Tutorials

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies and How To Gold-Splatter Sugar Cookies!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood and Abby Hollar of The Hollardays Blog. This is a simple recipe for homemade cutout sugar cookies flavored with dried lavender and vanilla bean paste. The icing is simple and dries quick and doesn't require a piping bag or tip like Royal icing. The gold lustre luster dust is mixed with alcohol to create a shiny metallic paint that you can splatter on your cookies with a basting brush. Find the tutorial and how to paint cookies on thewoodandspoon.com

This past week on “Real Housewives of Alabama,” Kate drove to the big city, hopped a plane to Orlando, and spent a kid-free weekend at the beach with her college girlfriends(!!!) Yes, it’s true- for a glorious 72 hours, there were no diapers to change, jobs to clock in to, dirty boxer-briefs to pick up off the floor. Just 4 gals, the crashing waves, and a super classy box of red wine. 

With no deadlines to meet or tiny humans to tend to, the hours of the day passed lazily with cozy blankets and rabbit trails of conversation that usually began with “Remember when…?” and ended in fits of laughter. Time away is good for the soul and helps me to dust off little bits of myself that ordinarily hide on the bookshelf. These girls have been around for over a decade now, and every time we see each other, I’m always reminded how good it feels to be known. What would we do without the people in our lives who love us without agenda and in spite of ourselves? Bless. Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photos by jesse walsh dreamtown photo co

One of my little beach bunnies, Abby, recently started a lifestyle blog called The Hollar-Days where she shares DIYS, painting tutorials, and snippets from her life as wife and mama. Abby shares my love of delicious food and beverages, so when she suggested we plan a little beachside picnic for our girl’s trip, I was all in. A few cookies and cocktails later (you know, for “testing purposes”), we came up with a few treats that I’m thrilled to share with you.

Exhibit A: lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies. 

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

These cookies are quite similar to my favorite cutout sugar cookies that I shared with you all a while ago, except they are speckled with bits of vanilla bean and dried lavender. I adapted my favorite icing recipe so that you can simply dip the face of the cookie in the glaze, and I have to say, it makes preparing these cookies easy breezy. While lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are certainly special enough on their own, we decided to fancy them up a bit by splattering them with little gold speckles. I was inspired by a recent article in Martha Stewart Magazine and knew I needed an adaptation of my own. Maybe the girliest, most lovely little cookies of all time! 

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photo by abby hollar

Abby, the super crafty lady that she is, came up with a coordinating champagne cocktail for us to enjoy and even hand-painted some tags to adorn the packaged cookies. With a vanilla bean simple syrup and super jazzy lavender bitters, champagne cocktails have never been so chic or Provencal (and you all know how I feel about the French).  Check out the her post for the cocktail recipe and watercolored tags as well as a few photos from our time at the beach. The rest of her blog is equally charming, and you may even catch a few snippets of her darling little Margot, who I’m certain is destined to be Aimee’s BFF someday. (Fingers crossed!!!)

Cookies are great, but sometimes, a little time away with your bests is just what the doctor ordered. Give these lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies a try, and share them with your favorite gals (or guys!) this coming Valentine’s Day. You can also find a few other delish cookie recipes to share with your besties here. Oh, and PS, I’m chomping at the bit to share ALL THE CHOCOLATE RECIPES with you guys throughout the month of February, so hold on to your hats, belts, and everything else, and prep your gullet for some melt in your mouth goodness. It’s going to be a delicious 28 days for us. Cheers to you!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

For a link to Abby’s cocktail recipe and Valentine’s gift tags, click here!

To check out the culinary lavender I purchased, click here!

To find lustre dust, click here!

 

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Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

The lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are soft cutout cookies scented with dried lavender and vanilla bean. Decorated with a glaze and a gold splatter, the tutorial for these cookie is easy and fun!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate your cookies, you will need

  • Food grade gold lustre dust (see notes)
  • Clear extract or liquor (I use clear vanilla or vodka)
  • A silicone basting brush

Instructions

To prepare the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind the lavender slightly using a food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Combine the lavender and remaining dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 6-8 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.
  4. When ready to frost your cookies, cover your work space in wax paper. Set out some cookie racks to place your frosted cookies on. To frost, hold each cookie by its rim and dip the face of it directly into the icing. Allow any excess to drip off the sides. Add more milk or sugar, if desired, to modify the consistency of your icing.

