Yep, I know. I didn’t post anything last weekend. Boy the end of the Tax Year (in NZ) is, well, taxing. Talk about rushing about like headless chickens. Our Consulting team has been kept VERY busy. I haven’t enjoyed my usual “breaks” gazing at all the lovely photos people are posting on Facebook of their fantastically designed cookies.
But I did find time to bake and decorating some cookies a couple of weeks back, and then again last week. A few weeks back it was decorating with royal icing and trying a few different techniques. I really want to improve my piping so that was my focus, plus one GIANT cookie that I made using a Royal Icing transfer.
Last weekend it was more about handpainting designs (well flowers, I don’t want to keep you guessing too long) onto the cookies.
I’ll try and describe a few things as I post different photos.
Starting at the top then. I hand cut this cookie, it’s a giant of a thing. The elephant is a royal icing transfer I made tracing around the elephant cookie cutter (it’s a mini cutter). The next day I added the ear and used an edible marker for the eyelash. The white royal icing didn’t want to behave and I had a crater at each layer. After the 3rd layer it was getting out of hand so I just let it be. This cookie (all of the ones made the same weekend) went to work. I gave it to a workmate who has a little boy (3yrs). He saw it and with an amazed voice said “wow”. I also hear he really enjoyed eating it.
I was keen to try Ambers cracked effect. The Frankenfrosting (mix of glaze and royal icing) doesn’t harden as much, it crusts over and it wont get damaged if you place another cookie on it, but it doesn’t set hard like plain royal icing. So when I used my scribe tool to scratch the surface it went too deep and the icing flaked. But I was all in, I carried on and continued to make things worse. I couldn’t brush the petal dust evenly and then the glaze just sort of went on too thickly (I needed to thin it with vodka – so I’ve read today). The other thing I need to learn is to make smaller leaves. Also in this picture is the mini elephant cookie and the 2nd transfer I made, it was my backup in case one of them didn’t peel nicely off the waxed paper.
I was aiming for a Wedgwood blue, I’m not sure if I hit the mark or not, perhaps the mere fact I’m questioning it means I probably didn’t. Anyway I had first piped the outside of the rounded bits intending to then fully flood the cookie and into the rounded bits. I decided I did a reasonably tidy job and I’d leave it that way for something different. And while in the mood for trying to smarten things up I added the little dots. The rabbit was piped on the dried cookie following a silhouette I’d seen on Google search. the other bunny was wet on wet for the ears and eyes. The cheeks/whiskers were added the following day, and some 30 minutes later I added the nose. And there’s a crater under those whiskers. It was one of those days :)
Some people have stunning work on their cookies. I know it comes from practice, and some may have a more natural talent, but this is me giving it a bash. I struggled to get even petals, and my lines are spaced too wide (this light blue cookie is closer than the first one I tried – you’ll see). I still can’t pipe a scroll fluidly, but I’ll keep trying. The light blue cookie did NOT go to work. Mr Fussy had that one. I explained it would be inappropriate for me to expect anyone at work to accept it :)
I love the Sugarflair Extra Red. It didn’t take as much gel to get a decent colour (it deepens overnight, as does other brands red) and the great thing, it didn’t make the royal icing bitter. That’s a BIG plus. The red royal icing was an experiment, but when I realised it was good, and tasted good I just had to use it, so I added the apple cutter to the collection when I baked up the cookies.
Paisleys take more imagination than I have, but I’ll work on that. I just knew they needed to be brightly coloured. But they should be more patterned than this with swirls and what-not. Next time. The sweetie was piped in flood consistency, in lines of different colours rather than flood in white then add the lines. This is the first time I’ve covered a cookie like this. It worked well. The following day I added the piping consistency lines to try and give better definition to the wrapper.
Sweet Sugarbelle has a post about using the tulip cutter to make owls. And that’s just what I did. Again I’ve used wet-on-wet for the chest feather type look. I had first piped the wings and let them set before flooding the body. Later the same day I added the eyes which ran together a bit more than I wanted, and the black was added straight away. What you can’t see is that the eyes sunk. The black has cratered the eyes. I almost forgot to add the beaks. In fact I’d taken a photo already and commented to Mr Fussy that something wasn’t right. He took one look and asked if I was going to give them beaks. Doh!
This is the second go at trying to improve the brush embroidery – you’ll see in the next photo. I wont give up. I just need to find the right brush I think. I use the same as Amber of SweetAmbs. And the outer petals are somewhat ordinary and don’t look like petals at all. And I used a 5 petal cutter which I traced with edible pen to guide me. Some people need more help than others ;-)
I’ve not used the crown cutter before. I quite liked the sanding sugar cuff. This is a very simple decoration technique. I was just trying a bunch of different ideas to see how long they took to create. And the brush embroidery above was my first go. And as you saw in the earlier picture, I tried to make it better. Didn’t pull it off, but I don’t think I made it any worse.
Again this was done with a wet on wet technique. I had a stiffer consistency pink which never settled into the flooded cookie, and that’s what I hoped. The first one was the better (in my opinion), it’s on the right. As I was picking cookies up to pack them for taking to work I dropped a cookie onto it and scuffed up the icing. Never mind.
More wet on wet. That yellow is as bright as it looks in the photo.This is a very easy cookie to decorate. The white one I added the pink nose after the base had set but the eye was done wet on wet. The pink was the stiffer icing and it hasn’t settled and is slightly raised. Just adds a bit of extra definition.
As for this one. To begin with I did do a bit of wet on wet to get the grass off to a start but I actually wished I hadn’t. I didn’t like it. I much preferred to use the air brush colours and paint the grass. Unfortunately I cleaned the paint palette before I added the elephant and never got the same colours to paint over his feet. I had hoped it would look like he was in amongst the grass. I think I should have placed him on first and determined the height better. You live and learn.
And I’ll need to keep practicing. Even using a PME 1.5 tip the icing seemed a bit fat. The dots are better but trying to make a flower shape wasn’t really working for me. I should have had more tear drop shapes. As I say, more practice. And I will because I really would like to make some of the cookies I’ve seen. I’m in awe. You should take a look at My Little Bakery’s blog.
And lastly …
I used this cookie to try out some “patterns”. Cayley of Sweet Sugarbelle recommends planning the design. Yep, I’d go along with that. I sort of get something done and look at the empty spaces and wonder how I can fill that up without destroying what I’ve already got. The lines here are far too wide. I’ll work on it :)
Ok, I said I’d add in the handpainted cookies too, and I will, but no running commentary this time. You’ll thank me :)
Alright, I’ve already reneged. I took all the handpainted cookies into work as well. The women got first pick, then a few men got to take one home for their other halves. And the two animated cookies again went to Robbie and one to Cel’s little boy Zayden.