Chat with Evelin Milanesi of Evelindecora

Welcome, Evelin. It's so great to have you with us today!
Good morning! It is a great honor to me to be here today to chat with you, please be good....only easy questions!
Before we get started, just a few housekeeping notes for newbies to our chats: questions are answered in the order received, but they will not post to the public/viewable area of the chat until Evelin reads and answers them. We'll work through questions that were logged in advance first; then start working on questions asked live during the chat. That said, please be patient and do not re-post the same question. It may take some time to answer your question, depending on where it sits in the queue. But I will personally make sure every question gets answered before we're through!
Please also ask just one question at a time - it's easier for the featured guest to keep track of questions and for others to follow the dialogue this way. Thanks again!
OK, we're ready to start on the questions that were logged in advance. Hang onto your seats; this is going to be a great chat!
Hi Evelin! And welcome to Cookie Connection's live chat! I, as a beginner, am thrilled that someone with your amazing talent takes the time out of your schedule to share your cookie decorating expertise here! And for allowing us to get to know you better. I read in the live chat introduction that you have been decorating cookies for only two years!! When you think back on some of your first cookie decorating projects, what decorating style/techniques did you begin with? And how have you developed your skills in just two years to create the remarkable cookie art that we see today?
DANA: Hi Dana! It is a great pleasure to me to share my cookies here in Cookie Connection; I have met so many talented artists that really inspires my work. In Italy cookies are not as popular as in your country, so this is the right place to get in touch with new ideas and interesting techniques. Two years ago when I've tried for the first time to work with royal icing I've chosen wet on wet; inspired by Sweetambs and Julia Usher cookies. At that time I didn't have a sac a poche and tips but just a coffee spoon and a toothpick! After two months I finally decided to buy the right tools and I definately fell in love with intricate piping and needlepoint works. I have been painting copies and murals since I was a little girl, so, now it is very easy to me to decorate cookies. These are art miniatures, all of us can express ourselves through this beautiful and unusual way such as on canvas or walls, therefore I like cookies so much! ....and, this is my trick to make perfect cookies: when I have to prepare four cookies for a class, for example, I only bake four cookies, not one more; so, I know I cannot do mistakes at all or I will have to switch the oven again on......it works!!!
Wow - I always make back-ups in the event of mistakes! You're courageous!
DANA: this is my first attempt with royal icing using a spoon and a toothpick
Wow - again! Can't believe these were done with a spoon and toothpick!
I'd love to know how she achieves such precise lines devoid of imperfections. And I'd love her royal icing recipe.
LAUREN: Hi Lauren! To make perfect stripes I can advice you to use the right materials for first thing. I always use a very thin tip and a little sac a poche with not more than 20 grams of stiffy (but not too much!) RI inside. I close it and cut off the plastic queue, so I can work easily and write on cookies like I'd do with a pencil or a brush. At the beginning of the stripe I anchor it on cookie with a small dot (with exercise it becomes invisible), then I lift up my hand and carry this line where I need. If you try to 'write' the line onto the cookie the result will be a zig-zag stripe; always lift it up. As you know, raw egg white is not safe for health and it doesn't exsist a home-made way to pasteurize it; so use this recipe only to decorate cookies that you are not going to eat like hanging Christmas ones or trial cookies. 25 grams of egg white and 125 grams of confectionary sugar: beat it for ten minutes at low speed to obtain a stiffy consistency then add few water to reach the run-out one. For edible and safe RI you can use instead a powder mix 'ready to go' made only with very thin and refined confectionary sugar and dried pasteurized albumen.
I hope I will be here for the chat! Evelin is marvelous and I want to warmly welcome here in case I am not. My question for her is how does she work with such delicate 00 piping with such ease. Mine clogs and makes delicate piping a nightmare even though I sift the eggs and PS (powdered sugar). Thanks Julia!
Tina's question is the last advance question, so start firing up other questions now!
TINA: Dear Tina thanks for your kind works, you are always so nice to me ❤️ PME 00 is the thinest tip I know, it is possible to pipe such delicate and unbelievable laces. I suggest you to start with a PME 1 to exercise on stripes and dots. Remember that stripes are perfect if you use a very stiffy concistency, instead, dots need a little bit melted stiffy RI. Sometimes your stripes while you decorate needlepoint break....because you surely forget to squeeze the sac a poche continiusly. A sac a poche is not a pencil, it is a new tool for the all of us....it is not natural to squeeze a pencil! If you try again with PME00 ,remembering this advice, you will pipe hundreds of perfect stripes! Let me know.....
