Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Simple Sparkly Sealife Cookies. A tutorial with Video!

 I recently wrote a guest post over at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary with a giveaway of these sealife cookies. I wanted to do something different from the previous ones shown there, but it had to be something 'honeycat' - basically lots of lustre, shine and glitter.

Though these cookies look quite complex at first sight, they're really quite simple to make, and the designs lend themselves to almost any shape. Read on and I'll show you how I made them.




What you will need:

1. A variety of sea life cookie cutters and your favourite sugar cookie recipe. 

2. A muted range of base colours in flood consistency royal icing, around 10 seconds - I used light and dark blues, green and gold (dark yellow).

3. Gold and silver or pearl lustre spray (I don't have an airbrush, I just use the sprays you can pick up in the supermarket).

4. A collection of sparkly dragees or sugar pearls, here I've used only gold, silver, and white, in a variety of sizes.

5. Tweezers and a scribe tool or toothpick.

6. A small amount of dark royal icing in piping consistency (like toothpaste) for added details - I used a very dark purple, which looks almost black. With a tip no. 1.5.

7. A small amount of royal icing in light pink, soft, piping consistency for final dots - soft enough to fall back into dots without leaving stiff peaks. With a tip no. 1.5.




A note on piping bags: I've recently started using the 'Master' disposable piping bags that you can get in several places on eBay or Amazon. They come from Hong Kong or China and are very cheap, often with free shipping, and are ideal to use without couplers or even tips. For the outlining and flooding, I used the same bag, with a small cut serving both stages. So much easier for preparation and cleaning up! For the detail piping I added tips, but without couplers, which is somehow more comfortable, and easier to use much smaller amounts of icing.

Design Tip: At a couple of stages in making these cookies, I wasn't entirely sure how the designs should proceed. I knew the cookies weren't 'finished', and needed something more, but I didn't know what and hadn't any spare to practice on. So I took a clear photograph of them all on a plain background, printed out a near life-size photograph of them, several times over, and practiced piping on top of the pictures! I did this for both the dark patterns, to work out what I wanted to go where, and then for the final stage adding pink dots. 



Bake a collection of your favourite sea life cookies - I'll be describing the decorative process on the starfish. The video above shows most of the cookies being decorated, so refer to that if you need inspiration for the other cookies!














1. Using the same flood consistency icing, outline the starfish cookie.

2. Immediately flood the cookie.

3. Immediately spray the wet cookie with lustre spray (I used pearl/silver spray on the blue base). This will dry into the surface of the wet icing and not rub off as it can do when sprayed on the dry icing.




4. Start to create the main lines of decoration with the large silver dragees, starting in the centre and radiating out to the tips. Add small silver dragees inbetween the large. Now let the cookie dry.

5.  Taking the dark piping icing and a tip no. 1.5 start to add a few details - I chose to simply outline the tips of the starfish, trailing a few dots back up each arm towards the centre.




Repeat for all the cookies in a range of colours, dragees and patterns. It was after this stage that I felt the dark details by themselves looked stark, and I puzzled over what the cookies needed to finish them off. That's when I decided they needed a little pink (which could have been darker, truthfully, to contrast more with the backgrounds). I added pink dots in patterns, trails, streams of 'bubbles' and to create more detailed tentacles on the jelly fish, as you can see in these examples above.



33 comments:

  1. Ohmygosh, I do the same thing with printing out a picture and "playing" on it if I am a little confused. I just adore you!!!

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    1. Ha ha - you make me laugh! I adore you too - your cookies are just gorgeous!

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  2. This is a delightful video, I love the music, and I love watching you decorate. What a cool design tip, too, about printing out a pic to help finalize details. Perfection!!!

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    1. Thank you! I love choosing the music, finding something that has a free commercial license means listening to some really unusual stuff that I'd never think of otherwise!

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  3. I think these are the prettiest sea cookies I have ever seen. I would like to try it too. Amazing and thank you for sharing with us. Brilliant!

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    1. Thank you! I really hope you do - I'd love to see what you come up with :-)

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  4. Lucy, you know I love and adore your work. These are gorgeous ❤️

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  5. I love watching you work...these are amazing! Such detail!

    I have just recently ordered these bags but they have not arrived yet. I also use the same consistency to outline and flood and I can't wait to give them a try. Can you tell me where you got the "clips" that you have at the end of your piping bags?

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    1. Thank you! I really like these bags - mainly because they make cleaning up sooooo much easier! But I'm slowly getting the hang of going tipless...:-)

      The clips are OXO good grips, I've bought them in shops, but this is a link to them on Amazon
      http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-CInch-3-Count/dp/B003M8GMZ4/ref=sr_1_3?srs=2598021011&ie=UTF8&qid=1401300139&sr=8-3&keywords=oxo+good+grips+bag+clips

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  6. I do the same thing with the photo- it's both fun and nerve-wracking to just go as far as you can, and then figure it out! And you have definitely revealed a woeful inadequacy in my dragee collection. And I don't want to tell you your business, but you might "need" and airbrush, if only so we can both get them and learn together!

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    1. It's surprising how long you can stare at a cookie, or keep wandering back to the box, opening it, looking at them, sighing, and then moaning to whoever will listen how you can't figure out what to do with them...

      I am starting to think I might 'need' an airbrush too, but I just blew my 'toy' budget on silicon moulds. For now that is :-)

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    2. Ahhhh, for me it was rainbow dust pens.

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  7. Lucy, these are absolutely beautiful!! I love watching you work!!

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  8. Barb Florin (BAKRGAL)28 May 2014 at 15:54

    Fantastic, as always, Lucy!!! Really a fun video. I haven't seen that spray stuff in a can before. I recently got an airbrush, so have been having some fun with that, and now there are some new ideas to practice on! Thanks for putting it all together & sharing!

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  9. I absolutely love watching you work - it's so mesmerising! The children and I all watched this video at the breakfast table. They're in as much awe as I am! Beautiful!

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    1. Great! I'm glad they enjoyed it - perhaps they'll give it a go? :-)

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  10. Amazing talent! Love your work!!

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  11. I love your work. You have a unique and beautiful decorating flair! I curious as to the recipe used for the cookies. I want to take a bite! Lol

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    1. Thank you Cat! I use a plain vanilla sugar cookie recipe. I originally used a standard Peggy Porschen recipe which created a fairly firm cookie with little spread, but I've recently tweaked it with experimentation to create a softer more velvety bite and richer flavour. People often comment that cookies that look really good couldn't taste good to eat, but it's really important to me that they are eaten and really enjoyed, not just look good!

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  12. You're so talented and your work are just amazing as usual.
    Thank you for the tutorial...you're so good, I wish it'd be easy for me too :)

    christina

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    1. Thank you Christina! But remember: blobs and dots, that's all it is, blobs and dots! :-)

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  13. I love these and I love watching you work your cookie magic! You have SO MUCH talent. I think the seahorse and jellyfish are my favorite :)

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  14. Your sea life cookies are amazing! This may be a dumb question, but are the dragees edible?

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    1. Thank you! Yes, they are fully edible, the really shiny ones are quite hard and crunchy (some of the silver ones you can see here), the rest (white and gold) are sugar pearls which are softer.

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  15. AWESOME!!!! You are a genius!!! :D

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  16. Hi Lucy, any chance of 6 cookies on a desert island discs theme for 16th August - subject of dinner with friends! Denise T. (you did my book club ones)

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