It's amazing how the human mind works, and how certain smells can immediately transport you to a time and place of your past. The scent created by lily of the valley flowers is one of those hooks for me. It used to grow in the shade below my parent's bedroom room in the house where I grew up. Whenever I smell (or even see) lily of the valley flowers, I can picture them below that window. I'm transported back in time.
These lily of the valley cookies are simple to make, and they're perfect for spring cookie collections for Easter or Mother's Day.
Here's what you'll need:
* cookie with dried icing flood base. Shape of the cookie and icing base color is up to you!
* 20-secondish green and white royal icing
* toothpick or scribe tool
1. Bake your cookie shape and flood with the icing color of your choice. Let it dry completely. Pipe the green leaves and stem for the lily of the valley. I curved my leaves and stem because I wanted to mimic the shape of the egg. But feel free to pipe the greenery how you wish!
2. After the stem is dry, pipe one white ball of icing at the end of one of the stems. You want the icing to form a smooth, ball shape. If your icing leaves a "tail" or tip when you stop and it doesn't smooth over, stop, thin your icing a little bit more, and then try again.
3. Immediately after piping the icing ball, take your scribe or toothpick and "tease" out the flared petal tips of the lily of the valley blossom. Start at the base of the icing ball, and pull the icing out. Do the remaining petal tips for the flower. Repeat for the rest of the flowers on your stem. That's it! See, I told you it was easy!
I liked pulling/teasing the icing from the base of the ball because it left the spherical shape of the icing intact, creating a ton of dimension.
Look at how puffy those blossoms are!
May you feel inspired to "cookie" something that reminds you of a happy time from your past!
One of my tricks in creating new, cartoony designs is to exaggerate one or more qualities of the character. Big nose, little eyes, tiny body, big head- all of these characteristics can make your design cute and whimsy. Plus, it takes away some of the pressure to make proportions just right.
You might just recognize the cutter I used to make this little chick! It's the round potted cactus from Sweet Sugarbelle! It makes the perfect fat chick in a little nest. Maybe they live down by the river? Sorry- I saw a Chris Farley clip the other day 😂.
What you'll need:
* Baked cookie shapes
* 20-second icing in yellow and brown, and tiny amounts of black, orange, and accent color of your choice
* Parchment paper
* offset spatula or knife.
Let's start with the nest!
There are lots of ways to make bird nests (like this one from LilaLoa), but I wanted to try something a little different. I love texture contrast between the chick's head and the bumpy nest. My method is definitely a little more fragile, but it's fun to try!
1. Make some icing lines on parchment paper. This is a popular start to make your own sprinkles, as detailed in this blog post from the Bearfoot Baker. BUT, for my nest application, criss-cross some of your lines! Allow them to dry. You could let them dry on their own for a few hours, use a dehydrator, or even a slightly warmed oven. I like to use my fan. If you go the fan route, remember to use magnets to hold down the parchment. It's irritating to have your parchment paper with freshly piped transfers scatter to the wind. Trust me on this one.
2. After the transfers are dry, use a spatula or knife to break your icing lines. They actually look like twigs for a bird's nest! Set these aside for now.
Let's make the chick!
1. Use yellow icing to make the chick's body. Let it crust.
2. Use brown icing to make the nest. Immediately place the icing "twigs" on the wet brown icing. It's ok if some of the twigs break in the process! Also, feel free to let them hang over the edge of the cookie.
3. Time for the next details! Pipe the wings, hair pouf, eyes, and beak. I used white nonpariels for the eye highlights.
4. I decided to add some other accents to make girl and boy chicks. For the girl, I just added some eyelashes, bow, and flower accents. For the boy, I just added a bow. I think I'd do a bowtie next time. And some glasses! So cute!
I hope that you're inspired to add some of these cute chicks
to your spring cookie collections!
First, let me get this clear- I AM NOT ALTERING MY CUTTERS IN THIS POST. NO CUTTERS HAVE BEEN HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE COOKIES :)
Of course I've been known to stretch/alter a cutter now and again, but this post takes a different spin on making your cutters work for you. A little back story, if you will...
I like big cookies, and I cannot lie. My preferred size for cookies has definitely increased over the years. Cutters that used to be "just right" back in the day are a little too small for me now. For example, a 3" circle is too small. I now prefer 3.25"-3.5" circles.
*Insert an order for blue ribbon cookies*
I knew I had the perfect blue ribbon cutter, as I had won several of these cutters at past CookieCons for different winning entries (yes, I'm a little proud of that). When I pulled out the cutter, I was dismayed that it was smaller than I had remembered. I began to stretch the metal cutter to increase it's size. Then it dawned on me...
STRETCH THE DOUGH, NOT THE CUTTER.
I realized that I could gently RE-ROLL the cookie shape after I cut it.
The cookie shape will spread and increase its overall size!
