Leaves, Acorns…. And a Squirrel.

10 Nov

Have I mentioned that I love fall? I do.  I love the leaves, the crisp air, apples, pumpkin pie… I think Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday. I love Christmas too, and I can’t wait to start doing some fun Christmas cookies. But I have to tell you, I get a little cranky when I’m in the stores and they’re already playing Christmas music, and have all their Christmas stuff up as if Thanksgiving is already passed and gone. It’s not! It’s still 2 weeks away people!

Thanksgiving gets no respect.

I’m going to give Thanksgiving its due, by golly.

With leaves! And acorns! And a squirrel!

I’m proud of this squirrel. I’ve tried decorating him several times, and never could get him right. The best I could do before this was this guy:

Ha ha! He’s pretty rough!  I wanted something a little more stylized with clean lines. Mike told me I should ignore the tail shape and do my own thing.  That Mike, he’s (almost) always right!

Speaking of that…  I have a new toy.

It’s an airbrush!

This is kind of a funny story. Mike has been telling me for probably 2 years or more that we should get an airbrush and try airbrushing cookies.  I kept saying “I don’t know… not crazy about the idea.” Because when I thought of airbrushing on food, I thought of the kind of cakes that end up on Cake Wrecks.  And I actually hadn’t seen very many cookies done with the airbrush, but the ones I had seen were… um… aesthetically challenged. It was a tough sell for poor Mike.

And then I went to cookie camp! There was a demo there on airbrushing cookies, and I was instantly sold. I came home and said “Hey Mike! We need to get an airbrush!” And he said “yep.”

So I just got it recently, and I’m still not a pro– at all. But it’s fun! I am loving it, and I’m seeing the potential. I started with some fall leaves– because it’s fall, and leaves are pretty forgiving. And they’re colorful.

I made a few, and made them very basic, solid colors.

I used Meringue Powder Buttercream, and let them dry overnight. Notice I left a few of them white, with no outline. I wanted to see what I could do with only airbrush color.

Here’s what they looked like when they were done:

Yes that middle one has a big gouge out of it. I’m such a klutz!! But I had to leave it in the picture, because I wanted all of them in the same spot as they were in the pre-airbrushed picture, so you could see the comparison. So there you have it.

Anyway, I played with all kinds of colors– red, orange, green, yellow, brown. Even the plain white ones got nice and colorful. It actually made them very shiny, too! Which is kind of fun, if you’re looking for shine. And it dries very touch-able. Once the airbrush color dries on there, there is no danger of smudging the color. (Unless you drop something on the cookie. But that’s a whole different situation.)

Here they are all pretty on a plate.

I was going to pipe veins on them, but decided to try airbrushing the veins. It took some getting used to! It’s funny– it’s kind of like an Etch-a-Sketch, where you don’t really know where you’re aiming for a while. I would do the main vein down the center of the leaf, and then want to come back and have a vein coming off of that one, and I had no idea where to aim and how to match it up with the existing line! So you’ll see LOTS of mistakes up there in those cookies. But by the time I was done, I had a pretty good handle on it. Not perfect, but the learning curve isn’t huge.

After I did these, I thought they looked a little bit muddy. I wanted to try doing a batch where I glazed them one solid color, and only used one airbrush color on each. So I did these:

Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of them before airbrushing, but it was pretty much the same as the first picture up there– minus the white ones. This  is what they looked like before piping some veins on them.

Here they are finished:

I can’t decide which ones I like better. I like the simplicity of these, but the multi-color ones are growing on me.

Here they are all together.

I like them all together like that.

So what do you think about airbrushing on cookies? Have you done it before? Do you want to see more? I will keep practicing and pass along what I learn. I’m going to be selling the airbrushes in my shop, and as soon as I get them, I’ll do a how-to post and maybe a video, and most likely a giveaway. So stay tuned for that.

In the meantime…. Enjoy the fall!!

49 Responses to “Leaves, Acorns…. And a Squirrel.”

  1. Carmen November 10, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Love it Karen! The leaves look so real…fall happens to be my favourite season too, the pumkin pie makes it even more speical. Can’t wait to see the tutorial….
    I’d love to try airbrushing cookies too, I should hint that to Santa. ::)

  2. trisha November 10, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    very nice!

  3. sue November 10, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Love it, I would love an air brush, but there is no way I need one:( I love your squirrel too, great job!

