Well it’s been quite the summer, hasn’t it? I know I haven’t posted in awhile, but July was pretty hectic. I was working and had summer classes, so basically all of my free time was devoted to napping. But the pandemic rages on and my work ended rather suddenly because of that, so I’m right back to thinking up new ways to fend off boredom and depression. Enter Tik Tok.
I had been resistant to Tik Tok for awhile. I felt like it was something for teenagers, not twenty-somethings who still watch “Vines that Butter my Noodles” compilation videos. But some of my good friends were on it and after watching the Tik Toks that they ceaselessly sent to our group chat I caved in and made an account. Now it’s all I have to live for!
I’m kidding. Kind of. But it does help pass the time and there is some genuinely great content on there. My fave is definitely cottagecore. If you don’t know what cottagecore is, basically we’re all fed up with capitalism and want to move to tiny cottages in the woods, and also lesbians are there. Think Beatrix Potter illustrations. Lots of plants and soft colors. Luckily, baking fits right into the cottagecore aesthetic, so I figured I’d try my hand at making some sweet sweet Cottagecore Content, and try my hand at a cookie decorating technique I’ve had my eye on. I just want the cottage lesbians to accept me okay? Please lesbians?
I’ve posted about decorating sugar cookies with royal icing before, back when I made Halloween cookies during a power outage:
It was such a nerve-wracking process that I decided sugar cookies would only be for special occasions like holidays, so I didn’t make any more until I tried my hand at these vegan cookies last December:
And then in February I spent an ENTIRE DAY making these Valentine’s Day cookies:
My main problem with sugar cookies is how long it takes to decorate them. You have to make the icing, do the border, let it dry, do the flood icing, let it dry, do any additional colors and layers, let those dry. Piping is tedious and gets tiresome after awhile. So I was intrigued to try hand-painting my sugar cookies.
Obviously we’re not talking about real paint. According to Sprinkle Bakes (my go-to cookbook for decorating cookies) and the blog Love from the Oven, if you combine gel food coloring with just a little almond/vanilla/lemon extract you can basically make a paint that works beautifully on top of dried royal icing.
Occasionally when I get REALLY bored I have been known to bust out the watercolors, so I thought that I might have a chance at producing something decent here. I also have these woodland creature cookie cutters that I pulled out from the back of our cupboard YEARS ago and never did anything with. So I really quickly came up with some designs for them:
My one problem was that I didn’t have any food-safe paint brushes lying around, so I had to put on the mask and trek to Michaels. (I did manage to avoid buying anything and everything with a pumpkin on it.) Once I got the brushes it was go time. I whipped up some of the SprinkleBakes sugar cookies (the link is for egg cookies but the dough recipe is the one that I used from the cookbook.)
I love this sugar cookie recipe so much, it’s the only one I’ve found that’s super easy to throw together and doesn’t spread at ALL. Next I made the royal icing, also with the SprinkleBakes recipe. This batch was actually one of the best royal icings I’ve ever made, which is kind of ironic since I immediately had to thin it out with water in order to be able to dip the cookies. I had to use an offset spatula to help spread the icing, but I didn’t want to make it any thinner otherwise it would have just dripped right off. I also still had to take time to pop all the little air bubbles, but in the end I was super happy with the result. It was WAY faster than piping all that icing on.
The icing had to dry overnight, so I didn’t get to painting until the next morning. For painting the cookies, I put a little bit of food coloring in a tray and dipped the brushes in vanilla and almond extract (vanilla for the darker brown, almond for the lighter colors) before brushing the dye onto the cookies. I was very surprised to find that the gel behaved almost exactly like watercolors! It was very easy to spread it over the dried icing, and the colors were nice and and bold. For the faces and the green detail on the snail shells I used some food pens that I had bought for decorating the V-day cookies.
Even though it was faster than piping all the different colors it still took some time to paint all of the cookies (about an hour and a half) but I was also bumbling around trying to film a Tik Tok at the same time so that slowed me down. In the end I was super happy with my lil’ animals! You know I made them have a tiny tea party
This is as close as I’m gonna get to living in a Beatrix Potter book. I really do love the cottagecore aesthetic, and now that Bon Appetit is over I need something whimsical and wholesome to fill that void in my heart. Maybe next I’ll do like, a hedgehog having a birthday party. All jokes aside I really did enjoy painting on the cookies. I absolutely am going to paint my sugar cookies instead of piping them from now on. Follow me on Tik Tok @bimakingpie. At least until Tr*mp pulls the plug.