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Every Little Detail with Aproned Artist: Campsite Cookie

 


School is finally out. The days are long, and the nights are warm. Let’s go camping!

Supplies:

  • Campsite Templates document (located in “Files” under “Attachments” at the end of this post)
  • Acetate (ideally from a 4-in/10.2-cm cake collar roll)
  • Craft knife
  • Royal icing (I used AmeriColor gel paste coloring to tint the icing):
    • Stiff-consistency orange (2 parts Peach/2 parts Gold/1 part Ivory)
    • Stiff-consistency dark green (Forest Green)
    • Stiff-consistency dark brown (3 parts Chocolate Brown/1 part Super Black)
    • Extra stiff-consistency* gray (Super Black)
    • Extra stiff-consistency* white
    • Extra stiff-consistency* green (3 parts Electric Green/1 part Moss)
    • Extra stiff-consistency* pink (Burgundy)
    • Thin flooding-consistency** blue (1 part Sky Blue/1 part Teal)
  • Small trowel or offset spatula
  • Tips:
    • PME #1.5, 3, 0 (or equivalents)
    • Wilton #6 (or equivalent)
  • Paint brushes:
    • Flat paint brush
    • Small round paint brush
    • Tiny round paint brush
  • Parchment paper
  • Food-safe file
  • Food-safe marker
  • 3 1/2 in (8.9 cm) round cookie
  • Sculpting or fondant tool with a pointy end (or equivalent, such as a toothpick or scribe tool)

* For extra stiff-consistency icing, add powdered sugar to your regular stiff-consistency icing until it is just barely tacky. The icing may not readily stick to the cookie, but it also won't stick to your tools.

** For thin flooding-consistency icing, the “tracks” left by the icing when dropped into the icing bowl should disappear in about four seconds.

Step 1: Create tent stencil; then stencil and assemble tent transfer

We will be stenciling royal icing transfers for the tent assembly. I learned this technique from the ongoing Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57 featuring the ever-brilliant @Manu biscotti decorati. The technique works perfectly here to give us sharp, sturdy, and consistently-sized tent pieces with smooth, flat surfaces. You can find Manu’s video detailing this versatile technique on Julia’s site. [EDITOR'S NOTE: As an added FYI, Manu's video is available at a huge discount while the challenge is running through August 4. I echo Samantha's encouragement to check it out, especially now while at its lowest price. ~JMU]

a. Print out the Campsite Templates document (located in “Files” under “Attachments” at the end of this post). To create the stencil, cut a 4 x 3-inch (10.2 x 7.6-centimeter) piece of acetate, ideally from a cake collar roll. If you are using a roll, the acetate will have some curl to it; and if positioned correctly, the curl will lend our tent sides a bit of sag like real fabric. Cover all of the tent templates with the piece of acetate such that the acetate curve (or curl) faces down, if using acetate off a roll. Use a craft knife to trace the templates. Remove (and discard) the traced shapes to reveal the stencil.

b. Cut another piece of acetate of the same size. Place the acetate stencil created in Step 1a on top of the freshly cut, solid acetate. Again, the latter piece of acetate should be oriented such that its curve faces down, if using acetate off a roll. Using stiff-consistency orange royal icing and a small trowel or offset spatula, spread a thin layer of icing over the openings in the stencil.

c. While the icing is still wet, lift up the stencil to expose the transfers. Allow the icing to dry completely before carefully peeling the acetate away from the transfers. (If using a roll, allow the acetate to curl naturally while drying.)

Steps 1a, 1b, and 1c - Create Stencil and Spread Icing

d. Place one of the “tent side” transfers so that the rough side (the side that was not in contact with the acetate) is facing toward you. Using stiff-consistency orange royal icing and a PME #1.5 tip (or equivalent), pipe a line of icing along one long edge of the rough side of the transfer. Prop the transfer vertically on its short end, and press a long edge of the other “tent side” transfer into the wet icing. Make sure the two rough sides face one another, as the smooth, glossy sides should be the outward facing sides of the tent. The attached transfers should look like an open book.

Step 1d - Attach Tent Sides

e. Slide the “tent back” transfer into the triangular space at the base of the attached rectangles. (You may need to file this triangle piece slightly to get it to fit. It’s okay to have some gaps, however, the piece should not extend past the ends of the rectangles.) Using the same icing and tip, pipe icing along the inside seams between the transfers (i). Use a damp paint brush to smooth the icing and fill any gaps (ii). The interior of the tent will not be visible so don’t worry about making the icing perfectly smooth.

