Sunset Hearts

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

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

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

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

Piping Final

SUPPLIES

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

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

Sunset Icings

Sunset Tools

Flood the Cookies

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

Sunset Outline Flood

Sunset Flood Let Dry

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

Making the Roses

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

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

Roses 1

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

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

The supplies I use are as follows:

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

Roses 2

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

Roses 3Roses 4

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

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

Applying the Petal Dust

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

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

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

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

So here are the tools you will need…

Sunset Dust 1

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

Sunset Dust 2B

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

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

 

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

Sunset Dust 6

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

Sunset Dust 5

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

Sunset Dust 7

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

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

Piping 1

Adding the Details:  Piping

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

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

Piping 2Piping 3Piping 4

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

Piping 5

And the last of the piping details…

Piping 6

Adding the Details:  Roses and Leaves

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

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

Piping 7Piping 8

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

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

Piping 9

Adding the Details:  Final Flourishes

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

Piping 10

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

Piping 11

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

Piping 12

Sunset Hearts

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

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

Piping Final

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

Your Fellow Cookie Lover,

Diane

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Mother’s Day Flowers

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

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

Cut and Bake Cookies

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

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

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

MD Cookies Baked

Design and Flood the Cookies

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

MD Cookies Outlined

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

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

MD Cookies Flooded

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

MD Cookie Flood Second Layer

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

Adding the Details

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

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

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

 

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

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

Making and Adding the Flowers

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

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

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

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

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TIPS USED:

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

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

Final Details

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

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

Mother's Day Flowers

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

Your Fellow Cookie Lover,

Diane

So, What Do YOU Think?

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Sorry to lure you to my Blog without having an actual tutorial to share with you today but that is actually one of the two reasons I’m posting this blog entry.

What Are You Interested In Seeing?

The first reason is, who better to give me some feedback than all of you who are gracious enough to visit me here and spend your valuable time with me. With that in mind, I’d like to know what you’d like to see me post on my blog.  To-date I’ve done mostly tutorials and I think that’s the popular thing.  If there is anything else you’d like to see, please let me know.

Facebook Page

The second reason for this posting, relates to the first, sort of.  For those of you who have followed me on Facebook, please note I had to delete my personal and business pages in order to be able to restart and get what I wanted from Facebook from a functionality standpoint.  My Facebook page is now called “Cookie Celebration LLC”  It is linked to my personal page “Diane Coppola” and I am now using both pages for business, no personal use.  The way Facebook is structured, I have to have a personal page in order to have a business page, hence, both will be used for my business.  However, all posting, updates, photos, and notifications will be posted to my Cookie Celebration LLC page.  If you’ve previously liked me on Cookie Celebration, you will have to re-like me on Cookie Celebration LLC in order to get my posts.

How Do Both Of These Affect You?

So how does this affect you?  You can leave me a comment below by clicking the “comment” button, but you can also click the link to my Facebook page and leave me a detailed response there.  This way I’ll be able to respond more quickly to your comments and if you like the page, it will also help me to rebuild my likes since Facebook erases all of my previous data.

Additionally, by visiting my Facebook page (whether you like the page or not) you can see my photo album of previous cookies and get a better idea on what type of tutorials you might like to see me do. A “point of reference” if you will.

Look At Me, Look At Me!!

That sort of sounds like “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” doesn’t it (Brady Bunch Fans)? LOL! Well, if anything gets confusing when searching or linking to my Facebook page (because I am losing faith in Facebook if you couldn’t tell), I’m attaching the photo you will see on my page.  This is me (below).

Thank you all for visiting me, liking me, following me (You Stalkers!! 🙂 and I hope to keep entertaining and teaching you.

Your fellow Cookie Lover,

Diane

Updated Picture

Making an “Egg-ceptional” Easter Egg

Dear Fellow Cookie Lovers,

A lot of you have sent me such lovely and kind words about my recent Easter Eggs and asked if I could provide you with some instruction on how I made them. So, this blog post will be a detailed explanation of how to make some of these lovely Easter Eggs for your family and friends. I am also including a picture of my recent “Easter Sampler” as I will be including some of the details of this cookie into this blog’s instruction.

Easter Eggs Galore

Easter Sampler

I will be utilizing a large egg shape in order to show you more detail in how I create the smaller eggs.  I understand that many of you do not have such a large egg cutter and that is fine; this blog is intended to show you up close what you can do on smaller eggs.  The cutter I am using is actually a pancake form that used to be a circle.  Since I have larger circle cutters, I bent this into an egg shape.  The difference in sizes:  Large egg is about 6.5″ wide and the smaller egg is about 3.75″ wide.

