Updated: Mar 5
Let me start by explaining the tootorial thing. One of our beloved unclings, Jo-C, suggested that we name our YouTube channel show "F'Art". Which is, of course, a classy new contraction for food art! As soon as she said it - I felt seen. "This chick gets me." I said to mineself. So yeah, now our step-by-step blogs are called tootorials to stay on theme :) Moral of the story: I heart fart jokes.
Enough with that nonsense lets get to the PIZZAAAAAAS. P-I-Z-Z-A! Side note: If you've never seen the slowed down Olsen Twins pizza song -- do yourself a flavor, take a real quick YouTube trip an' have a gander. You can come right back to this. I need you to see it.
You back?! Was that nightmare fuel or what!?
Let's get started!!
First things first, (man that is a stupid saying), we make the pizza "crusts". For these cookies I used my tried and true basic sugar cookie recipe passed down from the infamous Granny McTubbins, may God rest her soul. But any sugar cookie recipe will be fine. Honestly, this is a rare instance that I condone the usage of store-bought sugar cookie dough. You don't necessarily need these bad boys to hold their shape like other cutout cookies. PLUS, all the extra chemicals and preservatives and junk in the store-bought dough MIGHT turn you into a superhero.
I'm not a scientist guys, I'm just saying... it could happen.
Poor Anika is rolling in her grave right now. ANI, why are you in your grave when you are supposed to be proofreading our blog!!!!! THIS is what happens when you partner up with someone you have only known for 3 decades. Ab-surd!
Sorry you had to witness that. Let's put it behind us and move forward with the tootorial.
CRUST!!! I use my fancy-schmancy UNCO brand pizza cookie cutter to cut what we in the biz call a "circle". This cutter comes in our cute little pizza cookie kit. The UNCO cutter is 2.75" in diameter as I like them to perfectly fit in their little tiny pizza boxes after they are all baked and decorated and are perfect! Yep, perfectly perfect. Fun fact! I am not a trained writer!
If you don't have the cutter, don't fret my pet. You can use a slough of household items in its stead! Look in your cupboards for something called a glass. On occasion, these have rounded openings at the top that can be used as makeshift cookie cutters.
Even if you do have an UNCO cutter, I suggest grabbing a glass with a slightly smaller diameter of your cutter (we're going to smush some dough with it in a bit). I've found that glasses with tennis rackets on them work best. (Well, not necessarily but I wanted to make some mention of this awesome glass I found at Goodwill)
I'm going to roll the cookie dough out to 1/4" thick and get cutting!
Once it is cut out, I like to smoosh my fingers into the dough to create the look of the "crust" Be careful not to smoosh so much that you poke a hole in the dough, or make it so thin it will burn in the oven.
If you don't want your grubby fingers in the dough that much you can press the base of your glass into the dough instead. You may come to find that you prefer the tennis glass method vs. the smoosh touch, that is perfectly acceptable. I smoosh it up because I like to pretend that I'm working in an old-fashioned 50's pizza shop. I also have a handlebar mustache in this fantasy, feel free to join me in my delusions.
Bake your lil crusts according to the recipe's instructions. Anika's beautiful mother pointed out that the recipe cards don't say what temp to make them at. WINNING!!! So yeah! I do 350 degrees in my convection oven for 7-8 mins. Depending on the recipe you use, the dough might puff up while baking and you may need to quickly re-smoosh the cookies as they first come out of the oven. Quick tip! Never smoosh hot cookies with your bare fingers. That would hurt. K? Thanks.
ALSO: You can technically skip all of the "crust" making instructions and just bake a plain circle if you don't care about the crust being slightly raised like on a real pizza. It doesn't look a whole lot different in the end, and it saves a bunch of time.
I'm just telling y'all how I do it!
Once the crusts are all baked make sure they are completely cooled before you put any sort of decoration on them.
Let's talk icing! There is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much to cover in regards to icing and I'm not 100% confident in my ability to explain it in any sensical way. BUT I'MMA TRY BABYYYYYY!
Basically the icing for this project is simple. We really only need 2 colors mixed up: 15-second (medium consistency) white and piping consistency red royal icings. You can also make piping consistency black and taupe for olives and mushroom toppings if you want, but we'll talk about that in a bit.
It seems everyone has their own different royal icing recipe. I prefer to use one with meringue powder so I don't have to mess with liquid egg whites. I also like to use clear vanilla (I know I know!! I'm a huge vanilla snob and yet I use imitation in my icing?! I like that its clear and keeps my icing bright white!!) Here is my easy squeezey recipe - but yeah any one will work just fine, and all royal icing recipes behave basically the same way.
When you first mix the icing it will be very stiff. The only thing I really ever use this consistency for is stenciling and maaaaaybe if I'm building a gingerbread house or something and need cement. If you try to pipe this your arm will be sore. Believe me.
Scoop some out into a mixing bowl and cover the rest with a lid or wet paper towel or saran wrap or something. Ugh why am I explaining what covering something is?!?!?! I'm sorry! I'm scared I'm going to leave some critical detail out and ruin everyone's cookies!!!!! I'm just trying to say that this stuff dries super quickly so try not to leave it uncovered for very long.
