Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School Chalkboard Cookies

by Darla

It’s that time of year again….. Back to school! Well, actually, we still have a couple of weeks before our boy heads back, and I know my nephews don’t go back until September 8th. September 8th! Can you believe that?! That seems so late in the year. I have a lot of friends who have kids that have been back in school for a week or two now, though, and still more that start back this very morning.

I used to have the biggest love/hate relationship with the first day week of school. I was always so excited and terrified. Excited because I loved back to school shopping. New school clothes, new shoes, new back packs and all the goodies to go inside. I’m still a shopaholic, so it’s really no surprise that brand new pencils sent me on a high when I was a kid.

I was always so scared of the first day, though. Even though all of the kids were pretty much going to be the same exact kids that I saw the previous year, it never really occurred to me, and I would be nervous about meeting new people. It always took me a couple of days to realize that they weren’t new…I was friends with them last year. Then I felt like a dummy for being so scared.

Nowadays, I always love back to school time, also known as back-to-having-the-house-all-to-myself-during-the-day-time. Alright. In all honesty, this year, it isn’t like that at all, because this year, our boy got a job over the summer. He was gone during the days all week anyway, so it was like there was never a summer vacation for him. It’s kind of sad, really. Usually by the end of summer vacation, we parents who love our children tremendously are ready for them to go back. And let’s face it, so are they. They’re as sick of being stuck at home as we are of having to have them there…trying to find something, anything to entertain them for just a few. more. days. But this year, the kid wasn’t there. He’s growing up and it kinda sucks…even as much as I love watching it.

Get this. His first job is at a veterinarian. Did we get lucky, or what? He volunteered there throughout the school year, and they hired him as help for the summer. It’s been fantastic because it’s such a great environment for our animal loving boy, but it’s also decided him. He wants to be a veterinarian!

I know!

Aren’t we lucky?! It’s truly the perfect career path for him, and it’s so exciting that he’s excited about it. In the meantime, though, we’ve still got three more back-to-schools to get through. Which means, I get to make yummy, happy treats like these cookies. :)

A few weeks ago, I came across these adorable chalkboard cookies by Shauna of Sweet Tooth and I fell in love! I was instantly absolutely, positively inspired to try them myself! And I immediately knew I wanted them to be made for back to school.

Last year, I made these fun fauxstess cupcakes for back to school time. I loved them and I knew I wanted to do something that would make me just as happy, so when I saw Shauna’s cookies, I could hardly wait to try the technique.

Shauna made her cookies using royal icing, and “chalked” the monograms onto them with white luster dust, a stencil, and a toothpick. I knew right away that I wanted to change the royal icing to marshmallow fondant, but I wasn’t 100% sure that it would work, since royal icing sets up hard and fondant stays pretty soft. With the humidity where I live, though, I knew the royal icing might not set up very hard either. Between the two of them, I have a lot more experience with fondant, and I knew better what to expect, so I bit the bullet and went with the fondant. It ended up working out perfectly, and the best part was that I skipped using stencils, because freehand writing looked much more authentic on these, so the cookies were very easy.

I started out with several rectangle sugar cookies. I placed a small amount of faux royal icing on them to act as glue for the fondant.

Next I placed a rectangle of black fondant in the center of the cookie. I cut the fondant slightly smaller because I decided to add a frame around each one, which I show later.

Next, I got my white luster dust (this one is from Wilton, and I got it at Michaels) and a toothpick.

I dumped the luster dust into a little dish and dipped the tip of my toothpick into it, getting the end coated with dust.

Next, I just gently wrote out my words on the black fondant with the luster dust, dipping my toothpick back into the dust, as needed. Don’t worry about being super duper neat with your writing. The more childish, the better. Do be careful about getting the luster dust all over the cookies, though. Once it’s on, it’s pretty much there to stay. My best advice would be to work in a wind free  area to keep the dust from blowing around. Also, don’t overload the toothpick tip with luster dust or the excess may move around and smear as you move the cookies around. Also, don’t press the toothpick into the fondant. It’s not necessary, as the dust just sticks to the fondant with the lightest tough. Lay your toothpick at almost a 90 degree angle while working, to prevent the point from poking into the fondant.

You can write anything you like on these, and with a little practice, I think you could easily make them look more elegant for another type of event, like a wedding. At this point, I added some plain brown fondant around the edges of the “chalkboards” to frame them. I kept it simple by just rolling the brown fondant into a long rope, then wrapping it around the “board.”

For finishing touches, I cut out some sweet, tiny red apples and golden yellow stars to adorn the chalkboards. If you make a boo boo on the frames, or if you want to cover a seam, these little elements come in handy. Plus, they’re so perfectly back to school themed. :)

I had so much fun making these. Seriously. I just think they’re about the cutest little cookies. I also made some mini apple shaped cookies to go with them. I think these would be a wonderful treat for a teacher friend, or your child’s teacher, for the first day back to school. Or you could write “Thank you” on them as a thoughtful teacher appreciation gift.

Once my cookies were done, I really got into the whole back to school spirit and decided to whip up a sweet, printable banner. :) I created some cute red and green apple pennants with matching checked and dotted flags. I even added a chalkboard themed pennant to the mix, so they work perfectly with my cookies! The pennants are about two or three inches tall, and they look so adorable clipped to red striped baking twine with teeny little clothespins (which I got at a craft store). If you’d like to make a back to school banner yourself, just check out the link at the end of the post. :)

Every once in a while, I make something that I just love. Like, really, really. I can’t even lie…these cookies are one of those treats. I adore them, and I had the best time making them! Everything about them makes me smile, and I can hardly wait to try this technique again on a fancier design. Thanks to Shauna for the brilliant idea! :)

Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

Faux Royal Icing

Marshmallow Fondant

Click on the link below to download and print. Print on heavy, bright white paper at 100% (do not scale).

Back to School Printable Pennant Banner

Recipes, cookies, and banner by Darla

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rita August 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

Oh Darla, these are just too cute! My baby starts school in January (In Australia our school year starts at the end of January, through till early December). I might have to try these! They’re just too cute,and you are way too talented for your own good! :)

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2 Maria August 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Love these cookies! So fun for back to school time!

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3 Emily@SoDomesticated August 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

What a fun way to start the school year… by eating one of these cute cookies!

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4 Candi August 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

that’s a genius idea about the fondant and luster dust! I totally thought you wrote on the cookies with chalk!!!

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5 Francesca August 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

oh goodness, these are so cute. I wish I had the patience and talent that you hold. These cookies are really adorable. I am sure lots of little ones would be delighted if their Mummy’s made these for them :)

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6 Jacqueline August 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Absolutely an A++. These are incredible. I was dying to know how you did the chalk – so easy! How fun to serve to get everyone excited about school. Just inspiring!

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7 katili August 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Too cute! The dust makes perfect chalk-writing :)

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8 SweetSugarBelle August 31, 2011 at 11:12 pm

How smart! I love this!!!

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9 Jodi October 16, 2011 at 2:17 am

I am so glad I found this! I am going to be making some movie slates and was worried about using black icing. This would be perfect!

LOVE these cookies, by the way!

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10 Sue {munchkin munchies} August 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

These are just adorable!

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