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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Valentine Cookie: LOVE

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I think you are going to like this post.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, it’s a fun cookie to make, and, it will also teach you how to use any Letter Cookie Cutters you have in different ways.  This post is a bit different in that it is the first time I am making this cookie design so you will get to see what turned out right, what could have been better and how to get around things that may not turn out the “exact” way you wanted them to.

I tried three designs with the word “L-O-V-E” and I’ll show you how to cut all three and decorate the first one.  Once you do the first one you can basically figure out how the other two are done – and even create your own designs!

So here are the finished cookies…

"L-O-V-E" Cookies using LETTER COOKIE CUTTERS
“L-O-V-E” Cookies using LETTER COOKIE CUTTERS

So, let’s begin. Here is what I used:

Letter Cookie Cutters: “L, O, V, E”

Heart Cookie Cutter

Mini Round Cutter

Mini Heart Cutter

White Piping Icing

Red Piping Icing

White Flooding Icing

Red Flooding Icing

Number 4 tip

Number 1 tip

THE CUTTERS

Here are the cutters I used for all three cookies:

Letter Cutters: L-O-V-E
Letter Cutters: L-O-V-E
IMG_1307
Letter Cutters: L-O-E Heart Cutter in place of the Letter V

I should mention that I’m going to be doing A LOT of letter cookies as my Sister gave me the entire alphabet for Christmas!!!  So much fun.  I can’t wait to get my hands on other sets (Especially the ones by Ximena) and explore further.  But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself here!

The Cutouts

Okay, so once you have your dough letters (and/or heart) cut out, you want to arrange them in the way that you want for your design.

L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged

Notice how I have laid them out, overlapping to make a cookie that, when cooked, will blend together to form a solid cookie out of the four letters.  This part is important; you want to get an idea of how you’ll pipe your design at this step, so it’s a good way to see what letter will look good in front or in back of another letter. SPECIAL NOTES: I have to admit, when I cut the first set of letters, they got soft as I started to cut, press together, photograph, etc. so here is an important couple of tips.  First, after you cut out each shape, place them on a tray and freeze them for about ten minutes to get them firm.  Then, take out the shapes you are going to use and work with them very cold.  They cut and merge better.  Two, place the shapes on your baking sheet BEFORE you start your second cuts and putting the letters/heart together.  I learned this as I was doing it.  Since my dough was so soft, it was impossible to transfer the cookies to my Silpat and cook!  So I did it over directly on my Silpat and it worked out fine.

Now, don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged at this point, the actual cutting of the shapes really is easy but it may look difficult in my pictures.  It’s really not difficult, just take your time. The first thing I did was to take a small knife and cut some small guidelines where the cookies overlapped. This served as a guide to cut the one letter into the other.

L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged
L-O-V-E Dough Cutouts Arranged
Use the small guidelines to cut into each letter
Use the small guidelines to cut into each letter
Cutting into the letter O
Cutting into the letter O

In the picture above, you’ll see that I used those small guidelines to position the letter L onto the letter O and cut into it.

The L cutout into the letter O
The L cutout into the letter O

This is what it should look like.  You then simply take the letter L and insert it into the cutout area of the letter O and nudge the dough together as in the photo below.

The letters L and O merged
The letters L and O merged

Next, we’ll move on to the letters V and E.  Again, I’ll use my guidelines to cutout the dough in order to merge the V and E into the overall design

Guidelines for the letters V and E
Guidelines for the letters V and E
Cut out the letter E into the letter O
Cut out the letter E into the letter O
Letter E ready to merge with the letter O
Letter E ready to merge with the letter O

Before I slip the Letter E into the O, I cutout the small triangular tip where the V will merge into the E.

Cutting the tip of the letter V into the letter E
Cutting the tip of the letter V into the letter E

And…this is what it will look like when you merge all of the letters together.

Merged Letters prior to baking
Merged Letters prior to baking

Remember, this was my first attempt with the “soft” dough and I re-did it directly on my Silpat pad after freezing the cutout shapes for ten minutes.

Letters re-done directly on my Silpat Pad
Letters re-done directly on my Silpat Pad

Much better!  And, you can also see I went ahead and using a small round cutter, I cut a hole in the letter O.  I offset it for some extra fun!

Okay, onto the two other cookies.  I’ll fast pace it here so you get the overall idea of how I cut each one just so you can see how it was done.  Pretty much all the same; it just requires some thinking and arranging to get what you like.

