Assemble The Minions!

So, my sister calls me and reminds me that I said I would make cookies for her son’s birthday. I love that she reminds me. This year, she said the theme was Minions. “The little yellow guys from Despicable Me?” I asked. She said that I could make purple ones, too. Not having seen the second movie, I was a little confused. Purple ones?  Needless to say, I did a lot of research the minute I got off the phone.

Minion CookiesNow, the design. Yes, having feet and arms would have been super cute, but also time consuming. I thought about all the cookie cutters I own and then it hit me… Larry. (Of course, I just had to Google his name “Veggie Tales cucumber”.) I had made these cookies previously for my sister. All I had to do was stretch out the ends of the cookie cutter a little. When I pressed out the cookies, all I had to do was cut them across the middle.

I can’t stress the importance of making royal icing ahead of time. I did mine a couple of days before. The reason is that the colors need time to develop. Also, if you know that you are going to be doing cookies with eyeballs, making icing early will give you time to make icing eyeball transfers. Luckily, I already had color eyeball transfers I had made previously from icing leftovers on another project.

Icing the cookies was fun. The purple minion’s hair and I never seemed to agree. I just chalk it up to everyone having a bad hair day.  I wanted the eyes to match the minions, so I used brown and purple eyeballs. The trim on the goggles I dusted with silver luster dust because I wanted it to stand out. I don’t know if the kids noticed, but I did. Enjoy.

p.s. Maybe, one day I will get around to watching the second movie. It’s pretty sad, considering that we own it.

 

Mario, Luigi, & A Few Items You Can Grab Along The Way.

My son decided that he wanted to have a Mario themed birthday this year. I had already done Mario cookies, so I was feeling pretty confident about making them again… and the cupcakes. The wheels in my head were turning and I started sketching out the cookies I wanted to do. I asked my son, “Of the one’s off this paper, which cookies do you want me to make?” Not a smart move.  He choose almost all of them. But, they were so cute that I kind of wanted to try them all anyway. Maybe that is why I wound up making too many cookies. I wanted to have enough of each character. If I only made one batch of dough, there would have only been about 6 of each character. I didn’t want to be the cause of some upset kid (or adult…lol) because someone ate all the stars and they didn’t get to have one. Anyway, I learned my lesson…152 iced cookies later.

Bowser Castle CupcakesSo, let’s talk cupcakes. I wanted the cupcakes to look super cool. I looked at a few ideas online, but most of them had characters on top of the cupcake. Which would have been pretty cool, but costly. Instead, another “that’s perfect” moment happened. I decided to do the end flagpole scene when you clear a course on a Super Mario game. It took me a couple of days to cut out, draw, and tape the cupcake wrappers. The flags I printed out and cut. Now, I know the flags are supposed to be triangle shaped, but because of size issues and the way they printed, I had to cut them as a rectangle. I still think they turned out awesome. Originally, the top of the flagpole was going to be a Lemonhead, but because of my son’s love for marshmallows, a new idea was born. We topped cakepop sticks with mini marshmallows and colored the sides with a yellow food marker. Genius, I tell you.

Mario Kart 8 CookiesOk, back to the 152 cookies. I had so many cookies that I had to be strategic on divvying up the icing into different colors. I made sure that I iced the had-to-do cookies first. That left the yoshi eggs and emblem cookies last.  I put disco dust on the stars to make them sparkle. The mushrooms were easy. The blue mini mushrooms turned out to be my favorite. The fire flower and boomerang flower (Mario Kart 8) took a little more work. I went through my cookie cutters and found some possiblities (like the letter “K” or “V”), but they just didn’t look right. So, I had to make my own cutters. I decided to pipe out the leaves and make transfers. I wanted them to have depth. I made a few extra transfers, just incase they broke or didn’t match up right. The question mark boxes – don’t ask me why I freehanded them when I had my KopyKake machine setup and ready to go. Probably because I didn’t want to stop and print out the question mark. Since I had the KopyKake setup, I used it to make the Mario and Luigi emblem cookies. (Plus, my son thought the machine was cool and wanted to turn it on and off for me.) I was at the end of icing the had-to-do cookies and decided to make different color yoshi eggs, since I had a little bit left of every color.

