Monthly Archives: November 2011

Baby Bottle Cookies

My boss was throwing a surprise baby shower for her daughter-in-law and asked me to make her cookies!

The invitations were covered in baby bottles of white, pink, and orange – that’s right, a baby girl!! ūüôā I love orange, and this was such a cute color combo.

I bought a baby bottle cookie cutter to make matching cookies. This baby is 5″ tall!

 

Pink outline…

Filled them in white… because milk is white? I dunno it just made sense I guess.

I  planned on doing pink nipples. I think the very tip ended up looking funny pink, so I did that in orange instead.

On the bottles I did hash marks in pink, and he baby girl’s initials “R.E.C.” in orange.

Love them!

One last thing to mention.. With these cookies I tried adding corn syrup to my icing for the first time. (See this post on icing to see what I am talking about.)

I really liked how much easier it flowed, but I won’t be doing it again. I thought it would make them shinier, but they looked just like my normal icing. I thought maybe they would harden up better, but it was actually the opposite – they still seemed pretty soft after drying for 30+ hours. I bagged them carefully and let them sit over night again before stacking them up for delivery. They were hard enough that they were definitely okay, but I don’t really want to take that risk again. As far as taste goes, I didn’t really notice a difference besides them being softer when I happened to be taste-testing.

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Necktie Cookies

“Our lil’ guy in a cute lil’ tie is turning 1.”

These cookies were made to match the invitations (below) and decor of a little 1 year old’s birthday party – which was held on Thanksgiving day!

I used a 5″ necktie cookie cutter. Shape wasn’t as great as I would have liked, but I fixed that with the outlining. I stressed so much over how to do these large polka dots… I couldn’t do edible pens or candy, because the colors were so specific. Navy blue, light blue, red, brown, and greenish yellow.

My best options were: (sorry I am about to ramble a bit you can skip ahead if you want…)

1. Do the dots in icing, wet-on wet method. My worries included:

       РI would do too much white icing (background) and adding the dots would overflow the cookie.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† – ¬†I would do too little white icing and I wouldn’t be able to fix it after the dots were added.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† – ¬†The dots wouldn’t be uniform in size/shape.

2. Do the dots in buttercream. Worries included:

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† – ¬†Coloring buttercream is more difficult. The color deepens over time, so it’s harder to match colors exactly.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† – ¬†Doing the buttercream in the cookie then fill in the background around it: uneven, over flooding, weird¬†levels…

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† – ¬†Ice the cookie, wait for it to dry, and do dots on top in buttercream: less room for error, possibly too much texture…

I ended up going for the very last option. I was worried about the height of the dots if I did it on top, but it ended up working out well. I let the frosting get soft, so when I filled in the dots they “melted” together a bit and looked more like a solid dot than a stripey filled circle.

Cute right?! I have a good idea for another use for this cookie cutter… should pop up pretty soon actually!

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Thanksgiving Cookies

Here are the thanksgiving cookies I made for my family. Hope everyone had a good day with friends, family, and great food!

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I did both oak and maple leaves. I used red and pale green (leftover colors from some cookies that will be on the next post), and yellow and orange.

For the turkeys I used a wet-on-wet icing method and a toothpick to create the colorful feathers.

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After letting the icing dry a bit, I added the beak, feet, and wattle. (I had to ask my father-in-law what that red thing is called!)

Thanksgiving morning when the cookies were nice and dry, I used my new food color markers to draw on the eyes.

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Orange Soda Cupcakes

If you haven’t heard, you are about to have your mind blown!

With just a box of cake and a can of soda, you can make cake (or cupcakes)!! That’s it, no other ingredients necessary! Okay maybe you need more ingredients if you want frosting, but STILL, this is exciting!

I have seen it with Dr. Pepper, Coke, 7-up… but who loves orange soda? I love orange soda. I do I do I do-ooo! I grew up on it, and I am just fine – so please don’t judge me or my parents for raising me on the single most sugar-filled kind of soda out there – Sunkist! ūüôā

I had a 2-liter instead of a can, so I just measured out 12 oz of orange soda and added it to my box cake powder, and mixed until it was combined. I decided to do cupcakes because they are easier to share… and I recently bought these cute little snowflake cupcake liners…

You can see the batter got a slight tint of orange. ūüôā

For my frosting I used my regular buttercream recipe, but I substituted all of the milk and vanilla for orange soda. Most of the orange flavor in these came from the frosting. Yumm!

