Friday, December 21

Christmas Angel Cookies

This post is short and sweet today because I don't have much to say other than Merry Christmas! 

     The cookies were cut with this beautiful new frame cutter by Karen's Cookies and then they were decorated in the usual way.  There are a lot of details on these but the techniques are always the same!  I found inspiration for the angels in a series of figurines by artist Karen Hahn.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I pray you know the true meaning of this blessed season!  

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Tuesday, December 18

Coffee Cup cookies and Gift Card Cookie Toppers

     One of my first projects when I started decorating cookies last year were these Christmas Latte cookies. I always thought they would be cute cookies to give along with a gift card especially if you have someone who likes coffee houses on your list. So I decided I would make them again and include a super easy DIY gift card topper too!

   When I first made the latte cookies I used a cupcake cutter and hand cut the sides down a little longer to make the cup.  That works okay but I don't like hand cutting cookies so I came up with a new way.  I also like this way better because there's also a space for the cup-cozy wrapper.

  1. For these cookies I used a cupcake cookie cutter and a wedding cake cookie cutter. Both cutters are sold in a party set by Wilton and are available at most craft stores. Cut both shapes from your cookie dough.
  2. Use the long edge of the wedding cake cutter to trim both shapes.  I use this cake cutter quite a bit for making straight cuts like this and cutting little corners.
  3. Piece the two shapes together before baking.

  1. Be careful with the pieced cookies until they have cooled completely so they won't break at the seam.
  2. Outline the cookie in piping icing.  You'll notice I filled the little peak of whip cream in the piping stage.  Tiny areas like this often get cracks or craters in them while they are drying and filling them in while the lines are wet helps prevent that from happening. 
  3. Flood the cookie letting each section dry a bit before filling the ones next to it.  The "snow" dots were added while the flood icing was still wet.
  4. Let the flood layer dry for several hours or overnight and then add all the fun details with the piping icing.

     To make a simple gift card topper to go with these cookies, or any cookies, start with a sheet of card stock.   Cut the card stock at least 4" wide.  Standard sheets are 8.5" by 11" so you can get two from each sheet but if your cookies are wider then cut accordingly.  Fold about three inches from a long end of the card stock down to make a flap and staple or tape a bagged cookie under the flap. 
     Cut a small card stock rectangle a little larger than the gift card and cut a small notch at the top.  Glue the rectangle to the front of the flap to make a  pocket.  Gift cards measure 3 3/8" by 2 1/8" so you want to add about a quarter of an inch to each side and to the bottom so you have room still slip the card in the pocket once it's glued down.  Embellish your topper as you like!

(The snowman marshmallows pictured above are an idea from SweetSugarBelle's blog.  I thought they would be cute as minis on cocoa cookies!)

Christmas is coming up fast, I hope all your plans are going well!

Friday, December 14

Christmas Bellies Cookie Tutorial

     One of my favorite designs for Christmas is the Santa Belly.  I love how you can wrap a black band around anything red and instantly you have Santa.   I figured why stop at Santa and went and made the whole North Pole crew!  These may be the funnest cookies I've ever made. Somehow they came together effortlessly and I think I giggled the whole time!

     It was this butterfly cutter from an Easter set of cookie cutters sold last year at Wal-Mart that first got me started.  I was looking through my cutters for another project and instantly I saw a dress with curly-toed shoes in this one.   I actually squealed when I saw it in the cutter!  If you didn't get this set last year you can get close to the shape by piecing a little bit of a flower to any other butterfly.
   After cutting the shape I pressed in a little dough to fill the space cut out between the legs and the dress.  It may have been cuter to leave it cut out, but I didn't want to risk the little legs breaking off.  I also added a little bit to make the bodice more modest but if you wanted a more risque "Santa Baby" cookie, you could go that way :)

   For the rest of the belly cookies I used a variety of different cutters.  The butterfly was used again for Mrs. Claus.  The carrot from the same Easter set became the reindeer belly.  the elf is an ice cream cone that has been smooshed to be wider and Santa is a snowman face by Wilton.

