Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Ho Ho Holidays!

Christmas is a wonderful time to experiment with new cutters and cookie designs.  In addition to the lovable snowman, there are so many options . . . ornaments, snowflakes, lightbulbs, and Santa's.

In addition to my standard vanilla and almond flavored sugar cookie recipe, I mixed up a batch of "Brownie" cookies for those in the family who enjoy a chocolate fix.  The dark background makes the Royal Icing colors pop.

Merriest of Christmas wishes to . . .
 those who order cookies throughout the year, allowing me to share in their special events . . .
to those fellow crafters who share their passion for cookie decorating on FLICKR,
and to my littlest fans who are part of quality control . . .
Jack, Kendra, and Kylie

Jack will be 2 in March.  He says, "cook" when he wants one of Grandma's cookies.

Kendra likes Princess cookies best, but she wants full-body.  None of this "just the dress" stuff.

Kylie is so sweet that she doesn't need cookies!
It warms my heart when they open the tin and eat two at time
and "Cookie" is one of the first words they learn to speak!

I should probably also throw out a special wish to my husband who happily handles all of my rejects.

Have a wonderful holiday . . .
spread some cheer . . . one cookie at a time!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Santa's Makin' a List

It's Ho-Ho Holiday time, which is the perfect season for cookies!  Last October, I made pumpkin cookie treat bags for the Women's Club bake sale.  They were a hot item and disappeared quickly.

Fortunately, one of the gals remembered my cookies and emailed an order.  Three or four dozen grew into five dozen bagged and personalized cookies for her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.  I was very impressed that she could compile a list of all 20 with accurate spellings.  (She must have a cheat sheet!)

Santa hats seemed perfect for personalizing.  I was able to write the names and then pipe some cute swirls around the lettering on the band of Santa's hat.  To add some contrasting color, I tossed in a tree.  Of course, Snowmen have such personality that I had to include those as the third cookie in each bag.

This is actually my first order in our new location.  I'm not sure how many calls I will receive.  Whenever I take cookies to events, everyone asks, "Do you do cakes?"  That just isn't my thing.  That's ok.  The grandkids keep my oven on!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cowboy Cha Cha

Line Dancing ended the fall season with a small pizza party.  I decided to make some Western cookies to celebrate the steps learned and friends made.  Cowboy hats and boots were a logical choice.  Having seen some denim pockets done by an expert cookier, Sweet Sugar Belle, I wanted to try my hand at it.  I pulled a pair of blue jeans out of the closet and used them as a pattern. 

Baby Got Her Blue Jeans On

Spots Before My Eyes!

My favorite blog, Bake at 350, was celebrating a 3 year anniversary this past week.  Bridget posts mouth-watering pictures, provides step-by-step directions to recreate her cookie artwork, and sometimes has fun giveaways.  (Did I mention that I want to win the new red KitchenAid Mixer?)

While checking out Bridget's blog, I noticed dotted leaves and acorns on her home page.  I had  leftover dough, some spare Royal Icing, and plenty of family and friends who enjoy receiving cookies, so I decided to have a spotted Thanksgiving.

Just connect the dots to check out Bake at 350 for yourself. . . http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dinner Is Served!

There's nothing like a plate full of cookies during the holidays!  These little gobblers are my first attempt at turkeys, since I didn't know that I had the cutter until Christmas last year.  (Since then, I have done a better job of sorting and organizing the cutters--complete with a spreadsheet of the assortment that I lost when our computer crashed.)

I am thankful for all the cookie artists out there who map the way to a delightful cookie design.  These turkeys are based on the work of Master Creation and Bambino's Bakery.  It is always helpful when someone posts a picture to give me a "launching pad" for decorating my cookies.

I am also thankful for toothpicks.  They are a precious instrument used to get the feathering effect on the turkey's tail.

For my little Gobblers . . . Kendra, Kylie, and Jack!
Most of all, I am thankful for friends and family and all the blessings in my life.  As I pack up the house that we have sold, I look at all the treasures that remind me of my very fortunate journey. 

God Bless you and yours this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Want My Mummy!

Cookie Friend and I are always emailing "KISS" when we discuss our plans to make cookies.  "Keep It Simple, Silly!" (Don't cut too many different designs that require more colors than we have bottles to fill.  Focus on just a few!)  For once, I did follow my own advice.
I wanted to make a batch of Halloween cookies for the grandkids, who we will see this weekend.  Jack-o-Lanterns are a given, but I had to decide what I would add into the mix.  Ghosts would be easily recognizable by toddlers.  Then I remembered a blog tutorial for mummy cookies.  I have never made mummies, so now was the perfect time.  Pumpkins and ghosts and mummies, oh my!

