Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Quick and easy bell design

Bell cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

Yes, it's ok to cheat. This time of the year we are way too busy, but we still want to create amazing cookies, right? It means this is time for all the little cheats we can use!

Let's see, how to make these bell cookies way faster than anyone would think!

You will need:
5.5 inch bell cookies (I used my yummy gingerbread recipe and this bell cutter.)
TruColor Airbrush Shine colors in sky blue and deep blue, airbrush
Royal icing with PME #2 tip
Winter scene stencils, extra icing and spatula

Steps:
1. Airbrush parts of the cookie (bottom or the middle) with TruColor Airbrush Shine Sky Blue color
2. Airbrush the remaining parts with TruColor Airbrush Shine Deep Blue color
3. Use the stencil and royal icing to create the winter scene
4. Finish the cookie with piping

You can watch the video here:



This cookie fits perfectly in a 6x6x1 stationary box to make a nice present.
It's a great last minute holiday gift!

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Cookie Projects: Fall cookie puzzle -P004

Fall cookie puzzle by Tunde Dugantsi

I just came back from Cookie RoundUp, Kentucky hosted by 2T's Stencils. This was a full weekend of cookie decorating with friends. I am so glad I could meet some of my old cookie friends and make new ones!

This fall puzzle is one of the projects we made. It's practically 4 sets of square cookies that we can mix and match as we please.

Fall cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

This is a shiny gold and bronze set with leaves.

Fall cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

This set has an aged look with the script in the background. We added real-looking gum paste leaves.

Fall cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

Quilted background with a brush embroidered leaf: a simple yet elegant look.

Fall cookies by Tunde Dugantsi


And of course, some lace border to frame the painted leaves.

Would you like to create this set? The online class version is available now.


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fall leaves made of gum paste


I hate plastic cupcake toppers. Actually, I hate anything plastic that has no real use at all. I like to decorate my cupcakes by piping different shapes from the frosting or making decoration from chocolate. But this time I decided to make something different: I made life-like colorful edible fall leaves from gum paste. I used some of them to decorate cookies of course:


And the rest will decorate our Thanksgiving dessert:


If you would like to make some, my online class might be helpful.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Cookie Projects:Colorful Fall Cookies - P002

Colorful Fall cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

My second Cookie Project on Vimeo is Colorful Fall Cookies, available now.

This is a party project and easier and faster than the previous project, Elegant Halloween Cookies was.

Be aware, to complete this project you will need an airbrush.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Royal icing

Royal icing
You can use royal icing to decorate your cookies. It’s easy to prepare, dries fast and you can color it using gel food coloring. You can always adjust the consistency of the icing by adding more water for thinner or more confectioner’s sugar for thicker consistency. I share two recipes, they both work great, but for big projects that may take several days you will definitely need to use the meringue powder royal icing.



Egg white royal icing:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 lb confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

You have to use it within 1 day or refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 3 days.

Meringue powder royal icing:
  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 4 oz cold water
  • 1 lb confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

You don’t need to refrigerate, keep in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks and rebeat before using.

UPDATE: Online classes about royal icing and icing consistencies are available now:



First prepare the bags. I use resealable sandwich bags with couplers and decorating tips. Tip #1 for the regular icing and tip #3 for the flood icing. You can choose to use just the bags and cut a tiny hole in the corner. You can also use professional decorating bags if you wish. I usually mark the bags containing the flood icing, to know which bag to reach for when decorating.

It’s helpful to put the bag in a cup, folding the opening around the rim. This makes filling the bag much easier.

Decide which recipe to use and prepare the ingredients.

Add meringue powder to the water in a bowl (for egg white icing use the egg whites) and beat until it forms soft peaks.

 Lower the speed and gradually add the confectioner’s sugar. Add the lemon juice and beat for an additional 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Coloring: Gel paste food coloring will not dilute your icing and gives bright color. I usually mix the icing color I want in a tiny bowl, take out one third of this regular icing in a bag and dilute the rest to make the flood icing of the exact same color.

Flood icing: Add a few drops of water until you get the right consistency. If you draw a knife through the icing it has to completely come back together in 10 seconds. If it does not, it needs a few more drops of water.


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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cookie Projects: Elegant Halloween Cookies - P001

Elegant Halloween Cookies by Tunde Dugantsi

Halloween is around the corner and my first Cookie Projects Online Class, Elegant Halloween Cookies is available now on Vimeo.

This is a party project. I designed it with a group activity in mind. Party projects have a limited color palette and they can be done by a group in 3-4 hours.


If you purchase this class don't forget to join our Facebook group, where students can ask questions and post their work.

Have fun with your Halloween cookies!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Online class: Cookie Academy Basics

Whenever I post about my upcoming classes I get some comments from people who live far away telling me how much they would love to participate. I can not go everywhere, but the internet can. So this year, I have been working on the online version of my classes.

