Monday, May 7, 2012

Paris, je t'aime

One of my very favorite things is when someone asks me to do a cookie design that I haven't done before. I absolutely love being out of my "creative comfort zone". I love to have a blank cookie in front of me and know in my head how I want it to look and transfer it onto my "canvas".

So it was with these cookies. I was given the theme Paris, and the colors black and pink. Knowing this was for an anniversary party, I wanted to incorporte as much "love" as I could :)

I've always thought about going to Paris, and about ten years ago I almost had the chance - but it was not to be. I was so close - living in Europe - but the day before things changed. One day... day I'll see the Eiffel Tower for real!

Everything was done freehand. I drew "chandelier" image, piped it onto wax paper, let it dry and then transferred it onto the cookies. I am learning to do writing better after lots of practice, but I would love for a KopyKake to be in my future...

Such a romantic city, or so I've been told.

 These photos by Wendy Lake Photography
See her Facebook page here

 The beautiful Paris tags crafted by Creative Visions

I hope that the couple that I made these for have a wonderful anniversary, and that these cookies help them remember why they first fell in love.

Keep it sweet!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Chill, Baby...

Is it chilly and snowy where you are? Or are you headed to the pool or beach to bask in the sun?

Although I live in a warm climate, I still like to think of this time of year as winter. Yes, I have my AC on. And it's a little over 80 degrees outside, I'm in shorts, a sleeveless shirt, and sandals. But it's still winter somewhere!
Nevertheless, I've made some winter cookies that I'd like to share with you.

Here are some cute snowmen:

Here they are personalized:

I did these snowflake/hat/mitten cookies to match a Winter ONEderland party theme.

Penguins are a hot item right now and I think they are so cute! I have plans to make them in many different colors.

These were my pink Valentine penguins.

I made some snowflake cookies to match the pink theme, but was in a rush and didn't get pictures! Oh well, just an excuse to make more, right?!

Some minis:

Wherever you are, and whatever your weather is like at the moment, I hope you are taking the time to enjoy something sweet!!

Keep it sweet,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fairy Tale Cookie Project

Just recently I had the amazing opportunity and honor of being part of a wonderful cookie project. Anne from Flour Box Bakery organized this project by 21 cookiers in the US (and 1 in Korea). The project was based on many different fairy tales, with each of us taking one specific fairy tale and making cookies with that theme for a baby shower.

I made Peter Pan cookies, and tried to incorporate the idea of staying a child and being happy - since those are both huge themes in the story of Peter Pan. I also wanted to make it seem like there was pixie dust sprinkled all over the cookies!

As you can see, I put some kind of "pixie dust" on every cookie - whether it was scattered dots painted in luster dust or icing dots . I wanted the characters to look as childlike as I could, so I used some art from here as my inspiration for my characters.

Yadira of One Sweet Party designed a beautiful bag tag and bag topper for our project:

Some close ups:

You can see the full project at Anne's Blog, and I've also included links to everyone's projects below. Enjoy the beauty of some amazing, talented artists - my Sugar Sisters!!

Keep it sweet,

Little Red Riding Hood, presented by Angela of Oh, Sugar Events
Facebook Page

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, presented by Susan of The Painted Cookie
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Aladdin, presented by Nicole of Life's a BatchFacebook Page
Life's A Batch Blog

Rapunzel, presented by Adrianne of Color Me Cookie

Alice in Wonderland, presented by Debbie of Mt. Lookout Sweets
Facebook Page
Prince Charming of Cinderella, presented by Tiffany of TheRedCooky

Jack and the Beanstalk, presented by Laura of Laura's Cookies

Princess and the Pea, presented by Anne of Flour Box Bakery
Facebook Page

Pinocchio, presented by Stephanie of the Hungry Hippopotamus

Peter Pan, presented by Elizabeth of SweetArt Sweets
Facebook Page

The Frog Prince, presented by Anita of Sweet Hope Cookies
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Jasmine, presented by Kimberly of Sweet Creations
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Little Bo Peep, presented by Lorraine of Lorraine's Cookies
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Tinkerbell, presented by Andrea of Cupookie
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Cinderella, presented by Hillary of The Cookie Countess
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Hercules, presented by Sarah of Songbird Sweets
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Sleeping Beauty, presented by Natalie of Palestine Painted Cookie
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Goldilocks, presented by Liz of Arty McGoo
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Robin Hood, presented by Teresa of Sweet-T-CakeS

Thumbelina, presented by Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle
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Mulan, presented by Krista of Cookies with Character

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Have a Confession...

So, I have a confession. I've never actually made muffins from scratch. I know, right?! I've made them from the box, and I used to work in a bakery where the dough would come premade and we would fill the tins and bake them. But making them from scratch - never. Until today!

Bananas usually get eaten pretty quickly at our house. However, my son has not been too keen on them lately and now my daughter didn't seem too into them either. So I had two bananas left and they were in the beginning stages of being too ripe to enjoy. I thought about making banana nut bread. But then I thought banana nut muffins might be really yummy!

