One of my favorite childhood cartoons was Tom & Jerry, especially the earlier episodes (pre-1960). It's awesome that my own young kids love Tom & Jerry as much as I did. Once I hear the theme song during the opening credits, I stop what I am doing and watch with my kids. Because yes, my kids and I bond over Jerry getting the best of Tom. My kids are fascinated by all the traps the characters set for each other. And before I know it, my kids are asking me for refrigerator boxes, wooden planks, a broom, a mousetrap, and an anvil. Yeah, good luck with that one.
I had the lucky opportunity to create a dog-themed cookie collection, and wanted to add a few new dog designs to my repertoire. It just so happened that an episode of Tom & Jerry was on the tv, and Spike was in the episode too! If you've seen T&J, you'll know Spike- the big bulldog who is the forever champion of Jerry. Spike seemingly gets in the middle of the Tom-chasing-Jerry antics, when all he wants to do is take a nap. The inspiration for my new bulldog cookie was barking at me from my tv, and I couldn't wait to get started!
First, I started with the tulip and skull cutter from Sweet Sugarbelle's shape-shifter set. Need one? Get the set here.
Use the small part of the skull cutter to remove the middle petal on the tulip. You're left with the perfect bulldog head shape! Now, bake your cookies.
You'll need the following icing colors/consistencies to make these pups:
* Gray royal icing in a 20-second consistency and a piping consistency. I hated mixing gray colors, until I found ProGel gray. Game changer! It's the perfect gray!
* White royal icing in a 20-second consistency
* Black royal icing in a 20-secong consistency
Let's get started!
1. Use the 20-second gray royal icing to pipe the forehead and chin. Allow to dry.
2. Use the same icing to pipe the droopy jaws and the triangles that will become the underside of the ears. Allow to dry.
3. Pipe the outer edges of the ears in gray. Use the gray piping consistency to make the forehead wrinkles and dots on the jaws. Make his nose and gleaming white teeth. Allow to crust.
4. Pipe the lower eye lid in gray. Wait a few minutes to allow it to crust. Now, finish the eye with the white and black royal. You're done!
Not only is the bulldog a popular breed for pet owners, the bulldog is a mascot of many high schools and colleges. It's the mascot of one of my local high schools, and I anticipate that this doggy will make his way on to some graduation platters in the spring.
Another great idea is to put together a collection of doggy-themed cookies to say "Thanks" to a local dog rescue or SPCA. Because everyone likes cookies.
FODDER SHOCK. What an unusual word!
Doesn't it sound like an expletive in another language? Just imagine the following scenarios:
1. Mumbling "oh fodder shock" as you're walking through magic doors at Target because you realized that the lengthy grocery list is still on the fridge at home.
2. In a moment of pain, you exclaim "OUCH! FODDER SHOCK!" after you stubbed your toe on the dining room chair leg.
3. You exclaim "FODDERRRR SHOCKKKK" as a full carton of eggs slips out of your hands and crashes to the floor.
A fodder shock is a real, actual, thing! Commonly, they're a cluster of dried corn stalks that are used as autumn decor. Traditionally, farmers made them to store the corn stalks to use as animal feed in the winter. I have always lived in rural area full of farm fields, but never heard of this word until a client recently asked for them. Truthfully, I felt quite stupid until I asked my husband (who is a lot smarter than me) and even he didn't know what they were. So we both learned a new vocabulary word! Has anyone else learned a new word today? (please say yes, please say yes...)
I've made REAL corn stalk clusters (aka fodder shocks) to frame my front door. And guess what? I think they're more fun to make in cookie form!
And tastier too...
I used Sweet Sugarbelle's pencil cutter from her shape-shifter set for the base cookie. Don't have the shape-shifter set? You could use a rectangle or your favorite plaque shape, while you are waiting for your own shape-shifter set to be delivered by the UPS carrier. Because you NEED to have it. On a side note, click here to read the Cookie Widower's (my hubby!) thoughts on parcel carriers.
You'll need the following to create these fall favorites:
*tan/taupe royal icing in thicker piping consistency (I used ivory and a touch of green and chocolate brown to make this taupe color)
*darker brown royal icing in piping consistency (optional)
*orange piping consistency (optional)
*round tip (like a PME 1.5 or Wilton 2), and a leaf tip (I love my PME ST50)
Here we go!
1. OPTIONAL! Add a royal icing base color to your cookie. I used my off-set spatula to smear on a layer of darker brown because I wanted a little "rustic-ness" to the base. You could do a regular icing flood if you wanted a smooth look. These would be awesome on LilaLoa's Chocolate Roll-Out recipe (which is absolutely awesome, by the way). No base icing coat would be needed then!