OK, we're moving onto live questions. Please be patient as these may take a bit longer to answer, because answers are being typed real-time! Ready, Evelin?!
KATIA: Hi Katia! So happy to see you here too First of all you must pipe a face and a neck using run-out concistency, then when it is dried, pipe on all the details with a tiny tip using stiffy concistency
Evelin, please remember to post your answer only after I have posted the question!
Here's the question that Katia asked . . .
Hi Julia and Evelin! Thank you for this chat! Evelin, I love your work! It's just art! I would like to ask how you make the 3d figures like silhouette.
Bonjour Evelin, good to talk to you ! what is a sac a poche please ?
I think it's a pastry bag!
Hi Fabienne!!! Yes, it is a pastry bag, I like the plastic transparent ones.
thanks Julia :-)
It sounds like you cut the seam off the sides of those bags though, so it doesn't interfere with your piping. Did I understand that correctly?
Any questions from anyone else as Evelin is answering mine?
Evelin, did you see my question about seams on your bags?
Yes! I think it is easier to work this way. Small pastry bags are not on sale here, I should work with a 44 cm with a very long queue....impossible!
some of your cookies have a key... do you pipe it ?
Yes, of course!
Good evening to both of you sweet ladies! Evelin, I am a great admirer of your art! Could you tell us how you make your 3d silhouettes please?
Katia - I believe she answered this question earlier in the chat? Did we miss something?
Ahahah!!!
Here's what was posted earlier to Katia's question: KATIA: Hi Katia! So happy to see you here too First of all you must pipe a face and a neck using run-out concistency, then when it is dried, pipe on all the details with a tiny tip using stiffy concistency
congrats ! it's so thin !
Not all of us are born artist. What is the best way for us to develop our piping abilities?
FABIENNE: I use PME1 tip to pipe tiny details! Just try and you will see the result!
Sorry, I typed it twice cause the first time it seemed like it my question was not accepted...
TINA: HI!!! Just collecting beautiful pictures of very well done cookies and studying them, a lot of exercise, I think that's all! At least this is what I usually do ^^
I will gracie !
So while we're waiting for questions from others, I have a couple for you!
FABIENNE: Let me know, can't wait to see your Keys!
JULIA: BE GOOD!!!
Can you give us any insight into what cookies you're planning to demonstrate at Cookie'sCool? And how did you select those projects?
I'll start with easy ones . . .
JULIA: you are telepathic!!! I have just finished them this morning!
Oh, really! Do tell!
JULIA: I made two sets, an easier one and an advanced one. People usually is very interested in painting on royal icing, so, the advance one is all handpainted!
Great, I'd love to sit in on your painting class!
Here's a comment from Tina that relates to her earlier question about how to develop your artistic skills. You mentioned that you study others' cookies . . .
I find when I watch Julia or other's videos or tutorials I think to myself how easy they break it down to an understandable level. something I couldn't do on my own by just looking at the cookie.
JULIA: The advance one is a little bit Russian style, I am not sure you will like it.....you could find it boring, as it is full of needlepoint too!
Oh, I'm sure I'll love it.
TINA: Before I forgot to answer you about clogging!
(Thanks, Tina) I agree, it's sometimes hard for me to dissect others' work just from looking at photos.
Yes, what do you do to prevent clogging?
TINA: European confectionary sugar is not good to prepare RI, if you use a good RI mix your tips won't clog anymore! I suggest you this wonderful product: Squires Kitchen Professional; you will see the difference.
Hi Evelyn, I'm amazed about your talent! I want to ask you about painting on cookies, what do you use? Thank you and congrats!
JULIA: I've learnt to keep always beside me a cup full of boling water, I sop the tip up, and everything is still ok. Stiffy dries so quicly.
KAROLA: Hi Karola! I Always use Americolr gels, thay are perfect and dry very fast. Use also a 'fine art' round brush with a little bit of water, but not too much because RI is made of sugar and it could melt!