    As much as I would like to be able to take pictures of every step along the way, my kitchen is just not set up for it.  The top pic here is after the first stage of piping and filling.  You can see how basic the decorating is at this stage.  Outline each shape in royal icing and fill it in.   Allow the sections to dry for a little while before you add the section next to it and then let the base dry over night and you can start the fun part of adding all the details!
    The "jingle bells" are white candy pearls that I colored gold by brushing them with yellow food color and a touch of luster dust in a little bowl before placing them onto the wet icing.

   I hope all your Holiday plans are going off without a hitch!
   Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 11

Christmas Stocking Cookie Tutorial

        To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about these cookies.  While I was making them I didn't like them.  Not at all.  Then was I finishing them up with the details I started liking them a little more.  So I don't know if I was just in a weird mood or what.  Really, how can one hold a grudge against cookies?  Regardless I like the idea of them, even if I'm not crazy how they turned out.

 To make stocking cookies start by picking any cutter that would work for a present like a teddy bear or a doll, a car, a square for an iPad or whatever strikes your fancy.  Also, grab a stocking cookie cutter while you're at it.

  1. Trim the toy with the stocking cutter and piece the two shapes together on your baking sheet.  Once the cookies are baked and cooled they will be strong enough to hold together.
  2. The decorating here is pretty basic, just piping and filling while letting one section dry for a bit before adding the next section
  3. It's in the details where the decorating starts getting fun.  I used a small paintbrush and food color to draw the stitching lines but you can use food color markers if you prefer.  The amazing cookie artist LilaLoa can show you how to make a white food color marker if you don't like to use a brush.

  1. You could use a present cutter instead of a stocking to make cute gift cookies too.   I liked the idea of putting a puppy in the box but oddly enough there aren't very many puppy face cookie cutters out there.  For some reason sets seem to come with a kitty face and the full dog.  Odd.   The bottom of this Wilton snowman makes a good puppy face though.
  2. Use the long edge of the gift cutter to cut the top off the snowman and to cut the lid off the present box.  Piece the puppy face to the bottom of the present box and the lid on his head.  
  3. Again the decorating is pretty basic.  The red dots were added wet-on-wet and then the little white dots inside were added with white food color when everything was dry.

This would also be a good project for making cookie ornaments!
I hope your Christmas season is going well!

Thursday, November 15

Not-So-Fancy Plaque Cutters

     I love how my favorite cookie artists round out their cookie platters with a few of those fancy frame cookies all decked out with pretty borders and fonts!  The problem...I don't own any fancy plaque cutters.  Not a one.   Since half the posts on my blog start with I don't own a ________ cutter, I'm not going to let that stop me!   (As a side note this is a very bizarre phenomenon because I own hundreds and hundreds of cookie cutters....)

How-to cut fancy frames from everyday cookie cutters

    In order to add fancy frame beauty to my cookie platters I've come up with two general ways to approach cutting a fancy plaque from other cookie cutters I have on hand.

1. Rotate the Cutter and Cut Again- The basic idea of this approach is simply that you cut the shape from the cookie dough and then rotate the cutter to create an interesting shape in the overlap and cut again. 

cutting a fancy plaque from a balloon cookie cutter

    I made these hot air balloon cookies for my Mom's birthday recently and I used the balloon cutter to also cut a couple of plaques.  Even if I did own all the beautiful copper plaque cutters in the world I would still cut plaque cookies this way because I like how it repeats design elements I've already used in the rest of the platter!

cutting a fancy plaque from a skull cookie cutter

    I love the simplicity of the this plaque made from rotating a skull cutter.   It's basically just an oval but with a little flair. 

a fancy plaque cookie cut with a skull cookie cutter

     I used the skull cutter for this plaque too but i also cut the sides with a small point of something for more interest. Rotating and cutting like this tends to give a plaque on the small side (but not quite a mini plaque) and they are perfect for just one word!

cutting a fancy plaque from an owl cookie cutter

Some tips to keep in mind for cutting plaques this way;
  • the cutter must be symetrical side to side so that the cut is the same when you rotate the cutter.
  • look for cutters that are large with few details
  • the resulting plaque will be on the small side because the final piece is well inside the original cutter.
2. Trim a basic shape - This idea to this approach is to cut a basic shape like a circle or square and then trim it out with part of another cutter.

