Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Unicorn Eggs

I read a post on Instagram the other day that suggested the unicorn craze should end now.
Are we ready for that?!
Not me...
Especially not with a unicorn cupcake class up next.
And I fully intend to add a unicorn cookie class onto the schedule, too.
So, no we have not had enough of unicorns. Yet!

These decorated eggs were inspired by @blogali's non-edible ones (found on Instagram).

These ones are all edible, though - candy eggs with modelling chocolate/ fondant blend decorations.

So quickly grab some of your kids' left-over Easter stash, and get decorating before the eggs (and the craze!) are gone.

Happy decorating!


Sunday, 23 April 2017

(Flat) Macarons

That's me. I'm done.
Overcooked in fact.
Two classes, 6 emergency cases at the hospital, and husband-less for the weekend.

He's gone cycling in the scenic Eastern Cape. Lovely. 

The last time he went away over a weekend, he took the kids with him. Better.
I had my Friday all laid out: set-up for the Saturday class, bake for tea. Then... R.E.L.A.X

I'd just set these unbaked macarons out, when I got a call to get to the hospital for an emergency.
Fine, I thought. An hour to develop a shell would be perfect, I thought.
But the case took three.
Ping ping ping!

So this is what macarons look like when they've had an extended resting time.
A little tired. A lot flat. And tending to fall apart more than normal.
(Oh. That's me, again.)

Thankfully, though, even if macarons don't look their best, they always taste great. 
These were filled with chocolate mint icing. And I used my standard macaron recipe
That's a very old post, with some pretty un-pretty pictures. I'll get round to fixing it sometime. But right now I have to deal with the ping. Time to switch off. 

Happy baking ... I'll be resting!


Friday, 14 April 2017

Speckled Bunnies Easter Cookies

What I didn't tell you when I wrote about selecting colours for Easter cookies  was that I had a completely different palette in mind for this year. 
I was about to start mixing up pale blue, grey and yellow icing when I had a last-minute rethink. 
I'd used that pretty combination here - too long ago! I really want to use it again.  
But I also really really wanted to speckle this batch of cookies. And brown speckles seemed better suited to the colours I finally went with. 

Here's how the speckled bunny cookie was made:

Print out a template. Lay acetate over it. Secure in place on a cookie tray using magnets/ tape. 

Give the cookie tray a jiggle or two to settle the icing and disperse bubbles. Allow to dry. 

Use a stiff bristled paintbrush dipped in a mixture of brown and white gel colours, and clear alcohol. 
Run your finger over the bristles to disperse droplets over the bunnies to create the speckles. 

Once the transfers are completely dry, lift them off the acetate (they should come away easy, but use a palette knife if necessary). If you're attaching the transfer to a dried cookie, use royal icing as the glue. 

And of course, every bunny needs a tail!
Use stiff icing with a closed star tip (eg. an Ateco 28) to pipe a pretty rosette. 

And that's the whole tail  tale 

Happy Easter decorating!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Chocolate Cake with Sprinkles.

Once upon a time there was chocolate cake, speckled eggs and sprinkles.
And they all lived ...

...well, ok - there was some ganache and chocolate cream cheese icing in the story too.  

And they all lived happily ever after. 

What? Not enough? 
I know new recipes have been a little thin on the ground here, recently. It's just been so very busy that I've been sticking to the tried and tested ones, whose stories you already know. 
But I do have a couple in development, and will share  them soon!


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Easter Cookies - Peach Royal Icing

Let's talk colours! It's been a while and you know it's one of my favourite topics.

After a theme is chosen, selecting colours is the next step. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes not.
I try and limit it to 5 main ones, because the addition of an extra colour for a class means filling another 6 bags of icing.
One crazy Easter we had 7 different colours ... 42 bags of icing. Yikes!

Easter can be particularly tricky. Pastels seem the obvious choice,  but what about those carrots and beaks (pesky hatched eggs!).
And (for me) the combination of orange and pastels is never... satisfactory.

So, it's taken me 5 years, but I've found the answer: Peach!
Talk about obvious (hashtag facepalm!)

This peach is a mix of soft pink and egg yellow (Cake Flora / Americolor gels)  It wasn't quite pastel enough, so I lightened it up with some bright white (bright white is a must have!)

The green (which is a more antique grey/green in reality), is made with a touch of navy blue and a dash of yellow.

And then there's that taupe again ... colour 💘

After the iced cookies were dry, I added dimension by dry brushing on some peach dusting colour.

And that's as orange as we're going this Easter... just peachy 😉

Happy decorating!


Monday, 27 March 2017

Tribal Chic Cookies

Just as I was scheduling this Tribal Chic themed cookie class, my lovely friend Lauri from Treat Boutique added tee-pees, feathers and arrows to their cookie cutter range.
Such great timing! I couldn't wait for the class to arrive so that I could get tee-pee decorating.   

But after I made the initial demos, I wasn't thrilled with my results. They were too blah. Missing something. Just... blah.  

So I went looking for inspiration on Google and Pinterest. (Thank goodness for Google and Pinterest!)
These cookies by Bee Sweet Confections had already caught my eye.
I wasn't going to make them, however, because I don't (didn't!) have a fox-face cutter. 
But I kept on being drawn back to them. They were so appealing. I loved the angularity of that face...
And eventually it dawned on me that I could make the fox face. It was all in those angles!

I suspect that this is the way that Bee Sweet made them, too. (Such a clever fox!) 

Using a set of hexagon cutters (also from Treat Boutique)... 

....cut out a large hexagon, then use a small hexagon to cut out a portion of the cookie dough. 



As it turns out, the fox face and wood-look plaque (also a later addition) turned out to be two of my favourites in this set. 

And can you see that the dream catcher is the same plaque as the wood-look cookie just with the one side taken off? 

As much as I love getting new cutters, I also love making cookies from creative use of the cutters I already have. So foxy  ;o)

Happy decorating!


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Flamingo Cookies

It's only twice a year that I make multiples of a cookie design (for each of my children's parties), and every time I do, I'm grateful that its only about 25 of them. I don't know how bakers/ decorators make dozens and dozens of a particular cookie and still maintain their creative passion (and not develop a serious case of the cookie-crazies!)

So when I do make multiples, I try to come up with ways to make it as easy as possible.
Like keeping the design and colour palette simple, using royal icing transfers, or a using a template like I did with this design.

 It looks like multiple steps (and it is!) but the guess work and fiddle-factor is taken out of it by having an outline to follow. The background icing (green and airbrushed gold dots) were done on one day, and the flamingos the next.  No cookie-craziness required!

 ... Well, no more than usual!

Happy decorating!