Let’s Have A Luau.

Like I said last year, asking your kids what kind of birthday theme they want more than two weeks before their party is for the birds. My daughter and I were walking around Hobby Lobby and I spotted a row of luau party supplies. I “suggested” to her that she have a luau themed pool party. She saw the party supplies and her face lit up. She said that was a great idea…and so the planning began, finally.

Luau CupcakesThe cupcakes were easy. I had liners that matched the plates and napkins. I made rainbow colored cupcakes with white buttercream icing. They were topped with a cute umbrella like the kind you might put in a fruity drink.

Flip Flops and FlowersThe cookies were flip flops and flowers. I got the idea from one of my favorite cookie blogs. The flip flop cookie cutter is from Wilton. The hibiscus flower cutter I had to make myself because I did not have a flower cutter with five petals. My daughter wanted glitter or sparkles on the shoes. After the base coat dried, I piped on the strap and while the royal icing was wet, I added sprinkles. She said the cookies turned out awesome. Yippee!

The party went well and it didn’t rain.  When it was time for dessert, all the kids decided that they wanted a cookie AND a cupcake. The key to happy kids at a party is always making enough sweets for them to have one of each. Enjoy.

Hang Your Favorite Ornament On The Tree.

Marbled OrnamentsThese were on my list of cookie ideas that I had last year, but they didn’t make the cut. So, this year they were a must have. I love blue ornaments. We even have them on our tree.

Oddly enough, I don’t own any ornament cookie cutters, and because of this I had to make my own. These were super easy and icing them was fun. I got to do marbling. I flooded the cookie, piped a few lines and drug a toothpick through the wet icing to make a cute design. Once the blue icing was dry, I piped out a bit of icing on the top and added silver sprinkles.

Have A Sweet Holiday TopperThe bag toppers were the most tedious part of the whole cookie process. Design the toppers in Photoshop (done by my husband), print the toppers, cut the toppers, fold and hole punch the toppers, attach hand punched holly leaves and rhinestones, and tie on a ribbon. Needless to say, it took me two days to do 150 toppers. The next time I have to make toppers, I will definitely do them as soon as I know they will be part of the cookie order! Have A Sweet Holiday! Enjoy.

A Christmas Tree Found In The Snow.

Brushed Christmas TreesI had other cookie design ideas, but when I saw this one, I decided to give it a try. I had a rectangle cookie cutter, but I wanted it to be fluted. I had a fluted rectangle cookie cutter, but it was way too big. What was I going to do? What anyone with a little imagination would do…I grabbed my Pampered Chef potato crinkle cutter. I need the cookies to be a certain size. So, I took a piece of wax paper and folded it into a 2 inch strip. Worked like a charm.

I needed stars for the tops of the trees. I took some yellow icing and piped it out into star transfers and then sprinkled them with some disco dust while they were still wet. Let them dry overnight and then peeled them off. Transfers need to be one of the first things you do, before you start icing the cookies, since it takes a day for them to dry.

I chose white as the background for these cookies. I figured that it would look like snow. I was up until 4am with the gingerbread men and flooding white icing onto these cookies. The next day was crunch time, since the base coat was now dry. Time to brush on the trees. I still need a lot of practice with embroidery brushing, but for my first time, it wasn’t too too bad. The tree reminded me of the ones in the movies, where the family goes into the forest to find the perfect tree and finds a big huge one. Only to remember that they have to drag it all the way back to the car. After I brushed on a few trees, I noticed they needed a little something. So, I attached some red sprinkles before the green icing started to dry. It wouldn’t be a Christmas tree without a few ornaments and a star on top. Enjoy.

Gingerbread Man…I Think Not. Let’s Make Him Chocolate!

Gingerbread MenIt’s that time of year again…to make Christmas Cookie Treat Bags for my brother, that is. What cookies will I make this year? My brother wanted chocolate and regular sugar cookies again.

I had quite a few ideas roughly sketched out for the chocolate ones.  Ultimately, I chose a gingerbread man. The whole time I was making these, the movie Shrek came popping into my head. “Not my gumdrop buttons!” I was going insane for days…lol. Speaking of gumdrop buttons, I had to put a heart somewhere in the cookie designs and this was an excellent choice. A man needs a heart, not some silly gumdrop buttons. Right?

Before I cut out the dough, I got out my cookie cutters and laid them on top of the treat bag to see how and if the cookies would fit. They were too big. Someone was going to have to go. I didn’t own a smaller gingerbread man cookie cutter, so I made my own. He fit perfectly. Now, I tried to make the icing a nice brown color, but I couldn’t get it a dark enough shade. The cookie was a dark chocolate color, so I was hoping it would be able bring out the color of the brown. At the end, I still was not satisfied. But am I ever? I was planning on making heart transfers and then attaching them to the man, but I got lucky and found some heart sprinkles. That took a couple of hours off of my time.

At 4 in the morning, I was finally finished flooding the base coat of the men and attaching their hearts. Now, it was time to go to bed. I’ll let them dry, wake up in 3 hours to take the kids to school and then do some more decorating. At the end, when putting on the finishing touches to all the cookies, I added the eyes, mouth and arm/leg clothes markings to the men. Done…Now, if they could only walk themselves into the bags. Enjoy.

