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Goodbye Summer

9 Sep

It’s no secret to those who know me, or those who have been getting my newsletters for a while, that I love fall! I can’t wait to fill this blog up with fun fall cookies because they’re definitely my favorite.  But since I’ve kinda sorta been missing in action all summer, I figured I’d better at least nod towards summer. Briefly. And then we’re moving on to pumpkins and leaves, ok?

Apparently I forgot how to take pictures over the summer. Sorry these are so dark and shadowy.  I think I need a refresher course. Miiiiike!?

Wilton came out with this fun new set of cutters over the summer.

I didn’t get them until summer was almost over, but they were still fun to decorate.

I love the sunglasses.

I’ve really been wanting some larger sunglasses. The ones we have are teeny tiny, and the company who makes them disappeared off the face of the earth this summer, so we really needed a replacement.

The margarita glass is a cute size and shape.

Can you see the “Heat Green” disco dust on that margarita glass? It’s so hard to photograph. And along with that pesky fact that I forgot how to take pictures over the summer… I didn’t get a very good picture.  Maybe this angle is better?


Hmm. Not really. It’s so pretty in real life.  Guess you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

The flip flop is cute. I like it’s round-y-ness. (Yeah, that’s a word alright).

Here’s a pink set. Because pink is fun.


I liked how the sunglasses turned out in this one. I used some white non pareils from the Jumbo Rainbow Non Pareils as accents on the glasses. I pulled a bunch out of the jar with my accent tweezers, and then looked for two big ones and four smaller ones. They all vary in size slightly, but it works out well for stuff like this. The jumbo non pareils come in handy for so many things.

These were fun cookies to decorate. I’ll be excited to decorate more next summer– or maybe during the winter if I need a little summer back in my life!

So anyway, I feel bad that I totally neglected the blog this summer. I hope I still have some readers out there! I have 3 school-age kids and one preschooler, so I decided to take some time off and enjoy them this summer. We enjoyed swimming lessons, camping trips, family reunions, and lazy days reading books. It was a good summer and flew by.

How did you spend your summer months? Let me know in the comments section and I’ll randomly pick 5 of you to win a set of the Wilton Summer cookie cutters. Contest ends Monday night (Sept. 12) at midnight– wherever you are.  Thanks for sticking with me!! Hope you had a great summer! (Or winter if you’re in Australia…)

Using Stencils as Templates

18 Apr

A couple of months ago, we got a whole bunch of new stencils in our shop. I got to work right away playing around with them (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!)  Over the next few weeks, I’ll show you what I learned.

I probably shouldn’t start with my favorite– I should probably save it till last– but I can’t help it. I love these. They are done with the Mini Spring Garden stencils.  Which really aren’t all that “mini”, by the way. They are made by a company who is used to doing large cake stencils, so they call most of the cookie stencils “mini”. They are a great cookie size.

There are a few ways to use stencils. One is the traditional way that they were probably made for. You can see Mike show you how to do that here. (It was his video debut. I think he should do the rest from now on… :D)

Another way to use stencils is to use them as a template. I really like using them this way because it’s easier to get lots of colors on there. Sometimes it’s pretty tricky to get multiple colors using the traditional stencil method.

I made the four rectangle cookies without taking any step-by-step pictures, because I’m forgetful like that. So I had to go back and do the tutorial on an egg cookie that I had sitting around. But you’ll get the idea.

First you’ll need to bake and glaze (or outline and fill in) your cookies. I used the largest rectangle from the rectangle cutter set. Let them dry completely.

You’ll need some edible markers. I like the Americolor Gourmet Writer 10-color set. Choose marker colors that match the color of frosting you’re going to use. For this one, I was making red tulips with green leaves, so I used the red and green markers.

Use the template to outline each section.

Finish all of your outlining during this step. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the first part dries before you can replace the stencil to outline the next section. I know that’s just common sense, but I think it bears mentioning since I may or may not have forgotten to do that on one of these cookies.

So here’s what your outlined design will look like:

You’ll probably notice that there are some little blotchy spots. Sometimes that happens. Not all the time, but sometimes. Why? I don’t know. But don’t worry about it if it happens to you. You’ll be piping over it anyway.

Next, you’ll want to have some runny-consistency frosting. Meringue Powder Buttercream is what I used here (watered down a little bit so that it is pretty soft), but you could also use Royal Icing or Corn Syrup Glaze. Just use what you’re comfortable with.

Outline each little section with your frosting using a small tip. I used a #1 here.

You’ll want to stay just barely inside your marker guidelines, because when you fill in there will be a tiny bit of spreading.

