Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Goodbye 2013

2013 Has been a busy cookie year for me. It may not seem much for other cookiers out there but I am taking it slow. This hobby has turned into a small little side business and I finally got all my home cottage and city licensing taken care of. 

I just want to thank all of you that look at my blog and Facebook page. It humbles me to think someone would look at my work and like it. And thank you to my cookie clients, I am so grateful for your patronage!!

I saw SweetAmbs champagne glass cookie tutorial and I thought they were so dang cute that I thought I would try them out.

And then I added some cute confetti cookies to celebrate. I won these cute cutter from Sweet Hope Cookies and they are cutters that can be purchased from Cristin's Cookies etsy shop.

I thought this picture was funny. I know I did champagne glasses but I don't drink and so I don't have bottles of champagne but I had a bottle of sparkling cider so I thought I would throw it into the shot.

To get the shimmer on these cookies I just airbrushed them with pearl sheen.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sugar Dress and Stencil Cookies

I belong to a local ICES group and they meet once a month and usually there are a couple of demos by group members and then twice a year they have a day of sharing where they have 3 or 4 demos on anything involving sugar and a hands on demo. The last one was in October and a wonderful lady, Elena Odorizzi, who owns a local bakery supply store, Finishing Touch Bakery Specialties, was there to demo Sugar Dress.
If you have not heard of it before it is pretty cool. It is like sugar veil but easier. At least that is what they say. I have never tried out sugar veil but I was totally intrigued by this Sugar Dress and really how simple it was to use. Sugar Dress comes from an Italian company called Martellato.
Click this Martellato link to learn more about it and this Global Sugar Art YouTube video that shows how to use it.
A month later I decided to try it out and bought me a silicone matte and some Sugar Dress and went to work. It was really easy to do it works just like they said it would. You can prepare it two ways. One is just mixing it up and putting it in the mold and then letting it dry out all day long or you can set it in your oven on a low setting for ten minutes and then you put more sugar on and repeat twice.
I am pretty impatient so I went for the shorter route.
I used it on some black and white cookies I made for a event. Usually this lace is for cakes but you can use it on anything you want. And if you watch the YouTube video you can see all of its uses. This is what the mat I bought looks like. I went with this one because I thought it would work best for cookies.
There a other mats available and you can use the SugarDress in any silicone lace mat you have.

It is very flexible and is very easy to cut as you can see I cut out parts of the lace and put it on the mini cookies. It smells and taste kind of like marshmallows. You can color the lace any color you want you just add coloring gel to the paste when mixing it up.

I also did a couple of stenciled cookies with this batch.

Again check out Martellato or Global Sugar Art to find out more about it as well as this YouTube video by GSA.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Busiest Man I Know - Matt - Apple Mac cookies

I am going to state first off, that I think this is my favorite set of cookies I have made all year!! I like the colors, and I think they came out pretty cute.

Matt has the last birthday of the calendar year of my siblings and their spouses, so this post is the last birthday cookies for 2013. 

Matt is the second oldest and oldest boy of my family, he is about 14-15 years older than me so needless to say I don't really remember much of Matt until he was married and raising his own family.
I have many many memories of Matt so I find it hard to single it out to a best memory. I have so many memories because he and his family moved back to my home town over 20+ years ago. So I got to spend my youth around him and his family. 

I got to spend a lot of time with Matt as a teenager and young adult because I worked for him in his photo business for many years. I spent many many days by his side developing and printing pictures, and he was probably the best boss I ever had. Who else gets to say that you can boss your boss around, and still have a job. I can be kinda bossy and Matt can have way too many things on his plate all the time. So from time to time and I had to keep him on track of what he needed to be doing. I learned how to work hard from him and he taught me many great business skills. 

My brother has been wearing a tie more days than not in the past. I have no idea, something like 10-15 years. He was called as a Bishop (kinda like a pastor) in his local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints congregation and had that calling for 5 years, and then he was called as a Stake President (takes care of 8 congregations in the town) after that, and has been serving in that calling for many years so he is always going to church meetings therefore always wearing a tie. 

When I was gathering ideas of what cookies I should do for his cookies I sent an email to my sister in law and his 3 daughters for suggestions. They quickly responded and it was really fun to read them going back and forth about the many memories they have of their dad. One daughter mentioned him dancing all the time, trying to show off his awesome dance moves and he is known for dancing in their many home videos. So I knew I had to do a cookie with a dancing man on it. The above cookie is my favorite cookie of the bunch and my favorite cookie all year. :) I love the grey on the yellow and the stenciled back ground.

