Tag Archives: brown sugar cookies

Painted Brown Sugar Cookie Hearts

be mine 5I first learned about cookie painting when I saw the cover of the Bon Appetit December 2013 issue. When I looked inside and saw what was possible, my brain exploded with the possibilities. Who knew you could paint right onto the cookie, with an actual paintbrush? Kind of rocked my world.
BonAppetit_December2013_cover-530x398Bon Appetit Painted Cookies 3
I have never been exactly skilled with a paintbrush, but I figured even I could manage stripes. I began with the most delicious sugar cookie recipe I know, which uses brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar. Bake cookies and let cool completely.cutting heartsMix up a bach of royal icing. Pipe an outline onto the baked hearts. Mine was a bit too thick. I’m sure you can do better than me.piping outlineThin some of the royal icing with a few drops of water to make a thinner consistency and fill in the hearts. Let them dry completely, preferably overnight. Consider this your blank canvas.Hearts filled inTo paint the cookies, you will need some clean paintbrushes in assorted sizes, gel food colouring (I like the Americolour brand) and some vodka. (Not for drinking, just to wet your brush with and mix with the gel food colouring to thin it out). Any clear extract (lemon or a clear vanilla) would also work. The reason for using alcohol is that it evaporates very quickly, meaning that the paint will dry quicker.

The Bon Appetit cookies were painted with luster dust, mixed with a bit of alcohol or extract. It comes in tons of colours. If you want to use luster dust to achieve that shimmery effect, here is a great tutorial on how to do it. I decided to do mine with just regular gel food colouring instead of the luster dust.  ready to paintSqueeze a blob of each colour you want to use onto an artist’s paint palette or a dinner plate. (I used a ceramic egg holder) Have a small glass of vodka ready for dipping your brush into. Dip the brush into the vodka or extract and then into the food colour gel. Have some paper towels ready to test the colour and adjust the amount of paint you have on your brush. Make sure you wash and dry the brush really well, before you change colours.painted stripes1I decided to up the adorable factor and write a message on my cookies. I used a thin tip paintbrush. Be Mine CircleSuch a sweet way to declare your love this year. be mine 2

Click here to print recipe for Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar

Click here to print recipe for Royal Icing Recipe.

be mine 1

Valentines Day Marbled Heart Brown Sugar Cookies

assortment of hearts 625 sqI would not describe myself as an overly affectionate person. (OK, all those who know me can stop choking with laughter now) Neither my husband or I are big on PDA’s . We don’t really celebrate Valentines Day, certainly not in a traditional cards, flowers or a box of drugstore chocolates (shudder) kind of way. My husband knows better than to show up with a bouquet of roses for me. I hate roses, especially red ones. Their aroma conjures up images of death and decay in my mind.  However, if a big bunch of tulips were to come my way, I would never refuse them!

That being said, there is something about heart shaped cookies for Valentines Day that is just so sweet and endearing, especially if they are home made. I could not resist making these this year. I love to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing. I am not a huge lover of the overly sweet taste of royal icing, but I am a frustrated artist and the canvas of a cookie fills my soul with such joy when I hold a piping bag and begin creating.Red and White heardsI had a few extra hands on deck last week to help me make these. My mom, who is very creative, was visiting. As well, my old babysitter, Sarah, who is a whiz with a piping bag, was also visiting. She was so excited when I told her what we would be making. She runs a dance school and bakes beautiful decorated cookies for all her students for any and every occasion. When I had tendonitis in my elbow, from a repetitive strain injuty (piping too many gingerbread snowflake cookies), she filled in as my designated piper.

Marbling royal icing is probably one of the easiest ways to create some spectacular looking cookies. There is no right or wrong way. You just have to let your creative freak flag fly here. The marbling technique basically boils down to using contrasting colours of wet royal icing. You pipe lines or dots or whatever you fancy, and just use a toothpick to swirl the lines or connect the dots. It couldn’t be simpler.Heart ZigzagsYou can use any sturdy cookie recipe, like gingerbread or a sugar cookie. I used my favourite sugar cookie recipe, which calls for brown sugar, instead of the usual white sugar. It adds a real depth of flavour. Adter making the dough, I divide the soft dough into 4 pieces and roll out each piece of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Then I chill the sheets of rolled out dough before cutting. It is much easier to do this rather than chill the dough first and then roll it out.

dough mixeddivide dough

rolling between parchmentcutting out hearts  I found the cutest set of cookie cutters at Michael’s.Wilton CuttersYou will need some disposable piping bags, piping tips (#2 and #3 size) and couplers,  some paste or gel food colouring and toothpicks. If you are planning to buy red food colouring, make sure it is the “no taste” red. In order to get a vivid red, you need to use a lot of the food colouring, and the regular red departs a very bitter taste.

It is best to make the cookies and royal icing the day before (or even several days) you plan to decorate them. Set aside a few quiet hours to allow your creative decorating juices to flow. 

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Click here to print recipe for Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar.

Click here to print recipe for Royal Icing.

Red and White hearts on felt heart placemats

Hearts lines

For further inspiration check out these very talented bloggers:

Julia Usher

Colleen of Royal Icing Diaries

Sweetopia

 

The Name Game

My husband and his five siblings are in a family business together. We decided about 8 years ago that we should begin to educate our children, the next generation, so we founded a family council. We get together twice a year with the goals of fun, family togetherness and enlightenment in mind.  Our most recent council meeting took place in Fort Lauderdale several weeks ago. There are about 24 of us who participate in these meetings.

It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, we all revert back to some fairly petty childhood behaviours when we get together with our siblings. Even though we are all adults now, somehow we regress backwards to our 10-year-old selves, squabbling, poking and just plain irritating the heck out of each other. In order to have a more productive meeting this time around, one of the professionals we are working with suggested a seating plan for the meeting room. As co-chair of our family council, I was a little worried about how this would be received. Some members have control issues and would likely not take too kindly to being told where to sit.

And then I had the brilliant idea of creating cookie place cards. I figured everyone would be so busy admiring them and munching on them that no one would even notice that they were being directed as to where to sit.

I needed a sturdy cookie dough that would survive the flight from Ottawa to Toronto. I decided on making two kinds of dough, Gingerbread  and  Brown Sugar Cookie  dough. I pulled out my alphabet cookie cutters. I can’t remember where I got these, but I do know that up until now, they had only been used with play-doh. I gave them a good scrubbing and got down to work.

It’s best to roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper while it is still soft and then chill until firm.

A table knife can be used to gently nudge the letters out of the cutter. Give them a bit of room on the cookie sheet as they do swell a bit with baking.

I decided to use royal icing to decorate the letters with. If you are new to decorating cookies, check out Sweetopia’s blog. She is really amazing and she has many videos that really show how to do it well. I used her Royal Icing Recipe for my cookies and it is one of the best I have tried. To colour the royal icing, I bought gel food colours from Americolor. The little squeeze bottles are great.

Here is a little video I made to demonstrate decorating the letters. I clearly need some videography courses!

Once I had all the letters, I needed to decide how to turn them into name cards. I decided to make cookie boards to “glue” the letter onto, using royal icing as the glue.

The icing needs to dry for at least 24 hours, before packaging it up.

I am happy to report that the cookie place cards were a big hit and family harmony was achieved. I think all would agree that the highlight of the weekend, planned by the “Fun Committee” (yes, we actually have a fun committee!) was dinner at a Mexican restaurant followed by bowling. It’s possible that margaritas and tequila shots may have been consumed!