fancy plaque cookies cut with a bear cookie cutter

      These plaque cookies are from a recent set I made of Coca-Cola polar bear cookies.  Again, I chose a shape from the other cookies I was making and used the ears of the bear to trim the plaque cookie.
     The purple "cutter" here isn't actually a cookie cutter at all.  It's a random lid from I don't know what but it has a perimeter edge so that makes it a cookie cutter in my world.  I wasn't lying when I said there was nothing fancy about these cutters!

fancy plaque cookies cut with a gingerbread girl cookie cutter

     I used the purple lid here again and cut on all four sides with a gingerbread girl cutter to give the plaque a large scalloped edge. 

fancy plaque cookie cut with a butterfly cookie cutter

     I trimmed a hexagon just a tiny bit with a butterfly cutter for this one.  This plaque is pretty big and you could write a poem on it if you wanted.

A few tips for cutting a plaque from a basic shape;
  • You have a lot more control over the size of the final cookie with this method.  The final plaque will be much closer to the original cutter because you are only cutting a little here and there.   It's easy to cut large plaques or minis and everything in between.
  • Only one edge of the trimming cutter is important so don't worry about what the rest of it is doing.
  • Look for cutters that have detailed edges that aren't too deep like bumpy pumpkins, car wheels, animal heads and feet. 
  • The cutting edge of the trimming cutter has to be symmetrical but  the entire cutter does not. For example, the wheels of a train cutter are symmetrical to each other even though the train cutter is not symmetrical overall.  
Thanksgiving plaque cookies

     When I make plaque cookies I'm usually only adding a couple to an entire set so I don't worry about reproducing the same shape again and again.  Of course, it can be tricky to line up all those cuts back in the same place every time.  If you create a shape you really like or if you are in a bind and can't get a fancy plaque delivered in time to make dozens of cookies then I suggest making a template out of plastic by tracing and rotating the cutter in the same way you would if you were cutting.  Cut out your template with scissors and you can place it on the dough and use it as a guide for your cutter so all the plaque cookies will be the same.

     If you make plaque cookies this way I'd love to see them!  You can leave a link here in the comments section or post them to my Facebook wall.

Saturday, November 10

Coca-Cola Polar Bear Cookie Tutorial

     I love the series of commercials that Coca-Cola plays at the holiday season every year of polar bears getting ready for Christmas.  They are so cute I had to make them into cookies!   I had decided that I wasn't going to post Christmas cookies before Thanksgiving and these don't count!   I'm sure the polar bears are up there drinking Coke year round.

decorated Christmas Cookies of Coke Polar Bears

To make these cookies you will need:
  • the sitting bear cookie cutter from the Wilton Baby Theme Cookie Cutter Set
  • white royal icing in a stiff piping consistency, a 15-20 count consistency, and a thinner flood consistency. 
  • black and red 15-20 count royal icing.
  • I made royal icing transfers for the Coca-Cola bottle and the red ball but cola flavored gummy candies are just the right size too!
step by step tutorial of decorated Coca-Cola Polar Bear Cookies

  • For steps 1 and 2 outline the head and body of the polar bear with piping icing and flood.
  • When the base has dried for several hours add the ears and muzzle in 20 count royal icing and let the cookies dry overnight.  
  • Use a dot of icing to attach a dried Cola bottle icing transfer or gummi candy to the belly of the bear.  Outline the head, body, arms and feet in a sloppy jagged line with the stiff royal icing to create a "furry" edge. You can use a toothpick to pull some of the lines into little points here and there to add to the texture.
  • Finish the cookies by adding face details in black royal icing and add the pads to the feet in 20 count icing.  
My initial idea was to dust the pads of the feet with pink petal dust once they were dry but I wasn't sure I liked the effect so I didn't add it to all the cookies.  Which do you like better the pink feet or the white?

step by step tutorial of decorated Coca-Cola Polar Bear Face Cookies

 I used the same general process as above to make the bear faces.  I cut the faces using a standing bear cookie cutter from the Wilton 101 Cookie Cutter Set. I then either trimmed the head with a round cookie cutter for some of the bear faces or hand cut the scarf for the others.

Coca-Cola Polar Bear Christmas Cookies

These were such a fun set to make!  We're really starting to get into the swing of the holiday season and I hope you are enjoying it!

platter of decorated Christmas Coca-Cola Polar Bear Cookies

(As a side note;  the Coca-Cola polar bears, the famous green bottle and the wave logo are trademarked by the Coca-Cola bottling company. You should only make these cookies for fun and to share with your friends and family!)