IMG_2601

 

Prepping Before Decorating

For this project, there are a couple of things you will need to complete several hours, or a day, prior to actually decorating the egg.

The first is obvious, you need to make your cookie dough, cut and cook your cookie, and ice it with white royal icing so you have an iced cookie that is fully dry and can be painted on.

The second task is to make some royal icing transfers for your egg design.  For this design, I will be using easter bunnies, eggs, and a bow.  If you are not familiar with royal icing transfers, do not worry, they are very simple to make.  I am attaching a clipart sheet that I created using some simple clipart designs that you can use for this project.  (click this link to open the PDF file Easter Printout).

Once you have your sheet printed, I would suggest outlining the images in order to get a darker edge to the designs.  The reason is, we will be placing a piece of parchment paper over the page so we can pipe the royal icing transfers and it will be easier to see the design if you make them darker.

Egg 1

The next three pictures show you how I created the designs using royal icing.  I used a 5 second icing without first outlining the designs.  If you feel you will have more control outlining the designs first and then flooding, go with it.  I added the magnets to hold the paper in place.

In the first picture, I flooded all of the bunnies on the first row, all of the eggs, and the dot on the bow.  In this step, you are making more royal icing transfers than you will use because we are making sure we have enough transfers in the event any of them break.

In the second photo, once the dot for the bow dried, I then flooded the second part of the bows, and once they were dry enough, the third part of the bows.

Once you finish flooding the designs, it will take a few hours for them to fully dry on the parchment paper.  You will know they are completely dry when they simply move around if you give the parchment paper a little jiggle.  Since the royal icing on the egg needed to dry overnight, I simply let the royal icing transfers dry overnight as well.

And, this will be the result of your prep work after 24 hours of drying. In hindsight, I wish I had made the royal icing transfer icing slightly thicker to get more of a raised design, but they will still work for the design.

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Pictured above is the large iced egg, the dried royal icing transfers and my setup to start painting the cookie.

Outlining the Design and Painting the Cookie

When painting the cookie, I used Wilton Violet, Americolor Orange, Americolor Deep Pink, Wilton Lemon Yellow, Wilton Kelly Green, and Wilton Sky Blue.

If you’ve read my other blogs, you will be familiar with “color blocking.”  This is where I paint large areas of color to create the overall design on top of the cookie, leaving one or two areas white.

Outlining

Before color blocking, I kept in mind that I needed to make sure that three of the blocks of color would be large enough to accommodate my royal icing transfers.  With that in mind, I placed the transfers on the cookie to get an idea of where I wanted them to be.

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Once I determined the layout of the royal icing transfers, I went in with a ruler to establish some base lines, and, using a pink edible marker, I laid down the first lines of my design.  I typically freehand this but if you’re new to this process, use whatever tools you need to get your desired design. Don’t worry about the lines as they will end up being covered in the end.

After those initial lines are drawn in, I remove the royal icing transfers and add some additional lines to give me more sections to work with.  In the picture below, I used a stencil that I liked to draw in the wavy line.  (Sorry, I don’t know where the stencil came from as I’ve had it so long and this is the first time I am using it.)

And this is what you will end up with before you start painting.

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Painting: Color Blocking

One suggestion I can give you here when painting on cookies, the less water the better.  I’m still working on controlling the amount of water and color I use on my cookies and I find if you use too much water, you will get “pitting” in the icing (Not a bad look if that is what you want in your design, but not for this egg).

This may seem like an odd picture to include but I’ve added it to show you that you will ALWAYS go from putting the paint brush into the watered-down food gel color to a paper towel to get most of the water off of the brush before you put your brush to the cookie.

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So here we go.  This is my setup for painting.

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I put a dab of each color into my paint palette and squirt a little water into each one.  I never use this much food color gel (I probably use about a third of what you see), but for picture-taking purposes I’ve used more. As I work with each color I have a cup of water I use to further dilute the colors.

This is the squared-off brush I use to lay down my colors. I find this edge works best for putting down an even tone in larger areas. It is about 3/8″ wide.

IMG_2552

 

I started at the top and added one layer of Violet by swiping the brush back and forth. After that first initial layer, I want back in and went over it again, this time using more of the gel and very little water (The first layer does not have to be dry to do this).  I won’t show you this each time I use a new color, but know that this is typically how I build up each color so that I’m not saturating the cookie with water.

