Archive | March, 2011

Kelly’s Birthday

10 Mar

This cake requires some explanation and a little Kelly History lesson. :D When Kelly was about 18 months old, she discovered “White Baby”. There were actually two babies– White Baby and Blue Baby– which were leftover jumbo beanie babies from the late 90s. She played with both, but White Baby became her favorite, and she couldn’t live without her.

This is Kelly and White baby in 2003:

Awww, look how cute they were back then! Through the years, White baby has gone through the washing machine more times than I can count, until a few years ago when I decided that one more trip might do her in. Several years ago, Mike and I were talking about how sad it will be when White Baby goes the way of all the earth. He decided to immortalize her in a photo montage and presented it to Kelly for Christmas. Here is Kelly today with White Baby and the photo montage that her Daddy so lovingly prepared for her. (It usually hangs on her bedroom wall– and it’s really dusty!!)

Isn’t that the cutest? I thought that was so sweet of Mike. Poor White Baby is looking pretty rough these days. She has a bad case of the mange.

When Kelly told me that she wanted a “Stuffed Animal” themed cake this year, I thought it might be fun to do a White Baby cake for her.

I’m not very experienced at fondant modeling, but I decided to give it a try. I did three figures, each one imitating the pictures in her photo montage.

Some close ups:

Probably a little too close-up, since you can see all of my mistakes! Oh well.

I have a favorite cake decorating buttercream that I’ve used for years, but I decided to try my newly discovered cupcake icing and see how it would do for cake decorating– borders, flowers, etc. It worked awesome! I did a border with tip 101 roses, and it worked beautifully for those.

Kelly wanted lemon filling, so I flavored the frosting with 2 tsp. of lemon emulsion to go along with it, and it was so delicious! I will definitely be using that again and again.

Mike commented yesterday about how presentation is everything. We were just doing a small party with our family and some cousins, so I didn’t want a huge cake, but I wanted it to look special.  This whole thing was only one cake mix. I did two 6-inch layers for the top cake, and used the rest of the batter to make mini cupcakes. That’s all pretty small stuff, but presented on a tiered cake stand, it looked a lot bigger and more exciting than it really was!

Happy birthday to my Kelly!

Onesie Kit Winner

10 Mar

Kelly was very excited to pick the winning number this morning (and she also appreciated all of your birthday wishes!).

And the winner is Pita from Dulce Decoracion in Spain.  Congratulations, Pita! I sent you an email, but if you don’t see it, you can contact us with your mailing address at contact at karenscookies dot net.

We had a happy birthday at our house. I didn’t make any cookies for the occasion (I think my kids are tired of cookies!) but I’ll post pictures of her cake soon.

Baby Onesie Tutorial

8 Mar

We put this Baby Onesie tutorial up on our web site, so some of you may have already seen it, but I decided I’d better get it up on the blog, too!  Try some of the piped embellishments and see what you think. I love making baby cookies! :)

To make these cute cookies, start by baking a batch of onesie cookies using one of our recipes or your own. For every 2 dozen cookies, make a batch of Meringue Powder Buttercream or Royal Icing.

Mix colors according to your preferences, baby gender, etc. Since color combinations are endless, just remember a couple of rules. First, the outlines and piped designs take little frosting, so make smaller amounts of those colors, and larger amounts of the colors that will be used for glaze. Second, for all pastel colors, start with a tiny bit of coloring and add to it until you get the color you want. Add a few drops of Bright White to each color to soften it. For brighter colors, omit the white.

Select the tip sizes you will need for your design and insert them into disposable bags. The tips you need will depend on your desired piped design size. See the chart to below for help. For outlining, I prefer tip #2. Fill the bags with your colored frosting, and close them with rubber bands.


This chart shows approximate teardrop sizes using tips #1 – #4. It’s pretty hard to get true-to-life sizes on a computer screen, but it might at least give you an idea of their size in relation to each other. Your actual size will be a bit smaller than this illustration.

To make glaze, add water to frosting, a few drops at a time, until it is a thin consistency. A drop of glaze should disappear into the mass by 3 or 4 seconds.


Scoop glaze onto cookie with a spatula. Spread toward edges, adding more as needed, and scraping off any excess. Allow to dry for several hours.


Outline entire cookie with a #2 tip. Then use the illustration above as a guide for piping the seams for the sleeve and shoulder area.