So I googled "the best banana nut muffins" and got a recipe that sounded really good. I tweaked it slightly and this is what I came up with:

2-3 ripe bananas
one egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp lemon extract
2 Tb strong coffee or espresso
6 Tb milk (if using 3 bananas, cut this to 3 Tb)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
*recipe adapted from HERE

Preheat your oven to 350. You'll need two bowls, one for wet ingredients, and one for dry ingredients. Mash up the bananas with a fork in the wet ingredient bowl. Stir in the rest of the wet ingredients (egg, melted butter, vanilla, coffee, milk).

Put all of your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nuts) into the other bowl. Stir, making sure that all the ingredients are combined well.

Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Do not stir at this point - you want to FOLD it slowly and carefully around 10-12 times. Your batter will be lumpy - that is how you want it.

Now you can fill your muffin tin! This recipe made 12 muffins. I used cupcake liners for mine, but you can spray your tin with cooking spray or a small amount of shortening to prevent sticking. I find the liners to be much easier with clean up - and much easier to get out of the tin.

Sprinkle some sugar on top of your batter. Be generous - it makes a delicious glaze on top while baking!

Bake them for 18-20 minutes at 350. I have a gas oven and it seems to bake more quickly than an electric, so mine were done after 18 minutes. Depending on your oven you may have to go a little longer. Test it with a toothpick.

These are so moist, and the sugar on top really adds to the delicious-ness.

If you don't devour them straight out of the oven (my 2 year old daughter gobbled up two of them right away), wrap them up and save for later - pop them in the microwave for a few seconds... maybe add a dollop of butter and enjoy!

Keep it sweet!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Favorite Season - FALL!

I love fall! I grew up in the midwest, and always adored when fall would come around. It wasn't bitterly cold winter yet, and the dreary hot summer was over - it was fall! The changing of the leaves was my favorite part. My sister and I would rake the leaves in our front and back yard - okay, we would rake them into piles so that we could play in them! Sometimes we would rake a pile so big and then dive into it, and cover each other with more leaves so that we were entirely covered. Good times!

One especially beautiful fall day was October 6, 2000. I remember the exact date because it was the day before my sister got married. The drive to our church was always beautiful during fall - there were numerous trees surrounding that back woods area, and the leaves on the trees were the most vibrant fall colors you can imagine. I remember driving to the church that night for the rehearsal dinner, and everything just seemed more colorful and gorgeous. I had my camera with me of course - so I made a few stops just to snap some photos of those amazing leaves.

I don't live in the midwest anymore, so fall is something that I miss a lot! I just made a trip home last week, and I had almost forgotten how beautiful those leaves get. Although, I'm not used to the cold anymore, so I think I would rather miss out on the changing of the leaves than be freezing! :-)

Here is my rendition of those beautiful fall leaves I remember so well:

Had to add some acorns and cute little squirrels to the mix.

When I traveled home last week, my sweet aunt bought me some new cookie cutters. I was like a little kid in a candy store, all new cutters!! I was finally able to make some Halloween cookies that I have been meaning to make for about a month now!

I got the inspiration for the pumpkin faces from none other than Martha Stewart. You can see the cute clip art project that she did with pumpkins here.

I have another set of Halloween cookies that I am so excited about, because they turned out even better than what I had imagined in my head - I love it when that happens because it's not very often! But that is going to have to wait until Halloween...

Until then, keep it sweet.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hello Kitty Birthday

I can't believe my baby girl is 2! It was a bittersweet moment realizing that my baby is not so much a baby anymore. I thought back to the moment I first saw her when the nurse brought her all swaddled up to me.

It was a perfect moment; there we were, the four of us - my husband, me, my son, and my new baby girl.

I went all out for her 1st birthday last year, so this year I made it a little simpler.

First, we opened presents. Big brother was there to help.

She had to show Grandpa what she got.

Then it was time for cake!

I made a three-layer chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate custard and a layer of butterscotch custard.

The outside was covered in vanilla buttercream with a royal icing dots and a royal icing Hello Kitty. I just made a printout of a Hello Kitty, put it under wax paper and filled it in with royal icing. When it was dry, it peeled right off the paper.

I also made some cookies.

Then, it was time to play outside!

Kisses from Daddy are always good, too.

Keep it sweet,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whooo Wants Cookies? I do!!!

Most of you have probably already seen these cookie owls that I made a few months ago.

A friend of mine had wrapped up a gift for my son in the most adorable owl wrapping paper, and when I saw it, I knew I had to make those owls into cookies!!

I used a tulip cookie cutter, and just cut the top middle part and the stem off before baking.

I added the brown icing first, doing the wings and ears. When those were dry, I did the head, and when the icing was still wet, applied the white for the eyes. When the brown was completely dry, I added the colored body.

You'll need to wait at least a couple of hours to finish the following steps. To be on the safe side, I usually wait overnight. 

I added the dots with a #1 tip, and finished the eyes with black and yellow edible marker.

Of course, you'll want to add a cute little yellow beak too!

For the minis at first, I used a mini round cutter. I needed guys and girl owls for the event, so I added a little bow to the girls :-)

Then I had a request for mini owls that looked the same as my original owls. That is how these little guys originated!

I love their personalities! I want to be the winking one ;-)

Keep it sweet,