Feb 26

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FAQs for Cookie Decorating & Kokeshi Decorated Cookies

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Konnichiwa!

Continuing with the Around the World cookie theme, we’re travelling to Japan with these Kokeshi cookies.

But first, a little bit about a new section on Sweetopia, the FAQs.

I often get questions about decorating cookies; whether it be as to spots on icing to recipes, the same questions arise.

So, I’ve created a place, besides the tutorial section here, where you can hopefully find the answers to your cookie decorating questions. They’re in this post below and you can always find them at bottom of Sweetopia here:

Frequently Asked Questions – Cookie Decorating

Click on the pink questions below to find the answers:

What is a Kopykake Projector, how do you use it, and where do you buy it?
A Kopykake projects an image downwards, sideways etc. so that cakes, cookies or any item can be easily traced onto. It is unique in that the light isn’t underneath the baked goods, but hangs above so as not to melt the icing etc. Click here for more information.

 

If I can’t buy the projector, are there other options for decorating more difficult designs without it?
Yes, there are other options. Check out the Kopykake How-To and more info. by clicking here for other options. Scroll down to close to the bottom of the tutorial for your answers.

 

How do you figure out the best icing consistency for decorating?
Here is a video which demonstrates an easy way of finding a good royal icing consistency for cookie decorating.

 

My cookies spread during baking. How can I avoid the spreading?
Here is a post which shares the Top 10 Tips on Preventing Cookies from Spreading.

 

How long do you dry your cookies for? How long do you dry your cookies for in between decorating stages?
There are a few factors to consider when drying your decorated cookies, such as humidity, and the details on your cookies. Watch a video here on how to dry cookies decorated with royal icing.

 

Why do my cookies go soft after I’ve decorated them and they should be drying?
There are a few factors to consider when drying your decorated cookies, especially humidity. Watch a video here on how to dry cookies decorated with royal icing.

How long does it take to make and decorate cookies?
Depending on whether or not you’d like to make to make them in a shorter time frame, or longer time frame, here are two, free, printable Cookie Decorating Schedules.

 

What is the shelf life of decorated cookies?/ How long do decorated cookies stay fresh? /How many days ahead can I make my decorated cookies?
Click here to find information on the shelf life of decorated cookies.

Sometimes little craters form when my icing is drying, especially in smaller decorated areas. How do I avoid that?
It’s a frustrating issue! Find more information on it in this post here.

Little spots formed on my cookies when they were drying – why did that happen and how do I prevent it from happening again?
The dreaded spots! Read a post here on how to avoid them.

 

How do you outline and fill in cookies?
Watch a how-to video on outlining and flooding cookies here.

 

Do you use the same icing to outline and fill in cookies?
Yes, I do. There are many different ways to decorate cookies. Using the same icing for outlining and filling in generally works for me, as it saves time in preparing two icing consistencies for each icing colour. Watch a how-to video on how I outline and flood cookies here.

 

What is flooding a cookie? How do you do it?
Watch a how-to video on how I outline and flood cookies here.

Help! My icing colors keep bleeding into each other! How do I stop that from happening again?
Find information on preventing your icing from bleeding here.

 

What recipe do you use for your cookie base?
You can find my favorite recipes in the recipe tab at the top of this web site. Here’s a link for you as well.

 

What royal icing recipe do you use?
For decorated cookies, I use this icing, for gingerbread houses, this one.

 

How do you marble or swirl the icing colors together?
Watch a video on swirling royal icing by clicking here.

 

How do you store royal icing? How long can you keep it?
That’s easy! Click here to find out.

 

Do you have a good icing for gingerbread houses?
For gingerbread houses, I use this recipe.

 

How do you freeze your decorated cookies? How about undecorated ones?
You can find information on freezing decorated or undecorated cookies in this post and in the comment section below it.

 

I’m having trouble piping lines. Do you have any tips?
Watch a video on how to pipe royal icing lines here.

 

Why do I get little dots or small blobs of icing at beginning of my piped lines?
Watch a video on how to pipe royal icing lines here.

 

My piping tips keep clogging, what can I do?
An issue especially present with small piping tips. Here are some solutions for you.

How do you color your icing black?
Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. Click here for a how-to.

 

How do you color your icing red?
Essentially, the same way you colour all darker icings, Click here for a how-to and just use red food gel coloring.

 

What is disco dust and how do you use it?
Click here to find out all you need to know about disco dust.

 

Where do you buy your disco dust?
Click here to find out all you need to know about disco dust and here for one place to buy it online.

 

How do you make royal icing decorations?
Click here for a tutorial.

 

I can’t find meringue powder. Do you have a royal icing recipe I could use without meringue powder please?
Yes, you need to make royal icing with egg whites. Here is a recipe.