Unfortunately, I did not have the wide flat tip with me when it was time to wrap my mummy, so I detailed in simple lines.  I liked the black detailing, but then I remembered that these cookies are for children 1 to 3 years old.  Black doesn't look too good in drool; nor is it easy to wash out of clothes.  After a few mummies detailed in black, I switched to white-on-white.  Since they are for grandchildren, the heart was mandatory!

Mummies are white, so I implemented my creative license and iced my ghosts in purple, green and pale orange.  The variety of colors makes a boo-tiful tin of cookies to celebrate the season!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Days!

The Lake Carroll Yacht Club was hosting a sock hop, so I created a collection of cookies for the dessert table and also a bouquet for a door prize. 

The toughest part of making these cookies was deciding what to include.  I chose bowling shirts (King Pins), bowling pins and ball, sun glasses, dresses with poodles on the skirt, convertibles, malts, records, musical notes, juke boxes, and saddle shoes. 

The shoes were absolutely my favorite!

Fashionably Fun Birthday Cookies

Our granddaughters' babysitter requested cookies for her daughter's sleepover party.  Melanie just redecorated her bedroom in hot pink, black and white, so we decided to stay with that color scheme.  The invitations were birthday cakes, so the main cookie was a cake dripping in frosting and topped with 9 candles to mark her 9th birthday! Melanie is a very stylish gal, so the zebra print on her initial seemed to fit her personality.

Happy Halloween

 Jack-o-Lanterns can be frightening, so these "Jack n Jill's" have happy, friendly faces!  These were bagged for our granddaughter's soccer team, celebrating the end of the season.  They were so gosh, darn cute that I bagged them up for the Woman's Club Bake Sale as well.

I have two Candy Corn cutters.  One is 3 inches.  The other is an Itsy.  These little nibblers are addictive and dress up any platter!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Can't Escape the Green and Gold!

After attending Elk Grove High School and then returning there on staff, I've had many years of green and gold (as well as a closet full of clothes in the same colors).  It seems only natural that an order from a teacher be for cookies in the same school colors.  Instead of the Grenadiers, they are for two Gator football players.  

It is school tradition that the football players give a jersey to a favorite teacher to wear on the Friday of Homecoming Week.  Two of the teachers wanted treat bags for the students when they returned the jerseys.  Can you guess what their names and team numbers are?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heads? or Tails?

Cute from any angle!  (Sorry, I can't seem to get this photo rotated!!!)  These little pig heads and tails were created as part of a collection for our neighbor's annual pig roast.  This is the second year that we have been invited and are unable to attend.  Last year, our dog had surgery.  This year, we have a family wedding.  We hate missing out on so much fun!
I am hoping that a platter of cookies will keep the invitations coming.  I would hate to be dropped from the guest list.  A tray of various pig cookies will be doing a "Jigga, Jig, Jig" all the way to Harper's for their tenth annual pig roast.  Wish we could be there, Tom and Joanne!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Golden Reason to Celebrate!

The majority of my cookie orders are for birthdays--children aging 1 to 60!  There are also many baby cookies as shower favors or gifts to the family of the new arrival.  It is a rarity to make cookies for a couple celebrating 50 years of marriage.

A wedding cake cutter with the heart on top seemed fitting for the special occasion.  The white cake is piped in white and features a golden heart and 50.  A monogrammed "B" is centered in the heart to personalize for the Baron's.

Congratulations . . . and Cookie Cheers!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bah Bah, Boy!

There seems to be a run on boys lately.  Please don't tell Gavin, Mitch, and Drew that they are receiving the same cookies.  I was able to create and just multiply by three, because of the timing.  I just hope that the  birth date and weight cookies end up in in the right box!

Before the next boy arrives, I need to find out how to mix a true "baby blue."  It seems that I always end up with more of an aqua color than I had intended.

God Bless the Dobler's and little Gavin . . . blessings to the Boberg's and baby Drew . . . and special prayers to Mitch and his family.  Mitch was premature, but is steadily gaining weight.  He must be anxious to join his family at home!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wedding Shower Cupcakes

The bride-to-be loves cupcakes, so the favor for her wedding shower is cupcakes in the wedding colors of black and white with a hot pink heart topping the cookie.

