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My Ultimate List of Cookie Resources & FAQs

Jul 28, 2018 | Cookie Decorating Resources, Featured | 26 comments

Please use the “search” or “find” function on your device to look for keywords in this post; it’s a long one! I’ll update this from time-time as I find new products I love– I hope you find it helpful.

Please visit my Amazon Shop for an ever growing list of my favorite things that I buy on the regular. Purchasing from my shop does not cost you any extra and gives me a small commission, and this is an amazing way to support me, while buying things you normally would.  Please also visit my SHOP if you like what I’m sharing here!

These are geared toward a United States audience. I have not really explored international suppliers for practical reasons. I like to keep my list as small as possible because a big supplier list = more complication and stuff to think about. So just because someone isn’t on here doesn’t mean they are good/bad.

Please use common sense. I can’t stress this enough. Take the extra time to think over YOUR SITUATION before you blindly follow my suggestions.

Baking Trays & Liners

Baking Trays

Nordicware Baking Trays

I LOVE NordicWare. I will not use anything else. They are light, high quality, durable and easy to clean. Get them on Amazon, or sometimes they can be found at Target and Costco. Half sheet sizes are the common size for home bakers. I prefer aluminum sheets, they seem to bake better and withstand more uses. If you want to buy bulk, you can get a set of 12 HERE for a great price. Keep in mind that the type of baking sheet does affect your bake, especially for more finicky cookies like french macarons.

Baking Mats

Baking Mats

Amazon Basics silicone baking mats

  • I prefer silicone mats – they *seem* to keep the bottom of my cookies more moist, since I leave them on their to cool and decorate/dry after decorating. They also seem to slip around less on the actual baking tray. Any brand works so long as the reviews are good. I use Amazon Basics. I also really like MiuMiu brand from Costco when they have it for sale. I have also used THESE and they work great, bonus is the built-in macaron template.
  • If you prefer parchment– I have used THIS with good result. Cookies can bake differently on mats vs. parchment, so just be sure to experiment! Lots of folks also like the Zenlogy brand.
  • Teflon baking mats are becoming increasingly popular in the baking community as well- I have limited experience with them, but will update this here if I end up moving to Teflon!

Spatulas

Spatulas

Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it made a huge difference for me when I switched from wooden handled spatulas to 100% rubber ones like THESE. No more breakage. Easier to clean since there are no seams and it’s 1 continuous piece of equipment, easier on my hands (no blisters from the wooden handles!) Use the large ones for dough/batter, small ones for smaller bowls of icing when mixing colors!

Rolling Pins

I used a marble one forever, and used to roll my dough by eye– believe it or not; I started baking with very little equipment and just made do with what I had)… .but recently made a conversion to this and I love it.  I roll my dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, and roll my mini cookies to ⅜”. Baking time various by SIZE and THICKNESS AND recipe/temperature. Lots of people also love the Joseph Joseph rolling pin. I personally like having handles, so if handles are your thing– try THIS.

I like to roll my 3-4 inch cookies to 8mm thick (a non-standard thickness) and offer rolling pin guides in our shop to roll to this thickness:

Compact Countertop Sheeter

IF you’re a volume cookier, you know how exhausting it is to roll out your dough, time and time again. Most sheeters are large and very expensive, as they should be (thousands of dollars). I found a compact, tabletop sheet and can’t be happier – THIS is the one I have. Rolls 12mm at the thickest, rolls thin enough for pasta dough to become opaque. Has a learning curve (like many other tools), but has really changed my life.

 Tipless Piping Bags

Tipless piping bags are my favorite way to decorate sugar cookies. Small bags measure approx. 10 inches in length, and medium bags measure approx. 12 inches in total length, and can fit significantly more product than Small size.

Tipless Piping Bags

Unless if I’m piping flowers or macarons, I only ever use tipless piping bags for flooding and details 90% of my decorated icing cookies. I have a whole post on them HERE.