I added a little sugar to the top for a sparkle!

I had the hubby taste one for me so I could get a bitten-into picture.

The cupcake was sooo moist! Craziness I tell you, this soda non-sense. Can you image the possibilities?

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Chocolate Chip Cookies, Round 2

When the craving strikes, you gotta do it!

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the easiest things to make. No store-bought dough allowed!

I liked my recipe last Christmas, but it wasn’t perfect. The last time I made chocolate chip cookies, I went specifically for chewy, but that receipe wasn’t¬†perfect either.¬†I must find the perfect chocolate chip cookie! Eventually I will if I keep trying, right? This one isn’t perfect, but I think it’s my best so far. Next time I may try a mixture of the last 2 recipes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts & Oats

recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 12oz package chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup oats

Beat shortening and butter together for 30 seconds. Add sugars and baking soda and beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  (You may need to scrape down sides in between to get everything incorporated.) Beat in flour. Add in chocolate, nuts, and oats and stir until combined well. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop balls onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Tips:

*Mine did not spread at all. First batch came out in balls just like when they went in. I had to kind of squish down the balls to get the cookies to cook and look better.

*Parchment is not necessary, but trust me it’s the best change I have ever made in my baking.

*I didn’t write it in the ingredients above because I didn’t use it, but if I made it again I would add a bit of salt – it really needed it. I’ve never before seen a recipe without salt and it didn’t occur to me that it was missing until I tried one.

Look at all the goodies in there! Definitely the best part of these cookies.

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Icing, Explained.

In the cookie world, icing is everything. And there are different kinds. Probably more than I even know. I just wanted to share a little info that I have learned since diving into this cookie world myself…

Most decorated cookie creators out there use what is called Royal Icing. All of the recipes I have seen include the same basic ingredients: powdered sugar, water, egg whites or meringue powder, and flavoring. In this type of icing, it is the meringue powder that makes it dry hard.

Royal Icing is a cookie creator’s favorite because it dries hard (very hard), holds its shape well, and can be thinned or thickened to the desired consistency by adding more or less water. The cookies are outlined with thicker icing, then filled in with thinned icing – this is called “flooding.” Also, it’s white to start – which makes coloring it easy. But, royal icing takes a long time to make – not recommended for someone who does not own a stand mixer! (I have memories of my grandmother holding a hand mixer for like 10 minutes making us the strong cement-like frosting to hold together our gingerbread houses.)

Here are a few googled images of cookies with royal icing:

*** I just pulled these out of google. The first picture is from Annie’s Eats, the second from Sweetopia.**

A few cookie decorators out there live on the wild side and go a different route. Instead of royal icing, they use was is called Glaze, or Glace. Most recipes include these ingredients: powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and flavoring. In this type of icing, it is the milk that makes it dry hard.

Glaze does not hold its shape as well as royal icing, and it also does not dry as hard. It dries just hard enough for stacking, moving and displaying, while still being moist when you bite into it (rather than crunchy). To thicken or thin glaze, more or less milk is used. Just like royal icing, thicker for the outlining and thinner for flooding it. But with glaze, thick icing it a hand killer! Very hard to squeeze out… Unlike royal icing, glaze is fast and simple to make. And it dries shiny, whereas royal icing is a flat color. The shine is because of the corn syrup. Also, glaze is more clear than white, so white food coloring must be added to acheive the bright white color.

Here are a few googled images of cookies with glaze:

*** These were just pulled out of google. I could not find a source for the first picture. The second is from i am baker.***

Now I thought it would be a good idea to explain the above before I explain what I use. See, in terms of “normal” in the cookie world, I’m just plain weird! I have actually never attempted to make royal icing. I think it kind of scares me. It is so precise and complicated, and I tend to do recipes that are easy and fast. Also, I personally think that cement-hard frosting is just not appetizing. But maybe I just haven’t had any that was “professionally” made and flavorful, I don’t know.

