Spring is in the air! Can you feel it? Flowers and trees are coming to life again, and everywhere you look the colors are changing from brown to bright green.
Spring represents new beginnings and growth. It's been said that, in this season, we can become unstuck and go forward. And as spring transforms all of nature, it also transforms our lives. In fact, a new beginning has come to me in the form of exciting sweet projects, and so, for that reason, I'm about to share my last tutorial on Cookie Connection, here today.
This transition is bittersweet for me, because I’m going to really miss you all . But as poet Anne Bradstreet once said: "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant." It's also consoling to know that I'm not really saying "goodbye", but rather "see you soon". Lastly, I'd like to say I’m feeling really grateful for belonging to this great and sweet community, and blessed for the huge opportunity that Julia gave me.
Now, back to cookies! Because Easter is just around the corner, I have combined one of my favorite topics (handpainted transfers) with the season in creating this spring Easter cookie tutorial for you. I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 egg-shaped frame cookie (See note about sizing below.)
- 1 small round cookie (Again, see note about sizing.)
- White royal icing, flooding and stiff consistencies
- Pastry bags
- Round (PME #1.5 or equivalent) piping tip, for flooding and border
- Rose illustration (I used free clip art found here.)
- Nontoxic pencil
- Parchment paper or acetate sheets, for rose transfer
- White royal icing, medium consistency, for rose transfer
- Round (PME #1 or equivalent) piping tip, for rose transfer
- Scribe tool or boo-boo stick
- Small round paint brush, for handpainting rose transfer, ruffle edges, and border
- Vodka, alcohol rejuvenator spirit, or alcohol-based extract, for extending colorings into paint
- Petal (Wilton #101 or equivalent) piping tip, for ruffles
AmeriColor gels: Maroon, Warm Brown, and Burgundy (for roses)
Rainbow Dust powders: Citrus Green (for leaves); Pink Candy (for roses)
Rainbow Dust metallics: Golden (for ruffles and border)
Sugarflair powder: Extra White (for roses)
Wilton gels: Moss Green and Golden Yellow (for leaves)
Note on Cookie Sizes:
This project can be made as large or as small as you want, so almost any size egg and round cutter will do, just so long as they are in good proportion to one another. What's most important is that the opening in the egg frame isn't any larger than your rose transfer, as you'll see below.
Ready? Here we go!
Step 1: Start by flooding both cookies with white royal icing (flooding consistency, of course), using a PME #1.5 tip or another round tip sized to flood your particular cookies fast! Let the icing dry completely.
Step 2: Now, let’s make a tracing guide for the rose transfer. For more background on how I do these types of transfers, see my previous Christmas tutorial.
First, find two rose images. I used free clip art I found online, which you could also use by following the link in my "what you'll need" list above.
Next, cut out the roses as a starting point for your own illustration. Secure them on top of a piece of paper, and draw some leaves around them with a nontoxic pencil. Be sure that your finished drawing is long enough to span the opening in the egg-shaped frame cookie, or you'll have trouble when it's time to assemble everything in the end!
Step 3: Now, we're ready to pipe over the drawing created in Step 2 to actually make the rose transfer.
But, to use parchment paper or not to use parchment paper? That is the question.
I often recommend using parchment paper instead of acetate under transfers, as it's more flexible and easier to peel off the transfers once they're dry. But, in this case, since we're piping a large one-piece transfer, parchment paper could buckle and misshape the transfer during the process of drying it in the dehydrator. Note: Room temperature-drying shouldn't be a problem when using parchment paper, but please make sure your room isn't very humid, or your transfer won't dry as quickly as it must in order to safely paint over it.
So, that being said, cover your drawing with a small piece of acetate, and flood it completely, using white medium-consistency royal icing and a #1 PME tip (or equivalent). Use a scribe tool (or equivalent) to "tease" the icing into small spaces like the tips of the leaves. Let the transfer dry thoroughly, accelerating the process with a dehydrator if you have one.
Now you have a choice for getting the rose details onto the transfer. Either try to draw them freehand, or trace the illustration on a piece of parchment paper using a nontoxic pencil, turn the paper over onto the icing, and then trace over the drawing again to transfer the pencil tracing onto the icing.