My brother Matt could never be accused of being lazy! That man is always doing something, he has a million ideas, he can fix almost anything, draw up house plans, build houses, fix cars, fix photo machines, is a photographer, lover of technology, the list can go on and on. He is constantly doing things to improve his community and has lately been working with his town of Kanab on driving more visitors to visit Kanab, and has been into hiking and off-roading for the past few years. He played a big part in pulling together an amazing event, Grand to Grand that had people from all over the world participating in it and will be doing it again in 2014. It is a foot race of 267 miles starting at the Grand Canyon and ending at the Grand Staircase. This is a little Youtube video on it, click here.

I mentioned that he loves technology and specifically Apple technology, he has always been a faithful follower of Mac's and the Apple world, so I had to do some Mac Apple cookies.

And of course photography has been in his blood since he was a teenager, he has always been taking pictures. When he moved to Kanab he bought a photo developing business and still owns a photo business today. He followed in my dad's footsteps of taking pictures for the Newspaper my father owned and then he became part owner of it, and he has been taking many pictures for all events, wedding, family, sports, school pictures you name it!! Just one of his many talents!!

Another talent he has is eggs, yes that is right he is a master of cooking eggs. I am not sure if that is all kinds of ways to cook eggs, but I remember him being able to make perfectly cooked scrambled eggs and he was able to do that in the microwave. His kids said he is the master of cooking eggs! I love these fried egg cookies they look so real.

And here is the whole gang together. I did not cover all of Matt's many talents and hobbies, but just a few. I am glad I can call Matt my older brother. I hope that he had a great birthday! Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rockets, Patriots, Dolphins, oh my!

Any Rocket fans out there! 

How about the Patriots??

When the Patriots played the Dolphins months ago I made some cookies for a sports fan!!  Thanks Leslie.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gingerbread House of Cards!

A few months ago I got a email from Rebecca, The Cookie Architect, asking me if I would like to participate in a cookie online collection project. I with out thinking said yes!!  First of all I could not believe I was being asked to be a part of one of these online cookie collaborations that I have seen many times before and thought oh that would be cool to be in one of those.

Then after I realized who all the other AMAZING cookiers were in on this project I thought I was way way way out of league. But Rebecca reassured me that it would all be good and so I chose to believe her. :)

I of course kept putting off the project even after Rebecca had sent me my cookie to decorate. She baked and cut out the notches of all the gingerbread cookies and mailed them to all the cookiers participating in the project at the end of October. They were due back by the end of November. 

The inspiration for the project was to construct a house of Cards out of gingerbread cookies. The card deck was inspired by one designed by modernist architects Charles and Ray Eames. 

Here are a couple of the pictures from The Cookie Architects album of the finished project.  

Here is a pic with my cookie in it. Amazing to me that my cookie is so close to LilaLoa, Arty McGoo and Memories of Home!

To see all of the picture and all of the other 27 talented cookiers click this link HERE to see them.

I originally wanted to paint a picture of the nativity on my cookie. But I was so nervous to not practice so I made me a couple of practice cookies first. Well I thought I had made the right dimensions to copy the original cookie and I practiced on my version of the card. Well when I went to go do it on the "real" thing I did not like how it would fit on it and did not want to loose part of the scene in the cut outs so I just opted to do the new star. So below you see what I did on my practice cookie but it did not fit like I wanted on the real card so I did just the star.

Here is a close up of my practice card. I really ended up liking it and so now it is sitting on my shelf in my kitchen and I hope to frame it and keep it for a new Christmas decoration. We were told to decorate with a Christmas or Winter theme and I wanted to depict what the true meaning of Christmas is, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

And her is the actual card depicting the new star, the sign our the birth of Jesus Christ.

Then when I thought I had it all figured out and picked what I wanted to do on the cookie I was rereading a email from Rebecca I realized, "oh man we have to decorate both sides of the cookies!"

I would think of different things to do but never could decided. So then I had some SugarDress left over from some cookies I had done and I figured I would use a piece to go on an Christmas Ornament and this is what I came up with. 

SugarDress is like Sugar Veil but easier and I have a post coming soon on it.