Second, I added the pink, and then I added the blue.  You’ll notice that I color blocked the three areas where I am using the royal icing transfers first.  I like to do this to make sure I get a color balance that I like.

I then went in and color blocked the rest of the egg leaving one area white.  I like to leave at least one area white when I paint on cookies for a couple of reasons.  The first is it gives your eye a place to rest among all of the other bright colors, and second, it gives you an area you can paint in some whimsical designs.

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With my egg fully color blocked, I then use a small brush or two to add some details prior to piping.

 

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I think some people get overwhelmed at this point so I will isolate each of the sections as I work on them. This will show you just how easy it is to create an interesting design by focusing on one section at a time.

In the white area, I painted in some yellow dots.  I then went in and surrounded them with orange.  Finally, I went in with deep pink and surrounded the orange. For those of you who don’t feel handy with a brush, you can easily do this using edible markers and get the same result, maybe an even neater design!

After completing my circle design, I then went in using pink, purple, and orange edible markers and put in a “confetti-like” design.

And for the last part of this section, I took the green edible marker and added some dots around the edge of the circle design.  Below is what this section should like at this point.

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Preparing the Icing for Piping

For this stage, I went ahead and made 5 colors and white, piping consistency colors.  I used Wilton Violet, Americolor Orange, Americolor Deep Pink, Wilton Lemon Yellow, and Wilton Sky Blue – the same colors I used when painting the cookie.

Egg 6

You might be wondering why I have my icing wrapped in plastic wrap.  Well, a few years ago I saw this great technique shared by SweetSugarbelle which used this technique and I’ve used it ever since.  The reason being, as you will see below, it enables you to reuse your piping bags over and over again with a light washing.  Additionally, if I do not use all of my colors for one project, this is a great way to store them for another day or two.  Once you are ready to use them again, you simply knead them to mix all of the ingredients that may have separated a bit and insert them in your piping bag. Such a timesaver.

Egg 7
Wilton Piping Bag, Icing in Plastic Wrap, Piping Tip, Tip Holder
Egg 8
Insert the icing into the Wilton piping bag and pull the icing through the tip of the piping bag. You will then cut off the top of the plastic wrap.
Egg 9
Once cut, this is what the icing in the bag will look like.
Egg 10
This is what it will look like once you are finished and ready to pipe.

Piping the Designs

AND…onto the piping!  Here is my setup.  A quick word about the tips I use.  I hardly ever use a tip bigger than size 2 when piping.  In fact, 95% of the time I use a “0” or “00” tip to pipe. Use what feels comfortable to you.  When I first started piping, 3 years ago, I only piped with number 2 and graduated to the smaller tips.  I really detest the number 1 tips as they always curl on me and I cannot figure out why that is the only tip that gives me a problem. I use it but only when I can stay close to the cookie with the tip. Otherwise, I use the smaller tips and “drag and drop” my lines.

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The first thing I do is to pipe a line is the corresponding color of each color block to define each section. (with the exception of the green, where I used sky blue to outline the area).

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The first section will be the orange section where I will be adding a scalloped design with dotted details.  I lay down my first line of scallop as a guide and finish the entire area.

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I let the scallop design setup a bit and then go in with the deep pink to add some detail using dots.

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To finish up this area, I went in and added another smaller dot in sky blue.

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I decided to add my royal icing transfers at this stage so I could add the details to these transfers and get a better idea how I wanted to decorate the rest of the color blocks.  I simply added some royal icing to the back of each royal icing transfer and placed them on the cookie in the areas I outlined for them earlier.

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Next, I went in with the edible food markers and added the designs to the eggs. Don’t make yourself crazy with getting the design right, the idea is to give them a whimsical fun look using the colors you used in the rest of the design.IMG_2577

I then went in with some of the deep pink royal icing and gave the bunnies a little bow.

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And for the last royal icing transfer,  I painted in a gingham design on the bow using the deep pink food gel color watered down. After painting the gingham design, I used the purple edible food marker and added thin stripes to the design.

Onto the Violet color block.  I started with some yellow squiggles and then added some orange squiggles.  I also added some yellow dots along the bottom of this color block.

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Next I took the white piping icing and added medium-sized dots.

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Then I added some smaller deep pink dots.

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And for the last part of this color block, I used the sky blue to add dots in between the yellow dots.

