Happy 1st Birthday, Libby!

26 Feb

 

For the first birthday of a sweet little girl. 🙂

Libby’s mom told me she wanted these cookies based on some others I had done for a Parenting with Love & Logic class I took over the summer.  So these…

became these!

Truck cookie cupcake toppers

13 Feb

I think these may be my favorites to date.  LOVED how they turned out! 

Some friends asked me to make truck cupcakes for their son’s second birthday party.  Instead of attempting to make trucks out of buttercream or fondant or gumpaste, I decided to try making a cookie cupcake topper. The cookies were a little on the large side but I’m sure the kids at the party didn’t mind.🙂

I made the toppers by baking a lollipop stick into the cookies so that I could stick the cookie upright on top of the cupcake.  I layered the cookie dough prior to baking by cutting two thin cookies and stacking them with the lollipop stick sandwiched in between.  I was a bit nervous about this because I had never done it before… I wasn’t sure if baking the stick into the cookies would work, and even if it did work, would the cookie be too heavy to stand up on top of the cupcake?  Turns out it all worked beautifully!

On a side note, a lot of people ask me about my cookie designing process.  If I’m doing an original design (like these trucks), I do a few sketches, color them and use them as a guide while decorating.  Here are the truck sketches.  You can see how similar the trucks on the cookies look compared to the sketches. It doesn’t ALWAYS turn out this way – sometimes the finished product looks a little different if the icing isn’t cooperating or I find something I like better while decorating – but I usually try to make the finished cookie look as similar to the sketch as possible.

Oh…. you better watch out…

23 Dec

…you better not cry.  You better not pout, I’m tellin’ you why…

Santa Claus is coming to toooown….

 

 

I made lots of Santas to ship off to family for the holidays, along with these:

 

And these little Christmas tree ornaments made by Jolie with some help from mom:

We made the ornaments by cutting two triangles from felt and hot gluing them together with a couple of popsicle sticks sandwiched in between.  Then we cut a slit in the top of the triangle and tied a ribbon to make a loop by which to hang the ornament. After that I let Jolie write her name on the back of the tree in Sharpie.  Finally, we hot glued pieces of ribbon and some small pom-pom balls, along with a gold star I cut out of cardstock with a medium size star punch, onto the felt.  Jolie and I were both really happy with how these turned out, and aside from the couple of times she touched the hot glue (ouch!), she had fun helping make them.  Her favorite part was writing her name on the back.

Turkeys and Treeeeeees!!

13 Dec

It’s the holiday season…🙂

I neglected to post my Thanksgiving turkey cake pops – here they are!  Very time consuming (even though I used a cake mix – GASP!) but they turned out to be super cute.  I was really pleased with them! A big step up from those horrendous jack-o-lantern pops.

 

 

The turkey heads were made using these delicious little pumpkin pie flavored caramels purchased at Harry and David, and the beaks were little candy-coated chocolate sprinkles I got from Michaels.  I used royal icing to make the red wattle and black eyes (worked SO much better than trying to use a food coloring pen!!).  The feet were pretzels.  Fun, fun!

Now on to some more timely treats… Christmas tree cookies! 

I whipped these up in a hurry, so didn’t spend a lot of time on the design or decorating process.  I thought they were cute, nonetheless.  I did get the yellow icing too thick, which made making neat loops, curves and zig-zags on the trees difficult.  I little messy-looking, even… and I did not like how the star turned out atop the tree… but that’s okay, they were for a kid’s Christmas party, and I’m sure the kids didn’t mind one bit.😉

 

Winnie the Pooh cookies out the door

18 Nov

Character cookies – I love them but sometimes they can be a bit tricky.  If you don’t get the piping juuuust right, something looks off and your character looks like an imposter.

These, however, I was pretty happy with!  I only wish now that I had not put Winnie the Pooh and Piglet on round and heart shaped cookies – I should have hand-cut the cookies to shape.  Next time…

These are on their way to West Virginia today.  Safe and happy travels, cookies!  No breaks, please.  And happy third birthday to Miss Amanda! 

Birthday cupcakes for a karaoke rock star

10 Nov

When a friend of mine asked me to make chocolate cupcakes for her daughter’s karaoke-themed birthday party, I envisioned guitars and microphones.  Then she sent me the party invitation:

  

Guitars and microphones.  Yessssss….

Now how to make the guitars and microphones…  Buttercream?  Royal icing?  Fondant?  Try gum paste, said my fellow cake-baker friend, Kathy.

I had never tried gum paste before.  It’s like edible play doh.  Fun!  I do need more practice.  And perhaps a bit of formal instruction because I totally winged this and probably did it “formally” wrong… but nevertheless, here are the gum paste microphones.  The heads were dyed black and rolled in blue sanding sugar for a sparkly look. I painted the handles with some shimmery, silver, edible dust and carefully placed two pink nonpareils on for buttons.  The black cord was a little thread of buttercream piped on.

