Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cupcakes with kids

While I was back in Iowa for Thanksgiving, and I made cupcakes with my two great nieces.  Nine year old Starr and six year old Kylie LOVE to help out in the kitchen.  We made boxed cake mix and divided it into three bowls, each being a different color. 

Then I let the girls spoon the colors into the cupcake papers.  It was funny because Starr went to town with eleven of them, and Kylie used the tiniest amounts of batter and worked on one cupcake the entire time.   Oh my, how she loved making that one cupcake!

After the cupcakes cooled, I made some buttercream and then "painted" stripes of gel food coloring  in stripes along the inside of the piping bags.  When the bags are filled with the buttercream and piped on the cupcakes,

Happy girls and swirly colors!

Starr's favorite cupcake is on the left and Kylie's beloved cupcake is on the right.  They were soooooo proud of them!

And what is sweeter than cupcakes?

Big smiles and wonderful memories.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Candy filled pinata cupcakes

My darling Isabelle and a friend hosted a surprise birthday "fiesta" for another friend.  Of course, I thought about cookies but couldn't find any cutter at local stores and I didn't have time to order any.  
I SWEAR that I see southwestern cookie cutters all of the time, but when I actually needed some it was 
Not being in the mood to hand cut a bunch of cactus, serapes, and pinatas, I decided to go the cupcake route.  
Pinata cupcakes!
This was super easy to do, and I think they turned out kind of cute. First I baked a batch of funfetti cupcakes, and after they had cooled, I cut the centers out with a knife.

I bought some brightly colored  candies and sprinkles.

Then I stuffed the hollow of the cupcakes with the goodies.

Took the top of the cut out pieces, and plugged up the hole.

Now all that had to be done was the frosting.  I colored my frosting three shades of festive, and then piped it to resemble the crepe paper pieces that make a pinata.

You can even top each cupcake with a pretzel rod which can be the  stick to whack the pinata with.

And just like a real pinata, when you break it open, you get a shower of candy!


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Turkey cookie bouquet for Thanksgiving

Gobbity gob gobble everyone!  Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and I have been plotting this project for a couple of weeks now.  

I'm thinking centerpiece for the children's table, hostess gift, or a cookie to nibble on for those non pie eaters.  

*I really cannot relate to non pie eaters.* 

This is not a difficult project, but it does take a little planning and perhaps a trip to the Dollar Tree.  
Along with cookie dough and icing, you will need cookie/candy sticks, floral foam, clean stones, shredded paper, fall paper leaves, a basket, and some candy pumpkins.

All my goodies from The Dollar Tree

Once you have your supplies, you can begin the cookie making by creating templates for the turkey body and feathers.  I cannot make ANYTHING symmetrical, so I fold a piece of card stock in half and draw half of the shape I want.  Once I cut it out and unfold it, I have perfect little feathers and body.

For this particular basket I wanted three small feathers, four medium feathers, and five large, but you can adjust for the size of container you are using.  

Use your templates to cut out your cookie dough.  I really dislike hand cutting, but sometimes you just have to.  

Place your cut outs on a baking sheet, gently press a stick on top, and I always add extra dough over the stick for added stability.  I am very paranoid about cookies falling off of sticks.  
Quite tragic when it happens.

 Once the cookies have baked and cooled, it is time to start decorating them.  For cookies on sticks, I always decorate the side that was on the cookie sheet because of the lumpy stick situation on the top.  

I also put a small dowel under the top section to ensure that the cookies are sitting flat.  You don't want your flood icing to flood.  
I used red, yellow, and orange with black details, but you could really do anything here.  

Time to start assembling!  I put some hot glue in the bottom of my basket to keep the floral foam secure and I added stones to weigh it all down.  Cookies of that size are pretty darn heavy, and you certainly don't want the whole thing to topple over.  
Just stick the cookies into the floral foam, add some paper grass, leaves, and candy pumpkins.  
I couldn't resist making the turkey look like he is looking over his shoulder - after all, it is Thanksgiving.  Yes, I would be very paranoid if I was a turkey in November.

Then I made a cute little card using graphics from The Graphics Fairy, and glued it onto a stick.

And there you have it kids -  A fun edible Thanksgiving centerpiece that can be enjoyed by young and old!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Day of the Dead cookies and how to make your own hybrid cookie cutter

I know, more cookies out of season.  What will I be doing next - Easter?
My darling Isabelle is taking Spanish 1, and her class was having a day of the dead party on Friday with extra credit given for bringing in treats.  Cookies to the rescue!

Decorated skulls were a must for this project, but I had a little problem.  My skull cutter is really tiny AND it has cut outs for the eyes, nose, and mouth, making it quite difficult to do the embellishments.  I took a quick spin through the local stores that carry cookie cutters, and the Halloween skulls were all gone.  
Either make my own template OR use cutters I already have, and merge them into a hybrid of sorts.  I rooted through my cutter collection (which is obscenely large), and decided that my gingerbread boy and girl heads would be just dandy.

