Everybody has their own way of decorating cookies. But one of the most commonly asked questions in all of my cookie decorating classes is should I outline my cookies?


Honestly, it really depends on you and how confident you are in your consistencies. There are some people who do not outline the cookies such as Borderlands. however I do.

Pros to Outlining


You don't have to worry about icing falling off your cookie

  • This is one of the major problems if you don't outline or don't have a thick enough outline and I suffer from it constantly when I'm doing big orders.

You get cleaner, sharper lines especially when it comes to scalloped or cookies requiring more precision

  • You CAN flood a scalloped cookie without outlines but you may end up with a wavy edge instead of a clearly defined scalloped one.



Your icing settles flatly without having to wiggle and jiggle it with a scribe or the piping bag


As you get better at outlining and flooding cookies, you don't even notice the outlines are there unless you're having a staring contest with the edge of your cookie






Cons to Outlining


It can be time consuming


  • If you have a 100 cookie or even a 50 cookie order, it can be very time consuming going through and outlining each and every one of them and your hand will start to cramp after a while.

  • I take this as an opportunity to practice cookie decorating with my left hand lol

You have to mix 2 different consistencies


  • For outlining you need piping consistency (soft peaks)

  • For flooding you need flood consistency (honey)

  • Some people hate using 2 and opt for a 20 sec consistency for everything. I have done this in the past


Pros to No Outlines


It's faster

  • You do not have to outline anything though as you add your details you may choose to outline those items

You only need 1 consistency

  • If you hate mixing icing then this is good for you

If you like using cute scribe tools, then stock up because no outlines means the icing needs help wiggling and jiggling to stay flat

  • ...This can also be a con if you're spending $$ on cute scribes...


Cons to No Outlines

Your lines are not always as crisp

  • This is especially with odd shaped cookies or cookies requiring lots of angles. If it's a relatively common shape, this isn't a problem

It can be messy

  • This is especially true if you have icing that falls off cookies. You'll be juggling icing more cookies with trying to control the spillover.

  • A tip here is wait for the entire thing to dry then take a microplane to the side of the drippy edge.

  • You can also just not flood so close to the edge and scooch it over with a scribe. SweetAmbs does this

Lumpy Looking Cookies

  • Your cookies may not look at flat and smooth if you didn't wiggle or jiggle the icing enough

You may have to make piping icing anyway

  • Depending on your details you may need piping icing for writing so you may need to mix 2 consistencies either way


Honestly when it comes down to it, with lots of practice, you can't even tell if there is or isn't an outline so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter which way you go. However my recommendation is to try it both ways and see which one feels better to you. You’re not wrong either way.


As always I hope this helps!


-A


Hello Cookie Lovers!


As many of you may or may not know, I am not a full time cookier. I actually do have a day job.


I have a Master's Degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance and work in IT. I very much love this technical side of myself and today (January 28th, 2021) is Data Privacy Day! Therefore I want to share with you 5 ways to keep your information and the information of your customers secure.


Setting Secure passwords

  • Secure passwords are a simple and easy way to keep your information secure but are only effective if you have strong ones.

  • My recommendation for passwords are:

8-10 characters

No common words or phrases

A mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols

Choose different passwords for different applications

  • Something fun that I like to do with my passwords is to think of a common phrase or song that's special to me and choose bits an pieces of it to make into a password

For example, lets take "Somewhere over the Rainbow"

(the Judy Garland version from wizard of oz)

In this case I would choose the password:

SWotRJG24!

SomeWhere over the Rainbow Judy Garland

There are 24 letters in "somewhere over the rainbow"

The ! is just the special character I chose


Update your devices regularly

  • You may not know but your phone, computer, iPad, and any devices that you use have codes in the background to make them work.

  • Sometimes these codes can leave holes and gaps that can allow hackers to access parts of your devices. Even if your device has an anti-virus or detection software, attackers may still be able to get into your device

  • Therefore the manufacturers of these devices create updates to seal up these holes with "patches" to keep them secure however the only way for your device to use these patches is for you to consistently update your device so it has the latest codes.

  • You can set these to auto-update for you or you can manually do it just remember to do it fairly often.

  • Apple for example just went through an update to 14.3 but there were problems with the code and now everyone's being urged to update to 14.4.

