Haniela's: 3D Xylophone Cookie by The Cookie Architect

3D Xylophone Cookie by The Cookie Architect

Monday, March 10, 2014


I've been meaning to have The Cookie Architect over for a while now. It's happening. You may remember a project from last year called The Gingerbread House of Cards. If  by any chance you'd missed it you need to check it out. The Cookie Architect, one woman operation stands behind it all. Today Rebecca shares yet another beautiful cookie idea.  3D Xylophone. Are you puzzled how she made the knobs? She tells it all. Keep reading.




As a hobby baker, I get to follow my artistic whims when it comes to what I decide to bake.  So when I got the bright idea to make a xylophone cookie, I thought “Why not?”  I could picture it immediately- a fun 3D project with rainbow colors and cookie mallets.  So I’m going to share with you here how I brought the vision to life, and if you decide to try it yourself I think it has lots of great parties and themes it could work with- a child’s birthday with a vintage or children’s toy theme, a baby shower, or any rainbow themed or play with your food type of party! 

The first thing I did was go looking to my favorite place, Pinterest, for some inspiration.  I kind of knew what I was looking for, but wanted to find an image that would guide my process.  The classic xylophone toy like my son has had already been done to great effect by Sugarbelle, so I knew that was not what I was looking for.  It did not take a long time searching to find the perfect xylophone to cookie- I even loved the picture of the box it came in!  I liked that the shape of the key layout had a little interest, and I liked the overall vintage vibe of it.



Here are the materials I used:

⦁1 Batch Cookie Dough- Haniela’s Sugar Cookies for Cut Out Cookies works great!

⦁4-6 Colors 18 sec Royal Icing  - I used a few colors from a previous set, and added in a few colors

⦁White or Ivory Stiff Royal Icing

⦁Cutting Board and Pizza Cutter

⦁Saran Wrap

⦁Small Circle Cutter or small bottle

⦁(2) 6” Lollipop Sticks

⦁White Powdered Food Coloring

⦁Q-Tips or Food Paintbrush


Step One was to turn my idea and inspiration picture into a viable cookie size.  I knew I wanted to make the mallets with the smaller cookie pop sticks that I had, so that gave me a sense of what the overall size wanted to be.  I sketched it out full size on a piece of paper- Overall it was 10” wide and 5” tall.  You can see that your sketch does not have to be fancy, and no drafting program was used in the manufacturing of these cookies! (FYI-my kind of a sketch - Hani)




All of the pieces are rectangular, but the size varies.  I recommend using a rolling pizza cutter to cut out all of the shapes in the process below, because I find that that gives the best long straight lines and is easier than a knife.




First make the frame- starting with the end pieces.  Because I had seen Yankee Girl Yummies make very thick rectangular cookies before I knew that the ends could be done that way, by rolling the dough to about ¾” thick and cutting out the pieces- about ¾” wide and 5” long.  Bake those first on their own, as the thicker cookie need longer to bake than the rest.




Next cut out the long pieces that are the bottom of the frame from dough rolled to 3/8” thick.  In my version they were about 9”-10” long and 1” wide.  I would recommend baking these pieces at this stage, because you will want to notch the end pieces for assembly before they have cooled too much and you need the final size of the base pieces to do this.  Once the bottom pieces are baked and cooled enough to move, set them up where you want them, and use them to mark and notch out the ends so that they can overlap the bottom pieces as shown.  This can be done with a small paring knife as the dough will still be a little soft.  Now that this is done, you can set it all in place and establish how much room that you have for the keys.