L-O-V-E with a Heart. This is how I overlaid the letters before cutting and merging them.
L-O-V-E with a Heart. This is how I overlaid the letters before cutting and merging them.
Cutting the Heart into the letters L and O
Cutting the Heart into the letters L and O
I then cut the letter E into the letter O
I then cut the letter E into the letter O
Here is what it will look like before you merge the letters and the heart
Here is what it will look like before you merge the letters and the heart
And...here is what the merged cookie will look like.  In this cookie, I used the mini heart to cut the middle out of the letter O.
And…here is what the merged cookie will look like. In this cookie, I used the mini heart to cut the middle out of the letter O.

Okay, and on to the last cookie…

This is how I overlaid the letters for this design.
This is how I overlaid the letters for this design.
Cutting the letters for merging
Cutting the letters for merging…hmm, somehow I didn’t take a picture of cutting the letter O into the letter L…oops, sorry.
And this is the final merged cookie prior to baking
And this is the final merged cookie prior to baking

So, now that we have everything cut and ready to bake – Bake Away!  I thought I would show you two views of how the cookies baked – the front of the cookie, and the back. The reason I want to show you the back is so you can see how fully the letters/heart merge together. This is what you want to achieve – fully merged letters/heart so the cookie is solid and can be handled more easily.

3 Designs prior to baking
3 Designs prior to baking
3 Designs after Baking (front)
3 Designs after Baking (front)
3 Designs after Baking (back)
3 Designs after Baking (back)

Decorating the Cookie!

I started by outlining the entire cookie with the number 4 tip.  I used a thick tip to do the border because I want the cookie to look as if it is one big cookie, and, by adding a thicker border, it will sort of group the letters together.  I then used a number 1 tip to outline the interior parts of the letters in preparation for the flooding.

Cookie Prior to Outlining
Cookie Prior to Outlining
Outlined cookie with number 4 tip
Outlined cookie with number 4 tip
Here is the cookie with the interior outline as well as the O flooded with white
Here is the cookie with the interior outline as well as the O flooded with white

In the picture above, I went ahead and flooded the O with white flooding icing.  Next will be the letter V in white but I am going to also use the red flooding icing with the number 1 tip to add a wet-on-wet stripe design. Work quickly after you flood the V with white as you want the red to sink into the white and have a smooth surface when it dries.

Flood the V with white flooding icing
Flood the V with white flooding icing
Work quickly while the white flooding icing is still wet - add diagonal red stripes using the red flooding icing and a number 1 tip
Work quickly while the white flooding icing is still wet – add diagonal red stripes using the red flooding icing and a number 1 tip

It’s coming together!  I do love to see the transition of the cookie!  On to the red!

I go ahead and flood the letter L and then move on to the letter E.  Similar to the letter V, I used a wet-on-wet design for the letter E so I used the red flooding icing as my base and then used the white flooding icing with a number 1 tip to add the dots.

I flood the letter L and then the letter E.  Again, work quickly to add the white dots to the wet, red icing on the letter E
I flood the letter L and then the letter E. Again, work quickly to add the white dots to the wet, red icing on the letter E

Now the part we all hate…let it dry overnight.  I KNOW!!!  I hate it too!  I have no patience, but really, it is worth it.  You’ve gone through so much to get to this point, let it dry thoroughly, you’ll be glad you did.

Adding the Final Details

Yaaaay! Day two…you did let it dry overnight…didn’t you?  Now comes the fun part.  So, remember I said I was taking pictures as I did this for the first time?  Well, here is one of those situations where I came upon a problem after the cookie dried overnight.  If you look closely at the letter L, you will notice it dried with some white areas around the edges.  This sometimes happens if too much water settles into the one area, or if I didn’t properly run a toothpick through the color to make sure it had no air bubbles, etc.  So, a bit of a design change will cover up this problem.  I was originally going to leave the letter L red, but now it will get some nice dashes and dots! 😉

Dried Cookie (notice the white patches on the edges of the letter L)
Dried Cookie (notice the white patches on the edges of the letter L)

The first thing I add are some strings to the letter O (using a number 1 tip) which will hold some pretty little hearts.

Add some stripes to the letter O making sure to leave some space below the end of the line to add a small heart
Add some stripes to the letter O making sure to leave some space below the end of the line to add a small heart

Now I go ahead and add the small hearts.  If you are a beginner, here is how these simple, little hearts are done.  I used a number 1 tip for this.  You simply start with a dot and while letting up on the icing flow you drag the dot into a small line.

