Monthly Archives: July 2011

More Cookies!

I’m not crazy. There is a reason I have been randomly making tons of different cookies. I also have a confession.

The cookies I have been doing in the past, and up to just a week ago, have been made from this:

Seeing as I am trying to sell my cookies, I thought it was wrong to be making them from a bag. I have not had time to just “play” and find a good recipe because I had been making cookies for people and I didn’t want to experiment until they were for no reason at all.

I started in a safe place – my mom’s recipe box. My mom hasn’t made sugar cookies since I was probably in middle school, maybe even before that. She doesn’t have the patience for rolling out dough and dealing with stickiness. The recipe she had was her mom’s from when she used to make cookies. The result? It was okay. Held up its shape well, and was easy to roll once it warmed a bit (it was seriously a rock when it came out of the fridge). The cookie wasn’t as sweet as the Betty stuff, which can be a good thing since I use so much icing… but it was actually too flour-y I think. It tasted more like a shortbread or biscuit.

A few days later I decided I needed to try again. I have a HUGE cookie order coming up and I need to start baking and freezing ASAP. The next recipe was a complete success. Like, best sugar cookie I’ve ever had. I might tweak it a bit to make it my own, but it’s so good the way it is. You can find it here. That woman is a genius I tell you!

Anyway – to the cookies!

These I made for a very special reason… our offer just got accepted on a house! We have a busy and hard couple months in front of us, but I can’t wait! My house cutter is NOT cute. It is from a Halloween set so it’s technically a haunted house. I did the best I could…

These cuties are for a special mom who just gave birth on Friday night. Her shower cookies can be found here. I used my circle cookie cutter and then chopped the heads off of little gingerbread men for the ears.

The rest are just for fun!

my attempt at a flip-flop cookie. I don’t have a cutter so I used my easter egg and fit a couple pieces together.

The color is better in the first flower picture above, but the dots look better in this one. I will definitely be making more of these they’re easy and so cute!

These are sort of a fail.. I tried to do this, but they didn’t come out as cute as hers. Maybe it would have helped if I would have looked at the picture and done it right!

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Cookie Extravaganza!

I tried a new cookie recipe this weekend. I have been wanting to try a new one for a while now, but every time I make cookie I am making them for someone so I haven’t been able to experiment. I figured while I am making cookies for no reason I might as well try new cutters, techniques, and other ideas I have been bottling up for a while! So forgive the jumping-around of my designs and ideas…

Oh another thing I did different this time was not make my buttercream for the outline and decorating… basically because I was too lazy. So everything is just the icing, and for the most part I just did the same consistency rather than thicken or thin it out to outline or flood. Okay here we go…

The larger cutter came in a set I just received as a gift from some friends. The smaller ones I made myself with my circle cutter and a small crinkle edged circle to take the “bite marks” out of it.  Just like shown toward the end of this post by Sweet Sugar Belle. She is brilliant.

These are also inspired by Sweet Sugar Belle. (See this post.) I thought they were soo gorgeous and I just had to try it. While it turned out nice, it took forever.. and without my precious buttercream I had a hard time keeping my lines straight and my curls curly. The dots were easy so I did a lot of those. 🙂

Next is something I have been wanting to do for MONTHS. My original idea didn’t really come through on these, but there will definitely be more lemons to come! The design was easy and looks fabulous. I totally meant to do limes too, but I forgot and just kept piping in yellow.. Oh well, next time.

A little but of fun…

I don’t know how many people know, and I’m sure I haven’t ever mentioned it here, but I LOVE dinosaurs. I want them in my life more. I haven’t stopped talking about wanting dino cookie cutters ever since my cookie craziness started. While my parents were on vacation, my mom found a few dinos and brought them home for me. So excited! These are just a few trials.. now I just need a brontosaurus and a triceratops and a stegosaurus and I will be set!

These little bite-sized cookies were just leftover colors. Simple.

The recipe turned out okay. It was too flour-y I think. I have another recipe in mind to try next time. Hope that can be soon… I have a HUGE order in less than a month! So excited…

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New Cake Pans

This cake I made just to use my new cake pans. I bought 2 6″x2″ circles, so that I can make “mini” cakes. I used quotes because this cake did not come out so mini…

I did boxed funfetti cake cuz it’s easy and fast and I was making it at a friend’s house. When she picked me up from my house, we had agreed upon brownies, so I didn’t bring any of my baking “stuff” with me. When we changed our mind, we went to buy the cake pans that I had been wanting to get this weekend anyways. Turns out she doesn’t own an electric hand mixer. I was soo mortified, but I had to buy frosting in a can – something I swore I would never do again!

However, it turned out tasty of course. And we paired it with some ice cream. Such a perfect combination!