I will have two series:
  • Cookie Academy classes are teaching different techniques in detail and complement the Cookie Academy book series.
  • Cookie Projects episodes will show different cookie projects with step by step instructions. Every project will use different techniques. These are great for creating a cool project at home or hosting a cookie decorating party for friends and family. The projects that are designed for parties are marked with a "party" banner.
And I am happy to announce, that the first few lessons of Cookie Academy Classes are ready and available on Vimeo. Of course we will have to start with the basics. So this is what I do. But I am working hard on filming all your favorite classes.


You don't have to purchase the whole class, you can pick the lessons you need.

Cookie Academy Basics will have 7 lessons, the first 5 are available now.

Cookie Academy Basics
001 Basic Gingerbread
002 Yummy Gingerbread
003 Egg Wash
004 Making Royal Icing
005 Royal Icing Consistencies
006 Coloring Royal Icing
007 Flooding a Cookie

If you purchase this class don't forget to join our Facebook group, where students can ask questions and post their work.


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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Saveur Blog Awards


As I told you earlierI was chosen as one of the six finalists for the "Best Special Interest Blog Award" at Saveur Blog Awards 2017.

I was invited to the Award Ceremony in Charleston, which was more like two days of fun, pampering and celebration.

The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau planned amazing programs for us in this charming city. Of course, our itinerary revolved around food and drink.

The best part of this experience was to be abound people who all had a passion that they were generously sharing with the world. And I am not only talking about us bloggers, but every single person we met during our visit.

Our tour guide at Bulldog Tours who had an amazing story about every little corner of this charming city.

The staff of The Dewberry Hotel gave us the warmest welcome and during our events the servers were offering us the amazing food like you would offer it to your guests at home.

The first night, right after the Cocktail Reception we were invited to the Charleston Pub Crawl. Those of you who know me already guessed, this evening I consumed more alcohol, than in the past 10 years combined. And I loved it! The three bars we visited were so welcoming. Darling Oyster Bar has an amazing sea food bar and the drinks were so good that it was really hard to chose from.


Darling Oyster Bar

On our way to the Cocktail Club we smelled freshly baked ice cream cones. Of course, we had to stop at Jeni's to try their ice cream. It's fabulous!

Our last stop, The Ordinary is rather extraordinary and their fried oyster sliders are to die for.


Carrie preparing our biscuits
Monday, we started our day at Le Creuset Test Kitchen where we could witness how our fabulous breakfast was made from scratch by hand. To be honest, I was never a big fan of biscuits - until now. Callie's Charleston Biscuits changed my world with their cinnamon biscuit. They also ship their products and Carrie, the owner published a cookbook too (on my wishlist).

We had 4 amazing panel discussions to make our trip just as educational as fun. I enjoyed every minute of the discussions and I appreciate everything these wonderful people shared with us.


Rodney Scott's BBQ in the making
We spent Monday afternoon at High Wire Distilling Co. where we experienced first hand how a heirloom grain can yield a very special drink. Again, as a non-drinker, I believed that all whisky was created equal. Oh boy, I was mistaken! Our heavenly lunch was prepared by Rodney Scott's BBQ at the distillery and we even enjoyed live music!


High Wire Distilling Co

Monday evening was the Award Ceremony. It was so elegant and professional, that I still could not believe I was part of it. In the same time, by that time the room was full of friends. I hope that the bloggers in my category will become my friends for life. We really had a great start. Although I didn't win the award, I consider all finalists a winner. Especially those who had the chance to join this event.


Rice harvest
And it was not even over yet! Tuesday morning those of us who had later flights could visit the ACE basin, harvest some rice by hand and learn about the area while enjoying food made from the farm's crops. Check Food For The Southern Soul if you would like to taste them too.

I have to thank you all for this fairy-tale like mini vacation. Special thanks to those who nominated me for this award (I still don't know who you are, but I truly appreciate it). If you ever have a chance to visit Charleston, don't forget to visit some of these places, you will enjoy them.





Friday, September 1, 2017

Natural red food color: TruColor Red Annatto

Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

You know how much I love TruColor products. I use them a lot and I post pictures of the cookies I make with them. When TruColor came out with the liquid colors they sent me a set and they also added a jar of their Red Annatto Airbrush color. They told me it was amazing and I had to try it. I made a mental note about it and put the jar to my stash to try it when I get a chance.

Last week I needed some red hearts for a project and I had the idea to try Red Annatto in my red coating instead of Americolor gel. I was prepared to see my mixture turn purple, as this is what most natural red colors do in my alkaline food environments (like eggs, icing...). But this color is red, very nice, strong, vibrant red and it stays red whatever I do with it!!!

Now, I hate myself for not trying it right away when I got it!

Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

So here is the red heart colored with this new natural food color. From now on, I can let my kids eat my red cookies!

I was so excited about my new, gorgeous red coating, that I forgot to put my gloves on when I painted this cookie. And you know how your hand looks like after working with red food color, right? Here comes the next surprise: this color came off my hands with a simple hand wash.

