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

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Easy Peasy Cookies for the Weekend

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

I don’t use black much when making cookies because it turns your mouth black. Not a little, not a bit, but black…a lot of it!  But lately I’ve wanted to try out some ideas using a “little” black with white, and black with white and some colors.  I thought I’d share this process with you because it is a great cookie to make for kids and for adults.

For kids, these cookies are a great giveaway or craft project for birthday parties or even classroom fun. (Just make sure there are no school restrictions like peanut free, wheat free, etc.) Additionally, they make a fun weekend project for kids to color using edible markers – just like they would in a coloring book. And…they are good anytime of the year and are super simple to make.

For adults? Well, I’ve been seeing a ton of these “adult” coloring books. What makes them “adult” are the intricate designs intended to act as a relaxing project to get your mind off the craziness of your day.  I, personally, doodle and color with icing, so this could be a new way for you to color and destress.

I’ve also had requests for these cookies for those “painting/wine nights” that seem to be popular too.  You meet at someone’s home, a company comes in with canvases and paints and wine, and the night begins.  Well, these cookies make a great favor to hand out at the end.

The best thing about these cookies is that you can make them and keep them on hand, and, they can be used at anytime of the year by mixing it up with your favorite seasonal cutters.

What You’ll Need

  • White Outlining Consistency Icing
  • White Flooding Consistency Icing
  • Black Flooding Consistency Icing
  • #2 Piping Tip and Piping Bag
  • #0 or #1 Piping Tip and Piping Bag
  • Flooding Bottle

Bird 8

Techniques You’ll Use

  • Outlining
  • Flooding
  • Wet-on-Wet Design

Basically, the cookie requires only two colors; white and black.  I mixed up a white “outlining” consistency icing and used a number 2 tip to outline.  I also mixed a white flooding icing and a black flooding icing.  The black outlining details of the cookies are going to be achieved using a wet-on-wet process.

I used the Flooding Bottle for the White Flooding Icing since this is the color I used to fill in the largest areas.  The Black Flooding Icing was used in a Piping Bag with a #0 tip to get a thin line to outline the designs.

The Process

I used a bird cutter for this project and using the  white outlining icing, I created three different sections. Keep in mind, you don’t have to create separate sections for flooding, you can outline the entire cookie and flood the entire cookie with white and then add the outlining details with the black.  I’m using three different sections to get a bit more interest to the cookie.

Bird 1

After the outline has setup a bit, I then went in with a white flooding icing and filled in the first section.

Bird 2

While the white icing is still wet, go in with the black flooding icing in your Piping Bag and #0 (or #1) tip and using a wet-on-wet technique, outline the design you want to create – these will be your “coloring areas.” Think “stained glass” for this process and that will give you an idea of how you want to create the design.

Bird 3

I then moved on to the next section which is the body of the bird.  Keep this in mind…when you are flooding separate areas of any cookie, you want to make sure that you  let the flooded areas setup for about 15 minutes before you flood any section that is adjacent to the area you just flooded.  If you don’t, the icing will simply flood together blurring the edges you meticulously outlined in the previous step, ruining your overall design.  In this case, I chose to flood the body second since it was NOT adjacent to the wind I just flooded.

Bird 4

Again, just as you did for the wing area, go in with your black flooding icing and add a design to the body of the bird.  I started by adding a wind design and then outlined the entire body, added a dot for the eye, and then added some “coloring areas” within the body and tail areas of the bird.

Bird 5

And lastly, after letting the first wing and the body of the bird setup (about 15 minutes), I went back in and used the same process to finish the second wing of the bird.

Bird 6

You then want to let the cookie dry overnight before coloring the cookie.  Below are four cookies I did using this technique and I will continue on to show you what you can do with these cookies if you want to get “fancy” and take it to another level.  If not, use your food gel colors and/or edible markers to color in your cookies and just have fun!  Wouldn’t this make a great handout at Thanksgiving using Christmas ornament cookies?  Your kids could sit down after eating their meal and start creating memories for the upcoming Christmas season. Just make sure put a hole in the cookie before baking so you can add a ribbon at the end to make it an ornament.

