Wednesday, December 4
A few weeks ago Georganne over at LilaLoa posted a challenge to use this amazing color palette in a set of cookies. I thought the colors had a great retro feel to them and I love the style of retro Christmas Ornaments. Even though these colors are far from traditional they still work perfectly for Christmas cookies because as long as you use expected Christmas shapes you can use any color palette you like!
To cut the ornament cookies I used two cutters from Wal-mart this year. I love these little ornament cutters and I can see so many things in them. With just these basic shapes you can make a lot more ornaments just be piecing and trimming the cutters. For the traditional teardrop shape I used a circle to trim the yellow ornament cutter. Flip the cutters around and cut again to make something totally different or add a little bit of one to the other for more dimension. For more info on combing cookie cutters click here.
The Christmas Season is in full swing and I hope yours is going beautifully!
Tuesday, November 19
There is just something about owl cookies that make me happy. And for some reason every time I think of making owls I think they should be textured and patterned to the nines. I've made patterned owl cookies before using royal icing and a lot of piping but this time around I dressed them up with textured fondant. I am certainly no expert in working with fondant but it's fairly easy when you only have to cover a cookie.
To make these textured owl cookies you will need:
- an owl cookie cutter. I used my own chubby owl cutter that I designed and it's for sale in my Etsy store.
- a few cookie cutters in basic shapes to cut a belly and eyes
- tinted fondant or modeling chocolate
- texture mats, stencils, or other patterned objects
- a small rolling pin and a craft knife
You can use just about anything to texture fondant. So much so that avoiding impressions in the fondant is usually the hard part of working with it. The plastic mat pictured is just some random vinyl I happened to have but it creates nice lines. Anything that has a texture will work so get creative! Be sure to run it through the dishwasher and it will be fine for incidental food contact.
Obviously, fondant texture plates are made for this but you can also use stencils to give a light texture to fondant. Stencils are a hot item in the cookie world right now and there are so many amazing designs to choose from. Try Salsa Sweets, The Cookie Countess or Artfully Designed for some fabulous finds!
It is super easy to use stencils to texture fondant. Especially when you only need to work with small pieces for cookies. Start by rolling out the fondant a little thicker than you want it to be on the cookie.
- Lay your clean stencil on the fondant and gently roll the stencil into the fondant with a small rolling pin. You don't want to go too fast or use too much pressure because the stencil might lift up and could get damaged.
- If you like you can add extra color, sparkle or dimension by dusting the fondant with petal dust and a brush. Since the stencil is secured to the fondant only the cut outs will be colored.
- Gently peel the stencil away and the fondant will have a light texture.
You can really see the effect of a light shimmer dust on the dark fondant. This is a really easy technique but it looks so good!
After you texture the fondant you are ready to decorate the owl.
- Cut the owl shape with your cookie cutter
- Cut the belly shape with a small egg or circle cookie cutter and cut a place for the eyes with a heart.
- Gently remove the excess fondant and "glue" the belly to the cookie with simple syrup. Be sure to save the wings for a different cookie.
- Repeat these steps with a contrasting color of fondant to make the wings and attach them to the cookie as well.
To finish up the owls cut eyes from white fondant using the small heart cutter and trim them with a circle. Cut pupils for the eyes from dark fondant with a decorating tip. Roll a short fondant rope and attach to the top of the head for the tufted "horn" feathers. I used these teeny-tiny cutters to make the feet and beak but if you don't have them you could just cut little "sausage" shapes from an orange fondant rope instead.
That's all there is too it. I love seeing these little guys all line up like this and I hope you enjoy them too!
Thursday, November 14
Today I have my latest cookie cutter designs to share with you in my Etsy shop! Last year I wrote a post lamenting how I didn't own any pretty plaque cutters so this year I made myself a couple and I made a lot for you!
My first plaque cutter is this flower plaque! I like the idea of adding embellishments to plaque cookies but sometimes piecing shapes together gets tedious especially if you are trying to combine multiple shapes. So I designed this cutter with little flowers already attached. At 5 inches wide this large plaque is perfect for making a bold statement in a cookie platter.
