Friday, April 29, 2011

Lilac cookies

Craft Link parties

I smelled the lilacs in the air before I even saw them.  A fresh bouquet in the house perfuming the air, some left over Swiss meringue buttercream already tinted violet, and a freshly made batch of sugar cookie dough...

I had never tried this type of buttercream on a cookie before.  They don't harden up like royal icing so they need to handled and stored with care (or eaten immediately).  I was also inspired by new placemats I found.  Love the combo of violet and blue.

So I had to make some morning glory cookies to go along with the placemat - everyone does this, right?  It was so interesting to combine royal icing with the Swiss meringue.  I think it looks like a collar made of crepe paper.  Now to add in a little rectangle of lilacs on a sky blue background.

Along with the lilacs, there are bleeding hearts, blue grape hyacinths, azalea, flowering crabapple, viburnum, primrose, and of course, pansies and snapdragons blooming in my yard. 

I added little green pearl dragees in the center andI have been finding incredible deals on these as well as Madagascar vanilla at stores like Ross, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx).  So delicate and feminine - wouldn't these be beautiful for mother's day? 

I am linking with Trish at Sweetology

Summer means flowers to me - Seasonal Sundays link at the Tablescaper!

Join me each Sunday for my weekly party

Join me each Sunday for my weekly party

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Tool cookies

If you are in my age demographic, you probably think you are about to see cookies in the shape of hammers and screw drivers. 

Nope.  These are Tool the band cookies.  My almost 16 year old son and green beret son are crazy about them.

There is a great deal of eye imagery in the Tool art and explosions of color.

And what better way to try out my new PME tips from Karen's Cookie's (love this site) that the UPS man just brought.  I am usually the flower/feminine cookie decorator, but I really had fun with these. 

And in the interest of harmony in the car, my almost 16 year old made me a cd labeled "mom's mellow tool" to be played when he can't stand any more Stevie Wonder and I can't stand any more Dave Matthews.  Compromise is everything.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

From camo to cameo

After all the camo baking that happened in my kitchen this week, I was in the mood for some "girly" baking.  I collect vintage jewelry, and when I saw the cameo chocolate mold I knew I had to have it. 

Honestly, this project is so simple.  Just fill the molds with melting chocolate, let harden, and place on top of cookies.  I loved the addition of pearl dragees - it makes even more of a jewelry statement.  I also made a few pansy blossom cookies sprinkled with disco dust. 

Load a cake stand with pearls, add cookies, and afternoon tea is served.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The chocolate cookie box

The time had come for making chocolate sugar cookies.  The cookie dough color reminded me so much of gingerbread, I decided to "build" a box out of it and fill it with white chocolate mousse. 

 I am not good at constructing three dimensional objects out of cookies.  Every holiday season my children and I make a gingerbread house.  I'm going to give you a little quiz on what happens each year.

A.  I get a headache.
B.  I say swear words in my head, and outloud when there are no children present.
C.  It has to be propped up by soup cans
D.  It is ceremoniously blown up with fireworks on new year's eve.
E.  All of the above.

If you guessed E, you are correct.  At this point, I have a confession to make.  For a good number of years I assembled the house using this:

Thats right - construction adhesive.  I had five kids at home at the time.  Don't judge.

A brief disclaimer - the houses were never eaten - just want to be clear on that.

I continued happily in this manner until I discovered Martha Stewart's royal icing recipe.  I am fairly certain that skyscrapers could be built with this stuff (as long as it never rained).  And now, back to the chocolate boxes.  I was able to use a less cement like version of royal icing for this project because of their small size and no heavy roof to support.  Using food coloring bottles and jars, I propped the boxs up and let them thoroughly dry.

Now that they are dry you can fill them with mousse, pudding, or ice cream. 

