Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's a Secret - Birthday Cookies -

I can't be in Montana for Dani's wedding or for the Big 80th Birthday Picnic they are having for Dad and Mom. So not only did I decide to do cookies for Dani and Josh, I also agreed to do some for the family picnic as a surprise. Dad and Mom both turn 80 this year and that is a milestone worth celebrating. They have also spent a lot of their lives in travel. So...when I was trying to decide what to do for the birthday cookies I was on a bus traveling on I-80 and a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought "Interstate 80 - 80 years old, lots of travel and a journey together." I designed the cookies right then and there on the bus.
When I got home from the tour I made a cookie cutter the shape that I needed. 
Baked the cookies and added a stick so they really looked like signs. Put them in the freezer to wait for the day I would decorate them. That day was today. When I had tried my sample cookies I struggled the most with making the big numbers consistent so I came up with this idea last night.
I printed out 40 - 8s and 0s from the printer in the size I needed and used parchment paper over them, then made icing for piping and went to town making my numbers all the exact same size. I let those dry overnight and then gently put them all in two separate bowls.
To say I was thrilled is an understatement.
I used the same white piping and outlined the cookies and let that dry for about an hour this morning.
 I had made my blue and red icing yesterday because, in case you didn't know, the color develops with time.
 I flooded the blue area and added the numbers while it was very wet.
p.s. I had the TV on Sponge-Bob Square Pants while I did this, because it is entertaining and he makes me laugh.
 I allowed the blue to dry for about an hour then came in with the red and a #1 tip on the piping bag and did the final part of the cookie.

43 cookies done, drying and waiting to be packaged.
Finished product.
Now for some facts 
{for no reason except I would be so curious, so I inform}
The violet cookies each took about 2 minutes to decorate. 
100 = 200 minutes = approx. 3 hours and 20 minutes
The sunflower cookies each took about 7 minutes to decorate. 
100 = 700 minutes = approx. 11 hours and 40 minutes plus about 1 hour to package.
Each sign cookie took about  4 minutes to decorate. 
43 = 172 minutes = approx. 3 hours plus about 1& 1/2 hours to package. 
Not included in these times is making the dough, cutting out the cookies, baking them, cooling them, making the frosting, coloring it, putting it into the little bottles to use...ANYWAY...all worth the effort and time. 
Congratulations to Dani and Josh and Happy Birthday to my dad and mom {who don't know about this blog so I have no worries that they will see this}

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunflower Sugar Cookies-

You know the drill: Sketch, Bake, Decorate
Bryan likes unfrosted sugar cookies and last night I had just baked the last dozen of these that I needed. 
He walked by picked one up and said "Is it ok if I eat this?" FINE. 
Fortunately I only needed 11 to finish out the numbers.
All 100 are baked and now I am decorating 25 at a time.
So first I did the centers and let those dry for about an hour.
 Next I did the darker yellow outline. Let that dry while I went back to the start and added the darker by the center, added the yellow and used a toothpick to drag the darker yellow into the lighter one.
Here are the first 25. I'm exhausted already. :-)
And here is how they will look all packaged up for the wedding.
Found those bee stickers {3D with a black jewel for the head} and thought they would make a cute addition to the cookie bag.
And I still have 40 Road Signs to decorate. I am insane. Oh well, at least I enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Violets for Danica -

 My sketches of ideally how they should look...
Fell up the stairs 4 days ago and am now in a wrist brace 
{left hand, fortunately} but still a hindrance.
I am satisfied with the results. 
 This doesn't look like that many but it is 100 of the little 1"x1&1/4" cookies.
{2 layers}
Hopefully Danica will like them. Now on to the larger more fun sunflowers. 
But that's for tomorrow...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tip #2 about cleaning tips!

They are great for getting down into the tiny ends of the smallest tips and cleaning out any possible dried Royal Icing in it. They are only about $3 for the pack of 15 and since they have a little cap on each one they last quite awhile.

Cookies for Dani & Josh -

My neice, Danica, is getting married and although I can't go to the wedding, I am making some cookies for them to have at the wedding. Sunflowers. But I decided to do a two tone cookie before I frost them. So regular petals and chocolate center. Decorated cookie pictures will follow. Right now I am just baking and freezing. Also doing small violets to use as cupcake toppers. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oatmeal Sugar Cookies explained -

When I made the Oatmeal Sugar Cookies on the 4th I had Quaker Quick Oats for them but I knew that I wouldn't be able to cut them out with whole oats in them so I put three cups {one cup at a time} of them through the food processor until they were fairly finely ground. I suppose you could use oat flour but I did sort of want the texture of oatmeal cookies. Anyway...I made the basic sugar cookie recipe but replaced 3 cups of the flour with the three cups of oats I ground up. Replaced 1 cup of the white sugar with 1 cup brown sugar. The only thing I would change next time is that this recipe didn't seem to need the 2/3 cup of eggs. I think 2 eggs would have done it because I had to add a little more flour to make them not too sticky. So when I try them again I will try that. Also I didn't add the 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. cloves that I put in my  regular oatmeal cookies but that would be good in these I am sure.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Well, DUH...

