Have I ever got a treat for you today! The talented Hani of Haniela's Food & Photography invited me to be a part of a cookie collaboration of sorts, called Let's Smell the Flowers, where each person was to make a cookie (or cookies), inspired by a particular flower. There are so many purty, purty cookies by 18 other cookie decorators I'm about to share with you. Before we go on to that cookie gorgeousness, my entry…
I was given the dogwood flower, and was inspired by this photo of a dogwood, and this photo of a honeycomb for the base (have always wanted to try making the honeycomb, so decided to combine the two):
Isn't the real dogwood flower pretty? I hadn't actually paid much attention to this flower before, and now that I've spent some time 'with it', I appreciate its beauty. My version is no where near nature's, but here's my attempt:
I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try some different decorating techniques. The first one, the dogwood itself, was a little scary for me. Although I know some sugar flower basics, mine are usually simple and whimsical. I've wanted to really get into making sugar flowers, since about almost the same time I started decorating cookies, but cookies kind of took the front seat and sugar flowers
a backseat went by the wayside.
I've also always admired Jacqueline Butler's gorgeous flowers, so was thrilled to be able to learn from her through her online course on Craftsy.com. She teaches hydrangea and filler flowers, leaves (and more), in the course, so I tried to use similar techniques for the dogwood, and although mine aren't nearly as the level hers are, following Jacqueline step by step made everything so much easier. She's such a great teacher, and so thorough, I highly recommend her online course if you can't get to a class she teaches in a city near you.
To find more info. on her online Craftsy course, read her blog post about it here.
If you'd like to make the dogwood flower, there are a few tools you'll need. I got the cutters and silicon veiners at Sugar Delites Sugar Art & Supplies. (On facebook here). Jennifer, who runs the shop, was amazing – she promptly answers emails and really knows her stuff. Among other things, she helped me find a great leaf cutter, originally used for gardenias, which works really well for dogwood leaves. I'm not surprised she came recommended by Jacqueline Butler!
Things You'll Need to Make the Dogwood Flower:
- Fondant Rolling Pin
- Dogwood Cutter (I used the smaller one in the photo)
- Dogwood Veining Kit
- Gardenia Leaf Cutters
- Light Green Luster Dust
- Dark Green Luster Dust
For a basic video tutorial on making gumpaste flowers, click here, but I'll be the first one to tell you, it's no where near as good as the online course Jacqueline has on Craftsy.
How to Make A Honeycomb Cookie
Been wanting to try this for a loooong time now. Lines of royal icing piped on top of each other in the shape of hexagons, to simulate honeycombs.
The idea isn't difficult – I just printed a honeycomb pattern and projected it in my Kopykake and traced, but, now that I've tried it, there are a few things I'd do differently next time. Here are my notes:
- Try to line up the honeycomb image better, so that some of the edges aren't open.
- Make icing thicker – at first I tried my 10 second icing, hoping it would work, but guessing it might be a tad too runny. Yup… these lines need to be thicker so that they have more body. See the thickness of this icing here if you'd like to try it. I ended up using the thicker icing and could have saved some time with preparing my consistency.
- I probably could have made the honeycomb deeper, but…
- These take quite some time to make. I had originally planned to make six of these… that didn't last. This one cookie took me approximately one hour to pipe. Enough said.
- It was challenging to pipe nice, short lines. My lines definitely aren't perfect, and I had to use toothpicks quite a bit to fix mistakes.
- It helped to have a tiny amount of royal icing in my piping bag. It's easier to pipe (for me), when the piping bag is similar to the size of a pen or pencil.
All in all, it was neat to see the finished result.
If you'd like to make the honeycomb cookie, here's a basic how-to:
Things you'll need to make the honeycomb cookie:
- Royal Icing
- Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- Hexagon Cutter from Coppergifts
- Yellow Food Gel Coloring
- #1 PME Piping Tip
- Piping Bag and Coupler
- Honeycomb Pattern
- Kopykake Projector (for alternatives to the projector, see the bottom of my Kopykake projector tutorial)
Step 1: Once you've baked your cookies and flooded the base with yellow icing, and let it dry, you're ready to pipe the honeycomb. Trace the lines, one side at a time and one row at a time, until you've connected all the hexagons.
Step 2: Once you've done the bottom layer, go back to the first lines you began piping, which should be set by now, and pipe right on top of them. Repeat until you're happy with the height of the honeycomb.
Notes: See my notes above for more tips and ideas.
Oh, and one last thing about the honeycomb cookie… well, I can imagine biting into it would create a nice satisfying crunch, but I didn't try it. Still have it, not sure what I'll do with it. If you decide you'd like to make them for an order or otherwise, I highly recommend making only one or two and having other simpler cookies to accomodate them. That and make sure you share with whoever's eating them, that it's best to remove the gumpaste flower first, before eating. (It's edible, but not the tastiest).
How to Make Gumpaste Bees
Since it was my first time making these little bees, I think I need to practice a bit more before I share an in-depth tutorial with you, but in the meantime, I can share the simple basics.
What you'll need:
- Yellow and Black Food Gel
- Fine Paintbrush
- Pearl Luster Dust
- Mini Bugs Mould
Step 1: Knead a tiny piece of gumpaste and press the smoothest end into the bug mold of your choice. Make sure the entire cavity is filled.
Step 2: Gently trim the excess gumpaste with a sharp paring knife, so that the surface of the gumpaste is flush with the mould. Careful not to cute the silicon mould with your knife. (You do need a sharp knife to trim the gumpaste though).
Step 3: Put the mould in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Gently pop your shape out, let it dry for 24 hours, and paint with food gel of your choice.
Step 5: Lightly dust the bug's wings with pearl luster dust.
Note: I didn't trust myself to do tiny black lines on the bumblebees backs, but may give a shot next time with a really, really fine paintbrush (Not sure what's available, but a brush with only a few hairs maybe!)
Let's Smell the Flowers
So now on to the best part! Take a look at all the beautiful flower cookies for the Virtual Cookie Party, Let's Smell the Flowers! There are so many fabulous, gorgeous ideas here – I'm blown away by the talent and creativity of all these wonderful ladies! Below the flower images you'll find links to all the corresponding posts. I say, grab a cup of coffee or tea (or whatever you enjoy), put your feet up, and savour a walk in this cookie flower garden:
I love every single one of these gorgeous cookies and am happy to be included among such talented cookie artists! Thanks so much to Hani for organizing this collaboration and for inviting me!
Here are the links for you to parouse, and enjoy "smelling the flowers":
1. Black Eye Susan by Lisa, The Bearfoot Baker
2. Carnation by Meaghan, The Decorated Cookie
3. Cherry Tree Flower by Pam, Cookie Crazie
4. Daffodil by Georganne, LilaLoa
5. Daisy by Stephanie, Ellies Bites
6. Dogwood by Marian, Sweetopia
7. Gerbera by Paula, Vanilla Bean Baker
8. Hyacinth by Amber, SweetAmbs
9. Hydrangea by Kim, The Partiologist
10. Iris by Cristin, Cristin's Cookies
11. Lavender by Liz, Arty McGoo
12. Lily of The Valley by Hani, Haniela's
13. Lotus by Marlyn, Montreal Confections
14. Morning Glory by Glory, Glorious Treats
15. Orchid by Ali, Ali Bee's Bake Shop
16. Pansy Nicole, Life's A Batch
17. Poppy by Callye, SweetSugarBelle
18. Sunflower by Bea, Cancun Cookies
19. Tulip by Lorriane, LorrainesCookies