First part of heart - a little dot that is dragged to a short line by dragging the tip and easing up on the icing flow
First part of heart – a little dot that is dragged to a short line by dragging the tip and easing up on the icing flow
Complete the heart by adding a second dot/line to the other side connecting the two points
Complete the heart by adding a second dot/line to the other side connecting the two points

Ta-da! Heart!

So finish up adding the hearts to all of the strings in the letter O. I then added some dots (bottom picture) around the hearts so they weren’t hanging out there all alone!

Finish adding the hearts to the end of each of the strings
Finish adding the hearts to the end of each of the strings

I then went ahead and added a simple string with a bow (using number 1 tip) to the letters V and E.

Add string and bows to the letters V and E using a number 1 tip
Add string and bows to the letters V and E using a number 1 tip

Almost there!  That pesky L!  I simply used a dash, dot, dash, dot line across the letter to cover up any of the whitish areas in the letter L.

Add a dash, dot, dash design to the letter L
Add a dash, dot, dash design to the letter L

Lastly, I decided to go ahead and outline the letters with the number 1 tip.  Sometimes you don’t need it, depending on how nicely the individual letters were flooded…hmmm, I did a bit better on the second LOVE with a heart.

Outlined Letters
Outlined Letters

And you are done!  Nice, right?  I kind of like this idea of merging letters.  I hope you try your hand at this.  Even if you don’t use it for Valentine’s Day, it has so many uses!!!  Let your imagination go wild – names, short sayings, words of inspiration, etc.

And here are the finished cookies.  I like the two Valentine designs and the third design I decided to try out my painting skills again for a Baby Design (love baby cookies!!).  It’s something I just started doing on cookies after seeing so many amazing hand-painted cookies by other Cookiers.  Can’t say I’m great at it, but I keep trying it in small doses and it’s fun.  We have to keep challenging ourselves. And I added a recent “Happy New Year” set I did where each of the letters were separate. So see, it may pay to put a complete alphabet set on your Birthday list, right?  If, however, you just want to start with a few letters, most online sites sell letters separately, and if you happen to have a Sur La Table in a mall near you, they sell letters separately for $1.25 each (New York price)

LOVE Valentine Designs
LOVE Valentine Designs
Love Baby Design
Love Baby Design
Happy New Year Letters
Happy New Year Letters

Happy Baking.

Diane

Valentine’s Day Heart

Hi Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Today I am going to show you how to make a very simple heart; one of several I used last year for Valentine’s Day.  They also make great favors for Bridal Showers and Weddings.

I get a lot of questions about how to make these hearts, specifically because of the “lattice” work on them.  Believe it or not, this is a VERY simple design and I am certain that you will be pleased with the results if this is your first time making a heart like this.

Valentine Heart

I have picked this particular design because it gives you a chance to perfect your lattice skills in a small area and you get some ideas about adding borders to otherwise simple cookie shapes.  So here is how I start…

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

A 4″ baked cookie in the shape of a heart

3″ heart shaped cookie cutter

#1 Decorating Tip

Etching tool

Toothpicks

White Royal Icing – pipping consistency

White Royal Icing – flooding consistency

“Patience” 🙂

DIRECTIONS

Bake a heart cookie; in this example I chose a cookie cutter about 4″ so as to give you enough room to work with but not to much to make the project cumbersome.

Step 1: Bake a 4" Heart Cookie
Step 1: Bake a 4″ Heart Cookie

I am using a chocolate cookie because the royal icing detail shows up particularly well against the chocolate.  I then take a smaller heart – about 3″ – and place it in the center of the cookie and then use a etching tool to outline the shape onto the cookie.  This sets a pattern on which I will then pipe an outline.

Step 2: Place a 3" heart in the middle of your cookie and etch the pattern onto your cookie.
Step 2: Place a 3″ heart in the middle of your cookie and etch the pattern onto your cookie.
This is what the etched heart should look like.
This is what the etched heart should look like.

I then take my Piping Icing with a # 1 decorating tip and outline the interior heart.

Step 4: Using a #1 tip, pipe the interior heart with white piping consistency icing.
Step 3: Using a #1 tip, pipe the interior heart with white piping consistency icing. 

Once you have finished Step 3, you have the entire foundation of your cookie design in place. Everything you do from this point on is based on this heart outline.  Easy so far.

