Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's - 2013!


Wishing you a year of health and peace, kindness and cookies.

I hope 2013 is overflowing with all your dreams come true.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keep Busy During The Hockey Strike Jerseys!



Are you depressed about the hockey strike?  Feeling bored watching curling – and please don’t get me wrong I really love watching curling but understand that not everyone shares this pastime.  There is a small ray of sunshine because the world juniors are on and according to news headlines there are some sparks of hope in the NHL talks this weekend.  But if you need something to occupy your time...

No worries.  I have a great project to keep you occupied until the strike is over.

I have made these sport jerseys for baseball, soccer and hockey.  I have made these with different names and numbers for a team party, the ones above were individually wrapped for table place cards at a Bar Mitzvah.  It is time consuming cookie but with no hockey to watch, you most probably have plenty of time on your hands I’m sure.  These are such a great cookie idea for the sports fans in your life.  They will love all the time you took to make them something unique and fun. Maybe they will forget about the whole NHL strike.

They are really fun to make and here is how I did it.

Materials Needed for Decorating:

- jersey or tshirt cookie cutter (I used the large Tshirt from Copper Gifts – one of my favorite and versatile cookie cutters)
- fondant
- gel past to colour some of the royal icing (I used royal blue)
- royal icing – as always, I really like the Ateco meringue powder
- piping bags

Instructions and Tips:

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and cut out the t-shirts.

Outline each cookie -- I used #2 tip and royal blue icing.
 
While the outline is drying, get your numbers cut and organized.  Colour the fondant if you need to, roll out and cut the numbers.  Set aside for use after the cookie is flooded.
NOTE:  I like the Satin Ice fondant and because I don't use often I usually use white and colour as I require but if you have coloured fondant so you can skip this step.  You might also have a shirt that is coloured so white numbers would look great.  One thing I should mention is that if you are want black or red numbers, buy the coloured fondant because it is not so easy to get a good red or black unless it is pre-made.

Fill or flood the cookies.  I like using the squeeze bottles because it is so much cleaner then a piping bag when flooding cookies.
Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to pull the icing to fill the cookie.  If you just use the squeeze bottle there is a chance that you will overflood the cookie – it is always a fine line between the perfectly flooded cookie and a cookie that is over flowing with icing.  The toothpick “pull” really helps ensure an evenly flooded cookie.

Want another trick?  I use a Silpat when decorating cookies so they don’t slip around.

Using a slightly thiner royal icing than the outline, add details on the sleeve and bottom of the Tshirt.

Carefully place the fondant numbers on the Tshirt.  I sometimes use tweezers to put these kind of things on my cookies -- and, yes, they are tweezers I use only for cookies;)
Let the cookies dry overnight.
Using a writing tip -- I like LOVE PME 1.5, write the name on the shirt.  I don't know why but when I use PME 1.5 my letters are so much better.  

Hockey strike or just for fun, if you make these cookies for the sport lover in your life, please let me know how they turn out.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

“Nice” Reindeer or “Naughty” Coal Chocolate Brownie Cookies


I’m not sure if I really like the whole “nice” and “naughty” list thing.  It’s a little creepy thinking anyone is being spied on and I don’t particularly like idle threats.  REALLY you are going to leave anyone a lump of coal?!?!  I think that is not very nice.

That is why these super yummy, KID FRIENDLY quick & easy cookies work well.  You can make cute reindeer or lumps of coal and either way they are a delish.

And here is how I made them.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Materials Needed for Decorating:

- candy eyes – you could use M&Ms or other candy
- pretzel twists for antlers
- brown M&M’s for the noses Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner & Blitzen (that is EIGHT reindeer so you don't have to count;)
- red candies for Rudolph’s nose – I used Maynard Swedish Berries, but red Smarties, M&M’s or Jelly Tots will look super cute too

Instructions and Tips:

Preheat oven to 375.

Beat together butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla until well combined.

Beat in baking soda and flour.

Divide dough into 9 pieces.

To make the coal just crumple up the dough in whatever coal shape you would like.

To make the reindeer, shape into a triangular reindeer head and push pretzel "antlers" firmly into dough.  


Bake for 6 minutes.

Add eyes and nose as soon as cookies come out of the oven.  If the cookies are still hot the eyes and nose will stick to the cookie without using royal icing.
This recipe is perfect for one set of the eight reindeer plus one Rudolph but because I love the Swedish Berries I only made red nosed reindeer.

The cookies really do taste like brownies -- so naughty or nice -- everyone should have a happy holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sorta Salted Caramel Chocolate Chips 'cause Santa is a Foodie


I’m quite sure that Santa is a foodie.  I truly believe that “between season” he spends lots of time sipping on ice wine while cooking and baking with Mrs. Claus.  I don’t want to spread rumors but I’ve heard he is into trendy venison burgers and cool maple bacon snowcones.  And I know for a fact that he would never turn down anything that incorporates the latest salted caramel craze.

