Years ago I fell in love with these chocolate moose cookies by Lisa the Bearfoot Baker. I bought the cutter right away but haven’t had the nerve to try airbrushing… until now.
Why I love this project
I had a blast airbrushing these christmas moose cookies. The tinted edges make these little guys really special. With silly little candy eyes and antlers tangled in Christmas lights they have so much character!
Tips, techniques + takeaways
I usually talk about how having the right tools makes all the difference, but with airbrushing technique definitely comes first. And practice! I know I’ll look back on these cookies in a few months and think “egads”, but for now I’m pretty jazzed about them and what I’ve learned. My top takeaway for airbrushing is to remember HOW an airbrush works. You can control two things: air and paint (in this case food coloring). PSI (pounds per square inch) is your air pressure. If you’ve got coloring blasting all over the place, dial it back. You’ll find the adjustment for PSI on the air compressor. To adjust your paint, open or limit your trigger. This adjustment is usually toward the back end of the airbrush. Mine is a little screw cap. Once you get the hang of those two variables, you’ll have complete control over your paint “spray”.
I dialed my air pressure back to about 25 PSI and limited my trigger so that I could hold the airbrush about 2 inches away from the edge of my icing. At that distance I was able to apply about a 1/4″ wide spray around the edge of the icing to give it some shading and dimension. I used chocolate brown coloring on the noses and bronze on the antlers.
Start with a light spray and continue to apply to build your color. Several light and even coats go quickly and you’ll have more control over the appearance. Just keep adding color until you’re satisfied and ready to move on.
I found it helpful to spray a little color on a paper towel first so I could get comfortable with where my spray would land. The brown mist didn’t discolor my gingerbread cutouts but it would have had I been using a lighter cookie. The paper towel practice sheet is definitely helping to improve my aim.
Overall, I was surprised and delighted at how easy it was to add some airbrushed edges to my Christmas moose cookies. Go on and give it a go. It’s not as hard as it looks!
Tools for success
Master Airbrush gravity feed dual-action airbrush kit – this is the airbrush I have and I find it works well for my beginner skill level.
Ann Clark moose head cookie cutter
Americolor AmeriMist chocolate brown
Americolor AmeriMist bronze sheen
Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
Makes about 24 medium large cookies.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/8 teaspoon all-spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large free-range egg
- 1/3 cup mild or regular molasses
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. TIP: scoop flour and level with the back side of a knife.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in egg, scraping sides of bowl between additions.
- Add molasses and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Dough should be tender (not dry or crumbly) but not sticky. If sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time until dough is not tacky to the touch. If dry, add molasses one tablespoon at a time until dough starts pull together.
- Roll dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper to desired thickness. TIP: wood dowels or rolling pin rings make this easy!
- Chill rolled dough for about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Cut desired shapes and transfer to parchment lined baking sheets. Chill shapes until ready to bake.
- Bake until edges just start to brown. 8 minutes for medium cookies 10 minutes for large cookies. Be careful not to over bake. Cookies may become dry if over baked.
- Cool for 5 minutes on pans then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Jes Best Royal Icing
Yield 24 servings
Makes enough to decorate 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size
- 970 g [2 lb bag] confectioners' sugar, no need to sift
- 80g [or 8-10 tablespoons] meringue powder (CK or Henry & Henry)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (to keep icing bright white)
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons water
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix sugar, meringue powder and cream of tartar on low for just a bit to incorporate evenly.
- Slowly add 1/2 cup water while mixing at a low speed. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until sugar is just wet.
- Scrape sides of the mixing bowl. Increase speed one notch (#2 on Kitchenaid stand mixer). Mix for five minutes. When finished icing should have a matte (not glossy) finish and hold it's shape on the paddle when pulled up/out of the bowl.
- Separate into clean, oil-free containers and tint with gel food coloring.
- This recipe yields "stiff" consistency for piping details. Add water as needed to achieve flooding consistency.
- Keep covered tightly and store for up to a week in a cool dry place or 10 days in the refrigerator. Mix well when ready to use.