Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Edible Cookie Corsage - Tutorial

Here's my edible twist on the corsage. I wanted to get as much realism as I could by angling the petals toward the middle of the flower so it didn't look so flat.

A Corsage for Annabelle
This is the finished corsage I gave my grand-daughter for her performance in her school talent show, but I've broken down the steps for a similar corsage in the following photos. There are also notes regarding the toothpicks. This way worked better for me, but you can skip using them altogether if you like and just "glue" everything together with icing.

I've cut out 4 large hearts, 4 medium hearts and 4 small hearts. Also 2 large leaves and 2 small leaves , and one tiny blossom shape flower.
 I pushed toothpicks in the ends before baking because these will help me position the petals later. I will be adding a hole for a toothpick to the underside of the tiny flower shape as soon as it comes out of the oven
Note: You can skip the toothpicks-More on this later in the assembly photo.

I've cut my larger leaves down to only 3 sections so they would fit between the heart petals.
The tiny flower shape on the right will be turned over right after baking and a hole for a toothpick made in the center and left to cool with the other cookies

I wanted some of the petals to have a subtle 2-toned look, so I iced the outer edge first with icing and let dry. I added icing dots and "comma" patterns (which I forgot to photograph as I was doing them.---Can you tell I'm new to this blogging thing?)

Then I flooded the inner section with the same icing color and sprinkled with sanding sugar.
Believe it or not all the pink colored sanding sugar came from the same bottle it just looks different on the different colored icings.

On each leaf shape I outlined 3 smaller leaves and let dry.
When the outline icing dried I filled in the area with a lighter color icing and sprinkled with sanding sugar. Green sugar in this case.

To give the look of babies breath I added random white dots after the sugared leaves were dry.

Once all the cookie parts were finished I rolled a large marshmallow into the same color icing of the middle section petals and sprinkled with sanding sugar and left to dry. The icing layer is very thin so I can poke the toothpick petals into it easily. The little plate here is a tiny tasting plate I found in a set of 10 at Party City, it has a slightly raised edge that helps to support the lower petals. A paper doily is taped to the bottom and the sugared marshmallow is adhered to it with royal icing.
Note: Colored fondant can be used in place of the marshmallow. And the sanding sugar can be omitted.

Now to assemble all the pieces. I started with the larger hearts and push the toothpick into the marshmallow. You may have to shorten the toothpick end to do this or it might go through the marshmallow and hit the plate underneath.
I clipped the toothpicks on these quite a bit to be able to angle the larger heart into the marshmallow letting them rest on the plate edge.
Note: The whole toothpick part can be skipped entirely and all the petals and leaves just "glued" with royal icing to the marshmallow individually.

Next came the medium size hearts I spaced these on top of where the lower hearts came together basically covering the gap.

I added the larger leaves after the medium heart petals were placed so I wouldn't accidently break them when placing the upper petals. They slid right in between the lower petals at the corner. Again the plate edge helps to support them. 

This is the tiny center blossom cookie that I forgot to photograph as I was icing. This shows how the toothpick is centered in the back.

I repeated this with smaller heart petals and leaves. The last cookie to go in is the tiny flower or blossom. Remember a hole was made using a toothpick right after baking. I re-attached it using a dab of royal icing. The length of the toothpick was cut so the cookie was sitting right on top of the marshmallow. I still show the toothpicks here, but the upper cookies actually cover them up.

 Here is it all boxed up and ready to give.
A big thanks to Susan (GeminiRJ) for her idea of the sugared marshmallow. 
To see her amazing work click (here)

Happy Decorating

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Edible Cookie Plate -Tutorial

I've been going a little overboard lately with edible plates and mini cookies. I like that they can be made to look like any type of plate or saucer, and can be made for any season, or reason.
My latest plate is detailed with a brush embroidery design because I was trying to get the look of Wedgwood or Jasperware. 
Through trial and error I found a technique that gave me the look I wanted using royal icing rather than fondant. 
To make a simple basic round cookie plate I've made the following photo pictorial showing how to cut and bake your own, and the basic icing steps that will then allow you to decorate and detail them any way you want. 

 Cut your rolled and chilled cookie dough with a large circle cookie cutter. Make sure your dough is well chilled because you don't want the circle to lose it's shape as you work with it. My dough here is rolled 1/4" thick, and this cutter is about 4-1/4" across.
Remember this is just showing how to do a basic round shape. These can be made using just about any shape. Look around at candy dishes or holiday plates for inspiration.

Using a smaller circle cutter cut out the center.  This cutter is about 2-3/8", but use whatever size cutter looks best for the plate you're doing. For example if you want to make it look more like a saucer to put a teacup on you would use an even smaller cutter for the middle. Remove the center circle from the outer ring and place the outer ring on a baking sheet.

 Take the center circle and re-roll to half the thickness and then re-cut it using the same small circle cutter. I just use a fondant roller with the larger rings for this step.

The idea is to make the center about half the thickness of the outer ring. This is what will give the indentation and make it look more like an actual plate.