**But how to maintain my standard 3/8" cookie thickness?**
I always roll my dough with rolling pin rings. Rolling pin rings are rubber rings of various sizes that slide onto an ordinary rolling pin. They make the dough an even thickness when you roll it out. A Joseph Joseph pin or Dough EZ uses the same concept. If you don't already have some method of regulating your dough thickness, do it NOW. It makes so much difference in your baked cookies! I use the largest rings of my rolling pin ring set, which measure 3/8". Therefore, my un-baked cookies measure 3/8" in thickness.
I needed something thin and flat to line each side of my cookie dough, something that I could easily roll my pin + rings on top of.
After rolling my "thicker" dough sheet, I cut the desired shape. Notice the difference in cookie thickness!
Here's where the magic happens!
GENTLY RE-ROLL the thicker cut shape.
Don't roll in one direction, but in all directions to even out the spread.
Look at the before and after!
Here are some other applications:
I NEVER use this candle cutter because it's too small. I might actually use it now because of this technique! Also, HOW you re-roll can make a difference. Re-rolling a standard heart IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY can turn it into a stretched/primitive heart!
SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1. If you use a Joseph Joseph pin (or equivalent) and normally roll 1/4", you can skip the cutting boards on the sides of your dough. Roll your dough with the 3/8" ends, cut your cookie shape, then re-roll with the 1/4" ends.
2. Intricate/complicated/very straight-edge cutters may not work well with this technique. You will lose some of the delicate details/sharpness of the original cutter during the re-roll process. This technique is for shapes that are a little more "forgiving".
I am ASTOUNDED at the difference in size of these cookies. And I can't believe that they came from the SAME COOKIE CUTTER!
I cannot wait to take a second look at other cutters that might be a tad too small.
I just might win the size battle after all. #sizematters :)
Cookiers have been using cupcake and ice cream cone cookie cutters since the dawn of royal icing to make all sorts of hat-wearing characters, from snowmen to scarecrows. I certainly do not take credit for the "leprechaun from an ice cream cone" concept, but I wanted to share with you MY version of this popular idea using a new favorite ice cream cone cutter from Sweet Sugarbelle!
This particular ice cream cone cutter came in a two-piece set with a pretzel shape. It's the perfect sweet/salty combo! Hmmm... can you just imagine a pretzel cone filled with chocolate ice cream?! Oh YUM.
Here's what you'll need:
* ice cream cone cookie shapes
* food marker (if you wanted to mark sections on the cookie), or you could just wing it!
* 20-second royal icing in green, orangey (orange + tiny bit of warm brown, skin-tone, black, yellow. Have a variety of tip sizes on hand.
* shamrock sprinkles (optional). I found mine at Michaels.
1. Bake your favorite roll out recipe. Use a food marker to outline the face, brim, and hat band. Here's my sketch so you can see where we're going. FYI- I sketch 99% of my designs on paper, and then file them in binders for future use!
2. Pipe the hat sections with green royal icing. While the icing is still wet, add the shamrock sprinkle. If you don't have these sprinkles, you could pipe an icing shamrock after the hat dries. Allow the icing to crust.
5. Pipe the final details- nose, mouth, beard squigly, brim outline. You're done!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving in my house was the traditional roasted turkey feast, from the juicy bird to the jellied cranberry sauce from the can (My dad insisted on having the whole cranberry stuff too- blech!). Aside from my mom's sweet potato pie, my absolute favorite part was the STUFFING. Now this term is actually a little misleading because my mom never put this seasoned bread concoction actually inside the bird, but rather in a pan that was baked until crispy and brown and absolutely delicious. So I guess "dressing" would be the more appropriate term for it. But in my house, it was "stuffing", and that's exactly how I felt at the end of the meal. Stuffed.
Ever since I began my cookie journey, I've made turkey cookies to accompany the pies on the dessert table. So before we all get stuffed for Thanksgiving, let me share with you how to make these turkeys!
What you'll need:
* turkey cookie shape (mine is from this Ann Clark cutter)
* royal icing (in a 20-second consistency) of the colors: brown, white, black, gray, red
* black sugar pearls (optional)
* scribe tool or toothpick
* food marker
1. Use a food marker to mark the location of the tail, wing, and neck.
2. Starting with the outer edge of the tail feathers, pipe a line of icing. Immediately pipe the next icing line right next to the previous icing line. Continue with this wet-next to-wet technique.
3. Immediately take the scribe tool or toothpick and drag it through the icing, starting at the edge of the feathers and working your way to the base of the tail.
4. While the tail feathers are starting to dry, use the gray icing to pipe the head of the turkey and drop on the sugar pearl eye (if you don't have black sugar pearls, just pipe an eye once the head is dry). Use some black icing to add feet. Truthfully, you could use all sorts of colors for the head of the turkey, including brown, red, or even blue! Yes, blue! If you're feeling brave, go ahead and do a google image search of "turkey head". Ugliest.things.ever. LOL! Let these sections dry for a bit.
5. Use the brown icing to create the body of your bird. Use the black icing to pipe a tiny beak. Let these sections dry for a bit.