You know I love that salty sweet thang – ala the Sweet & Salty Chocolate Pretzel Shortbread – and so does Santa.

So I made him these sorta salted caramel chocolate chip cookies and here is how I made them.

Ingredients: 

2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt (heaping)
1 cup butter, room temperature is best
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups chocolate chips – milk or dark chocolate whatever you love
½ cup Hershey’s Skor Toffee Bits

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 3500.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips & skor bits in a bowl.  Set aside.

Cream butter, brown sugar, egg & vanilla until fluffy.

Add flour, chocolate chips and skor bits on a low speed until flour mixes in.

Use a small ice cream scoop to make cookie balls about ¼ cup.

Place on parchment lined (always!) cookie sheets.  NOTE: The cookies spread quite a lot. I have large (16”x21.5”) sheets and I put 15 on each sheet (the recipe makes 30 large cookies) – so judge accordingly.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool and place on plate for the big guy.  I used a “fancy” glass for his milk but these would also go very nicely with a glass of scotch (which Santa may really enjoy as he works so hard one day a year;)

My only fear with these cookies is that Santa may not leave to make it around the world delivering gifts, but make them anyways because they are so good.

Ho Ho Ho!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Let It Snow!




I love snowmen.  They say winter in that fresh, fluffy snow way – not the cold, mushy, slippery way.  So these cookies just make me smile, want to pull out my skates, grab a hot chocolate and embrace the winter.

Last year I made gingerbread boys, girls and snowmen inspired by Bakerella, one of my favorite bloggers.  Last week I was making cookies for a baby naming similar to ones made by Bridgette from Bake at 350.  And then I thought I think I can combine the two styles to come up with my new favorite cookie ever – and it’s very Flour Child.

You can be as simple snowmen or fancy pants as you want with these cookies and here is how I did it.

Materials Needed for Decorating:

- large square cookie cutter (I used the large square scalloped one from Copper Gifts) – it is such a great cookie cutter that can be used in a kazillion different ways)
- gel past to colour some of the royal icing (I used royal blue)
- royal icing – as always, I really like the Ateco meringue powder
- piping bags
- sprinkles, coloured Tic Tacs and food writing pens

Instructions and Tips:


To make the snowmen heads. Draw circles on a piece of parchment paper.  I used a Sharpie and drew circles around 1¾” or 3½ cm.  Flip the paper over and trace with royal icing. Let them dry overnight.









Use a food writer to draw on the eyes and mouth.
Add sprinkles to embellish cheeks and facinators.  Tic Tacs are the perfect ear muffs.  I used white royal icing to add the sprinkles
Orange royal icing is the perfect carrot nose.

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and cut out the squares.

Outline each cookie with white royal icing
Fill or flood the cookies.  I like using the squeeze bottles because it is so much cleaner then a piping bag when flooding cookies.
Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to pull the icing to fill the cookie.  If you just use the squeeze bottle there is a chance that you will overflood the cookie – it is always a fine line between the perfectly flooded cookie and a cookie that is over flowing with icing.  The toothpick “pull” really helps ensure an evenly flooded cookie.

Want another trick?  I use a Silpat when decorating cookies so they don’t slip around.

Place the snowman head in the centre of the flooded cookie.  I also used a few little snowflake sprinkles that I found at the local bulk food store.
Let the cookies dry overnight.

PME 1.5 is my favorite writing tip so I used it to write "Let It Snow" on each cookie.
I love the way these cookies turned out.
Now I'm just waiting for it to snow (sorta).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree


I am always torn between the simple beauty of white lights and festive fun or multi-colour lights on a Christmas Tree.  The great thing about these cookies is that it is pretty simple to change it up and the light bulbs never go out.

What colour lights do you put on your Christmas Tree?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lights!


I do love Christmas lights – they way they sparkle and twinkle and light up the streets in the winter.  I used disco dust on the white highlights of these cookies so they actually sparkle.

It’s December 1st so I think it is totally acceptable to pull out the Christmas lights.  That will give you plenty of time if you need to untangle strings and replace burned out bulbs and get set for the holidays.

Also if you start decorating now, it will give you plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the season before you need to take it all down.

When do you start decorating for Christmas?  When do you take it down?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Keep Calm


The “festive holiday season” can be stressful.  All the cooking, baking, shopping, anticipation … can make it difficult to sit back and remember that the holidays are about family and friends.

I do some things to try and “keep calm” which include preparing stuff in advance (like my husband’s snowball cookies), shopping in October (yes I’m done) and using ingredients like William-Sonoma’s Handmade Peppermint Snow because the snow is so much easier than crushing your own candy canes and for whatever reason, don’t ask me why, hand crushed candy canes are simply not as perfect as this product.