I think I had better do my Billy Blanks cardio inferno bootcamp today - TWICE.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The boudoir cookie photo shoot

I was asked to make some "boudoir" cookies for a fabulous photography studio in Frederick Maryland.  It is called Boudoir Affaire -  Let me tell you a little bit about this classy, fun, and very girly studio.  Photographer Cindy Alderton is not only insanely talented, but one of the sweetest ladies you can imagine.  Within minutes of meeting, we discovered that we both had the PINK gene, love halloween, and have brave sons serving in the United States Army (Isn't it amazing how two women can get to the important stuff quickly?).  Sweet talented Cindy sees the beauty in every woman no matter their age, shape, or size.  Her photographs are simply beautiful. 

So after decorating her sexy and yet tasteful (or is that tasty?) cookies, I decided to do my own amateur photo shoot with them.

Ok ladies, lets line up on the plate in the photo box.

Um..., I guess you're all feeling a little shy.  Lets have the thongs go first to loosen everyone up a bit.

Ahem, yes, they certainly aren't shy.  Now, can we have a little leg?

Very good.  Try to relax ladies, I know I'm not nearly as good as Cindy, but can we at least try to get one shot?  You really are beautiful cookies and I promise, this will be fun.

Fabulous!  Can we get together now for a group photo?

Into the box now girls.  You're about to be shipped off to a real pro, so you'll be in good hands.  Goodbye boudoir cookies - be fierce!

I am linking with Bacon Time with the Hungry Hippo

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A little Easter eye candy

Now why would you want to waste your calories on jelly beans and marshmallow chicks when you can have cookies? 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Love Story

Once upon a time in a faraway land (my backyard), two lonely bunnies met on a social networking site.

Their online conversations captivated them both, and so they decided it was time to go on a date.  After enjoying a romantic dinner of organic carrots and a lovely merlot (remember, this is MY backyard), they fell in love.

After a brief courtship, they got married and started a family. 

And they all (183 of them) lived happily ever after.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Primroses and Swiss meringue buttercream

SweetologyToday was the day I decided to take the plunge into Swiss meringue buttercream.  It is definitely more labor intensive than making royal icing, but I have been intrigued by it for quite some time - besides, I love to use a bain marie (really just a double boiling method, but bain marie is more fun to say).  Lots of egg whites with sugar being whisked over the bain marie, beating the concoction for ten minutes with the whisk attachment of my mixer, dropping chunk by chunk an insane amount of butter, more beating, adding vanilla, and you guessed it, more beating.  A lot of work and messy bowls, but this stuff is fantastic.  It is light as a feather and yet rich.  It holds its form and is very easy to work with.  The only trouble I encountered was that it didn't take colors nearly as well as royal icing.  I had to use tons of amerigel and didn't really get the vibrant colors I was after. 

And now for my inspiration.  I adore primroses in the spring.  They are sturdy, sweet, and effusive in their brilliant show of color.  Mine are peeking through the ground but haven't bloomed yet, so I had to take a quick trip to a local nursery to cheat a little and get one in bloom.  I decided to use my Swiss meringue to pipe (I use the term pipe loosely - I am a newbie at any kind of cake decorating skills) primroses all over the tops of cupcakes.  To further the springlike feel,  I decided to add a little surprise to make the cuppies extra fun.  You won't see it till you bite into it.  I can't take even a little credit for the surprise - lots of FABULOUS bloggers use this trick. One of these uber baking stars is Amanda at I Am Baker.  This woman is not only unbelievably talented and creative, but also has four little ones at home.  She manages to awe me with every post.    So this is my homage to primroses in spring, Martha Stewart Swiss meringue, and Amanda at I Am Baker. - Cached

I am linking with

Friday, April 8, 2011

The black and white cookie

Although I am a live in the country and breathe the fresh air kind of girl, I must confess a love of all things New York City.  Broadway, shopping, incredible restaurants, Central Park...the list goes on and on.  One thing I always do while in the city, is to stop by a deli or bakery and get some black and white cookies (one for immediate consumption and several for the gang at home).  For those of you who are uninitiated in the black and white, it is a large round cookie with a slight lemon flavor.  Half is iced in white frosting and half in chocolate.  It is sublime.  I decided to do my own take on the black and white -NYC meets south central Pennysylvania.  It was my first venture into making my royal icing chocolate, and I was unsure of how it would taste.  All I can say, is OH YEAH, it worked alright.  Sublime.