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?
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!
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 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
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.