  • If you're unsure how to update your device (any device), a good place to start is to search for "updates" in the settings and you should see an "system updates" or "check for updates" option

Be wary of suspicious emails

A lot of hackers use email as a way of hacking into your devices. This can be done several ways

Clicking on links from people you're not familiar with

  • You should never open an email that you're unfamiliar with or click on links that don't look quite right.

  • Often times these emails will contain a single link and nothing else.

  • These links will often allow the hacker to install programs or viruses on your device to either watch what you're typing or to allow them access to your device

People pretending to be a friend or offer a service by asking you for personal information

  • Sometimes people will hack the accounts of your friends, family, coworkers, or even potential employers and email you pretending to be them.

  • They usually will ask you for some personal information or possibly for you to give them your information so they can send you a check to cash and send them back some of the money

  • This is called phishing and is the most common way hackers get into systems

  • Never send personal emails to people with your private information even your socials or credit card info. send it in chunks and make sure to secure it by using encryption. This can often times be a lock or key button on your email.

  • Encryption uses math to scramble a message so others cannot read it

Emails that look real but are actually fake

  • Every once in a while you may receive an email that looks like it came from your bank or service you use saying you need to update your password, your bill pay, or some other task. It will ask you to log into the website and when you do, it will tell you your email and password are wrong and it will make you retry it

  • These emails are fake and most likely, a hacker doesn't even know if you have an account at that bank, they just send these emails to giant lists of people hoping someone will do what they say.

  • The email they use, the website, the logos, everything looks real and you think it's legit however hackers can make all of these things look very convincing.

  • When you try your password, it's actually capturing what you typed so they can use that information to actually access your accounts on the real websites.

  • You should never receive emails asking you to log in for these types of things. If you're ever concerned for example I receive a lot of emails saying xx person has been added to my bill pay, go to your internet, go to the website of your bank, log in and check from there. Never click the links in the email. You can then report it to the actual bank or click the spam button

Check your Privacy Settings

  • This is very important especially on mobile devices that use a lot of apps. Make sure that you frequently check your privacy settings on the different apps and website you use. Often time your location setting is turned on when it should be turned off. Your CandyCrush game should not be using your location for anything.

  • Sometimes during updates some of the turned off settings will turn back on by default. Make sure to double check them after updating to make sure your information is still secure.

  • If you need help with any of this, the Stay Safe Online Website has a great webpage to help you update these

Don't overshare on Social Media

  • Lastly, we need to talk about social media. As an online business and a person living in a technology friendly world, we tend to share most facets of our lives.

  • Make sure to not overshare because hackers can gain personal details from your social media posts.

Examples of oversharing

  • Showing your address when you received "happy mail" from your fav cookie shop

  • Letting us know you'll be out of town all week

People can use this info to break into your home while you're out of town

And they know your address because they saw it in your happy mail post above

Instead choose to say you're "unavailable" or "busy" for that week

  • Oversharing health information

It's okay to ask for prayers and well wishes but if you're constantly posting about medical problems, insurance companies can use this information against you

The same goes for personal and relationship issues

  • Showing customer names and info

It's one thing to tag a person in a positive post about an order, event, or activity however make sure not to put their full name or other personal info for everyone to see. For example when I talk about how I plan my orders, I always block out the customer names in the photos to protect their privacy


So there you go cookie lovers! These are my top 5 ways of being #privacyaware Now go forth and start taking charge of your private information!


With love (and cookies)

-A



Hello faithful cookie lovers!


I know the last few weeks have been filled with posts about how to start a business. But today’s topic is actually related to cookies. I’m going to teach you how to use a silk screen stencil.


About Silk Screen Stenciling


Silk screen stenciling is very different than your average airbrush stenciling. This is because instead of just using an airbrush machine with airbrush colors, with silk screens you use royal icing as the "ink".


Some people do a variation of this with regular airbrush stencils however the problem with using airbrush stencils is that when you apply the icing, the image does not always come out very clean. Airbrush stencils also have breaks in them because the material used to make them is a plastic that doesn’t have anything to be able to connect the letters if a full circle or shape is cut out of them. Silk screen stencils do not require the breaks because the stencil is made out of a layer of adhesive vinyl and silk screen mesh that stick together therefore the entire stencil of the words on it are one joint stencil the technique that you use to apply the icing when you’re using a regular airbrush stencil vs a silk screen stencil is very different.


With airbrush stencils, you'll want to leave a good layer of icing on the stencil so that when you lift it up there’s enough on it to see the image. With silk screen stenciling, you'll want to pull up as much of the excess icing as possible in order to force it through the silkscreen mesh.