Step 1e - Attach Tent Back Panel

f. Pipe a line of icing along the short edge of the left tent side, and place the long edge of the “left tent flap” transfer on top of the icing. Repeat on the right tent side with the “right tent flap” transfer. Allow the tent assembly to set about 15 minutes before proceeding.

Step 1f - Attach Front Flaps

g. Set the tent transfer upright. Pipe a line of icing along each of the visible outside seams, and use a flat paint brush to smooth the wet icing into the dry icing of the transfers so that the tent assembly looks like a single piece.

Step 1g - Fill Seams

Step 2: Pipe and assemble tree transfers

a. Using stiff-consistency dark green royal icing and a PME #3 tip (or equivalent), pipe several small “kiss”-shaped dollops (one per tree) on a small square of acetate. Allow the icing to dry completely before peeling the acetate away from the transfers. These transfers will ultimately be the tops of the trees.

Step 2a - Pipe Tree Top Transfers

b. Cut 12 roughly 1 x 9-inch (2.5 x 22.9-centimeter) strips of acetate. Lay one strip over the set of nine tree foliage transfer templates on the Campsite Templates document. Using stiff-consistency dark green royal icing and a PME #3 tip (or equivalent), pipe a dot of icing to fill most of each circle on the template (i). Place another strip of acetate on top of the icing, and press down gently on each dot to flatten the icing so that it fills each circle (ii). Repeat five more times with the remaining strips of acetate (to make the pieces for four or more trees of varying sizes). Allow the icing to dry completely before peeling the acetate away from the transfers.

Step 2b - Pipe Tree Foliage Transfers

c. If you'd like, you can reuse the same strips of acetate for the trunk transfers. (Or if you don't want to wait for the foliage transfers to dry to start this step, use new acetate strips.) Using stiff-consistency dark brown royal icing and a PME #3 tip (or equivalent), pipe small dots of icing on clean areas of an acetate strip (i). Place another acetate strip on top, and press down gently across the strip to flatten the icing, creating small discs (ii). You will need approximately 75 tree trunk transfers (depending on the quantity and size of trees you create). Allow the icing to dry completely before peeling the acetate away from the transfers.

Step 2c - Pipe Tree Trunk Transfers

d. In Steps 2d and 2e, I show the assembly of one large tree top structure (with about 13 foliage transfers) as an example, but as described in Step 2g, you will likely want to make at least a few trees of varying sizes. Using stiff-consistency dark brown royal icing and a PME #1.5 tip (or equivalent), pipe a dab of icing in the center of the largest tree foliage transfer. Press a trunk transfer into the icing (i). Pipe a dab of icing on top of the trunk transfer, and press the next largest tree foliage transfer into the icing (ii). Repeat this process, alternating progressively smaller tree foliage transfers with trunk transfers until you have attached four of the tree foliage transfers. End with a tree trunk transfer on top. Set this stack (which will be the bottom of the tree) aside to dry for a moment. Use the same process to stack the next four tree foliage transfers, ending with a tree trunk transfer on top (iii). Set this stack (which will be the middle of the tree) aside to dry for a moment. (Note: To create a tree with more than nine foliage transfers, you will need to repeat some transfers of the same size in your stacks. Just be sure to arrange them from largest on the bottom to smallest on the top.)

Step 2d - Stack Tree and Trunk Transfers

e. Attach the remaining (smallest) tree foliage transfers to each other with just a dab of stiff-consistency brown royal icing; do not use any trunk transfers in between these tree foliage transfers. Attach a “kiss”-shaped dollop (piped in Step 2a) to the top of the stack (i). You should now have three stacks of tree transfers: the top, the middle, and the bottom (ii). Use a dab of icing to attach the tree stacks on top of one another (iii). Allow the tree to set at least 15 minutes.

Step 2e - Assemble Tree Stacks

f. While the tree transfer dries, make the trunk base by securing several (three to six) trunk transfers to one another with dabs of icing in between (i). Pipe a dab of icing on top of the trunk base, and attach a single tree foliage transfer that is slightly smaller than the bottom tree foliage transfer of the larger tree assembly (ii). Allow the icing to set a few moments before attaching the larger tree assembly to the trunk base with a dab of icing (iii). You may need to prop the tree while it dries.

Step 2f - Attach Trunk

g. Repeat Steps 2d through 2f to create several trees. (I was able to fit four trees on my final cookie.) Vary the sizes of the trees by using different subsets of the tree foliage transfers and/or by using fewer (or more) tree trunk transfers in the trunk base.

