Sunday, July 26, 2015

decorated egg cookies for a red egg party

Remember these baby face cookies that I made for a baby shower several months ago for my friend Stephanie, who was hosting a baby shower for her twin sister Selena? Well Selena's adorable baby boy was welcomed into the world last April, and when he turned 1 month she asked me to make decorated egg cookies for his Red Egg and Ginger Party!

In case you're not familiar with it, here is a description that Selena had sent me: "A Red Egg and Ginger Party is a Chinese tradition that celebrates a newborn's 30th day (1 month of life).  Eggs were considered a delicacy in China and were usually the present brought by the maternal grandmother.  The egg symbolizes fertility and renewal of life, and when it is dyed red it is believed to bring good luck to the child."

For the design of the cookie, I referenced a picture that Selena had sent me of a decorated egg cookie, which I later found on the blog Lizy B Bakes (love her work!). For the cookie cutter, I used a custom copper cutter that my husband had made me a few years ago. It was meant for these Spiderman cookies, but worked just as well for egg cookies! And for the cookie dough, I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe which can be found in my book The Hello Kitty Baking Book (and I also used the royal icing recipe in the book as well!)

Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I piped an outline around the egg with stiff white icing, and then filled it in with runny white icing. Once that had hardened after several hours, I again outlined it with stiff red icing.

Next I used stiff yellow icing to pipe the baby's name at the bottom of the egg.

Then I used stiff brown icing to pipe branches and a tiny bird nest in the middle of the cookie.

After that I added a red egg and two little blue birds.

Next came more branches with red blossoms, along with little green leaves on the bottom branches. And the final touch was the eyes and beaks for the little blue birds.

Although they weren't as perfect as the ones by Lizy B Bakes, I thought they came out pretty cute!

To go along with these decorated egg cookies, I also made goat/ram cookies, as this is the Year of the Goat/Ram (details in my next post)!

Happy one month, little Dominic! Hope you had a wonderful Red Egg and Ginger Party!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

hello kitty cannoli

A few years ago when I wrote about making this Hello Kitty rhubarb tart, my good friend's husband, Charlie, responded with a comment about reaching my creative limits with Hello Kitty. When I told him that I had more up my sleeve, he proposed a challenge - he wanted Hello Kitty cannoli! And so (several months later) this is what I came up with!

I wanted to do a lighter version of the traditional fried cannoli, so these are actually baked instead of fried. And instead of making a dough, I used won ton wrappers, which makes it a super easy dessert to whip up!

I brushed melted butter on both sides of my won ton wrappers, and then wrapped them around metal cannoli forms before baking them in the oven until golden and crisp.

I also changed up the traditional filling, which usually contains ricotta cheese. Instead I chose to use mascarpone cheese whipped with heavy whipping cream, lightly sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Then I used a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip to fill the cooled cannoli shells.

To decorate the Hello Kitty face, I followed the same steps as when piping my Hello Kitty cupcakes. I used a Wilton #352 leaf tip to pipe the ears, and a small round tip to pipe the black eyes and whiskers, and yellow nose. Finally I added two heart-shaped confetti sprinkles to form the bow.

While I ended up loving the filling, I didn't totally love the shells. While they were crispy, they weren't as flakey as I'd like, so next time I'd probably try using homemade pie crust, but still baked instead of fried.

These cannoli were originally going to be in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book, but they didn't end up making the final cut. However, they are still a fun, cute, and easy dessert to whip up!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

baseball cookies and onesie cookies

Remember these pastel Hello Kitty cookies, macarons, and mini cupcakes that I made for a bridal shower a couple of years ago? Well recently that bride contacted me about making goodies again ... this time for her baby shower! So exciting!!!

She had originally wanted a cake and cookies with a baseball theme, but the weekend of the baby shower was the same weekend that I was to be in LA to give a Hello Kitty cupcake workshop. So she opted for just the cookies to be done several days in advance, as I could wrap each one individually to keep them fresh for the baby shower.

For the baseball cookies, I used my go-to sugar cookie recipe (which can be found in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), rolled the dough out to 1/8 inch thick, and cut out shapes with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter. Then after baking and cooling, I whipped up a batch of royal icing (recipe also in the book!), piped a circle outline with stiff icing, and then filled it in with runny icing.

After the white icing had dried for several hours, I used red stiff icing and a Wilton #2 tip to pipe my baseball stitches on the cookies.

I repeated the same process for the onesie cookies, except with this onesie cookie cutter, and with blue icing for the onesie details.

So cute!

Congratulations Julieta! Hope you had a wonderful baby shower!

