Decorating Sugar Cookies… From Start to Finish- Part 2

Yesterday I posted “Part 1” of a detailed tutorial my good friend (and cookie decorator extraordinaire!) Callye of Sweet Sugar Belle put together exclusively for Glorious Treats readers.  Today I’m back with all the photo how-to’s for the decorating stage. 
You’ll need to prepare a batch of Royal Icing.
Royal Icing
4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (I use Wilton Brand)
4 cups (about 1 pound) powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form. 
*Make sure all bowls and utensils are totally grease-free or your icing will never reach proper consistency.
Spoon some of the thick white icing into individual bowls and add coloring (Callye and I use
For each color of icing, you will want a piping bag (or squeeze bottle) of thick icing and one in the same color of thinned icing.  Once you color a bowl of icing, scoop about 1/2 of it into a piping bag (fitted with a size 2 tip- or other desired size), and then thin the remaining icing in that bowl to create a thinned version of the exact same color.  To thin icing add 1 teaspoon of water at a time and stir, continue adding water by 1/2 teaspoons until desired consistency is reached. 
I will use the terms “thick icing“, this is the consistency before adding extra water, and should be about the consistency of toothpaste.   When I say “thinned icing“, it should be icing that has been thinned to about the consistency of thick syrup (like corn syrup).
Once you have your icing colored, and in piping bags (and/or squeeze bottles) you’re ready to get started. 
Below is a photo I posted in a previous post, but I thought would be a nice reminder.  The more organized your work space is the more efficient you will be.
Candy Corn Cookies
~Candy Corn Cookies Directions~
Step 1.  Pipe thick black icing around the edge of the cookie.   Let that outline dry for at least 1/2 hour before continuing. (You can work on other cookies and then come back).
Steps 2.-5.  Fill in with thinned icing in white, then yellow, then orange.
Step 6.  When icing is completely dry (after several hours) use a black edible marker to add eyes and mouth.
Candy
~Candy Directions~
Steps 1.-2.  Use thick black icing to outline the cookie.
Step 3.  Fill in (as shown) with thinned black icing.
Step 4.  Fill in the appropriate areas with thinned orange icing.
Step 5.  Fill in with thinned white.
Step 6.  Once the cookie is dry (after at least 1 hour), add a small accent of white (as shown). 
Heart Pumpkin
~Heart Pumpkin Directions~
Steps 1.-3.  Use thick black icing to outline the heart shape and outline parts of the face.
Step 4.  Fill in the face parts with thinned black icing.  Then create a stem with thinned green icing.
Step 5.  Fill in the pumpkin with thinned orange.
Step 6.  Use a toothpick as necessary to move the icing where it needs to be. 
Optional final step (not shown above, but shown on finished cookies at the top of the post), accent the green stem (when totally dry) with a green edible marker.
Peace Bat
~Peace Bat Directions~
Steps 1.-3.  Create the peace sign shaped using thinned black icing.
Step 4.-6.  Lay the cookie on a paper plate or tray, and sprinkle with black sanding sugar.  Allow to “rest” for a few minutes.
Steps 7.-8.  Gently turn cookie upside down and shake off excess sugar (do not worry about the excess sugar in the center of the design for now).  As needed, use a clean, dry paintbrush to brush off excess sugar.
Steps 9.-10.  Outline the bat wings with thick black icing, then fill in with thinned black icing. 
Step 11. Once the cookie is dry (after several hours), brush off any excess sugar from the center of the peace sign. 
Step 12.  Add eyes, using white icing first, and then a black dot.
Finally…
With some luck, and several hours of work (or fun, depending on how you look at it!) you may have something that resembles these…
A few final notes for beginners
It would be near impossible to include every detail of how to decorate cookies in one post.  The way Callye and I have developed most of our skills is through trial and error, and lots and LOTS of practice!  We are both still learning new tricks all the time.  Before you e-mail me with questions, please make sure you have read through the several posts I have on this blog on the topic of cookie decorating (see categories at the top of the right side bar).  There are also many resources available by simply doing internet searches on the topic you are interested in, as well as lots of great YouTube videos that show various tips and tricks.  Decorating cookies can be a very rewarding hobby, but it would be unrealistic to think you will be able to sit down and make 300 beautiful wedding favor cookies on your first try.  Maybe that could be a project for your second try! =)
Happy Decorating!
Please note as well… Callye has been very generous to us with her time and knowledge, but her time is not unlimited.  Please feel free to contact her to say “hi” and “thanks”, but she is quite busy raising three young children and can not answer your cookie questions, or make cookies for you at this time. 
All of the important links…
Part 1 of this tutorial- The design inspiration, cookie recipe, and cutting the dough.
Callye’s Facebook page, SugarBelle’s
Flickr page, Sweet Sugar Belle
Thanks again Callye!! 