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Onto the yellow color block.  I used a simple straight line design in different lengths using the violet piping icing.  After it setup a bit, I went in and added dots to the ends of the lines.

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Onto the green color block. I used a scalloped edge in deep pink along the top portion of the green color block and then added some deep pink dots along the wavy bottom of the color block.

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I then went in and added yellow dots to the scalloped edge and in between the pink dots.

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Next, I added a daisy design in white with orange centers, finishing off this color block.

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And, we are almost there!  Onto the sky blue color block. I started by adding white dots to the sky blue block and a line of blue dots above the blue line.

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Next I added some orange dots  alongside the white dots.  Notice when I do dots, I typically will vary the size of each dot by color to give it more detail.

IMG_2589

And, still more dots! I went in and added some yellow dots and some tiny deep pink dots along with the white and orange dots and some deep pink dots in between the blue dots to complete this color block.

IMG_2591

At this point, I go in and add any other details I feel the cookie needs.  In this case, I went back to the white color block and added some dimension by adding a yellow dot to the center of the circles where the yellow was painted.  Additionally, I added some yellow dots among the confetti designs.

And this is what your cookie will look like in the end!!

Large Egg

I promise you this is a relatively easy cookie to make.  If you feel like you are not a good painter, simply used colored icing in place of color blocking.  The only difference is that you will have to wait 24 hours to start piping over the sections.  If you feel you can’t do one or two of the designs, pick something that is easier for you (i.e., make different size dots instead of a design you find too difficult).

Large Egg and Small Eggs

Happy Easter to all of you!

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.

 

 

Mini Madness!!!

Dear Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Sorry it’s been such a long time since a blog posting.  I was so busy with Christenings and Graduations in May and June and time slipped away from me! Alas, I think this blog will make up for the long delay and I think you’ll be inspired to try your hand at this blog’s theme – – – MINIS!!

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of postings with mini cookies.  And I also never realized how much I have been using them.  All those minis got me thinking about what constitutes a mini and how can they best be used.  I used to think that minis were reserved for any cookie under 2″, but a quick glance at some Facebook postings and you’ll see minis in sizes as small as 1/2″ (which I call Micro Minis) but some as long as  3″ – 4″ wide but only 1/2″ high. So I guess the definition of a Mini for me is as follows:

Any cookie that is bite-sized, is usually not bagged separately but with a group of other cookies, or typically acts as a filler cookie in addition to statement cookies.  Yeah, I think I like that definition for myself?  What are your thoughts on minis?

So, let me share some fun minis with you and how I’ve used them in the past.  When I thought about doing this post I went crazy baking more minis to use and let me tell you….IT WAS SOOOOO MUCH FUN!  If you find yourself lacking in inspiration, try your hand at minis.  Not only do they work up fast, it forces you to think simple, think quirky, think FUN!  You can also test out some techniques you may be reluctant to try on full-size cookies. And, it is such a fun project to do with children.  I often do them with my niece who is 4 1/2 years old and her little hands have fun creating something sweet and pretty.

MINIS AS FILLER COOKIES

You may have seen this posting on Facebook recently.  The minis here (bowling balls and scalloped squares) acted as filler cookies to the overall Statement Cookies on a platter. I think there were a dozen of each of the minis added to this overall set.

Bowling Cookies: Mini Bowling Balls and #40 Mini Squares
Bowling Cookies: Mini Bowling Balls and #40 Mini Squares

MINIS THAT ENHANCE YOUR COOKIE SET

This was such a fun set recently made for a graduating Nurse Practitioner.  I used minis for the “Pills” that asked for “Hugs 10X Daily” and “LOVE 10 mg.  In this set I think the minis act as an addition to the overall theme rather than a filler and enhance the overall theme.

Nurse Cookies: Mini pills
Nurse Cookies: Mini pills

MINIS AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR COOKIE DESIGN

The sets below have several minis; I think some micro minis too 😉  Inspired by Yankee Girl Yummies and The Cookie Architect (both on Facebook, Yankee Girl Yummies also has a website http://www.yankeegirlyummies), I set out to make a couple of collages instead of just a “set” of cookies.  In both cases, the minis are an integral part of the overall design and the contrast with the larger sized cookies plays out well.