Rather than lots of black frosting, I decided to create a polka dot liner and then pipe in black.  My next decision wasn't quite as easy.  I couldn't decide how I wanted to create the heart.  I have never used fondant, but my sift-sister, "Cookie Friend", had great results when she used fondant to create her "Cute as a Button" cookies.  Since these cupcake cookies are larger than ones I usually make, I decided a uniform heart in a larger size would have more presence.  So, out came the fondant and heart cutter.  You decide which is better . . . The middle photo has a heart piped in Royal Icing, which I usually do.  The last photo has the fondant heart.  Despite the method, these cookies look cute and romantic tied with a ribbon and heart tag for the wedding shower.

P.S.  I was so happy to receive an email from the bride's mother after the shower.  She told me that everyone loved the cookies, especially the bride!  It is so nice to get feedback and know that the cookies added to the occasion.

Gone Fishin'

I decided to make some fishing cookies for our monthly pot luck meeting of the Fishing Club.  Unfortunately, it was a night when more people brought desserts than salads!  We had plenty of sweet treats.

Having leftovers to take home worked out well, since our grandson was there for a visit at the lake house.  At 17 months, he already recognizes Grandma's cookies!  

The design on the hats is the logo for Lake Carroll.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Cardinals Baseball Fan Celebrates 60!

But shhhh!  It's a surprise . . . 

I knew nothing about Cardinals baseball, so this order took a little research.  Unfortunately, the official baseball jersey has two cardinal birds sitting on the bat.  I wasn't sure I could pull off that small detailing, so Denny's cookies are "minus two birds."  They are definitely "knock offs," because they are missing something found in the original.  Two bites . . . and no one will know the difference!

Happy Birthday, Denny!  Hope 60 is a home run!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A "Maivelous" Birthday Celebration


Our friends from Sesame Street have gathered for Maive's first birthday.

They were fun to create and make such a colorful tray of cookies!

This is the last of my cookie orders.  May and June have been busy months with graduations, wedding showers, and tot birthdays (When you surround yourself with teachers, the tot birthdays tend to be in late spring to coordinate with the school calendar and summer break :)

Happy Birthday, Maive!  Thanks for the opportunity to try my hand at these delightful characters.  May they bring you as many smiles as they have given me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sweet on Sesame Street!

Let me introduce you to my new friends from Sesame Street!

Cookie Monster came to visit when it was time for Kylie's first birthday.  A flower cutter, blue frosting and google eyes . . . a piece of cake!  (I mean cookie.)

A week later, another one-year-old was having a Sesame Street birthday.  Elmo was to be the star of Maive's tray of cookies.  I promised to deliver the jolly red character, along with Cookie Monster and some balloons with the little one's name and her age.

I soon realized that you can't break up a strong trio of characters!  The infamous yellow bird just had to be included.  I used the same cutter, but this time with yellow RI and a beak. 

Big Bird's eyes required a little more detail than his friends, but he was worth the extra effort!  Together, they create the "wow" factor with those vibrant colors.

These popular faces don't just appear overnight . . . well, actually, they do!  I piped all of the black details and had to let them dry overnight to prevent "bleeding" into the other colors. 

In the early morning, I began the "flood".  It's like coloring inside the lines, except you use very thin Royal Icing.  Once I squeeze out the color, I use a toothpick to close up any gaps between the flood and the black piping.  Long process, but great results!  (I will forgive my husband for saying that Big Bird looks more like Jimmy Durante with the big nose!  What do men know?) 

It will be fun to hear which cookie is Maive's favorite!  The total collection for Maive will be posted separately.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Off to Mizzou!

Some of the orders for graduation parties were made to feature the college that the graduate would be attending rather than the high school colors . . . Out with the old, and on with the new!

As many cutters as I have, I always discover that I am missing "just the right one."  Erin's mom originally inquired about Tiger cookies for the University of Missouri.  When I researched purchasing various cutters, they were all larger than my usual 3 inch cookie.  I was afraid of just doing the tiger face and having it look more like the Frosted Flakes Tony.  Fortunately, we decided on an alternate approach . . . tiger paw prints and tiger print "M's" for Mizzou.  Actually, I think their guests will be more entertained by the creativity in the platter than if they were actual tigers.

Congrats to Warren Township H.S. grad, Erin, and best wishes as she prepares for her freshman year at Mizzou . . . wear that gold and black proudly!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Slice of Summer

My daughter emailed me asking for "just a few cookies" to thank a neighbor.  She said they could be anything.  Since I have been busy with actual orders, there were no "spares" sitting in my freezer, and this meant another batch before Sunday. 

