Read Me. I’m Irish.

Clover PlateClover's CloseupClover TreatsMy daughter’s second grade class had a party to celebrate meeting their reading goal.  Since the date for the party fell just two days before St. Patrick’s day, I decided to make these cookies for the kids.

I used the same 3 leaf clover cookie cutter as I did in my previous post. I took a smaller cutter and made little clovers from dough that I had colored green. I wanted to do something fun and something that I had not done before, so I lightly pressed the green clovers into the larger cookies. Now, one thing that I do recommend, if you ever try this technique, is to press down using food handler gloves or a piece of plastic wrap. That way you do not leave noticeable finger imprints and it’s just sanitary.

I can not express the importance of using up all of your leftover icing. Do not toss it out. Instead, make icing transfers. Around Christmas last year, I made a ton of eyeball transfers. I am glad that i did. It is amazing the time savings those pre-made eyeballs did for me.

I wanted to work in a “pot of gold” reference. These were for kids, so I added gold sprinkles. Kids like sprinkles…right? I was trying to make it look like they had big poofy gold hair. I do not think that it really turned out how I envisioned it in my head, but oh well. After I attached the eyeballs and piped a mouth, they were ready to dry for a bit. Before I went to bed, I put them in individual treat bags and boxed them up to go to school.

My daughter said that everyone liked the cookies and they tasted great. Happy kids. It works for me. Enjoy.

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

Shamrocks1Shamrocks2Nothing like a little Dirty Harry to start off a post. So, do you? Feel lucky, that is. You should, because it is March. What happens in March? St. Patrick’s Day. Where the world turns green…with envy.

I was in the mood to make shamrocks. I didn’t feel like making pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Mainly because I didn’t want to make black icing. It is not my favorite. Grey is prettier and tastes a lot better too.

Now, the only problem I had was I did not own a 3 or 4 leaf clover cookie cutter. I quickly remedied that by making my own. I cut the notch out of the leaves with the stem part of the cookie cutter, before I put them on the cookie sheet to bake.

There are not a lot of options on making a shamrock look pretty. I guess if you want to go elaborate, you could. But really? It is just green leaves. I decided to dress them up with sanding sugar. I think they turned out pretty. Enjoy.

More Than Meets the Eye

Autobots StencilI have been having fun lately, purchasing “a few” items to feed my cookie making addiction.

About a month ago, I decided that I was going to make my own stencils. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some stencil sheets and a stencil burner. I got on the internet and printed a few pictures to cut out stencils. So far, I have made an Autobot insignia, Rebel Alliance, and the Star Wars font stencil. They were not hard to make, just tedious. I would advise to do it by an open window, because burning plastic is not a lovely smell. Now, my plan for making stencils was to spread thick royal icing over them. However, after I was finished making the stencils, because of the rough edges and some fragile, small details, I did not foresee that as an option. Which brings us to the next part….

Over a week ago, I decided that I absolutely had to have an airbrush machine. I did some research, scoped out some prices, and decided that my best option right now was to buy a Duff airbrush machine. Now, the Duff airbrush machine had tons of mixed reviews, but I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t positive that I would use one enough or even like one.  If I started using it frequently and needed to upgrade, then it would be my backup. By the way, currently they are $149 at Michael’s, but I used a 50% off coupon. I figured, for what I needed, that was a steal. Also, if you are planning on purchasing an airbrush machine, I would highly recommend that you check out this very informative article from the bearfoot baker. (I love her blog.)

I couldn’t decide what shape to make the cookie, so I went with a plain 3″ circle. I iced the cookie with white royal icing and let it dry overnight. When using an airbrush machine, I would cover your work area, because the machine mists color. I covered the area with a couple of parchment paper sheets that I used to cook these cookies. Next time, I will definitely wear disposable gloves too.  The machine worked like a charm. My husband even wanted to give it a whirl. Of course, he used the Star Wars stencils.