And the guitars.  At first I tried piping milk chocolate guitars onto waxed paper, which worked well but wasn’t the look I was going for.  They were delicious (I ate many of them) but too fragile.  And I wanted something more colorful. 

So I found a guitar candy mold online and taught myself how to use candy melts with the mold.  After some experimentation, I figured out how to pour pink sanding sugar into the mold, cover with white candy melts and decorate the guitar with brown candy melted down and piped on.  Here’s how they turned out:

Once again, I tried using the food coloring marker on these (like I did with the candy melt on the jack-o-lantern cake pop), but just couldn’t get it to work consistently..  It did work on this one guitar pretty well, as you can see (notice the strings on the guitar – that’s food color marker) but I could only get it to do this on a couple of guitars.  Beyond that the marker failed me – the candy built up on it too much and prevented the color from coming out of the marker.  I couldn’t correct it no matter how light my touch.

As for the cupcakes, I used Ina Garten’s Double Chocolate Cake recipe, which is absolutely delicious (thanks to my friend Cami for sharing the recipe with me!).  The recipe is very similar to the Martha Stewart One Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe I formerly used, but Ina’s recipe contains a cup of coffee in it which really heightens the chocolate flavor.  And talk about MOIST – the batter is nearly liquid in form prior to baking, but don’t let this scare you.  It turns out a perfectly.

The icing was a basic vanilla confectioner’s sugar icing, made from the sugar, vanilla, milk and butter with a dot of pink food dye added.  It tastes good (is actually a bit too sweet, perhaps, which is saying a lot coming from a sweet-aholic like me!) but I’m not crazy about the consistency – it’s like it’s always just one step away from separating, which bugs me. I must experiment here… Perhaps I should try a swiss meringue buttercream next time.

I had tons of fun making these!  Happy birthday, Zoe!🙂

Jack-o-Lantern Cake Pops that resemble the creation of a preschooler, said my husband.

31 Oct

Well poop.  My first attempt at making cake pops and DJ informed me that they looked like a preschooler made them.  How nice. 

I just bought a new cook book recently – Cake Pops by Bakerella.   I could drool over the super cute photos in this book all day (so could my 3-year-old, who is obsessed with the idea of making the reindeer cake pops for the holidays, although I’m not sure she’ll be able to wait until December…).

So here are my preschooler-esque cake pops.  Blah.  I’ll just pretend they are so ugly they’re cute.😉

Cake pops are made by finely crumbling cake, mixing the crumbs with frosting and forming little cake balls.  The balls are chilled, lollipop sticks are inserted, and the balls are dipped into melted candy melts that harden to form an outer candy shell around the cake ball.  I used chocolate cake and chocolate icing inside the orange candy shell for these. YUM! 

In her book, Bakerella suggests drawing the jack-o-lantern face on the orange candy shell with a black food marker, and this is where I ran into problems (hence the “preschooler” comment from the hubby. Thanks, hon!). The pen just wouldn’t work on the candy surface.  I have no trouble with the pen writing on other surfaces (on hardened royal icing, for example).  It was almost as if the candy shell was too slick or oily for the ink to adhere.  Next time I’ll have to try something different. 

Despite the frustrating marker situation, I LOVED making the cake pops – so fun!  So yummy… and SO addictive.  Hard to stop at just one, that’s for sure!  Even if they are kinda ugly😉

  

Happy Halloween!

A year (almost) of cookies in one post.

30 Oct

I remember the moment I got bitten by the cookie decorating bug.  I was watching a holiday episode of Martha Stewart last year – the one featuring Dani and her demonstration of decorating holiday snow globe and santa cookies.

A light bulb went off in my head and I just knew, in that very moment, that I BORN to decorate cookies like that.   Deep, huh?  ;-)

Wide-eyed, I looked over at my husband and said, “I wanna do THAT!”, pointing at the television.  So, THAT is what I started doing.

I made my first batch of sugar cookies decorated with royal icing on New Year’s Eve while watching hottie Anderson Cooper co-host a New Year’s Eve show with Kathy Griffin.  Here were the results of that first attempt.  

 

 



Wow.  I knew NOTHING about decorating cookies back then!  But it was a good first try.🙂

I still have a LOT to learn about this craft.  I’m definitely no expert but have gotten a heck of a lot better!  Here’s a more recent batch, about 10 months later.

 

My new blog will be dedicated to all things cookie – those that I’ve made, others I’ve found online that I want to share, other sweet treats made by me or someone else that I find interesting, unusual or just want to talk about for one reason or another.  I hope this will be fun.🙂

Enjoy!

New and improved!

30 Oct

Check back soon for updates on what’s been brewing in the sugar happy kitchen🙂