Bird 7

You’ll notice I tried to do some different designs for each of the cookies just to keep things interesting.  At this point, you can simply color in the sections.  If you want to take it a bit further…read on…

Taking It Up A Notch

If you’re ready to have a bit more fun with these cookies, you can see what can be achieved simply by painting in some different designs and colors.   I used both Americolor and Wilton food gel colors, Wilton and FooDoodler edible markers, and, my new favorite tool, Rainbow Dust edible writing marker with a super fine point.

Bird 9

With a few tools, you can create the following birds…

Bird 10

Cookie #1 was done using only the Rainbow Dust Jet Black Edible Food Pen.

Cookie #2 was done using the Wilton and FooDoodler colored edible markers and the Rainbow Dust Edible Food Pen.

Cookies #3 and #4 were done using the Wilton and Americolor food gels and some of the details were added using the Wilton and FoodDoodler colored edible markers and the Rainbow Dust Edible Food Pen.

I hope you try it out.  It’s a fun project and unlike a coloring book…you get to eat your artwork.  Happy coloring!

Your fellow cookie lover,

Diane

Glass Cookies

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

Today’s post is something completely out of the box – a new technique I recently tried and sort of….well, LOVE!  It’s not for everyone; 1) because it is labor intensive, and, 2) perhaps the look isn’t your style.  But…even if it’s not your style or too labor intensive for you, let me tell you what these cookies taste like!! Pure deliciousness!! You bite into the cookie, you get a crunch of the candy with a sort of caramel, pure sugar taste.  Then the royal icing flavor hits your tongue and it’s a bit less crunchy. And then, the cookie; soft and a wonderful texture against the crunch of the candy and icing. YUM!! I tell you, it’s my all time favorite right now.  If you’d like to give this a shot, I invite you to read further and try your hand at this.  I’m new to it, of course, but hopefully I can share some tips with you that will make your initial try successful.

It’s sort of a joke that I came up with this idea after “dreaming” about it one night.  True story.  I woke up and thought, hmmm, that’s really odd…could it work?  And, it did work. And I could not get over the look I achieved.  They turn out looking like glass stones – even the royal icing parts that are painted look like stones.  Okay, here we go.

These are the supplies you will need to get started.

  • A Silpat mat
  • A candy thermometer
  • A wooden spoon and a smaller spoon to drizzle the syrup
  • Vanilla or any other flavoring you like
  • Corn syrup (here I had lite syrup on hand but it works with regular too)
  • Food gel – any color you want to work with (I bet it would work great with BLACK for Halloween!!)
  • Cookie cutters.  I used cookie cutters to keep the  syrup contained in the overall shape and size of the cookies I am making

Tools you need

The recipe below is the one I used when making the sugar candy.  It’s not the only way to make a hard candy, I’ve seen the dry process but have not had luck with it, and, I bet if you melted down colored hard candy, it would work as wll.  So, if you have another hard candy recipe you like, try it with that.  As long as the candy sets hard after you create your design it will work.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • gel food coloring

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING THE SUGAR CANDY

In a small pot, attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot.  Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water in the pot and place on the stove over medium-high heat.  As the sugar starts to melt, give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon and then DO NOT MIX the mixture at all during the remainder of the process.

Let the mixture come to a boil.  I usually reduce the temp to medium heat once it comes to a boil and then let it continue to boil until the temperature on the candy thermometer hits 280 degrees which is considered just under a “hard crack.”  (Most candy makers boil it to 300 – 310, but I find going to about 280 works better for this project as it is a bit less sticky.)

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This is what your mixture will look like as it boils down.  It looks so pretty at every stage. I just love the amber color you get without adding food gel, play with that color by itself if you like it.

While your sugar boils down into a thick syrup, setup your Silpat mat with your cutter(s).

Also, have your vanilla and food gel color ready to add to the mixture after it boils up to the proper temperature.

Once the syrup reaches 280 degrees, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and then mix in the food gel (I used about 1/4 teaspoon of Wilton’s Teal food gel/icing color for this recipe.)

*** Be careful, because the syrup can burn you severely so wear a protective glove and use a wooden spoon to mix.  The mixture will boil up a bit as you mix it. ***

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Here is what the mixture looks like after I added Wilton’s Teal Food Gel – the mixture is now ready to be spooned into  the cutters.