Of course the flower area isn't limited to flowers. It would work just as well with snowflakes, leaves, bows or other shapes like these pine boughs.
If you don't want every cookie to have flowers then it is super easy to use this cutter as a more general plaque. After cutting the shape simply rotate the cutter and line it up to cut the flowers off cleanly.
Next is a slightly smaller plaque cutter. This plaque is a little narrower than the first, but they are both the same height so they go well together. I wanted this plaque to be a little whimsical but also sophisticated. I've name this the "Anna" plaque because I have to call it something but I also think it looks like a doll head!
Those bumps are just right for some small bows!
I've also added some large gift tag cookie cutters to the shop. These cutters are "full size" gift tags at 4 inches tall but can also be rotated and trimmed to make smaller tags as well.
I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who supported my last set of gnome cookie cutters! I love seeing what you are making with them. You are always invited to share with me by posting on my Facebook wall!
Friday, October 18
When it comes to Halloween things I usually choose cute over gross or scary so I'm not really sure how these cookies came about. I saw cupcake sets like these in stores and was inspired to cookie-fy them. By the time I finished with the details they were looking really icky but I'm loving them! The taste is great too once you work up the nerve to eat the squishy fondant brain.
To decorate the cookies you will need;
- chocolate skull cookies - I used LilaLoa's End-All Chocolate Cookie Recipe
- white royal icing in piping and flood consistencies
- marshmallow fondant tinted a greyish pink
- red piping gel and candy eyeballs (both are optional but look pretty cool)
- Start by outlining the skull and eye sockets in white piping icing.
- Pipe some squarish dots for teeth
- Wait a minute or two for the first teeth to crust over and then add the rest of the teeth. Ordinarily I might worry about icing craters forming in the teeth but this is one time when they can really boost the design so don't stress them!
- Allow the outlines and teeth to dry for a few minutes and then fill in the skull with white flood icing. Let the skulls dry for several hours.
- Once the skull has dried roll a small amount of greyish pink marshmallow fondant into a thin rope.(you can also work on the brains while the icing is drying if you like)
- Loop the fondant rope back and forth to make the brain. I found it looked more "brainy" if I started at the center and then zig-zagged my way up to the top of the skull and then back down. If the rope gets too thin or is too short tuck in the end piece and start a new rope.
- The fondant won't stick to the cookie until you "glue" it in place so you can play with the shape if you need to. Once you have the fondant shaped like you want gently flatten one side to be the brain's mid line.
- Glue the fondant to the cookie by brushing a little simple syrup on the cookie and the fondant. (Simple syrup is made from equal parts sugar and warm water.)
- Repeat steps 1-4 to make the other side of the brain and pipe the nasal bone in white icing.
Now you could be done at that point but to really increase the "ick" factor brush some red piping gel on the fondant brain to give it a slimy look. I used this recipe for the piping gel but I replaced the lemon juice with water because I guess I had to draw the line at brains with lemony zest.
I also used a little brown food coloring and vodka to bring out the texture of the teeth and give an aged look to the skull. Royal icing transfer eyes give the skulls some character and a little cuteness. All of these details are optional but I think they really up the wow factor of the cookies!
Okay, so seeing them all together they are pretty gross looking but they are fun and tasty and isn't that the point of Halloween anyway?
Friday, October 11
I have to admit that I am not a very big fan of hand cutting cookies. I don't seem to have the knack for it so if I can get a cookie cutter to do the job than I'm that much happier. All of these faces started with just one cookie cutter and then I used a cutter here and a cutter there to create a myriad of fun party hats and hairstyles.
These little guys were made with a gnome cookie cutter I designed. I gave him this large hat so it could be cut in many different ways to make different characters. If you don't have this cutter that's okay because you can use these same ideas to cut lots of faces from cupcake and ice cream cookie cutters too.
One easy way to make different hats is to gently curl the dough before it's baked. Once you've transferred the cut cookie to the baking sheet carefully lift the point of the hat and curl it to one side. If the dough is too cold or too dry it may crack but that's easily fixed by patting the edge with your finger.
