Art Deco Inspired Cookie How-To

I first used this low-tech tissue paper method when I created these New York City skyline cookies. I don’t own a Kopykake, so this was the next best thing for me. Here’s how to do it.
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This is the template that I created for this project. You can click on the image to print the full size version.

Start out with a square cookie that has been iced in flood consistency royal icing and allowed to dry overnight. You can learn all about flooding in the video, Flooding With Royal Icing, which is available in my shop. You’ll also find my cookie and royal icing recipe there.
The gray color shown here can be achieved by mixing black with a touch of yellow to neutralize it.
Trace the image onto a piece of tissue paper using an edible ink marker. It helps to tape it down so it’s not moving around as you trace it.

Next, place the tissue paper over the cookie and tape the paper to the work surface.

Then, go over the image again with the edible ink marker. Make sure to put some pressure on it so that it bleeds through the paper.

It won’t be perfect, but you’ll have a basic outline of the design to use as a guide while you pipe.

Pipe over the outline of the design using black icing and a tip 1. This icing is a little thicker than flood consistency. You want the icing to flow out easily, but you don’t want it so thin that it spreads.

Let that dry for about 20 minutes. Put the cookie in front of a fan if possible.
Mix a little bit of black gel paste food coloring with a few drops of alcohol to form a paint. I like to use Bacardi 151, but you can use any alcohol or flavored extract.

Fill in the lines with the paint. I tried doing this by filling the lines in with icing, but the final product just didn’t look as clean as I would have liked.

Right after filling in the lines with the black paint, mix silver pearl dust with a few drops of alcohol and paint over the lines that you piped earlier.

And that’s it!

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Teddy Bear Cookie Tutorial

Last weekend I went to my grandmother’s house to visit for the afternoon. One of my favorite parts about visiting grandma when I was little (and now) was going to the basement to explore. There are so many fun things down there. Antique toys, a pool table, old books and photos…. This past weekend was no different. This time during my exploration of the basement, I came across an old high chair that was decorated with a picture of a teddy bear and a duck. As soon as I saw these images I knew I had to make a cookie! The final product came out far different than what I had originally planned, but that’s usually the case when I make cookies.
These images were the inspiration.

As you can see, the teddy bear cookie idea evolved into something a little different.
For a list of decorating products used here and in other tutorials, visit the recommended products page.   
I started out with a heart cutter for the head and a 6 petal flower cutter for the body. I used my Orange Vanilla Spice recipe for these cookies, which is available in my tutorial shop.

I was worried that the pieces would break apart after baking, but they melded together in the oven.

Every step of this process is done in flood consistency royal icing. I like to make my flood icing at 14 -16 count. That means it will take 14 -16 seconds for it to smooth itself out. You can learn all about flooding in my flooding with royal icing video tutorial, which is available in my shop.
Once the cookies are baked and cooled, ice them in flood consistency royal icing and a round tip 3. Allow the body to dry for about 30 minutes in front of a fan before piping the teddy bear’s head and the ears.
The color shown here is a mixture of brown with a touch of green to neutralize it.
Let the icing dry for about an hour, then add a snout using the same flood consistency icing.
Repeat this process on the ears and paws.
Use a scribe tool to help shape the icing.
Allow the icing to dry for another 30 minutes, then pipe a nose using black icing and a tip 1.
Use the scribe tool to help shape the nose and then use the icing from the nose to “draw” the mouth.
Pipe brown eyes using a tip 1.
Immediately add pupils with the black icing.
Allow the icing to dry 8-12 hours. I let mine sit overnight. Once it’s dry, use the scribe tool to scratch the surface to create seams in the bear. This is similar to how I did the cracked glaze technique.
To add “fur” to the teddy bear, apply some of the same light brown icing that you used to flood the bear. Then, dab the icing using a dry brush. The longer you dab, the more defined the texture will be.
Before the icing has a chance to dry, use the scribe tool to go over the seams again.
Let the icing dry for about 20 minutes in front of a fan, then apply dry bronze pearl dust on the edges and in the seams.
Use a mixture of gold pearl dust with alcohol or flavored extract to paint the inner ears and paws to give a satiny look. You can read more about painting with gold luster dust in this post.
To make the eyes look like they’re made of glass, take a drop of corn syrup and apply it with a small brush.
Apply it to the nose, too.
Make a bow using a tip 1.
Let each section of the bow dry before you move on to the next one.
Once the first layer of the bow is dry, you can add a second layer to add dimension.
Pipe a dot in the center and use the scribe tool to shape it.
Pipe tails.
Let the icing dry for another 4 hours before handling the cookie.
You can see the whole teddy bear cookie tutorial in action in this video:

 

How To Make Gold Royal Icing

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It takes some time and a little patience to decorate cookies or cakes with gold royal icing, but the technique itself is actually very simple.

Start out by piping your designs in brown icing. I like to use brown icing because, not only does it help the gold to stand out, but it’s less noticeable if you miss a spot. Let the icing dry completely, about 30 minutes to an hour. For the henna cookies shown in the video above as well as in this filigree design featured in my book, I used medium consistency royal icing and a decorating tip 2.

Photo credit: Tom Moore

I prefer to use Crystal Colors edible gold dusts for this method. Antique Gold, Old Gold, and Blush Gold are my favorites. You can find these dusts on Amazon or at Sugarpaste.com.

Fill a small container with about a half teaspoon of luster dust. Mix the dust with grain alcohol or very strong vodka (at least 150 proof). Alcohol is used for painting on royal icing because it evaporates very quickly, which means that the liquid won’t dissolve the icing as you are applying the paint. The stronger the alcohol, the better!

You can also use flavored extracts for this process, but the alcohol content is relatively low, so it’s possible that it will damage the icing as you paint. If you are looking for alternatives to alcohol, read about my experiments with different liquids to use when painting with gold.

Add just enough alcohol, a few drops at a time, so that you achieve the consistency of paint. If you add to much liquid, it will run off of the decoration and create a mess. If you add too little, your paint will be chunky. As I mentioned before, the alcohol evaporates very quickly, so you’ll need to add more drops as you work to maintain the correct consistency.

Very carefully paint the icing with a tiny brush. Crystal Colors Blush Gold is shown here.

Let the paint dry for about 10 minutes before handling the cookie.

Find more cookie decorating techniques in my book, Cookie Art: Sweet Designs For Special Occasions. Available in my shop and on Amazon.

Photo credit: Tom Moore

Have a question about how to make gold royal icing? Let me know in the comments!