Butterflies

To say that I’m not a fan of most things that fly or crawl around my yard is an understatement.

Except for butterflies. I LOVE butterflies.

There’s something almost magical about them and they fascinate me for some reason. I can sit and watch them for hours.

Not that I have the time to sit and watch butterflies for more than a minute or two, but I would if I could. I guess I’m easily amused.

Butterfly cookies - butterflies

Butterfly season has been in full swing here and my backyard has been awash in a colorful sea of quiet, fluttering butterflies every morning. It’s just beautiful.

I’ve had a yearning to make butterfly cookies for a while now but an unexplained fear of decorating them kept me from it. I have no idea why but it’s a territory I’d been leery of venturing into.

A butterfly in my yard

Butterflies just seemed very complicated: Way above my level of cookie decorating.

Countless times I’ve taken out the butterfly cookie cutter and thought, there is no way on this earth I can decorate those without totally screwing them up. So it goes back in the bin awaiting the day I drum up the nerve to use it.

Well it dawned on me this week that my trepidation was due, in part, to the fact that decorating them meant marbling them. HELLO Colleen, you’ve now done marbling to some small degree and it wasn’t THAT bad.

Well I finally succumbed, dusted off the ever-so-patient butterfly cookie cutter, and decorated a few butterflies.

Lo and behold they weren’t as formidable as I thought: I won’t go so far as to say they were the easiest cookies I’ve decorated, but not as difficult as I had earlier anticipated. And they actually turned out presentable for a first try.

Yes, I’m patting myself on the back right now.

Now that I’m a little more comfortable with how to make flat lines and flat dots, and some basic marbling, I took it a step further and tried my hand at a more ambitious marbling technique with the butterflies: The wings.

My first butterfly cookies

And although I didn’t master marbling with these cookies I learned some new things so that made it worth it.

Another butterfly in my backyard

This was my most ambitious cookie decorating project to date.

This is how I made butterflies. I used a combination of both Wilton and Americolor gels. I wanted the butterflies to be bright and colorful.

The gel paste colors I used for butterfly cookies

On the first few butterflies I outlined the wings with a #3 tip and then flooded one wing at a time.

outline and flood the butterfly cookie

Then I made flat dots on the wing.

Once I had the flat dots I started marbling that wing and realized immediately I’d made a mistake. It would have been much easier, and smarter, to marble the wing FIRST, and then add the dots.

Another lesson learned.

Add flat dots to the butterfly cookies

It’s not the end of the world though. They’re only cookies after all.

marbling the wings on the butterflies

After gathering my wits I marbled the second wing before adding the flat dots to it.

Marble first, then dots, marble first, then dots. I need to remember that.

marble the other wing

Marbling the edge of the wings wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. But at least I’ve done it now and I have a better idea of what to do the next time around.

more flat dots on the butterfly wings

On one butterfly I added a few flat lines on each wing.

making flat lines on the butterfly wings

And then really got brave and added a second color. I was on a roll here.

I marbled the two colors while all the icing was still wet. In the end, this particular cookie wasn’t my favorite, and the edges of the wings were fairly hideous looking, but I am glad I attempted it. The marbling itself wasn’t too disastrous though. The next time I’ll add lines in three or four colors to make the wings even more vibrant.

marbling the butterfly wings

As I said, the edges of the wings were challenging. In my haste to work with the wet icing before it dried too much, I dragged the toothpick from the outer edge of the icing and I don’t think I should have.

It seems that it would have looked better had I started from the inner edge of the outline. You can really see that on the pink and orange butterfly below.

Three butterfly cookies

The pink and black below turned out to be my favorite cookie. I had switched to a bigger tip, a #4 tip, to pipe the outline.

The thicker outline on butterflies is much prettier in my opinion. Again, lesson learned here.

marbling and detailing the butterfly cookie wings

I marbled it with two colors and then let it dry for a few hours along with the others.

Marbled butterfly cookie

And then they all got little bodies and heads in various forms.

my favorite butterfly cookies

This little butterfly got a himself a multi-colored body just to be different.

various colors for the butterfly cookie body

Once they were given their proper drying time I proudly sat them next to my other kitchen butterfly: A gift from a friend. This butterfly hangs on my wall. It was handmade in a little town in the Dominican Republic and I just love the colors.

In fact, this week I got three more of these butterflies in various sizes and colors, and I’m thrilled to pieces.

My Dominican butterfly

Now I can cross butterflies off my list of “must-try” cookies. I’m not such a wreck anymore pondering the thought of making them.

No doubt I will be making butterfly cookies in the future.

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