Good idea! I always wrap my tips with a bit of plastic wrap when I'm not piping with them and that helps too. I found the powdered sugar in Europe to be the culprit though - the brands that have been used in many of my classes are very gritty and plug my tips more than I'm used to.
Do you use just one type of brush (the round brush) or several types for different effects?
JULIA: Me too! But students always forget it, so, I prefer to use this method
I use a very tiny brush 000 to paint animals and details and a bigger one (1 or 2) for brush embroidery
How do you store your finished decorated cookies?
My cookies must stay alive for months, I put them inside acetate transparent bags very far from light. Sunlight can turn your cookies from pink to grey in few hours.
Love your work! Approximately how long does it take you to pipe one of your cookies?
KRISTIN: Three days
KRISTIN: I tell you why...
Don't you use vodka or white colour powder for dissolving/thinning your colors?
Oops, sorry. I got ahead of you. Please explain why before answering Karola's next question.
Seriously 3 day! Oh my goodness. Works of art. But Julia yours take longer so you are both woman of great patience.
KRISTIN: It is a great thing to put your baked cookies on kitchen paper for two/three hors before piping them, because butter can spot them. I lose one Whole day only to do this, but it wirks!!!
KAROLA: Only water.
Mine don't always take longer actually. I rarely work more than a couple of hours a day in the kitchen, as I am working on lots of other projects (this site being one). So I spread things out over longer periods because I have to. I can do most all of my projects in 1 or 2 days, which is how long they take in my classes (this includes drying time).
KRISTIN: I wanted to write....it works
So it is the powdered sugar that is killing us? How are all these girls from Russia and other Eastern countries working fine lace; their powdered sugar has to be worse than ours.
Good question, Tina? I'm not sure what sugar the Eastern Europeans are using? Evelin, your thoughts on this?
TINA: Yes! You are right, I often think about their RI, maybe it doesn't contain sugar at all. We should ask, and I also would like their cookie recipe!
All I know, is I can hear the grit in some of the sugar that we used in Italy, Spain and Portugal this year. It literally makes scraping noises as you stir it. I've never experienced that with the C&H brand that I use in the US.
How do you avoid humidity spots on cookies? It's a big problem with my cookies.
KAROLA: Your spots are due to butter, in my opinion, not to humidity! Try to put them on kitchen paper before decorating them, you will have White beautiful surfaces!
Aniko has her's posted on her blog, it is more of a ginger cake which rises then a hard cookie.
But what about her icing recipe? It must use powdered sugar, no?
I hear it too here in Greece. Ahah so that is my problem!
Evelin and Julia: what is better: practicing the needlepoint directly in a real cookie or in a parchment paper?
ANA: I think it is better to practice onto a real cookie.....because you can turn it and be more comfortable
Agree - parchment paper can also be very wavy, which makes it harder to get straight lines. I always pipe out a few lines on my work surface (table) before I start on a cookie, just to be sure the icing is flowing well for me.
Hi Evelin!! I am such a fan of your beautiful creations! I used to draw and paint a lot too. Since having my twins and switching to baking I have found art in new forms, including cookies! What is the best medium you use to mix your colors with and what brand do you feel works the best for "painting" and does not mess with the already dried RI?
WINN: I don't use mediums. Try Americolor gels, they are the best to paint on fondant and RI. Just use them with a tiny brush.
Hi, Winn, I think this was answered earlier in the chat (Americolor with a bit of water) . . . See more detail in the transcript above.
hello Evelin, it is true that in Italy it still uses the little donut decorated but it is becoming a craze .. at least for me!
I know that you also have another job (which I also appreciate) but I was wondering if you think you can make a real job in Italy also decorated cookies .. sure, for artists of your skills! I'd like there were any proffessioniste cookie art! Sabrina
SABRINA: Hi Sabrina! This has become a real job now!!! I teach every Saturday cookie decorating in different schools (and cities), the Whole week is dedicated to bake and pipe cookies. I have no time for other things now. I still paint sometimes but, it is hard to match both things!
Great - congrats!
So sorry...I must have missed that part!
No worries - the chat moves pretty fast.
Also, how do you get your surfaces so smooth with no air bubbles or craters at all...any trick?