LAYING THE SUGAR ONTO THE SILPAT

You have to work quickly at this point as the syrup sets up very quickly. The idea is to control the syrup as you lay it down on the Silpat.   Poor the colored syrup into a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout so the mixture doesn’t get overheated in your pan.

Getting ready to pour

I used a teaspoon to lay the syrup into the cookie cutter.  If, during the process, the syrup starts to harden, you can “zap” it in the microwave to get it back to a flowing consistency.

Pouring the Syrup

A few tips about laying the sugar into the cookie cutter:

  1. Try to get the syrup close to the edge of the cutter to make sure you get a solid design of candy to lay over the cookie and then add some layering of syrup inside the outline.  I’m still working this out as the height of the cutters and the quick setup of the syrup makes it difficult to get the syrup right to the edge of the cookie.  I just work with the design as it comes out.  You can pour it, but, due to the tendency of the syrup to set quickly, it tends to pour thicker than I like for the cookie.
  2. Try not to get large blobs of candy in one spot – the lighter you go with the candy, the easier the cookie is to eat.  I think lines about 1/8″ to 1/4″ wide work best. You will get lines that are thicker and thinner and I would not worry about it as the royal icing sometimes covers the smaller lines, softens the wider lines, and the variations of thickness adds to the overall design of the painted cookie.
  3. Don’t move the cutters during this process; only when it sets up fully can you remove the cutter. The candy sets up really fast and you can remove the cutters in about 3 minutes or less.
  4. You will get some stringy syrup lines and drops outside of the cutters – I let them fall and simply remove them after they dry.

The picture below on the left is the design I made inside the cutter. The picture below on the right is what the candy form looks like after removing the cutter.

Once the candy has hardened (2-3 minutes!) I get my hand under the Silpat and roll the mat off of the candy while I gently let the candy fall into my other hand. (If you try to lift the candy off of the Silpat, rather than roll the Silpat off of the cookie, odds are the candy will break.)

Lifting candy off of silpat
You will have more success by rolling the mat off of the candy rather than lifting the candy off of the mat.

 

Candy overlay on plain cookie

I lay the candy over my baked cookie to see what it will look like.

PREPARING THE COOKIES

From here on, the process is so simple; more in line with what you probably do with your cookies normally.

Here is the baked cookie ready for royal icing.  As you can see, sometimes the candy breaks.  Don’t worry about it because the royal icing will help you cover up the break; it is very forgiving.

Icing 1

I simply outline as usual and flood the cookie with icing.

Icing 2

Icing 3

I used white for my flood color but you can use any color depending on the look you want to achieve.  I like the white because it leaves me with unlimited options on final colors and designs and I know how the gels will appear on the white.  With other colors, you will have to know how your gels react to colors – for instance, if you flood in pink and then paint over it with yellow, you will get orange in your final paint color, run pink over a blue base and you will get violet.

LAYING THE CANDY ON TOP OF THE COOKIES

The next step is to place the candy on top of the WET royal icing.  For this stage I use both hands (not shone in picture because, well, I am taking the picture!) and hold the candy parallel to the royal icing.  By doing this, you won’t have the edges hit the icing first, the flat back of the candy hitting the icing will prevent it from sinking unevenly.  The candy will slowly sink into the royal icing and the royal icing will cover some of the very light lines and puff up inside the open areas of the candy design.

Icing 4

This is what the candy will look like on top of the wet icing.  See how the icing covers up the break that occurred earlier?

Icing 5

Let the cookie dry overnight because the candy keeps the royal icing moist longer than if you simply iced the cookie and you do not want the candy to move when painting it.

Okay, I had to add another picture here because, after I let the cookie (pictured above) dry overnight, I DROPPED IT ON THE FLOOR!! It happens. So, below is a picture of the new cookie I’ll be using in the remainder of the blog.  I wanted to post this picture so you weren’t totally confused and scrolling up and asking yourself if you are crazy…well, you may be, but not in this case. 😉  Same process though, as outlined prior to this section.

New Cookie

PAINTING THE COOKIE

After the cookie has dried overnight, you are ready to paint.