Add water to the icing in the mixing bowl in very small amounts. It is way easier to slowly thin the icing than to try to thicken it back up. You can spoon small amounts of water in or my preferred method is to use a little spray bottle. IT IS FANTASTIC!
If you add too much water - mix in some of the stiffer icing to thicken it up. You can also add powdered sugar. I use the thicker icing when possible so that my icing recipe ratios don't get messed up. In my experience, an icing with a little more powdered sugar than normal is fine, but it dries faster and duller than if it were to have the proper ratios.
Mix with a spatula and keep adding water until the icing is roughly the consistency of toothpaste. Like the white toothpaste - don't keep adding water expecting it to turn into gel.
You now have piping consistency icing! I use this consistency for writing, doing outlines, making leaves - any little details that you want to hold the shape and position in which they were piped. If you are planning on making black icing for olives, taupe-brown for mushrooms or green icing for peppers, etc. This will be the consistency you want to use. I also use this consistency for the pizza sauce.
To make the pizza sauce add red food coloring. WITH CAUTION. I prefer the gel colors because they don't change the icing consistency and are super vibrant. The red will intensify over the course of the next few hours. If you add too much it will taste wonky, and potentially will make the icing sticky when it dries. Exasperated emoji!!! I also add a tiny bit of brown to the red to get the "pizza sauce" color.
The same goes for black icing intensifying over time. So, if you're mixing up your black piping icing, mix it to a dark gray first then let it sit for like 45 minutes. You can always add a little more if need be.
Red icing tends to dry darker as well. If I'm being really particular about the shade I want - (when am I not?) I will mix up some red, plop a bit on parchment paper, and wait for it to dry before I use it on any cookies. That way I know the nature of the beast, and I don't have to worry all night. It's like painting a test swatch on a wall before you do the whole room! But the stakes are much higher here because... cookies.
THAT BEING SAID: you actually barely need any red icing. It only peeks out from under the cheese around the edges. I only completely ice my cookies with the "pizza sauce" because again: I'm in a pizzeria fantasy where these are actual tiny pizzas. And don't forget about my mustache.
For the taupe color, I mixed a dot of red icing and a dot of green icing into a bowl of white. This resulted in the light brown color. You can also just use a little dot of brown. Or make white mushrooms! As a wise toddler once told me, "I'm not the boss of you".
Next up we will get to our 15-second icing. (This is the consistency I use for the cheese. I've also used it for pizza sauce and it works juuuust fine. Do you!) Keep adding water to the icing until it does not hold a peak when you pull the spatula out. BUT, you don't want it so thin that it is soupy. When you drag your spatula through the bowl of icing it should take about 15-seconds for the surface to smooth out.
When you're all done, you should have the following icing colors/consistencies:
Fun (not really that fun) Fact! I like to color code my piping bags using colored rubber bands. Pink is for piping consistency, violet is for medium consistencies (like the 15-second) and blue is for flood consistency (which we aren't using for these cookies).
I like to make my mushrooms first so they can be dry by the time we're putting cheese on. If you aren't making mushrooms or you purchased an UNCO pizza sprinkle set you can skip down to the big pink Yaaaaay! Otherwise here's how to make mushrooms:
If you have the kit, put one of the included parchment squares over the mushroom template and trace the mushrooms out with the taupe icing.
If working with a tip, use a size 1 0r 1.5. If going tipless (you cheeky monkey) start with snipping a very small opening. You can always make it a little bit bigger if needed. If you accidentally cut too big - just make slightly larger mushrooms, or put your piping bag inside of a new one and start over. OR just throw the piping bag in the trash and go mushroom-less. No judgement here.
No template? No patience for a template? No big dip! You can just freehand 'em. It's essentially drawing a capital T a bunch. I do the stem first, then apply a little more pressure to make the cap bigger and rounded.
Depending on the humidity and temperatures, altitude, karma, etc., it may take a few hours for your mushrooms to completely dry. If you have a dehumidifier, put them in on the lowest setting to dry them much faster.
Quantity? Make as many mushrooms as you want to! They are easily stored in a sealed container for quite a while. I don't wanna give an exact timeline here, because people have opinions, and I'm no health department wizard. Some say you can keep them for months, some say years. Years sounds kinda icky to me. I probably would put them in a sealed container in the freezer if I wanted to keep them for an extended amount of time, but that is purely my paranoia. Again, no judgement on whatever you choose to do :)
We can finally start decorating cookies!!!
Here's how I typically go about putting the pizza sauce on, but there really can't be a wrong way to do it, right? You're ploppin' slop, there ain't no science behind it.
Fill a piping bag with the red icing. You can go tip-less for sure - I just used a coupler and a tip because I want to use this for red pimiento dots on the green olives later, and why not just use the same bag?? Am I... the smartest person alive!?!