Try to use the K whisk instead of the normal ones. You won't have bubbles anymore in your run-out. I make run-out inside the mixing machine (Kitchen Aid I mean) because also using the spoon is a damage for run-out!
P.S. You should post more of your events on our event calendar on Cookie Connection, Evelin. We have many members in your area who I am sure would love to attend your classes.
Julia I just looked up Aniko's recipe and yes, she use powdered sugar and egg white. Go figure!
We'll have to interview her next and ask her about the brand she uses!
JULIA: Really? Ok, thanks for this opportunity, I will surely do it <3
Oh, yes! Anyone can post their events and classes there. I encourage it.
I am also trying to build my site as I build my business and was wondering if you had any tips on how to utilize the web better and what is best to include/not include! Thanks!!
JULIA: <3 <3 <3
I only post those that I hear about, which are mine or larger group events, most of the time.
I just don't have the bandwidth to post more, so I rely on the community to post what they hear about, or their own events.
I think Facebook is a great advertise to us! A blog or a website takes away too much time, isn't it Julia? How do you do all the things you do??? Your day lasts 30 hours not 24!
Don't you have a blog though?
JULIA: YES
Shameless self promotion disclaimer: Cookie Connection is also a great way to advertise yourself.
Extending the chat a few minutes so we can get the questions in the queue answered.
A GREAT HUGE BIG way!!!
JULIA: Sorry, I am so lazy in typing
Not at all - this always happens. Questions seem to pick up toward the end.
Larger blogs often pick up content off Cookie Connection and share it. This has been happening more and more lately. Some images on the site have tens of thousands of views.
I was also wondering about your fine lines and detail. I will try the PME 00. Thank you.
I am not sure if this has been asked, but have you ever considered live tutorials? Like You Tube?
I think CC has help many of us to get out there.
ALI: Tina is a fan of 00, I am not! I use PME 1 to pipe almost everything. use pressure piping method and you will have different sizes of dots and stripes!
ALI: I also would love to make video tutorials!!!! I am a disaster with the camera. I am a perfectionist, so, I am afraid to edit a bad unuseful thing!
certainly teach is beautiful, but a few from us (Italy) professionally produce on demand cookies decorated so beautiful .. must publicize more in exhibitions of the cake design?
SABRINA: You mean: you would like to sell decorated cookies?
I think she's asking how one builds a business selling highly decorated art cookies, right?
Me, fan of 00?  It will be the death of me!
I would love to see you in action! Disaster and all.lol Really though, your work is perfect and I think you would be a huge success!
Great! I have had troubles with my 00.
Good morning Julia and Evelin, thank you both for sharing with us this morning...
SABRINA: It is not easy with Italian laws to sell cookies working at home. It is better to teach. Anyway I think that facebook and also cake design events can help a lot!
Which cookie artist you admire the most?
ALI: OK!!! You will see me in action , promised!
TINA: Come on Tina!!!
It's also hard to make a living in the US just making highly decorated anything. There is only a small market willing to pay the premium prices such art needs to command. I had a much "rounder" portfolio of products (simple to elaborate) when I had my bakery, so there were more affordable options for more people. Since all I do is teach now, I can focus on more elaborate as people seem willing to pay for instruction (more than consumption).
That is so exciting!! I am looking forward to it. Thank you!
WINN: My blog is only dedicated to decorated stuff, I like it so much this way but, visitors are not one million per year. If you organize a blog dedicated to easier treats than mine I am quite sure you will reach much more visitors than mine!
Evelin, you missed a question that was posted earlier. Here it is again . . .
From Karola: Which cookie artist you admire the most?
Here's the question that Winn asked about the blog.
JULIA: I agree!!! OPS, I forgot the most important question of the day!!!!
That is what I meant...do you find the blog helpful? What do you think people like to see in it the most? Recipes, tutorials, etc...
Winn - Evelin answered this question a few posts ago. Sorry for the misplaced question.
KAROLA: Sweetambs, Julia Usher, McGoo, Ali's, Emma's, Mintlemonade, I get inspiration by all of them!!!! And many others more!
Do you think it would be a good idea improving the quality of powdered sugar including a little bit of corn starch for RI recipe?
ANA: I've never tried it, indeed, I don't know.
You made my day. Thank you so much and I feel the same! xoxo
ALI: xoxo
Most brands of powdered sugar actually have cornstarch in them already, to help with de-clumping.
