Genie Lamp Cookie Tutorial

This was my largest single cookie order yet.  Two hundred genie lamp cookies, each individually bagged and tied with decorative twine. Maybe I’m slow, but I baked and piped and wrapped for three days straight and 3 days later, my right hand is still sore.

My customer’s daughter got the lead role in the local Aladdin Musical.  She would be playing the Genie.  Her mom said that it is customary for the family of the actor in a lead role to give something to the rest of the cast and crew.  So she ordered 200 Genie Lamp cookies.

Finished Cookie

Here’s how I made these cookies:

You will need:

  • Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
  • Your favorite royal icing recipe in three colors – gold, regal purple, and sky blue.
  • Genie lamp cookie cutter
  • Pearl dust
Outline and flood the cookie.

Outline and flood the cookie.

Outline the cookie in gold royal icing, then flood.  Let dry.

217 cookies flooded and ready to decorate.

217 cookies flooded and ready to decorate.

Here’s my table full of trays of flooded cookies ready to decorate.  I couldn’t even fit all of the trays on the table.

“Well, Mara, if the order was for 200 cookies, why did you make 217?”, you ask.  The answer is because I always make between 5% – 10% more cookies than the order calls for, especially if the shape is easily breakable.  Cookies break or maybe I make a boo boo that I just can’t fix.  This is my insurance.

“What do you do with the broken cookies and the cookies with the mistakes on them, Mara?”  I’m glad you asked.  I used to feed them to my husband and kids.  They used to fight over them.  But they’ve eaten so many mistakes these last few years that they are tired of them.  However, their hungry teenage friends are not tired of them.  Nor is my grandson tired of them.

Anyway, back to the tutorial.

Pipe on purple detail.

Pipe on purple detail. Then pipe on the gold swirlies.

My next step is to pipe on the purple base and lid.  Once dry, I piped on the swirls with piping consistency gold icing.

Pipe on blue detail.

Pipe on the blue knob.

In retrospect, I think it might have been better to add the blue knob before piped on the gold swirls.  But I guess it’s really six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Pipe on the final blue and purple detail.

Pipe on the final blue and purple details.

Once the blue knob was dry, I piped on the blue dots and the purple dot on top of the knob with piping consistency blue and purple icings.  Done.

Before I bagged these cookies, which took my daughter and I about 2 1/2 hours to do, I brushed each cookie with a little bit of pearl dust for that extra touch.  I do this with most of my cookies.

I’d like to thank my dedicated employees for their help in getting these large orders done in time.  Especially, my daughter, Hannah, chief of packaging, and my husband, Gary, who lists his second occupation on Facebook as “Chief Dishwasher”. Heeheehee!


Grocery Bag Cookie Tutorial (and a sad farewell to my local grocery store)

Every Friday, my daughter, Hannah, and I, go to the grocery store.  We almost always get a drink at Starbucks.  Occasionally, we’ll get a movie or two from Redbox.  Then we shop.

We laugh a lot.  She asks me to buy things and I say no.  Sometimes we argue.  It’s a ritual.  And when she’s busy with school, band, or her friends, and she doesn’t come with me, I’m sad.  It’s just not the same.

During this ritual, we’ve gotten to know some of the employees at our local store, and we look forward to seeing them every Friday.  They are always so friendly and helpful.  Even during the crazy Christmas frenzy, they always greeted us with a friendly word and a smile.

So I decided that I wanted to acknowledge these people for their kindness.  But they’re not allowed to accept gifts.  Lucky for me, however, they are allowed to accept cookies!

It was my daughter, Hannah, that suggested the grocery bag cookies.  So I looked through my massive selection of cookie cutters that I’ve been hoarding over the last few years and found the perfect cookie cutter – a popcorn cookie cutter from my Circus cookie cutter set.  Here’s how I made them:

Grocery Bag Cookies

Grocery Bag Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  1. Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
  2. Your favorite royal icing recipe in grocery-bag brown, tan, orange, green, yellow, and red.
  3. Popcorn cookie cutter (a rectangular cookie cutter would work too)
  4. Food color markers in black, brown, and red.

