Hi! I'm Mallory!
I've been asked by the lovely Karen to bring you into my creative process and answer some of your questions along the way. I decided to create something nice n' big just for the occasion so I could make sure to let you guys see every little step from beginning to end. That being said.. grab your favorite patterned snuggie (because I know you have one) and a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride!
When I decide to do a big piece like the Alice in Wonderland I make sure the artwork itself chooses the shape of the cookie- not me. I always want the shape of the cookie to be as true to what I'm doing as possible.
On a day-to-day basis, yes, we do hand cut most every single cookie that leaves the kitchen and the process is just like pictured above, but that's not to say we don't abuse the bejesus out of our plaque and circle cutters. I draw every character or design on a piece of paper beforehand and pass it off to my mom for her to cut. Every cookie is special and it all depends on the design.
Typically we bake our butter cookies at 400* for 8-10 minutes, but for the big ones I like to bake them at 350*-375* for 15-18 minutes. Once it's nice and cool I sketch out my design straight to the cookie using my beloved edible markers. I do not use a projector, ever! I can't answer this question enough. Everything I do is completely freehand.
I feel like I need to publicly say again that I found cookie decorating separate from the wonderful cookie community I'm slowly getting to know (and love!). I am completely self-taught via many, many failed experimentations with technique and many, many a horrid cookie. I have only recently, after almost two years of decorating cookies, come into a nice, solid technique I feel comfortable repeating with every cookie project I set out to do.
A LOT of questions I get on a frequent basis are about my royal icing. There are some things I've been asked that I've never even thought to do, take note of, or experiment with as far as icing goes. We do not count our icing and we do not let our colors sit overnight. We prepare our icing to a nice desired consistency for flooding/filling and adjust it per color from there depending on what I'm going to be using said color for. Typically with every batch of colors we make there is one smaller bag of thicker black made for outlining.
I've found that bleeding isn't an issue when you lay your colors together fast enough. There is only a few-second window of opportunity (that I've noticed) to put colors together without immense risk of bleeding. The Alice in Wonderland design wasn't as prone to wet-on-wet as much as I would have liked it to be, so I did my colors in two separate sittings (as opposed to my usual one) and throughout the day every so often in between.
Not only with decorating but also with painting and drawing I tend to hop around to random parts of the piece to start, leave alone, come back and attack. So, if the filling seems sporadic... well, it completely is.
I was recently asked how I prevent air bubbles from rising overnight and how I prevent my white from bleeding. I honestly cannot answer these questions because I've never had these problems. If you're experiencing air bubbles I believe you might be whipping your icing at too high of a speed, incorporating air pockets into the icing itself. If your white is bleeding you might not be laying it next to your other colors fast enough or waiting long enough for the colors next to it to fully dry.
Once I have all of my colors down I'll let the cookie sit on wax paper overnight and outline in the morning. Like I mentioned before I like outlining with a thicker consistency icing and I use a Wilton 1 tip.
I was also recently asked if I make mistakes.... OF COURSE I MAKE MISTAKES! Lol! I can't stress this enough! This piece alone is littered with mistakes that makes my skin crawl! I try to hide them as I go and I try not to point them out because, at the end of the day, we all must realize we are our own worst critics and it is, indeed, JUST A COOKIE! It WILL be eaten, and it WILL be delicious!
As long as you learn from your mistakes, and apply what you learned the next time around, you will constantly get better. Your work will become more precise and you will become more confident in what you're doing. And that is called growth as an artist, my friends!
I, myself, have a long way to go! And I can't wait to keep creating. I hope you enjoyed a little in-depth look into my cookie-making adventure and had some questions answered along the way.
Keep it sweet!
Mallory Mae :)
I know, I just fell in love too! Isn’t she amazing. I’ll take one-one hundredth of Mallory’s talent thank you very much. Check out her FB page https://www.facebook.com/ButterWinks
Thank you Mallory for coming to visit and telling us how you do what you do. I feel pretty good leaving my blog in your capable hands with this post. Just awesome and I can definitely tell you there will be more posts from your favourites in the future!
Thanks for looking!