You will want to roll out the keys on a cutting board so that you can transfer it easily to the freezer. I used one of those thin plastic ones, and rolled out the dough to 3/8” thick.  First cut it into the overall rectangle that I knew would fit inside the frame you’ve  just baked and laid into place- give yourself a little room on the sides so that they won’t touch the frame, and make it a little shorter than the width of the frame- 4 ½” if your frame is 5” wide, for example.  Then, cut the gently curved shape in the top of the rectangle as in the picture, to make the keys tall at one end, and ¾” shorter at the other.  To make the individual keys use a ruler to evenly mark out approximate divisions, and cut the space between them and remove the dough (keys should end up about ¾” wide). I recommend a bigger gap then I left in the picture, because they expand when baked, and I ended up having to remove a key so they would all fit.  At this point, transfer your cutting board to the freezer for ten minutes- I put my thin board on a cookie sheet to keep them flat.  Once chilled, they will be stiff enough to gently move to the cookie sheet without warping their rectangular shape.




While the dough is chilling for the keys, make the “wooden” knobs that look like they are holding the keys in place.  I wanted the knobs to have that rounded edge circular shape that they had in the example picture, because I thought it would look really neat in cookie form. For this I used a super cool tip that I had seen by Royal Bakery- she used it for fondant but it works great on dough too!  Basically, roll out your dough to 3/8” thick, and then put a piece of saran wrap on top of the dough and use a small (1/2”) round cutter (I used a bottle with the right sized opening) to cut out the knobs- the saran wrap will shape and smooth the dough as you are cutting.  I made at least two for every key, and a few extra just in case.




Transfer the chilled keys to the baking sheet along with these little knobs, and bake as usual.
When you go to ice the keys- line them all up in place so you don’t mix up the sizes and the colors will go the way you want them.  This will also let you place the knobs is a straight line.  I went in a rainbow order, but you could just do two colors with alternating keys or whatever strikes your fancy.  Still, if you want a pattern, best to keep the keys in a row.  One at a time, pull the key you are icing out of the line up and using the 15-18 sec icing, first outline then fill the tops. You can really pile the icing on to get that rounded top effect.  A quick shake settles out the wrinkles.  I then set the iced cookie back into place in the lineup, and gently place the knobs into the still wet icing.  I found that it was best to push them in to the icing a little bit and that then you might want to redistribute the icing around the knob with a toothpick so that it doesn’t bulge out at the sides.  When all of the keys are iced- let them dry.  You can set them in front of a fan or heat fan, or do what I did and carefully transfer them to the dehydrator for 15 minutes. 




Let them dry completely- 8 hours or overnight.  
For this set, I decided that I wanted them to have a very vintage feel, so I used a technique I’ve done before to give colored cookies a “faded paint” look.  Similar to what you might do with a brown luster dust or airbrush to make a white cookie look vintage, you can use powdered white food coloring brushed on or applied with a q-tip to make your cookie look like it’s been in the sun a little too long.  I did mine with a brush around the knobs and rubbed it in with a q-tip on the surface.  I love the way it made the whole thing look!




Right after that, I used some thick white royal icing for assembly- first applied where the ends notch over the base of the frame, and once that was in place, I spaced out all of the keys and “glued” them in place one at a time with a dollop of icing on each base piece.  A tip here is that if you add a little ivory to your icing so that it is closer to the color of the cookie, it will be less noticeable if some of your glue shows at the seams.
For the mallets, first let me say that my original plan involved making them out of cookie dough. Three failed attempts and a burning ball of dough on the floor of my oven later, I whipped up a small batch of fondant courtesy of Hani’s great YouTube tutorial and dyed some of it with ivory to match the color of the cookies, rolled it into balls about 5/8” around and stuck them on sticks, then stuck the sticks in a rack so that the balls could dry out and firm up to hold their shape. You’ll see in the picture below I also decided to embellish the ends of the frame with a little of the royal icing in a diamond pattern inspired by the box in the inspiration picture.


Beautiful diamond pattern.


For my project I only made two mallets, but I will say that when we ate it, the fondant mallets went first, so if you were hosting a party, a cup of mallets alongside would be popular with the kiddos, because Hani’s marshmallow fondant is delicious!!!! Another eating tip- the keys were the perfect size to be individual cookies and come time for dessert, everyone picked their favorite color and ate it up! 








Happy baking and eating! 

Rebecca aka “ The Cookie Architect”

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