Scribe Tools — even a toothpick is fine

  • Toothpicks gets the job done, but they are made of wood, and icing tends to stick to wood, just be aware and clean off your wooden toothpicks often with a damp paper towel, or Eco Towel from our shop, to save on paper towels.
  • Super cheap 12 pack from Amazon – great for classes
  • There are also options from Sweet Sugar Belle that are light blue with a flat end– use that flat end to scrape off mistakes 😉 Love those as well!
  • Shop all kinds of adorable scribes in our SHOP. We offer some unique options not seen anywhere else, and have a Stainless Steel scribe that is earth friendly and will quite literally last you forever!
  • If you want to make your own scribes, check out my entire curated scribe materials section in my Amazon Shop.

Cookie Cutters

I really don’t even know how this is possible to list them all, but let me summarize and tell you about some of my FAVORITE shops. Most are mom and pop! I do think you get what you pay for when it comes to cookie cutters; and not everyone will need a $6 cutter but be aware of your options and make choices based on your needs. Some small shops are definitely more a brand/packaging experience oriented than others, so you are of course bearing costs for that as well (which is 100% cool, just not cool to complain about it).

Budget friendly cutters:

  • Anything from Michaels/Joanne’s — you can also use the weekly coupons for an awesome deal on sets from awesome brands like Sweet Sugar Belle!
  • American Tradition has a huge selection
  • A ton more options in my Amazon Shop cutter section

Vanilla Bean Paste, Food Coloring, Vegetable Glycerin, Cocoa Powder, etc.

       

  • My absolute holy grail vanilla bean paste is Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste from Amazon
  • Vegetable glycerin: the brand doesn’t matter so long as the reviews are good, and it’s food grade. Some Michael’s stores also carries this in their baking section! I buy mine from Amazon.
  • Food Coloring: I predominantly use Americolor brand gel coloring for my icing… you can get it from Amazon or from Grunderfully Delicious. The Cookie Countess’ in house brand has proven to be really amazing!!
    • If you want all natural dyes, keep in mind they are USUALLY not as bright, but here are a few suggestions: ONE / TWO / THREE – I have only personally tried the McCormick but could never achieve the colors I desired.
  • Cocoa Powder: I am a hands down 100% Valrhona girl. It’s a high end product and definitely pricier, but I love both the flavor and color. Not too deeply “fake” dark but also not light cocoa like some Hershey’s brands (if you use Hershey’s, use their Dark blend). That being said, it’s not for everyone. Some of my favorite budget friendly option is Ghirardelli.
  • Meringue Powder:
    • Wilton: easily accessible and can be purchased at pretty much any Michaels. Meringue powder is pricey — I use the 40-50% off 1 full priced item coupons and buy the 1 lb bucket.
    • Creative Cookier  Genie’s Dream meringue powder is awesome and what I currently use. It produces a smoother shinier finish for me and is nicer to work with than any other I’ve tried, and the taste is fabulous.
    •  CK’s brand Meringue Powder on Amazon

Packaging & Shipping Material

I do not recommend sizes. Sizes depend on YOUR use (how thick your cookies are, size, shape, etc.). I recommend you get a few samples from each shop to decide what works for you. A worthy and small investment in the larger scope of things. I don’t help people decide what boxes you should get for what cutter– you should do the leg work in package design… Package design is very near/dear to my heart– we can make our brands look so different with packaging and the specific dimensions, etc. of what I use is not something I generally share in an effort to keep some things unique to me. Thank you for understanding! That being said, I link you to tons of options in my Amazon shop under Packaging Materials.

      

