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.

The Amazing Spider-Man…2

It is that time again. In my daughter’s class, each Friday a different student is responsible for providing a special snack.  When her turn came around again, I asked her what kinds of snacks the other kids had brought. She said fruit roll ups or store bought sugar cookies, usually. She and I both knew that store bought cookies just would not do. I started thinking of what kind of theme I wanted for the cookies I was going to make. It is almost the end of the school year and it is getting hotter outside. My first thought was suns/flowers. As I was sketching out ideas, I had a “that’s it” moment… Spider-Man! The movie had just come to the theaters. The timing was perfect and I have made Spider-Man cookies before.

Spidey Masks SideviewI have a custom cookie cutter that I made for doing faces, but I felt that it was too big. Recently, when I was walking through the Easter section at a store, I found a set of small cutters. One of the cutters was an egg, but when I saw it I knew it would be perfect for making faces. That’s why I bought it, and it turned out to be just the right size for Spidey. I asked my daughter, as I held up each of the cutters, “Would you rather have one of these (big custom cutter) or two cookies of these (small “egg” cutter)?” I reminded her of the Yoshi eggs that I made recently with the same cutter, and the decision was made.  All I needed to do was brush up on the how-to from my favorite cookie blog.

Spidey EyesI wanted all the faces to have uniform eyes, so I printed clipart of Spider-Man’s mask. Mainly, because I didn’t feel like getting out the Kopykake machine. Food markers and cut-out Spidey eyes can’t be that hard. Well…it wasn’t hard, just tedious. I will say the next time I trace with food markers, I will either put tape on both sides of the paper, or I will create a stencil. By the time I was finished, the piece of paper was soaked and torn. 70 cookies = a lot of eyeballs.

Every time I color icing, I learn something new. This time it was a lesson in red. I didn’t want to use too much red coloring, so decided to add brown to darken it.  I did darken it, but it looked muted. I was so upset at the results that I figured I was going to have to make another batch of icing. I made more icing and decided to go ahead and make the cookie dough, too. About 45 minutes had gone by and it was time to get back to coloring the icing. I decided to salvage the muted brown-red by turning it into black. I opened up the container of red icing and low and behold, it had turned to a perfect shade of red. I was happy and mad at the same time.  I just spent all that time making another batch of icing. Arrgh… The thing to remember about coloring royal icing is that the final color develops over time. When I make black, I stop adding coloring when it is a dark gray. The next day it will be black. So, with all of this said, I’ve learned to always make the icing the night before.

Spidey Masks TopdownI wanted to make these cookies special for boys and girls, so I made Spider-Girl cookies,too. They were pink with glitter (disco dust) eyes. (I am fully aware that the real Spider-Girl from the comics is not pink and sparkly.  Honestly, she looks more like Venom-Girl, but I am not ready to get into a lengthy discussion about it right now.) With this in mind, I asked my daughter’s teacher to let me know the number of boys and girls was in the class.  There were 20 students total.  Giving each student two cookies, I only needed 40 cookies for my daughter’s class.  From the dough I had made, I was able to cut out 70 cookies, so I was able to make some for my son’s class, too. I don’t know of any teacher that is going to turn away homemade decorated sugar cookies. Do you?

Now, because I made so many, meant that there was going to be a lot of piping. Finding the right tip for the spiderweb lines became a small problem. I am glad that I had a few extras. I started with a Wilton #1, but the lines were too big. Then, I tried my PME 00 and PME 0 tips, but they kept on clogging. Finally, I used a PME 1 and it worked. Yippee!

Spidey_Gwen_CarI wrapped pairs of cookies in treat bags and boxed them up for the kids. The next day, I walked each of my children to their classroom. I informed their teacher that I made the cookies without almond extract, for those in the class with nut allergies. Also, I assured them that the glitter on the pink cookies was edible. When I picked the kids up from school, they said that everyone loved the cookies. The girls especially liked the glitter, as I knew they would. Because, all girls love glitter! 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.