Archive | January, 2011

Food Coloring Markers Winner

28 Jan

Thanks to all who entered!  I purposely didn’t announce this giveaway anywhere. I’ve been announcing on facebook and twitter, etc, when I have a giveaway, but this time I wanted to see who my blog followers were. There’s a bunch of you! Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much it means to know you’re out there reading.  Also, thanks for all the dinner ideas. I got recipes and everything!! You all are great cooks! I can’t believe what people are eating for dinner. My family got tacos one night and pizza the other. But I’m totally going to refer to this post for my dinner planning!

Ok, the winner of the markers is Katherine from The Yellow House Cakery. Katherine said:

Chili and grilled cheese sandwiches are on the menu at my house!

Mmm… sounds good to me!  Congratulations, Katherine!! I’m sure you’ll put your markers to good use. I’ve sent you an email, so check your box. If you don’t see it, please email me at contact at KarensCookies dot net. We’re having very frustrating email issues (which is not good for a web business!! Grrr…)

And speaking of that, Bea from Cancun cookies– I still have your party cutters but haven’t heard back from you on your shipping address. I’ll email you again today, so watch for that, or send me an email.

Thanks everyone! Have a great weekend! Hope you can do something easy and relaxing this weekend. That’s what I’m hoping for!! :D

Food Coloring Markers

26 Jan

So I made the postage stamps in my Valentine set and piped on the cancellation lines:

But I wasn’t crazy about them, and thought that using a food coloring marker would actually look more like a cancellation stamp. But then I thought that I would probably need all of the decorations to be flat in order to do that, so that’s when I did the top right stamp. I just added all the decorations while the base glaze was still wet so it would all settle in nicely.

Very simple design. They don’t have to be fancy at all. Especially since you’re going to draw over the top of it.

Ok, so I was totally going to Photoshop this cookie. Because look:

I was trying to hold the pen with my right hand and take the picture with my left hand. That doesn’t work, by the way. So then I tried holding the pen with my left hand and taking the picture with my right hand. That didn’t work either. So I had my daughter hold the pen. Um…. that REALLY didn’t work! She ended up drawing all over it. So I had to use a damp paper towel to rub off the markings, and there were some smudges left over. So I was going to Photoshop the smudges off. But I decided to keep it real. Hey, have you ever seen stamps after they go through the mail? They’re all smudged up. It adds to the look….right?? :D Just a little plug to say that if your cookies aren’t perfect, that’s ok!

The finished product. Smudges and all.

I love using the food coloring markers. There are so many possibilities. Do you have some of these?

I’ll give a set of 2 black Gourmet writers to one lucky commenter. Please only enter one time. Just post and tell me what you’re having for dinner tonight because I need ideas. :D I’ll choose the winner using Random.org. Enter by midnight Thursday, January 27. I’ll announce the winner Friday morning.

Have a great Wednesday!

Hearts and Flowers on Chocolate

25 Jan

I had fun playing around with some Valentine’s Day cookies. This was an experimental batch of chocolate cookie dough. All I did was substitute 1/2 cup of cocoa for 1/2 cup of the flour in my regular Rolled Sugar Cookie Dough, which is what Pam does with her recipe.  I thought it turned out great. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether they are as sturdy. I had a few of them break on me while I was decorating, which is pretty unusual. I guess it makes sense that they would loose a little bit of stability by substituting cocoa powder for the flour, because you’re loosing a little bit of the gluten, which is kind of like the glue (glue-ten!) that holds things together, but I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. They weren’t super brittle or anything, and maybe I was just extra butter-fingery (what?? My spell-checker says that’s not a word!) the day I did these. I wouldn’t put it past me.  But anyway, I think it was a fun change, and I LOVED the contrast of the red, pink and white against the dark cookies.

These daisies are super-simple. I just outlined in black, filled in white and added a colored “button” for the center. The buttons caved in a little bit, which sometimes happens when you’re using thinned-down MPB. I didn’t mind it at all on these, though. I think it adds to the look. Also, you’ll notice that my petals are uneven in both size and spacing, but I think it adds to the charm! Don’t worry about getting them too perfect.

Some cute little hearts using marbling and feathering techniques. If you didn’t catch our Valentine Hearts post, go check that out for more instruction.

More hearts in a more stylized shape.

Hugs and Kisses! I had a red one too, but it broke so I had to eat it. I really love this cutter.

I told you earlier that I have a square cookie obsession, so when I was baking up this batch of cookies, I did some squares without really knowing what I was going to do with them. I thought maybe I’d spell out L-O-V-E, like I did with the S-N-O-W in my winter post. When I got to decorating, I realized that the small crinkle squares looked kind of like stamps, and Valentine’s Day is all about love letters, so I tried some stamps. The two with the “cancellation” lines on them were done with just a writing tip and black MPB, but I’ll show you in tomorrow’s post what I did later that I liked much better.

