May 01, 2015

Piping a Circle

I'm not sure about all of you, but piping a circle has to be one of the single most frustrating things ever. Is there a perfect circle? NO! Can you make it look like a perfect circle? Well, you can sure try.

I have heard where some people find it easiest to go counter clockwise with their icing. Then there are those that are able to achieve a circle by going clockwise. How about those that are able to master a turntable? Obviously I do not fall into any of these categories. So I thought I would show you how I do it.

For me the easiest way is to use Ateco 5457 12-Piece Stainless Steel Round Cutter Set, Plain like pictured below:

These cutters are my all time favorite!!

Piping a Circle

Begin by choosing a circle cutter of the size you need. Then center the cutter onto your cooled cookie. Later you get to see how I did not do a very good job centering this cutter :(

Using a scribe tool, go around the inside edge of the cutter to make a small impression. You could also use an edible marker. The main reason I use a scribe?  The icing seems to "fall" into the impression easily.

Brush off any excess crumbs to reveal your circle.

Using this circle as a guide, let your icing fall into the impression while piping.

Now flood your cookie, being careful not to add too much flood to the already piped line.

Using your scribe tool, push the icing towards any uncovered impression. It still might not be perfect, but with a little help from the scribe, all should be good.

As I said, no circle is perfect. But to make it appear as perfect as possible, try adding a beaded border.

This is about as good as it is going to get for me and circles. I sure wish I would have centered my cutter better!! But you get the idea, right?

You can see how I made this easy royal icing dogwood flower by visiting my youtube channel.

For those of you who would rather see this in video form, here you go:

Is there an easier way? I don't know, but if you do, please share!

April 27, 2015

How to Make Button Cookies and a Free Bag Topper

This past week someone asked if I could share how to make button cookies. I have never made button cookies before, but I had an idea floating around in my head and wanted to give it a try. Of course, once I started working on this project, I quickly discovered that my idea was not all that unique.

As always, I tried to put my own spin on these by adding a few designs to the cookies and creating a bag topper. I found the image on Wikimedia Commons and thought it was super adorable.

Just place your cookies into a ziplock bag and attach the bag topper using double sided tape. Regular size ziplock bags work great, but I personally love the snack size bags. Super cute!! If you would like to print or download these bag toppers, just click on the picture below:

Free Bag Topper

How to Make Button Cookies

Begin by dividing and coloring your dough in as many colors as you would like.

Roll each of the colors into two different thickness. I used 1/4" thickness and 1/16" thickness.

Using a set of Ateco 4845 Geometric Shape Cutter, Set of 24

cut out your shapes using the largest cutter from each shape, on your 1/4" rolled dough. Then use the medium or small cutter, whichever you prefer, and cut out the center.

Then using your 1/16" rolled dough, cut out the same medium or small cutter shape. Place this shape into the center of the cut design.

Using a Wilton tip #7 place the button holes.

Bake as normal.

To decorate, use stiff consistency icing to add the thread to the button holes. You can also add swirls and dots to the outer edge of the buttons.

You can use any cookie cutter you have and add some holes using the end of a brush, straw or piping tip. Buttons come in all shapes, colors and designs. Just have fun with it!

April 20, 2015

How to Decorate a Conch Shell Cookie

Do you have one of those cookies that you can't figure out how to decorate? To be truthful, I have several. But the conch shell has always been my nemesis. 

With most of my cookies, I always try to do a little bit of homework before designing them and then creating them. Google images anyone? 

During my google search, I came across this picture of a conch shell:

I remembered seeing a tutorial on Cookie Connection by Lucy of HoneyCat Cookies. See those little bumps on the conch shell? Well, Lucy's tutorial shows you how to do it. <<< insert happy dance.

How to Decorate a Conch Shell

Using an edible marker, draw a curved line like you see here:

Grab some soft pink icing, a bowl of water and a paint brush. Pipe your icing onto the lower portion of the shell. You don't have to be all neat about it :)

Dip your brush into the water and then dab a little of the water off onto a paper towel. Start spreading  the icing with your wet paint brush. This will give you a nice thin coat of icing to work with.

With a thick (20 count consistency) icing, create oblong shapes at the top of the shell. This is going to help create the dimension. Once the shapes are in place, you will want this to dry for at least 4 hours. You can also place this into a Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A for 10 minutes before moving on to the next step. 

Once your shapes are dry, you will need to add another layer. We really want those "bumps" to pop. To add an extra layer, pipe over the oblong shapes that you created and are dry.

When all shapes have the extra layer, they will need to dry for another 4 hours or place in your dehydrator for 10-15 more minutes.

Now that everything is dry, you can add more dimension by using a Duff Airbrush System. This is optional, but I love the effect it created.

I started by airbrushing the pink portion of the shell with pink pearl sheen from this set: AmeriColor Amerimist Metallic & Pearl Sheen Airbrush .65 Ounce Set of 12 

Then using a deep pink from the following set: 12 Americolor Amerimist Airbrush Food Colors 0.7oz for Cake Decoration  I carefully outlined the top portion.

*Let your airbrush colors dry before moving on. Otherwise you will have the same issue I had with bleeding. 

Pipe a line around the edge of the "pink" portion and the remainder of the cookie.

Begin flooding the cookie making sure you go around and not over the dots.

Once you are done flooding, finish by working in a circular motion around the "bumps".

Here is a quick fix if you are impatient like me and do not want to wait for your airbrush colors to dry.

While your icing is still wet, pipe over the portion that has bleed. It may not be perfect, but I've never seen a perfect shell, have you?

Let your cookie dry completely before moving onto the final step. 

Place a small amount of Petal Dust Mushroom into a lid:

Using a brush, lightly dab each "bump" with the dust. Here is a picture to give you an idea of how much I used on top of each bump:

Sorry for the horrible picture!!

Using your brush, you will want to blend downward in a sweeping motion. This not only highlights the bumps, but creates a very natural look.  

You can call this cookie complete or you can add a few embellishments using modeling chocolate.
The embellishments can also hide bleeding issues ;) You probably will not have that problem. I bet you're WAY more patient than I am.

Here is the "making of" the conch shell in video form:

This complete set is going to a very special girl :)