Introduction: Miniature Coconut Macaroons—Out of CLAY!
I am not much of a baker, but these miniature Coconut Macaroons—made out of polymer clay and a little paint—bring joy to me every time I look at them! I am going to show you how I did it so you can have some of your own!
Polymer Clay (I used Beige Super Sculpey)
Liquid Polymer Clay (I used Sculpey brand Translucent)
Oven or Toaster Oven
Glass Cutting Board or another flat surface to work on
Glass Baking Dish or Metal Cookie Tray
Knife or Razor
Roller (I used the end of my pick)
Acrylic Paint in a cream-color, golden brown, and darker golden brown
Semi-Gloss Polyurethane Varnish or Glaze
Paper Towels and Water to clean brush (Not shown in the picture.)
Although it is not needed, it is nice to have a Pasta Roller (to condition the clay and also make thin sheets of clay).
Step 1: Make and Bake the "Coconut"
The first step to making these cookies is the make the coconut shreds. They are made from thin, narrow slices of clay that are baked so they are firm.
Before we grab the clay, preheat your oven to the clay manufacturer's specifications, as we'll need to use it soon.
While the oven is preheating, condition your clay by squeezing it for several minutes in your hands, until it is smooth and flexible. Alternatively, you can run the clay through your pasta roller, on its widest setting, several times, folding it onto itself in between passes to condition it.
Use your roller (or your pasta roller on its thinnest setting) to make a long, thin sheet of clay on your glass cutting board.
Take your razor and repeatedly slice long, narrow strips down the length of the clay. The more cookies you make, the more strips you will need.
Using the edge of your knife or razor, lift the ends of the strips up so that you can grab them. Carefully separate each strip and then lay them on a sheet of parchment paper. They can overlap in different directions, but it is best if they do not touch others along their longest side.
When you have separated and placed them all on the parchment paper, place them on a cookie sheet or glass baking dish and bake according to the manufacturer's specifications. For Super Sculpey, I baked my strips at 275°F for 15 minutes.
While those are baking, let's move to the next step!
Step 2: Making the Middle of the Cookie
While your coconut shreds are baking, we move to the bulky part of the cookie. If, at any time during this step, your shreds are finished baking, carefully remove them from the oven and let them cool completely. To help them cool faster, I remove the parchment paper and the shreds and put them onto a cooler surface.
Decide what size you would like your cookies to be. I recommend making them a half-inch thick or thinner, otherwise, they might not bake correctly. The manufacturer of your clay should state how thick it can be before having to add a bulking agent inside your clay.
Let's take our conditioned clay and start rolling some of it into a ball the approximate diameter that we want the finished cookie to be. We will be cutting them in half. The shreds will add a little bit of width, so take that into consideration if you are trying to get them to fit in a particular container or box.
Set the ball onto the cutting board, find the middle of the ball with your razor, and push your razor and the ball of clay forward, and then backward, using light pressure. The razor will cut through the ball as it rolls. If you try to push straight down without rolling and cutting at the same time, it will change the shape of your cookie!
Now you have 2 cookies!
Next, you want to soften the cut edge with your fingers. This step is important because you may not have 100% coverage with the shreds, so it helps hide the rawness of the cut.
Now make as many of these bulk-cookies as you want! Just remember—more cookies = more shreds. It might be best to start with a small number of cookies and work up, based on how many shreds you have left.
If you finish this step before the shreds are done baking and cooled, set these cookies aside. We will bake them after we add the shreds.
Step 3: Shred the Coconut
Now that your "coconut" is cooled, set it on the cutting board and start breaking them up! They might have a little flex to them—after all, they are plastic, so don't be afraid to really crunch them and get them to crumble!
If you find that you are not able to get them small enough, you can use your razor to cut them. Put them in a pile and press straight down. I found that using a glass baking dish to cut them reduces the distance the little shreds go flying.
Once you get them all broken or cut down into shreds, put them into a pile so they can be 'glued' to the middle part of the cookie using liquid clay.
Step 4: Cookie + Coconut
You have cookies. You have coconut shreds. Now, they must come together as one!
For this step, we use liquid clay.