Fun mix! I’m still kind of a sugar cookie purist, but this opened my eyes to the possibilities of chocolate!

$100 Gift Certificate Winner!

24 Jan

Ok, this was amazing. First of all, THANK YOU for the wonderful response to this giveaway. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and you were all so kind to Mike and myself.  I wish I could give everyone the gift certificate. But the good news is that I’ll be having tons of giveaways, small and large, so be sure to check back often.

The winner of the $100 gift certificate was Linda (from Georgia with “sweetmemories” in her email address).  Here is her post:

If I won the giveaway, I would buy squeeze bottle with couplers, writing pens and emulsions/flavorings… after I squealed loud enough for you to hear me from Georgia!  Thank you for everything you share and the time you take to help others.

And I think I just heard a squeal from Georgia! :)  Linda, I sent you an email, so check your box and write back to claim your prize! (or if you don’t see the email, just send me an email at contact at karenscookies dot net)

Congratulations, and thanks again to all who entered!

Coming up next, some fun Valentine cookies…

Blog Ribbon Cutting

21 Jan

Well, I’ve been blogging for almost 2 weeks now. I decided to wait to see if I could really keep up with it before I had a big “Blog Grand Opening” celebration. I think now is as good a time as any! Thanks to all of you who found me early on and encouraged me to continue. I really appreciate the encouragement, and it has helped to renew my commitment to keep going. Thank you!

So, for my first big giveaway, I’m giving away…

a $100 Karen’s Cookies gift certificate!

You can buy a lot of stuff with $100! You could buy…

these...

or these....

or this...

or this....

Or these....

Or these (for Valentine's day coming up!)...

or these little cuties...

or a couple of these (have you tried them? They're awesome!)...

OR all of the above and still have a few dollars left over! Of course you can come up with your own mix of fun stuff. Whatever strikes your fancy!

The rules:

You can enter up to TWO times. For the first time, just post a comment and tell me the first thing on your list to buy if you win. If you’ve already been to our site lots of times and know exactly what you want, that’s great. If you’re not sure yet, or don’t know exactly what we carry, hop on over to Karen’s Cookies and see what we have. Then come back and tell me what you like.

For the second entry, you can “like” us on facebook. If you already “like” us, just comment here on the blog and tell us that. If not, head on over to our facebook page and click “like”, then come back and tell us that you did it.

Please keep your entries to two. I’ll choose the winner by using Random.org. All entries need to be received by midnight mountain time on Sunday, January 23. I’ll announce the winner Monday morning.

Good luck, and have a great weekend!

Party Set Winner

21 Jan

Thanks for all of your comments, and the birthday wishes for Shannon! I’ll make sure she gets on here and reads all of your good wishes! :D  From reading the comments, it sounds like there were a lot of birthdays this week. I was tempted to pick someone who was having a birthday, but went with the old Random.org route. That’s always safest!

The winner of the party cookie cutters is Bea from Cancun Cookies! Congratulations, Bea!! Send your mailing address to me (contact at Karenscookies dot net) and I’ll get them sent right out!

Another (big!) giveaway coming right up….

Party Time!

19 Jan

About the same time that we got the Jungle Pals cutters that I showed you before, we also got these fun party theme cutters:

I still had some chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge so I thought I may as well try these guys out, too! Here’s what I came up with.

Presents

Party Hats

Cakes. See the one on the left? I was trying my best to be asymmetrical, because I'm always way too symmetrical. I ended up with asymmetrical symmetric lines. I tried.

Cupcakes!

My favorite was the yellow one.

I liked the swirls, which were inspired by Brenda’s super cute swirly cupcakes. I can’t do them quite like she can, but I thought it was cute anyway!

And the red one has potential. My black frosting was a little too thick so my outlines were kind of rough. If you ever run into that with Meringue Powder Buttercream (or Royal Icing, for that matter) don’t be afraid to add a few drops of water to thin it down a bit. You’ll get lots smoother lines. I did end up adding some water, but not till after I did this cookie:

See how the lines (around the cherry especially) are kind of bumpy and rough? That’s from the frosting being too thick.  Just a little FYI.

Some groupings:

I wasn’t too excited about the pink set, and I couldn’t put my finger on why. I think I just figured it out. I don’t think I like the black outlines with them. I tend to default to black outlines because generally I really like that style. I like the cartoon-y coloring-book type look. But I don’t know about black with the pastels. When you try this at home, go for a white or grey outline.

