With Mother’s Day coming up, we wanted to share a fun, pretty and unique project to make for mom – or your sister, aunt, best friend, grandma, mentor – whoever is important to you! We reached out to Amber Spiegel, a former Wilton decorating room employee and creator of SweetAmbs Cookie Art. You may have come across her amazing video tutorials on YouTube and Facebook. For this project, Amber made not just one, but two videos on how to make a cookie box!
An edible box filled with brush embroidered mini cookies would make a sweet gift for Mother’s Day! Watch how Amber does it:
If your mom loves all that glitters, then a cookie jewelry box filled with cookie “jewels” is sure to make her smile.
I had a chance to chat with Amber about how she got into decorating, what inspires her and tips for working with royal icing.
Q: What made you decide to pursue decorating? Did you always enjoy cooking and baking, or was it something you stumbled upon later?
A: I’ve enjoyed baking as long as I can remember. I also spent a lot of time drawing and painting while growing up, so decorating cakes and cookies was a great way for me to combine my two hobbies. I didn’t start decorating professionally until after I graduated from culinary school.
Q: How long did you work at Wilton? What were some of the highlights?
A: I worked at Wilton for about a year and a half. Getting a job in the decorating room was a dream come true! I made such wonderful friends and I gained a lot of valuable experience in cake and cookie decorating.
Q: It seems you’ve really found your niche with cookie decorating. Why does cookie decorating stand out for you?
A: I prefer to decorate cookies because it allows me to be really creative. I can bake one batch of cookies and have dozens of blank canvases to work with! I also like that cookies can be shipped all over the world (not so easy to do with cakes!), so I can share my work with friends and family all over.
Q: Where does your inspiration come from/what inspires you often?
A: A lot of my inspiration comes from vintage items like fabrics, teacups and platters. I love finding ways to recreate unique patterns and textures using icing!
Q: What are some of your top tips for working with royal icing?
A: My number one tip is to not over-mix the icing! Mixing your icing on high speed for 10 minutes makes it very fluffy, which might look yummy now, but all those little air bubbles are going to cause lots of problems later. It’s best to keep the mixer on a low speed for no more than 5 minutes so that the icing is thick and creamy.
Q: On average, how long does it take to make your videos?
A: It takes me about 16 hours to complete a video, but I don’t do it all in one sitting! I spread the work out throughout the week. The editing process is the most time consuming. I spend a lot more time in front of a computer these days than actually decorating cookies!
Q: Do you ever save some of your cookies as works of art?
A: I give my cookies away to family and friends after filming a video, but I do have a huge collection of cookies that I’ve created for my tutorials! I like to keep them on display for my students to see and take photos when they come for classes.
Q: You were recently in Taiwan teaching decorating. What was that experience like?
A: My trip to Taiwan was amazing! I brought my friend Valerie (we met at The Culinary Institute of America and worked together at Wilton!) and we had such a great time. The students in my classes were very talented, which made my job of teaching them even better. Our hosts, Cookie Queens, were so lovely and treated us like royalty. While it was extremely exhausting dealing with the jet lag and long work hours, it was still difficult to come back to reality after that trip!
Q: Where would you like to travel next?
A: I’m going to be taking some time off from traveling over the next year or so, but I’ve always wanted to visit Australia!