6. Time for the final details! Pipe the wing using the same wet-next to-wet technique as you did the tail. Once again, drag the scribe tool or toothpick through the icing, creating the feathers. Grab the red icing and make the waddle. You're done!
Add in some beautiful fall leaves or acorns to keep your cookie turkeys happy, like these acorns made from this Ann Clark cutter!
Or even add in some pilgrims, like these made from a turkey cutter, designed by LilaLoa (also found at Ann Clark)! You can see some other pilgrim cookie designs from different cutters here and here!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Frankly, I think the creature we commonly call Frankenstein might just be my favorite Halloween-time character. Maybe it's because I love the pop of green that my soothes my eyes amidst the sea of traditional orange and black Halloween colors. Maybe it's because I like to picture him as a cute cartoony character instead of the monstereous thing that is depicted in the book/movies. In any case, I love making Frank in cookie form!
This year, I got my hands on one of these sets of Halloween cutters, designed by Sweet Sugarbelle.
Do you see a Frankenstein cookie design on the box? Nope! But I let my cutter-flipping brain take over, to repurpose that awesome skull cutter pictured on the upper right of the box cover.
1. Bake the skull shape with your favorite roll-out cookie recipe.
2. Use black and purple icing to make Frank's hair and shirt. Let these sections dry.
3. Use green icing to make Frank's face. Let this section dry really well before adding the details.
4. Use orange, green, black, and grayish icing colors to make the final details. You're done!
You can pair your Frankenstein cookies with some other fun Halloween shapes, like these other cookies make from Sweet Sugarbelle cutters. Aren't they great for a not-so-scary Halloween party?
But I think Frankenstein is still my favorite!
My family tries to go camping in early spring, before the 'ordinary' trees, like maples and oaks, begin to bud their leaves. There's just something about the glowing white or pink of a blossoming dogwood tree amidst the hibernating hardwood trees. Along with early daffodil flowers, dogwood blossoms are a sure sign that spring is nearly here!
This tutorial is great for those cookie people are are new to painting on cookies (or who are shy and not-so-confident like me)! It's hopefully a *hard to mess up* kind of thing!
Dogwood blossoms have four petals, and there are lots of cutters that can fit this bill. I stretched out a metal dogwood blossom cutter to make this cookie, but That's A Nice Cookie Cutter has a beautiful dogwood cutter with leaf here!
What you'll need:
* baked dogwood flower shaped cookie
* food safe marker
* white royal icing, 20-second consistency
* soft pink Amerimist airbrush color ( regular thinned Americolor gel in this color will work too!)
* green Amerimist color (or thinned Americolor gel)
* food safe paint brushes
* green icing in piping consistency
3. Flood the remaining flower petals. Allow to fully dry.
It's painting time!
I thinned the Amerimist airbrush color with a little bit of vodka before painting. Using a wide brush, add some lighter color to the petals. Use a narrow brush to add vein lines and to outline the petals. Think "watercolor-style", and *not-so-perfect* kind of brush strokes. Remember to go light on the color at first- it's a lot easier to add more color later than to remove heavy color now. Use the edges of the petals as a guide for vein lines.
Using a grass tip, add the blossom's center with green icing. If you don't have a grass tip, a round tip will do!
Just like the pink color, thin out a little bit of green airbrush color with vodka. With a paintbrush, add a little bit of green color in each of the petal notches. Outline the petals with white icing to make them pop!
Celebrate the arrival of spring with these pretty dogwood blossoms!
And mix them with some other spring/summer blossoms for a pretty floral platter!
I've had this bell cutter for many years now. And guess what? I've never made a bell cookie with it until this year! But don't let that fool you- it's one of my ABSOULTE FAVORITE CUTTERS. I'm not lying. It's one of those cutters that never finds it's way back into my "Christmas" cutter bin because I always come back to it over and over again. And if I put it in my Christmas bin, I would have to get on a step stool to get it all the time. And that's too much work. And chances are, something would fall on me as I tried to bring down my Christmas bin box. So for safety's sake, I keep it out. Always.
If a cookie cutter could be my best friend, it would look like this:
I find cutters all over the place in store and online, but this treasured bell shape can only be found in ONE location during the Christmas season: DOLLAR TREE. It will come in a bundle like this:
Here are the other cutters in the bundle. The other cutters are nothing to write home about, in my opinion. But that bell! Swoon.
You might be wondering why this shape is my favorite? Let me show you!
Note: For all of these designs, the cookie cutout is left as-is, or I trimmed the small hanger part prior to baking.
This bell is my go-to for heads and faces- especially if the person is wearing a HAT, like these heroes in uniform:
Or maybe some friends at Thanksgiving:
Corn in the summer, or the fall:
Backbones for a chiropractor, or pirates for a swashbuckling party:
A worm on a fishing hook for an angler cookie set.
And, of course, the intended use of the cutter:
Moral of the story?
Look outside the BELL when designing your cookies!
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!
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.