Monday, May 23, 2011

I Heart Coffee

When I was a little girl, I would ask my mom to tell me stories of when she was a little girl. My favorite one was when she told me that she would stand beside her dad as he drank his coffee. When he was just about done, he would save the very last sip for my mom.

She also used to tell me that if coffee were a purfume, she would wear it. I have to agree. I absolutely love the smell of coffee, whether it's brewing, or just smelling the coffee beans.

So this is where my love for coffee must have originated.

I have been wanting to make coffee cookies. I've been working on a chocolate espresso cookie recipe, and I wanted to add that recipe into this post for you. I thought it would be the perfect thing. . . biting into a decorated coffee cookie that actually tastes like coffee!! I have not perfected the recipe yet; but when I do, you will surely hear about it!

Some friends of mine gave me a coffee pot holder when they found out I was redoing my kitchen in a coffee theme. That little pot holder inspired these designs.

Wouldn't these cookies go great with a cup of coffee?

Enjoy your coffee and keep it sweet!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beautiful Butterflies

I love butterflies in all forms. I did my daughter's room in butterflies, painted a series for her bedroom wall, and did her first birthday in butterflies. Here is the dress I made for her party. I just think butterflies are so beautiful.

The first cookies I ever did were... butterflies! I had stumbled upon one of *the* most incredible cookie decorators, Marian of Sweetopia. My love for decorated cookies had already begun but when I saw her butterfly cookies, I was smitten. It was then that I started experimenting and did these cookies, my very first decorated cookies, for my daughter's first birthday party.

Then when Amanda of I am baker asked for volunteers to send cookies to families who needed cheering up, it was these bright butterflies that I decided upon.

So as I was trying to decide on another butterfly cookie to do, I stumbled on a fabric design online. I knew right away that I would be using that design as inspiration for my cookies. I had previously been thinking of something along the lines of pastels with brown details, but that quickly went out the window when I saw these sweet little monarchs.

Now, I really really wished at that moment that I had a different butterfly cookie cutter. I only have the one with the rounded edges so I was a little disappointed that I didn't have the shape above, because I put SO MUCH time into these cookies. I'm a little embarassed to say how long it took me to decorate 6 butterfly cookies. So I'm not going to. I'll just let you wonder.

I guess I'll have to order the other cutter online now. Because I'm definitely making these again! They were so fun to make.

Keep it sweet,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sun-Tanned Toes Ticklin' the Sand

My favorite country musician is Kenny Chesney.

A friend of mine has been to his concerts and says he's so down to earth. I guess he even chats and has drinks with his audience before the show!

Anyway, many of my favorite memories of when I first moved to Florida are of my husband (then boyfriend) and I going to the beach almost every day after work, and always on the weekends. We would crank up the Kenny Chesney music, drive on the beach, and relax in the sand and the water. So when I hear his music, I think of those amazing memories.

Makes me want to slip into a pair of these . . .

and go have some fun on the beach.

Keep it sweet,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I wish I could truly tell you how yummy these cookies are!

Just taking them out of the oven my mouth was watering. Now, I've tasted lots of cookies; I used to work in a bakery and we even used to eat the frozen cookie dough! It was delicious. And of course, once they came out of the oven, we had to sample every type of cookie just to make sure that the customer was getting a quality product.

So, I wanted to try my hand at chocolate chunk cookies. I try to put a little gift inside each order that I fill as a thank you for ordering my product. I thought a nice chocolate chunk cookie (or two) would be perfect. I had tried many times to make my own chocolate chunk cookie recipe, but they were always too flat and spread out so much during baking. So, I tried a few different things this time.

Instead of butter or margarine, I used butter-flavored shortening! Who knew?! I did this only because I had no butter or margarine in my house (this is a SIN by the way, if you are a baker!) and I thought maybe the shortening would make the cookies hold their shape better.

Well, when I excitedly told my aunt (who is a fabulous taste-tester of my cookies) that I had come up with this idea, well, sadly... she told me that she and my uncle make chocolate chip cookies the same way. So, I guess I didn't invent the idea. But, whoever did is a GENIUS!!!

Here is the recipe I came up with:

2 cups butter-flavored shortening
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. clear vanilla extract (not imitation)
3 or 4 cups small chocolate chunks, depending on how much of a chocoholic you are (I used Nestle chocolate chunks)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together shortening and sugars with the paddle attachment of your mixer (a hand-held mixer should work fine too, although you might have to mix a little longer) until light and fluffy, using medium speed. Turn on low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the extract and mix a little more. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally, stir in the chocolate chunks. Take a few bites of dough to make sure it's good. Roll into large balls of dough (a little bigger than golf ball size) and flatten just a little bit. Place on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper. Stick the cookie sheets in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes before baking. This helps the cookie keep it's shape. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden on top, depending on the size of the cookie.

This recipe will make 2 1/2 dozen large cookies. These are BIG cookies, around 4" across! You can divide this recipe in half if you don't want this many cookies. It does not change the consistency of the dough; I have tried it both ways.

You could also substitute the chocolate chunks with half peanut butter chips

and half chocolate chips.  


I have not tried it yet, but I have both kinds of chips in my pantry and I'll be testing it very soon!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go wipe the drool chocolate off my mouth.

Keep it sweet!