Pink Collage: Mini Squares
Pink Collage: Mini Squares
Deconstructed Peacock
Deconstructed Peacock

I added the set below because I am always working on orders for these Bird and Birdhouse cookies and am constantly looking for new ways to present them.  I don’t do the birds or birdhouses separately so I’d say that makes the minis an integral part of the set.  In the first picture, you will see some flower minis in the background and I used some micro-mini birds on the birdhouses (you can see more in the Flower section below).  The second picture is a set of new birds nests I recently started adding to this set.  Those nests are so much fun to do!  You simply take a round cookie, ice it, let it dry and then take a number one tip on a decorating bag and lay down some swirly lines in two colors.  For the spotted eggs, I used leftover blue icing and made some small egg shapes on parchment paper.  When completely dry, I took a stiff brush and dipped it in black and white food coloring (diluted just a little) and used my thumb to splatter the icing. TRY IT! You’ll like using this technique.  In fact, I liked it so much, I used it in my Barnyard Cookies (below) and the Deconstructed Peacock Cookies (above).

Birds and Birdhouses
Birds and Birdhouses
Mini Birds Nests
Mini Birds Nests

MINIS AS A SET OR ON THEIR OWN

Pictured below is The Barnyard. A little warning before you scroll down to see ALL of the barnyard-themed minis I’ve done – you should know that the additional minis were done after I made this initial set.  That is what happened when I went MINI CRAZY during my recent mini baking day. But I couldn’t resist.  I actually wanted to make 100 of those mini eggs…alas, no Clients to fulfill that wish…YET!! And, no,the irony of “cooked eggs over easy” is not lost on me. (Hee Hee. Sorry Mrs. Hen)

The Barnyard
The Barnyard with Mini Chicks
Barnyard Minis
Barnyard Minis

FLOWER MINIS – THE MOST POPULAR MINI FOR ME

Okay, moving right along.  At Easter time, I made these 3 1/2″ bunnies and used these super simple mini flowers as filler cookies.  Flower minis are by far the most popular mini I make.  There are so many uses for them and so many designs you can make that I sometimes make small 4 1/2″ boxes of them by themselves for kids’ parties.

Easter Bunnies with Mini Flowers
Easter Bunnies with Mini Flowers
Mini Floers and Leaves
Mini Flowers and Leaves
Flower Minis and Micro Minis
Flower Minis and Micro Minis
Flower Minis
Flower Minis
Grey and Yellow Thank You Cookies
Mini Flowers and Mini Scalloped Rounds and Squares. Using a wet-on-wet technique works really well on Minis.
More of those Flower Minis and Micro Minis
More of those Flower Minis and Micro Minis

I think you get the idea about Flower Minis!

MINIS AS THE STAR OF THE SHOW!

One of my all time favorites is the Happ-BEE Birthday Set I did. In this scenario the Minis really are the star of the show.  They encompass the largest part of this set, so, without them, well, there would just be a beehive.

Mini Bees and Scalloped Rounds and Squares
Mini Bees and Scalloped Rounds and Squares

I couldn’t have a section with “Star of the Show” in the headline without including actual STARS now could I? No. So here are some stars that rounded out a set of cookies for young man graduating from the Airforce Academy.

Airforce Cookied with Mini Stars
Airforce Cookied with Mini Stars

MINIS IN A “FRANKEN-COOKIE”

Last Christmas I put a few minis together with a hand-cut stocking to create this oversized cookie.  In the cookie world they call this “Franken-Cookie-ing” your cookie.  I first heard it from Kari of Yankee Girl Yummies and have since heard it over and over again.  I love that phrase and intend on doing it Proud in the future!!!  Without these little minis, this stocking might not make it on its own so again, the minis really become the star of the cookie.

Stocking with Mini Attachments
Stocking with Mini Attachments

MINIS AS JEWELRY COOKIES

Talk about minis standing on their own…this set of turquoise jewelry I made is predominantly minis. This is an example of really going all out on minis.  You really can keep minis simple…and, other times you can really ROCK them OUT!!

Mini Turquoise Jewelry
Mini Turquoise Jewelry

MINI HEARTS

There are Flower Minis…and then there are Heart Minis…

Sort of like flowers, hearts are probably the second most requested mini I get from my Clients. They are so versatile and who doesn’t love a heart? I use them a lot grouped together in my BRP Box Shop boxes. (You’ve heard me mention them and I cannot say enough about the quality of their boxes, their great pricing, and their phenomenal, caring Staff. Check them out for your own needs.)