I started out by outlining and piping the actual bag in a grocery-bag brown royal icing.  I used warm brown and a teeny tiny drop of black to get the right shade of brown.  It looked pretty dark at first, but I added a little more warm brown and I got a color I was pretty happy with.

Outline and pipe the bag

Outline and pipe the bag.

The real dilemma now was what to put in the bag.  I googled grocery bag clip art and found some examples and that’s how I decided to put french bread, carrots, bananas, and ketchup in my bags.  But there are soooooo very many other options.

I decided to start with my tallest grocery item and fill in the rest in the space around it.  I piped on a loaf of french bread using just a touch of warm brown to get the color I was looking for.

Pipe on the bread

Pipe on the french bread.

I piped on a carrot next, in orange of course.

Pipe on the carrot

Pipe on the carrot.

Then I piped on the carrot greens using leaf green royal icing and the banana using lemon yellow royal icing.

Pipe on the carrot greens and the banana.

Pipe on the carrot greens and the banana.

Last, but not least, I piped on the ketchup bottle in red royal icing.

Pipe on the ketchup bottle

Pipe on the ketchup bottle.

The last thing to do was to add some details with the food color markers.  I used a fine point brown marker to add detail to the banana and the french bread.  I also used the brown marker to outline and add detail to the grocery bag.  I used a red food color marker to draw the Vons logo on the bag.  The black marker was used to add detail to the ketchup bottle.

Pipe on the details.

Pipe on the details.

Hannah and I brought the cookies in on Friday, our regular grocery shopping day.  We tried to schedule my visit before their evening rush.  We waited expectantly as they opened the box because we wanted to see their reactions.  I absolutely love seeing the expressions on my cookie recipients’ faces when they get the custom cookies that I have made especially for them.  That is absolutely the best part of this “job”.  The cookies were a hit.

The Vons chain of grocery stores was recently sold and many of them will be closing.  My store is one of the locations that will be closing.  Many of the employees will be staying on and working for the new company.  Some will be leaving or transferring to another store.  I wish each and every one of them a bright and happy future.

I hope the new company realizes what an asset these people are and treats them well. These people are the reason I have called the Laguna Niguel Vons “my grocery store”.

It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s A Cookie!

I made these cookies for a little boy on my grandson’s T-ball team.  Little boys love superheros, don’t they?  And Superman is the original.

Superman Cookies

I don’t have a Superman cookie cutter, so I found the logo online and printed it out in the size I needed.  Then I used a square cookie cutter to cut the dough.  Using the logo that I printed as I guide, I cut off one corner of the square.

I cut the yellow portion of the logo and then used that as a stencil to draw on the cookie with a yellow food color marker.  Then I piped on the yellow icing.  After that was dry, I piped on the red icing.  I wasn’t completely satisfied, so I decided to outline everything with black icing.  That made a huge difference.

Superman Cookie

My grandson, Connor, gave his seal of approval, but was quick to remind me that his favorite superhero is Spiderman.

Turkey and Pumpkin Pie Cookies for Thanksgiving – a tutorial

I absolutely love Thanksgiving.  It has all of the best parts of Christmas with none of the stress.

I’m not knocking Christmas.  It’s a beautiful holiday, but it has become so commercialized.  I often feel that if my house is not perfectly clean and decorated, I have failed.  If I haven’t purchased the perfect gift for everyone on my list, wrapped carefully and under the tree weeks before December 25th, I have failed.  If I haven’t baked a multitude of treats and packaged them up and sent them off to far away friends and family just hours before December 25th arrives and with absolutely no breakage, I have failed.  And I must confess that I am often at a loss as to what to give to some people, like my husband, or my oldest daughter, Stephanie.  My house is never perfectly clean and decorated.  And I am usually wrapping presents and helping Santa with the stockings until 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

But enough about Christmas.  Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  I will be spending a glorious day with my husband, my 4 children, my son-in-law, and my two grandchildren.  There is nothing I’d rather do.

