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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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'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.