Boxed Mini Hearts
Boxed Mini Hearts

I just started making these little cutie heart minis to be added to an upcoming Wedding-Themed set I am doing.  I do a larger version of these but couldn’t resist trying my hand at the mini version along with some simple mini roses and leaves. I may or may not add the love birds in my final set but they are a lot of fun to do and make a great addition to Spring cookie sets as well. (A cookie made from the “mustache” cutter, I think originally inspired by Sweet Sugarbelle.)

Mini Wedding Collection
Mini Wedding Collection

And to end the post on a sweet note…some mini donuts!! A good way to stay on a diet and have a donut, or two, or three. I should have just made one dozen!!!!

Mini Donuts
Mini Donuts

WHEW!  I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t realize I used so many minis before!  Minis will continue to be a big part of my cookie repertoire in the future.  So if you haven’t tried minis, take a day and JUST do minis! I think you’ll be surprised at how many ideas you come up with.  You won’t be able to bake fast enough!!

Some uses for minis:

  • Filler Cookies in Cookie Sets (keeps costs down for your Clients)
  • Boxed Cookies
  • Cookies for Little Hands and Fun Projects to do with your Children
  • As Part of a Collage
  • As the Stars of the Show
  • Compliments to the Statement Cookies

Your fellow Cookie Lover,

Diane

That Sleigh Cutter Is Not Just For Christmas…

Hi Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Remember those birds I recently featured using the “FLAG” cutter? Well, I must have birds on my brain because I found that the “SLEIGH” cutter I used for Christmas makes a great cutter for a bird on a branch! So much fun.  In this post, I’ll show you how to make a bird out of the sleigh cutter, and…another little surprise that occurred while I was making the bird.  More on that in a minute.  So, here is how you begin. Pictured below is a photo of the actual sleigh cutter that I used.

Sleigh Cutter
Sleigh Cutter

This is the cookie all baked up.

Baked Sleigh Cookie
Baked Sleigh Cookie

I then took an edible food writer and outlined where I wanted to lay my royal icing outline.

Outline of the bird's body and the branch he will stand on.
Outline of the bird’s body and the branch he will stand on.

Before I go any further here, I want to share with you one of those little “FINDS” I love and usually stumble upon when I least expect it.  If you read my blog post, “Hey Where Did You Get That Cutter?”, then you know I look in unusual areas for cookie cutters. Well, today’s find are these small egg-shaped cutters I found in the “Clay Aisle” of a local craft store.  Not specifically made for cookies, but it works! I’m going to use these cutters today to make wings for my bird.  But, don’t let your imagination stop there!  These little cutters work well as tiny eggs AND as eyes for some of your character cookies!  They will add a fun dimension to your cookies.

Mini Egg Cutters; great for making tiny eggs, character eyes, bird wings, fish wings.
Mini Egg Cutters; great for making tiny eggs, character eyes, bird wings, fish wings.

Moving right along…here is the outlined bird and the egg cookie I will be using for this cookie.

Outlined Bird and Wing Using the Sleigh Cookie Cutter and the Mini Egg Cookie Cutter
Outlined Bird and Wing Using the Sleigh Cookie Cutter and the Mini Egg Cookie Cutter

No we are ready for flooding.

Flooded cookies with wet-on-wet technique and an all white flood.
Flooded cookies with wet-on-wet technique and an all white flood.

You will see in the photo above that I flooded one bird with color and used a wet-on-wet technique to add some fun details.  I also flooded one bird all white as I thought it might be fun to show you a painting technique. However, when I got to this stage, I stepped back and looked at the white flooded cookie and saw a FISH!! So, I thought I would finish the color-flooded cookie as a bird and show you how you can create a fish using the painting technique on a white surface.

Two birds and a fish!
Two birds and a fish!

And, I thought I would include the bird I recently did using the flag cutter so you could see the variety you could achieve using the sleigh cutter and the flag cutter together. The photo above shows two birds and a soon-to-be fish!

Two birds using the sleigh cutter and the flag cutter
Two birds using the sleigh cutter and the flag cutter

Above are the final birds using the sleigh cutter and the flag cutter.  I simply added dots, feet, and orange bills to each bird and attached the wings. They look siimilar but unique in their own way.  I’m sure more and more ideas will pop into your head as you design your own birds.  You can change up the feathers, the eyes, the wings, the colors, etc.  You could even put the bird made using the flag cutter on a branch as well; just shift around the tail feathers.  I find that as long as you keep the color scheme the same, your birds will look like they were made from the same cutter set. I use these birds with mini flowers and mini leaves to create gift sets.  With the minis, I stick to the same color scheme I use on the birds and use a wet-on-wet technique with either blue or green as the base color and white dots on top of that.  Other colors, like orange and pink, also work well with the blue and green birds.