To decorate your cookies

  1. Cover your workspace in parchment or wax paper. Lay dry, frosted cookies out on the paper.
  2. Scoop 1/4 teaspoon lustre dust into a small dish and add 1/8 teaspoon of extract or liquor. Stir until the lustre dust is all dissolved. You can add an additional 1/8 teaspoon of liquor, if needed, but take care to not add too much, as this can cause your sugar icing to dissolve and bubble up.
  3. Dip a silicone basting brush in the liquid gold, and dab any excess off on the side of the bowl. Do a test splatter on a paper towel or extra sheet of wax paper. To splatter, I hold my silicone brush parallel to the work surface, draw back slightly at the wrist, and then fling the brush downward, like you’re swatting a fly or hitting a drum. The size and shape of your silicone bristles can change the way your splatter looks, so do a few test splatters before you move to your cookies. Once ready to decorate your cookies, splatter then in the same manner you did your tester and allow to dry completely before packing or storing.

Notes

  • For a deeper, more concentrated gold color, use as little alcohol as you can. The more liquid in the splatter, the lighter it will be.
  • I tested this technique using a natural hair basting brush and it was not successful. I recommend a silicone brush for best effect.
  • If desired, you can pipe the icing on your cookies for a more polished, perfected look. There is a tutorial for this in the cookies archives of my blog. You will need you frosting to be a bit thicker.
  • Be sure to purchase food grade, edible lustre dust. I purchased mine on Amazon!

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Adapted from: Bridget Edwards

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies Recipe and Tutorial by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a recipe for almond vanilla sugar cutout cookies that doesn't require chilling the dough. The dough holds its shape for cookie cutters. The frosting isn't like a royal icing- it is a simple glaze made with milk and powdered sugar and flavoring. you can pipe or dip the cookies icing on and then paint with food coloring gel and alcohol. Find the how to on the blog thewoodandspoon.com

Forget the Kardashians. Forget Birkenstocks and ombre hair and cold shoulder shirts. Forget Lebron and matcha and cold brew coffee. Yeah, all of those things might be having a moment… but painted sugar cookies? Well, in my book, they’re really having a moment.

I get a million and one food related questions on any given week, but one of the most frequent items I get asked about are painted sugar cookies. Why? Well, for one, sugar cookies are a crowd pleaser. I’ve literally never heard anyone say, “I don’t like sugar cookies,” and I can tell you that if I did, we wouldn’t be friends. They’re sweet and celebratory, and if you know what you’re doing, they’re fun way to tie desserts into any themed event or party.

Up until a few years ago, I had only been exposed to the two extremes of sugar cookies: a soft, lofthouse style cookie with a thick and creamy butter-based frosting, and a hard, crunchy sugar cookie with tooth-shattering, cloyingly sweet royal icing. Enter painted sugar cookies. These little guys are a soft yet stable sugar cookie that holds its shape in the oven. The icing is pipeable and easy to decorate with but without all the fuss of a royal icing.

Painted Sugar Cookies

If you’re anything like me, trying to pipe a bunch of designs on a cookie is a daunting, time consuming, and ultimately disappointing task. I’ve done it before, and I can say that I won’t be doing it often in the future. Painting the cookies allows me to decorate the cookies and flex my creative muscle without all the mind-numbing tedious work of piping. I love it. 

Once the sugar cookies are iced and dry, you simply mix a small amount of gel food coloring with a clear liquor. I prefer vanilla vodka, but really, you can use any type of clear liquor. (Sidenote: If you would prefer to not use alcohol, you can try clear vanilla extract.) Once your paintbrush is wet with a teeny amount of liquor and food gel, you are free to paint away! I usually just paint solid colors on the cookies, but if you’re super artsy, you can Monet and van Gogh all over that goodness. The world (read: cookie) is your oyster, so go for it. 

For cookie inspiration, you can check out the cookies I’ve made here, here, here, and here.

Let me know how your cookie making goes and be sure to have a blast doing it. Cheers to you!

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Items Needed:

Cutout sugar cookies, approximately 30 small-medium, recipe below
Sugar cookie frosting, recipe below
Piping bag fitted with #2 tip
Gel food coloring
Clear liquor (vodka, rum, etc)
Clean, unused paint brushes
 

Directions:

Fill piping bag halfway with sugar cookie frosting. Pipe borders around cookies, being careful to not get too close to the edge. Using a paint brush, “paint” frosting into the center of the cookie, filling in to the outside border. (For a good tutorial on this method, check out the Ina Garten video here) I typically will border and fill 4-5 cookies at a time. Continue this process until all of the cookies are iced. Set aside for 3 hours, or until icing is set and dry. If you’re in a humid climate, you can use a small fan pointed at the cookies to help expedite this process.
Cover your work surface with wax, parchment, or newspaper. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of liquor into a small glass or bowl. Set out a plate or some other type of palette for your gel food color “paints”. Squirt small, 1/8 teaspoon drops of food coloring on your palette. Dip your brush in the liquor and then into the gel food coloring. Notice how the food coloring will thin out and bleed. The more diluted your food coloring is with alcohol, the less vibrant your colors will be. For more saturated tones, use less liquor. You can test out the colors on a paper towel or extra cookie. When you have the desired color, begin to paint! Try to avoid over-saturating your cookie as this can cause the icing to loosen up or become sticky. If your brush becomes too wet, dab it a bit on the paper towel. Once completed, allow your cookies to dry thoroughly before enjoying!
 
