Cookie Painting

Date September 14, 2012

I posted this tray of summertime fruit cookies recently on my Facebook page and I was surprised in a tickled pink sort of way that so many people commented on them and so I thought I’d tell you a secret about these cookies but only if you promise not to tell anyone else. As if grown adults willing to do the monkey for a cheap children’s toy should be considered trustworthy.

These cookies that garnered so many compliments were the quickest and easiest cookies I’ve ever decorated
and basic laziness was the inspiration. There. Now you know.
I had to get this order done during the same week I was decorating and packaging 140 wedding favors and more than anything I didn’t want to deal with making all the icing colors needed for fruit cookies and then on top of that add all the drying time between colors to avoid bleeding with everything else I needed to get done.

Avoid bleeding. I can see how that would sound both confusing and disturbing to those of you who don’t decorate cookies so to calm your fears let me explain that bleeding refers to laying down two icing colors side by side. If one of the icing colors is too damp when you put down another color beside it the colors can run into one another which results in a messy cookie and a really cranky cookie decorator. Really cranky.

So instead of mixing up a bunch of icing colors, I flooded all the cookies with ivory-colored glaze.

And to make up for the lack of color I added a little dimension by flooding in sections.

And then I went to bed and dreamed that while I slept Arty McGoo crawled in through our dining room window and painted each with her usual awe-inspiring artistic flair. That’s what I dreamed and so you can only imagine my profound angst when upon coming downstairs for my morning coffee I was confronted by their haunting whiteness. And yes, I said I I flooded them with ivory but since ivoryness isn’t a word I went with whiteness.

Not that a dictionary has ever limited my vocabulary but then, I don’t need to tell you that.

The truth of the matter is I really didn’t know how I was going to color the cookies. Right off the top I ruled out Crayola Crayons and Estée Lauder Nail Lacquer, and eventually decided to pull out my airbrush paints which produced a tray of fruit cookies that looked like they’d been tagged under the freeway overpass by a kid with saggy pants and a can of spray paint. That was not the look I was going for and so I cautiously pulled out my Americolor gels and a fan brush and went at them one more time. I say cautiously because painting gel on a cookie has never worked for me with the main obstacle being the difference between royal icing and corn syrup glaze. While royal icing has a more porous finish which absorbs the painted gel, glaze has a glossy finish that resists it, causing the gel to blotch and glob when brushed on. In the past I’ve tried painting with undiluted coloring gel, gel thinned with extract/alcohol, and gel thinned with water and the results were basically all the same. Others using grace might experience completely different results but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

And with that being my experience up to now imagine my surprise in finding that when I painted gel on the cookies this time, the color went on smoothly. It seems that the first coat of dried airbrush paint added texture to the top of the flooded glaze and allowed the gel to be absorbed more evening when painted on. Any minor blotching was easy to smooth out with gentle and repeated passes with the paint brush.

Once the cookies were painted I added the black details using glaze and then gave them another once over with the airbrush using pearl sheen. I heart pearl sheen airbrush paint.

By the time the twice airbrushed and once painted cookies were done I almost liked them enough that I didn’t want a do-over, and my neighbor (customer) was thrilled with them so done and done.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! Also, now that I have your attention, I invite you to learn more about ALS and The ALS Association, and to make a donation to help us defeat ALS. Together we will defeat it!

10 Responses to “Cookie Painting”

  1. Donna of Carroll&#03 said:

    Delightful post . . . especially the vision of Arty Magoo crawling through your window. Lovely results from a new technique. Thanks for sharing and thanks for caring.

  2. Paula said:

    These are beautiful and I'm so glad you posted them here as I'm not on Facebook. I don't decorate with glaze but your tip about airbrushing first will be welcomed by all those who do. I've tried painting on cookies and to date, have never liked the finished result and admire all those who do it so well.

    Outlining is black was a fabulous idea and I love the detail on your pineapple.

  3. Natalie Puikkonen said:

    They look amazing!

  4. Donna B. said:

    "Necessity" is the mother of inventions……and/or "desparate times call for desparate measures"….. so we will consider the first airbrush paints would be sorta like "primer" and create "tooth" so that the gels really adhered nicely. (I have to translate stuff into decorative painting terms in my already programed brain….) lol Whatever it took, the end justified the means and they are soooooo beautiful. Yes, that pearl is amazing over colors. I don't have an airbrush, but have used the wilton pearl spray with very pleasing results.

    K…..I'm fresh outta cliche's so I'm gone…..have a happy weekend! ((Hugs)) Donna B.

  5. Vicki said:

    Beautiful, Anita! Such a creative (and entertaining) mind! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  6. Kim R said:

    Fabulous Job!!!

  7. Adi said:


  8. Jenny said:

    Hey, I did the monkey for COOKIES, and everyone who hasn't ordered from you yet should know that they are really, really, good. Like, super delicious. (And almost gone.) I definitely broke my low-carb diet for longer than I had intended. YUM.

  9. Lizy b said:

    Gorgeous! Especially the pineapple!

  10. Liz @ Arty McGoo said:

    I've been missing my darling Anita while you are having a fabulous fabulous time on your vacation, so I came here to get my Anita fix… I missed this post and was so delighted to read about my imagined breaking and entering into your home to deface your beautiful cookies. These cookies came out gorgeous and I miss you… that is all.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>