And, a note of encouragement here…if you are not a painter, or still aren’t satisfied with the results you’ve been getting, you can still make these cookies really look gorgeous with very little effort.  In the following pictures, you will see that I go ahead and paint in most of the areas with various colors and leaving some white, all the while, keeping in mind what kind of designs I might paint on top of them later.  You can stop after this stage and still have really nice cookies!! They look like stained glass. Also, you don’t have to be a painter either, you can easily use edible markers to color in the area and add details with the edible markers as well.  Like coloring in a coloring book – so simple, right?

This is how I start most of the cookies that I paint.  I “color block” a portion of the cookie so I get a balance of colors.

Glass Color Blocking
Color Blocked Cookie:  for the color blocking I used  Americolor Royal Blue, Wilton Sky Blue, and Americolor Leaf Green.  As I add details to the cookie, I also included Wilton Lemon Yellow (mixed with the Leaf Green), and Wilton Teal.

After I lay down my initial color blogging, I then go in and start adding some details to various shapes that I left white.  Overall, this is really just a layering process. You can see in the picture the little brush that I used.

Glass Adding Details

At this stage, you can see I added some more tools to the picture that I will use moving forward.  Edible food writers, toothpicks, and my paintbrush.

Glass Adding More Details

You can see how I start building the design of the cookie.  You’ll notice I added a “Craftsmart” wooden sponge-tipped instrument (below).  I found this in the paint aisle of Michaels and I decided I wanted to use it for this cookie so I added it here for your reference.  (More on these little sponges that come in different sizes and brands, in another blog post.)

Glass Tools
With the teal color of the candy, I decided to “think” SEA design for this cookie but in somewhat abstract ways.  So you will see that I added some designs that sort of look like fish fins, some bubbles, some little fish shapes and some coral-like, flowy shapes.

It would be painstakingly boring to show you each step of the design process but I’ll try to give you some idea of how I did some of the more detailed designs in the final picture below.

Glass Green Finished Cookie

 

In addition to the notes show in the picture above, I used the edible writers for the confetti-looking design and some of the dots.  I typically go in last with the white, using the toothpick dipped in the white, the small paintbrush to paint some bubbles and swirly designs around the edges and some highlights on the actual glass.  ***A note about white; I used Wilton white-white icing color in my designs but the one thing I do not like about it, it takes a long time to dry.  So if you are going to package ANY cookies using white in this way, allow a couple of days for the white to dry completely or it will be sticky.

THE FINAL COOKIES

And here are the finished cookies I’ve done using this process.  I really like the look…and TASTE…of the cookies and it’s something new to try.  I’m sure it won’t be a weekly thing as it is labor intensive, but for some special looking, great tasting cookies, it’s a fun technique to try.

Glass Three Cookies

SOME ADDITIONAL WAYS TO USE THE CANDY

I’ve had fun exploring this new technique and I am sure I’ll work with it in several ways in the near future.  For instance, I used the leftover syrup to make some organic designs  simply by drizzling it on a Silpat and then broke them apart into smaller pieces. You can then use them in a myriad of ways; build an abstract design, use the pieces as mosaics, crush the candy to make your own sprinkle dust! And, since it becomes a hard candy, you can use it to make stained glass cookies by making cutouts in your dough, placing the hard candy in the opening, and cooking along with the cookie in the oven. Oh, and you can actually eat it just as it is too!! 🙂  Also, I found that if you keep the hardened candy and want to use it at a later date, you can reheat it in a pan or in the microwave with good results.

Have fun with this process and remember this is not a perfect technique, it’s very organic in nature since you have to work so quickly with the sugar syrup. And…I promise you will love the taste!

Your fellow cookie lover,

Diane

 

 

Hand-Painting and Piping Process

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

This week I took part in Julia Usher’s Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge on her Cookie Connection website.  If you are not familiar with the site, it is a fantastic resource for learning, sharing, and being inspired by EVERYTHING cookies.

This recent challenge was to take inspiration from a Pinterest Board created from gorgeous pictures of an Istanbul trip that were taken by Christine of Bakerloo Station on Facebook.

I’ve been exploring with several new techniques this year and I decided to use hand-painting, piping and wafer paper for this challenge.  I thought I would share with you how the creative process occurs and how this cookie actually came about.  This post is intended to primarily show you the hand-painting and piping process more so than the wafer paper process as I am still new to  wafer paper and have only used it as accents in my cookies thus far.

