Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Genevieve's bridal shower goodies

This coming weekend is going to be a big one.  I am part of the woman posse going to New York City for Genevieve's wedding dress fitting on Saturday.  Afterward we are heading to lovely New Paltz, NY for her shower which is on Sunday.  My contribution to this event is, of course, cookies.  

I began by making sugar cookies in blue with lace detailing.

Next came chocolate sugar cookies.

I made a whipped frosting flavored with Kahlua.

Let's just say that chocolate and Kahlua are a match made in heaven.  
Kind of like Drew and Genevieve.

On to white chocolate cameos and rose meringues.  I don't make meringues very often, and I have to ask myself why?  They are so good and so easy to make.

Here is something I haven't done before - painting with food coloring gel onto sugar cookies.  I only did a few because I wasn't sure if I would like them.

I like them.  I also did a few "quilted" cookies.

For the shower favors, I made a brown sugar shortbread.  I cut out three sizes of circles and stacked them into tiny wedding cakes.

I topped each one with a gum paste rose.   These will be individually bagged and tied with a soft blue ribbon.

I just love the softly romantic color scheme.  

The only tricky thing about this group of confections, is that I had to make them all in advance and mail them to New Paltz.  We are taking Amtrak from Philly to NYC, and I couldn't figure out how to bring them along without it being a major pain in the neck/disaster.  Two big boxes were mailed on Tuesday that will hopefully have no breakage, still be fresh, and 

Kinda sweating bullets over that one.

I have all of my fingers crossed!

I am also making macarons that ARE coming with me on the train.  They will be a soft blue with a vanilla bean Italian meringue buttercream filling.  

I am looking forward to a very SWEET weekend!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's a boy!

Not for me, I already have four - just wanted to clarify  ;)

There IS going to be the pitter patter of tiny feet in Davenport, Iowa, though.  One of my best friends is going to become a great aunt soon, and with the baby shower happening next Sunday, these cookies were carefully wrapped, packed, and sent off in the mail.  

I do love making baby cookies.  

Since my baby is almost 14 now, it is a treat to find myself back in the world of BABY.

Every once in a while, I even walk through the baby department at a store and soak up all of the cuteness.

In my dream land, I would have had a baby carriage like this one.


 I am pretty sure I will love being a grandma some day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cookies for a princess or two

Once upon a time, in a far away kingdom, lived two little red head princess' named

These two sweet little ones happen to have a fairy god-aunt in another far away land who is a cookie baker.  Wink, wink.

The fairy god-aunt asked the princess' father what theme of cookie would make them happy.  His response for princess Starr was Johnny Test.


Did he mean Johnny Quest?  

Clearly, the fairy god-aunt needed to do some googling.  Apparently, Johnny Test is a cartoon character who lives in the fictional (thank goodness) town of Porkbelly, and has two genius sisters who perform tests on him.  

  That gave the fairy god-aunt something to think about.

I might have eyes like that too if I lived in the village of Porkbelly.  But, I digress.  

And what cookie theme would princess Kylie like?  

The Wizards of Waverly Place.

This one I was familiar with, since my own princess Isabelle was watching the Wizards a couple of years ago.  

While I contemplated how to put Selena Gomez's face on a cookie, I decided to make a few generic girlie cookies to buy myself some time.

After much thought, the fairy god-aunt decided to deep six Selena and make other wizard inspired cookies.

Hoping that some disco dust on the magic wand would make up for no Selena, the fairy god-aunt went shopping for frills and nonsense that would make these two little red heads smile.

Jump ropes, wax bottles, Easter bracelets, ring pops, and pretty hair extensions in every color of the rainbow!

Isn't it wonderful to be a pretty princess?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cookies for the team

For some special men who are very far from home.

I want to say

And most especially to my son,

You are all true American

I know that I am taking a chance that these will be a little on the stale side when they arrive at their final destination, but I had to give it a try anyway.  They are being bagged and wrapped VERRRRRRY carefully!  My last two boxes had my son's all time favorite food - Chex party mix (with extra seasoning!), along with suggestions from my blog buddy Janet - From Captain's Daughter to Army Mom,  She gave me the best most comprehensive list of things to send in a military care package as well as words of encouragement from a fellow army mom.  Not an easy gig my friends.

Oh, and a special cookie for the newest addition to the team.

I thought Sam should have one of his own.

Hope these arrive in one piece and not too stale.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Posies and lace cake

The real title to this post should be




Oh my, where do my true confessions begin?  

I began my little odyssey with the gum paste.  After purchasing my new found treasure at Walmart, I scampered home, opened the package and with the enthusiasm of a child with a new tub of Playdough, I started making flowers.  I have no idea whether I did it right or not because I still haven't read the directions. 

While the flowers were drying, I baked a strawberry cake in a six inch round, a heart shape, and a cupcake.  The rounded top of the cupcake was cut off and made the form for the hydrangea.  

So far, so good.   And whether I did the gum paste correctly or not, they looked OK and I had big time fun with it.

On to the fondant.  

Because I had purchased the gum paste, I decided to make my own fondant -  thriftiness being the prevailing concern.  And it is easy to make, but my experience working with it is limited (unless watching Ultimate Cake Off or Cake Boss counts) and I had never covered a cake with it before.  


Looks like a stroll through the park on TV, but it gave me a little trouble. Think I might need to read myself a tutorial two (or five...).  

I piped some lace detailing on it as a bit of smoke and mirrors to camouflage imperfections in the fondant.  This brought me to realize that piping on a flat cookie is WAAAAAAAAY easier than the sides of a cake.  Sigh.  Long story short, it took a rather insane amount of time to make this cake and it was equal amounts of fun and frustrating.

 And maybe, just maybe I need to start reading directions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine love

Wishing everyone a Valentine's Day full of 

Find someone special to hug today.

Your sweetie, kids, grandchildren, mom, or furry members of your family all qualify!  

To me, Valentine's day isn't just about romance.  It is about appreciating the special people in your life and letting them know how much you love them.  

Having a peanut butter truffle today doesn't hurt either!

Sending enormous hugs to my wonderful sons in the middle east.  I am so proud of you both!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Packing cookies to mail

I baked some cookies yesterday to send to my dear friend Mary's son who is a freshman at the University of Kentucky.  The cookies have the U of K logo and a few wildcats thrown in for good measure.  

Because I mail cookies out to family and friends on a pretty frequent basis, I thought this would be a golden opportunity to talk about how I package them.  

The first thing to do is make SURE that the cookies have had an overnight to dry.  Even if a cookie feels dry to the touch, you won't want to bag or stack them till the next day.  

Trust me here.  

The second thing you need to do, is put them in food safe individual bags.  If they are going to a female, I usually tie each bag with a ribbon, but in this instance, I just folded them over in a manly college freshman kind of way.

These little fellas are nesting on top of crumbled packing paper in the bottom of the box.  I put plenty of space in between the cookies and then lay a sheet of bubble wrap on top.

I keep adding layers as needed.  When all of the cookies are in the box, I ever so gently stuff more crumbled packing paper down the sides between the box and the cookies.  

Add more paper/bubble wrap to fill the box to the very top.  At this point I close the lid and gently shake the box.  If I hear any movement at all, I add more packing material.  

This is important:


Here is a box ready to be mailed to my mom in Iowa.  

I always send them priority mail because it is usually only a few cents difference, and who likes a stale cookie?

Take your time with packaging and your cookies won't crumble!