Lucky us! Amber will be joining us for our second Cookie Connection chat of the summer. She'll continue the conversation started in our earlier Cookier Closeup and answer any cookie decorating or business questions you might have. The chat is live and text-based, so you'll want to be comfortably settled next to your computer before it kicks off!
That said, if you can't make it, transcripts of all chats are saved here on the site for later reading.
Cookie Occasions: My greatest influence in the cookie world was actually a cake decorator! The first time I saw Margaret Braun's incredible cake art, I was inspired to see what I could do with cookies.
Cookie Occasions: Of course! I go through cookie block all the time. If I think too much about coming up with a specific design, I just can't do it. I find that the best ideas come when I least expect them.
Melissa: I usually use the Wilton gel paste brown, which seems to have a lot of red in it, so it turns out looking too pink if I'm trying to get a light or medium shade. Adding green just helps to tone down the red so that I can get the brown color that I want.
SweetP: Thank you! I started out selling cookies through Etsy. I don't think that my work would have been seen by as many people in the beginning had I just started selling through my own website. I tried selling cookies locally, but the market just wasn't there. Etsy gave me the exposure I needed to get things going.
Thanks Amber. When I have tried to do "string" type work on cookies, sometimes the royal icing does not adhere to the cookie base. Which in turn means that the details flake off when they dry. I would love advice. Thank you in anticipation.
Cakes And Cookies - Terry: I have the same problem when I pipe with stiff icing onto a cookie that has not been flooded first. It doesn't cause too much of a problem if I'm not going to be shipping them, but I haven't figured out a way to make it stick directly to the cookie so that it would survive a trip in the mail. I find that it works better if you add a few drops of water to your icing so that it's not super stiff. Otherwise, this one is still a mystery!
rpm: I've found that making sure your dough is cold at all times while you're working with it helps cookies keep their shape. My orange vanilla spice recipe is available in my tutorial shop at sweetambs.com, if you'd like to try it out. I've worked on it over the last few years to come up with a cookie that tastes yummy, keeps its shape, and doesn't become hard when sitting out uncovered for a couple of days while its being decorated.
Hello Amber and Julia. I have just started cookie decorating here in the U.K,where it isn't as popular as it is in the U.S.A. Do you have any tips on selling cookies ?. Also, do you think that the cookie will take over from the cupcake craze ? Hayley
Hayley: I would suggest opening an Etsy shop! It's an easy and inexpensive way to start selling cookies (www.etsy.com). I don't know if cookies will be taking over the cupcake trend, but, as I mentioned in the Cookier Closeup a couple of weeks ago, I do see decorated cookies becoming more and more popular. I like to believe that they are here to stay rather than being a trend that will pass.
The Cookie Lab: Sometimes I just like to try out new things. I've been an artist my whole life, even before I started cookies, and my style changes from time to time. I'm just experimenting new ideas. It's been fun!
Cancan: My inspirations come from things I find in antique stores and vintage shops, but lately I've been getting tons of inspiration from nail art! I'm so amazed at what people can do with nail polish, and I like to see if those same designs can be done in royal icing. I've had some successes and some failures with that.
I love the fact that you share your ideas in your tutorials- I have noticed that you have had quite an influence on some bakers- how does that make you feel? I am also thrilled to be here all the way from Greece this is awesome!
Tina At Sugar Wishes: I love seeing how my work has influenced other bakers. It's nice to know that my work has inspired others to try out new designs, and I like to see how other decorators put their own spin on things.
I'm having the hardest time getting "off the ground" I'm just a SAHM who started decorating cookies as a hobby and creative outlet. I get people asking for quotes but no one ever orders. I don't think $20 for dz is too much. Do you have any advice?
Michele: I don't think $20 is too much, either! That's why it's good to sell over the internet, because you can reach a wider audience. If you keep at it, you'll find the customers who are willing to pay what you ask.
Pynki26: I usually just go to Michaels craft store for my supplies, but when I get down to New York City, I go to NY Cake to stock up on colors, cutters and pearl dusts. They have a website where they sell online. Their selection is incredible!
Amber, i'm a newbie in cookie decorating. While it's easier to decorate with royal icing, it gets really hard when it's dried up. I tried to add corn syrup to it but the icing became very liquid. Do you have any recommendation on how to make the icing "softer"?
Cacan: I think it depends on what ingredients you are using, because, while my royal icing does dry hard, it isn't unpleasant to bite into. It might also be a matter of personal preference! I actually don't add corn syrup to my royal icing. It's just Wilton meringue powder, powdered sugar, water and some flavorings.
I love all of your tutorials, they have inspired me so much and I have people asking all the time how to order, not ready for that yet. The biggest problem I have is mixing colors. I am using wilton gels. Do you have any suggestions how to get better at this, especially red and black.