Question Mark Cheese CubeOne last edible decoration…question mark blocks of cheese. It was a very tedious process. I happen to own a question mark imprint stamp. So, I stamped all four sides and top with a question mark and stuck a toothpick in them. (If you decide to do something like this, I recommend wearing food handler gloves. It made it easier to handle and I got to tell everyone, “Don’t worry, I wore gloves.”) Now, would I do it again? Probably not. Even though it looked cool, not everyone noticed and it took forever to do.

At the party, there definitely wasn’t enough room to put out all the cookies. So, I kept 75% of them in my Snapware containers, but had baggies for everyone to take as many as they wanted home. The cookie and cupcake designs were a hit. My son loved the party, as he should, since he made out like a bandit. When the party was over, I looked at all the cookies leftover. What is a girl to do? I took some to my neighbors and I made my husband take bags of cookies to his co-workers. Happy people everywhere. Enjoy.

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.

It’s a me…Mario.

For everything in life, it seems like a two weeks notice is the standard heads-up. As soon as you are given the notice, you should act right away. Don’t wait until the “date”. So, you are probably wondering what all that means. I am going to fill you in on the details.

Mario PlateA good friend of mine asked me to make Mario (of Nintendo’s Super Mario fame) cookies for her son’s birthday party. She texted me a good month in advance. I told her that I would research it and let her know. I had never done Mario cookies, so I wanted to make sure that I would be able make some. So, a couple of weeks goes by and she calls me to see how everything is going. I told her that I wouldn’t be able to make Mario himself, but had no problem with stars, mushrooms, etc. She said that would be fine, but…the party date was moved up and in less than a week. Of course, I replied that I would still do them.

Mario GroupI thought of all the icing colors that I would need yellow, red, green, white, and black. I made Stars, Mushrooms, question mark blocks, and Yoshi eggs. The cookie cutters were pretty easy to come by and I only had to custom work for the mushrooms. I used a star cutter for the Invincibility Star.  For the Mushroom, I popped out a circle and cut off an angle.  The “?” Block is just a square, and Yoshi’s Egg was made using an Easter egg cutter I had.  I cut and baked all the cookies the night before. I woke up early and started icing. I started with the mushrooms and Yoshi eggs, since the first color was going to have to dry, before the second was added. Then, I iced the stars and question mark blocks. I made so many cookies that I ran out of yellow icing. It was ok, my kids used the extras to do cookie art. I added the second colors, question marks, and then the eyes.

I was torn on one thing:  The stars. To sparkle or not to sparkle? That was the first question. The answer…sparkle, of course. The second question was disco dust or gold luster dust? I decided that luster dust would be easier and less messy. Even though disco dust would have looked awesome. Maybe next time. I’m sure one of these years my son will want Mario cookies.

Even in a time crunch, everything turned out fine. The party was a hit and so were the cookies. 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.

Scored A Goal With These Soccer Cookies!

Soccer 20Earlier this year, I made cookies and brought some of the extras to work. I had one in a Ziploc bag, gave one to one of the guys at work and he put it in his pocket for later. Unfortunately, by the time he was able to eat it, it had been crushed into cookie powder. The other day, some of us at work were talking about eating cookies, and the cookie powder guy mentioned that he still had not tried one of my cookies and that his birthday was coming up soon. I quickly said that I would make him some birthday cookies. He lives and breathes soccer, so choosing the theme was easy.

Now, I am not a fan of black icing. So, I asked him if he wanted it to look 3D – which means black icing – or airbrushed? He told me to do which ever one would be easier. I told him I would make whatever he wanted, and he chose the 3D look. Also, he told me that he liked the color blue and he was turning 20. As soon as he said 20, my cookie rolodex started spinning in my mind.