Cutting out a boy head and a girl head,

and pressing them together on a cookie sheet,

makes a skull shape!
When baked, the shapes melt together perfectly and are quite sturdy.  Isabelle did the cutting and baking,

and I did the decorating.  Making your own "hybrid" cutter shapes is a great way to make do with what you already have on hand.  Take a look at shapes you most likely have in your collection - (hearts, stars, circles, etc.) and think about how you can merge them together.  It certainly beats cutting shapes by hand, which is a very tedious job.  

The Enchanted Oven is back on track this week with Thanksgiving cookies and a really fun new project!   
Gobble, gobble!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Cookie decorating class by The Enchanted Oven

The Enchanted Oven (yours truly) is going to be teaching cookie decorating classes at the Chambersburg, PA Hobby Lobby store!

December 3, 9-11 am (home schoolers are welcome!)
December 3, 6-8 pm
December 10 6-8 pm
December 17 6-8 pm

We will be going over the basics of cookie baking - after all, you want a lovely "canvas" for your icing! 
Then, we will head into the wonderful world of royal icing where  you will learn an abundance of tips and tricks to make decorating your cookies fun and easy!  

Cost of one class is $10 and you must pay in advance to reserve your spot.  
Contact me at
or message me here on the blog for a supply list.

I would LOVE to meet some of my sweet readers -
hope to see you in December!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How to make rosy cheeks on a gnome cookie

Or any other cookie for that matter.  
There are actually a couple of ways to rosy up a cookie cheek.  

This is my favorite technique to use because it is subtle and melts right into the flesh (wow, that sounded kind of scary didn't it?).  

I could have used a darker shade of pink to make the cheeks stand out more, but I didn't.  I could claim that I was going soft and subtle, but gnome cookies in strong primary colors don't exactly say "shabby chic".  Oh well.  
On to how it is done!
After the flesh colored flood icing has been put into place on the face, you immediately add drops of pink flood icing where you want the cheeks to be.

One drop will do you - it will spread out and melt right into the face.  Of course, you want the face and cheeks to dry before you add any other details.

These little fellas are being boxed up and heading to Iowa in a care package for my nephew's wife Danielle.  The poor girl just had the most awful pregnancy (bed rest and placenta previa), a 38 hour labor, and emergency c-section, and now is battling a serious staff infection from the surgery.  Yikes.  
If any of you could send some prayers and sweet thoughts her way, I would really appreciate it!

I'm hoping some magic in a box will cheer her up!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Turkey and pumpkin Thanksgiving cookies

Did you ever just have ONE OF THOSE DAYS? 
You know, despite the best of efforts things just seem to go wrong? 
That was my yesterday.  I had been scheduled to give a cookie decorating presentation to a new comers club, and I had a grand time prepared.  On a typical Monday evening, I have not too much going on - maybe watching The Mob Doctor at nine.  But wouldn't you know it - my son's football game last Friday was cancelled due to power outages at the opponents school and was rescheduled for Monday evening.  Both events were slated for 7 pm.   Missing the game was not an option because it was Alec's senior year last game (sniff), but the presentation was a commitment I made over a month ago and I didn't feel right about ditching at the last minute.   

My solution?  Do a top of the club mini presentation and get to the football game late.  So here is how the presentation went; I ran out of ink in my printer so the cute tutorial I had written was a no go, my photo album of cookies was accidentally left behind at my daughter's orthodontists office (don't ask), I loaded my cookie presentation in the car about an hour before leaving and the cold made my icing colors mottle, and my presentation was a 15 minutes brain dump.

The moral of the story is:
Check the ink cartridge.
Don't lose your photo book.
Never place cookies in a cold car (or a hot one for that matter).

On a happier note, the Blue Devils won 62 - 7.
Very bittersweet watching my baby boy play his last game.
Love you Pooh Bear!

Sorry about that new comers...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Christmas cookie decorating classes

In case you are wondering why I have Christmas cookies on my blog when I still have some Halloween decorations sitting on my dining room table, the answer is simple.

I needed photos to advertise cookie decorating classes I am going to  be teaching in December.

Hobby Lobby in Chambersburg, PA is going to be the location (in case anyone was wondering).  I can't wait!

Doing highly detailed cookies takes a considerable amount of practice, but ANYONE can learn the basics. 
And it is FUN!

I have learned most of my cookie tips the hard way.  Trial and error was the name of that game!  

There won't be any more Christmas cookies for a few weeks.  I love the fall holidays, and I am in no rush to get through them. 
Thanksgiving is wonderful and sort of overlooked, don't you think?

Gotta run - its time to put those Halloween decorations away.