  4. Carolyn chapparo November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    I recently got an airbrush too and have only used it on cupcakes.. I can’t wait to try it on cookies. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pat Lisi November 10, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    LOVE THEM ! So nice of you to take us along when you are learning something. So you’re gorgeous cookies won’t be so daunting. You are truly a motivator and inspiring. I like the first colorful ones with piped veins the best. Would love to see more airbrushing techniques, the video and the finished products. Seeing some of your learning curve…while mine would undoubtedly be far steeper…LOL… is great. Keep it up…we want to see!

  6. Leigh Ann November 10, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    They are beautiful! I love the shininess of the cookies! Great work!

  7. Ashli November 10, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    I love them! I tried doing them with the Wilton spray in a can, but didn’t have much success. I was wondering what you use as the color in the airbrush?

    p.s. Love your cookie cutter site tooa:)

    • Karen November 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Hi Ashli! You have to use food coloring specifically designed for the airbrush. Americolor makes some, along with Chefmaster. I think there are a few others. They are very watery colors– not like the gel paste.

  8. Emily November 10, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I love the squirrel’s swirly tail and those airbrushed cookies are beautiful!! I’m liking the airbrushed veins a bit more than the others but that could change at any given moment. PS I feel the same way about Christmas decorations in stores before Halloween!

  9. Diana Viera November 10, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Karen ~ like you, I have hesitated about getting an airbrush machine and to date, I haven’t. The Pegasus looks so pretty and I’ve been wanting to get one. I love the way your cookies came out. At first, I loved the airbrushing ones better than the piped veins. Once you put them all together, it’s hard to tell which ones I like the best. You did great!

  10. Christie November 10, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Darling squirrel, gorgeous leaves!
    And most importantly, thanks for respecting Thanksgiving—it’s my favorite too. Love your cookies and always enjoy reading your blog. Happy Fall, ya’ll!

  11. Carrie Kyroauc November 10, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    AWWWWWWE-some!!!! I have played with the Wilton color mist sprays but In dont think they can give you the fine lines like an airbrush. Now I want one! Actually my hubby is like Mike and says that I should get an airbrush and try it and I couldn’t see putting the money out for one. Stupid question what is the coloring? Can you use the Amerigel or is there a certain brand of coloring?? I am very niave about it.

    • Karen November 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      Hi Carrie! You have to use special airbrush colors. I bought some Americolor Amerimist colors to start out with and they work really well. They’re a lot more liquid-y than the gel paste. Almost like water. The cool thing is that they have all kinds of metallic and “pearl sheen” type colors that I’m excited to play around with for Christmas cookies! 🙂 This is a very affordable airbrush, so I’m excited to be able to offer it. Sometimes they can get pretty pricey!

  12. Gisele November 10, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Wow! Those are gorgeous! I love the multicolored leaves – they look so real! I don’t really do many cookies and have only airbrushed a few cakes but you’ve done an awesome job!

  13. Cristin (Pinkie) of Cristin's Cookies November 10, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    WOW! These are amazing! I can’t wait for the video. I’m having a difficult time picturing how to airbrush. All I see is a big mess and food color everywhere – scary thought! In your video, I hope you’ll discuss WHERE you do this type of project and if it makes a mess elsewhere of where you are working. Very curious. The leaves are beyond gorgeous! Wow. It really makes me want an airbrush. I’ve never even thought of one or how expensive they must be. Very curious. Can’t wait to hear and see more! Fantastic job on the cookies. Mike is a good man. You two seem so adorable! Thanks for sharing your beautiful cookie pictures and ideas!

  14. Rose Melton November 10, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Wow Karen, these are beautiful! I have never thought about airbrushing. I really do like how the veins turned out with the airbrushing though,and the multi color of leaves. I happen to be a fall person too. And I also get upset about pushing Christmas ahead of other holldays. I always enjoy seeing your work. I know that I have a long way to go to make my cookies look anything like yours. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

    Rose Lee

  15. María November 10, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    They are great, fantastic! I think that the airbrush makes decorating difficult but maybe, when I see the video, I change my opinion. They look very pretty and I never have seen something like that. I used one to do a painting work in high school! But I never imagine to use it in cookies. Thankyou for give us new ideas!

  16. luisa pallicer November 10, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    karen, do you know how can I buy an airbrushing? I´m from spain. thank you. sorry for my english.

  17. Lisa November 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Karen, Thank you so much for allowing us to follow along! You have been an inspiration to jump in and try something new.