A moon cutter is good for easily cutting a nice smooth round. If you tried to cut this with a full circle you would end up cutting off the sides of the cookie as well but the half circle easily removes just the square without messing up the rest.
There are many other common cutters that can be used to cut away the shape in interesting ways. A holly cookie cutter is a must have for this kind of cutting. I particularly like the holly cutters because they have a variety of half circles and you can make many different cuts like I did with these easy painted flower cookies. Bat cutters are also great because of all the little points and curves. I used them to cut a hair bow but it could also be cat ears or lil' devil horns too.
Now I'll admit I own a lot of cookie cutters and still every season I have to check the new ones in the stores. Plus I pick up so many of them at garage sales and thrift stores just to get that ONE in the bag I really want. If you're anything like me you have a lot of duplicate cutters and I have a great tip for how you can put them to use!
You'll need a heat tool for this and some spare plastic cookie cutters. The tool should come with a thin craft blade. Let it heat up and you can cut right through your plastic cookie cutters like butter!
Please be careful when using the hobby tool. Not only does the tip get burning hot (obviously) but so does the stand and the cuff where the tool rests. It's really easy to forget and burn your forearm when reaching across the tool or touch the stand after you pick up the tool. Melted plastic also smells awful so be sure to use good ventilation.
If you don't have a good moon cutter for cutting a nice round head then cut a spare circle cutter into pieces. You can get a couple different curves from the same circle depending on how you chop it up.
I should warn you that once you start looking for useful pieces you can cut off of extra cookie cutters you might get carried away. The top of this bell cutter makes a great stocking cap. That little nub would be a pain to hand cut but it's a breeze with this little shape.
I got double duty out of this spare tulip because both ends are interesting.
This set of circles from Walmart would be a great one to cut into pieces because not only are they cheap but one side is scalloped so you can cut a curly head easily!
Once you get going with these little guys the possibilities are endless. Go dig through your spare cutters and I'll bet you'll find all kinds of cuties looking to get out!
I hope you enjoy your weekend!
Thursday, October 3
So today I have a pretty big announcement for my humble little cookie blog. I am excited (and quite terrified) to tell you that I have started making my own line of cookie cutters. I've opened a little Etsy shop to sell them and here is my first set:
All the cutters are handmade by me in my home studio. They are stainless steel so they shouldn't tarnish or rust. I can make them pretty quickly but still these are "limited edition" in the sense that I can only make so many at a time. Hopefully these little fellows represent just the beginning of my line and there will be many fun things to come.
Anyhoo, let me show you the cutters;
This jaunty boy gnome is 5.5 inches tall, and while that may be a tad big I designed him especially to have this big ol' hat so you could easily adapt him into lots of other characters.
If you gently curl the unbaked dough you can give him a totally different look. Or trim the hat off entirely.
Here's the lady gnome cookie cutter to match. She's the same size and width of course so they can go together.
You can get so many fun little guys out of these cutters. When I was designing them I wanted a cutter that could easily work for all the fall holidays. To push your creativity don't think of one just as a "boy" and the other as a "girl". The short coat on the boy gnome is also a little girl's dress. The long dress on the girl can be a cloak or a coat for wizards and clowns!
I've also made a fun chubby owl cutter. After you cut the dough if you rotate the cutter and cut again you can make a cute little plaque. (For more information on cutting plaques, visit this post)
And a mushroom cutter to round out a woodland cookie platter! To say this is all a huge learning curve for me would be a massive understatement. I hapily welcome any feedback you can give me! I will be posting tutorials for using the cutters over the next week as well as a really good way of easily cutting a whole bunch of different hats so stay tuned!
Here are the links for my store;
- My Etsy Store - If the cutters happen to be out of stock just know that I will be super happy about that and hard at work restocking.
- Boy Gnome Cookie Cutter
- Girl Gnome Cookie Cutter
- Chubby Owl Cookie Cutter
- Toadstool/Mushroom Cookie Cutter
Thanks so much for stopping by!