Muwhahahahahaha! These Mad Scientist cookies were inspired by something else I made...
This is my youngest son, in his Mad Scientist halloween costume from 2017. We participated in a Trunk or Treat event, and I decorated my car as a mad scientist's laboratory. I had SO much fun putting the details together, paying close attention to how it would look after dark! Check out my handiwork!
My eldest son even joined in the fun, by dressing up as the mad scientist's assistant!
As I was sorting through my Halloween cutters, I came across the perfect cutter for my Mad Scientist cookie: a flipped spider cutter from the Sweet Sugarbelle Halloween Basics Set! If you don't have this exact spider cutter, other spider cutters might work too.
Here's what you'll need:
* Baked spider-shaped cookies, using your favorite roll out recipe
* Royal icing in the following colors and consistencies:
flesh tone of your choice, 20-second consistency
white, 20-second and piping consistency
gray, piping consistency
black, piping consistency
* Food pen, optional
Let's get started!
1. After baking and cooling your cookies, use a food pen to mark the scientist's face and ears. Use icing to pipe the face and ears. Let the icing dry.
2. Use the 20-second white icing to pipe the hair. Immediately after piping the hair, add some lines with the gray icing, allowing them to sink into the white icing beneath. Now is a good time to pipe the nose. Let the icing dry.
3. Use the black icing to pipe the rims of the glasses. Use the piping consistency white icing to make a mustache. Let these sections dry.
4. Add the final details! Outline the ears, fill in the eyeglasses, add some eyeballs, add some white hairs, and don't forget the puffy eyebrows!
Feel free to change up the eyebrows to convey different emotions. It's amazing how the overall look changes with just a small tweak in the shape of the eyebrows!
These cookies would also be fun for a scientist-themed birthday party, especially if you pair them with some other laboratory-themed cookies. Electricity coil and hazard sign cookies are the favorite snacks of every little mad scientist!
Back in 2013, I had a request for baby diaper cookies. I didn't have a diaper cutter, so I hand cut every single diaper cookie for that set. I was very early in my "cookie career", and didn't watermark my cookie pictures at that point. My friend, a contributor to Babycenter.com, wrote an article about me and my small cookie enterprise, and included a picture of those diaper cookies. Although the article is no longer available, the photograph of those diaper cookies were pinned on Pinterest, and have been seen and re-pinned many times! You might recognize it from your own search!
I haven't had a request for baby diaper cookies since... until now! I was so excited to tackle this design again using cutters I now own, specifically Sugarbelle cookie cutters! This awesome cutter is found in the first collection of Sugarbelle Shape Shifters.
This cutter, as is, makes an awesome jean pocket cookie, like this one!
But with a few small modifications, this pocket cutter can make the cutest diaper cookies! To make the diaper cookies, you'll also need the curved trimmer from the Sweet Sugarbelle Shape Shifter set and a bench scraper (or knife).
What you'll need:
* Pocket cutter AND curved trimmer from Sweet Sugarbelle Shape Shifters Collection, first set.
* bench scraper or sharp straight knife
* royal icing in the following colors and consistencies:
white: thin flood and 20+ second consistency
grey: piping consistency
pink (or other accent color of your choice): piping consistency
* food safe wide paint brush
1. Prepare your favorite roll-out cookie dough. Use the pocket cutter to make the first cut. Use the curved trimmer to trim the bottom point of the cookie.
2. Use the bench scrapper or knife to trim a little from the "waist" of the cookie. Bake the cookie as directed on the recipe.
Now that the cookies are baked and cooled, take a look at the sketch to see where we're going with decorating the cookies.
3. Use a food safe paint brush to apply the white flood consistency to the leg holes of the cookies. This thin layer will dry quickly, so you'll be able to move on to the next step in no time.
4. Use the 20-second white royal icing to fill in the main portion of the diaper cookie. Allow the icing to dry.
5. Use the same royal icing (white, 20 second) to create the diaper flaps. Allow to dry.
6. Use the gray icing to pipe the metal parts of the safety pins.
7. Use the pink (or alternative accent color) to pipe the trim on the leg holes and waist, as well as the ends of the safety pins. That's it!
You know what? This design could easily be turned into other "undergarment" designs! Maybe an alternative diaper design with one large safety pin. Or maybe tightie-whities for a little boy who is being potty trained (yes, I rewarded my boys for their successful potty trips and it worked!), "granny panties" for a friend's milestone birthday (nothing says welcome to your 30's like granny panty cookies LOL!). Lots of options!