Overall, silk screening is cleaner look because you don’t have any under bleed of ink from your stencil. However silk screen stencils are a little bit more difficult to make, they do tend to be a little bit more expensive. I happen to make my own and I'll post that tutorial at a later time but really, if you have silkscreen mesh, a cutting machine and clear vinyl, you can easily make your own at home. There are also some silk screen holders that you can buy such as the Three Sweet Chicks Silk Screen Holder that fits a genie stencil holder and a regular airbrush stencil so it gives the effect of silk screening without the under bleed from the airbrush ink.

How to Use a Silkscreen Stencil


You will need the following items in order to silkscreen on a cookie.

  • Your silkscreen stencil or an airbrush stencil in a silkscreen holder* *A stencil holder such as the genie holder or the sweet sugar bell holder must be used when using a silkscreen holder. Loose magnets will not work.

  • A silicon scraper preferably the genie one

  • A cookie that has been already base frosted for at least 8 hours

  • Icing that is slightly wetter piping consistency icing. Think almost 20-30 second icing or thin toothpaste

About the materials

In order to silkscreen on a cookie, you need to make sure that your base layer of the cookie has at least had eight hours to dry if not longer. You will be applying a lot of pressure onto the cookie so just putting it in a dehydrator for a bit will not work.

You also want to make sure that your base color on your cookie is a light color such as white. When you silkscreen, the color does not come through very darkly. If you use a light color on a dark base you might not even see it. Also take into consideration that the color of your base will impact the silkscreen image that you put on top so if you have a yellow base and your silk screening blue, the image that you silkscreen onto your cookie may come out slightly green. The same goes with airbrushing.


Next make sure that you have some sort of silk screen holder. I don’t mean magnets, I mean an actual holder such as the genie holder. The reason magnets don’t work very well is because you need to apply pressure on all edges of the holder so that your stencil does not move around as your silk screening. Magnets on the corners are just not strong enough for silk screening. Trust me I’ve tried.


You’ll also need a silicon scraper such as the genie scraper. You can also use the end of a silicon spatula, but the plastic scrapers that you see in some stores won’t work it needs to be silicon because you need to be able to kind of squeegee the residual color off the stencil in order for the image to come out clearly and only a silicon tool can get into the little grooves


On with the Actual Silk Screening


1. When you put your silkscreen in the holder, you want to make sure that the Shiny part is face down on top of your cookie and the mesh part is facing up.



2. Before you even get on your cookie, you can practice silk screening on a piece of paper towel. I highly recommend doing this just so that you get a feel for how much pressure you need to put on the silkscreen. It’ll also give you an idea if your consistency is right. If the image is pulling up a lot when you practice on the paper towel, you may need to add just a touch more water to your icing. If it looks like the icing is bleeding through the design on your paper towel, then your icing is probably too wet and you can add a little bit of powdered sugar to thicken it up a bit. In the course of doing this if you get icing on the mesh part of your stencil, you will need to clean off your stencil before you get onto the cookie otherwise the residual icing will transfer to the nice clean base layer of the icing.*

*note: In order to clean your stencil, you will want to run it in lukewarm water and then use two paper towels to pat it dry. The stencil must be 100% dry in order for you to use it. Do not under any circumstance rub the stencil. It will remove the adhesive vinyl and ruin it.



3. When you’re ready to get on the cookie, place the stencil on the cookie and put a line of frosting right above the stencil.



4. Scrape down with even pressure over the entire image. Once completely covered, scrape off all excess icing off the image as best you can.



5.Then gently lift off the stencil from the corner up.


You'll want to do steps 4 and 5 relatively quickly because if the icing starts drying too fast, your image will come out patchy when you lift the stencil up.



Hopefully if you’ve done everything right, you will have a really nice clean silkscreened image on your cookie. Silk screening it’s very difficult to learn in the beginning but once you get it down it makes cookie decorating so much easier. I can silkscreen 200 cookies in about 45 minutes.

Lastly, regarding the longevity of a stencil, I would say it can last about 100 cookies if not a little bit more depending on how well you care for your stencils. You may have to clean your stencil off every 20 cookies or so. I do recommend if you are doing a 100 cookie order to have a second one made if it’s a custom order just as back up if anything happens to the first one.


I hope this helped and happy stenciling cookie lovers! Let me know if you’re having any issues

-A

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
© 2018 Love And Baking, LLC
Established in Denver, CO, USA