 

How do you make edible ink cookies?
Find a step-by-step tutorial on putting edible images on your cookies here.

 

How do you ship decorated cookies?
After all the love you put into making your cookies, you want to make sure they arrive to your recipient intact! Find a how-to on shipping over here.

 

How do you make cookie pops?
Watch a video on making cookie pops on my YouTube channel here.

What should I buy to decorate cookies? What do I need to buy to decorate cookies? What are your favorite decorating tools?
Find a video on my favorite cookie decorating tools by clicking here.

 

Do you use the squeeze bottles to decorate your cookies?
For some reason, I find filling the decorating bottles harder than filling a piping bag, so would rather use a piping bag. You can find a video on all my favorite cookie decorating tools by clicking here.

 

How do you get your icing to look so shiny?
Check out the bottom half of this post for an experiment on shiny royal icing. Besides the information here, some cookie decorators have shared that some people like to use a gentle fan on the cookies while the icing is drying. Apparently that helps with the shine, although when I’ve seen cookies which have dried under a fan, I don’t see the difference than ones which have dried without the fan.

 

I’m new to cookie decorating, do you have any tutorials you would recommend first please?
Besides watching videos on my YouTube channel here, a good place to begin might be my Cookie Decorating Tutorial, my Top 10 Tips, some Key Mistakes to Avoid, and How to Flood with Royal Icing. Scrolling through this tutorial section to see what you need help with would be a good place to start, too.

 

Where do you find your inspiration?
I love that question! I see the world in cookies! ;-) The beginning of this post explains it more…

 

How do you stencil on cookies?
Such a fun and easy way of decorating cookies! Watch a stencilling video how-to here.

 

Where can I order your cookies?
I don’t do cookie orders, as I work full-time as a culinary arts teacher, and don’t have the time. There are some very talented cookie decorators which you can find here on Sweetopia’s Decorator Directory, who do sell their cookies.

 

How can I get on your cookie directory?
The registration information is here.

 

What is icing sugar? Is it the same as powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar?
Yes, they’re different names for the same thing.

 

How do I enter the Sweet of the Month Contest?
There is a certain time period that submissions are open. Please to find out when submissions are open. You can find more information on the Sweet of the Month Contest here.

 

What does royal icing transfer mean?
You can find that definition, with tutorial links, in my sugar-crafter’s Glossary, by clicking here.

Kokeshi Decorated Cookies

So what are kokeshi?

According to Wikipedia:

“Kokeshi (こけし kokeshi), are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist.”

I’ve been seeing them around everywhere, and am drawn to their cuteness, or as I’ve recently learned, how ‘kawaii’ they are. (Kawaii means cute in Japanese).

There are so many more Japanese-themed cookies I’d like to make, like cherry blossoms and traditional temples, but I’ll have to leave those for another time. If you’d like to make these and would like a little more variation, these fan cookies here, would go nicely together, I think.

Thank you so much to author of the Kokeshi Kimono Book, Annelore Parot, for the cookie design! Her work is simply adorable, and besides publishing several kokeshi-themed books and journals, she even has a site dedicated to her Kokeshi dolls.

I changed the color palette and patterns a bit, because the tiny print patterns were a bit difficult for me to achieve on a small cookie. If you’re interested in trying these, one thing which could work, would be to print the patterns out on edible ink paper link – that way you’d have an exact match!

Some of my colour and pattern inspiration came from this My Little Shoebox scrapbooking paper…

which I played around with on a simple circle cookie first. I’ve learned with experience (the hard way – lol), that a design I might like to do doesn’t always work out. So I’d rather experiment on simple cookie, or on parchment paper, first, before I use up the cookie shapes I need.

By the way, the reason why the smaller kokeshi cookies are a darker base colour than the larger ones, is because I forgot to put the timer on when they were in the oven, and almost ended up burning them!  I generally like the look of a just-baked shortbread cookie, but actually didn’t mind how the small kokeshis turned out… and I ended up enjoying the slightly caramelized taste too.

The kokeshi below was inspired by the colours of this small bowl from Anthropologie.

The fan pattern on the cookie below, was inspired by a Japanese kleenex pouch, given to me a few weeks ago by my dear friend Kim, who was recently in Japan to watch her son compete in the Karuizawa International Curling Championship in Karuizawa Japan. Congrats to Cory and his team on winning Men’s Silver!

If you’d like to make these cookies, besides a recipe of your choice, royal icing, and the cookie decorating basics (list of materials I use and tutorial there), a few extra items I ended up using were:

And if you like video, you can find some video tutorials here.