Thanks for taking a look and please check out The Cookie Architects album to see all the amazing cookies in this project you will be amazed if you are not already by the 27 cookie decorators I was so lucky enough to join in on this fun project.

Thank you so much Rebecca for inviting me in on this project and thank you for all your many many hours you put into this you are so so so wonderful!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Carpel tunnel - A cookie problem!

***tutorial video added further down in the post***

Do any of you out there who ice cookies have the problem with your wrist and hand hurting after squeezing icing bags and bottles? I sure do. I am totally amazed by those cookiers out there that put out dozens and dozens of cookies a week! My hand would be gone!! I have the tendency to already have carpel tunnel with out doing cookies and then spend a few hours squeezing out icing and I have to have my husband give me a hand massage. Not that there is anything wrong with that! :)

A couple of years ago Sugarbelle shared a blog post from Created by Diane and I thought it was an awesome awesome idea. You can see that specific post here

The first time I tried this out was on a huge corporate order I did over a year ago of 200+ cookies. There was no way I wanted to flood all those cookies so I just dipped them instead and then added an icing image. It went fast. I think the bagging and tying the ribbons took longer! :)

I have used these technique numerous time to save time and my hand!
Last month I decided to take some pictures of the process and thought I would share with you what I have found to be helpful.

First you need to thin your icing out to about a 5 count flow. If you need to know about icing count you can see The Bearfoot Bakers post on doing that here. She covers a bunch of different counts of icing.

I am doing just white in this pictures because I was lazy and did not color my icing so I just airbrushed my cookies after I iced them to get the colors I wanted. :)

It would be best to let your icing stand for about 20 minutes after thinning so that you can let the air bubbles rise but if you are like me you are too impatient and so I try to force my bubbles out right after thinning by pounding them out!

I take my container and just drop or better yet pound it down onto my counter to force the air bubbles up to the top and out.

You can put a lid on the container and REALLY go for it. The lid will keep the icing in the container.

After you got out some frustrations you are ready to go.

I take my cookie and then dip the surface of the cookie into the frosting just until it is covered and then pull it up and shake down slightly to help get off the excess icing. (If you have too much icing on your cookie when you flip it back over onto your drying surface the icing could spill of the edge of your cookie.)

Then I just cut off the flow on the side of my container.

Then lay it on your pan to dry. In this pic you can see I have air bubbles which are the biggest con to this technique, this icing I did not pound out the bubbles prior to dipping. Not that pounding will get rid of all possible bubbles but it is much much better if you do.

I just take a toothpick and pop the bubbles.

The other problem you may have is something that can be totally avoided by having a smooth surface cookie. Here is a a cookie that you can see did not have a smooth surface which is cause by my laziness in rolling and cutting the cookies.
See how the icing did not cover the crack that was in my cookie.

Once again I just take a toothpick and work the icing over the crack and all is well.

These 43 cookies were covered in about 10-15 minutes. If I recall correctly and my hand was pain free.

One day I did these Sugarbelle pie minis and I think there were 112 of them. I wanted to get these done fast and it took me just under 20 minutes to have the base covered. I have no idea if that is slow or fast for any of you out there but it sure did save my hand from the squeezing pressure. I then went and took a shower and got ready for the day and then I was able to do the details on these mini pie slices.

A few days later I had to do another 100 or so of these minis and I did the same technique.

Here are the pro and cons

Saves time
Saves your hand from pain

coverage problem (if surface of cookie is not smooth)

If you need to see the dipping technique take a look at this youtube tutorial. Or click here to see it on YouTube.

Some people may not like the look of this technique but if you are wanting to get the icing clear to the edge of the cookie or a capped look this is a great way to achieve that. I rather like the look.

Here are just some of the cookies I have done this technique on for flooding my base.



This may not be for everyone but it is something that I love because it saves my hand and I hope to be able to make cookies for many more years! Hopefully this info will be helpful to someone out there in cyber land!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Orthodontist Cookies!!

So my son went in for his last Orthodontic appointment in November and  we visited our Dentist back in October. I wanted to bring some cookies to everyone in the offices to say thanks! So of course Sugarbelles silly braces cookies had to be done! 

Just teeth and brushes for the dentist office

But braces for the Orthodontist

And since it was Movember when I took these in what was more fitting than a mustached brace face!! :)