Here's why I said "Duh" - I had bright frosting left from the tie-dye cookies and thought that since I had company coming I would get some cookies out of the freezer and decorate them for that. So I set to work. The bottom right is my first one then I did three more and as I was doing the fourth cookie I thought "WHAT AM I DOING!! I could just put the colors on there and use a toothpick to create the design!" So the top left two and bottom left one are the "after the duh" ones and I liked them much better. They look much more complicated and took about 1/4 the time. So I am justified in saying "DUH"  to myself.
Also made this "cake" for that dinner. Ashley had sent me the idea for the cake from another blog.
 {I apologize that I can't remember what one.}
 I have always made my popcorn balls this way but never added things to it. 
What you need:
Angel food or bundt pan, sprayed with butter flavor Pam.
2 bags of microwave popcorn (butter flavor) 
or if you are super healthy and want to make the popcorn then fine...but I was in a hurry.
2 sticks of butter melted
16 oz. bag of mini marshmallows
1 cup of mini m&m's (reserve about a Tbsp.)
1 cup broken up pretzels
Pop the popcorn and get rid of the kernels that didn't pop.
 {I dumped mine into a vegetable steamer with bigger holes and the popcorn stayed in and the seeds fell out. Can you say "genius"? haha}
Stir it together with the m&m's and pretzels in a very large bowl.
Melt the butter and marshmallows until silky and combined.
Pour this mixture over the popcorn mixture.
Stir gently to combine, sprinkle the reserved m&m's into the bottom of the pan, press the popcorn mixture on top and let cool for a bit. Turn out onto a cake plate. Slice and enjoy.
I think this cake would be fun for a kids party. Perhaps make cookies that look like candles and put them on top.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Salon Birthday Cookies-

Bobbi asked me to make cookies for one of the ladies at the Salon for her birthday. 
I had seen these on a blog so I made them. 
Super easy but they look complicated.
The bottom left second one in I was spacing off and put the red next to the purple so I just changed the whole cookie up. Oh well. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

I had all my work done...I promise...

Tomorrow I leave for a week to go on tour with Esprit. 
Why, you say, was I decorating cookies? Because I could.
Get used to it. At the times when I should be doing something else,
I relieve stress by doing something I really enjoy {painting, making a project or as today, making cookies} It all started because I was thinking {dangerous} as I was cleaning the mess in the basement because Jayme told 5 of her friends from Colorado that they could crash there Sunday night {with my blessing}. Where was I...oh, yes, thinking. The other day I wasn't doing what I needed to do {laundry} and I was sketching and coloring said sketches with markers. Then a light bulb went off in my head and I began what I like to call the "Summer Treats" series of cookies. It started on paper.
 I just wanted to do toasted marshmallows so bad and that led to a new design on the popsicle which led to...
the lemonade and ultimately my absolute favorite, the soft serve ice cream cone.
 I used a roll of flashing that I got at the hardware store. I cut it into strips that were about 1 and 1/4 inch wide. I folded over a 1/4 in and used the handle of the scissors to smooth it down so that edge isn't sharp. Then I just started to shape it around the shape that I had drawn. It takes some work and measuring but I loved this process. Then I glue the ends together with this glue and put a clothespin on the join and let them dry for awhile. That was the other day. They have been sitting on my counter calling to me since then. I kept saying "No, not right now, I have to get ready for Esprit...well, maybe on the 4th if I have time..."
So now we come to cleaning the basement and thinking...about whether I could make an oatmeal sugar cookie and what that would be like and OH WELL FINE I will. So I finished the basement, then rewarded myself with making Oatmeal Sugar Cookies. I will explain that later.
that is what I yelled to Jayme who was sitting right in front of me eating my oatmeal sugar cookie dough like it was candy... {her two favorite cookies in one dough}
 I tell you it was a proud moment.
I will say here that the stick on the marshmallows is the design flaw in all this. It works but isn't the strongest thing and you have to leave it to cool a little on the tray or they break when you remove them. Once cooled, it is very strong. 
 because you need to see unbaked cookies on a tray...
 Baked and decorated. And they tasted really good too. 
I liked the oatmeal ones. 
{regular are still my absolute favorite but...I had to try}

 By the time I got to taking these pictures, I think I was scaring Jayme or making her laugh...
but I had to show- Concept to Design to Finished product.
 Yes, I know, I didn't do the straw down into the needed to fix supper.
There they are, my afternoon's accomplishment.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lips -

When we went to Walnut, IA, over Father's Day weekend, I found a cookie cutter that was lips. I had made some and frozen them for a day when I had some red frosting. This afternoon was that day. So I got the cookies out of the freezer and tried some designs on the four cookies that I had made.
 This first picture was helpful in that some of the white highlights weren't there they were reflections of the flash so I just looked at the picture and added them to the cookies.
I think the lower left one is my favorite. I had started to run out of red and so added some white and a little coloring and the frosting wasn't mixed together completely.  Gave it some dimension. 
Ok, so I said I wouldn't be blogging the next couple days. 
I was wrong.

Happy Baking,