Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Cookies!



I really enjoyed making these mini cookies - hundreds of them!   I can't decide which is my favorite - the snowman or the little gingerbread guy.

I used them to make mini cookie jars for the kid's teachers and for my team at work.  Little dollar store jars full of minis, tied with a ribbon and finished off with a personalized label (bought from Ashley at PaperDime Design on Etsy), they made really cute gifts!



 


Here are some other cookie gifts I made this season, both for myself to give others and for some nice friends and family who made donations to Susan G Komen.  Thanks for the donations, Mom and Nickie!


chocolate snowflakes and chocolate and candy cane cakebites
 
chocolate covered oreo snowmen
sugar cookies and gingerbread men

more cakebites 
Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monster Truck Cake



I made this "monster truck" cake for my little friend Willem's birthday . . . chocolate cake with oreo "dirt" and chocolate rocks and boulders.   Hope he likes it!

Thank you for the donation, Madelyne!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chocolate Snowflakes



I have been dying to trying LilaLoa's chocolate cookie recipe for a loong time, especially after my friend Susie at  Sweetie Petitti went on and on about how good the dough was.   My neighbor's cookie exchange was finally my excuse.

Susie was RIGHT . . . .the dough is downright addictive.    The  baked cookies are pretty good too!

Had a great time at the cookie exchange, and I'm really glad there were a few of these left.  These might be my new favorite cookies!  If you are looking for a fabulous rolled chocolate cookie recipe - look no further.  Run, don't walk, over to LilaLoa's blog.





Saturday, December 15, 2012

Doc McStuffins Cookies


Does anyone else have Facebook friends they haven't actually met in real life?  I hope I'm not the only one!    My husband has refused to join the world of Facebook, but instead sometimes request I "friend" someone for him.   A few years back, he asked me to friend his co-worker Rachelle so we could be among the first to know when she had her baby.     I have happily followed the pictures of her adorable baby Akira over the past two years!  Once you are my Facebook friend, I feel like I know you!

MONTHS ago, Rachelle asked if I would make Doc McStuffins cookies for Akira's second birthday.  I immediately agreed . . . then I had to figure out who the heck Doc McStuffins was!  Turns out, she's an adorable character on a Disney cartoon.  In the name of research, I DVR'd an episode to see what it was all about.  The main character, a little girl, pretends to be a doctor by fixing up toys and dolls. When she puts on her stethoscope, something magical happens: toys, dolls and stuffed animals come to life and she can communicate with them.   It's a very cute show . . . unfortunately, two out of three of my boys came in during my viewing session and declared it a "baby" show.

I thought the little heart bandaid in the logo was very cute, so that's what I made for Akira's cookies.   I included a little tag with all of the characters - Doc, Stuffy, Hallie, Lambie and Chilly.   I hope Akira and her friends enjoyed them!




Thank you for the donation, Rachelle . . . . and it was great to meet you in real life!








Monday, December 10, 2012

Pink Baby Shower Cookies


My friend Maralyn asked me to make cookies to take to a baby shower this past weekend.   She said they should be  pink and girly . . . . so here's what I did!

I was very happy with how this platter turned out . . . I used some tips I picked up at CookieCon from one of my cookie heroines, Maryann Rollins, the Cookie Artisan.  She makes amazing themed cookie platters . . . I can only hope to be half as good as she is some day!    I also tried out a cool tutorial posted by Glorious Treats to make the "baby" bunting cookie.  Fun!

Thank you for the donation, Maralyn!  Hope the mom-to-be enjoyed them!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gingerbread Men . . . lots of them!




It's that time of year again!   Our neighborhood activities director plans the most amazing events for the families who live in my community - we are so lucky to have her!   Each December, she plans an amazing Winter Wonderland to kick off the holiday season, complete with Santa's workshop, hayrides and a tree lighting.    For the second year, she asked me to make gingerbread men as part of the "cookies and cocoa" . . . and I was happy to do it!

After rolling, baking and decorating 400 gingerbread men, I'm a bit tired - but my house smells heavenly!   We just delivered the cookies to the neighborhood clubhouse Santa's workshop, and can't wait for this afternoon's festivities to begin!

Thank you Tracy for the order - and for everything else you do for the community!




If you are looking for a good gingerbread recipe - try this one!  It comes from one of my mom's cookbooks from the early 70's, and I've been making it for years.  


Gingerbread Men

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 12 oz jar molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
11/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt

Cream together brown sugar and shortening, then add molasses and water.   In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture a little at a time.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Roll 1/8 inch thick and cut with desired cutters.   Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (for a softer cookie, bake no more than 10 minutes).  Cool on rack and decorate with royal icing.


Update:

We had a lovely time at the Winter Wonderland, and I thought I'd add a few pictures from the event.   My boys had a lot of fun, and it was fun for me to see people enjoying my cookies - especially cute little kids!