Some additional advice about tracing or drawing illustrations onto transfers: Always work on a flat surface, and please be very careful, as transfers can easily be broken by pencil pressure. It's also best to trace or draw the illustration while the transfer is still attached to the acetate, so the transfer doesn't move as you work on it.
Step 4: Once your traced roses are ready, you can start painting. I used the same techniques discussed in my handpainted rose tutorial, using the colorings noted above for the roses and leaves (and alcohol, of course, to extend the colorings into paints).
Let the paint dry completely before very carefully peeling the acetate off the transfer. Remember, transfers are super fragile!
Step 5: Now, pipe a border of your choice along the inside edge of the egg-shaped frame using stiff royal icing and a #1.5 PME tip (or equivalent). Let the icing dry completely.
Step 6: With extreme caution, place the transfer in the middle of the egg-shaped frame cookie, and glue it in place with a bit of thick white icing. Use a boo-boo stick, as needed, to help with transfer placement or to clean up any stray "glue".
Step 7: Once the transfer is exactly where you want it, embellish the outside edge of the egg cookie just as you did in Step 5. (You could have also piped this border in Step 5, but I wasn't sure if I wanted another border until I saw the roses in place.) Again, let the icing dry completely.
Step 8: Lastly, decorate the round cookie base by piping some ruffles around the edge with a #101 Wilton tip (or equivalent); then pipe a beaded border where the ruffles meet the cookie. Use stiff white icing for both the ruffles and border. When the icing is completely dry, paint gold accents along the outer edge of the ruffle and on the egg borders.
Step 9: Now, for the final assembly! Stick the bottom of the egg cookie to the center of the base using stiff royal icing. Remember to clean off any visible icing "glue" before it dries, and to prop the egg upright with a heavy container or two.
Let the icing dry completely (a few hours at room temperature) before removing the props.
Ta da! Our flowered cookie project is all ready to say, "Hello, spring!".
Dear Cookie Connection friends and dear Julia: Thank you for all of your warm words. Thank you for always being here and reading, for all of your comments on every single tutorial, and for your kind support. Above all, thank you for joining me in this sweet adventure. I’ll definitely see you soon!
[EDITOR'S NOTE: As Aixa so beautifully said, the news of her departure is bittersweet - for me too! While I'm sad to see such a talented cookier leave the Cookie Connection fold, I am thrilled to see Aixa boldly stepping over the threshold of newly opened doors. I am sure her next endeavors will be as successful as her Get Inspired series was here! A huge thank you to Aixa for so generously sharing her talents with us. What a special treat it was for me to work with her for nearly two years!
Now, before the rest of you go running for the Kleenex to blot your teary eyes, I've got some other news that should lift your spirits. You know how @Manu has been doing guest posts these last few months? Well, if you didn't, she has! And, what's more, she's graciously agreed to join our team of contributors. Starting next month, she'll issue her first "official" tutorial under the moniker of "Made by Manu", a new blog category that she'll be filling each month with a sure-to-be-splendid treat. To read more about Manu and her column, click here.
Please also extend a huge round of applause to both Aixa and Manu for supporting this site - and to encourage them as they embark on their new journeys! And, above all, savor this last (for now, anyway ) moment with Aixa. ~JMU]
Aixa Zunino is the soul of Dolce Sentire, a virtual corner of sweetness and creativity dedicated to cookie decorating. On her site, this garden engineer, self-taught decorator, and lover of flowers and animals lets her imagination fly, sharing everything she has learned since discovering the world of cookies in early 2012. She combines this activity with courses around Spain (her current home) where she teaches all the secrets to getting dreamy cookies. Meet her on Facebook or her website, and email her your cookie decorating questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo and cookie credits: Aixa Zunino
Note: Get Inspired with Dolce Sentire is a monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Aixa Zunino, where, through in-depth tutorials, she proves that if you can dream it, you can cookie it! 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 Aixa's past Get Inspired tutorials, click here. And to see all of Cookie Connection's tutorials, click here.