To create this marbled tree you will need the following:
An un-iced cookie (I used a 3 inch cookie here)
White or ivory piping icing
White or ivory flood icing (the consistency I use here is about a 15 second icing; meaning it flows back together within 15 seconds after you drag a spoon through it; spend some time on getting this right, as icing that is too loose will bleed and not hold its shape, and icing that is too thick won’t blend well enough)
Brown flood icing (a 15 second icing)
Red flood icing (a 15 second icing)
Orange flood icing (a 15 second icing)
Yellow flood icing (a 15 second icing)
A scribe or toothpick
A damp cloth
A small paintbrush
Gold Lustre Dust
Vodka or extract
Have all your icings and materials within reach and be prepared to work quickly, as this is a wet on wet technique that must be executed before the icing begins to set.
Step 1: Outline your cookie with the white or ivory piping icing.
Step 2: Flood your cookie with the white or ivory piping icing.
Step 3: Use your scribe or toothpick to push the flood icing into the outline and gently tap to remove air bubbles.
Step 4: Pipe a line of brown icing where you would like you tree to be. I usually use a tip 2 for this, but if you use a smaller tip, just lie down a few lines next to one another. I will often pipe a few branches off of the tree at this time, as well, but the number of branches I pipe depends on how the icing is behaving and whether I was overly generous piping my tree trunk.
Step 5: Immediately use your scribe tool or toothpick to drag the brown icing outwards through the white icing several times, creating the branches. Wipe your tool after each pass with the damp cloth so you can maintain the integrity of the branches and tree. You may find that you need to pipe a few more branches to fill out your tree, depending on how your branches are turning out. I do think a toothpick might be a better choice for this step as it pulls larger amounts of brown icing through the white, thereby creating slightly thicker branches. If one of your branches is too large, however, simply use your tool to pull white icing back towards the brown icing to break up the color.
Step 6: If you would like to create leaves, drop small dots (I usually use a tip 1) of your first color around your tree in a random pattern. I used yellow in this photo. Then, pull your scribe tool through each dot from top to bottom to create the slightly heart shaped leaves, being sure to wipe your tool after each pass. Continue this process with the other colors, one at a time.
Step 7: If you like, after your cookie has dried for a bit, pipe a border around the perimeter. I used a PME 1.5 tip on this cookie.
Step 8: Once your border has dried, you can make it shine by painting it with a little gold lustre dust. (Please note that while most dusts are non-toxic, they are labeled for decorative use only. Some decorators refuse to use them on edible items, some use them with great abandon and others use them sparingly with disclosure to their intended beneficiary. You decide what works best for you!) I used vodka to create a paste with the lustre dust and used a small brush to paint it on. To add additional sparkle, I used my brush to flick a very light spattering over the cookie.
I hope you enjoy this simple technique and find lots of ways to incorporate it into your sweets arsenal!