It was great fun to re-create this oldie-but-goodie design, and to replicate the staging of the original photograph from years ago. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to reminisce when my boys were small by using their real baby blankets in this updated staging:
Oh. my. heart.
Have you ever been stuck with something? Being stuck with the dishes after a big family meal. Being stuck with walking the dog when it's pouring rain. Maybe it's a literal stuck, like insisting on grabbing a live cactus at Lowe's even though your parents warned you not to touch it (ahem... youngest Clough child).
One of the worst things is having an idea stuck in your head. And you've planned out how you'll pull off said idea. But you're stuck doing other stuff instead of following through on your idea.
Cue this Cactus Cookie. Picture this: spring 2017, just as the cactus craze was really starting to take off. I pulled out a bunch of cutters, sketched out my "flips" (or ways to repurpose them). I even baked some of them! And then, I got stuck. Stuck doing laundry, stuck doing orders, stuck with the trials and tribulations of life. My sketches and baked cookie ideas got stuck on the shelf. Until now!
I thought this was the perfect tongue-in-cheek design to celebrate Mother's Day or Father's Day (imagine a Dad cactus with a mustache and bowtie!). You know the saying- you can pick your friends, pick your nose, but you can't pick your family?
You're stuck with them.
You recognize the cutter, right? You might have this exact one, or something similar. It's a mitten! Here's a line drawing so you can see where we're going.
Here's what you'll need:
* baked mitten shape cookie
* food-safe marker (optional) to sketch the design on the cookie.
* Royal icing:
-20-second in the pot color of your choice and medium green.
-piping consistency in black, white, and a different shade of green (lighter or darker than the medium green to be used for the cacti lines)
-thick icing in the flower color of your choice.
1. Use the food safe marker to map out the top of the pot, parent and child cactus. Don't go to the edge of the cookie- leave room for the cactus spines. If you're good at eyeballing stuff, skip ahead to step 2.
2. Use the piping consistency green and the pot color to outline the cacti and pot. Let the lines dry. Remember to leave room for the spines around the edge of the cactus.
3. Flood the cacti with the medium green (the 20 second consistency one). Flood the pot. Let these sections dry.
4. Add in the eyes, mouth, cactus lines, and rim of the pot.
5. After the lines are dry, pipe some spines and cactus flowers. Decorate the pot, if you want! If I were making these for Father's Day, I would do a mustache, bowtie, and blue flowers on the parent cacti at this step. You're done!
I hope that you try out these cacti family cuties, to celebrate those loved ones that you're stuck with. Wouldn't they be great for siblings too?
Imagine this: You have an order of 80+ princess carriages. You order the perfect cutter online, only to discover that it's too big when it arrives in your mailbox. There's not enough time to order a new cutter. What do you do?
You might recognize the main body of my princess carriage. It's a particular "mouse" cutter, and LilaLoa turned it into a great princess carriage in this post.
But my cookie carriages needed a finial- that little extra piece at the top for more ornamentation. And I needed 80+ of them that were exactly the same.
It's time to FrankenCookie (aka. piece cookie parts together to make a single cookie). In my case, the "mouse" cutter is the core shape, with the accessory "round" cookie being the finial. By using the small round cookie and cutting the section out of the main carriage, there are more points of contact between the two cookie shapes. This will increase the stability of the cookie joint, and make it less likely to break off.
A parchment paper template will ensure that I piece together the cookies in the exact same spot,
each and every time!
What you'll need:
* parchment paper
* cookie cutters that you plan to piece together
1. Trace the INSIDE of the cutters you're using on parchment paper. You want to trace the inside of the cutters, since that's closer to the cut size of your cookie shape.
2. Cut out your template. Cut away the piece that will be "added on" by the other/ accessory/ smaller cutter. Erase any pencil marks on the parchment paper and be sure to clean the cookie cutters. You don't want to transfer any pencil marks to your cookie dough by accident.
3. Cut your main cookie shape and transfer it to the baking sheet. Place the parchment template over the main cookie shape, and cut out the accessory piece.
4. Cut and fill in the accessory piece. Be sure that the accessory piece is flush with the original cut piece. You might have to flip over the accessory piece to make it fit properly. See this blog post why this happens!
5. Bake the cookies just like always!
Look at the baked, undecorated cookie! They're perfect! The size and placement of the finial is the same for every cookie! Winning!
A comparison of the front versus the back.
Some tips and tricks to piecing cookies together:
You might be thinking, "I'll never piece any cookies together, because that seems like so much work!". Yes, it is time consuming, but it is another tool to add to your cookie arsenal, and it just might help you out of a jam like me! Here are some other pieced ideas!
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!
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!
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.