I have been a little obsessed with honey bees lately.  Every time I see cute little honey bee motifs, it takes everything I have not to go on a spending spree.  In fact, I'm planning on heading to World Market this weekend to pick up some honey bee themed measuring cups and spoons (they're soooo CUTE!)  Anyway, last time I was there, I did pick up a bee hive cookie cutter.  Last week I mentioned that I was donating cookies for a charity auction, which was perfect timing since I couldn't wait to use my new cutter.

 
My favorite sugar cookie recipe can be found at Fancy Flours.  The only addition I make is to add 1 teaspoon of almond extract.
When I decorate sugar cookies, I use an icing made of meringue powder, powdered sugar, and water.  I like to make small batches at a time, since I like to mix all of my frosting colors at once.  I mix together 1 spoon of meringue powder, 4 heaping spoons of powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 spoons of water.  Then I stir the icing slowly in a bowl until the ingredients are combined.  Depending on the consistency, I'll add more powdered sugar or more water until the icing resembles Elmer's glue.
 After I mix in some food coloring (I like to use Wilton gel coloring), I'll add some of the icing into a plain sandwich bag.  To the rest of the icing left in the bowl, I'll add a few more drops of water.  Then I'll add the rest of the icing to another sandwich bag.  I like to do this because I have the exact same color icing in a thick consistency for outlining and detail work, and a thinner icing for filling in the cookie designs.
I like to use sandwich bags to decorate with because I think it's actually easier than using a pastry bag with a tip.  For the sandwich bag, I simply snip off the smallest tip of a corner to use for decorating.  Here's what it should look like (even though this icing was used for a different set of cookies.)
For the Bee Hive cookie
Step 1:
Use a food grade marker to line the bee hive cookie for each section.
Step 2:
Fill in every other section with flood consistency yellow icing.  Allow to dry for about half an hour.
Step 3:
Fill in the rest of the sections with the same flood consistency icing.  Allow to completely dry, about 8 hours.
To make the Bee Bodies
Step 1:
On a piece of parchment paper, make small dots using yellow flood consistency icing.
Step 2:
Immediately after piping the dots, pipe 3 small lines across each bee bodies
step 3:
Right after the piping the lines, pipe a small dot for each bee head.  Allow the bee bodies to dry completely 2-3 hours.
Once the cookies and the bee bodies are completely dry, it's time to put them together
First, use a black food safe marker to draw the wings and antenna of the bees.
Then, attach the bee body with a dot of icing and outline the wings with a very thin line of black icing.
For the white circular cookies, flood the cookie with white icing and allow to dry completely.  Then make the bees in the exact same way as above, followed by a yellow dot border.
For the auction, I stuffed a piece of floral foam into a black flower pot and arranged the cookie pops.  I then arranged yellow tissue paper around the floral foam and wrapped the whole thing with cellophane and a pretty yellow bow.
Out of the 4 sets of cookies I did for the auction, these honey bee cookies were my little boy's favorite.  I love them too, so we'll probably make some more really soon 🙂

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