Monday, July 6, 2015

ombre ruffle coffee and cream cake

For my mom's birthday every year, I typically make some sort of coffee flavored cake, since I know that she loves coffee flavored desserts! In the past I've made her a Hello Kitty tiramisu cake, a mocha pocky layer cake, and a tiramisu layer cake. So this year I decided to continue the tradition by making her a coffee chiffon layer cake! (Boy, have I come a long way since my first coffee chiffon cake a few years ago!)

So I baked up three layers of coffee chiffon cake, and filled them with espresso-tinted whipped cream.

Since I wanted to do an ombre effect with piped ruffles along the sides of the cake, I covered the top with regular whipped cream, and the sides with espresso whipped cream. Then using a Wilton #104 petal tip, I piped three rows of ruffles with the espresso whipped cream, and then piped three rows with chocolate whipped cream (I basically just folded in melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate).

To finish it off, I sprinkled a few gold and silver dragees and white sugar pearls along the perimeter of the cake.

I think I could have even gone with a fourth layer of cake, just to give the final cake more height. But I still thought it looked cute.

Here's a quick shot I took (with my camera phone) of the inside of the cake. Love the striped look of the layers!

Happy Happy Birthday, Mom! Hope you enjoyed the cake and dinner party! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

giraffe baby shower cake

A few months ago, my neighbor and good friend Cindy was helping to plan a baby shower for one of her friends, and she asked me to make a small baby shower cake for the dessert table. It wouldn't be for the the 100+ guests to eat, rather a little cake for the parents-to-be to bring home and enjoy. Since the baby shower theme colors were yellow and gray, we decided on a 6-inch yellow cake with gray letters and piped beaded border. And a little giraffe fondant topper for the top!

Inspired by the fondant work by Paola's Creations, I set out to make my fondant giraffe. I've only done a few fondant toppers in the past (an elephant with balloon, a mustached baby, and "BABY" letters), so I was excited to be making a giraffe!

First I tinted my fondant with a combination of lemon yellow and golden yellow gel-based food coloring. After kneading the coloring into the fondant to get an even tone, I roughly formed the giraffe's pieces.

For the head, I made ears and added a light brown fondant for the muzzle, and dark brown tinted fondant for the little tuft of hair. Then I used an edible food marker to add his eyes and nostrils.

Then I added dark brown fondant to the feet and a dark brown tuft of hair, and then light brown fondant for the spots and antlers. And then I could assemble it!

Isn't he cute?!

I also made some green fondant leaves for the giraffe to sit on, to add a little more color to the cake.

For the cake, we had decided on strawberry shortcake, so I baked up my go-to vanilla cake (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), cut each layer in half horizontally, and filled it with freshly whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

Then I made a batch of yellow buttercream and covered the top and sides of the cake with it.

I smoothed out the frosting out with an offset spatula, and then piped a quick beaded border along the bottom with gray buttercream.

After adding lettering and securing the fondant giraffe with a bit of buttercream, I thought it was so cute as-is that I almost didn't want to add the fondant leaves!

But in the end I added them anyway, for a pop of color.

The best thing about making fondant toppers is that the recipient can keep it indefinitely! Just wipe the frosting off of the bottom, and you can keep it on a bookshelf or something, as long as it's not in the sun and in is a cool dry place.

Hope you had a wonderful baby shower, CC and Ryan!

Monday, June 22, 2015

baby face cookies for a baby shower

Last year I made this macaron-topped peaches and cream baby shower cake for my friend Irene, and while I was at the baby shower, I bumped into a girl named Stephanie that I went to high school with years and years ago! We hadn't seen each other since high school, and it was so nice to catch up with her!

Several months later, Stephanie asked me to make a cake for her twin sister Selena's baby shower! While I wasn't able to make the cake because of previous commitments, I offered to make cookies instead, since I could make them a few days in advance and then wrap them individually in cellophane bags to keep them fresh.

The cookies would be cute baby face cookies to match the logo on the baby shower invitations, so I used a 3.5 inch round cutter to cut out shapes from my sugar cookie dough (recipe in my new book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!)

After the cookies were baked and cooled, I whipped up a batch of royal icing (recipe in my book as well!), and tinted the majority of it with ivory gel-based food coloring. Then I used ivory stiff royal icing to outline my circles, and ivory runny royal icing to fill them in.

Then before the ivory icing dried, I dropped two small rounds of pink runny icing (for the cheeks) into the still-wet ivory icing. This way, the pink cheeks wouldn't be raised, and would be flush with the rest of the ivory icing.

Then I used black stiff icing with a Wilton #2 tip to pipe the eyes and the little swirl of hair.

Finally, I used a Wilton #1 tip (the smallest tip possible!) to pipe the cute little smiling mouth.

After I let them dry completely, they were done!

Just look at all those little smiling baby faces! Brings a smile to my face!

Stephanie ended up giving the cookies out as the favors, which worked out perfectly because they were already individually wrapped!

Happy baby shower, Selena! Hope you enjoyed the cookies!