About TV Schedule
Contact Us Recipes and Tips
Episode 423 - Safari
Animal Cookies
Eat the whole jungle...
So, you love cookies, do you? You animal! Well, don't get too restless, as Brenda Oelbaum of Cookie as Canvas, is here to share her fascinating process of creating animal cookies.

First of all, Brenda confesses that anytime she sees an interesting cookie cutter, she buys it. Some cutters come in a set and can be bought in a store. Sometimes Brenda has them professionally made.

As beautiful as the various shapes are, it all comes down to how Brenda decorates them. A true artist, she uses all kinds of art as a resource. She spends a lot of time at the public library with her kids, and says there's nothing better than children's book illustrations for inspiration.

Once the cookies are cut and baked, the next step is to brush on the icing. Brenda uses a special confectioner's glaze, which consists of a cup of icing sugar, sifted; 1 tbsp milk; 1 tbsp corn syrup; and food colouring. She does not use regular food colouring; but rather, food colouring paste.

Brenda can vary the flavouring of the icing and the cookie. For example, if she's doing a lemon sugar cookie, she will use a lemon extract. Instead of using milk, she might use lemon juice. When creating dark icing, such as the navy blue she uses for her toucans, she tends to use pineapple juice instead of milk to give it a tropical flavour.

Any rolled cookie recipe will work, whether it's for gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, or whatever. Brenda recommends staying away from putting nuts or chunks of dried fruit in the cookies, as you might end up with little chunks hanging out when you use the detailed cutters.

Once the icing has dried, the next step is to paint the cookies. Using a porcelain palette, readily available at any art supply store, the trick is to work from the lightest colour up to the darkest colour. Don't be afraid to use reference material and remember that practice does make perfect. Do not worry if a part of your cookie breaks off. You can always glue it back on with some of the icing.

It's amazing how a little bit of research, and a keen eye for detail can create a jungle of exotic animals, popping out of a basket. Whether it's butterflies, dancing monkeys, gorillas, toucans, parakeets, macaws, pelicans or poison dart frogs, anything goes!

Are you allowed to eat them? Of course! Brenda is delighted when her customers enjoy the fruits (or animals, as the case may be!) of her labours. Not only do they look great, but they taste great too.

Special Thanks: Brenda Oelbaum, Cookie as Canvas; Ann Arbor, MI (734) 971-6369