Step 2g - Repeat to Make More Trees

Step 3: Pipe and file rock transfers

a. Using extra stiff-consistency gray royal icing and a PME #3 tip (or equivalent), pipe a blob of icing about 1/4-inch (0.6-centimeter) wide on a square of parchment paper (i). Press the flat side of a flat paint brush against the side of the icing to compress it slightly (ii). (If your paint brush sticks to the icing, either add more powdered sugar to your icing or just dip your paint brush into powdered sugar.) Press the brush against all of the sides of the blob. The final form will be somewhat bulbous and irregular. Repeat to create a variety of rocks, ranging in size from 1/8 to 1/2 inch (0.3 to 1.3 centimeters) (iii). Allow the icing to dry completely.

Step 3a - Pipe Rock Transfers

b. Using a food-safe file, file a rock transfer on all of its faces to turn the bulbous shape into something more flat and angular. Repeat with the remaining rock transfers.

Step 3b - File Rocks

Step 4: Pipe and shape landscape base

a. Use a food-safe marker to draw the outline of a creek onto the baked round cookie (i). Using extra stiff-consistency white royal icing and a Wilton #6 tip (or equivalent), pipe around the foreground edge of the creek. The extra thick icing may be reluctant to stick to the cookie. Use a dry flat paint brush to flatten the icing to help it adhere (ii). Holding the paint brush vertically, push against the inside edge of the icing around the creek to create a short wall (iii).

Step 4a - Pipe Foreground Creek Border

b. Attach a couple of rocks to the left side of the creek border with a dab of icing (i). Pipe more icing to fill the area between the rocks and the left side of the cookie. Use a flat paint brush to flatten the icing slightly and push it down to partially cover the tops of the rocks (ii). The “ground” in this area should be slightly more raised than the front border of the creek (iii).

Step 4b - Attach Some Rocks

c. Attach several more rocks around the right edge of the creek and a few rocks along the back edge (i). Pipe icing in between the gaps created by these rocks. Flatten the icing slightly with a flat paint brush so that it adheres to the cookie and slightly overlaps the adjacent rocks (ii). Fill in the rest of the landscape with more icing, and flatten it slightly with the paint brush. If desired, nestle another rock or two into the background landscape (iii). The “ground” should be higher on the back half of the cookie with some irregular bumps and crevices. Make sure there is a nice, flat patch where the tent can be attached later (iv). Allow the icing to dry completely.

Step 4c - Attach Rocks to Background Creek Border and Fill in Landscape

Step 5: Decorate landscape base

a. Using extra stiff-consistency green royal icing and a Wilton #6 tip (or equivalent), pipe a small amount of icing on the front edge of the white icing around the creek. Use a dry small round brush and a vertical dabbing motion to stipple the icing (i). Because the icing is so stiff and the paint brush is dry, the resulting texture will be slightly more flattened and less granular than the typical stippled icing texture (ii). Repeat to cover all of the white icing of the foreground. Make sure to wrap the green icing around the vertical wall of the creek edge (iii).

Step 5a - Pipe and Stipple Grass on Front Edge of Creek

b. Continue to pipe and stipple grass to cover the remaining white icing of the landscape. Make sure to apply the grass around the crevices of the rocks.

Step 5b - Cover Remaining Landscape with Grass

c. Attach the tent transfer to the flat patch of grass with extra-stiff consistency green royal icing. (i). Pipe more green icing to fill any gaps between the bottom of the tent and the grassy patch. Again, use a dry small round paint brush to stipple the fresh icing so that it blends in with the rest of the grass (ii).

Step 5c - Attach Tent to Cookie

d. Attach a tree transfer with another dab of green icing. Pipe and stipple some green icing around the base of the tree to disguise the point of connection. Repeat to attach more trees. Because access will become tighter as you attach more tree transfers, it’s easier to apply and stipple grass at the base each time you attach a tree, rather than doing it collectively at the end.

Step 5d - Attach Trees to Cookie

e. Using extra stiff-consistency pink royal icing and a PME #0 tip (or equivalent), pipe a few tiny dots of icing on the grass for flowers. Use the pointy end of a sculpting or fondant tool (or equivalent) to poke a small indentation in the center of the dots. Repeat to add several patches of flowers.

Step 5e - Add Flowers

f. Use a tiny round paint brush to transfer drops of thin flooding-consistency blue royal icing into the creek. Use the paint brush to push the icing partway up the walls of the creek and into the small crevices between the rocks. Add only enough drops to create a thin layer of icing. If desired, nestle a couple of small rocks into the wet icing.

