Every Little Detail with Aproned Artist: Jellyfish Cookie

 

These aren’t the cookies I intended to post. I started weeks earlier with a completely different concept. I was excited about the idea and the progress I was making. However, on the final and most risky step, after investing more hours than I’d care to admit, I decided I hated the cookies. My family assured me they weren’t as terrible as I thought, but I was certain that I hated them. Even the steps I had previously liked, I now hated. I’m well acquainted with cookie fails. I keep a whole file of them (which sounds slightly masochistic, but sometimes I do actually revisit them and reuse the successful bits). This recent cookie fail, like the many before it, rocked my confidence. Maybe I should go with something less complicated. I tried another idea. Another cookie fail. Maybe just stick with the basics. A simple flood, something I’ve done countless times, came out rippled and strange. Twice. Maybe it’s time for a new hobby . . . Predictably, I am my own worst enemy, psyching myself out and paving the way for more failure. It always takes me a little while to push my doubt aside. But eventually, no matter how convinced I am that I’ll never again make a successful cookie, I find an idea that works. These jellyfish cookies aren’t what I originally intended to post, but they are the cookies that broke the streak. [EDITOR'S NOTE: OMG! You just described me and my recent cookie psych-out! Something strange must be in the air, because I'm doing an unusual amount of second-guessing! ~JMU]

Supplies:

  • Jellyfish Design Template (See “Files” in “Attachments” at the end of this post.) 
  • 2 1/4 x 7-inch (5.7 x 17.8-cm) rectangle cookie flooded with aqua royal icing (AmeriColor: 9 parts Teal/2 parts Electric Blue/1 part Regal Purple)
  • Projector (or equivalent)
  • Gel pastes (I used AmeriColor): Bright White, Super Red
  • Tiny liner paint brush
  • Royal icing: Stiff-consistency pink (pale AmeriColor Super Red)
  • Tip: PME #0 (or equivalent)
  • Light corn syrup
  • Paint palette (or equivalent)
  • Medium-sized paint brush

Step 1: Paint jellyfish tentacles


a. Transfer the jellyfish design onto the flooded cookie using a projector or the method of your choice. (Again, my design template can be found in "Files" at the end of this post.) Lightly mix a drop of undiluted Bright White gel paste with a drop of Super Red gel paste; the colorings shouldn't be completely combined. Use a tiny liner paint brush to paint the tentacles of the jellyfish.

b. Using the same paint brush and undiluted Super Red gel paste, paint the “n” shapes within the jellyfish’s hood.

Steps 1a and 1b - Paint Tentacles and Hood Pattern

Step 2: Pipe jellyfish hood and arms

a. Using stiff-consistency pink royal icing and a PME #0 tip (or equivalent), pipe the outline of the jellyfish’s hood.

b. Add a second tier of icing on top of the outline piped in Step 2a. This extra layer gives the outline more height to contain the corn syrup that will be added in a later step.

c. Using the same icing and tip, pipe a short squiggly line to form a portion of the outside edge of an arm. Keep the section small so that the icing doesn’t dry too quickly. Immediately, use a damp liner paint brush to drag some of the icing toward the interior of the arm. This brush embroidery technique gives the arm a ruffled appearance. (It also coordinates perfectly with Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #40. Be sure to check out the pink link for more details and resources to help master this technique.)

d. Continue piping small sections of the arm edges and applying the brush embroidery technique until all of the arms depicted in the template are complete.

Steps 2b, 2c, and 2d - Pipe Hood and Arms

Step 3: Apply corn syrup

a. Mix about a tablespoon of light corn syrup with a drop of Bright White gel paste and a small drop of Super Red gel paste. (To maintain control over the quantities, I poured a drop of each gel paste onto a paint palette and used a medium-sized paint brush to transfer small amounts of each color to the corn syrup.)

b. Use a medium-sized paint brush to transfer a small glob of the colored corn syrup into the hood of the jellyfish. Add more globs of corn syrup, using the paint brush to guide the corn syrup into the crevices. Continue until the hood is evenly filled with corn syrup.

Steps 3a and 3b - Apply Corn Syrup

c. In the same fashion, use the paint brush to transfer a small amount of the colored corn syrup into the arms. Be careful not to transfer too much corn syrup as these areas can easily overflow.

Final Pink Jellyfish

Finished! Wishing you many cookie successes (and the confidence to deal with any failures)!

Final Jellyfish Set

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.

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Design by Aproned Artist

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I love everything about these cookies, from the perfect flooded surface to the dreamy design and the great technique. 