Like we would with glue, we apply the liquid clay onto the surface of the cookie. Then, gently press the cookie into the shredded coconut. Repeat this step until all sides of the cookie are covered.
It is okay if the shreds do not lay flat against the cookie. In fact, it makes each one even more unique to have one or two that are sticking out!
Set the completed cookie onto parchment paper in a baking dish or cookie sheet.
Then, repeat this step until you are either out of shreds or have covered the desired amount of cookies you wanted to make.
Place the completed cookies into the oven and bake according to the clay manufacturer's instructions.
Once they are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.
Step 5: Paint
The painting portion will be in four layers: Base, Mid, Dark, and Glaze. I have found it best to paint each cookie one layer at one time, rather than paint one cookie with all 4 layers.
Take your cream-colored acrylic paint and add a small amount to either your cutting board or another container. (Glass is great for this as you can wipe it right off!) The color I used is called Vanilla by Craft Smart.
Use your paintbrush to add a light layer of paint to the cookie. Set them aside to dry for a few minutes. Add another thin layer and let dry. If you wish, you can add a third layer. This depends on your paint.
As it dries, pay attention to where small holes might develop. There are several reasons why this could happen, but don't worry! It is fixable! We can fill those little holes in with the base-color (it is easier to fill them now than after the other coats are on) or, if they don't bother you, you can leave them. Just make sure to have all of the clay covered with at least two layers of paint.
Allow the base layer to dry completely and rinse out your paintbrush. It doesn't have to be completely dry for the next layer.
To add the mid-layer of paint, we need to use a technique called dry-brushing. Have a paper towel close by and add a small amount of your golden-colored brown to your cutting board. The color I used was Caramel by Anita's All-Purpose Acrylic Craft Paint.
Use your paintbrush to spread the paint, pressing down to saturate the bristles, but also squeezing most of the paint out of the bristles. Using the paper towel as a canvas, paint the paper towel until there is barely a trace of paint coming off. This seems unnecessary and wasteful, but there will still be paint left in there, even though very little will be coming off on the paper towel! The goal is to have a dry brush, with just pigment in the bristles.
Gently dry-brush the paint around the outside edge of the cookie, as well as the top of the cookie. I use the ends of the bristles to do this. The placement of the paint doesn't have to be exact but remember that cookies bake from the top-down and the bottom-up, so they will be more toasty in those two areas. It is okay if you get a little of this mid color all over, but we still want to see the base color. We're only adding a little color here and there.
Allow this layer to dry and rinse out your paintbrush. It doesn't need to be completely dry for the next layer.
As we did on the mid-layer, the dark layer will also be dry-brushed on. Add a small amount of a dark, golden brown to your cutting board The color I used here was Light Cinnamon by DecoArt Americana.
Apply the darker color, using the dry-brush technique. This time, I used the side of the bristle, not the tips.
Only apply this color on parts of the coconut that would be getting really toasty in the oven—the tops, the edges near the baking sheet, that one piece of coconut that might be sticking out. It is best to do a little, set it down, work on the next cookie, then come back if you think it needs more. Add too much, and you might have to start over!
Allow this layer to dry and rinse out your paintbrush. You will want it mostly dry for the glaze layer.
Glaze makes these cookies look sugary. If you want to take your cookies up a notch, do not miss this step!
I use a brush-on glaze that is from the craft store as it is low-odor and easy to apply. I used DecoArt Americana Triple Thick Brilliant Brush on Gloss Glaze. I roll my glaze slowly on my work surface to mix it so it doesn't add bubbles. Please follow all instructions on the product you may be using.
Add a small amount of semi-gloss glaze to your cutting board.
Use the paintbrush to apply a thin layer to the cookies. Let it dry completely. Add another layer if you choose. Either way, make sure that you let it dry completely between layers.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Cookies!
Will these cookies be a prop for your mischievous elf? How about ornaments for a mini tree? Maybe you want to hang one from your rear-view mirror?
However you choose to use them, I hope they make you proud when you look at them, because, after all, YOU MADE THEM WITH YOUR OWN HANDS!
You are awesome!
P.S. Make sure you explain what they are to your spouse. Mine almost grabbed them and ate them!
Participated in the
Cookies Speed Challenge