Watercolor Sugar Cookies

Watercolor Sugar Cookies
Watercolor Sugar Cookies
Watercolor Sugar Cookies
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Watercolor Sugar Cookies
Watercolor Sugar Cookies
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Watercolor Sugar Cookies
Watercolor Sugar Cookies
Watercolor Sugar Cookies
Watercolor Sugar Cookies

Happy Spring! Sorry if you are blanketed in snow still. It's rainy and gross in San Francisco right now, so not exactly sunshine and lovely budding trees. Since the weather is crappy outside, I'm going to make my own springy vibes by painting over the top cookies! Apologies if my website looks like it's vomiting orange flowers right now... I couldn't narrow down the photos anymore!

If you didn't already know, I also love to paint. Have you checked out my other page, HeyKCho?! I've been watercoloring for years and I taught myself how to hand letter about 3 years ago. I spent about a million hours practicing my ABCs like a crazy person and studying up on techniques and the best painting tools. I never took a class which is sort of crazy... could have made life a lot easier for myself. But I think the fact that I never took a class or learned directly from anymore really helped me develop my own personal style. It's definitely very Springy, lots of color, and will most likely involve a painting of a carrot or some other vegetable.

I have been wanting to try watercolor cookies for the longest time! It just seemed like the greatest hybrid of all the things I love to do: mixing fun colors, eating cookies, painting flowers, lettering encouraging statements, and cutting out thousands of the same shaped thing. I finally made the time to bake and paint them this past weekend and OMGGGGG it was soooooo much fun and relaxing!! I have a bunch of blank cookie canvases sitting in my freezer now just in case I get the creative spark to paint a radish or the next Mona Lisa on a cookie. Should that be my next theme? Italian Renaissance paintings on a cookie??

The actual cookie is a really great sugar cookie base. I use a similar dough in my Marbled Tahini Sugar Cookies and Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies. It's sturdy but tender, and if you give the dough enough time to chill in the fridge it holds it's shape incredibly well once baked. Then the cookie is topped with fondant. You could also use royal icing if you don't really enjoy fondant. I'll try royal icing next time. I just got a little nervous that my piping hands were going to get a little shaky. The benefit of using fondant though is that you get really satisfyingly perfect rounds of blank canvas for your cookies. The paints are actually gel food color mixed with a little bit of water. It surprisingly acts a lot like watercolor! You can blend colors and everything!

Someday in the future, when I have more free time and can dedicate more to teaching, I would love to host watercolor classes or even shoot tutorials. But an abundance of time I do not have. I'm going to leave you with a list of tools you'll need to paint these cookies and to also paint on normal paper. I'm also including a few actual painting tips. If there is anything specific you would like to know, please ask away in the comments! Happy Painting and Happy Spring!


Tools:

#3 & #6 Round Brush - These are my favorite brush sizes to use. Round brushes have a fine tip for more delicate line work, but have a fuller base so that when you apply more pressure to the brush you get fuller and broader strokes. If you're painting cookies and also painting on paper, make sure you have different sets of brushes for both uses.

Paint Tray - I have a bunch of these for different palettes. Pretty much a necessity if you want to mix your own colors.

Paint - for cookies you can use any gel food coloring. I use these. But if you are painting on paper, I recommend Reeves or Winston Newton Watercolor Paints.

Canvas - the canvas for these cookies are fondant or you could use royal icing. If you're painting on paper, please only use cold pressed paper. Cold pressed paper has a tooth/texture to the paper which is super important for holding in all the pigments of your watercolors. I only paint on this paper.

Paint Water/Paper Towel - Keep a glass or jar of paint water on the side to clean your brushes and to mix your paints. You'll also need a bundle of paper towels to blot any excess paint from your brush. It's also handy to test out colors you're mixing 

Tips:

1. Relax. To be honest painting, especially with watercolor is pretty easy. Watercolor is forgiving and automatically gives you that effortless and abstract look to it.

2. If your painting florals, keep in mind how the actual flower or plant is composed. When painting a flower, think about how the flower petals are tighter towards the center. Like a little bud. Then the petals towards the outside are bigger and more open. That's exactly how you should paint your flower.

