A couple of months ago, my fiancé was hired to film a performance by the Salomé Orchestra at the MET and so I tagged along. Before that day, I could not have told you what a harpsichord was (still can’t, but at least now I know what one looks like). As soon as I saw this blue and gold piano-esque instrument, I knew right away that I had to somehow turn it into a cookie! I can’t seem to find a photo online that looks like the one that inspired this design, but you can get a glimpse of the harpsichord in the background of the video of the Salomé Orchestra performance.
Last year, I posted instructions on how to make a cookie box in a brush embroidered cookie box tutorial. This new harpsichord inspired box that I filled with mini cookies and gave to my parents for their anniversary in January is built almost the same way, but with a few improvements.
For this project, you will need:
Most of these decorating products are available on the recommended products page.
This is my sketch of the cookie sizes you’ll need to build the box.
Five 3″ squares for the sides and bottom
One 3-1/4″ square for the lid
One 2-1/2″ square for the underside of the lid
Four tiny circles for the feet
One tiny circle for the knob
The tiny circles are cut out using the back of a decorating tip, which is probably about 5/8″.
When making a cookie box, I like to use the scraps that are left over from cutting out other shapes. After the cookie dough has been rolled out, cut, and rolled again, it becomes dense, making the cookies themselves more sturdy (This is why I don’t re-roll my cookie scraps more than once when making cookies that will be eaten. Too much rolling makes the cookies tough. More on that in my post about making cookie dough).
Roll the cookie dough out to about 3/16″ thick and use a t-square ruler to measure squares for the sides, bottom and lid. Cut the squares using a paring knife. This step is a lot easier if your dough is well-chilled.
Use the large end of a decorating tip 12 to cut out tiny circles and push the dough out of the tip using the back of a brush. If you use a tip smaller than a size 8, you probably won’t be able to fit the brush through it to push the dough out.
If the edges on your cookies are uneven, you can use a microplane to smooth them out once they are baked and cooled. Even if the pieces don’t match up perfectly, it’s okay because you can fill in the gaps with icing when you glue them together.
Once you have all of your cookie pieces baked, cooled and filed (if necessary), ice them with blue flood consistency royal icing and a tip 3. Visit my tutorial shop for a video with full instructions on flooding with royal icing.
Use the scribe tool to evenly distribute the icing and make the corners sharp (all of this is in the flooding video mentioned above).
While the blue icing is still wet, pipe a line around the inside edge using tan flood consistency icing and a tip 1.
You can use the scribe tool to help sharpen the corners where the lines meet.
You’ll need to ice the 4 side pieces, the lid and one of the tiny circles for the knob that goes on top of the lid. If you want to make a rose on the knob like the one shown here, you can do that using the the wet on wet technique.
Allow the icing to dry 8-12 hours.
Normally, when I’m painting on cookies, I use products that are meant for use on food, such as the Wilton gold pearl dust or the new FDA approved gold dust from NY Cake. This gold highlighter (also from NY Cake) is non toxic, but not meant to be consumed, so I’m using it only for the box and not on the cookies that will be eaten. This gold highlighter would also be suitable for things like fondant cake toppers or gum paste rose petals as shown on my display at the Claire Pettibone runway show.
Mix the gold dust with a few drops of alcohol or flavored extract and mix it to form a paint. You can learn more about painting with gold in this post about how to make gold royal icing.
Carefully paint over the tan lines using the small brush.
Now you can put the box together. The sides and bottom of this box are assembled just like they were in the brush embroidered cookie box tutorial. From this point on, the construction is a little bit different.
This is the bottom view of the two lid pieces glued together with a little bit of royal icing. The smaller piece fits inside the 4 walls of the box to keep the lid from sliding around.
Flip the box over and place the feet on the bottom using a little bit of icing.
To decorate the corners of the box, I used a flat tip 45 and a leaf tip 67.
Using stiff consistency tan icing and the tip 45, pipe over the seams of the box.
Then, use the leaf tip to pipe a ruffle in each corner with the same stiff icing. To make this ruffle, I started at the bottom and piped up while moving the tip in and out. I also propped one side of the box up on a tiny cup so that the corner of the box was facing slightly up towards me. It was a better angle for piping on the corners.
Add a bead border with a tip 3. There is a video in my tutorial shop with full instructions on how to pipe a bead border.
This is one of the rare times that I used a coupler. I used the same stiff icing with three different tips, so I needed the coupler so that I could easily switch between them.
Allow the icing to dry about an hour and then paint the borders with the same gold mixture that was used to paint the lines earlier.
I also painted the top inside edge of the box as well as around the edge of the knob on the lid.
And there you have the harpsichord inspired cookie box!