June 27, 2012

Sweet Art

Lately, I've been teaching my 4-year old brother, Josiah, how to draw. Since he's still little, I try to keep his projects simple and fun. I let him choose whatever he wants to draw, and then we work on it together. Recently, he picked out a cookbook and told me he wanted to draw some of the desserts in it. I find it interesting that he gravitates towards sweets. It might have something to do with my sister's and my love for baking. ;) Like any other kid, he was most attracted to anything with lots of colors and sprinkles. He took out his little notebook and started sketching out these confections, with a little bit of help and instruction, of course. :)

I love how all of them turned out. The imperfect shapes and out-of-the-line colorings give these drawings charm that only a child can create. After drawing these desserts, he said to me, "We should probably draw something healthy too!" Haha..he's such a funny kid! I love you, Josiah!

June 15, 2012

Brush Embroidery Sugar Cookies {Step-by-Step + Video Tutorial}

I finally finished the 2nd part of my cookie tutorial! I have been busy with classes for the past few weeks, but it's done now that I have officially graduated from high school! Yippee!

Decorating cookies is one of my favorite things to do. It's kind of like art, except your medium is sugar. Not only are they pretty, but you also get to eat them! These cookies were inspired by SweetAmbs - she makes the prettiest cookies! It was so much fun to make these, albeit a little time consuming. I definitely have a newfound respect for food bloggers. I learned how much time actually goes into a blog post - from the baking, to the photography, editing, writing, etc. Maybe I should just stick with traditional art, huh? ;)

I didn't have my camera with me when I decorated these cookies, so most of the process pictures are Instagram-ed. There are two parts to this tutorial. 1st - making royal icing; 2nd - decorating. Alright, let's jump right into it!

To make Royal Icing, you will need:
  • Meringue Powder
  • Warm Water
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Orange Juice (or flavorings of your choice)

(1) Add 2 tablespoons of meringue powder into a mixing bowl.
(2) Then, add 4 tablespoons of warm water. (Or just go by 1 part meringue powder, 2 parts warm water)
(3) Mix until the meringue powder has dissolved completely. You will know it has dissolved when bubbles start to form.
(4) Add sifted confectioners sugar to the mixture. Start by adding 1 cup. The amount of sugar you add is dependent upon the consistency you want. For a thicker consistency, add more confectioners sugar. For thinner/runnier icing, add more warm water.
(5) Mix on medium speed until it is fully incorporated.(6) Next, add some freshly squeezed orange juice for some tang! You can omit this altogether and add other flavorings of your choice.(7) Mix again! Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Pop any air bubbles that have risen to the top. (Notice how the orange juice gave the icing a beige/cream tint.)
(8) Transfer your icing into a squeeze bottle or piping bag. I set some of the icing aside for different colors and consistencies.

Now, you are ready to decorate! You will need:
  • Cookies (Of course!)
  • Slightly runny icing
  • Thick icing (Green and Pink)
  • Toothpick or Chopstick
  • Food-safe Brush

(1) Place your cookie on a flat surface. (See my previous post on how to make these Chocolate Roll-out Cookies)
(2) Make an outline around the cookie with the icing that is slightly runny.
(3) Fill in the cookie with more icing. Be careful not to over flood it. 

(4) Drag a toothpick or chopstick around the icing to fill in the spaces.Once the cookie is dry to the touch, pipe a border around the cookie and add 3 dots in the middle. (See steps 5-8 in video below)
(5) Pipe out the shape of a leaf with the thick, green icing.
(6) Use a slightly damp, food-safe brush to pull the icing inwards.

(7) Pipe a line down the center of the leaf.
(8) Add a few more leaves. Get creative with your design!
(9) Using the thick, pink icing, pipe the shape of a flower.

(10) Again, pull the icing inwards with a slightly damp brush.
(11) Pipe the inner petals and repeat.
(12) Add a few more flowers, and you're done!
Here's a video to give you a closer look at how I piped the borders and leaves. This was my first time trying out both techniques. That's why my hands are a little shaky.

You don't even need a fancy piping bag - a ziploc bag will do! It definitely gets easier the more you practice. I hope you liked this tutorial and found it helpful :)