I loved this vibrant red so much, that I could not stop, so here is another set of red hearts:

Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

I have to tell you, I couldn't stop here. I had to try to color my icing with it. I know, the label says "airbrush", but who cares? And I am so glad I did! Look at this gorgeous red palette! And I did not have to use a lot of the powder to get this vibrant color. The pink shades are the same red with more icing added.


Here is a square cookie with the four shades of Red Annatto:
Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

 I also made 4 small squares with the 4 shades:
Cookies with TruColor Red Annatto food color by Tunde Dugantsi

I will definitely need to try it as an airbrush color, but I don't use airbrush a whole lot. So this will take me a little more time. If you need a jar of Red Annatto you can get it at my Etsy shop. Oh, did I tell you that I re-opened my Etsy shop with some cool supplies?

WARNING: This color is not suitable for nut allergy sufferers!

Try this color, you will love it!

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back to school cookies and new cutters


You probably already know Ann Clark and their wonderful cookie cutters, all made in the USA. I partnered with them and we created our first two shapes together: the paint brush and the palette. Combined with their rectangle and pencil cutters they make an awesome back to school set.

  This is the paint palette cutter and the cookie version.

Here is the paint brush cutter with some cookies.

And the mini set together. 
Just these two shapes can make a fun, cheerful gift for any aspiring artist.

 The Ann Clark pencil cutter to go with them.

 And the rectangle can make a blackboard cookie and a ruled paper cookie.

I re-opened my Etsy shop, so you can get all they supplies I use and you were always asking me about. I added this fun set to the store.

Finally, you can watch how I decorated these cookies:


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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Saveur Blog Awards '17


I would like to thank you for reading my blog and a special thanks to those who nominated it for the Saveur Blog Awards this year! I was chosen as one of the six finalists for the "Best Special Interest Blog Award". Voting starts now. Check out all the amazing nominees, you can find my blog listed at the very bottom of the voting page.

Thank you for all your support!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Say "thank you" with cookies

Thank you cookie set with swirl roses and sanding sugar by Tunde Dugantsi

I always like to work with generic shapes. There is so much you can do with a square or an oval cookie! For this set I just grabbed an assortment laying around and started to play with them.

I always have icing transfer flowers in stock. Whenever I have some left over icing and some spare time I make some flowers. These little swirl roses are shades of Americolor dusty rose. I start with a color, then when I don't have enough icing in the bag to continue piping I mix some white to it to get the next shade. I repeat this once more to have three shades of the same color.

I store my flowers in plastic containers and list the extra in my Etsy store. This way, whenever I need some flowers I have a nice stash to choose from.


The other color for this set is yellow and to make it interesting I added some texture by sprinkling sanding sugar on the flood icing. This looks just as good for me as disco dust, but it's all natural from TruColor. I love these sanding sugars, but I did not like the plastic jars they came in. So I bought spice jars to store them. The great news is, TruColor just came out with a new packaging: spice jars. They should be available in stores soon!

Here you can watch how I made these cookies, enjoy!




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Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter cookies - doodling with TruColor

Easter cookies, doodling with TruColor by Tunde Dugantsi

These are real play-cookies. I had some leftover bunny cookies and a butterfly. They were flooded with white icing. I decided to mix some icing with TruColor gel colors and play with them. The mindless doodling was fun and I like the result.

I also had my camera on, if you need to relax:








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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Egg cookies with needlepoint and TruColor

Egg cookies with needlepoint and TruColor by Tunde Dugantsi

This set is the main project of my Cookie Academy 3 - Needlepoint book and this is what we make during the needlepoint master classes.

It took me some time to edit all the videos and put them on Youtube, but this is the perfect timing right before Easter.

For this set I baked 4 inch egg cookies, using the recipe that has nice smooth surface and painted the cookies with TruColor airbrush shine colors using a paint brush. During the last class we used airbrushes and they turned out amazing too.

Enjoy the videos and make some beautiful cookies for Easter!












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Friday, March 17, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Variations for heart boxes

Heart cookie boxes by Tunde Dugantsi

Last weekend, I had the honor to teach a demo for Texas ICES Day of Sharing. I decided to show how to make layered heart boxes for Valentine's Day. This is an easy project, but it looks impressive and can be a great gift.

All you need is 3 sizes of heart cutters. My set has a 4 inch, a 3.5 inch and a 2 inch cutter. I use the big one for the top and the bottom of the box and the two others form the 3 rings that build up the side.

I use Americolor super red gel for the red and I leave the bowl dirty and add white to get pink icing. I pipe with PME #1,5 tip.

See below how the different tops were made.




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Monday, February 6, 2017

Heart box and mini cookies made with TruColor pink gel color

Pink TruColor cookie set by Tunde Dugantsi

This set was a gift for a little girl who loves cookies. The heart box is hiding a little surprise for her. The rest of the cookies are small (around 2 inch) because mom does not like her to eat a lot of sweets at a time. I also used the all natural TruColor pink gel food color, what I use for my children's sweets too.

This set would also make a nice Valentine's gift.

Here you can see the videos:





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