Hand-painted cookies are incredibly special. The care and attention that goes into them, remarkable. I keep a running folder of inspiration for when I have a quiet Sunday for baking. And lately, I tend to love the cookies that have a watercolor vibe. I'm linking to a bunch here. Illustration isn't my strongest suit, so graphic designs and patterns are typically where I land. Hope some of these inspire you as much as they have me!
1. Calendula Shortbread with Saffron Stripes
I do variations on these quite a lot. Made with shortbread dough (a nut-free version of this) The icing is made by mixing 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 egg whites, and enough water to thin to desired translucency. Divide the icing into separate bowls, and add color from there. The yellow was created using by infusing 1 teaspoon of vodka with a pinch of saffron and allowing it to sit for a couple of minutes. Strain the saffron liquid into the icing base a bit at a time, more or less depending on how saturated you'd like it.
2. Ayako Kurokawa - (Burrow)
Ayako Kurokawa of Burrow patisserie in Brooklyn is the master. I love her work on so many fronts. Look at the detailed handwriting, the cat whiskers, and stripes. Ayako's work is as personal as a signature, and I love seeing her talent expressed in the most beautiful charming treats. Have you seen her paint Julia? Or, look at these if air-brush is more your thing. Follow Ayako on Instagram.
5. Albion x Sweet Marie Watercolor Cookie Tutorial - (Albion)
So pretty - I'd use natural coloring from ingredients like beets, dragonfruit, berries, and the like, but the general concept is perfect for a treat plate or dessert spread. See the process shots here.
Tools: Some of my cookie tools: A range of brushes, cutters, and ruler. See that little salt cellar on the left? It has a pretty texture on the outside, I sometimes use textures like that as a bit of a template for designs. Simply roll it across the dough, and bake the cookies. It will leave a hint of the design, and you can use that as a guide for your patterns. For example, I rolled some striped pottery across the dough in the lead photo and used that as the template for the irregular stripes! Play around!
- Make your own Natural Food Dyes or, I tend to be a bit lazy * last-minute, so I like to keep a collection of powdered fruit/vegetable powders on hand. For example, I have blueberry, hibiscus, raspberry, saffron, cacao, charcoal (good for pencil effect). Play around!