3. Mix a few shades of color. If your paintings are looking a little too flat, try mixing extra shades of the colors you're using. In these cookies I mixed 2 shades of green, 3 shades of orange, and 2 shades of red. The differences between them are subtle, but add so much more detail to your work.

4. Paint what you love. Try not to get too hung up on what is trendy. This could be said about cooking too. Don't feel like you have to paint cacti or succulents or even flowers like me! The best paintings you're going to do is by painting things that you love. Which is why I end up painting a lot of vegetables. But maybe your paints are more cat focused? You do you. 


Watercolor Sugar Cookies

makes 18 3" cookies

steps:

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your standmixer or with an electric beater, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in egg and vanilla extract until combined.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat at low speed until dough is evenly mixed. If the dough is a little sandy, knead the dough with your hands for a few minutes.

Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. Chilling the dough helps the cookies keep their shape.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/8" to 1/4" thick. Lightly dust the dough with flour if the dough is sticking. Lightly flour your cookie cutter and cut out your cookies.

Arrange cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, about 1" apart from each other. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes for 3" cookies. Bake for less time if your cookies are smaller. Cookies should just be slightly golden.

Allow the cookies to completely cool on a wire rack.

Roll out fondant until thin, less than 1/8" thick. Cut out circles with your cookie cutter. Drizzle a little honey on the cookie as your adhesive. Place circle of fondant on the cookie and gently smooth out the fondant.

In a clean painting dish, add a few drops of your selected gel food coloring. Mix accordingly to get your desired colors. Add a few drops of water and paint whatever you want on the fondant.

Allow the food coloring to dry and enjoy.

materials:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 Tbsp) butter - softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

honey
fondant
assortment of gel food coloring

Marbled Tahini Sugar Cookies

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I'm home! After a painfully early (and chilly!) arrival this morning and a desperately needed 5 hour power nap, I found myself back in the normal rhythm of life with my family. Isn't it funny how that works? No matter how far away you live (2,458 miles to be exact) or how long it's been since you've been home, you just effortlessly slip back into life as if you were never gone. It only took about 2 minutes after I got up from my nap to find my spot on the couch, the corner spot that fits all the lumps and bumps of my body perfectly. I'm looking forward to the much needed sleep, lounging, eating, snacking, family seeing, present opening, and maybe some Cleveland sight seeing in the next week. I wish you all safe and smooth holiday travels to wherever y'all are going! Try not to let the stress of holiday air travel bring the evil out of you.

Okay, let's get to the cookies! There's 3 more days until Christmas, which is plenty of time to squeeze in some cookie baking time for Santa. These Marbled Tahini Sugar Cookies are freaking delicious and are so gorgeous! They would make the perfect gift for someone who would prefer a more edible gift rather than a stack of marble coasters. That would be me. The cookies are soft and chewy, like a good sugar cookie should be. The tahini gives them a beautiful nutty flavor that would make you never want a regular old peanut butter cookie again. Black tahini is what gives the cookies the the dark vein in the marble. Have you tried black tahini before?? I love it so much. I might be imagining it but I think the black sesame seeds taste worlds better. But that just might be my love for all things black sesame talking.

I was embarrassingly gleeful when I saw the cookies come out of the oven. I loved how they looked so much and wanted to tile my whole bathroom in tahini cookies! You probably already know this, but I work as an Architectural Designer/Interior Designer by day. I've spent countless hours looking at tile samples. I think I can safely say that these cookies look way better than a lot of tile out there. I have dreams of making more of these tile cookies with different colors! Chocolate! Matcha! Turmeric! Strawberry! So many Options! There will be a whole line of Eat Cho Food Tile Cookies! Maybe there will even be coordinating buttercream grout color options??? I could say a lot of really architect-nerdy things about the specification options for this tile cookie right now, but I will spare you the boredom. 

Happy Holiday Baking!!!

Oh! and if you're interested in these hexagon cookie cutters, I got them here!