Decorating Sugar Cookies… From Start to Finish – Part 1

Earlier this week I introduced you to one of my talented friends, Maryann.  I’m back today to introduce you to another AMAZINGLY talented cookie artist and friend, Callye, a.k.a. Sweet Sugar Belle.  Not only is Callye creative and talented beyond words, but she has been know to produce dozens and dozens of custom decorated cookies in a single week.  The number of cookies Callye can bake and decorate in a week is often mind boggling.  And no detail is ever spared… these are not “cookie cutter” style cookies… Callye’s cookies are custom in every sense of the word!  If you can dream it, Callye has (or can) make it into a cookie!
A few weeks ago Callye offered to create a special set of cookies, and all the step-by-step directions just for Glorious Treats readers… how could I pass that up?!!  I couldn’t!  So Callye got to work on a custom set of cookies just for us, and took such care to photograph each and every step.  In fact, she is sharing such a wealth of information I’m breaking it into two posts.  Today will be Part 1, the design, and cutting out the cookies.  I’ll be back later this week with (Part 2) all of the detailed decorating photos. 
Callye wanted to show how a decorator can draw inspiration from most anywhere…
Her inspiration for this set of cookies came from a shirt… from Wal-Mart!  (shown below)
And here are the finished cookies….
Aren’t they fun?!  And an amazing match to the shirt!
Callye created these custom cookies using easy to find cookie cutters.  The only true Halloween cutters she used were for the bats.

Ready to get started?
Prepare a batch (or two) of Sugar Cookie dough (recipe HERE).
Here is how Callye created her custom cookies using common cutters…
Candy Corn

Heart Pumpkin
Candy
Peace Bat

Place prepared cookies on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, place baking sheet in the freezer about 5 minutes (this will help the cookies keep their shape), then bake as directed. 

Thank you so much Callye for giving us a peek behind the scenes! 
I’ll be back later this week with “Part 2″ of the amazing tutorial from Callye… the extra fun part, decorating!
Please go say “Hi” to Callye
on her Facebook page, SugarBelle’s
Blog, Sweet Sugar Belle
and Flickr page, Sweet Sugar Belle
If we’re real sweet to her, she may be willing to share some more tips in the future! 

(Note- Callye is not accepting cookie orders at this time, as she is busy raising her three beautiful children)

Warm and Welcoming Fall Displays

Long before I even knew what a blog was, let alone had one, I spent time on a photo sharing site called Flickr.  I discovered a community of some of the most talented people… artists whose medium is sugar!  It was through Flickr that my baking skills really flourished.  I know that my skills as a baker have grown by leaps and bounds as a direct result of the inspiration and encouragement I found on Flickr! 
One of the most talented sugar artists I’ve ever seen is a cookie decorator named Maryann Rollins, or as we know her on Flickr, “Cookie Artisan“.  Take a look at her gorgeous cookies HERE.  If you don’t have time to see them all now, take some time soon to come back and really marvel at her incredible skills!  I have  marveled at and studied every photo she has posted over the last 2 years and I get excited ever time she posts a new one! 
Today I want to do a little show-and-tell of another side of this talented woman… her home decorating skills.  Maryann and her family love Halloween and have lots of fun together each year creating an array of beautiful Jack-o-lanterns.  Maryann has been gracious enough to let me share some of her beautiful outdoor displays.  The photo at the top of the post, and next three (below) are from a previous home on the east coast.  The bottom photo is from her current home, in Oklahoma.
Enjoy these gorgeous, welcoming displays….