While outlines are still wet, go back and fill in using the same frosting and tip. After I fill in, I use a boo-boo stick to even out the frosting and to pull out sharper corners and tips.

Continue on with all colors.

Try to get your frosting colors the same consistency. My green was a little bit thicker than my red, which is why the tulips look more smooth than the leaves. But hey, it adds texture. Yeah. That’s it.

Then you can add a cute border to the cookie.

They actually make pretty cute Easter eggs.

Here they are on the original rectangles that I did:

These were really fast and easy, and I loved how they turned out. It makes me think of spring… which is still pretty elusive here in Idaho.

So today I’m giving away a set of the Mini Spring Garden Stencils

and the 10-color pack of Americolor Gourmet Writers

To THREE winners. I’m tired of only having one winner. So just comment on this post by midnight on Wednesday, April 20th, and I’ll choose three winners using random.org. Good luck!

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 Cookies

24 Feb

Are more babies born in the spring? That is the question of the day. Two of my four were born in the spring. The other two were born in the winter. So from my experience, it’s half and half, but we sure sell more baby cookie cutters in the spring than we do in the winter.  Maybe it’s just because we get more excited about throwing showers and parties in the spring and summer than we do in the winter with all the other holidays. Maybe we just get in party overload mode in the winter.

Well, whatever the reason, ’tis the season for baby cookies! (I’m thinking spring because we got MORE snow last night. Sigh.)

Have you noticed that I’ve been using a lot of Wilton cookie cutter sets for my blog posts?  I carry a lot of their cutter sets in my store, and I’ve been meaning to get some example pictures up for them for a long time. So I grabbed a big stack of sets and got to baking. That’s why you’re seeing a pattern. :) These baby cookies were made with the Wilton Baby Cookie Cutter Set:

They were fun! I’ll start with my least favorite first. The rocking horses. Sometimes I can do them, and sometimes I can’t. This decorating session turned out to be a “not-as-cute” day.

I don’t know. Do you put faces on rocking horses? And if so, how?  Maybe I’m just not a horse person.

Next are the baby buggies.

And the teddy bears:

So the question here: How far apart do you put the eyes? I wasn’t sure, so I did 3 different distances. (By the way, I used black sugar pearls for the eyes on these. I really like using those for eyes.) I think I liked the blue one the best. Not too close, not too far apart.

And last, but not least, the onesies:

Awww. :) Baby stuff is just so cute and fun. We have a onesie cookie decorating card if you’re interested in more info on how to do some cute piped embellishments for onesies.

So we have the pink group:

The blue group:

And a mixed-color group:

Do you want to make some baby cookies? Comment on this post by Friday, Feb. 25 at midnight (Mountain Time), and you’ll be entered to win your own set of Wilton Baby Cookie Cutters plus our Onesie Cookie Decorating Instruction Card and our Baby Buggy Cookie Decorating Instruction Card. I’ll use random.org to choose one winner.

Thanks for reading! Now I’d better get in the kitchen and work on some St. Patrick’s Day cookies! That’s sneaking up on me!

A is for Alphabet *GIVEAWAY CLOSED*

15 Feb

This is the most fun I’ve had decorating cookies in a very long time. I’ve been wanting to make example cookies for the alphabet cookie cutter set for a while, but I just couldn’t think of anything creative to do with them. Well, the other day I got the idea to decorate each cookie with something that starts with that letter.  I had a few ideas, but was stuck on a lot of the letters. I asked my kids to help me, and they came up with some great ideas. My son even gave me this drawing with his ideas:

So the other day while they were at school, I took all of their ideas and decorated up a storm. It was very fun. What would you ever do with this assortment of cookies? I have no idea. But it was fun anyway.

All of these were done with Meringue Powder Buttercream, which I watered down a bit so that it was a thick glaze consistency. I used bags and tips, but you could also use squeeze bottles to get the same effect. I would use the ones with the couplers if you want to get good detail.

A is for

Ants! I learned something of value doing this cookie. It took me three tries to do the red and white checks. Well, actually three and a half. First, I outlined with white. It looked terrible. So I scraped it off and outlined with red. Still terrible. But before I scraped that one off, I went over the top of  it with black outlines to see if that might be the solution. I still wasn’t happy. I called Mike in and asked him what I should do. He suggested mixing red and white to make a pinkish-red color to outline with. So that’s what I did, and it worked great! So file that away in your brain in case you ever have to do red and white checks on a cookie. :)

B is for

Bumblebee. This wasn’t my favorite. I think I could have been a little more creative. But oh well.

C is for

Camouflage. Check out Sweet Sugarbelle’s guest post on Sweetopia for a tutorial on doing camo. It came in super handy for this cookie.

