Saturday, May 27, 2023

New blog

 Hello friends,

It has been 10 years... I am stepping to the next level. I just published my brand new website and it has its own blog.

For new content, check the new blog!

I will transfer all the content to the new blog slowly. If you can't find something here, check the new site.

Thank you for joining my sweet journey!


Thursday, March 17, 2022

St. Patrick's Day Cookies

Welcome back Friends!

I have a confession to make: I totally ignored my blog for years. With all the different social media platforms, it felt nobody was reading blogs anymore. But last week I checked my analytics and was totally surprised to find out, that you do visit! So I will try to come back and slowly catch up with all the cookies I didn't post over the years!

St. Patrick's Day cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

This set was our first March Project at Club Cookie Academy. Join the club if you would like to get two new classes each month and all the previous classes too.

St. Patrick's Day cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

This second set is a class project and is also available on Youtube:

This third set is a quick and easy design, great for beginners:

St. Patrick's Day cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

And this last one is my 2020 live St. Patrick's Day class. One of the last in-person classes before the pandemic shut my studio down:

St. Patrick's Day cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

TruColor Liquid Colors in Royal Icing

It all started with a little Christmas in October. I ordered these amazing cordless mini airbrushes for my classes and my shop from TruColor. Bill called me to specify my order and mentioned me sending the new liquid colors for testing. You know how much I love colors! So new colors for testing is always fun. right?

A few days later, I opened my box like a kid at Christmas Day. And this is what I found, a beautiful set of vibrant colors, that I feel good about giving to my kids:

This picture shows their full set of 12 colors. The first thing that caught me eye was the sets of twins: two yellows, two oranges and two greens. I asked Bill about the reason of having the twins and if they were different in royal icing. The reason of having them is the fact, that the main ingredient of the regular colors, turmeric is oil soluble. To make a liquid color with it, requires an emulsifier (Polysorbate 80), which is totally harmless, still, it's not derived from plants, so doesn't really fit TruColor philosophy. And the way they act in royal icing is actually my job to figure out. It makes sense, so let's get to it!


I decided to test all the colors the same way, so we can compare them. I started with 50 gram (about 2 oz) very basic meringue powder royal icing (just CK meringue powder, sugar and water). I added 1 drop of color for the first test shade. Then I kept adding increasing amounts to the existing shade to get more saturated colors. (2-3-4 and 8 extra drops) Let's see what we got.

The Colors

As I was dying to see the difference between the turmeric based and the beta carotene based colors, this is where I started.

At the picture below, the top row is the beta carotene based beta orange color and the bottom row is the turmeric based orange color. They are both pretty strong pigments. The first difference is in consistency. Beta orange is a lot thicker substance. It doesn't seem to alter the icing consistency too much. The turmeric based orange is much thinner and it did thin out the icing considerable. It also changed the appearance of royal icing. It got a little translucid and lost its strength. It would be hard to decorate with this icing. TruColor's explanation is the turmeric's oil-based nature. We know, oil has a negative effect on royal icing, and it's totally visible with this color.

While both colors look beautiful, for royal icing, I definitely recommend the Beta orange.

The yellow test (picture below), as predictable, came up with the same results. Both yellows have nice, strong pigments. The beta yellow with the beta carotene (top row) is a little darker, more like "egg yellow" or "sunset" yellow color. It doesn't have big effect on consistency, while the turmeric based yellow makes the icing very thin.

My last set of twins: the greens. As you probably guessed, the regular green is the top row. It is a more vivid green. The coloring itself is very thin, but it dilutes the icing a little less than the regular yellow. However, the negative effects on royal icing are still strong, so my choice is definitely the beta green. It's more like an avocado green color, but to be honest, I use this shade way more than leaf green anyways. The color beta green has a thick, grainy consistency so my drops were bigger, but I also needed a little more coloring to achieve the darker shades.

Next in line is sky blue (top row) and royal blue (bottom row). Both beautiful colors. They dilute the icing just a tiny bit (like any gel or liquid color would do), with no negative effects. With this test amount of coloring, they didn't get too dark, but they were getting darker with time (just like most food colors do).