Experiment with the necklines and sleeves to create different looks. Some options include broken lines for stitching, wavy lines for lace, and “train tracks” for ribbing.


Add different features (such as snaps and/or stitching) to finish the bottom.

All of the piped designs that follow are made with a series of teardrop shapes.
If you can master the teardrop, you can do any of these designs (and many others!) To make a teardrop, start with your bag at a 45 degree angle, with the tip slightly off the surface. Start squeezing until the round side of the teardrop is the desired size. Gradually release pressure as you pull back toward the tip of the drop. Stop squeezing, pull your bag away, and you’re done!


Hearts are two slanted teardrops with tails meeting. First make a right-pointing teardrop, then a left-pointing teardrop next to it.


Butterflies are made by piping two hearts, connected as shown. Finish by piping a thick line down the middle with another color.


Dragonflies are made just like butterflies, except the teardrop shapes are elongated as shown. To create the effect of flying, try piping a dotted path behind the bug.


The base of the duck is made with 3 yellow teardrops. Curve the ends of the body and wing upward as shown. Using a smaller tip, pipe a beak with 2 tiny teardrops, and an eye with a small dot.


Create cute rose buds by starting with a single teardrop. Follow with a piped swirl on top using tip #1. Finally add leaves by piping two smaller green teardrops.


To create simple flowers, pipe inward-facing teardrops for petals. Then add a large dot in the center, overlapping the tails. You can also add a green teardrop or two for leaves.


So there you go! Master these simple tear drops and all sorts of designs are open to you! Use the examples of onesie cookies on this page as inspiration or come up with your own designs.

We have cookie decorating kits on our web site that compile everything you need for specific cookie projects like this one. In the Onesie Cookie Decorating Kit you’ll find…

all the tools you need to decorate some cute onesie cookies:

Instruction card
Recipe sheet
Onesie Cookie Cutter
7 Soft gel paste colors: Soft Pink, Sky Blue, Lemon Yellow, Bright White, Mint Green, Violet, and Orange
3 oz. premium Meringue powder
Cookie decorating spatula with wooden handle and stainless steel blade
12 disposable decorating bags
1 package small rubber bands
Cookie scraper
4 metal decorating tips- #1, #2, #3, #4

 

Would you like to make some onesie cookies? Comment on this post by Midnight on Wednesday, March 9th, and you’ll be entered to win a Onesie Cookie Decorating Kit all your own. This time, I’ll let my daughter pick the winning number because the 9th is her birthday, and she asks me every time I do a giveaway if she can PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE pick the number. Since it’s her birthday, I’ll let her pick this time. I think it’s probably as good as Random.org!

 

Good luck!

Pet Cutter Set Winner!

7 Mar

The winner of the Wilton Pet Cookie Cutter set is Thyjuan from Inspirations by Thyjuan.  Congratulations Thyjuan! I’m sure you’ll put the cutters to good use! I’ve sent you an email, so you can respond to that with your mailing address, or if you don’t see it, send me an email at contact at karenscookies dot net.

As always, if you didn’t win, there are more chances coming! Thank you for all of your great comments! :)

Woof!

2 Mar

Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. I really wish I would have planned ahead and got some Green Eggs and Ham cookies done in honor of his birthday and Read Across America day. But alas…. I did not. So if you need some Dr. Seuss ideas, please go check out Sweet Sugarbelle’s site today. Please. I’ll wait for you to come back.

Are you back? Weren’t they great? I especially love the cookie cupcake picks. I’m totally going to do that one of these days.

Well, since I didn’t get my rear in gear to get Dr. Seuss cookies done, then I guess it’s a great day to feature another Wilton cookie cutter set! :D

I promise I’m almost done with this batch and then we can move on. But first, we have the Wilton Pet Cookie Cutter Set.

They call it a “Pet” set, but a more accurate description would probably be Dog or Puppy set. There are no cats, hamsters, fish or gerbils here.  So if your pet happens to be a dog, then this will be a good fit. Actually, the paw could be a cat paw. But other than that, you’re going to need to get creative if you’re a cat lover.

There’s a paw cutter.

Green paws? I was trying to make some colorful choices– does the green paw work?  Not sure.  And I really wish I would have done the blue one with a darker blue. I was kind of going for the “sit down in my thinking chair and think. think. think.” look (if ya know what I mean… wink wink), but I missed the mark. Dark blue probably would have done it.

