French Llama Cookies & MINI Pastries

This may be a surprise to you, but I didn't have that much of a sweet tooth until I began baking a few years ago. Now desserts are a huge part of my life, and I can barely go a day without consuming something sweet. Reminiscing about my food adventures from past travels led me to create these fun and quirky cookies based on two things that never fail to make me smile - llamas and french pastries! Keep scrolling to see what I dreamt up. 

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INGREDIENTS

  • Your favourite sugar cookie recipe - you can find mine here
  • Royal Icing
  • Gel food colouring: beige, red, blue & black
  • Egg wash
  • Cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make your favourite sugar cookie recipe, and leave to chill for a few hours, or overnight.
  2. Whip up some royal icing, and dye into beige, red, blue and black. Transfer into piping bags.
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Llama
1. Cut out dough with llama cookie cutter. To make the beret, use the top of of a small raindrop or circle cookie cutter, then roll a tiny ball for the tip. Cut off the top left or right corner of the llama, then attach the beret with egg white. Bake and cool completely.
2. Ice the cookie with beige icing, leaving the face, beret, feet and top half blank. Leave to set.
3. Pipe on the face with white icing, and add on the striped top in preferred colours. Pipe on the tip of the beret, and leave to dry.
4. Pipe on the beret and the feet. Leave to dry completely. 
5. Add on the scarf, heart, and pipe on the facial expressions with black royal icing. Get creative! You can add some quirky details to make your llamas unique, such as moustaches, glasses and bow ties.

NOTES:
*To speed up the royal icing drying process, place cookies in oven on the lowest temperature for 10-15 minutes between each layer drying. The top layer will form a crust, and you can continue decorating with icing.
 
*Royal icing generally takes at least 6 - 8 hours to dry completely, though could be longer depending on the climate you live in. If packaging cookies, allow them to dry overnight for the best results.

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Croissant
1. Roll out cookie dough to a thin sheet, then cut into triangles as you would with a regular croissant.
2. Roll up into the shape of a croissant, then pinch the two ends closer together and brush with egg wash. 
3. Bake until golden brown.

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Baguette
1. Roll a strip of dough in the palm of your hands, until you’ve reached a length and shape you are happy with. Cut slits on the top with a small knife, then bake until slightly browned. 
2. Using a small brush, brush on cocoa powder for extra texture and detailing. 

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Eclair
1. Roll thin strips of dough in the palm of your hands, then cut to desired length. Ensure the edges are all rounded.
2. Bake and cool completely. Decorate the top with flood consistency brown royal icing, then add a dot of white icing on one end.

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Cake Slice
1.
Hand cut a mini slice of cake. You can use a template, or do it free hand. Bake and cool.
2. Decorate the cake base with white and beige icing, then add on red details for the strawberries. 

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I hope you like these French inspired llama cookies and mini pastries as much as I enjoyed making them.
Have a llamazing day! 

XOX
Vickie

Valentine's Day Dumpling Cookies

Kawaii dumpling cookies has been on my to-bake list for a while now, and with Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year coming up,  I jumped at the opportunity to finally make them. Paired with cheeky pun cookies, these sugary dumpling treats are sou-per adorable, and will have you wonton more. They are the perfect handmade gift, whether they're for your close friends, or someone you may have some fillings for ;)

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Sugar Cookies

  • 230g butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla bean paste
  •  2.5 cups plain flour 

Directions
1. Mix butter and sugar in a stand mixer until soft and creamy (over whipping could cause the cookies to spread while baking). Add egg and vanilla until just incorporated.

2. Gradually add in flour to the wet mixture. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every once in a while. The dough is ready when it begins to slightly pull away from the sides of the bowl. Shape dough into 2 discs, and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

3. When dough is ready, pre-heat oven to 175 C (fan forced). Roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookie dough into desired shapes, and place on lined baking tray. I got my dumpling cookie cutters custom made over at Cookie Cutter Kingdom! Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes before baking.

4. Bake for 12 -15 minutes, or when cookies begin to slightly brown around the edges. The time could be shorter or longer, depending on the size of the cookies.

5. Cool cookies on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack. Cool completely before decorating. 


Royal Icing

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 TBS meringue powder*
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • Gel food colouring of choice

*If you are based in Australia, you can use Pavlova Magic if you can’t get your hands on meringue powder; which can easily be found at the supermarket. Alternatively, you can replace the powder and water with egg white if preferred. 