I filled each pan 2/3 the way, which used up all of the cake mix. Hence the cake wasn’t so mini after all. In the future I would do less batter in each pan so that the layers are quite so thick… then my cakes will be a bit more mini looking.

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Doggies Deserve Treats Too!

A while back I found a recipe online for homemade dog biscuits that I wanted to make. Seemed really easy, and much more inexpensive and healthy than store bought treats. And I figured I make all these yummy treats for everyone else, but doggies deserve treats too!

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)

1 1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour and oats. Add peanut butter then hot water. Stir everything together. If it’s really sticky add a bit more flour. Knead well, then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick (or thicker if you have a big doggie).

Cut into shapes and place on greased cookie sheet (or line it with parchment paper). You can place them very close together, they don’t spread at all. they actually shrink up a bit. Bake for 40 minutes then transfer to a cookie rack.

Easy right? This recipe made 42 of these little bones.

I decided to glam up a few for some special pups I know (or know of).

My little girl waiting patiently for a taste:

And here are a few of her enjoying them… She just kept licking the frosting off.

  

So if your pup deserves a nice treat and likes peanut butter, you should make these easy biscuits!!

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Baby Shower Cookie Favors

From the beginning of the baby shower planning, one thing remained certain – there would be cookies!! I decided to do them as favors instead of dessert because the mommy-to-be wanted cupcakes.

I did baseballs:

And onesies! Have I mentioned how much I love my onesie cookie cutter?!

Each cookie was bagged and tagged and tied with ribbon. I didn’t get any pictures of them bagged. 😦

All those people that I mentioned left early? None of them paid any attention and no one took home cookies!! I left more than half of them with the mommy-to-be, and I actually brought some home with me. (It’s okay because I went to a Giants game the next day so we had baseball cookies to eat there!)

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Baby Shower Giant Cupcake

The original plan was to make cupcakes for dessert, and cookies for favors. The mommy-to-be’s mom asked if there would also be a cake, which got me thinking a cake is kind of necesary for photos and such. I decided to go with a giant cupcake for the cake. Only a few hiccups with this one… okay I am minimalizing it. The cake was sort of a disaster. At least for me.

I bought 2 boxes of yellow cake mix. One for the cupcakes, and one for the cake. Then at 5am the day of baking (day before the shower) I am wide awake and I realize that this is silly. Everything will taste the same! So I decide to make homemade funfetti cake for the cake and leave the yellow cake for the cupcakes.

I had a funfetti recipe** I was dying to try, and how cute would it be with all blue sprinkles! So that was the plan. But then Michael’s didnt have blue sprinkles. Only jimmies without blue at all (too girly) and sugar crystals which I didn’t think would work well baked in a cake for funfetti… So I went to Ross to look for sprinkles. (Sounds like a weird place to look, but I have bought good stuff there before!) The sprinkles they had were good. Not perfect, but good. They were jimmies in red, blue, green, and purple. Ugh the purple was not going to work. So what does my crazy head do? I pick out all the purple ones. Yes I did. Totally crazy.

I baked up my homemade funfetti giant cupcake… it came out of the oven and was so small! It was then that I realized something. Last time I made a giant cupcake I used 2 boxes of mix (because 1 was too small) and there was just leftover batter I used for cupcakes. So here I had 24 cupcakes (one box of mix) and a giant cupcake that might feed 8 people? That’s 32 people served and I was told there would be 43ish people there.  This is why I made cake pops also. Again, crazy. But I’m glad I did – they were amazing!

Back to the giant cupcake. I leveled off the base, and slapped on some dark blue buttercream that was leftover from the cookies. While leveling off the top, it started to fall apart. Bottom was done is white buttercream, and the top in light blue. Everything can be fixed with more frosting though right? Eh, it’s up for debate.

I tried doing the bottom with my star tip rather than spreading and piping skinny lines as I have done before. I think I rushed it because there were some gaps…

The best part of it all?! Some people didn’t show up… others came and didn’t eat anything… and some left before gifts were unwrapped and didn’t eat any dessert! So this poor little lovely disaster cake didn’t even get cut. 😦 😦  So I don’t have any pictures of the inside of the cake. You’ll have to just trust me that’s it’s funfetti without purple sprinkles!

**The recipe, which I was dying to try, will not be tagged or linked here. In my opinion, it wasn’t very good at all and I don’t want to slander someone else’s recipe. I was so disappointed after reading the rave reviews from the blog I saw it on. I have come across another that I will try, so funfetti might end up on this blog again!

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Baby Shower Cupcakes

Ever since I made rainbow cupcakes I have been doing colored yellow cake every time I make cupcakes. For the baby shower I helped throw, it was the perfect dessert.

The theme of the baby shower was baseball – more specifically Giants vs. Cardinals. The mommy-to-be is a die hard Cardinals fan and the daddy-to-be is a die hard Giants fan. It seemed only fitting!