It may be that some of the European brands have less cornstarch than those in the US . . .
. . . but I also think the sugar is less finely ground to start (i.e., the grit issue that I referred to earlier). I always work with a 10X and not a 6X grind, for instance.
Hi Evelin! First of all, big hug from Italy! Here's my question... Apart from Americolor, which other color brand do you use or do you think is the best? I don't use Americolor  because I read that they're not approved form EFSA (European FDA) since I have a baby and he eats them (sorry, professional bias and mother worrying). So I always struggle from brand to brand... <3
Good question!
hahah .... I certainly do not! but I'd like there was more expression and professional possibilities in this! see you soon dear
JENNY: Hi!!!! You can also try Modecor gels but, it is not the same thing.
Posting a series of comments now . . .
I am sitting in awe of you and your talent, you always leave me inspired!!
ahhh.. I think so because in Spain the quality is not so good to RI recipe
SABRINA: <3
And when I looked at Aniko's recipe for you, Julia, she also adds corn starch and I thought that strange.
What or who has been your greatest inspirations? Mine are my children first
No problem ladies! I also see Evelin answered inspirations! I get inspirations from three of those ladies and many more myself <3 <3 <3
KIM: <3 <3 <3
Can I say thank you to Julia and the people interviewed in these chats as I find them very interesting and learn so much!
I hope it's okay to suggest this. You can make your own powedered sugar by grinding table sugar in a food processer. I've done it in a pinch.
Agreed! I am thankful to you Julia for Cookie Connection! It has helped me to meet some amazing people and connect within the craft! I am leaning so much and gaining more confidence in the craft!!
Liesbet: I am so happy it can be helpful!!
Thanks for the kind words about Cookie Connection. Onto more questions for Evelin . . .
WINN: Thank you!
In review, piping other than dots should be stiffer? I just got the tip oo yesterday, wish me luck...You are such an inspiration to so many...
I am late for a wedding so must run. Thank you Julia and Evelin for this wonderful time with you both!!!! And everyone else! Love you all!!!!
Love you too, Tina! Thanks for your consistent support - have fun at the wedding.
TERI: A 00 is really too tiny to start, anyway, good luck for your wedding cookies!!! Yes, use a stiffier concistency!
I never actually tried Modecor... What do you think of Squire Kitchen!!! By the way, can't wait to see you in Genova! I'll be there....also I promise I'll attend one of your class in Milano!! It will be awesome to finally in person...
TERI: Sorry!!! It is Tina that must go to a wedding, not you to bake cookies for it, ahahah!!!
If there are any final questions for Evelin, please post them now! We have about 5 minutes left in the chat (I extended it AGAIN . . .)
Evelin, did you see Jenny's Q about Squire Kitchen above?
Congratulations to Tina and her husband on 33 years married today!
JENNY: Modecor gels are approved by Italian laws, anyway use colours (every of each) in a moderate quantity for your children, that's the trick!!! See you in Genos, a big hug <3
Congrats to Tina!
Congrats to Tina, who has left the chat!
Sorry Julia but, what does 10X grind mean for sugar?
It refers to the coarseness of the screens used to process the ground sugar. 10X is finer than 6X.
The major brands of powdered sugar in US are all 10X.
I am all set for now! Thank you again lovely ladies!!
LOL more weddings more practice!!!
WINN: Thank you so much to have joined us!
ok, that means high number is more finest tan less number, don´t it?
Yes, the higher number is more fine.
Thanks Evelyn
KAROLA: Thank you so much Karola! ^^
Yes I know that... Infact I try to make him eat the white ones... But that's not always easy!!! I'll try Modecor ... Thanks for the all the tips (the one to leave the cookies over kitchen paper was new... Gonna try)! Again congrats ... You are great and always so nice! <3
JENNY: You too!!! See you soon, a big hug ^^
Since there are no more questions for Evelin in our pending queue, I think we'll sign off now since we've already gone over time. Thanks to Evelin for such a wonderful chat. It was a joy having you with us! And I can't wait to meet you in Genoa!
And thanks to everyone for such great questions and comments.
The same for me Julia, thank you so much for everything, you are SPECIAL! <3
XOXO
xoxo
Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!
This chat has ended.
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