With so many natural pink and purple pigments available, these two colors are not a real challenge. They performed well, as expected.

Let's see the real challenge colors: red and black. This red radish based red color is very vivid and it won't turn purple in royal icing as many natural red colors would do. Unfortunately, this gorgeous bright red color comes with a price: red radish has a strong distinct tart taste. So I would definitely use this color in moderation. As red radish is also an ingredient of orange, the taste of the orange is also affected. I really hope, that Red Annatto will come back one day, as it's the best natural red I have ever seen. 

The black is not as strong as the other colors. So I broke my rule, and I doubled the color quantity I added to the icing. Even with the double quantity, I just achieved a dark gray. However, this gray was a pleasant surprise. Black food colors are a mix of many different colors and they tend to produce purple or green shades instead of gray. TruColor black liquid color produced the nicest, cleanest gray icing I've ever mixed.

I also kept adding color, to see if it gets black, and it does. we just need more coloring to achieve it and more confectioners sugar to adjust the icing consistency after we did.

Here, you can see all the colors, a couple of hours after mixing.

Mixing the colors

We know that natural colors are special, but we shouldn't be afraid of mixing them. In the paint palette below, I mixed some random colors, using beta yellow, red, pink, sky blue and black colors.
On top of each color I added small dots of the colors I used to achieve the mixed color.

Painting with the colors

You can also use these colors to paint on your cookies. This is a big cookie, flooded with royal icing and I painted the colors on it. I simply used water to dilute the colors.

For those of you, who need to be careful with your ingredients, I will put the ingredient list for each color here (from the label):

Yellow: Turmeric Extract, Citric Acid, Water, Cultured Corn Glucose, Polysorbate 80

Beta Yellow: Beta Carotene, Citric Acid, Water, Cultured Corn Glucose

Orange: Turmeric Extract, Red Radish, Citric Acid, Water, Cultured Corn Glucose, Polysorbate 80

Beta Yellow: Beta Carotene, Red Radish, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Water, Cultured Corn Glucose

Green: Water, Spirulina Extract, Turmeric Extract, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Cultured Corn Glucose, Polysorbate 80
Beta Green: Water, Beta Carotene, Spirulina Extract, Cultured Corn Glucose

Sky Blue: Water, Spirulina Extract, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Cultured Corn Glucose

Royal Blue: Water, Spirulina Extract, Beet Color Extract, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Cultured Corn Glucose

Pink: Water, Beet Color Extract, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Cultured Corn Glucose

Regal Purple: Water, Beet Color Extract, Spirulina Extract, Citric Acid, Cultured Corn Glucose

Red: Red Radish Color, Water,  Cultured Corn Glucose

Black: Water, Caramel Color, Red Cabbage, Maltodextrin, Cultured Corn Glucose

Play time!

Finally, the best thing about testing colors is, that I end up with a gorgeous set of icing I can play with:

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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Cross cookies

Cross Cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

I am so happy! My favorite cross shape cutter is now available in metal form by Ann Clark. It's nice and big (5.25 inch high), so there is so much we can do with it! It can be a gorgeous centerpiece for any Easter or Baptism set. This first set is decorated with lace pattern.

Cross Shape by Tunde Dugantsi
Here is the amazing cutter and a chocolate cookie made with it.

Cross Cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

You can also add some flowers to celebrate the season...

Cross Cookies by Tunde Dugantsi
... or just doodle with some spring colors.

Cross Cookies by Tunde Dugantsi
Stained glass effect looks amazing too. 

I hope you will like this shape as much as I do. If you decorate it, please send me your pictures!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Valentine's Cookie Gifts

Valentine's cookie gift by Tunde Dugantsi

Honey gingerbread cookies are the best gift ever! People can keep them forever or just eat them.
The right packaging can elevate cookies to the next level. Even a simple cookie will look amazing in a beautiful box.