And, as promised, below is the hand-painted FISH I made using the cookie that I flooded with white originally.  I used color to section off each area and then added designs to each section.  The white dots are royal icing dots I added at the end.  I sometimes use Wilton’s “White-White Color Icing” to add to the design but you will need to wait for your design to dry fully before using it as it will pick up the base color if you don’t.  Not a bad technique in and of itself but I usually prefer a bright white to pop on the cookie.

If you haven’t yet tried painting on cookies, I encourage you to try it.  I find it is a very forgiving technique.  I’m really loving the process, and when I see it next to my wet-on-wet designs, I realize how much more detail you can get with the painting technique.  I like both, and being in the “Cookie Business,” the painted technique doesn’t work so well if you are selling cookies…especially in large quantities.  But it is a GREAT technique if you want to create very special cookies for family members and friends.

Fish using the sleigh cutter
Fish using the sleigh cutter
All three finished: two birds and a fish
All three finished: two birds and a fish

Here are the materials I used:

Royal Icing

Food Writer Pen

Number 1 and number 2 paint brushes

Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Colors

Number 1 and number 00 decorating tips

Sleigh Cookie Cutter

Flag Cookie Cutter

Mini Egg Cutters (found in clay aisle of local craft store)

Hope you have fun with this one.  I know I will be using these designs for a long time.  My customers love them and I am always changing the colors and designs to create fun new looks.

Your Fellow Cookie Lover,

Diane

Football Player Cookie Tutorial

Hi Cookie Lovers,

With the Football Season upon us, I thought it appropriate to make my first tutorial a Football Player Cookie I recently featured on my website for a couple of reasons…

One, it is a relatively easy cookie to make and decorate, and two, it utilizes two cookie cutters in different ways; which is always nice to be able to do and can sometimes inspire you to look at your cookie cutters in different ways!  So, without further ado, let’s get started.  Here is what you will need:

Wedding Cake Cookie Cutter

3″ Round Cookie Cutter

Decorator tips:  #1 and #2

Red Royal Icing – flooding consistency

Royal Blue Royal Icing – flooding consistency

White Royal Icing – outlining and flooding consistency

Additionally, a couple of handy tools I like to use, 1) to mix my icing – these mini spatulas are great!, and 2) the ball fondant tool I use daily to help icing flood into small spaces, drop small noses onto face cookies, and more.  This tool, for me, is indispensable!

Some tools I use on a regular basis.
Some tools I use on a regular basis.

When I make this cookie, I like to roll my dough out (about 1/8″ thick) and then transfer it to my baking pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat “before” I cut out the shape. This allows the cookie to remain intact for baking without ruining the shape.

Use the Wedding Cake Cutter first to cut out your first shape.

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Next, take your 3″ Cutter and place it so the cutter intersects the first layer of the Wedding Cake outline you just cut.

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When you finish, your cookie cutout should look like this…

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Just a little helpful hint at this stage…before I remove the excess dough, I take my finger and gently nudge the lines together to make sure the cookie does not separate while baking.  You don’t want to press to hard, just enough to stabilize the overall design of the cookie. Now remove the excess dough.

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Pre-Baked Cookie
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Baked Cookie

 

The first picture is what my cookie looks like before it bakes. The second picture is what it looks like after baking.  Easy, right!?  You still have a solid cookie and the design is right there for you to follow as you decorate!

At this point, I typically will sketch in anything that my hand might not be steady enough to get straight or even. Of course you want to use an edible food marker for this task.  Sometimes, especially if the cookie is chocolate, I use my etching tool (A simple metal tool with a sharp point.  If you can’t find one, use a sewing needle or a trussing needle; both work fine) to lightly scratch the design into the cookie.

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In this photo, I simply dotted the lines that will become the stripe in the Player’s helmet (red).

Next, I outline the entire cookie in white.

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When you flood a cookie with icing, you can do some shapes freehand, which some people are very good at, or you can outline like I have (using a #2 Decorator Tip) in this picture and then flood the cookie so the colors are sure not to flow off the sides.  Additionally, I outline A LOT in white, not necessarily because the color or final detail outlining will be white (as you will see in this cookie), but because, well, uhm, I get lazy and don’t want to mix three different colors of outlining icing!! There, I said it!