  • Cookie boxes
  • Shred, cello bags, boxes, shipping supplies, etc.: www.papermart.com & www.clearbags.com (any of the food safe bags work. Again, you will need to ask for samples or something to find the size that works for you. I am not going to tell you what sizes I buy because it differs based on cutter size and cookie thickness–seems obvious but I get this question so much).
    • I do like these 4×9 bags for having a bit more room at the top of longer cookies or tying off with ribbon. They are pretty good quality.
    • I prefer Clearbags cello bags over papermart– I think they are higher quality and the seals are always robust. Sometimes, the Papermart bags have holes in the seams… which misses the whole point of having an airtight seal to have the freshest cookies possible. This has happened so much with flat Papermart bags that I just no longer buy them– it is also a very sneaky, slow air leak– so be aware. The only portion you have control of is HOW to use your heat sealer– if the setting is too high, it’ll burn through the plastic, damaging the seal and creating holes (and this is useless if the bottom pre-sealed seam already has a leak).
  • Ribbons and bows: while I love that we are able to make our own beautiful bows, sometimes they are not practical economically– these are pretied AND has a twist tie… so worth the price!
    • Clearbags also has pre-tied stretchy loops that are fabulous for dressing up packaging with very little investment. I am not affiliated or paid by ClearBags but I was their Dec 2018 featured customer and you can get an idea of my packaging HERE
  • If you’re teaching classes and want those quarter sheets trays, you can purchase them from Webstaurant. Thanks to Kristen at Grunderfully Delicious for the tip!

Gold/Silver/Glitter Dusts, Powders and Pens

   

  • Metallic Paints (for details/text etc.)
    • Sweet Sticks AU — these are edible paints
    • The Sugar Art offers a huge range of edible gold/silver/so many other colored dusts that can be mixed with vodka or everclear and used as paint– more info on their website or I show them off all the time on my Instagram
  • Edible Glitter/Dry Dusts: I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Sugar Art DiamondDusts for EDIBLE glitter (unlike Disco Dust) and their Elite Color powders for things like cheeks and added dimension!
  • “Highlighters” and etc.: These are dusts classified for decoration use only. They are incredibly beautiful to look at, but not technically edible (like Disco Dust!) You can mix with vodka or alcohol based extract (i.e lemon) to use as a metallic splatter or paint. DO NOT mix with water, as this will dissolve the icing this is placed on! Truly Mad Plastic’s golds are beautiful — go to their website and search for gold. The Sugar Art also offers highlighters, you just need to search for it on their website. Mix with vodka until it is a mercury like consistency. If you have access to Everclear instead of vodka, that’s even better! You will need to play with the ratio that works for you, just like icing consistency. I can’t tell you how many drops of alcohol to how many grams of powder, sorry. I always eyeball mine. I have a small clip on this consistency in my Instagram highlights under Tips/Tricks.
  • Pens — it depends on your needs but there are so many options!

Airbrush & Stencils

            

If you’re first starting out– keep it simple and effective. I 100% recommend the Cake Boss airbrush, and around really at the price they sell it at, it’s a steal! I also have a few beginner airbrush color sets I recommend, all linked HERE.  You can buy a replacement gun HERE. I’ve also used the Cookie Countess airbrush & colors and am very happy! Killer Zebras colors (especially the metallics) are amazing as well. I also own a Pegasus airbrush system by The Sugar Art and LOVE the quality of it– smooth pull back action and the airbrush stream comes out very smooth!

Projector

   

I have a whole post dedicated to this HERE.

Brushes

  • I really like this basic set from Wilton, great for basic painting on accents and brush embroidery techniques.
  • For stuff like ombres, brush effect, I like to use fan brushes, like the ones included in this set — you actually might as well buy the larger set as you’ll find a use for all the brushes at some point 😉
  • I also created my own set of brushes ! This set contains a special tool I’ve yet to see in the cookie world, I’ve coined the “dot tool” . Read about the brush set HERE.

 Sprinkles

There are many sprinkles shops out there now, and Michael’s actually has quite an amazing selection, as does Amazon.  Other shops I recommend:

Isomalt Accessories

I’ll dedicate a whole post to this, but for now, be sure to check out that section of my Amazon shop for what I use. I also use my mini silicone cups for melting. We also carry Simi Isomalt.

Heat Sealer

Brand doesn’t matter so long as it has good reviews, and of course I get mine from Amazon. If you want to get one with a cutter, great, but there is for some reason a big price difference between cutter vs. not. I have this one.

Cookie Turntable

     

I didn’t know how much I liked this tool until I got one. Great for helping to flood shapes at an angle of your choice and especially great for florals. While Amazon has a great selection, I own the LC Sweets Cookie Swivel and absolutely love it!

