out a different tail, or you can even place the bird on a branch instead of adding a long tail.  Have fun.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Gel Colors: Cornflower Blue, Brown, Moss Green, Orange, Golden Yellow, Black

Royal Icing Flood: Cornflower Blue, Brown, Moss Green, Orange, Golden Yellow

Royal Icing Outlining: White, Black, Brown

Flag Cookie Cutter

Number 1 Decorating Tip

Cookie Dough (flavor of your choice!)

All the best,

Diane