I use a large tip (like any big size from 4-10 works great) for the marinara so I can plop a bunch out and smooth it with a spatula or butter knife or boo boo stick (pictured below) or your finger (gloved preferably. Both for the ick-factor and so your fingertips don't get stained) or whatever you wanna use. I must stop listing things. If you aren't going to do any detail work with the red, like the pimientos or peppers, you don't need to put the red in a piping bag at all. Just spoon a little out of the bowl straight onto the cookie and smear it around. It's very therapeutic.
I tried to do a demo of how to only put a little around the edge because it is COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to cover the entire cookie, but alas... my pizzeria fantasy took hold of my brain, and this is the closest I could get to only doing the edges:
I hated it. I immediately went back to fully icing them and twisting my mustache.
Once all of your little pizza babies are sufficiently sauced, let them dry (they should be dry to the touch after an hour-ish).
I take this time to gather my toppings! Unfortunately, at this time, UNCO is low-budge and must strictly adhere to cottage food laws. AKA, we're unable to include sprinkles in our kits. Sad face emoji.
Here are your pizza topping options:
1. Just make cheese pizzas (easy).
2. Come see me live & in-person at one of the pickup days to buy an UNCO pizza sprinkle set.
3. Make every topping out of royal icing (only super poopy part to this is how time consuming mixing alllll of the different icing colors).
4. Hunt and gather your own sprinkles.
I like to play with lots of pizza toppings. Here is my usual lineup:
Its easy to find most of these in existing random sprinkle mixes. Sometimes I make tiny sausage balls out of chocolate cookie dough. You know, when I'm feelin' frisky...
Get creative! Put some blueberries on it and call it artisan. If people question it get all huffy and act like you are way better than they are. People LOOOOOOOVE that!
ALLLLLRight! If you've gathered supplies and the pizza sauce is dry - you are ready to get your cheese on!
Put your 15-second white icing in a tipless piping bag. Or, use the spoon-some-out-of-the-bowl method from before. Snip the end off and ploop the icing in an amorphous globular shape. Maybe this IS scientific after all...?? Cutting the tip on this bag - again start smallish and you can always go bigger. I tend to use a larger opening for the cheese since the endgame is essentially a blob.
Spread the cheese around to cover most of the sauce. While the icing is still wet you can start putting your sprinkle toppings on!
This part is the most fun!! Every single time I make these I get all glooopy gloppy about how amazing it is that I get to make these FOR MY JOB!!! Luckily, only Mo has to really deal with me when I get like that. She usually just leaves the room. I totally get it.
Now... I've always been a "more is more" kinda gal, but you can use as many, or as few, toppings as your little heart desires! I enjoy using a tweezers to meticulously place each sprinkle in the exact spot I want. Don't worry it's a dedicated cookie tweezers... nobody is pulling their nose hairs out or whatever with it. Is that really what you think of me?!? Some people apparently find the tweezer-placement method more punishment than enjoyable activity. So if you wanna just sprinkle them on randomly GO FOR IT!
Non-Pro Tip: Beautiful cookies and hot messes both taste yummy and you feel less guilty eating the ugly ones!
I like to wait for the icing to crust over a little bit before I pipe on any toppings. That way they don't sink into the wet cheese. I use a small tip - anywhere from a size 0-1.5 depending on how large I want the toppings.
For olives I just make little Os in random places.
For peppers, I do little commas. I typically go with the sprinkle peppers vs. piping them unless I already have some green mixed. Mixing icing is NOT my favorite task. As you can see, the end result is very similar.
Oh yeah, and if you want to make green olives stuffed with pimientos just put a little red dot on them. Fancy stuff kids!
If you aren't airbrushing, then you are DONE decorating!! Just let these puppies dry overnight and they're good to go!
If you ARE airbrushing, I have a couple of tips for how to get your pizza perfectly "baked".
Before any airbrushing is done, make sure the icing is dry. I like to wait until they are completely dry before moving them around too much, or I will inevitably jab my thumb into the icing or find some other way to ruin them. I'll let them dry for at least 6 hours before they are relatively Witney-proof.
For color, I mix a half orange/half brown edible airbrush color. Once the color is loaded and you're ready to rock, baaaarely pull back the trigger to release a very light stream of color. Try it out on a paper towel until you get the hang of it. I use a small turntable, but you can just scoot the napkin your cookie is sitting on around in circles. You should be adding color so lightly that it won't make a difference how smooth your motions are.
Hold the airbrush almost level with the pizza and aim for the outer edge. The over-spray onto the cheese is what makes it look golden brown :)
Slowly build up the color until you are happy with it (I tend to probably add too much and make mine slightly burned-looking because again, more is more in my fantasy bakery), then let them dry. Tada! Baked pizza cookies!!!
Anika and I would be pleased as punch if you little kittens would send us pics, or leave comments or send us beanie babies stuffed with diamonds! Whatever! We just want some attention!!! Don't let Anika have most of her socialization come from talking to me and Gala! Oh my god what would she become...
K, I really think this needs to be the end. This is ridonkulously long. Please let me know if you have an questions or comments or need clarification on anything or WHATEVER! LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLL!!!
Sloppy kisses and inappropriately long hugs,