Next, using the same #1 tip, I draw a line down the middle of the interior heart to divide the heart in half.  On the left side of the heart I am going to flood it entirely in white icing of flooding consistency.  I am going to use the right side of the cookie to do the lattice work.  If you have a preference for doing the lattice on the left instead, that’s fine, whatever way feels more comfortable for you.

Step 5: Draw a line down the middle of the interior heart and flood the left, or right, your preference, of the heart with flooding consistency icing.
Step 4: Draw a line down the middle of the interior heart and flood the left, or right, your preference, of the heart with flooding consistency icing.

At this point, I set the cookie aside for about 20 minutes to allow the flooded area to harden up a bit before proceeding on to the outside border.

Step 5: Add half circles around the perimeter of the interior heart, leaving about 1/8" border.
Step 5: Add half circles around the perimeter of the interior heart, leaving about 1/8″ border.

Don’t get scared at this point.  Making half circles around the heart really is easy, it just take a bit of practice.  When I first started making these hearts, my half circles were different sizes, even still they are never perfect.  I just try and keep them all the same size.  I typically start at the bottom and work my way around the heart.  This process is somewhat forgiving as you get better and better at it.  The overall design looks good even if the half circles aren’t exactly the same size!  If you are not familiar with the “dragging” process, it is a process where you anchor your icing onto the cookie and then squeeze and pull the line of icing letting the icing fall onto the cookie while you control the shape it takes.  On details this small, I don’t really drag and drop until I get to the lattice work so I keep the tip close to the working surface for this step.

Next, I continue on by adding a design in between each of the half circles.  I do this by placing my icing tip (still #1 tip) about 1/8″ away from the area where each half circle meets the other.  I then start making a medium-sized dot but rather than picking up my tip, I keep pushing icing through the tip and slowly drag the tip towards the area where the half circles meet slowing stopping the pressure on the icing flow.

Step 6: Using the #1 tip, I place it about 1/8" away from where the half circles intersect and start piping a dot and then pull it towards the center.
Step 6: Using the #1 tip, I place it about 1/8″ away from where the half circles intersect and start piping a dot and then pull it towards the center. 

Next, I add the tiny dots on the crest of each half circle.  I place two dots at the top and then another dot in between those two dots.  I continue to do this on every crest of each half circle working my way around the entire heart. You will see at the top and bottom of the heart there are some areas that won’t allow for all three dots, I just use one to balance out the overall design.

Step 7: Continue using the #1 tip to place three tiny dots at the crest of each half circle.
Step 7: Continue using the #1 tip to place three tiny dots at the crest of each half circle.

Next, I add a large dot in each half circle.

Step 8:  Add large dots to the inside of each half circle.
Step 8: Add large dots to the inside of each half circle.

Again, I put the heart aside for about 20 minutes for the work to harden a bit before moving on to the lattice work.  You want to make sure if your icing tip hits any part of the decorated sections that it won’t ruin your overall design.  I tend to do the border first and then the lattice but a lot of other cookie artists do all of the lattice work first and then move on to the flooding and border work.  See what feels comfortable to you.  I’ve had a lot of practice with the lattice work and get a better idea of what design I want to put on top of the lattice only after I do the border work.  You’ll find your own style/way of working.

Okay…the LATTICE WORK!!  If I can tell you only one thing about doing lattice work it is this…practice, practice, practice.  Last year, I had an order for 700 Valentine’s Day cookies that had to be completed in a two week time period!!  It was the first time I did lattice work, if you can believe it, but I continued to get better and better even after that production nightmare was over.  After you do a few of these you will laugh at how difficult you thought it would be.  If you want to view an excellent tutorial on making lattice/lace cookies, you absolutely need to visit Julia Usher’s website and search her tutorial database.  She has a couple of videos that helped me out tremendously and I don’t think anyone teaches it better.  I think you’ll really enjoy all of her tutorials but the lattice/lace cookies especially.  Just a warning, DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED by her cookie creations.  She truly is an artist who is “off the charts” talented.  I admire her work so much and am constantly inspired by her.  I don’t think I’ll ever be THAT good, but I appreciate each level I get to in my own time.

Okay, moving on to the lattice work.  As I stated, I selected this cookie design because the lattice lines are much easier to do if the distance between starting the line and finishing the line is short.  If I have a larger cookie that requires a distance of 3+ inches or more in line length, I always use a ruler to start my first line.  I simply place the ruler on the cookie and etch in my first line.  This sets a straight guide for me from the beginning.  Again, it’s a bit forgiving, so don’t worry so much about getting the lines perfect.