Hydrangea Cupcakes

Hydrangea_CupcakesMy husband got a lateral move at work and wanted me to make cupcakes for his office to celebrate. So, I decided to send him in with hydrangea cupcakes. And why not? I seriously doubt anyone cares what they looked like. I know the truth about his co-workers. They just want them because they are covered in homemade buttercream frosting.

I have been wanting to make these for a while now, I saw them done a couple of years ago on one of my favorite blogs.These were fun to make and I learned a couple of things. I made a batch of frosting, put a little bit in a small bowl and then separated the rest into my two Kitchenaid bowls. In the small bowl I put a tiny drop of Americolor Forest Green, which was the wrong color to use. It was way too dark. So, I added a tiny bit of Americolor Electric Green, which worked like a charm. For the other colors, I used Violet and Royal Blue. Now, the fun part. Trying to put both purple and blue into one piping bag without getting the colors all mixed together. I took the easy route and used plastic wrap, as demonstrated here.

Hydrangea_CupcakeNow, that the bags are made it was time to pipe out the wonderful frosting. I started piping the leaves with a #70 leaf tip. I put 3 to 4 leaves around the top. I wish I owned a #2D tip, but I only had a #1M. Improvising and imagination are definitely on the top of my “keys to success” list. So, when piping out the flowers, you have to remember to rotate the piping tip. If you don’t you will have the colors facing the same direction, unless that is what you are going for. I wanted the flower colors to look sporadical.

The cupcakes were a success, but I have been told that I have to make another batch soon. Because, if you want to make sure everyone is happy and not have your husband come home with any extras, don’t send baked goods on a Friday when most of the office decided to take a half-day. Enjoy.

Poinsettia Cupcakes

For my side of the family, we did Christmas a day early. It was suggested that I could bring a dessert, preferably cookies. I had too much going on to devote time to cookies, so I made yummy cupcakes instead.

 

 

 

I wanted to try something new. I thought that making poinsettias would be pretty. I didn’t take a picture, but the cake is colored red and green. Therefore, I decided to keep the frosting white. I took my # 70 tip and piped out leaves, alternating around the cupcake. I went to my drawer of sprinkles and decided to keep it simple with red and green. I wanted the sprinkles to be in the center of the cupcake, but had no idea how I was going to achieve that by just shaking them on. I thought..I will  hold a funnel just above the center and shake in the sprinkles. It worked like a charm.

I feel bad for my sister. Her homemade apple pie sat on the counter lonely. The cupcakes were a hit. I got a lot of compliments and had a request for the recipe for the buttercream  frosting. Enjoy.

Enjoy the Season

My husband and I devoted a few hours to placing hundreds of cookies into festive holiday bags.  If you plan on making personal treat bags ever, make sure that you add at least half a day to your project’s schedule to account for the actual bagging process.

You may notice that there is slack in the ribbon. They were going to be attached to a bottle of wine, so I had to make allowance in the ribbon.  My husband made the toppers in Photoshop and did a wonderful job, I may add. We printed them, and I got to use my paper-chopper to cut them out. You don’t use one often, but when you do, it is a wonderful thing to own.

Let’s talk a second about cookie freshness. There is nothing worse than making cookies and giving them as gifts all dried out. If you make cookies or simply make any edible treats, I highly recommend purchasing a sealer. It was super easy to use and made me confident in the final product. I am very pleased with the outcome of these cookies. Every time I make a batch, I learn so much. Enjoy.

Let it snow!

I have been waiting a long time to be able to use my Williams-Sonoma snowflake cookie cutters that my brother bought me many moons ago. I had no idea how to design the icing to make a snowflake from a cookie. I had only made snowflakes with paper and scissors, as a kid. So, I looked at snowflake cookies that were posted on Google images to get some inspiration.

I had a lot of fun doing the cookies with sugar crystals. I liked the way it kinda looked like snow. I showed my daughter and friends all the different holiday cookies I made this year, and they said that they liked the snowflakes the best. Just goes to show that everyone loves sugar and sparkles. Enjoy.

Snowmen and their top hats

I knew that i wanted to make snowmen this Christmas. I went through my cookie cutters, but my collection is not that grand…yet. I didn’t find a cutter that matched what I had pictured in my head, so I made one. I originally was going to pipe little leaves on the brim of the hat to match the holly cookies, but the snowflake sprinkles turned out even better. They also wouldn’t get crushed in the bag. The carrot noses I did as icing transfers to save time. These guys were fun to make. Time consuming because of the layers, but they turned out great. Enjoy.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

When you are making a ton of cookies, prep work is a must. So, let’s talk a little about my new friend that I got to help with icing transfers… reusable parchment paper. I bought mine for a little less than $4 from Amazon.

I had been using regular parchment paper off a roll and taping it down, but it still seemed to curl up and buckle when the moisture from the cookies was sucked up by the paper. This new reusable parchment paper is awesome! There is no curling and the best part is that I can just clean it off and use it again for my next batch of transfers. Also, it is porous, so the air goes underneath and dries the icing quicker. Lastly, I find that the transfers peel off easier. When I used normal parchment paper it folded and crackled. The reusable sheets are much more flexible.  They just roll and don’t crease.

I hope that I have helped someone that has been having the same problem that I had with regular parchment paper. These new reusable sheets have been a lifesaver for me and these holly cookies turned out great. Enjoy.