Kimberlie: Thank you so much! I also use Wilton gels and sometimes Americolor. When making dark colors, it's best to make them a day or two ahead of time so that they have time to darken on their own so that you don't have to add an entire jar of color at once! I know it's not always possible, but it's best to make all of your colors at least a few hours ahead of when you will need them, because the colors will change over time.
I never seem to get a true red or black without it tasting terrible even with no taste red and the rest of the colors are challenging trying to match them or at least get them close to colors I look at?
That horrible taste is a problem, too. Americolor tulip red doesn't taste bad! As for the Witlon gel pastes, I've found that if you buy the tiny jars, you won't have that problem. The larger size jars usually taste bad, and I have no idea why!
I'm such a big fan of both you, and Julia, so thank you both for making this happen. I absolutely loved your nautical cookies (striped with a heart and anchor). Do you ever have problems with bleeding either from at type of striping, or in the marbling that you do so wonderfully?
Cakes en Vogue: I actually don't add corn syrup to my icing, but if its a very humid day, it will take a long time for the icing to dry. Also, the amount of color in the icing can affect drying time as well.
Amber, since you make your icing ahead to let the colors intensify, how do you deal with the change in consistency in the icing? Do you color thick icing, then thin down only when you're ready to pipe?
I tried your recent "piped lines on bare cookie" marbling technique on some minis and mine didn't look very good...do you ever do marbling on minis? Any particular technique work better than another.I' m a big marbling fan but only have luck with marbling on medium to large cookies.
Can you please give us an idea on how to price a cookie? In Portugal, people still ask sometimes if decorated cookies are priced by weight because there is "tradition" for buying regular cookies like that. Sometimes the work even on a small cookie is not considered because it's just a small one.
The Cookie Lab: Pricing cookies is difficult because it depends on how much time goes into them. You should think about how much you want to be making per hour and calculate how much time you are putting into each cookie. The mindset of the customer is going to have to change, but that will be up to the cookie community to help make that happen.
Do you have any advice for preventing color bleed? I absolutely hate finishing a cookie, loving it, and then coming back to find my dark colors have bled into my light colors while the icing was drying! I think humidity makes it worse so have started keeping my dehumidifier running more. But it's not a 100% guarantee.
AnnS: There are a few things you can do to prevent bleeding. First, keep your icing on the thick side. Also, don't use too much color. Keep your cookies in an air conditioned room while they're drying. I find that helps the most!
Tina: My grandmother actually has some on display in her store in NJ (just for show), and my dad has a ton in his office. They will last for a long time if you don't take them out of the package! But yes, people eat them! LOL
We've got just about 15 more minutes with Amber, and there are still some questions waiting for her in the queue. If you have any others, please post them in the next 5 minutes so Amber will have time to answer them while the chat is still live. Thanks!
Pynki26: I have never put cookies in the freezer that have already been baked or decorated, but I've heard that this can be done. I usually will make my dough, cut the cookies and freeze them raw in order to save time. That way, I can just pop them in the oven when it's time to decorate.
Hi, Amber! I am a big fan of your work. My question relates to using gold to color cookies. I have noticed that when I mix the gold with vodka and try to paint on the cookies, it eats into the icing and creates holes in the piped lines. Also, I live in the Middle East so it's not advisable to use alcohol in food. What else can I use to mix the gold with that will evaporate? Thanks!
Chichi: I have been meaning for the longest time to do a blog post about alternatives to alcohol for painting with gold. Unfortunately I don't know of any at the moment! As for the problem with the dissolving icing, I'd recommend using either lemon or vanilla extract. I actually prefer to use Bacardi 151 because it evaporates so fast and doesn't dissolve the icing. Sometimes vodka is just too watery.
Sure! I'll be in Madrid for a week in October to teach at Alma's Cupcakes. There will be two workshops that are 2 days each and then an advanced class on the last day. I'll be teaching flooding, wet-on-wet, brush embroidery, along with some other fun piping techniques.
Any recommendations (or perhaps a new tutorial?) for learning the scroll technique? I have trouble wrapping my brain around it and it ends up looking like a kindergarten kidlet scribbled it. I watch your tutorial but I can't seem to mimic it with royal. I need baby-step-by-baby-step instructions!
Ornella: Thank you!! Sometimes the icing comes out grainy depending on what type of meringue powder you're using. I use Wilton brand, and lately I've noticed a little more graininess than usual. I would recommend just trying a different brand of meringue powder to see if that helps.
Hello, Amber, many greetings from Vienna, Austria. I really appreciate your tutorials; they've been a great help for me! I have one question: Are your recipes in the shop also available in metric units? Thank you so much, xoxo.
When you block a person, they can no longer invite you to a private message or post to your profile wall. Replies and comments they make will be collapsed/hidden by default. Finally, you'll never receive email notifications about content they create or likes they designate for your content.
Note: if you proceed, you will no longer be following .