I lay out my first line and usually like to start in the middle of the area I am going to do lattice work in. I place my decorating tip at the left, squeeze a bit to anchor the icing onto the cookie, keep squeezing as I drag the icing across to the other side, drop the line and push down a bit to anchor the line down.  You may find you get a small dot at the start and end points of your lines but with practice, you will get the feel of how much, or how little, to squeeze to eliminate the dots.

Step 8: Lay your first line down in the middle of the section of the heart where you will be doing the lattice work. This will serve as your guide for keeping all of the other lines straight.
Step 9: Lay your first line down in the middle of the section of the heart where you will be doing the lattice work. This will serve as your guide for keeping all of the other lines straight.

Here’s a hint, if you don’t get his line straight, simply take a toothpick and lift the line off the cookie and start over! That is also one of the benefits of doing lattice work straight onto the cookie (rather than on top of a flooded/dried area).  Once you have that line straight, simply work up and down to fill in the area.  You may find that your icing breaks from time to time.  This can either mean that your icing is a bit too dry for this technique, or, an air bubble breaks the line.  Again, use your toothpick to pick up the line and redo it.

Working up to fill in the space with horizontal lines.
Step 10:  Working up to fill in the space with horizontal lines.
Complete all of the horizontal lines in this space.
Step 11:  Complete all of the horizontal lines in this space.

Okay, sorry, time to let the cookie dry for about 10 minutes.  Trust me, I let the first layer dry because if you make a mistake laying down the vertical lines, it is MUCH EASIER to pick up the icing line with a toothpick if the horizontal lines are dry to the touch.

Next, I repeat the same process for the vertical lines that I used to pipe the horizontal lines.

Start by laying down your first vertical line in the middle of the space.
Step 12:  Start by laying down your first vertical line in the middle of the space.
Step 13: Finish laying down the vertical lines.
Step 13: Finish laying down the vertical lines.

I let the cookie dry, yes, again, for ten minutes.  I find letting the lattice work dry a bit lets the dots keep their shape better when you pipe them onto the lattice.  At this point, you can do any design you like.  One suggestion, however, I start in the middle first.  It keeps your overall design balanced.  In the example I simply used a straight line, every other dot, design and then added a couple of daisies and dots to the flooded area to complete the design.

Step 14: Add the dots to the lattice work to create any design you would like.
Step 14: Add the dots to the lattice work to create any design you would like.
Step 15: I added two simple daisies and a few dots to the flooded area of the heart.
Step 15: I added two simple daisies and a few dots to the flooded area of the heart.

I hope you enjoy this process and I promise you it get’s easier and easier the more you do.  I wouldn’t suggest practicing on 700 cookies at once but trying your hand a few cookies at a time is fun.  And don’t forget to search out other cookie lovers who do lattice work.  You can always learn by trying their designs; it helps inspire you to create your own designs based on your skill level at any point in time.

I started my “love affair” with cookies when I saw lattice/lace cookies and have never looked back.  They are still my FAVORITE cookies to make.

All the best,

Diane

 

A Cookie Year in Review

I can hardly believe we are only a few weeks away from Christmas…much less the NEW YEAR!  But that is how time works – it has a way of sneaking up on you and then flying by.  Most months, I am focusing on the next holiday cookie, sort of like retail, always one step ahead of the customers’ expectations.  So I thought I’d take a moment, exhale, and appreciate all of the cookies I’ve made for my customers, friends, family, and visitors to my website and FACEBOOK page in 2014.

Well, it happened in January of 2014 that I officially started my cookie company www.CookieCelebration.com.  I created a website, printed up marketing materials and business cards, and set off to make Royal Icing Cookies that actually tasted good.  I’ve been baking for over 20 years as a love/hobby and of course used my family and friends as the recipients of my great, good, and not so good baked treats.  It wasn’t until I started making Royal Icing Cookies that something clicked in me that I just had to do this full time!  I loved it.   And so, once the baseline was in place by the end of January, February was my official kickoff of the website and my first grand scale of cookies.  Oh, trust me, in hindsight I wasn’t thinking at all.  SEVEN HUNDRED COOKIES in two weeks later, I thought, can I sustain this? As quickly as I thought about it, I pushed the thought aside because Spring, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter were right in front of me and people were asking to see what was going to be for sale.

