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!
A rose by any other name would be . . . an acorn? In this case, YES! Thanks to Sugarbelle, you can create a cookie rose with many shapes- other than a rose cutter!
I actually own a rose cookie cutter, but it was a little too small for my liking . As I was digging through my many many many bins of cutters, this acorn cutter caught my eye! Upside down, it's the perfect shape for a closed rosebud!
What you'll need:
* acorn shaped cookies
* flood and thicker royal icing consistencies, in your favorite rose color
* thick, green royal icing for the sepals (the little leaves at the base of a bud)
* petal dust for light shading (optional)
What to do:
1. Cut and bake your favorite acorn shape and size.
2. Turn the cookie upside down. Flood the base of the rosebud. Let dry.
3. Use thicker royal icing, in the same color as the rose, to pipe the lines of the petals. Use my picture above as a guide. Or just do a little swirl at the top!
4. Use a petal decorating tip (my favorites are the PME leaf tips- 50, 51, 52) and the thick green icing to create the outer sepals
5. After a few minutes, pipe the center sepal. You're done!
If you wanted to, brush on a little petal dust to give some shading to the rosebud.
It's up to you!
These easy rosebuds are pretty on their own. . .
. . . or great as accent cookies with some other Valentine's Day sweets!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Ah, mistletoe. One of the more intriguing plants of the holiday season. The shiny green leaves, the little pearl-white berries. It's so pretty! Sought out by couples to share a smooch underneath, while others avoided it like the plague. Some take it's parasitic nature to heart, and prey merciless upon me, even if I'm five feet away. . . ahem, Cookie Widower (my hubby). :)
I was inspired by Sugarbelle's hydrangeas and wanted to use her
technique to create a cookie mistletoe. It's sweet and simple!
Start with a scalloped circle cookie dough shape and use a really small, round cutter to make a hole. A floured icing tip could work for this too. I made a large hole because I knew I would thread a wide ribbon through it later. If you're planning on using a thinner ribbon for the bow and hanger, use a drinking straw or skewer to create a smaller hole in the cookie dough.
After the cookie is baked and cooled, flood the cookie with a light green color. Let this base dry well.
Time to make the background! I made a simple stencil using a plastic food container lid. I drew the shape with a marker and cut with a craft knife.
I used Amerimist Avocado to airbrush the stencil in a random pattern.
Other green shades would work too!
Use a 20-second green royal icing to randomly pipe puffy green leaves. Add a few royal icing white berries and allow to dry.
.After your mistletoe ball is thoroughly dried, it's time to add the ribbon
bow and hanger. I used 7/8" wide ribbon, because I wanted a BIG bow. Thread a long piece of ribbon through the hole in the decorated cookie
(I used about 20" of ribbon). Lay the ribbon flat and straight.
Cut a second piece of ribbon (I used about 12"). Center it under the first ribbon. Tie it in a bow around the stretched out ribbons. Slide the knotted bow down to the top of the cookie.
Finally, tie a knot at the end of the stretched-out ribbons.
I just love this little mistletoe ball! They would be great to hang on a tree!
Or maybe decorate BOTH sides of the cookie and hang in a doorway,
just in time to steal a kiss from a loved one!
Better yet, pair them with the cute Winter Foxes that I shared
in a guest post on Sugarbelle's blog! While you're there, check out the
mistletoe and other stunning rustic-Christmas designs she made with
her Brown Sugar Roll-Out Cookies!
Wanting to make some cute and quick pilgrims, but not sure of what to do?
If you have a diamond ring cutter, then you're set! My ring cutter is a good size- nearly 4" tall. But the design would still work if you have a smaller ring cutter instead!
If you're interested, you can find the sketches to these pilgrims here in the template section. You can use them in a projector (like a Pico or KopyKake) or print and cut as a template. They're not fancy- just a pic of my actual sketches. But they're still useful! Enjoy!
In my opinion, many cookie cutters wear a disguise. It's like they celebrate Halloween every day! I love trying to figure out their alter-egos.
Recently, I was digging through my bin of Halloween cutters in search of a witch cutter. I knew I had at least one head/hat cutter, but I wanted the full witchy body. I stumbled on this cutter:
An ordinary bat cutter, one of which I have NEVER used (I have many cutters that fall into this category. . . ). However, this cutter was turned on its side in the bin. I mentally could "see" things in the cutter:
Here's the result:
By the way, here's another design that I "saw".
I have absolutely no idea when I'll need a man with a little hat and big nose, but I know what cutter I'll use!
I love re-purposing cutters, especially using a single cutter for making multiple designs for one occasion. A skull cutter has so many possibilities! I have a small collection of skull cutters, and I am always on the lookout for a new skull style.
Many skull cutters have the built-in cheekbones, but not all. In fact, the cutter on the upper right is one of my favorite cutters to make ladybugs!
I used this skull cutter to make a collection of Halloween characters- ironically, a skull was not one of them!
I decided to create a Frankenstein, pumpkin, mummy, and Dracula.
Check out the video on how to create Dracula!
Ice cream cones are a favorite summertime cookie design. Check out my spin on this cool treat! It's super easy!
While your ice cream cone is drying, smear a thin layer of your ice cream color on a piece of parchment paper. I used an offset spatula for this. Let the smeared icing dry. It shouldn't take too long- less than 30 minutes depending on the humidity level.
Add a few drips and some lines on the ice cream dome and that's it!
Wasn't that easy?
I'd bet that this technique would look cool on single ice cream scoops made with a trimmed round cookie. Or better yet, an ice cream cookie with
some REAL ice cream on the side.
Check out these ice cream cone cookie designs from Sweet Sugarbelle and
The Bearfoot Baker!
In the meantime, here's an ice cream cone toast to you and your summer!
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.