All decor was red (Cardinals) and orange (Giants) with occasional blue for their little baby boy. The baby shower invitations were designed to look like baseball game tickets. Adorable.

Anyhow, the cupcakes. Half were red and blue (Cardinals) and half were orange and black (giants). The Cardinal cupcakes got red buttercream frosting and a Cardinals pick, and the Giants cupcakes got orange buttercream frosting and a Giants pick.

I want to take a moment to say anyone who has ever made their own cupcake picks – you’re crazy! I am never doing it again! It took forever. Although I have since seen those cute little paper cutters at Michaels that totally would have saved my hand from cutting out all of those stupid little circles! Live and learn…

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Easy Buttercream Recipe

I realized I have never actually posted my buttercream recipe, so I need to get it up here. I will go back and link everything.

Ingredients:

1 16 oz package of powdered sugar  (if you can get it in a bag instead of a box, it’s cheaper!!)

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

3 tablespoons of milk

2 teaspoons  vanilla

Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Once everything is incorporated, scrape the sides down with a spatula. Then mix some more. I usually mix it about a minute or so. It gets fluffier and it makes it easier to spread on a cake.

That is all. =)

Easy right? You can mix in food coloring if you want… I made strawberry buttercream using this recipe and substituted all of the milk and 1/2 the vanilla for fresh strawberry puree. It ended up needing a tad of milk to make it wetter, but still very easy!

Hope you enjoy!

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Cake Pops!

I am helping to throw a baby shower today. On the menu was cupcakes, cake, and favor cookies (all to come in later posts!)… but after the cake (actually a giant cupcake) was baked, I realized it was way too small. I had about 34 servings between the cupcake and the mini-giant cupcake – and over 40 people. Not okay! So I made a last minute decision to make cake pops as well.

I have been dying to try making cake pops lately and since I got the opportunity here I jumped for it! So yes, this is my first attempt at them, and they look pretty darn CUTE if I do say so myself!

For everyone who has never had a cake pop or doesn’t know much about them, here is how it works.

1. Bake a cake in a 13×9 pan.

2. When the cake is completely cool, crumble it finely into a large bowl.

3. Add to the crumbs about 12 ounces of frosting. The cake pop creator and master, Bakerella, says to use store bought. This is where I diverted from the path a bit and used my vanilla buttercream recipe.

**Update: I use my own frosting, and I have no idea how much I put in it. I just add a little at a time, and stir it up, until it’s sticky enough to form balls. But not so wet that it’s going to slide off the stick.

4. Form sticky cake mix into balls (or whatever shape you want really) and set on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Put in fridge for about 15 minutes.

5. Melt candy melts (Wilton, can be bought at Michaels) in microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring until smooth consistency.

6. Remove balls from fridge. Dip the end of a lollipop stick into melted candy coating, then shove it into the cake ball. (Not all the way through, but at least 3/4 the way. You don’t want it to fall off.) Do this for all the balls on the tray, then put them back in the fridge. Let chill for a few minutes so the candy will harden.

7. Remove one cake pop from the fridge at a time and dip into melted candy. If you want it to have sprinkles, this is the time to add them. Stick upright into a styrofoam block to dry. (Or if you want them displayed stick up, just plop it back down on the wax paper – before adding sprinkles.)

I am so excited about these because they were pretty easy overall, look fabulous, and one batch makes over 50 cake pops! The candy melts come in so many different colors, plus the white can be dyed to any color you want (and/or flavored with oil-based flavorings). I can’t wait to get more creative and make more of these! I even added “Cake Pops” as a category to this blog because I know there will be more to come!

So back to the baby shower. Since I sprinkled the tops of the cake pops, I didn’t want to display them stick up, since they don’t look very cute that way. I tried mugs filled with shredded paper, but it just wasn’t supporting the heavy cake pop well. I ended u wrapping my styrofoam block in tissue paper, and then in wrapping paper before sticking the pops back in their holes. Cute huh? I will definitely do this in the future again too!

More baby shower goodies to come!

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More Graduation Cookies

These cookies were my second official order! My coworker’s husband was stuck in an unemployment rut and decided to go back to school. He just graduated from a technical school with a degree in drafting. He was top of his class, and became part of the Alpha Beta Kappa honor society. Best part? His professors helped him get some awesome interviews, and he landed an awesome job right off the bat!

As a surprise, she asked me to make him some graduation cookies for the party she was throwing him this weekend. His robe was navy blue, and one of his many tassels was red, so those are the colors I went with. (The others weren’t as exciting – white, silver, something like that…) At that time I didn’t realize the party was 4th of July weekend, but it turned out perfectly!

I also incorporated the ABK, because that was something he was very proud of.

Can’t wait to do more orders!!

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