D is for

Doughnut!

E is for

Explosion!

F is for

Fire. You know, after the explosion.

G is for

Golf.

H is for

Harry Potter! I was hesitant to do this one, but my kids are SO into Harry Potter right now. My 10-year-old is just about to finish the 5th book, and my 8-year-old just started the 3rd book. So of course when I asked them what starts with H, they both shouted in unison “Harry Potter!” So there you go. Harry in the shape of an H.

I is for

Icy Igloo.

J is for

Jump rope.

K is for

Karate!

L is for

Leopard. Why did my L cookie spread more than any of the others? That is the question of the day. And another question is, do you need a leopard print tutorial? Sweet Sugarbelle is your girl.

M is for

Mountains.

N is for

Numbers. My daughter was so bummed that I didn’t do her idea on this one. She wanted me to make it sparkly and have a price tag hanging off of it, so that it would be N is for “New”. I thought that was a really cute idea, I just didn’t know if I could pull it off. Sorry Kelly.  I totally took the easy way out on this one.

O is for

Orange.

P is for

Purple Paisley. This is one I did because I’ve been wanting to mess around with the paisley pattern on a cookie. My kids looked at it and were like, “Huh?” I said “It’s Paisley! And it’s Purple!”.  And they said “okaaaaaaaaaaaay”.  But hey, now I know how to do paisley in frosting, which will come in handy for Father’s Day ties.

Q is for

Quilt! Super fun to do!

R is for

Rainbow. Awww.

S is for

Sssssssssssssssssnake.

T is for

Tiger. Another one that I wanted to do for selfish reasons. I’ve been wanting to learn zebra stripes and tiger stripes, which are very similar– The tiger stripes are just smaller and closer together. So this was good practice. If you’d like a tutorial on zebra stripes, Sugarbelle has a great one for that, too! I bet you can’t guess what’s coming up for the letter Z…

U is for

Up!

V is for

Vines and Violet.

W is for

Watermelon!

X is for

X-ray– if letters had bones.

Y is for

Yellow and Yo-Yo.

Z is for…  you guessed it…

Zebra! (If you didn’t see the letter T for Tiger yet, I mentioned this tutorial for how to make zebra stripes. Check it out. She made it so easy!)

So here’s a question for you. If you had a set of alphabet cutters, what would you do with them? Answer that question in the comments, and you’ll be entered to win a set all your own. Enter by Midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 16, and I’ll choose one winner using random.org to win a set of 26 letter cookies:

So you can make all the letter cookies you want. You could practice your animal prints:

Or fabric patterns:

Or just crazy, random things:

That’s it for today. Over and out from

Superbowl!

4 Feb

So I hear there’s some big football game on Sunday. Let me just disclose something right off the bat: I know nothing about football. The only team I’ve ever rooted for was my high school football team when my brother Dan was #70 and nicknamed Danimal.  Annnnnd…. that was about 18 years ago, give or take. No, the only thing I really pay attention to when it comes to the Superbowl are the commercials, which I watch on YouTube on Monday morning so I don’t have to wade through all that football to see them.

Oh, and I get really jealous thinking about all the guacamole that’s being consumed around the country. Sometimes I think I should have a Superbowl Party just so I can make some Seven Layer Dip and Little Smokies. But Mike isn’t into football either (if you ask him who’s playing in the Superbowl, he’ll probably say “Um… the Angels?” Try it sometime.)  We’re not Superbowl people, just so we’re clear.

But how about you? Are you having a party? Are you making cookies? Are you rooting for this team?

Or this team?

Or how about the 1993 Deer Park High School Football team?

GO STAGS!

Now, I know I’m very late to have a football cookie cutter giveaway. There’s no way I’m going to get these to the winner by Superbowl Sunday, even if I sent them yesterday. But there’s always next year. And there’s always the fall when you or someone you love starts following (or playing for) their favorite football team. It’s never too early to plan ahead, right?

So answer a question for me in a comment to this post and I’ll pick a winner at random to win these:

The Question is: What is your level of interest in the Superbowl?  Are you there for the food, the football, or the commercials? Are you having a party? Or are you asking yourself right now “What in the world is the Superbowl??”  I’m just taking a poll.

Ok, now a quickly-thrown-together-not-very-thorough tutorial on the Steelers logo, for those who are interested. It actually was a lot simpler than I had thought originally, so I thought I’d share what I did. This was totally an afterthought, so I had to use a cookie that was intended for something else– so no laughing.

I drew all these lines with food coloring markers, but if you don’t have any of those, you can also scratch the lines in with a scraper or toothpick. Or you can even use a graphite pencil, which is non-toxic and will give you some good guidelines. I liked using the marker so that the color matched the frosting color, in case some showed through.

