Wednesday, December 18

Kissy Elves Christmas Cookie Tutorial

     Yesterday, the fabulously sweet Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle had me as a guest on her blog to do a tutorial for mistletoe cookies.  When she asked me if I would make them I instantly said yes of course and then almost as fast I thought you can't have mistletoe without kissy elves!

       For these cookies I pieced together a Santa face cookie cutter and a little snowman for Mrs Claus and then I used an ice cream cone cookie cutter for the elves.  I had thought about having the characters both face each other to kiss but I was worried that seam between the cookies would just be too fragile.  Now I think they are cuter this way though because you can easily add different expressions to the elf getting kissed! 

      To piece the cookies together first cut both shapes together to get a feel for where they overlap and then cut one of the shapes again by itself.  Remove all the excess dough and attach the partial shape to the whole one on the cookie sheet for baking.  The elf cookies were pieced the same way as Santa and Mrs Claus here. After the elf shapes were joined together on the baking sheet I gently curled the points of the cones to make curly elf hats.

To decorate these cookies;
  1.  Start by outlining the turned kissing face in flesh toned icing.  The trickiest element in the entire cookie is getting the turned face drawn correctly so if you  need to cut a template or use a KopyKake then that is perfectly okay.  I often use my iPad and the Camera Lucida app to lay in a few shapes like this just to get started. 
  2. Let the outline set up just a little but not dry and flood fill the face shape.  (I forgot to photograph that step so if it looks a little odd that's because I did it with the computer)
  3. Wait a few minutes for the icing to dry and then add the shapes that sit next to the faces.

  1. Let the faces dry a bit before adding the hat bands, Mrs Claus bun and a few leaves for the flower in her hair. 
  2. Continue on working in pieces until all the base shapes are done.
  3. Let the base dry for several hours before adding the final piping details.
    Once you break it all down cookies like this are actually fairly simple to decorate.  You can work on them all at once or in little bursts throughout the day whenever you have a minute or two.  

      Thank you for stopping by today.  If you haven't read my tutorial for the mistletoe cookies at Sweet Sugarbelle's be sure to go check it out as they are a darling accent to this cookie platter.

     I hope you are having a Merry Christmas season so far!

Tuesday, December 10

Camel Cookie Tutorial

    Last week I showed you how to make Wise Men cookies and today I have the camels!  I've done my share of silly cookies but these camel cookies are easily the silliest ones I have ever made.  If you want to add a little humor to a Christmas platter try just making the faces or you can get really crazy and make the bodies too.

     I cut the camel faces with 2 sizes of bell cookie cutters flipped upside down.  The bell was the closest shape I could come up with and it works pretty well because of the way the shape narrows for the face and widens for the ears.  Since bell cutters come in so many different sizes and shapes you have a lot of options.  If your bell cutters have a large clapper or handle you can trim that away when you cut your cookies.

  1. This first step is just for locking in the shape of the head. Using tan piping icing pipe a roundish shape .  Mark the mid-line of the circle and then pipe the large cheeks down around and back to the mid-line. 
  2. While the outline is still wet fill the entire area
  3. Let the face dry for a few minutes and then add the ears and the lip.  Then let the cookies dry for several hours so you can work on this base.

     4.  When the bases have dried a while add the nose. 
     5.  Let the nose dry for a few minutes and add the eyes.  You can add the other details now too if you like. 
     6.  Let the eyes dry a bit and then add the eyelids and the white "shines" on the eyes.
     I also thought it would be fun to make a body for the camel on a separate cookie so the heads could be place and tilted in silly ways on top. 

  1. The bodies were cut from my favorite carrot cutter. 
  2. Pipe an egg-ish shape for the body and add the legs The way the lines alternate jutting out and coming in gives him his knobby knees.   
  3. Fill in the body before the outline dries. 

     4.  When the body has dried for several hours add one hoof. 
     5.  Let the hoof dry a few minutes and then add the other to create dimension between them.  Finish off the body with a few detail lines.
     6.  Stack the smaller camel heads onto the bodies in silly ways.  If you like you can "glue" the head to the body with stiff royal icing and then support the head on a separate cookie until the icing has fully dried. 