There is a dog house cutter.

I like that picture. But it doesn’t show the back ones very well. So here’s a more boring picture so you can see the details.

I used a Gourmet Writer to do the lines on the bottom left dog house, and to write “Fluffy” on the top one. I generally like piping better than gourmet writers for writing, but I did really like how the lines on Fifi’s house came out. That’s where I really like the edible markers– with accent lines, wood grain, stitching, etc.

There’s a bone cutter.

Which would be great for making actual doggie treats for your dog. I don’t have a recipe to share, but if you do a google search, you’ll find tons. I don’t have a dog, so I didn’t want to whip up a batch of doggie treats. I think I’d really have to love a dog to do that.

And last, but not least, the doggie.

Woof! Again– trying to add some color to the dogs, so I used red and yellow. Definitely  not realistic, but kind of cute anyway.

Some sets:

And a mixture:

Do you want a set of Pet Cookie Cutters? Comment on this post by Thursday, March 3, at midnight, and I’ll choose a winner using Random.org. I’ll send the winner a set of the Wilton Pet cookie cutters.

Good luck! And have a happy Wednesday! Don’t forget to read a book today! :)

Baby Cutter Set Winner (and MPB recipe)

1 Mar

I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that Mondays are not good blogging days! :) So if I have a blog giveaway that ends on a weekend, you’ll probably  need to expect the winner to be announced on a Tuesday.  And that brings me to the winner…

Donna! (with kewl granny in her email address– which I love, by the way!) She said:

Your pony cookies are fabulous and the eyes on the blue bear are my favorite too. I wish I had just half of your talent.

Aww, thanks Donna! And thanks for liking my rocking horses, too. :) I’ve sent you an email, so just respond to that, or send us an email at contact at karenscookies dot net.

Thanks once again to all who entered! I appreciate all the great comments!  A few people asked what kind of frosting I used on these.  I always forget to say that! These (and all of my recent posts) were done with Meringue Powder Buttercream. I use that almost exclusively, so if I ever forget to specify which frosting I used, you can bet that it’s MPB.  Since I use the others a lot less often, I’ll be sure to say when I’m using something else.  The recipe is on my web site, but I should probably get it here on the blog, so here it is, with a few notations that might be helpful.

MERINGUE POWDER BUTTERCREAM

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 to 4  T. meringue powder*
  • ½ cup Crisco shortening**
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (1 lb. 3 oz. If you have a scale)***
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
Place half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together well. Turn on mixer (use whip attachment) and, while motor is running, slowly stream in the water. Mix until everything is incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Add flavorings and mix well. Change to paddle attachment (for stand mixer) or dough hook (for Bosch). If using a hand mixer, use the same beaters you were using before. Add remaining powdered sugar and shortening and whip for 2-3 minutes more. 

Note: Don’t skimp on the whipping time after adding the shortening. You really need to whip it well to prevent separation later.

*If egg whites are the first ingredient on your meringue powder, you can use the smaller amount. If egg whites come later in the ingredient list, or if you live in a very high humidity area, I recommend using 4 T.  You can also add a tablespoon of pure dried egg whites along with your meringue powder to give it extra drying power.
**I recommend Crisco shortening, because it has the most consistent results. There are some store brands that will work, but some do not (they cause ugly separation when you thin it down for glaze), so just to be safe, I recommend only using Crisco brand. If you have an aversion to using shortening, I completely understand, and you can use butter instead– however, I have had mixed results using butter. The first few times I used butter, it worked beautifully, and then the next couple of times, it separated and didn’t dry well. I have no idea what made the difference. So anyway, if you use butter, be aware that there may be some separation issues if you thin it down for glaze, and you also might need to add a little extra powdered sugar  because it’s quite a lot softer when using butter. Also, if you find you have trouble with your MPB drying, you can cut down the shortening to as much as half (so use 1/4 cup per batch) and it will help it to dry faster and more thoroughly.
***I really recommend weighing the powdered sugar if at all possible. Powdered sugar is a bugger to measure. It seems like it varies SO much. If you don’t have a scale, stir or sift your powdered sugar before measuring to make sure it’s light and fluffy.
If you do everything exactly “right”, and your frosting still comes out way too stiff or way too soft, never fear! It is a very forgiving medium! Feel free to add water to make it softer, or add powdered sugar to stiffen it up. It won’t ruin anything!
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