Thank you Maryann
Happy fall decorating everyone!
(All images by Maryann Rollins- Do not use without permission)

Cupcake Liner Love {and a Giveway!}

Over the years I’ve developed quite a love for cupcake liners.  I’ve collected liners in a wide variety of sizes, colors and designs.  And although I still pick up new ones from time to time, I find I usually bake with the same ones over and over.  For “everyday” baking I usually use brown or white liners, but for special occasions I love to use colored ones.  I’ve tried several brands of liners… you know I bake a lot of cupcakes!   My favorite solid color liners are from Confectionery House.  The Confectionery House liners are the only colored liners I’ve found that really hold their color well after the cupcakes are baked… even with chocolate cupcakes.  Confectionery House liners add the perfect touch of color that can really dress up a cupcake display. 
Above are a few examples of the Confectionery House colored liners in action.
Top left- Easter Cupcakes.
Top right- Birthday cupcakes (pre-blog)
Bottom left- Luau Party cupcakes.
Bottom right- Rainbows and Race Cars Birthday cupcakes.
Ready to get your hands… or baking mitts… on some of these pretty liners?
Perfect, because Confectionery House is sponsoring an awesome giveaway just for Glorious Treats lovely readers! 
3 lucky readers will each win one pack of solid color liners AND…
 …one pack of fun polka-dot liners!
That’s over 350 liners total!!  That should keep you busy for a while!
But wait there’s more… One of the three winners will get a fun bonus… a $25.00 gift certificate to Confectionery House!  
It wont be hard to find some fun things to spend the gift certificate on, Confectionery House has an amazing selection of sprinkles, cookie cutters, baking pans, candy molds and baking tools. 
Ready to win some beautiful liners and a bit of shopping money too?
~ How to enter ~
For one entry- Head on over to Confectionery House and have a look at their gorgeous selection of cupcake liners, sprinkles, baking pans, cookie cutters, and baking supplies. Come back here and leave a comment telling me one of your favorite items from their site.

For a second entry- Sign up as a follower of Glorious Treats, and/or “like” Glorious Treats on Facebook (then leave a comment here telling me you are a follower and/or fan).
For a third entry- Pick any of these…
Add Glorious Treats to the blog links on your blog, add the Glorious Treats button to your blog, blog about this fun giveaway, or post on Facebook about the giveaway. (Include the link to your blog or Facebook page in your comment)
Leave a separate comment for each entry.
A maximum of three entries total per person.
Please make sure to include your e-mail address, so I can contact the winner.
This giveaway ends Tuesday, Oct. 26th 10:00 pm Pacific.
Winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be announced by Thursday, Oct. 28th.
The winner of the bonus $25.00 gift certificate will be chosen at random from the three winners.

A Sweet Week in San Francisco

I’m home tonight from a five day visit to San Francisco.  I’m a native Californian, so I’ve been to San Francisco several times before, but this trip was extra special!  The five days were spent shopping, eating, chatting, and then a bit more shopping and eating!  I shared this wonderful week with Sharnel of My life my loves, a beautiful friend whom I met (on the internet) several years ago through our mutual love of cupcakes and pretty things.  Although I’ve considered Sharnel a true friend (much more than just an internt acquaintance) for quite a while, we’ve never met in person.  Sharnel flew from her home in Australia this past week and we enjoyed a whirlwind tour of San Francisco.  I have LOTS of fun photos to share (that I’ll include in a few future posts), but I’ll start with a little overview…. 
Here is Sharnel (on the left) and I just hours after first meeting in person.  We enjoyed a lunch down on Fisherman’s Wharf.  Sharnel enjoyed the traditional sea side lunch, clam chowder in a fresh sourdough bread bowl. 
Throughout our visit we enjoyed the beautiful and unique architecture and scenery of San Francisco….
We also enjoyed a few sweets along the way…
And rounded out the sweets with a few other yummy foods…
We also did LOTS of fun shopping…
(Above) We enjoyed a stop at Paper Source after sharing a beautiful lunch with Becca of Birthday Girl, and Michelle of Cakewalk (more photos of our visit with these lovely ladies in a future post).
(Below)  One of the stops on our “must see” list included a gorgeous ribbon store… Sharnel and I went nuts in this store ohh-ing and ahh-ing.
That’s all from our trip for tonight.  I’ll be sharing more photos in future posts.  We found a few really special places I’ll look forward to sharing!  I had such a wonderful time with Sharnel, a beautiful person inside and out.  Not to mention, incredibly talented, kind, genuine and down right hysterical… this girl has an amazing sense of humor!  But I am also glad to be home… somehow my town feels more like “home” than ever, my husband looks cuter than ever (I wanted to say sexier than ever, can I say that?) and my children seem extra angelic. 
Home sweet home.