I made these cookies for a good friend of mine. He loved them, which made me happy. I am glad I made a great purchase. I have a feeling that I will be using my airbrush machine a lot in the future. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Pink Ombre Cake and Flower Cupcakes

Flower CupcakesLayered Ombre CakePink Ombre CakeI was asked a couple of months ago to make cookies for a family baby shower. However, I knew that I would be unable to do cookies at that time. So, I suggested that I make a cake instead.

I have seen ombre cakes on several of the other blogs that I follow. I thought that I would give it a try.

I started the night before the shower because I knew that I was not going to have enough time the next day to bake, cool, and ice. I was going to make a french vanilla cake. However, the cake batter was yellow and when I added pink food coloring, it turned a shade of orange. More like a shade of coral. So, there I was, the night before, with my four bowls of weirdly colored cake mix. I was not a happy camper. I dumped all the batter back into my Kitchenaid bowl, mixed it up a little, and made 48 cupcakes. I wasn’t planning on making that many cupcakes, but I was not about to throw out all that batter just because of a lousy color. Actually, when I mixed all of the different shades together, it turned out to look pink. I was satisfied, for the moment. Now, I had to start all over again with white cake mix. This new batch of batter turned the desired shades of pink when I added the color, so I was back to being a happy camper, again.

It was the day of the shower and I was onto making homemade buttercream frosting. I learned that when making a petal ombre cake that you need to make extra frosting. I own two bowls for my Kitchenaid stand mixer, so I made a batch in each bowl. I pulled half of the frosting out of the first bowl, so I had the white. In the second bowl, I put one drop of Americolor Soft Pink. I took half of that frosting out and put in into a separate bowl. Into each of the two remaining half-filled mixing bowls I added 2 drops of Soft Pink, stirred, and voila! I had my 4 colors.

On to the fun part, icing the cake. I cut the top of each cake layer to make it flat, frosted in between each layer, and put on a crumb coating. Do not throw away the cut off pieces of cake. I will tell you later what to do with the pieces. Now, I did not own enough #12 tips to do this job. So, I just put a coupler in the pastry bag and piped the frosting straight out of the coupler. The coupler has a little slit on the side. I turned the slit facing the side that was going to be pressed flat by the spatula. It worked alright, but I am in the process of purchasing more tips.

After, I finished icing the cake, I iced the cupcakes. I used a #129 tip. This tip has a metal bar inside. So, when I squeezed out the icing, it separated it into ribbons. Also, the bar makes it very hard to squeeze out the icing. It was tiring, but it turned into a pretty flower design.

I said earlier that I would tell you what I did with the extra cake bits. I dumped them all in to one of my Kitchenaid bowls, added all the extra frosting, and mixed it all together. It made a lovely pink ball with a consistency similar to cookie dough.  I put it in a Tupperware bowl and stuck it in the fridge for my husband.  He said it tasted like cake and icing.

As you can see in the pictures, it all turned out really well for my first try. Everyone thought it was beautiful. I had some people say it was the best cake they had ever tasted. Others wanted me to let them know when I started going into business. Everyone was happy, especially the Mommy & Daddy-to-be. That’s all that matters to me! Enjoy.

Ombre Cake and Smash***Well, a year has passed. I was asked to make the baby’s first birthday cake and smash cake. Her parents thought that it would be fitting to have it look like the baby shower cake. So, that’s exactly what I did. Enjoy.***

Red Velvet Cookies

Heart CookiesI decided to try this recipe and make red velvet cookies for Valentine’s Day. They were easy to make, cooked up real nice, and kept their shape. However, the taste…not so much. I am not the biggest red velvet fan, unlike my brother-in-law, but I will never pass up an opportunity to eat cookies. These were a bit on the chocolate side. So, they had a cocoa aftertaste. I had some cream cheese frosting (the kind in the tub…shhhhh!). I thought I would try spreading that on the cookies and see if they tasted any better. Sorry to say, but still no. Before I threw them all away, I frosted four of the cookies, put on some cute sprinkles, and took some pics. At the very least, they looked really good.

Overall, I may make these again one day, but will definitely cut back on the cocoa powder. I learned something new, and that is the whole point of this baking world that I live in now. Sorry, I posted this way after Valentine’s Day. I felt that this learning experience and cute cookies were still worth posting. Enjoy.