Exquisite cookies, prepared exclusively for Victoria magazine by New York pastry chef Amber Spiegel, lend beauty to our January/February 2017 issue. Her stunning SweetAmbs creations take center-stage on the cover and add elegance to a Marie Antoinette celebration featured in From Our Table. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and an award-winning cake decorator, Amber shares her expertise with bakers of all levels through private studio instruction, online classes and tutorials, and her recently released book, Cookie Art. In fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses, she demonstrates techniques for crafting the masterful designs that highlight our pages.
SweetAmbs frosted cookies—flavored with orange zest, vanilla bean, and cardamom—reach their pinnacle with hand-piped details and adornments fashioned from gum paste. For the cameos, Amber uses a piece from her own jewelry collection to shape a custom mould from food-safe materials.
Delicate buds may appear to have been sculpted from porcelain, but these edible blooms are actually formed from royal icing. “The roses are piped by hand using a petal tip, allowed to dry, then applied to the cookie with a small dab of icing,” the pastry chef explains. “Once the roses are in place, the leaves are added using a leaf piping tip.”
Shimmering accents, including these stately coronets, are painted over the royal icing with a mixture of gold luster dust and vodka. A flavored extract containing alcohol can be used in place of the vodka, Amber says. She recommends vanilla, almond, and lemon extracts as favorable substitutions.
Text Melissa Lester
To view more of Amber Spiegel’s work, pick up a copy of the January/February 2017 issue of Victoria magazine.