Business Card /Labels/Stickers/ Buttons, etc.

Cute Cookie / Treat Tags / Bag Toppers

Most of these shops are paint at home, or bring to a print shop to print/mail to you. Lots of options now for custom cardstock work if you google around!

Graphics, Lettering, Fonts, Typography

I have a whole post on LETTERING and some very useful resources around that, be sure to check it out!
I love purchasing my fonts and graphics from FontBundles.net 

Photography, Videography

  • I take photos with my Sony NEX3, which has been discontinued and is replaced by the Alpha series
    • Although phone cameras have come a long way, stand-alone cameras still capture depth and clarity a bit better, just my preference
  • I love using tripods. I cannot live without tripods, so please either buy one of those cheap standalone ones with squiggly legs OR invest in an Arkon mount (which is my recommendation, videos are so “in” right now).
  • All the items discussed above are linked in THIS SECTION of my amazon shop– this is where I purchase my stuff. It also includes links to some lighting kits if you don’t have access to consistent natural light.
  • I take videos via my iphone xs and use VivaVideo for edits. This speeds things up 4x but if you need it faster (which I often do), I just process it again.

 Dehydrators

           

Make sure to read my post HERE about all tings dehydrator! I use a dehydrator to dry layers faster (like 15 min at the lowest setting will help it crust over and to allow to you do the next layer!). I still fully air dry for 8 hrs after the design is totally done, but this allows me to get to the next steps way faster. Also helps during classes! I use Gourmia GFD1650 which I purchased from Amazon HERE.  You have a TON of dehydrator choices and they all work so long as the temp is accurate and the reviews are good. I don’t care to use the specific dehydrator liners– but I do use grease proof sheets to line the trays. Parchment will leech some oil and wax paper will get melty wax residue on your cookies do I stay away from those. You can also get smaller (or cut large ones to size) silicone baking mats to line your dehydrator to prevent the cookie bottoms from drying out while the machine is on. Be careful when moving cookie filled trays from the dehydrator– brace the bottom of each tray with your hand so that the tray doesn’t tip and cause the surface of your crusted over icing to crack.

Storage Solutions

   

Investing in a bun rack has changed my life. It has saved me so much room, and decluttered my counter space. When not in use, I put a sheet on the bottom layer and store my dehydrator here. There are several options:

Logos, Graphic Design, etc.

I LOVE using Fiverr for my graphic design needs. This ranges anywhere from logos to swag designs, or pattern designs for your packaging, etc. Or even custom stickers!! Get something done uniquely for you… made by a fellow artist/small business owner/freelancer.

Payment Processing

I prefer Venmo (www.venmo.com) — it’s fast and crazy easy! But I also take all other forms of payment. For pop-up-shops, I like to take Square– my referral link is HERE. Please use that link to sign up and we’ll both benefit with some processing waived. I also have a very comprehensive guide for pop up shops HERE for those who don’t know where to begin.

Cookier Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • I use a single consistency to outline and flood– it’s about a 25 second icing and I usually require a scribe to help it settle smoothly- you really need to play with this to figure out what YOU prefer. Every person is different. I can’t guide you through this via the internet. There’s no magic number of drops per batch of icing. It depends on how big your starter batch is, how thick it is. No shortcuts but for you to figure this out with a lot of trial and error.
  • You can purchase my cookie and icing recipes HERE. You can also buy my french macaron recipe here.
  • My completed (iced, dried, and heat sealed) cookies can be frozen. I put the heat sealed cookies into another airtight container and freeze. I defrost them in the same airtight container to prevent condensation from forming and ruining the cookies. If you want to freeze your cookies at any stage, you should always do a freeze test. Each recipe is different and can behave differently. I can’t tell you for your recipe, environment, etc. Do the work. For me personally, I have eaten (so and have clients) frozen cookies that are 4 months old and they were still soft and fresh tasting.
  • Royal Icing Transfers (blog post HERE): Sometimes I have extra icing and I choose to create Royal Icing Transfers. These can be stored in a dark, dry, cool place for months. Think about those Wilton ones you get at Michaels– since it’s essentially dried sugar, it lasts pretty much forever. I try to use them within a few months. You can also use a similar technique to make sprinkles– search around for homemade sprinkles on the internet and there are plenty of tutorials. I have some templates available for purchase HERE.