First, glaze a circle white and let it dry completely. Then, off to the top-right side, draw a yellow cross:

Then draw a red cross, touching the yellow one like this:

Then, finally a blue one below those

Then you’ll go back and pipe over these lines with coordinating colors, using a pretty runny-consistency frosting.

After you get the cross piped on, go back and add four dots in each inside “corner” of the cross.

I really wanted a picture of this next part, but I CAN NOT figure out how to take pictures of my own hands working on something. Hey all you food bloggers out there— how do you do that?? A tripod? Timers? I can’t seem to get it figured out. But what I did was take my boo-boo stick (a toothpick would also work), and just pushed the frosting around until it formed the shape I wanted. With the cross and the dots, you’re really already almost there– just use a scraper of some sort to smooth out the lines and make it look like you want it to.

And please make sure you wash off your boo-boo stick before you drag it through the yellow frosting. And after you wash it, make sure you dry it really well so you don’t get water droplets on your cookie.

Continue on with the other colors.

Then add the Steelers, either piped or with food coloring marker, whichever you’re more comfortable with.

I used marker and wished I would have piped it. I have much better piping penmanship than I do marker penmanship, which is the exact opposite of most people.

And now I’m all ready for a Steeler’s tea party.  Anybody have any crumpets? :D

Happy weekend!

OOPS! Forgot to add– Giveaway ends Sunday, Feb 6th at Midnight. Please only enter one time.  Good luck!!

Mini Valentine Cookies

2 Feb

I still had some chocolate dough and frosting left over from my first batch of Valentine cookies, and I had this cute little set of Mini Valentine Cookie Cutters sitting on my counter, staring at me, waiting to be used. So I whipped up a teeny-tiny batch of itty-bitty cookies. They were fun! I like working with teeny cookies, because you just need the simplest of designs to make them look cute. Their size alone invokes some level of cuteness, so anything else you add is just icing on the… um….cookie. (yeah, that was bad)

Hugs and Kisses!

These were kind of tricky to get out of the cutters. I had to make sure the dough was super cold and I dipped the cutter in flour, and both of those things helped a lot. Just a little tip for you if you have cutters that have small-ish parts that don’t want to come out of the cookie cutter.

Lil' scalloped hearts

Cute as a button!

I tried my hand at imitating Pam’s cute buttons. The left one was my first try. It turned out kinda ugly, but I left it in here as a teachable moment. Do you feel it coming? Sometimes the best thing you can do is mess up a cookie, because you learn a lot from it. From this one, I learned that #1, I needed to make the circles much larger than I originally thought. Even though you want tiny button holes, once you fill in the rest of the cookie, those holes are going to shrink up. So make them larger than you think. Then I learned lesson #2: Don’t let the circles dry before filling in the rest of it or it looks funky. Draw the button holes and then fill in the rest immediately so it’s all nice and blended in. And #3, make sure your base is really dry before you add the rim of the button so that it’s more defined.  See– my second try there on the right is much better, don’t you think? Lessons learned every day…

Itty bitty double-hearts

Hearts with Arrows

I think I like the simplest arrow the best. Simple is better on tiny cookies, I always say. (Actually, I just started saying that right now… but from now on, I always say it)

When you’re all done with your minis, you can pile them all up on a plate (with the ugly ones on the bottom of the pile):

Piles of Minis!

OR– check this out. I was really excited about how the next presentation turned out. I had these little candy boxes and some mini cupcake liners. I thought it would be cute to package them like they were little candies in a box. So I loaded them up like this:

Cute, huh? I love the look of this! Each paper cup has 2-3 cookies in it. They could have all had 3, but I just didn’t have enough cookies to fill it (a few disappeared somehow…), so this little 7″x4″ box will hold about 2 dozen mini cookies! I think it looks like a fancy gift, but it’s really quite simple.

If you want to try this for Valentine’s Day this year, just tell me so in the comments on this post. I’ll chose one winner using random.org and I’ll send the winner:

 

These

And this

and this

and this

and these

and six of these

You could make 6 cute little Valentine gift boxes! (but don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it. You can use them for whatever you want!)

Please only enter one time. I’ll close the contest at midnight on Thursday, February 3. I had a few people ask when midnight is for us. We’re Mountain time, but if you comment by midnight on February 3rd your time, wherever you are, I won’t disqualify you! Try to get it done by midnight mountain time because then I don’t have to think as much, but if it’s still midnight where you are, I’ll count it! :D

Thanks for reading!

Oh, and happy Groundhog Day!

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