    Hehe, how much fun are all these little guys!  Be sure to check out my tutorial on how to make the Wise Men too.   

     I hope you are having as much fun as I am getting ready for Christmas!

Friday, December 6

Three Wise Men Christmas Cookie Tutorial

     I would like to tell you that I finally designed and decorated the entire Christmas Nativity in cookies...but I think another year is going to come and go without that happening.  I was inspired to make the Three Wise Men though and honestly I think I if you really wanted you could probably make the entire nativity with just this cutter. 

   To cut the Wisemen cookies I used a cutter of my own design.  This cookie cutter is actually a "girl" gnome but I designed the cutter with a large hat so it could be cut down into a variety of different characters.  Plus the long dress makes it work for cloaks and robes too.
    I cut the hat down for the different crowns and also pieced an egg shape to the bottom half of the gnome cutter to make the king with a head scarf.  For more on cutting different hats with this cutter click here.  This cutter and my others are available to purchase in my Etsy store

    It's actually pretty easy to decorate cookies like this.  Just take every shape one at a time and let each section set up a little before adding the next shape.

     1.  Start by filling the face in flesh colored royal icing.  I use the face as an anchor for all the other elements so it's important it's the right shape and in the right place.  If you need to you can use a simple paper template to get the faces right.  
     2.  Let the face set up for a few minutes and then add the cloak and the lower sections of the hat
     3.  Let those dry a little while and finish the hats and cloaks.  At this point you should let the cookies dry for a few hours because you'll be adding sections on top of these.
     4.  When the body has dried for several hours add the arms.
     5.  Let the arms dry a bit and then add the beards or hair.  
     6.  Finally finish everything off with the little details.   Instead of adding the gifts directly to the cookies, which would have made them more complicated, I made little minis and decorated them as I went.  The little gifts can be "glued" to the finished cookies with royal icing giving them a little extra dimension.

   If you like you can also make just the faces of the Wise Men.  I found these ornament cookie cutters at Wal-mart this year and they are my current favorite cutters.  I can see so many things in them.   The curves and points work really well as beards and crowns especially when you piece the shapes together.  To see the ornament cookies I made with these cutters click here.

The steps to decorate the faces are pretty much the same as before:
  • Start by adding the faces and let them dry for a few minutes. 
  • Add the bottom of the hat and let dry again. 
  • Finish the hats and add the beards.
  • Let the cookies dry for a few hours before topping them off with piping details.

I had a lot of fun with this set and there is more to come.  Wise Men need camels of course so check out this post for silly camel cookies.

In the meantime be sure to enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 4

Retro Christmas Ornament Cookies

     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 decorating of these cookies is actually pretty simple.  I worked in sections letting one color dry for a few minutes before I added the one next to it.  Once the base was dry I topped them off with lots of dots and swirls and a sprinkle of sugar for sparkle. 

     No matter how complicated a cookie might look the techniques are the same.  You can see here the details really make the cookies because before adding the dots the cookies are pretty dull.  Don't stress over making things "perfect".  If you look closely you'll see my dots aren't identical and things aren't perfectly straight and even.   It doesn't matter because they still look good and they are just cookies after all!

     The Christmas Season is in full swing and I hope yours is going beautifully!

Tuesday, November 19

Textured Owls Cookie Tutorial

     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. 
  1. 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.
  2. 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.  
  3. 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. 
  1. Cut the owl shape with your cookie cutter
  2. Cut the belly shape with a small egg or circle cookie cutter and cut a place for the eyes with a heart.  
  3. 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.  
  4. 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

New Plaque Cookie Cutters by Klickitat Street

     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

Brainy Skull Cookies Tutorial

     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)

  1. Start by outlining the skull and eye sockets in white piping icing. 
  2. Pipe some squarish dots for teeth
  3. 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!
  4. 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. 
  1. 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) 
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.  
  4. 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.)
  5. 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?