I made these Thanksgiving Cookies for my daughter.  She signed up to bring cookies to her Wind Ensemble class on the Friday before Thanksgiving break.  Her classmates encouraged her to sign up because I am famous for my cookies with the band kids at Dana Hills High School.  I made extras for the teachers, my friends, and my family.

Roasted Turkey Platter Cookies and Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Roasted Turkey Platter Cookies and Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Cookie Tutorial

You will need:

  1. Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
  2. Your favorite royal icing in pumpkin, crust, and white colors
  3. Icing tips and pastry bags or icing bottles

These cookies are inspired by my favorite cookie blogger, Sweet Sugarbelle, at

Instead of mini cookies, I wanted full size cookies, so I used an 8 inch cake pan to make an impression in the dough, then I used a pizza cutter to cut the circle and the “slices of pie”.  I cut 8 “slices” out of each circle.

After baking the cookies and letting them cool, outline and flood them with pumpkin-colored royal icing. I followed Sugarbelle’s instructions and used equal parts of tulip red and egg yellow with a little warm brown.  The color was perfect.

Outline and flood the pumpkin pie "filling".

Outline and flood the pumpkin pie “filling”.

Once the pumpkin icing is dry, pipe on the “crust”  with stiff consistency crust-colored icing, using a #101 tip with the thin side up, starting at one end and working your way to other end and piping in a continuous “M” shape.  Sugarbelle suggests using ivory with a little warm brown.

Pipe on the crust with a #101 tip.

Pipe on the crust with a #101 tip.

Finally, use a star tip to pipe stiff consistency white icing onto the cookie for the whipped cream.  I used a #18 tip.

Pipe on the "whipped cream" with a #18 tip.

Pipe on the “whipped cream” with a #18 tip.

Your cookie is done.  Yum!

Roasted Turkey Platter Cookie Tutorial

You will need:

  1. Your favorite sugar cookie recipe.
  2. Your favorite royal icing in a brown turkey color, leaf green, and whatever color you want for the platter.
  3. A roasted turkey cookie cutter.  I got mine from Cheap Cookie Cutters here –
  4. Food color markers.

After baking the cookies and letting them cool, outline and flood the body of the turkey.  I used chocolate brown with a little egg yellow and I was pleased with the color.

Outline and flood the turkey body.

Outline and flood the turkey body.

Once completely dry, draw on the legs and the wings with a food color marker.  You can also pipe on the platter now if you’d like.  I used sky blue for the platter.  You can use any color you’d like.

Add the platter in any color you choose.  I chose blue.  Draw legs and wings with food color marker.

Add the platter in any color you choose. I chose blue. Draw legs and wings with food color marker.

Pipe on the legs and the wings with the same roasted turkey colored icing.

Outline and flood the legs and wings.

Outline and flood the legs and wings.

Once dry, pipe on the “lettuce”, using a stiff consistency leaf green icing.  I used a small leaf tip.  I can’t remember the number.  Sorry.  I piped on about 10 lettuce leaves on each cookies and once I was finished with the tray, the leaves were dry enough for me to repeat the process without the icing running together.  Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the amount of “lettuce” on the platter.

Pipe on the "lettuce" with a small leaf tip.

Pipe on the “lettuce” with a small leaf tip.

Your cookies are done.  Yum!

Easy Caramel Apple Decorated Cookies

I hope that title is not misleading.  There is no caramel in the recipe nor are there any apples or apple flavoring.  These are sugar cookies.  And they have to be the easiest decorated cookies I’ve made in a long time.  Plus, they’re adorable!

Decorated Caramel Apple Cookies

Decorated Caramel Apple Cookies

Just take your favorite sugar cookie recipe and add red food color or electric green food color.  I decided to split the dough in half and use both.

Insert a stick into the “apple” and bake as usual.  Let the cookies cool and it’s time to decorate.

Make some caramel colored royal icing.  Thank you to Georganne from for her expert advice.  She uses 4 parts orange, 1 part electric green, and 1 part chocolate-brown to make her caramel-colored icing.  I followed her instructions and the color was perfect.  My royal icing looked so much like caramel that I had to stop myself from sticking a spoon in the bowl for a sample.

