This is my second blog post in the Joy Cookie Club series. For the basic recipes, I used either Neat Edges Sugar Cookies or Gingerbread. For Royal Icing, my favorite recipe is Tanya’s. You can it in her blog here. In this post, all cookies celebrate the woodlands and their beautiful creatures, starting with a majestic bird, one of my favorites. We do have families of owls living in the woods around our home, and often one will fly silently, sit on a branch high on a tree and stare at us for a while. It is magical.
For this technique, you’ll need three colors of icing, brown, white and orange. Flood with brown, allow it to crust for 30 minutes. Pipe the white and add black pearls to the eyes. Adding them slightly off center is a good idea, it changes a bit the expression, making them look more natural. Let that crust for 10 minutes and add the orange detail. Feathers were painted with a food pen and gold pearl dust one day later, when the icing is fully set.
Another beautiful creature we have around, particularly nice to see when it is all snowy outside…
For this design, you’ll need red, orange and black royal icing. I followed the steps of Marlyn, from Montreal Confections. She uploaded to her Instagram page a short video, but as is the case for Instagram, it goes pretty fast. I paused the video and took screenshots to help me figure it all out. But the basic steps are shown in the composite picture below.
I consider this a work in progress. The wings should have been piped with a slightly thicker consistency, so that they would puff up nicely. I ended up trying to gild the lily too much to compensate for the flattish look of the wings, and I don’t like the result very much. I will be re-visiting these cookies soon.
I used two different cookie cutters for the deers, but with the same basic decoration approach. Some were dark brown, some were made with a lighter body. Piping was all at the same time, wet-on-wet, except for the nose that was added after 10 minutes, so it would get a little lift. After one day drying, a fine food pen joined the party for the eyes and mouth.
It is easier to make the design if you draw with a pen the basic separation of the two colors. Then, slowly pipe them so they join together nicely. It is really a lot easier than it seems, as long as the consistency of the icing is not too loose.
Two different styles of llamas, with the same cookie cutter. The main difference is that in one case I made the nose after the rest of the body was crusted, so it got that puffy structure. I liked them both, but the first one is obviously easier. The nose, the ears, the details around the saddle and the collar were all added 30 minutes after crusting.
Royal icing roses for additional flair on that lady… Her name is Mercedes, by the way.
I debated whether to make a separate Joy Cookie Club post just for elephants because I love them so much, and they go well with many different designs for decoration. But I did not want them to feel neglected, so here they are.
First technique is like a tie-dye. A lot of fun to do, although I messed up on my first attempt (sorry, no pictures!). What you do is gather all the colors you want to use, place them in individual spots, add vodka or everclear to dilute them well. They will form a gunk in the center, just continue swirling with a brush and then remove the gunk, all you need is a very diluted liquid. After that, working quickly, use a brush to add alcohol to the spot you want to color, and immediately touch it with another brush containing the diluted dye. Move it around quickly, do another spot some place else. When you are done with color #1, move to color #2, until you cover the whole surface. Add details with royal icing.
A different cookie cutter, with a modern “feel” is also fun to decorate. Many of these cookies were made the weeks before Valentine’s Day, so I had hearts in my mind…
For this design, the body is flooded, allowed to crust for 30 minutes, then the piped dots are added. Eyes and mouth need to wait 24 hours to be made.
It is also nice to use a marbling technique. Very similar to tie-dye, instead of adding spots of diluted dye, just go with a fine brush and paint lines over the white flooded body. Immediately pass a sponge on the surface, to soften the lines. A make-up small sponge is perfect for that. Once the dye dries, you can add designs on top with royal icing. Later I brushed luster gold, but that is optional.
Yes, that is pushing the envelope as far as woodland creatures go. But I find them so adorable and like elephants, you can really go crazy with the colors. Extinct animals cannot get mad at you… Poor things.
Another very easy design. Flood the body, use a second color to add details right away. Add the black pearls for the eyes, and after 24 hours draw the eyes and mouth. DONE.
I hope you liked this small collection of decorated cookies. Stay tuned for the next series, that will focus on a Spring and Easter motif.
ONE YEAR AGO: Incredibly Simple… Crunchy Asparagus
TWO YEARS AGO: A Sourdough Quartet
THREE YEARS AGO: When bad things happen to good people
FOUR YEARS AGO: Sweet Potato “Hummus”
FIVE YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Crust Pizza
SIX YEARS AGO: Silky Rutabaga Puree
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Bon Bon Chicken: Light and Spectacular
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Red Wine Sourdough Bread with Cranberries
NINE YEARS AGO: Award-Winning Sourdough Baguettes
TEN YEARS AGO: Country Rye (Tartine)
ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Penne a la Vechia Bettola
May you always be excited by your own individual inspiration and vision.