Directions
1. Mix sifted icing sugar and meringue powder in a large bowl.

2. Add in warm water and lemon juice (or other flavouring of choice), and mix on low -  medium speed for approximately 5 minutes until white and glossy.

3. Divide and mix in food colouring accordingly. Depending on the icing consistency you are after, more water will be required for a thinner/spreadable icing.

4. Transfer icing into sturdy piping bags - either with fitted tips, or the tip cut off.
 

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Xiao Long Bao
1. Ice the base of the cookie with white icing and leave to dry completely* (or until the surface of the icing has set).
2. Pipe on thin white lines to add a little bit texture.
3. Draw on the face with black royal icing.
4. Add on ‘blush’ using red powdered food colouring and a small brush. 

*Royal icing generally takes at least 6-8 hours to dry completely, though it could take longer in more humid climates. I suggest leaving them to dry overnight for best results.

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Siu Mai
1. Ice the bottom two thirds of the cookie with yellow icing and leave to set.
2. Add on brown icing at the top of the cookie, and leave the base to dry completely.
3. Pipe on a yellow border around the brown icing, then stick on orange sprinkles or small fondant balls with edible adhesive.
4. Add on faces with black icing, and ’blush’ using red powdered food colouring and a small brush.

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Dumpling Style 1
1. Outline the cookie with off white royal icing and leave to set.
2. ‘Flood’ the cookie with the same coloured icing, and leave to dry completely. 
3. Pipe on faces with black royal icing.
4. Add on ’blush’ using red powdered food colouring and a small brush.

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Dumpling Style 2
1. Ice the inner semi circle of the cookie with pale yellow icing and leave to set.
2. Using the same icing, pipe on every second fold of the dumpling and leave to set.
3. Fill in the rest of the folds, then leave to dry completely.
4. Add on faces with black icing, and a stream of tears with blue icing.

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Fondant Hearts
1.
Roll out pink fondant (or any fondant colour of choice).
2. Cut out heart shapes, using the same cutter used for the cookies, and stick onto the cookies with a little bit of water or edible adhesive.
3. Using a cookie stamp, stamp on your favourite quotes or punny pick up lines.
4. Leave to set completely before packaging.

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If you give these a go, be sure to tag me over on Instagram!
 
XOX
Vickie

Totoro Black Sesame Cookies: Halloween Edition

Kicking off Totoro Week with a little Halloween inspiration! I've always loved black sesame in sweets, and these cookies are no exception. And yes - Totoro Week is a thing. My creative Insta pals Steph (I Am a Food Blog) and Lyndsay (Coco Cake Land) dreamed up this totoro-lly awesome week, which occurs on the last week of October. Join in on the fun with the hashtag #TotoroWeek on Instagram. 

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BLACK SESAME COOKIES
Makes 38 mini Totoro cookies

Ingredients

  • 230g butter (room temperature)
  •  1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup black sesame powder

Decoration

  • Royal icing
  • Gel food colouring
  • Piping bags

Directions
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla until incorporated, then gradually add in sifted flour and black sesame powder mixing on low speed until just combined. Shape into 2 discs, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. When dough has chilled, pre-heat oven to 175˚C. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and cut out using a Totoro shaped cookie cutter. Transfer onto a lined baking tray, and place in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or when edges begin to slightly brown. Cool completely before decorating.

4. While the cookies are cooling, dye the icing with gel based food colouring. Some of the colours will need to be thicker consistency than others. Below is a guide.
Flooding consistency icing: grey, white, orange, green.
Stiff consistency icing: black, orange, yellow, brown.

5. Decorate! See below for the step-by-step for each design.
Note: If you don't like your cookies too sweet, you can skip the step of the grey icing base, and also use matcha cookies as the base for Frankenstein Totoro.

 ADD STEPS

Pumpkin Totoro
1. Pipe the top half of the cookie with grey icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
*NOTE: For the pumpkin 'hat', shape dough into a small ball and stick to cookie before baking. 
2. Add pumpkin base with orange icing, and white base for the eyes.  
3. Using a thicker consistency orange icing, add on the pumpkin details. Pipe on facial features with black icing.
4. Add a little brown stalk onto the pumpkin hat, and a face to the pumpkin.

