I’ve been active in the competitive Cake World for more than 10 years now, but there is one confection that just seems to bring more joy to people than anything else: the cookie.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it. How many people don’t like cookies? I’m pretty sure my ability to bake good cookies got me through high school math class, but that’s a story for another day.
When most of us were little, helping to decorate cookies was a special treat that brought us a unique kind of joy.
It still can.
During the third week of December 2019, I had the privilege of teaching cookie decoration techniques to a variety of kids. One evening, I worked with two groups of Daisies, thanks to local Girl Scout Troop Leaders Julie Buck and Julie Potosek. Daisies are girls aged 5 to 7, and I was amazed by how good their work was. All 20 of them left that night with a cookie to be proud of.
Then, later that week—thanks to the Sullivan County BOCES Arts in Education program and high school art teachers Kath Johanson and Jennifer Bull—I taught a series of cookie decorating classes to 120 older students, including members of the National Art Honor Society.
Once again, the students were really into it. The power of the cookie cannot be denied.
With this tutorial, I hope to help you create this impossibly cute, St. Patrick’s Day-themed owl cookie. It isn’t as tough as it might look. Feel free to experiment with the techniques set out here and try your own ideas. After all, part of the joy of cookie decoration is expressing yourself—just like kids have done in Grandma’s kitchen for years!
Watch the video or follow the step-by-step instructions below.
5-inch round sugar cookie
small round piping tips
Take your 5-inch round sugar cookie and cover it with a thin layer of white fondant.
Sketch out the owl design on the fondant using a pointy clay tool.
Outline your design with icing; it should be the consistency of a thick paste. Use a piping bag with a small tip to outline the design. If the icing is too thin, add some more confectioners sugar. You will need a steady hand.
When you are finished piping, set the cookie aside to dry.
Fill in your solid colors using the squeeze bottles containing a thinner icing, using a toothpick to help spread it. The icing should be the consistency of gravy (this process is called "flooding”). Let dry a little before painting and dusting.
Using a small brush, paint in eyes and details.
Using a small, dry brush, dust in highlights and shadows.
Kim M. Simons is an award-winning artist, food artist and cake artist. She and her team—the Bah Hum Bakers—are the reigning champions of Food Network’s Holiday Wars. Visit Kim’s website at www.cakesbykimsimons.com.