Step 5f - Add Water to Creek

Finished! This cookie’s fun, cartoonish aesthetic and diorama-style construction make my inner child squeal with glee.

camping square

There’s just one thing missing for the perfect camping experience: a s’more, of course!

s'more square

Source: Manu Pezzopane, "Stenciled Royal Icing Transfers with Manu Pezzopane" for Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Another magical tutorial, Samantha - congrats! Everyone else, I have a few important housekeeping notes . . . Due to an unexpected computer snafu, Samantha's July tutorial will be delayed until August. And, as you may already know from @Manu biscotti decorati's most recent blog post, she's on extended leave until September. That said, there will sadly be no new tutorials by our regular contributors in July. However, I hope to keep Cookie Connection hopping with my cookie art competition's winner reveal; a Cookier Close-up with @Dita, our June site artist; and some online tutorial releases of my own. Of course, this plan is highly contingent on me having no more snafus myself (I've dealt with three hospital stays with two family members over the last two weeks, and neither loved one is out of the woods yet). Wish us all luck 😀, and stay tuned! ~JMU]

Samantha Yacovetta began cookie decorating in 2013. While working at a local bakery, Samantha became captivated by cookie art when a customer requested princess-themed cookies. Attracted initially to the precision of cookie decorating, Samantha soon found that the limitless design opportunities turned it into her artistic passion. Samantha began regularly stocking the bakery case with decorated cookies and for several years sold cookies through her own company, Aproned Artist, a cottage food operation. Having retired from the business life, Samantha now enjoys making cookies just for fun from her home in San Jose, California, USA. To learn more about Samantha, please check out her Cookie Connection portfolio, her Facebook page, and her past Every Little Detail tutorials here.

Photo and cookie credits: Samantha Yacovetta

Note: Every Little Detail with Aproned Artist is a monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Samantha Yacovetta focused on the special little details that make big statements in cookie design. This article expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To read all of Samantha's past Every Little Detail tutorials, click here. And to see all of Cookie Connection's tutorials, click here.

Attachments

Images (26)
  • Campsite Cookie - Where We're Headed!: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Steps 1a, 1b, and 1c - Create Stencil, and Spread Icing: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1d - Attach Tent Sides: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1e - Attach Tent Back Panel: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1f - Attach Front Flaps: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 1g - Fill Tent Seams: Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2a - Pipe Tree Top Transfers: Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2b - Pipe Tree Foliage Transfers: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2c - Pipe Tree Trunk Transfers: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2d - Stack Tree Foliage and Trunk Transfers: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2e - Assemble Tree Stacks: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2f - Assemble Trunk Base, and Attach Tree Assembly: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 2g - Repeat to Make More Trees: Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 3a - Pipe Rock Transfers: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 3b - File Rock Transfers: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 4a - Pipe Foreground Creek Border: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 4b - Attach Some Rocks: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 4c - Attach Rocks to Background Creek Border, and Fill in Landscape: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 5a - Pipe and Stipple Grass on Front Edge of Creek: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 5b - Cover Remaining Landscape with Stippled Grass: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 5c - Attach Tent to Cookie: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 5d - Attach Trees to Cookie: Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Step 5e - Add Flowers: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Step 5f - Add Water to Creek: Photos by Aproned Artist
  • Final Campsite Cookie: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
  • Campsite Cookie on a S'more: Cookie and Photo by Aproned Artist
Files (1)
Design by Aproned Artist

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Comments (7)

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In case you all didn't see this comment from me at the end of Samantha's post, I'm repeating it here so it won't be missed!

----- FROM ABOVE -----


Another magical tutorial, @Aproned Artist - congrats! Everyone else, I have a few important housekeeping notes . . . Due to an unexpected computer snafu, Samantha's July tutorial will be delayed until August. And, as you may already know from @Manu biscotti decorati's most recent blog post, she's on extended leave until September. That said, there will sadly be no new tutorials by our regular contributors in July. However, I hope to keep Cookie Connection hopping with my cookie art competition's winner reveal; a Cookier Close-up with @Dita, our June site artist; and some online tutorial releases of my own. Of course, this plan is highly contingent on me having no more snafus myself (I've dealt with three hospital stays with two family members over the last two weeks, and neither loved one is out of the woods yet). Wish us all luck 😀, and stay tuned!

Amazing as always, Samantha! This cookie was already incredible, and the s’more at the end is jaw dropping!

Thanks, Manu! Your stenciling technique really elevated the design. I had already made another tent before your video released, but it wasn’t nearly as clean.

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