Apr 4, 2013

Color Spectrum Cookies by Edible Canvas Creations

Hi all,
I’m Margaret Lux, from Edible Canvas Creations. When Kim asked me to be a guest host and talk on Autism Awareness and tie that in with a cookie, I must admit, I was stumped. I imagine there many people out there who have direct experience with autism and know a lot about it. Maybe you read Kim’s blog because you have a sibling or child with a form of Autism. But, like me, there many people who have very limited exposure to Autism because they don’t know anyone with autism directly.  We only know what we hear in the news.

With that being said, I have seen the awareness of Autism grow considerably over the years, and now it seems to be on the news and a topic of conversation weekly. So, I decided it was time to get educated!  When I read up on Autism I came across a phrase that inspired me to make a cookie, to help describe the many different forms of Autism. Of course the puzzle piece is known for being the signature logo for Autism, so I didn’t want to do anything like that. Instead I wanted to create a cookie to explain the Autism Spectrum.

The Autism Spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as pervasive developmental disorders such as Autism, Asperger syndrome and more. These disorders are typically characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, and in some cases, cognitive delays. 

The different forms of Autism are thought to overlap considerably.  The fact that there is a wide variation in symptoms among children with autism led to the concept of the Autism Spectrum.  Autism Spectrum Disorders affect between two and six children out of every 1,000 in the U.S.  Each child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder will have his or her own individual pattern of autism, hence the word “Spectrum”. No two children are alike. They are as individual and varied as the colors and shades on a color wheel – a color spectrum.
I can look back at my childhood and now see kids that I grew up with who exemplified some of these traits of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in diagnosing autism and yet, so far to go.  For the Collins’ everywhere, I hope the research continues for a cure and early detection is the norm one day.  Thanks again Kim for letting me ride along and learn more about such an important issue. 

Photo Tutorial for Color Spectrum Cookie:

1)      Basecoat your cookie with white icing. I use glaze, but royal icing is also fine. Make sure it is dry (let dry overnight), otherwise the dye will dissolve the icing. Also, ice your cookie as close to the edge as possible. When brushing the cookie with dye, it is difficult to keep the dye off the cookie if your icing leaves a cookie border. You will notice this on mine.

2)     Add equal parts dye and water to a paint palate or Styrofoam plate. I use one drop of dye (I use Americolor gel) to get started. A little goes a long way.  Wet your brush, blot on a paper towel, dip the tip into the dye water mixture and work the brush back and forth to get a nice amount on the brush. Touch that to the paper towel again. You don’t want too much liquid on the brush. Too much liquid will cause the icing to pit. So will working the liquid on the cookie too much. So ice a few “experimental” cookies and take some time to get the hang of how much dye it takes to get the shade color you want on a cookie. 

3)   Paint a stripe of color on your cookie. Make it wide enough that you can overlap the next color, to blend the two colors a bit and still maintain the color of the original stripe. Once again, work on this with your experimental cookies. You don’t want every stripe of color to be perfect and the same width. Each cookie should look different and some color stripes will fad and others will stand out. If you’re a perfectionist, do yourself a favor and skip painting cookies. This is about going along with whatever the dye decides to do on the cookie and less about the perfect color spectrum.

4)      Try to plan a bit ahead with the number of colors you want to use. I used 8 colors – purple, blue, turquoise, green, yellow, orange, red and pink. So I tried to make sure that by the time I was using my fourth color, I was half way onto the surface of the cookie. 

5)   I have terrible penmanship, so I resort to tricks and tools. I love my Kopycake projector, but when I only need to write on a couple cookies, I go old school. I make an outline of the cookie on paper, using the cutter. I write the message in pencil, inevitably erase over and over and rewrite until I get it the way I want it. I then cut out the paper shape, place it on the (dry) cookie and poke with a pin through the letters onto the cookie. These are guideline markings, so don’t go overboard on “pinning” your cookie or you’ll end up with more holes than icing. Once again, try this on your experimental cookies first. There is a learning curve.

6)    I then write on the cookie, following the pin marks with a food grade marker (I used Americolor black for this one). I thought the cookie looked good, but not finished. So I added a white border. A black border would also work. And there you have it. 

7)     Try painting flower-shaped cookies, dogs, hearts, anything. But unless you are blessed with artistic ability, this isn’t about painting realistic faces and staying within the lines. This is about slopping some dye on a cookie and seeing what happens. And remember, each cookie is different, just like each person with autism is different.


  1. Great job Margaret! Great tutorial. I love how you thought outside the puzzle piece :)

  2. Thank you so much for doing this Margaret! You did a wonderful job!

  3. Margaret, This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.. I love the cookie, soo00000 creative :)

  4. Margaret, you do an awesome job! I love how you decided to use the spectrum instead of a puzzle piece. Very clever!!

  5. Beautiful cookie, Margaret! And thank you for all of the information, too!

  6. What a beautiful cookie and a great way to represent the spectrum of autism.

  7. These are beautiful, Margaret! Such a fitting cookie!

  8. Love this Margaret! So creative to paint on a glazed cookie and tehn also the pin marker for writing. I never would have thoughts of that! Great job and thanks for sharing!


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