I read your introduction and I would like to see that “cookie fail”! You don’t have to show it to me though, I am sure it is not at all a fail, but I understand how you felt about it. You described everything so well that I can so relate! 💙

@Manu posted:

I love everything about these cookies, from the perfect flooded surface to the dreamy design and the great technique. 

I read your introduction and I would like to see that “cookie fail”! You don’t have to show it to me though, I am sure it is not at all a fail, but I understand how you felt about it. You described everything so well that I can so relate! 💙

Thanks, Manu!

The “fail” admittedly is not as bad as I originally thought. (A little distance and perspective always helps my attitude.) I’ll almost certainly try the concept again.

How long does the corn syrup take to dry?

Unfortunately, the corn syrup never dries as completely as I’d like. I would warn against bagging a cookie that uses corn syrup because it will almost certainly stick to the bag. That being said, after a few hours the corn syrup will be dry to the touch (meaning it won’t come away with your finger), but it will be malleable and will dent with any amount of pressure. (The dent will even out though and the surface will become smooth again within an hour.) After a day or two, the corn syrup will get hard, but it will always have a slight sugary stickiness to it. I have some corn syrup cookies In a sheet pan that are years old, and I’d still be afraid to bag them.

@LisaF posted:

These are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing and including your emotional journey. Fun fact - I had thought about jellyfish for the brush embroidery challenge. Though I decided against it, I can guarantee that they would not have turned out anywhere close to this beautiful!

Thanks, Lisa!

There’s no better confidence booster than posting on this site. Everyone is always so lovely. Thank you for your kind words.

😱😱😱😱Samantha, your jellyfish are amazing!!!! So delicate and flimsy, just like the real ones. You captured the movement and the delicacy so well. Stunning work! 🥰 And yes, we can be our worst judges!

Thanks, Heather!

I am, without a doubt, my own worst critic! The trial and error and occasional ugliness often gets lost behind the pretty end photos.

Thanks, Heather!

I am, without a doubt, my own worst critic! The trial and error and occasional ugliness often gets lost behind the pretty end photos.

Yes, we sometimes need to step back to see everything in perspective.

Right now I’m working on a new presentation for the Challenge and your tutorial came in just in time, and has enhanced the work no end! Thank you so much!!!♥️

Unfortunately, the corn syrup never dries as completely as I’d like. I would warn against bagging a cookie that uses corn syrup because it will almost certainly stick to the bag. That being said, after a few hours the corn syrup will be dry to the touch (meaning it won’t come away with your finger), but it will be malleable and will dent with any amount of pressure. (The dent will even out though and the surface will become smooth again within an hour.) After a day or two, the corn syrup will get hard, but it will always have a slight sugary stickiness to it. I have some corn syrup cookies In a sheet pan that are years old, and I’d still be afraid to bag them.

Thanks so much for all your generous tips!♥️😘😘

Thanks for such an amazing tutorial! I love the effect of the piping gel & I can’t wait to use this technique!

Thank you, Sylvia! The corn syrup is so much fun to play with. I made a fourth jelly that didn’t make the cut, but his hood had whiteish corn syrup with tiny dots of undiluted gel paste which I added after the corn syrup. The dots of dye dissipated and spread slightly. It was an interesting look (the colors weren’t quite complimentary with the rest), but I definitely would have gone back to play with the technique if I’d had more time.

Yes, we sometimes need to step back to see everything in perspective.

Right now I’m working on a new presentation for the Challenge and your tutorial came in just in time, and has enhanced the work no end! Thank you so much!!!♥️

I’m so happy to hear that my tutorial gave you some fresh inspiration. Can’t wait to see the entry!

Thank you, Sylvia! The corn syrup is so much fun to play with. I made a fourth jelly that didn’t make the cut, but his hood had whiteish corn syrup with tiny dots of undiluted gel paste which I added after the corn syrup. The dots of dye dissipated and spread slightly. It was an interesting look (the colors weren’t quite complimentary with the rest), but I definitely would have gone back to play with the technique if I’d had more time.

A photo probably makes more sense:Jellyfish with spots

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Great tutorial, and actually not difficult at all. That "ocean" color is absolutely beautiful. And I can relate to everything you said in your opening paragraph! 

Thanks, Christine! 

I would never wish those feelings of frustration on anyone, but it does help to know that I’m not the only one.

These are wonderful Samantha @Aproned Artist!! I love how you incorporated brush embroidery into the trails of the jelly fish. So creative!! What I love about the intro in your post is that you continue onward even during those times of self doubt. As @Manu said "I can so relate"!!

Thank you for sharing a completely different way of looking at brush embroidery. This is an awesome tutorial, as are all your tutorials. Your explanations are so clear that it makes the technique look a little bit easier. Thank you for that. Love these jelly fish my dear ❤️