2. Use a small round tip and the tan/taupe piping consistency royal icing to make the corn tassels (that's the fan-like things at the top). Next, pipe some long corn stalks. Don't worry about them being straight, or how many there are. Just make a bunch of them.
3. Switch to a petal tip on that same tan/taupe icing. Pipe some random leaves on the stalks. Be sure to add leaves at the middle and base of the stalks, too. It's ok to overlap leaves, and don't worry if they break or don't look perfect.
4. Now comes the magic! Add a few more stalks with the round tip. Pipe them right over the leaves. It was this step that made me think to myself "that's a fine looking fodder shock!".
5. Use either the tan/taupe or the darker brown to pipe a few horizontal lines to represent the string that tied your fodder shock together.
If you wanted, you could be done at this point!
Or you could choose to add some other fall accents. I piped a pumpkin at the base of these fodder shocks. A potted fall mum would be awesome, too!
I love the texture that these fodder shocks add to a fall-themed platter!
Have a fodder shock-ing fall!
One of my absolute favorite cartoons as a kid was Tom & Jerry, especially the earlier episodes (pre-1960). It's awesome that my own young kids enjoy it as much as I did! Once I hear the theme song during the opening credits, I stop what I'm doing and come watch with my kids. Because yes, we bond over watching Jerry get the best of Tom. And my boys are fascinated by all the traps the characters set for each other. Before I know it, by boys are asking me for refrigerator boxes, wooden planks, mousetraps, a broom, and an anvil. Yeah, good luck with that one.
I had the lucky opportunity to create a collection of dog-themed cookies, and I wanted to add a bulldog design to my cookie repertoire. It just so happened that an episode of Tom & Jerry was on the tv, and I caught a glimpse of Spike! If you know T&J, you'll know Spike- that big bulldog who is the forever champion of Jerry. Spike seemingly gets in the middle of the Tom-chasing-Jerry chaos, when all he wants to do is take a nap. So to honor this childhood favorite, I set to work on a bulldog design, inspired by Spike the bulldog himself.
First, I used the tulip and skull cutters from Sweet Sugarbelle's shape shifter set.
Use your favorite roll out cookie recipe, and cut out a tulip shaped cookie. Use the small part of the skull to cut out the middle petal, which creates the perfect bulldog head! Bake the cookie shape.
You'll need the following icing colors and consistencies:
* Gray icing in a 20-second consistency and piping consistency (I use ProGel gray to tint my icing. It's the perfect shade!)
* white icing in a 20-second consistency
* black icing in a 20-second consistency
Let's get started!
Not only is the bulldog a popular dog breed for pet owners, the bulldog is widely used a mascot for various schools and colleges. One of my local high school's mascot is a bulldog, and I anticipate that his guy might be a favorite for graduation platters.
Or as a great "Thank You" gift for a local dog rescue or SPCA!
Find out how to make the adorable schnauzer/terrier here!
And my inspiration for the pug doggy came from Flower Box Bakery!
Guess I'll need to make a beagle cookie tutorial soon. . . :)
Royal icing transfers are a great way to use up extra icing, and can be stored indefinitely for future use. I like having these mini ruffled ribbon roses on hand because they can be quickly added to a cookie, speeding up the decorating process. And they're pretty, too!
I used a PME 56R for these tiny blossoms. They can be made with a bigger tip, but keep in mind that a bigger tip makes them not only wider but taller, too.
Here's what you'll need for these pretties:
*STIFF royal icing. The icing should hold peaks without falling. When in doubt, mix in more powered sugar.
*small petal tip: PME 56R for right handed or PME 56L for lefties, Wilton 101s, Wilton 101, Wilton 102. Basically, the smallest petal tip you can get.
I LOVE my PME 56R!
*decorating bag, coupler set
*flower nail and parchment squares
It might be easier to WATCH this process before I break it down step-by-step. Take a look!
1. Attach a small square of parchment paper to your flower nail with a bit of royal icing. Start in the center, with the wider part of the tip touching the nail. To make the icing cone, spin the nail with the fingers on one hand, and apply even pressure on the decorating bag with the other hand. If you haven't made any kind of icing flower before, this whole "spin with one hand, pipe with the other" might be tricky. Think of rubbing your head and patting your belly. It's awkward at first, but practice will help!