 ADD STEPS

Witch Totoro
1. Pipe the Totoro base with grey icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
*NOTE: For witch hat, use a small triangle cookie cutter to cut out the hat, then stick to the cookie before baking.
2. Add the hat, eyes and belly. Pipe on the top of the broom with thick consistency icing for the texture of straw. 
3. Add on broom stick and facial details. 
4. Pipe the triangles on Totoro's belly, and the strip on the hat. 

 ADD STEPS

Frankenstein Totoro
1. Pipe the base of the cookie with green icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
2. Add white base for the eyes and belly. Wait for outer layer of icing to dry.
3. Pipe triangles on the belly, and facial details. 
4. Add small scar marks with black royal icing. 

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Mummy Totoro
1. Pipe the base of the cookie with grey icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
2. Add white base for the eyes, and a few white strips.   
3. Pipe on the facial details with black icing, and add extra white strips of icing.
4. Add final touches of strips, some layering over the previous ones.

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ROUND UP FROM THIS YEAR
Lyndsay made this adorable Matcha Frankenstein Totoro Cake!  Definitely a matcha made in heaven!

Em made Tamagoyaki Totoros in a rice cooker! Um what? Tamagoyaki is one of my all time favs, so I will definitely be trying these out.

Syl's divine Totoro rice krispie treats have me salivating (though I don't know if I could bear to eat these cuties)! 

Sushi AND Totoro? Yes please! These Totoro Inari by Steph honestly just make me so happy :)

Oh my ghourd, how magic are these Totoro Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Soot Sprite Chocolate Sparkle Cookies - These sweet little morsels are just too sweet. Steph, you smart cookie!

If you make anything Totoro related, or try out any of our recipes, don't forget to use the hashtag #TotoroWeek to show us your creations!

XOX
VIckie

Ama-sting Honey Shortbread Cookies

The first time I made these honeycomb shortbread cookies was over 2 years ago, not long after I began documenting my baking journey on Instagram. Despite the simplicity, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are still one of my favourite creations to date, which is why I want to share the recipe with you all! For someone who usually isn’t a fan of honey, let me assure you - these are worth the buzz. 

HONEY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Makes 40 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 165g butter (at room temperature)
  •  1/4 cup brown sugar
  •  1 Tablespoon honey

    Royal Icing
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Pavlova Magic/meringue powder
  • 5+ Tablespoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (or any other flavouring)
  • Yellow gel food colouring

Directions
1. To make cookies: Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add honey until just combined. Gradually add in flour and beat on low until dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Form dough into a disc, and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour. 

2. When the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 175ºC and line baking trays with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle clean surface with flour, and roll out cookie dough to approximately 3/4cm in thickness. Using a small hexagon cookie cutter, cut dough to resemble honeycomb. Place in freezer to chill for 10 minutes before baking.
Optional: You can also cut out mini bee cookies for decoration. Alternatively, store bought or homemade royal icing bees work just as well.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or when edges begin to brown. This will be dependant on size and thickness of cookies, so keep an eye out! Leave them on the tray until warm to touch, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. 

4. To decorate: While the cookies are cooling, start on the royal icing. Mix the meringue powder and hot water in a large bowl on low speed until the powder has dissolved. Gradually add the icing sugar, and mix on low until combined; then add the flavouring. Beat on medium speed for around 5 minutes, or when the icing is thick and extremely white in colour. 

5. Divide the royal icing into 3 bowls, and dye them 3 different shades of yellow. You may need to add more water for a thinner consistency. Have a look at this guide by Sweet Sugar Belle for more information on icing consistency. Transfer icing into piping bags, then carefully outline and flood the cookies one at a time. Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles or smooth out icing if necessary. Enjoy them as they are, or leave them out to dry overnight for the royal icing to completely set!

Lots of honey coated love,
Vickie xo

Looking Sharp

Aloe world!
I thought I would kick off this blog with one of my favourite cookie creations from this year. For those of you who aren't aware, I've been writing guest posts over at Brit + Co for the last few months. Included is the how-to for these vanilla bean cacti cookies, which may just prickle your fancy!

CactusCookies
 Print by  Honey and the Hive .

As this blog unfolds, I hope to inspire some of you along the way, and make you smile a little! 
Now don’t be a prick, share the cookie love ;) Head on over here for the full tutorial.

Lots of suc-cute-lent love,
Vickie x