I love the way these cookies came out.  They are keeping me calm.

What do you do to stay calm during the holidays?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Little Black Dress


Do you have to go to a corporate holiday party? Do ya wanna go?  Are you wearing black or red?  Are you wearing anything as tasteful as these cookies?

I originally got this cookie cutter to make a classic LBD for a 1962 party -- but realized it would be perfect for holiday party dresses.  

Now I'm thinking of a job in fashion design -- now I'm thinking I wish I could sew.

Let the festive holiday season begin!







Friday, November 9, 2012

Just SAY IT in Cookie



When anyone says “Just SAY IT!” it is usually followed by something you don’t really want to hear.

In this case though, it is followed in cookie – so it is just want you want to hear – something sweet (even if it says something not so nice;). I have made these Thought Bubble cookies before but I could not resist sharing these because I just loved the way they turned out. I can't help notice the difference in the quality of the cookies -- not sure if it because I'm getting a little better at decorating OR if it is my favorite PME 1.5 tip that makes lettering WAY easier.

These cookies were for my sister-in-law’s 50th 35th birthday.  We really did want to wish her all the best so came up with all kinds of fun birthday greetings like:


  •  Happy Birthday!
  • ·      You Look Marvelous
  • ·      Skip Around The Room
  • ·      WOW!
  • ·      This is What 35 Looks Like
  • ·      HB2U HB2U HB DU HB2U
  • ·      & on & on
I keep thinking of more and more ideas for this CopperGifts.com thought bubble cookie cutter.  I’m thinking they would be great saying Thank You, Love You, Will You Marry Me?, etc.  I would love to make these cookies as placecards for a fun party – “You’re At Table #1” or “Shelly, Sit Here!”. 

What would you like to “say in cookie”?



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Candy Corn


Halloween is three weeks today. One of my favorite Halloween treats is candy corn.  I think I love it because it has a creamy caramel and marshmallowy flavour.  It’s also pretty cute – orange & yellow & white and in the case of these cookies, polka dotted.

What is your favorite Halloween treat?

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Can’t Believe It’s LOW-FAT Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf


It is starting to feel a little like autumn – and I guess it should be as it is October 1!  So that means the leaves are getting starting the change colours and I feel like baking something with pumpkin.  In my mind the fall equals pumpkins.  Not sure if the pumpkin thing is because I love orange and the smell of pumpkin or the fact that Halloween is around the corner.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie so I made this low fat pumpkin loaf with dried cranberries.  The pumpkin and low fat yogurt make the loaf really moist and the chewy cranberries and crunchy cornmeal provide a rich texture.

It is a really nice dessert for your Thanksgiving table and great with coffee or tea the next morning.

And here is how I made it…

Ingredients
 
1 cup brown sugar  (I like the consistency of the Redpath Golden Yellow Brown Sugar)
½ cup all-purpose flour (I always use Five Rose)
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¾ cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, I like this E.D. Smith pure pumpkin and you can freeze what you don’t use)
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt (I’ve also used vanilla yogurt)
2 ½ TBSP canola oil (I like Becel)
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions


In a large bowl, stir together brown sugar, flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger & salt. Mix together and get all the lumps out.

In another bowl (I used my KitchenAid bowl but you don’t really need a mix master for this recipe), whisk together pumpkin puree, yogurt, oil, egg and egg white.

Stir dry ingredients with cranberries in until moistened. 

Pour patter into greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan.  I use Bakers Joy it is simply a joy to bake with this product – hence the name I guess – really it is such a great cake release.

Bake 350O for about 60 minutes.  I always turn my baking half way through.

Cool in pan.  Turn out on wire rack to cool completely.




I’m posting this on Monday to give you time to get organized and bake it for the weekend celebrations. 

Have a great long weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Turkey Legs for Dessert




Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend – Monday October 8 to be exact.  Of course when you think of Thanksgiving, you think of turkey.  Everyone eats turkey for Thanksgiving right?  And, everyone gets stuffed on turkey and stuffing and potatoes and that green bean dish… and has no room for dessert. 

Well this year, I’m just combining the whole dinner into these drumstick cookies* and calling it a super cute Thanksgiving.

This year I feel very thankful for my family and old and new friends and, my dogs and generally pretty nice life.

What are you thankful for this holiday?

Happy Thanksgiving!


*I got the cookie cutter from CopperGifts – it’s the drumstick #1206. 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brunch!



I love brunch.  I’m not sure if it is because it is the perfect time for a meal or because it’s a casual meal with friends or simply because brunch is usually on the weekend.

I made these bacon, eggs & bacon cookies and think they are a perfect addition to my favorite meal.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lipstick Cookie Kiss


Just one question – do you wear pink or red lipstick?

Love these lipstick cookies for girls night out or fifties themed party.