I’d love to see some of your Japanese-themed cookies, if you’d like to share them on my facebook page here, or if you’ve got some ideas for a Japanese theme, please feel free to leave a comment below! In case you missed it, I began my Around the World travelling series of decorated cookies in Paris, France, and asked you:

Where in the world do you live? Are there buildings, things or symbols from your city or country which you think would make great cookies?

 

Share your thoughts with me here in the comment section below, or you can share them on Facebook or twitter. I can’t wait to see where you’re from and which cookies you’d love to see!

Have fun creating!

or

楽しい装飾があります!

xo,

Marian

p.s. I hope Google translate worked. ;-)

p.s.s.  If you’d like to never miss a post, and/or receive more tips on cookie decorating, click on this button below to sign up:

 

p.s.s.s. Follow Me on Pinterest

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76 Comments

  1. marian
    March 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
    51

    @ Jany@SuperCuteCookies, @ K&B N., @ Ninang: Thanks for visiting!
    Hi @ rasparise: Yes, I cut them out by hand.

    Hi @ Jennifer Tan:
    For the face, Americolor copper – a tiny bit! I don’t have a guide for colours but I will add that to my post ‘to do’ list. For the brown, chocolate brown (lots) with a little bit of black. Hope that helps!

    Thanks @ Tatyana! I’ll go check it out, and yes, I cut them by hand. You could make these as transfers, yes, buuut, transfers are very fragile, so you would need to make extra just in case. A lot of work if they break! If you make them small, chances of breakage are less btw.
    Hope that helps!

    @ Kristen: The cookies are about 3/4 of a cm thick.

  2. Brooklyn
    March 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
    52

    These are so cute! My only question is can u make these as transfers or will it be harder?

  3. marian
    March 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
    53

    Hi @ Brooklyn: Please read the comment above yours. ;-)

  4. March 9, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink
    54

    Amazing!! You make them so perfect, that you should frame them.

  5. Achee
    March 11, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink
    55

    You should be banned from doing such work ;)
    You make us feel so jealous, me for sure :)

  6. March 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
    56

    holy crap! i love these! someday i will master this craft. i HAVE to!!! you are so very talented. :)

  7. Katie
    April 5, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink
    57

    These are beautiful…we lived in Japan for 3 1/2 years and I fell in love with these dolls and came home with my own little collection of them! They are definetly near and dear to my heart. I would like to give them a try (though they won’t hold a light to yours) and send them to my husband who is currently deployed (tips on mailing oversees would be great too!) I was wondering if you could give be a time-line for the process. I’m fairly new to this and sometimes have a hard time figuring out the breakdown of layers and steps and drying time. I see that some of your cookies you decorate over the course of several days…is it ok to leave them out that long or do they get stale. I know you said the drying icing works as a sealant…but what about when your flooding is dry and you are just drying small details? Sorry for all the questions and that this is so long…you are so inspiring and such a great help! Thanks!

  8. April 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
    58

    Hi @ Katie: Smaller details will only take a few hours… I leave them overnight to dry for large areas of flooding. One tip for you… make a cookie as a ‘test’ cookie… one you can poke and prod, or bite into, to see if everything is dry. That way you’ll know for sure.
    Also, you might want to check out my Cookie Decorating Schedule (in the tutorial section), if you haven’t already.
    I love kokeshi dolls too, and loved reading your story. All the best to you and your hubby! xo

    Thanks everyone for your lovely comments!

  9. sylviana
    May 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
    59

    Marian, thank you so much for your blog and tutorials!! These cookies are beautiful!! I tried to make these Japanese doll cookies and they turned out great..well..not as good as yours. But for someone who has never made cookies with royal icing before, I am very pleased with the result! Thank you so much for your great information and tips. You are a great teacher!!

  10. marian
    May 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
    60

    That is wonderful, @ sylviana! I’m so glad to hear it! xoxo

  11. Carrie
    October 21, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink
    61

    Maybe I missed it but how did you get the cookie base cut out to match the doll?

    • marian
      October 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
      62

      Hi Carrie,
      I hand cut the dough (cut out a template and traced around it).
      xo

  12. cheryl s.
    October 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
    63

    I am absolutely in love with these Kokeshi Dolls. Did you ever make a video tutorial for making them? I think there would be a lot of happy people out there, including myself, if you did.
    Thanks so much.

    • marian
      October 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
      64

      Aww, thanks Cheryl! I’m sorry I don’t have a tutorial, but will add it my list now. xo

  13. Kimberly Harbaugh
    February 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink
    65

    Thank you for all the info you have put out there! I have a question that no one has mentioned, when I have piping incing in my pastry bags my hands seem to warm it and it becomes to loose, also when I leave the piping in the pastry bag overnight, it separates and is looser. Do you have any suggestions for me?
    I LOVE your tutorials, your cookies are gorgeous!

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