2. Touch the wider end of the tip to the nail again. This time you'll spin the nail again and apply even pressure on the decorating bag with the other- but you'll move the bag up and down making a ruffled edge.
3. Using the same up and down motion, create a final row of ruffles.
4. Slide the parchment square off of the flower nail and set aside to dry for several hours. Once dried, store the flowers in an air-tight container until you're ready to use them.
After you master the general process of making these ruffled roses, you can experiment with the angle of the tip to the nail, which changes how tight the ruffles are to the center of the flower.
Another option is to make the flowers two-toned, by placing two colors of icing in the bag. Kinda pretty, aren't they?
Or add a little touch of extra color by brushing petal dusts at the base of the rows of petals.
I hope you'll grow to love these ruffled ribbon roses as much as I do!
Santa cutters? To make mermaids? Yup! Let's just say that it's my own little "Christmas in July" party. I love being able to re-purpose cutters! I realize that it's a gift that I have that not everybody has. Other people can sing and dance and reach the the top shelf of their kitchen cabinet without a stool. Me? I can make a mermaid from a Santa cutter. #winning
So which Santa cutters did I use for these cuties?
This Santa cutter is my current favorite to make Santa cookies. It comes in a set with some other Wilton holiday cutters. Find it here.
This cutter is Wilton's Santa comfort grip cutter. Find it here.
I try to stick to my *average* sized cookie (say 3.25"-3.5") when I complete my orders. It's ingrained in me, through my attempts at keeping things even-steven between my boys. Otherwise known as my attempt at World Peace.
Sometimes, I still purchase mini cutters or extra big cutters because you just never know when you'll need them. Lo and behold, an oversized Santa makes a great mermaid too! Find this cutter here.
So don't neglect those "out of season" cutters. You might just find a shape that will work perfectly for your design!
I have always admired magnolia trees and the blossoms they don. The rich, glassy leaves. The ginormous white silky blossoms. It's just amazing to me how a tree can produce such LARGE, beautiful flowers! Although I haven't spent much time in the South, I can just imagine a Southern Belle sipping her mint julep beneath the shade of a magnolia tree. Sigh.
A few years back, I made a cookie magnolia and just loved it! I decided it was high time that I shared how to make it!
I used a six-sided flower cutter, like the one in the picture below. I think I purchased this concentric flower set from Walmart.
What you'll need:
* six-sided flower shapes, baked with your favorite cut out cookie recipe
* white icing 20-second consistency
* green icing- just a little bit!
* yellow nonpareils (you could use yellow sanding sugar or icing if you can't find these)
9. About 30 seconds after piping the green center, add the yellow nonpareils.
I love these blossoms because they use a widely available cutter, and they don't use an airbrush! And remember, if you can't find yellow nonpareils (or don't feel like getting a huge container of them) just use yellow icing dots!
May these magnolia blossoms bring out the southern side of y'all!
I have a confession. I've never actually been to a tropical beach. Sure, I've been to the beach- I live a little over an hour away from the Atlantic Ocean. The thought of visiting a real tropical beach- like in the Caribbean- is really, really appealing. Hot sun, a cool fruity drink, soothing sound of the waves. But then the reality sets in. I get sunburned in about 2 seconds, flat. I don't actually swim in the ocean- I'm more of a stand-in-the-surf, let's-go-find-seashells kind of girl. I am wary of the unknown creatures that reside below the ocean's surface (thank you Discovery Channel). So when I made these cookies, I had to rely on lots of photographs to imagine what a real tropical beach would be like, and ignore the reality of the sand grains that never seem to wash away no matter how many times I shampoo.
Although I made this cookie design on a plaque shape, it would work well on many different shapes, like a circle, oval, or rectangle to name a few! OOh- imagine this on a thought bubble shaped cookie!!
What you'll need:
* baked cookie shape using your favorite roll-out recipe
* sand-colored royal icing in 20-second consistency
* aqua blue royal icing in 20-second consistency
* darker blue royal icing in 20-second and thicker consistencies
* white royal icing, in piping consistency and very thinned flood consistency
* dark brown royal icing, in piping consistency
* medium and dark green royal icing in piping consistency
7. Use the darker green to add more leaves and shrubs. You're all done!
I love how you can see the sand beneath the surf! I airbrushed a tiny bit of pearl sheen to add just a touch of extra sparkle.
These cookies would be a great addition to any luau or beach-themed cookie collection!
See how I made a similar hula-girl cookie design here.
I absolutely love early spring. The little glimpses of warmer weather in early spring beg me open to the windows for a bit, throw on my flip-flops, and leave the heavier coats on their hooks by the door.