I love smaller boxes that can turn a few cookies into a cool gift.

Finding the right box is an eternal challenge. Now, in the 3D printer era this is much easier though. When I got these cute window boxes I envisioned an I-Heart-U set inside. I took out all my letter and heart cutters and started put the cutters in the box. Needless to say, they didn't fit.

So I decided to create a set that will, here it is:

Valentines cookie cutter set by Tunde Dugantsi

Once the right cookies were ready I mixed some red, pink and white icing and started playing with them. Here is the result:

Valentine's cookie gift by Tunde Dugantsi

Another big favorite of mine is this 6x6 inch box with clear lid. I use it all the tome with one big cookie, like my bell cookies in winter time, or the big heart cookies. But I love making sets of smaller cookies too, like the little lace and flowers set or square cookies with snowflakes. For valentines, I can fit 4 little hearts in it. I use the cutter that came with the 3D heart set.

Valentine's cookie gift by Tunde Dugantsi

What is your favorite cookie packaging?

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

When math meets cookies...

When math meets cookies, something beautiful happens!

Before CookieCon2018 Ann Clark asked participants which cookie cutter shape they would like to see in the future. Rebecca, The Cookie Architect replied she wanted shapes that interlock to cover the whole surface. This seemed like a cool idea.

Now, months later, I asked my mathematician husband how to create unique shapes that can do this. I scored a PhD level geometry lecture with my high school level math knowledge, but I think I got the essence of it. And he also told me to Google "Penrose Tiling", so I did : 

"Penrose tiling is an example of non-periodic tiling generated by an aperiodic set of prototiles. Penrose tilings are named after mathematician and physicist Sir Roger Penrose, who investigated these sets in the 1970" (Wikipedia). 

If you don't totally get it, it's fine. All we need to know is, that there are these shapes that you can put together many different ways to create awesome designs that cover the whole plate / table / house or universe. 

I tried to find one of the easiest Penrose shapes and make cutters for them:

This is two different diamond shape. As Halloween is coming up, I colored the big one purple and the smaller one orange, using TruColor Airbrush shine colors on the bare cookies.

I decorated with a simple lace design both tiles. I made 35 big ones and 25 small ones, because I did have to set a limit somewhere and this number will create a cute plate. (Remember, this design has no limits. No matter how many cookies you make, there will be a way to put them together. - It's fun)

I started to put it together:

 Five big ones.

Two small ones  around them and one big between the small ones.

 I took the previous apart, and added just one small between each pair of big.

 Adding three big tiles on top of each small one.

 Adding small ones all around.

 Adding another small on top of each small ones and a big one between them.

 I removed the last set of big ones and found different spots for them for a totally different design.

 I added one more set of big ones. And this is where I run out of cookies. 
(Too bad, it was so much fun!)

 The I went home and I proudly showed my husband my cookies and my pictures. He said they look cool, but I didn't make any with a small tile circle? Well... I didn't. My excuse was that I didn't bake enough of the small tiles. Oh boy, how I regretted not baking more of those at this point.

Trying to be a good student, I went to the kitchen table to put together the small-centered design:

 10 small in the middle (OMG, the first round, and I only have 15 left)

 20 big ones...

 This starts to look fun!

 Oops.. totally run out of tiles. I WANT MORE!!!!

 Look, how cool this is!

 Let's rearrange it! I NEEED more tiles!!!!

I think this is the best party cookie set ever! What do you think? If you need the cutters, they are in my Etsy store.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Baby girl dress cookies - the original design

Do you remember the baby girl dress I posted earlier this year?

I designed that shape for Ann Clark, along with the baby romper shape:

Well, not exactly. This is my original design for the baby girl's dress. As the metal cutter making technology has some limitations we needed to alter my original design. While the result is cute and I love it, I just couldn't let go my original design. So, here it is, in 3D printed version. Available in my Etsy store.

And I had to make them blue, with TruColor Spirulina extract. Because blue is not THE boy color and blue happens to be my little girl's favorite color.

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