Insert the re-rolled re-cut center circle back into the outer ring on the baking sheet. Re-chill for about 10 minutes, then bake. (I actually put the whole baking sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking) When baking, check them about 5 minutes towards the end to make sure the centers aren't browning too quickly as they are thinner than the rest of the cookie. They will be covered with icing, so not too big a worry.

And here it is all baked.

For this plate I wanted the icing on the inner circle to blend as seamlessly as possible into the outer circle, so I started icing the outer ring first using a flood consistency icing and then let it dry completely. You can see where I came just to the top edge of the inner circle.

When the outside ring is dry, begin icing the middle section with flood icing.  Start in the center and work almost out to the edge. Begin again at the edge and let gravity help to drip the icing down to meet the rest of the flooded area helping it along with the icing tip when needed. You don't want to add too much icing at the edge as it will fill in the area too much and take away the look of the indentation.

Try to get as clean a line as possible around the top edge where the outer circle meets the inner circle especially if you're using a different color for the inside or it will be noticeable. If it ends up a little crooked, you can cover it up later with a line or dot detail. Let the middle dry completely before adding the finishing details. At this point I will let you decide how you want your finished plate to look. As I said above, look at candy dishes, saucers, and holiday plates. Even paper plates have some great designs on them

Here is my finished plate design. This is a brush embroidery technique, which I am still quite new at using on cookies. When I used to do ceramics this technique was done using slip (liquid clay) to add raised design effects on greenware items before firing. It's much more fun on cookies!

Don't forget to add the mini cookies, and even a handle. (use a straw to make a hole in the middle of the cookie plate before baking) The possibilities are endless. This cookie plate has a simpler brushwork design.  Below I've listed links to 2 excellent tutorials so please check them out if you're at all interested in this design technique.
Their work is outstanding and something I can only hope to aspire to.


Happy Decorating


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Easy Cookie Cutter Plunger for Mini Cutters - Tutorial

While trying to cut out a lot of 3/4" mini heart cookies I was getting frustrated with the dough that would sometimes get stuck in the cutter. Trying to poke it out with a skewer made the cut-out unusable.  I ended up out of desperation making my own quickie plunger using a carrot and a toothpick.  It was easy, quick, and practically free. I didn't have to glue or drill anything, and of course it was food safe.

I didn't have any normal size carrots so I had to make due with these mini carrot things. (I'm guessing you could use a potato as well). First I cut a piece 1/4" thick.  Then I used the same cutter that I was trying to make the cookies with and cut out a carrot heart.  I shaved off some of the edges (using the same cutter) so it would easily pass back and forth through the cutter. Then I carefully pushed the toothpick into it.

I've wrapped the whole thing with a piece of plastic baggie and a twist tie. Not the prettiest looking thing, but it didn't have to be because I was going to throw it away once I was finished. 

Here it is actually pushing out a mini heart.

All done! Only a hundred more to go.

Happy Decorating

Monday, February 6, 2012

Variation On A Theme - Hearts - Tutorial

My cookie journey today starts with various design elements on a basic shape.  I use this idea when I want to visually break up the area on a large symmetrical cookie.  I've shown a few different ways to finish the details as well as how it looks when changing out the color combination.

Since it was close to Valentine's Day I'm showing how to do a heart shape, but this idea will work on any basic shape.
So here is a simple line design I came up with just to get me started. It's lacking the details, but it seems to be a good start. And besides, I have this little voice in my head (that sounds suspiciously like my sister Linda) that says I can put a flower or bow on anything and it will look better.

The dough has been rolled and cut into heart shapes. This shows how you can add detail lines before baking using different cutters or just an off set spatula if the design calls for a straight line. Gently press the cutter just to make a slight mark. (I actually cut these a little deeper than I needed to so they would show up better in the photo) You don't want to cut through the dough completely as this might distort the cookie as it's baking. This way the detail lines will then become baked into the cookie.

Here is a closeup of a baked cookie with the design imprinted.

Another way is to print out the design onto cardstock and cut out the design like puzzle pieces and trace around them directly onto the baked cookie with an edible marker. You don't have to use such a dark color, but I did for the photo.
This technique works well for any design or shape of cookie, and is especially helpful when you have a lot of the same design to do and want all the cookies to look the same.

Sometimes a design vision doesn't look so great in reality. As in this case because every time I look at these they remind me of  those sleeper Pj's for little kids with the bumpy things on the bottom of the feet. In hindsight I think I should have done a wet on wet technique for the polka dots.
 For these cookie the background was flooded first and allowed to dry before flooding and sugaring the ribbon accent. After the ribbon area dried I added the dots and bows. I made the fondant bows ahead of time using a flexible mold.

A simplified variation still using the same colors but without the sanding sugar and polka dots. I also added different icing details.

Here is another set of  heart cookies with the same basic design from the line drawing, but a different color scheme.
I iced the ribbon area first this time and let dry, then flooded and sugared the background.
The royal icing bows, drops and flowers were made ahead of time and added after the sanding sugar was dry.

Happy Decorating