Istanbul Inspiration (Cookie Celebration)

To start, I was inspired by these two photographs (below) of tiles posted on the Pinterest board.  Additionally, I loved the blue-green, sea colors and wanted to utilize them as well.  I wanted there to be movement in the cookies and, of course, have texture, which I always try to achieve in my cookies.

I tried to do a mosaic technique at first and really did not like the outcome.  So, I decided to use a large cookie cutter and cut it into smaller pieces, similar to creating mosaics.  I was then free to design each of the individual cookies as tiles.

Painting the Base

After icing the cookie and letting it dry overnight, I used Teal and Sky Blue (Wilton colors) to paint some designs on which to build.

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You can see in the photo, I used a plastic template to create the swirly teal design.  I can usually free-hand my designs but for this cookie set I knew I wanted the pattern to be very consistent in order to get “movement” in the design.

Next, I went ahead and added some green to the cookies and darkened it a bit on the one edge with navy blue to get some depth.

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Once I was happy with the base painting, I moved on to the piping part of the process.

Piping the Design

I used four colors for the piping:  Teal, Navy Blue, Grey, and White (All Wilton Colors. White is plain RI without coloring added).  I started with the navy blue as I wanted this to be the predominant detail color.  I piped an outline on each of the shapes with a number 1.5 tip.  Note:  I tend to use a very small tip like this as I use a looser icing to pipe than most Cookiers.  Use what feels comfortable to you.

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Next, I added some grey by outlining inside the teal shape and creating a scalloped edge to each of the cookies. This was done using a number 1 tip.

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When I get to this stage of a cookie, where most of the overall design of the cookie is in place, I really use a freestyle form to add the details and dots.  I started by adding detail in white using a number 1.0 tip.  I added dots and some leaf-like detail over the navy blue colors.

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I then moved on to adding details in navy blue and then finished up with adding the teal details.  The teal was used on the outer edge of the cookie, as very tiny dots around the grey scalloped edging, and few details along the leaf-like design.  The navy blue was used for the remaining designs.

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Adding Some Whimsy

At this point, you could really be finished with the cookie.  I, however, have been exploring with wafer paper and wanted to added something a bit whimsical to the cookie design.  I’ll not go through the wafer paper process as I am certainly not a pro at it yet, but included it in the final picture so you could see how the overall design changed with this little addition.

Istanbul Inspiration (Cookie Celebration)

I hope you’ll try some hand-painting with detailed piping over it as it is so much fun and takes very little to accomplish something creative.  The wafer paper, hmmmm, I really like working with it and I am getting better at it and would recommend it as well, but, you really do need to have a lot of patience for that process!  You’ll see more wafer paper in my upcoming posts as I find more and more ways to add some creative and different elements to my cookies.  Hopefully I’ll get good enough to show you some of the techniques with wafer paper in the near future.

Pictured below are some other designs that used this very same process to show you the diversity you can achieve with this painting and then piping technique.

Spoiled DogSpoiled Dog 2Turtle Love

I hope you have enjoyed the post and feel inspired to create some whimsy of your own!

Have fun fellow Cookie Lovers,

Diane

 

 

 

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

Painting on Cookies Technique

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

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

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

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

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

CUTTING THE DOUGH

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

Rolled Out Dough on Silpat
Rolled Out Dough on Silpat

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

Dough Cut

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

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

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

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

OUTLINING THE SECTIONS OF THE COOKIE

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

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

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

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

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

PAINTING

Okay, next step…PAINTING!!

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

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

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

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

Flower 1

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

Flower2

Flower3

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

Flower4

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

Flower6

Flower7

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

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

Flower 8

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

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

All the best Cookie Lovers,

Diane

Spring Birds

Hello Fellow Cookie Lovers,

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

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

Flag Cookie Cutter
Flag Cookie Cutter

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

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

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

Flag Cookie  and Bird Cookie
Flag Cookie and Bird Cookie

Here is how the cookies baked up.

Baked Bird Cookies
Baked Bird Cookies

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

Love Birds
Love Birds

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

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

Next, I flooded the outlined areas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

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

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

Royal Icing Outlining: White, Black, Brown

Flag Cookie Cutter

Number 1 Decorating Tip

Cookie Dough (flavor of your choice!)

All the best,

Diane

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