  18. Lara November 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    compliments Karen, these leaves are beautiful. in Italy we don’t have the festivity of the thanksgiving but I am waiting Christmas day to prepare some new cookies.i Aspect your ideas and your councils. bye bye

  19. The Partiologist November 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Karen – It looks like you are a master at the airbrush! The cookies look wonderful – I really love how they turned out!

  20. Julieanna November 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Those are beautiful, Karen. Never thought about airbrushing cookies…..but maybe time to try it?? I’m with you about Thanksgiving. I love fall and don’t do anything Christmasy until Dec. 1.
    Have a great Thanksgiving and thanks for posting.

  21. Mari November 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Karen, preciosas las galletas, este aparatito es fantastico, el efecto en las galletas es tan bonito, que ya se superan.

  22. Rachel November 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Cute squirrel! And I like the effect the airbrush gives to the cookies. I may have to show Sam how cool it is and see what kind of response he gives…

  23. patricia rolon November 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    karen those cookies are spectacularrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I’ll try too I’d my air brush too. I always use for cakes but I never try for cookies great idea.

  24. Anna November 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I have an airbrush and have used it on cakes but I’ve never thought of using it for cookies. What a great idea! The fall leaves are perfect for that technique. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your ideas using the airbrush. Keep ’em coming, Karen!

  25. Paula Swain November 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    I like!! How much are the machines?

  26. cat November 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    How much mess is there? Over-spray all over the place? What did you put them on when you sprayed? Did you have to have a mini spray booth? So you’re not going to be tempted in the least to use the air brush on a cake? 🙂

  27. Sarah Johnson November 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Hi Karen! These cookies are beautiful! I have often thought about trying airbrushing but have never had the nerve to do it. You have encouraged me now! Can’t wait until you’re ready to start selling them!

  28. Belinda Patterson November 11, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Love the cookies that are airbrushed!! Would love to try that too!! 🙂

  29. A Dozen Eggs November 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Wow! You’re brave to try making the veins with the airbrush! They look awesome, and I love your new squirrel.
    I tried out my new airbrush a couple of times already. (that I bought from YOU!!!) I’ll be posting soon, but if you want to see a very minimalistic airbrushed cookie, I did my “Happy Thanksgiving” greeting cookie with a little bit of yellow and a touch of pearl…huh, I wonder if you could mix pearl with any of the colors??
    Thanks so much Karen, your cookies are beautiful and I’d never have bought the airbrush if not for Camp and “Flickr’s” demo.

    • Karen November 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

      Ha ha.. I was going to mention “flickr” and her demo here, but didn’t know if she wanted to be mentioned on my blog! 😀 She does such amazing things with her airbrush. I’m still very much an airbrush baby, but I’m learning! I can’t wait to see your cookies. I don’ t know about mixing the colors, but Americolor does sell a bunch of “sheen” colors (yellow sheen, red sheen, blue sheen, etc). I ordered some of those so I can try them. I’ll let you know how they are. Thanks Laura!!

  30. Lorna November 13, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    OMG … I never even knew there WAS an airbrush. I have the Wilton spray cans … Now I want that brush. Pleas post some more !!!

  31. Naomi November 15, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I love the airbrushed cookies. I never thought you could use an airbrush on a cookie. I bet it is fun too. I will have to save up my money so i can try it. 🙂

  32. Mari @ Mari's Cakes November 19, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Karen, these are beautiful fall leaves cookies. Love the airbrush effect. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  33. Ansa Hogan November 21, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Ok once ice my cookie and leave them over night, then the next day when I airbrush light coat on, how long does it take to dry?
    ps Your cookies are gorgeous!

    • Karen November 22, 2011 at 12:13 am #

      It doesn’t take long at all to dry, Ansa. It will probably vary depending on the humidity, but mine were dry in just a few minutes.

      • Amy Hinojosa April 17, 2012 at 3:48 am #

        Theses are beautiful! I love all your blogs and products!

  34. Lindsey R April 20, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Your website has served as an inspiration to the lot of my baking adventures in the kitchen. Thank you so much for sharing– I wouldn’t be where I am today without you!

  35. m5cake -Margarita April 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Hopefully I’ll be the winner in Ali Bee’s giveaway so I can make these, they are georgous !!

  36. sandyb720 April 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I just love these cookies – they are too pretty to eat but I would love to be able to make cookies that look like these. Thank you for being so generous in the Ali Bee’s giveaway!!!

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