What I use is something similar to glaze. Except even simpler. Just powdered sugar and milk. That’s it.

But here is where I get even weirder… for my outlining and details, I do not use a thicker version of the same icing like all other cookie decorators. I use frosting. Real buttercream frosting. It hardens well like my icing – not too hard, but perfect for stacking and moving.

Some might think I am crazy for making 2 different things everytime I decorate, but it works for me.. and I think the taste screams in my favor!

I have contemplated trying to make glaze the right way… but I don’t know, I feel like maybe the flavoring and corn syrup might just make it too sweet. I’ve also thought about trying to merge the 2 different icings above… glaze with a little meringue powder to make it just a tad harder? Maybe someday I will be adventurous, but for now I think I’m going to stick to my silly, tastey, unconventional icing ways!

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California Capitol Cookies

This is my second round of building cookies. I made Washington Capitol cookies a while back, and these were a little similar. I actually used the same cutter, with just a few tweaks. Here is the cutter..

cheapcookiecutters.com

For the California Capitols, I cut off the little nob on the top of the sides, and extended the bottom about a quarter inch.

(Let’s pretend that I didn’t take my one-and-only photo of the unfrosted capitols with the only cookie I forgot to cut a nub off of front and center!)

I outlined the base and divided it up into the different sections, then filled every other section.

After it dried a bit I filled in the rest of the sections.

After it dried, I reoutlined the sections and added column and window detail.

Then I squirted a small blob of frosting on the tip tops, and dunked it in gold sugar crystals.

I waited as long as I could before doing the black domes. I was so worried it would bleed into the white buttercream that was touching it. (I got lucky and not a single one bled!)

I used buttercream and a big tip, and piped it up and down to create the line definition on the cookies.

I also made California’s to pair with the capitol buildings. I added stars on the capital of course..

My husband was a geography major so he wanted to make sure I got Sacramento in the correct spot. He used a toothpick to poke a hole in the correct place for my star.

I had to carefully bag them so that you could see both cookies.

All ready to go!

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Anniversary Cookies

I recently acquired a full set of alphabet cutters. Just in time, because¬†a romantic boyfriend wanted to give his lady a unique gift for their anniversary. Each letter of “happy anniversary Sunita” would be its own cookie! Her favorite color is purple, but besides that he had no ideas.

I decided to do two different shades of purple to add a little more pizzazz. Then each and every cookie got its own unique pattern. I had a lot of fun making these! They came out really cute, and looked awesome once they were laid out for their special message.

I also did a couple little hearts in between the words…

 

 

 

On the Y in anniversary I wrote the date…

And on the S in Sunita¬†I did an i ‚̧ you.

These were a lot of fun, and I hear the lucky lady enjoyed them!

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Tea Party Teacups

A tea party theme for a little girl’s birthday – how cute is that! I’m so happy I was able to participate with cookies. Happy Birthday Julia!

Decor colors were pink, purple, blue, green, and yellow – basically amazing. I did a few teacups in each color, and different designs and cup/handle styles for each. Every cookie was completely unique!

                       

All of the tea cups together…

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Yankees Cookies

These were the hardest cookies I have made so far.

And they didn’t go exactly as I had planned.

The request was for Yankees Pinstriped Jerseys, with the birthday boy’s last name across the back. He was turning 30, so that is the number for the jersey.

I have to say – I am not a Yankees fan. I had to google images to make sure I got the design right. The pinstripes go up the sleeves and then down the back. And where they meet, there is no line. That made these especially challenging. Here is how I did the pinstripes:

I had originally planned on doing the pinstripes in food color marker, but I was unable to find a dark blue marker. The one I had was a sky blue and that is not acceptable for Yankees!

After I let the stripes dry, I piped on the name and number 30.

Here they are all ready to go! They were stacked in a white metal bucket for display.

These took a loooong time and my hand was killing me, but I pushed through and made these cookies happen!

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