My son Noah volunteered to be a Santa's elf

Our clubhouse was set up with tons of holiday crafts and activities for the kids to do as they waited their turn to see Santa

The boys writing letters to Santa

Crafting!



Making magic reindeer food with oats, marshmallows and glitter 
This little girl loved my cookies!  Made me so happy!
another gingerbread cookie girl
My three boys with Santa!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grizzly Cheerleader Cookies



My friend Kristine asked me to make some cookies for her cheerleading team's end of season celebration.  Kristine spends countless hours coaching the cutest group of little girls, and I was so excited to make these cookies for her!  

I was very happy with how these cookies turned out - and Kristine tells me the girls loved them! 

Thank you for the donation, Kristine!

Each cookie had her own little personality, with different hair and bows (have you SEEN those big bows cheerleaders are wearing these days??)

Cookies and trophies for the girls - I hear they were really excited!

The cookies turned out cute, but not nearly as cute as the real thing!  These are some adorable little girls!






Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pinterest Party Cookies


Last weekend, a group of friends got together to try some new recipes and crafts from one of our favorite website addictions:  Pinterest!   It was a really fun night:  everyone brought something to eat and we made a couple of crafts together.    Lots of laughing and glitter flying!

Check out this spread!  Lots of tasty food and drinks, all found on Pinterest


This glitter ornament craft was my favorite!



Stenciled Cross Cookies



My friend and 3-day team mate Julia asked me to make some cookies for her son Joey's confirmation celebration.   I had been wanting to try stencils with royal icing (something I learned at Cookie Con!) and this was the perfect opportunity!     I made white-on-white cross cookies with ivy stencils, finished with a little sparkly disco dust.  Hope Joey and his friends enjoyed them!

Thank you for the donation, Julia!




Monday, November 5, 2012

CookieCon!

I just got back from one of the most fun events I have been to in a very long time!   I spent the weekend at CookieCon, an amazing cookie art convention and show.  It was a great event in so many ways.  I met dozens of incredible women, and we laughed together, learned together, and we were inspired together! 


Our fun group . . . .we met up Friday night and spent the rest of the weekend together.  
MaryKate, Laura, Amanda, Julie, me, Susie, and Becky
On top of that, I got to meet some of the fabulous bloggers who have taught and inspired me from afar - in real life! That was just amazing. Now when I read their blogs, I will hear their actual voices and see their faces. Love it!   It was so fun meeting and learning from Callye, Elizabeth, Glory, Pam, Ali B, and Maryann.  It was also great to meet Karen and Mike from Karen's Cookies, the couple who put on this spectacular event.  They are a first class pair!


Meeting three of my cookie heroes!   Sweet Sugarbelle, Arty McGoo, and Glory


Another cookie goddess - Maryann Rollins, the Cookie Artisan

Arty McGoo, making painting on a cookie look easy

I also got to meet Julia Usher, see her amazing work, and get a cookbook signed.  We had a great conversation about career changes - she started out as an engineer, then owned a bakery, and now writes cookbooks and teaches others her cookie techniques!    Julia was so encouraging and inspiring.



I was blown away by the talent of my fellow cookiers.  The entries in the Sugar Show contest were beyond my wildest imagination of what can be done with a cookie.  Warning:  this post has lots of pictures in it! 




 



Many great vendors provided giveaways and door prizes, and there was a great packaging display by BRP Box Shop.    The BRP folks were so awesome . . . I will be giving them my packaging business from here on out - small business, products made in America!   So many ideas, so little time!

 
My bags were full coming home!  Much of this was free swag, but I bought some of it. 
Can't wait to wear my new "Make Cookies Not War" t-shirt :)
 
On Saturday, we got to play around with many of the tools and techniques we had learned about on Friday.   It was great because I got to try out some things I thought I wanted and now know I don't need (airbrush), things I thought I wanted and now I must have (kopykake projector), and get some hands on instruction from some of my cookie gurus (fondant with Glory!  Ribbon roses with Ali B!) - awesome!
 
 
There was also a "mystery shape" contest - everyone got a very odd-shaped cookie (turns out it was a stretched-out ragdoll cutter) and a few hours to turn it into something special.  Once again, I was BLOWN AWAY with what my fellow cookiers came up with.  The collage below shows a few of my favorites (yes, these cookies are all the same shape, and yes, they were all made in a few hours.   (I will not be showing you my unworthy submission here!)
 
The adorable lady with the polka dotted hat in the upper right corner won!
 
Hotel had free happy hour each evening, with awesome local beer


Saturday night banquet!  Love these girls!


Amanda . . . if I ever go to Iowa, we're going out :)
I am still smiling from how great the weekend was . . . . really really hope to do it again next year!