Okay, let’s flood the cookie!  I started with red on this cookie.

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After flooding this small area, I took a toothpick and ran it through the icing a bit to get out any air bubbles and to help the icing set without sinking in the middle when it dries – a particular problem that often occurs when you flood small areas (but more on that in another post).  Let this color set for about 20 minutes.  I know, but trust me, it’s worth it.  Once it is set you can then add colors around it and they won’t bleed into each other. Plus, it helps you to get a puffy kind of look and will sometimes eliminate the need for adding a lot of unnecessary detail at the decorating stage.

IMG_1074

Next I flooded the face.  My “go to” food colors to make flesh-colored icing are Pink and Ivory.  I use the smallest, and I do mean THE SMALLEST, amount of pink first to get a base color.  This is usually the size of the top of a toothpick lightly dipped into the food coloring gel and mixed into about 3 Tablespoons of royal icing.  Next, I add a small amount, more generous than the pink, to the pink icing and keep adding it until I get the color I like.  Experiment with this process; you’ll get the hang of it and find the color that you like best.

Again, after twenty minutes of drying, I then flood the rest of the cookie with the Royal Blue Royal Icing.

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Nice, huh?  Just goes to show you, it’s all in the details you add at the end that bring it all together, but the cleaner the look you get at this stage, the nicer the cookie will be.

After another 20 minutes, I add a small “blop” of the flesh-toned icing for the players nose.  I do this by using the plastic fondant instrument with a round ball tip that I mentioned at the beginning.  Careful not to touch the icing when you do this. Even though this part of the cookie has dried for about 40 minutes in total, it will still crush in if you touch it, especially with tools. I load up the ball of the fondant tool with icing and simply let it fall onto the cookie.  I slightly coax it into place and shape that I want.  You can also do this by putting the icing into a decorator bag and you will get more leverage and control but I skip that step unless I am doing a lot of these cookies…like 50 or more.  Otherwise, I just “blop”.

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And this is what your cookie will look like.  I then let it dry overnight.  YES, OVERNIGHT!  Why you ask?  Because after making cookies for over 20 years, this is one part of the process I don’t like to rush.  Your cookie will dry to a solid, hard base overnight and it will make the entire decorating process SO MUCH EASIER and less frustrating “IF” you make a mistake. Trust me on this one, don’t ruin all of your hard work up until now. Additionally, in the past, when I have tried to layer white details on top of the darker colored icing (red, blue, etc.) before letting it dry overnight, I find that the colors bleed into the white, or, the lines sort of melt into the icing which takes away the “crispness” of the look you are trying to achieve.

After a full day of drying, I then add the details.  For me, this is the best part because the cookie really comes together.  I started with the eyes and eyebrows which are done in black with a #1 tip. You don’t have to let this dry (Yaaay!) before you do the white because the colors will not touch.

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I then go ahead, using a #2 tip, and add the mouth grill (is that what Football Players call it?).

 

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I then add the white lines around the red stripe on the helmet and the jersey stripes, one in white, one in red (both using #2 tip).

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At this point in the decorating process, you want to assess where your cookie might need some more detail.  Some cookies are best with less detail, some with more.  One of the hardest things for me to do is to “keep it simple.”  Luckily, there is a great blog I reference for inspiration and tutorials which has helped A LOT.  Her name is Callye and she is Sweet Sugarbelle.  Visit her at www.sweetsugarbelle.com.  You will not be sorry.  She is fantastic and always strives to keep it simple.  And…you’ll be inspired as well. You can also follow her on FACEBOOK.

With this cookie, I decided to outline the entire cookie.

Complete Football Player Cookie
Complete Football Player Cookie

TA-DA!!  Your first cookie using my tutorial!  I hope you like it…let me know in the comments section.  Try your hand at a couple of other designs featured in my Football Season 2014 Collection to make a complete gift set for someone special.  There aren’t a lot of cookie designs out there for men so this one is typically popular and is well received by men who LOVE sports!  Make a platter for your Superbowl Party using your team colors and use it as your table centerpiece.  It will surely impress your guests.

Football, football player, football field, touchdown, Super Bowl 2015, cheer, cheerleader, football helmet, football referee, Super Bowl cookies, football cookies for men, cookies for men, custom cookies, personalized cookies
Football Cookies (visit http://www.CookieCelebration.com)

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Diane

Welcome to Cookie Celebration’s Blog

Dear Fellow Cookie Lover,

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

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

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

All the best,

Diane