The rest of the year has pretty much been the same story.  Always trying to be a month ahead of my customers’ requests and cooking nonstop.  But the year has not been without its ups and downs.  The holidays I thought would mimic the insane schedule of Valentine’s day did not come to pass, and the holidays I thought would be slow caught me by surprise with non-stop orders.  It was a year of great learning, great inspiration, huge frustrations, A LOT of hard work, never-ending hours, challenging packaging and design solutions, financial concerns, and sleep deprivation!!  But, it was worth it.  I am able to do what I love which keeps the passion alive and motivates me to find solutions to some of the business challenges that just come with the territory.  For those of you fellow Cookie Lovers, I hope to use this blog in 2015 as a forum to provide you with information that you may not normally have access to, share resources with you that have helped me tremendously, keep you inspired, and provide you with tutorials and tips & tricks that make the cookie decorating process easier.

I’ve had my favorite cookie moments throughout the year that I’d like to share with you.  There are quite a lot of designs I’ve done, but I think every baker has their favorite cookie designs and those they really never want to make again!

Decorated White on White Heart
FEBRUARY: Decorated White on White Heart
FEBRUARY:  Classic Linzer Tarts and Decorated Hearts
FEBRUARY: Classic Linzer Tarts and Decorated Hearts

I have to admit, after doing so many hearts in February, I swore I never wanted to see another one again.  That lasted for about a month until my love relationship with hearts grabbed hold of my heart again.

WEDDINGS
WEDDINGS
WEDDINGS
WEDDINGS

When it comes to favorites, I cannot leave out Wedding Cookies.  Whether it be a Wedding Favor or Bridal Shower Favors, these are hands down my favorite cookies to make.

NINJA INVASION
NINJA INVASION

These Ninja cookies were fun to make for little Hawk’s and Liam’s Birthday party.  They were a big hit and I just love all of the cookies together in one big group.  Makes a statement, I think.

MARCH: Sunflower Bouquet
MARCH: Sunflower Bouquet

Sunflowers…they just said total sunshine and spring to me.

Folk Cats
Folk Cats

Just something fun I played around with.  I liked them, although they weren’t for everyone! 🙂

Baby Collection
Baby Collection
Christening Outfits
Christening Outfits
First Communion
First Communion

BABIES & CHILDREN!  A close second to my love of Wedding Cookies but baby/children cookies are irresistible to me.  In fact, it is hard to narrow the selections down!  We’ll see what evolves in 2015.

Halloween Collection 2014
Halloween Collection 2014

Truth be told, I am not a big fan of Halloween.  I KNOW!  Shoot me, sorry, I don’t know what it is but I am willing to go along with the hoopla about it and celebrate it with cookies.  I do love this collection.  Each and every one of these cookies were so much fun to make.  Can’t wait for Halloween 2015; I have some great new ideas!!

Thanksgiving Collection 2014
Thanksgiving Collection 2014

Although my Thanksgiving Designs were a bit more detailed than I wanted to shoot for, I really liked the mix of the turkey, pilgrim girl and indian.  Next year, however, I think the designs will be simpler.

Football Collection
Football Collection

Well, we all know how I feel about this collection. I did a tutorial on it, so I must like it!  They are fun cookies to do because they are so different from most things I do.

SANTA
SANTA
GINGERBREAD MAN
GINGERBREAD MAN
CHRISTMAS COOKIES
CHRISTMAS COOKIES

What can I say about Christmas Cookies?  What would a year be without the most famous cookies of the year?  I loved my oversized Santa and oversized Gingerbread man.  There were a few other favorites but I think every Christmas Cookie is special.

New Year's Collection 2015
New Year’s Collection 2015

Technically, not a part of 2015, however, being in the cookie business, I post pre-holiday.  So as I end this year, I introduce to you  how I will enter my second year of Cookie Celebration.

I hope you continue on this journey with me as I grow and learn and pass on to you what I’ve discovered.  I’d love to hear what topics you would like to see discussed in 2015, so please feel free to leave your comments and I promise to review each and every one of them.

Happy Holidays to each of you.  May you celebrate all the special moments in your life with custom cookies.  There is something satisfying about an all natural, homemade, hand-decorated, delicious and beautiful cookie that will help you build memories throughout the year.  So keep rolling dough, explore with new cookie cutters, and practice your new skills.

 

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