Before my husband and I were married - before we had kids and a home and responsibilities - time didn’t feel so precious. We’d regularly spend a day just driving with no real destination in mind. We’d cruise along the California coast, up to Half Moon Bay and down to Monterey. As the day stretched on, we’d stop at whatever beaches called to us to have a picnic on the sand, take a nap in the sun, pick up seashells along the shore, or watch the sunset from the rocks. It always felt like we could live a whole life in that one day, almost like time moved in slow motion. So whenever I feel like time is getting away from me (how is this year half over already?), the beach is where I’m headed.
- Parchment paper and tape
- Royal icing (I used AmeriColor gel paste to color the icing.):
- Stiff-consistency orange (5 parts Gold/1 part Orange)
- Stiff-consistency ivory (Ivory)
- Medium craft paint brush
- Wooden skewer (or equivalent)
- "Sand" ingredients:
- 1/2 cup finely ground sugar cookie crumbs
- 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used organic sugar for its larger, more irregular crystals.)
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- Small offset spatula
- 1 (3 1/2-in/9-cm) square cookie
Step 1: Pipe sea star royal icing transfer
a. Tape a piece of parchment paper to your work surface so that it doesn’t curl. Using stiff-consistency orange royal icing and a Wilton #12 tip (or equivalent), pipe five carrot-shaped arms (with the pointed ends facing outwards and the fat ends meeting in the center) to form a star.
b. With the same icing and tip, pipe a dollop of icing for the sea star’s body on top of the fat ends of the arms.
c. Using a wet, medium-sized craft paint brush, gently smooth the icing of the body into the arms to merge them. Add more water with the paint brush if necessary to facilitate blending. When finished, the body should be slightly raised and bumpy, but with no obvious seams as it transitions to the arms. Note: The sea star pictured here is about 2 1/2 inches (6.4 centimeters) wide to fit a 3 1/2-inch (9-centimeter) cookie with some room to spare, but you can make the sea star (and cookie) any size you like.
Step 2: Poke holes into sea star
a. By this point, the sea star’s arms should be crusting slightly. Use a wooden skewer (or equivalent) to poke small holes along the sea star’s arms. Wait ten minutes or until the body begins to crust before poking similar holes in the body. Allow the transfer to dry completely before gently peeling away the parchment paper from the icing.
Step 3: Pipe sea star details
a. Using stiff-consistency ivory royal icing and a PME #1 tip (or equivalent), pipe small, irregular dots on the body to form the outline of a star. Each point of the star should line up with one of the sea star’s arms. Pipe a handful of dots in the center of the star.
b. Using the same icing and tip, pipe a line of small, irregular dots extending from the points of the star shape on the body to the tip of each of the sea star’s arms.
c. Pipe similar dots to create irregular stripes across the width of each arm.
Step 4: Top cookie with "sand"
a. Mix the sand ingredients in a bowl. Use a small offset spatula to spread a thin layer of stiff-consistency ivory royal icing across the top of the cookie.
b. Immediately sprinkle a thick layer of the sand mixture over the icing.
c. Use your fingers to lightly pat down the sand and create a slightly rippled texture. When finished, give your cookie a gentle upside-down shake to remove any loose sand.
Step 5: Attach sea star to cookie
a. Add a dollop of stiff-consistency ivory royal icing to the underside of the sea star’s body with a Wilton #12 tip (or equivalent).
b. Flip the sea star over, and gently press it onto the sand-covered cookie. The tips of the legs may not make contact with the sand.
c. If there is a gap between any of the sea star’s legs and the sand, use a PME #2 tip (or equivalent) to fill the gap with more stiff-consistency ivory royal icing.
d. Add sand to cover the additional icing. Use a dry paint brush to press the sand into the icing and to brush away any excess. Gently pat down the sand with your fingertips.
e. Repeat with the remaining legs until the sea star appears as though it is nestled into the sand.
Finished! Are you feeling the beachy vibes? With the leftover icing and sand you can make your own sandy, seashell-filled coastline.
Wishing everyone a slow and relaxing summer!
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.