Marbled Tahini Sugar Cookies

makes about 28 3" cookies

materials:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 Tbsp) butter - softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup black tahini

steps:

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your standmixer or with an electric beater, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in egg and vanilla until combined.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat at low speed until dough is evenly mixed. 

Scoop out half of the dough into a bowl and set aside.

Add in regular tahini into the remaining half of dough and beat until incorporated. Place in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Do the same with the other half of dough, but add the black tahini instead. Place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. Chilling the dough helps the cookies keep their shape.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide both doughs into 3 equal parts. Arrange the dough balls in a 2x3 arrangement, alternating colors. Give it a quick knead to get the marbled affect. Try not to over knead so the color doesn't get too muddy.

Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick. You can divide the dough in half if it is easier for you to work with that way. Lightly flour your cookie cutter and cut out your cookies.

Arrange cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, about 1" apart from each other. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake for less time if your cookies are smaller.

Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

recipe was based on this great Food52 recipe!

Oolong Tea Sugar Cookies

I started this past week thinking that it was going to be terrible. I know that I shouldn't do that, but I started letting my anxiety about an upcoming work deadline get to me. I had an interior design presentation this past Friday and there were moments that I seriously wasn't sure if we were going to make it. But we did! And our client loved it! Hooray! Working with a deadline looming is the worst, but the hours afterwards are incredible!! My meeting was done  at 11:30 am, I proceeded to tidy up my desk a bit and distract the people around me with chit chat, then went on a gloriously beautiful lunch at the Ferry building with my work BFFs (Hi, Katie! Hi, Claire!). Then I peaced out early while Walking on Sunshine was playing on the PA system! JK, but I did leave early, it was great.

Looking back on the week, it really wasn't that bad. I didn't have to work past 9pm, I gave a quick presentation on my secret/not so secret passion for food in front of my coworkers and ate a lot of chips and salsa, I ordered poke via UberEats for deadline dinner, and Reuben took another ARE so we can actually hang out again (until his next test gets closer)! Small Victories!

The good vibes didn't stop there. I organized a volunteering event at City Slicker Farmers in Oakland yesterday and it was literally HEAVEN. I'm dedicating a whole post to our time there later this week. Everyone had so much fun! I was surrounded by gorgeous veggies and beautiful chickens, my heart was going to burst.

Oh, and Reuben surprised me with donuts when he came back with Vietnamese takeout yesterday! I love him!

Now I'm going to try to relax during my final hours of the weekend. I might make some tea and and take out some of this leftover cookie dough to pop in the oven. I've been really curious about baking with tea. After some research, it turns out simmering butter with strong loose tea leaves is the best way to get a strong tea flavor. My kitchen smelled so good while I made these. Oolong has such a great aroma! These cookies are so soft and chewy, and the oolong flavor is delicate and grows after each bite. I adapted the basic sugar cookie recipe from the Joy of Cooking  with an oolong twist. My journey of baking with tea will definitely continue, Jasmine Tea Brownies???

* We just started watching Sausage Party instead of the Oscars and I'm horrified... relaxing might not be possible... ugh.


Oolong Tea Sugar Cookies

makes 18 medium cookies

Materials : 

1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

16 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (After simmering with tea leaves you will have about 12 Tbsp of butter, a lot of it sticks to the leaves or pan)

4 Tbsp Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

1/2 C Sugar

1/4 C Honey

1 Egg

2 tsp Vanilla

 

Steps :

  1. Melt the butter on medium heat, once all the butter is melted add the tea leaves, simmer on low heat for 7 minutes. Pour the melted butter and tea leaves over a fine mesh strainer os sieve into a small bowl. Press the leaves with the back of a spoon to get any excess butter out of the leaves. Let butter sit out or in the fridge (about 40 mins) until it gets to room temperature and has the consistency of softened butter.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

  3. Beat in a large bowl the butter, sugar, and honey, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla until combined.

  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture until combined. Let chill in the fridge for 20 mins.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Either with a cookie scooper of spoon, arrange dollops of cookie dough 2 inches. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

  6. Let cool and enjoy!