And you ARE going to try this at home, right? Because if you do, you’re going to need the cutters. Comment on this post by Midnight tomorrow (Thursday, Jan 20, which happens to be my sister’s birthday- Happy Birthday Shannon!!), and I’ll pick a winner at random to get the cutters.

Thanks for reading!

Jungle Pals Winner

17 Jan

The winner of the Jungle Pals cookie cutter set is Carmie. Congratulations, Carmie!  Send me an email with your shipping address and I’ll get it sent right out. Have fun making your cookies!

If you didn’t win, never fear. This was the first of many giveaways, so you’ll have plenty more chances!

Thank you for all of your kind comments! I enjoyed reading every one. And thank you for reading my blog. I hope you continue to enjoy my posts! Happy Monday!

Jungle Animals

14 Jan

We got these sets of Wilton Jungle Pals cutters in several months ago.

I’ve been dying to play with them, but we got into the holidays and things got BUSY, so it had to wait till now!  I was looking at my sweet baby girl (who isn’t such a baby anymore, and who is also not always sweet, but most of the time she is….) And noticed that her monkey jammies had little monkey faces on them that were exactly the same shape as the monkey face cookie cutter!

See?

So I had some inspiration, and I had some chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, (which was also weird because Sweet Sugarbelle posted the same recipe on the SAME day that I made these! Great minds think alike!), so it was meant to be that I should bake up some Jungle Pals!

Monkeys!

Lions!

Elephants!

Everybody!

To decorate these guys, I used my old stand-by Meringue Powder Buttercream. This is the recipe that I’ve been using for 10+ years.  I’ve been experimenting with other icings lately, and some of them are really fun! Cookie Crazie Pam uses a corn syrup icing that I’ve really had fun with, and I’ve revisited royal icing lately. But I always seem to come back to the Meringue Powder Buttercream. I guess we’re old buddies.

To decorate, I outlined with full-strength MPB (that’s short for Meringue Powder Buttercream. But now that I had to explain, I might as well have just written the whole thing and saved myself about 29 words!), and then thinned some down to fill in the sections. Sometimes I use squeeze bottles for filling in with thinned-down buttercream, but this time I just used disposable bags and tips, and that works really well, too. It’s really a matter of personal preference which one you use.

After the base coat dried, I piped on their faces and added some pink petal dust cheeks with a Q-tip. I really wished I had a darker pink, especially for the monkeys. I’m going to have to get some darker pink in my shop! For the girl monkeys and Elephants, I added a jumbo daisy flower with an icing dot for the center. So easy, and I think it added a lot!

These were my favorites from each species:

Do you want to make some Jungle Pals cookies, too? Of course you do! Comment on this post by Sunday (January 16) at midnight Mountain Time, and I’ll pick a winner at random and send you a set of the cutters. Your chances are pretty good of winning, too, because not many people know about this blog yet! :D Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win (don’t worry– your email address won’t be visible to the public, but I’ll see it on the back end). Have a happy weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday!

Winter Cookies

12 Jan

Back to cookies!! It’s cold here in Idaho, and I’ve heard that it’s snowing in weird places. My cousins in the south are getting snow, which is really unusual for them. Brrrr…. It’s winter for sure.

I have a recent obsession with disco dust. I particularly love the white. I wish it showed up in photos better.

(And sorry for the pink tint to my pictures. At least there’s plenty of room for improvement!)

I hadn’t used royal icing in a loooooong time. Probably 10 years or more, but I was in a hurry to get these cookies done for an event we were doing, and I had a package of the CK Products Royal Icing Mix that I’d been wanting to try. It’s nice because it’s a “just add water” mix. I decided to give it a whirl. I really liked it! It was fun to work with, and super easy and fast, which is always a bonus. The only thing I don’t like about Royal Icing is the matte finish. I loved how the disco dust fixed that problem right up!

Along with the disco dust obsession (and the cupcakes…), I’ve also had a recent “square cookie” obsession. (Am I easily obsessed? Why yes, I am.) Anyway, I love doing sets of squares with monograms on them to make a word. Add in some sanding sugar and/or non pareils, and I think it adds such fun textures. Here’s a close-up:

That O cookie is supposed to be tilted so the top-right corner is pointing straight up. If you could kindly use your imagination and picture it that way, I’d appreciate it!

And some close-ups of the snow gear.  My gray and light blue (and regular blue, and white…) icings were a little too runny, so it lost some definition. Which isn’t a problem with the royal icing mix, by the way. I just added a little too much extra water. And I could have fixed it up with some extra powdered sugar.  But I was in a hurry! :D

I love the Nu Silver luster dust on the ice skate. It adds such a fun effect.

Stay warm out there!!

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