I searched soccer ball clip art to use with my KopyKake projector. I wanted blue in the cookie, so I decided to make a sky and use a #223 tip for green grass. Now, that I had everything figured out. I made the icing and cut out the cookies. Cutting the cookies was probably the most tedious part of the process. They were going to be a cookie 20.  I had to press out a “2” and then use a circle cutter to make the zero. I had to make sure that I pressed all the cuts back together, so the cookie would not fall apart. When I moved the dough to the pan, I used a floured spatula. It helped a lot. Also, I had to angle the top of the “2” outward a bit. That helped the cookie look like a “2” when it finished cooking.

I used my KopyKake projector to pipe the black parts of the soccer ball – which made up the zero part of the 20. I started piping with a #2 tip, but the lines were way too thick so I switched to a #1. I let that dry overnight. The next day, I iced top part of the 2 so it looked like blue sky.  I did this first so that it would be dry enough for the green grass I had planned for the bottom of the 2. Then, I filled in the remaining holes of the soccer ball with white icing. I did not thin out the green royal icing at all. I never had used a grass tip before. It was really easy to use, but I did not clean the tip enough after each cookie. So, some of the grass was melded together more than others. Lesson learned.

The guy at work loved his soccer birthday cookies, and so did all the other employees. I made treat bags for everyone. These cookies turned out great and exactly how I had envisioned them. As an added bonus, my son and I had a lot of fun saying “futbol” during this project. Enjoy.

LEGOS Are Everywhere!

Lego CookiesLegos have infested my house. Luckily, I have not had the honor of stepping on one and having to go to the hospital…yet. My kids love to take the minifigures and swap out heads, hair and bodies. Also, my son loves to play all the Lego games on the Wii. So, it is no surprise that my son wanted a Lego themed birthday party. I asked him if he wanted cookies, cupcakes or a cake. He said that he wanted all of them. I guess I shouldn’t have given him so many options.

Lego TowerI didn’t feel like making a ton of cookies, so I just made one batch of dough. But, when you are cutting out squares and rectangles, the dough goes a long way. I wanted to make Lego heads too. I searched through my cookie cutters, but couldn’t find anything that would work. So, I just made my own. The one thing that I love about icing Lego cookies is that I only have to use one single color. I must say these were super easy.

Lego Female FaceFirst, my plan was to make black icing and pipe features onto the minifigure faces. Then the plan turned into using a paint brush and brushing royal icing on the yellow heads. Finally, after I got out my KopyKake machine and all was said and done.  I wound up using food markers, which worked like a dream. Especially since my daughter wanted a few of the Lego faces to be girls, which means eyelashes and lips.

Lego CakeHe wanted chocolate cake with buttercream icing. I made a single layer round cake and a dozen cupcakes. I iced a crumb coat and then smoothed out the rest. I used brown M&M’s to make the face. It turned out kind of plain, but cute.

So, there you have it. He got all 3 desserts. We ate leftovers for a few days, which no one seemed to mind. After the party, my house has even more Legos. Enjoy.

TMNT…Turtles in a Halfshell…Turtle Power!

I asked my daughter what she wanted for her birthday theme. She quickly answered, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. I asked the usual, “Are you sure?” Really, why do I even bother asking that anymore? Anyway, I did some TMNT party Google searching. I found some cute ideas and used a few. As far as cookies go, I found lots of masked turtle faces. But what do I decide to do? Pizza. I mean turtles like pizza, right? Well, these turtles do anyway.

wm_turtle_pizzaPrior to making my daughter’s TMNT cookies, I made cookies for my sister and had left over red icing. I added a little maroon and voila…pepperoni slices. I made transfers and saved them for my pizza creations. The pizza boxes took longer to make than the cookies themselves. Go figure.

wm_turtles_masksMy daughter was turning 8 and I HAD to incorporate the number 8, at least somewhere. So, I got this crazy-eight idea. I took my number 8 cookie cutter, left the middle circles intact, and made the turtle masks. “8’s” made with a little imagination. (If you look closely, their eye color matches each ninja turtle correctly.)

My daughter loved all the decorations, as she should, since she helped with some of them. Also, she loved all the gifts she received. Especially, the other Lego TMNT set she didn’t already own. Overall, I would have to say the party was a success. Enjoy.