My mind was racing as I prepared the dough.  "What do I make that I can get double use out of?"  (Yes, I could make different cookies, but I was trying to avoid mixing more colors of RI.  Did I mention that I have been busy with orders?) 

I have a ladies get-together after golf in the coming week, and cookies would be great to take for new friends.  I decided to repeat my "fruit salad."  (l) The designs are refreshing and represent summer.  (2)  They were something I had done previously and didn't require a lot of detailed piping.  (3)  I don't know any of these people well enough to be making bikini's and flip flops :)

Regardless of the cookie designs, packaging is always a challenge!  I joke with my quilting friends that I am so envious.  When they finish a blanket, it can be rolled up and tied with a ribbon.  They don't have to worry about keeping things fresh, avoiding breakage, or overall presentation.  All this tissue and ribbon adds up!

Online orders usually require quantity buying, and shipping can double the expense.  Dollar Stores or craft stores that offer coupons have become my best friend!  These cupcake boxes were purchased with a 40% off coupon.  The pattern seemed great for summer, and I was able to stack a dozen cookies.  It's cuter, safer, and cheaper than a plate covered with plastic.  The trick is to have them on hand for the next last minute order for "just a few cookies."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

She Said, "Yes!"

This was an order for 6 dozen wedding gown cookies to be used as favors for a wedding shower.

The friend also requested a bouquet of hearts. I thought that would be too simple and decided to include cookies that represented Laura's big day.

Her mom suggested the "Live, Laugh, Love". Rather than putting that saying on one cookie, I decided to put each wish on a heart by itself. Her bridesmaid's dresses are Sangria. As much as I tried to mix colors to match the ribbon sample, I could not replicate Sangria. Thus, the words on the cookies and all detailing were done in white, which really has an elegant effect. By mixing just a touch of pink/red tissue in with the white, the bouquet didn't look bland.

The dresses were created by using a new copper cutter from Ecrandal. The people there are very accommodating and come highly recommended by other "cookiers."

The "mother-of-the-bride-to-be" was kind enough to send me a picture of Laura with her bouquet at the shower.  Special blessings and warm wishes to Laura and Bob as their big day approaches!

Kylie's Kookies

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Kylie Mae! Grandma sends her love and cookies!

Big Sister Kendra had Elmo for her first birthday, so she decided that Kylie should have Cookie Monster for her party. The Sesame Street faces are so well known that it isn't that difficult to make the characters. His googly eyes and huge grinning mouth are recognizable trademarks. The smile on this happy guy is almost as big as Kylie's!

Ironically, I have a "Sesame Street" order next week for another girl turning one. It will be fun to try my decorating hand with Elmo and Big Bird! Cookies are such fun!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Sunshine!

Nothing says summer like a happy face sun! These were requested by an early childhood teacher who wanted treats for her students on the last day of school. She requested the tag to read: "Enjoy the sunshine this summer! Love, Miss Lauren."

These cuties will be bagged and tagged with citrus colored ribbon for a festive gift to the students.

Let the summer begin!

(6/3/10 addendum) Feedback is always appreciated. It was wonderful to get an email from Lauren after dropping off her cookies at her school: "The cookies are adorable! Thank you so much. I'll definitely be calling you again." These decorated cookies take hours to create, so it is always heartwarming to hear back from customers and hear that they were enjoyed!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tool Time!

There is a saying about carpenters neglecting their own homes . . . I feel like the cookie baker who neglects her husband and family.

This is a busy season for cookie orders, which leaves little time to bake for those I love. It is also more complicated now that we are spending the summer at our lake house. Baking cookies requires a road trip back home before I can start whipping the butter!

It was a rush job, but I was able to bake a few dozen for our Memorial Day celebration of my husband's retirement. He was a union carpenter for 42 years. I thought the grandkids would enjoy the faces!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grenasauras Preschool Graduation

It's officially graduation season in the months of May and June. I've had orders for one college, one h.s. and two preschool graduations. The Grenasaurus Preschool at Elk Grove High School was my largest order to date. I made 14 dinosaur cookie pops (The only thing better than a cookie is a cookie on a stick.) and 8 dozen jungle animals and graduation caps to match the theme of this year's celebration. I hope the tots and the teens as well as the parents enjoy their treats. Check back soon for a posting of the Class of 2010 with their cookies!