Outline and flood the cookie with the caramel-colored royal icing.  While the icing is still wet, sprinkle on some jimmies, sanding sugar, or whatever you want to use.

You can stop there if you want and consider your cookies decorated, but since my apple cookie cutter has a leaf included in its shape, I used some green royal icing and piped on a leaf and some brown royal icing to pipe on a stem.  I also used a green food color marker to draw the veins in the leaves, and I used a brown food color marker to give the stem some “texture”.

These cookies were gone so fast that I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures of the variety of sprinkles I used.

How to Make Ghost Trick or Treater Cookies

I love Halloween!  It’s so much fun!  It’s the one holiday each year where you can act like a kid, eat candy and other treats, and wear silly costumes.  Halloween is the beginning of the baking season for many, although baking is a year-round hobby for me.

There are so many ideas out there for Halloween cookies.  But for me, the choice this year was clear.  I just had to make Ghost Trick-or-Treater Cookies with the new cookie cutter I got from Cheap Cookie Cutters.  Here’s the link:  And my inspiration came from

They’re not very hard to make.  You can keep it simple or add lots of details.  It’s up to you.  Since I had plenty of icing colors already made, I chose to make a variety of “feet” for my trick-or-treaters.

Here’s what you need:

  1. Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
  2. Your favorite royal icing recipe in white, flesh-colored, black, orange, and whatever colors you choose for your trick-or-treaters’ shoes.
  3. Ghost costume cookie cutter
  4. Food color markers in black and your choice of colors.

Here’s what to do:

Outline and flood the white ghost costume.  Let dry.

Outline and flood cookies with white royal icing.

Outline and flood cookies with white royal icing.

Once dry, pipe on eyes and feet with flesh-colored royal icing.  Let dry.

Pipe on shoes in the color of your choice, either over the piped feet or directly on the cookie if your trick-or-treater is wearing high tops.  Let dry.

Pipe flesh colored icing for the eyes and feet.  If the feet won't be showing, pipe your choice of shoe color.

Pipe flesh-colored icing for the eyes and feet. If the feet won’t be showing, pipe your choice of shoe color.

Pipe on the whites of their eyes. Let dry.

Pipe on the jack-o-lantern trick-or-treat bag with orange royal icing.

Once that is dry, you can pipe on the black handle and the face of the jack-o-lantern.  I used a black food color marker for the face.

Pipe on the shoe details in your choice of color.  I also used a food color marker for this too when I could.

I also drew the black eyeballs on the whites of the eyes with a food color marker.

Finished Ghost Trick or Treater Cookies

Finished Ghost Trick-or-Treater Cookies

Once I was done, I decided to outline the ghost costume in white as well as outlining the eyes in white.  I also piped on arms to hold the trick-or-treat bag.

That’s it!  I think these are my favorite Halloween cookies of all-time!

Here are some of my other favorite Halloween cookies from past Halloweens:

Tombstone Cookies

Tombstone Cookies

Frankenstein Cookies

Frankenstein Cookies

Ghost Cookies

Ghost Cookies

Spider and Web Cookies

Spider and Web Cookies

Anatomical Heart Cake For My Husband’s Birthday

My husband had a birthday on September 28th.  I won’t say how old he is, but he’s old.

I had his cake all planned out, but my plans changed a few days earlier when I was at Costco and I got a text from him that said, “I’m in ER with chest pains”.  Well, that’s obviously not the kind of text message you want to receive from your husband, or anyone else for that matter.  Luckily, he had some tests done and they determined that it was probably just indigestion.

So I made his birthday dinner, Baby Back Ribs, Crack Potatoes, and Baked Beans.  And I made his cake.  He requested a white almond sour cream cake with custard filling and buttercream frosting.

I’m grateful that everything turned out okay and that we can laugh about it now.  But I am not taking it for granted.  We joined a gym the following week!

Gary's Anatomical Heart Birthday Cake

Gary’s Anatomical Heart Birthday Cake

Not anatomically correct!

Not anatomically correct!