I got hooked on the work of Lorena Marin of Au Claire de la Lune when she posted this clip for a Cookie Connection contest well over a year ago. My first impression of that entry was that it seemed to tell a little story. Further examination of the cookies that Lorena crafts showed this same storytelling quality. She also has a wonderful knack for incorporating layers of different materials, using icing or fondant, and detailing with painted color. The results are truly her own!
For this month's post, I am happy to highlight Lorena's Christmas angel cookie, which exhibits all of these traits. The subject seemed fitting for the month of December, don’t you think? I hope you enjoy this interview!
Lorena with a cookie by her friend Mariola of Sweet by Madhera
Melissa Joy: Hello, Lorena! Thank you for sharing your work with us today!
Lorena Marin: Hi, Melissa! Thank you too. Such a nice surprise! I am delighted to answer your kind questions.
MJ: I really love the work you create! Is there a reason you decided to make this Christmas angel cookie?
LM: Because it’s Christmas season! She’s my version of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary in the traditional Spanish nativity scene (or belÉn in Spanish) .
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Lorena comes to us today all the way from MÁlaga, Spain!]
As a writer of children's tales, I try to reflect my creativity and imagination in my cookies.
MJ: Well, now that you've said you are a writer, it makes sense that I felt your work conveys stories. How wonderful! I am also curious to know how big the cookie is, because it seems rather large.
LM: At first, the cookie had to measure 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) because I had planned to submit her in a contest. As the angel stood out beyond the edge of the cookie, my trick was to make two cookies in a diptych. In the end, I decided not to enter her, so I did not win the contest, ha, ha, ha! Now, it is 22 centimeters (8.7 inches) long.
MJ: Did you design the angel ahead of time, or did you decide the layers and textures while you were working on it?
LM: I got the inspiration when I saw a picture on the Internet, and then I kept adapting the design while I was working on the cookie.
MJ: Are all of the pieces you used on her made of the same material? Is it fondant or modeling chocolate?
LM: All of the layers and textures are made of fondant mixed with gumpaste.
But it was very difficult, and I had to make several attempts. I was about to throw her out the window!
MJ: Thank goodness you didn't! I love your honesty - sometimes working on cookies can be frustrating, but you'd never guess it from look on the angel's face. What do you use to make the patterns on the fondant, for example, on her wings and sleeves? I love the variety of textures.
LM: The wings are made with leaf molds. The blouse is decorated with various textile motif texturizers. The sleeve cuffs are made of SugarVeil. And since MÁlaga is a very damp and humid city, the angel dress looked like melted cheese while I was working on it.
MJ: It looks nothing like melted cheese now! Is there a specific way you made the arms to get them rounded?
LM: If I tell you all that I struggled to make the arms, I would have to utter a few expletives, and it is neither the time nor the place to do it! The arms are modeled and then dressed with sleeves.
MJ: You are so funny! What did you use, if anything, to stick the pieces together?
LM: There are many ways to stick the fondant pieces together, but I like using royal icing when the pieces are dry.
MJ: One last question for you that I ask all my guests: what is your favorite baking or decorating tool when working with cookies?
LM: Although I have spent a lot of money buying loads of tools, in the end, my favorite tool is the toothpick. All of these things are for your eyes only; please do not tell anyone!
MJ: Lorena, if I came to Spain, I would have to visit with you over coffee . . . or wine. It would be such fun! Thank you for sharing your process with us. I've enjoyed our interview tremendously!
LM: Merry Christmas and a sugar cookie-filled New Year!
Photo and cookie credits: Lorena Marin
Melissa Joy Lacasse has always had a passion for baking just about anything, but something clicked once she received a cookie decorating kit years ago. This pastime that started as holiday cookies for family and friends eventually turned into Melissa Joy Fanciful Cookies, a Facebook page, and most recently, the blog melissajoycookies.com. While Melissa enjoys the creative outlet that cookie decorating brings, she finds that sharing with others, whether via bakery box or virtually, is always the most rewarding part of her cookie journey.
Photo credit: Melissa Lacasse
Note: How DID You Do That? is a regular Cookie Connection blog feature, written by Melissa Lacasse, which reveals through in-depth interviews the inside scoop behind cookiers' unique designs and technique innovations. Its content expresses the views of the author and interviewee, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To catch up on all of Melissa's past posts, click here.