Oh succulent. Adjective v. noun. Dessert v. desert…. A prickly topic to be sure. Hopefully you think it is a win-win!
These cookies started out with a basic white coating, including some dimension. The shapes were hand drawn on to card stock and then cut out of dough by tracing those shapes with a knife.
To get the sandy effect, I used a microplane/zester to gently trim up the sides (or spare cookie scraps); these trimmings were later sprinkled over the still wet icing of the base cookie. Thank you Rebecca Weld aka TheCookieArchitect for this “fitting” tip. I ‘zested’ each cactus until perfectly flat on the bottom, so they could stand without the aid of icing/support on the base cookie.
After the cacti were painted and dried, I used stiff royal icing (colored with ivory and a dash of egg yellow) and a butter knife to coat the long base cookie. The cactus were quickly set in place and sprinkled with the “sand.”
I did place toothpicks behind the cactus for support (but they stood on their own without). I had to transport them upright and I didn’t know if I needed that assurance…
The Cactus flower is also edible. I painted some edible wafer paper yellow, let that dry, & then cut a continuous inward circle (tons of how-tos on the web). Little dabs of water made the edges stick together as I wound it into a flower.