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26 Comments

  1. Debbie

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this terrific information! So generous of you and very helpful to me. Such great tips and ideas. Your decorating work is beautiful!

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Thank you so much for your appreciative comment <3 <3

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    Holy smokes, this list is incredible. You are such an amazing supporter of others interested in baking and cookie decorating – for friends and family as well as those looking to start businesses.

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Thank you! I think we can all win. The only way to show that is to act like it! Happy Baking.

      Reply
  3. Sylvia Morales

    Thank you for sharing your informative! Most people don’t share. I just started out and appreciate you sharing. May you continue to be blessed.

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Thanks, Sylvia! Appreciate the kind words.

      Reply
  4. Yoaly

    Thanks for posting all tips- the food dehydrator are you able to keep decorated keeps inside? And if so for how long? I contemplating buying one will it help my icing dry faster and keep fresh?

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      It helps my icing dry faster. I keep it in there an hour max and dry at room temp. It doesn’t keep it “fresh”– not sure what you mean by that. Freshness is obtained by allowing your cookie to dry fully and then heat sealing it.

      Reply
  5. Nafiseh

    you are amazing, It could not be better!

    Reply
  6. Jenny

    Such a thoughtful and well written post that has been incredibly helpful to a newbie, like me. Hoping you might be able to answer just one more question. How long do you wait after cookies have been baked & cooled to begin icing AND how do you keep/store your cookies before icing? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      I wait until the cookies have cooled all the way on the sheet (I do NOT use a cooling rack— traps moisture in better), about half an hour. I keep my cookies in an airtight container before icing, but almost pretty much ice immediately in most cases.

      Reply
      • Jenny

        You’re awesome.. thanks for the reply!

        Reply
      • Chris

        Do you store the undecorated cookies at room temperature or in the refrigerator? Also, for how long will you keep them either at room temperature or in the refrigerator before decorating?
        Thanks.

        Reply
        • Lisa He

          I rarely have undecorated cookies for longer than 12 hrs– in which case I just leave them on the baking sheet. To ensure they stay soft, store in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Also, this depends on your specific bake (doneness) and climate (humidity), so please always do an actual test using your technique, in your environment.

          Reply
  7. Paris

    You are an angel for making this guide sheet!

    Reply
  8. Angie

    Thank you so much for sharing all your tips and tricks! As an experienced baker but new to the cookie decorating world, you’ve provided so much helpful info. I feel armed with better knowledge to improve the cookie decorating part of my business! You’ve gained a new follower and fan!

    Reply
  9. Liliana

    Wow! I have read it at all! I am a huge fan of your work, thank you so much for this helpful information!

    Grettings from Tijuana, Mexico

    Reply
  10. Neha Ali

    How long would you say it roughly takes for one layer of icing to dry fully?

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      It depends on your recipe, climate and if you’re using a fan or dehydrator to speed up the process. I live in a super dry climate and my cookies are fully dry after a 8 hr period at room temp, no fan.

      Reply
  11. Lorrie

    Could you recommend an app to design or draft a cookie idea or design? I don’t have an iPad, but something that could be used on an iPhone or Android device?

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Hi- literally any drawing app works– search for it in your app store. I often do paper and pen– simply labeling colors.

      Reply
  12. Leah Thompson

    This post is helping me so much, I really appreciate you sharing so much information. I’m a new fan, but a big fan!

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
  13. Michelle Rodriguez

    I was wondering if there is a rough estimate for how many cookies your icing recipe decorates. I want to use it, but it sounds like it’s a lot so I was thinking about cutting it in half.

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Approx. 4 doz 3 inch cookies in a single flood layer.

      Reply
  14. Ashley

    This is excellent! Thank you so much for sharing. We need more people who are willing to help others be successful 🙂 That is certainly you!!!! Your cookies are truly works of art. Something to aspire to!

    Reply

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