Friday, November 2

Simple Tree Cookies with a Twist on Fall Color

    Lately, I have been playing with the idea of using unexpected color to give simple seasonal designs more visual impact.  I love the look of stylized trees on cards and such and I knew they would make beautiful and easy cookies. 

 Continuing with the idea from my last color post for Halloween I wanted to try playing around with the colors of fall.  I think that as long as you use the expected shapes for a given season then you can use pretty much use any color scheme you like and it will still feel right.  That's my theory anyway.

  There are many ways to pick a color scheme but again I'm going to use the color wheel.  The usual colors for fall are various shades and tints of red, orange and yellow.  On the color wheel these colors are all right next to each other which is known as analogous color in color theory.   Fall color schemes also have a little pop of green color from the other side of the wheel.
     To choose a different color scheme with similar relationships we can simply rotate the color wheel to another set of analogous colors.  In this case I chose purple blue and green for my analogous colors and a little bit of yellowish orange from the other side of the wheel.  I also used a darker blackish brown and threw in a little spot of red violet just because I had it on hand.

     For these color exercises I am trying to keep the overall design and decorating of the cookies as simple as I can.  These tree cookies were cut using a variety of leaf cookie cutters.  There is also a pumpkin or an apple cutter thrown in there.  I used a letter "I" cookie cutter to cut a longer and straighter stem onto the leaves so they would be more like trees but that could be done just as easily with a sharp knife. I base-coated the baked cookies in white flood icing and let them dry overnight. Then I used a thicker  flood icing (about a 20 count) to add the trunk and dots for leaves to the cookies. These are great cookies if you need something quick and easy!

   You could easily use this simple technique to make a tree cutter out of basic shapes too like circles and ovals too but because I'm changing the color scheme up I wanted the shapes to have a very expected fall shape to keep the design in season.

 The cool tones also give the color scheme a hint of the coming winter but I think the little bit of yellow still keeps them in the fall season.  What are your favorite colors for fall?

Saturday, October 27

Halloween Color to Die For

    If you want to make holiday cookies that have big impact but are still simple to make I have a great trick for you!  Let the color do the heavy lifting.   It's true, the easiest way to add interest to basic cookies is with unexpected color.   


    Our minds tend to gloss over things that are expected so color that is unusual will draw attention. There are many different ways you could go about choosing a fresh color scheme for your holiday cookies but for this post I want to do a little introduction on how to use the color wheel to choose colors based on their relationship to each other.  I hope to do more posts like this in the future so I'll ease into this and keep it brief.
traditional Halloween color wheel

      The locations of the traditional Halloween colors of orange, green and purple on the color wheel form what is called a triad in color theory.  A triad is three colors that are equally spaced from one another.  Black and white also play a big part in Halloween color and for this purpose I'm going to think of them as a dark neutral and a light neutral.

     To play with the Halloween color scheme I simply rotated the color wheel a bit and chose a different triad.   My final colors are not an exact triad but they are in the general ball park of blue, red and yellow.  I changed the black and white up a bit too by choosing a dark charcoal grey in place of black and a pale grey for white.   These colors are not at all traditional Halloween colors but they still work beautifully.


    All of the cookies were cut from a basic set of Halloween cookie cutters that I found on clearance last year at the grocery store and similar sets are easy to come by at craft stores and department stores too.  It's important when choosing a non-traditional color scheme to keep your shapes and icons VERY traditional so you don't lose the holiday feel.   The decorating here is also very simple.  Everything was done in easy outline and flooding and finished off with a few dots and lines for details and black sugar sprinkles.  Adding a completely unexpected color scheme gives the cookies an impact they wouldn't have otherwise.

Here are a few resources that can also help you choose a more creative color scheme;

  • ColorQ is a paper-crafting challenge blog that hosts weekly color challenges for card makers.  Their archives are a fantastic place to see different color schemes in action. 
  • Photo Card Boutique has an extensive collection of color schemes.  Pick any one and put it on a cookie!
  • Color Scheme Designer is a good place to play with a color wheel online.  You can see the different color relationships and variations in action.

Enjoy your weekend!