My favorite, FAVORITE part of early spring?? THE FLOWERS! Especially daffodils and forsythia. Maybe it's because they're my favorite color? Maybe it's because they are among the early spring bloomers? In any case, I love them. When I see their bright yellow buds, I know for sure that spring is coming.
This year, I've been so inspired by nature's beauty that I wanted to do some spring decorated cookies, like this pretty (and easy!) forsythia twig wreath!
What you'll need:
* your choice of cookie base. Base icing flood is optional!
* brown icing- thick!
* Decorator tips 1 or PME 1 or 1.5 - depending on how thick you want the branches
* Scribe tool or some other tool to mark dried icing
Although the twig wreaths are pretty au naturel, I wanted to add some blossoms to mine! I used thickish yellow icing with a tiny star tip to make blossoms closer to the center of the wreath. Then I switched to a small round tip to make the impression of smaller blossoms towards the twig ends. You could even add in tiny dots of green for leaves!
I think that forsythia wreaths placed on a door are the perfect way to Welcome Spring!
Click below for more spring decorating ideas!
Daffodil Royal Icing Transfers
Daffodils are my absolute favorite flower, hands down. They are commonly found in my favorite color (YELLOW!) and they are the sure sign that spring is well on its way.
What better way to celebrate these spring beauties than with icing?!
I have created a little video on how to make these pretty daffodils with royal icing. Remember that I'm not a videographer by any stretch of the imagination,
so don't laugh too hard at my film :)
But you'll get the idea on how to make these blooms to celebrate spring!
Although I mention them in the video, here's a list of materials for reference:
* Thick yellow icing in a piping bag
* Wilton petal tips 103 and 101
* flower nail
* parchment paper squares
* scribe tool or boo boo stick or toothpick
DISCLAIMER: I am not a trained photographer by any stretch of the imagination.
I don't know about aperture and ISO and raw images and such.
I just like to take pretty pictures of my cookies.
I just wanted to share one little trick for anyone else like me.
Decorated cookies can take a LONG time to create. I think that it's really important to have a great photograph that showcases your hard work! Since I also sell my cookies, I want a great picture that will be appealing to my clients.
I always try to photograph in natural light, if possible.
Here's my photographing set-up in my studio. I arrange a small table near the glass storm door, allowing lots of natural light to shine in. I lay my cookies and props on photo backdrops, like ones found at SwankyPrints. It was a little after noon and overcast when I took this pic, thus creating the shadows.
I use a white, foam backboard (think science fair project backboard) when I photograph my cookies. It has seen better days, but it still works!
As I photograph, I place the backboard opposite of the light source. For example, the light was coming in from the right in the picture above. I placed the backboard on the left side of the cookies. The light from the door on the right reflects off of the board and illuminates the left side of the cookie-scape.
I know it's a simple concept, but it makes a big difference!
Let me show you some examples.
1. NO backboard used.
Notice how much shadow there is on the left side of the cookies?
Sometimes, I REALLY like the shadowy effect. It can show off the texture of the cookie.
2. Backboard used to the left of the cookies, at a 90* angle to the table.
There is a lot less shadow here, but the definition in the tail was lost a little to the brightness. The picture is much brighter, overall.
3. Backboard used to the left of the cookies, but angled away.
This resulted in a little bit of shadow, but not too much.
Here's another look at the three pictures, side by side, for easier comparison.
Three more things to note:
1. Follow your photographing heart. Do what you think looks good! Some might think that all three of the pictures above are garbage. I'm okay with that! I like them, and that's what matters to me. Tomato, Tomahto.
2. Still consider using photo editing software. I use the editing features in iPhoto and Picmonkey most often. Some small tweaking with software can make a great photo even better!
3. PLEASE, WATERMARK YOUR PHOTOS. Not only does the photo belong to YOU, but the subject of the photo is YOURS, TOO. I won't get into discussing those individuals that steal photos- boy that burns my biscuits! But when you watermark your beautiful photos, people can find you!! I have been able to reach out to many cookiers to ask about technique, design, or even just to say a kind word, all because the picture was watermarked.
Now get out those cameras and take some great pictures!
Or you can just bake some of these cute bunnies, carrots, and eggs, with the cutters from That's A Nice Cookie Cutter!
I'm Amy. Wife, Mom, former science teacher- and now full time cookie baker on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Pull up a chair and we create! I'll bring the coffee- maybe Mike (The Cookie Widower) will make it for us.