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Cutout Sugar Cookies

Perfect every time cutout sugar cookies get the royal treatment with some cute and colorful painted icing! Find the tutorial and buttery recipe here!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 teaspoon princess cake and cookie emulsion (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract, or bakery emulsion

Instructions

For the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.

Notes

  • Icing will keep in the fridge for up to a week and can easily be colored with gel food coloring.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Recipe Adapted From: Bake At 350

 

Easter Cake

easter cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to on making a layer cake covered in robin egg blue frosting and speckled to look like an egg. This tutorial is adapted from the cake blog. Step by step how to and photos for this easter / good friday / spring time cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Easter Cake TutorialAbout one year ago, almost to the day, I made the decision to be more intentional on social media as a means of determining if blogging and putting myself out there on the interwebz was something I was ready to do. About two weeks into this experiment, I made an Easter cake, speckled to look like a robin’s egg, topped with little nests of swirled chocolate buttercream, and studded with leftover jelly beans from Aimee’s first Easter basket. (Shameless shout out to other moms who buy candy “for their kids” that just so happens to be their own favorite varieties and wind up hiding in the secret, “mom’s only” corner of the pantry. I feel you.) The cake was adorable and because I was pretty excited about it, I posted a photo on Instagram. Imagine my surprise when, hours later, Food and Wine magazine re-posted the photo. MY photo. I found myself victory dancing in the living room, high-fiving my husband, and with a new batch of Insta-followers. To me, that Easter cake was a moment of much needed confirmation that I was to continue forward.

easter cake

Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask how to make that humble little cake, so in honor of Easter, you’re going to get a fancy little tutorial today. This Easter cake is fairly simple and is a perfect excuse to get messy in the kitchen. If you have kiddos, or if you just share my affinity for pretending to be artsy in the kitchen while simultaneously stuffing your face with Easter candy, this cake is for you! Little ones can help with the speckling and will love the opportunity to sneak a jelly bean or a lick of the frosting bowl. Be warned that this process can get a little messy, so be sure to protect your work space with newspaper, wax paper, or old t-shirts of your husband’s that you secretly want to make disappear. 

easter cake

This Easter cake is one I plan to make for years to come and seems like a brilliant tradition to start with my family in the kitchen. My babies aren’t even old enough to say the words “Easter Cake”, but I’m eager to make memories with them on special holidays. If you have any traditions or recipes you like to share with your family during this holiday, I’d love to hear about it below in the comments section!

Happy Easter and Happy Baking!
easter cake

To make the Easter cake, you’ll need:

  • One baked cake (I used a 2 layer, six inch cake in a lemon poppyseed flavor which will be coming to the blog soon. You can try this recipe if you’re looking for a no-fail cake recipe)
  • 3 cups of frosting, divided
  • Light blue gel food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • M&M’S Eggs, Jelly Beans, Cadbury Mini Eggs, or any other bean/egg shaped candy
 

Tools you’ll need:

  • News or wax paper to cover your work space
  • A clean, unused paint brush or a natural bristle pastry brush
  • Piping bag fitted with a 1M tip
 easter cake

Directions:

  • Set aside 1 cup of frosting.
  • In a bowl, add a small drop of light blue food coloring to the remaining two cups of frosting. A little goes a long way, so add slowly. Once your frosting it too dark, there’s no going back! Also, keep in mind that the frosting will darken as it sets.
  • Fill and frost your cake. I like to smooth my cakes with an off-set spatula like this , but a butter knife will do the trick!
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder and the vanilla extract until a thin, watery slurry comes together.
  • Set your unfrosted cake on a clean, covered work surface. Do no speckle close to anything you can’t easily wipe down with a wet rag- things are about to get messy!
  • Hold your paint brush or natural bristle pastry brush at the base of the bristles. Squeeze, applying a small amount of pressure with your fingers to fan the brush slightly. Dip the tips of the brush in the cocoa/vanilla “paint” and find a spare corner of your covered work space to practice your splatter. While continuing to fan your brush with one hand, use the fingers of your other hand to lightly pull back the bristles and release. This will be a slingshot type of movement and will result in a splatter effect on your work surface. Once you’re confident with your speckling skills, move on to the cake! I start with the sides of the cake and finish with the top.
  • Mix your remaining cup of frosting with the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder. Add a small amount of water, if needed, until frosting is piping consistency. In my experience, a medium consistency frosting works best here and can best be described as frosting that, when peaked, will droop slightly without collapsing back into the blow.
  • Fill piping bag with this frosting and pipe away! I did simple swirls but you can get as fancy as you’d like.
  • Top each swirl with one piece of candy.

easter cake

 

Technique adapted from The Cake Blog