Sunday, August 30, 2015

princess leia cookies for a star wars birthday party

My best friend Sue named her daughter Leia, so of course for Leia's first birthday they had to throw a Star Wars themed party! To go with the theme, I made Princess Leia cookies for the favors. But instead of the heart sprinkle mouth from my previous attempt at Princess Leia cookies, we decided that a cute little smile would be more appropriate for baby Leia :)

Since I was making about 100 cookies, I made four batches of my favorite sugar cookie recipe (which is in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!). I rolled out my dough and used a monkey cookie cutter to cut out shapes, which works perfectly for a Princess Leia shape!

After baking and cooling the cookies, I started on the royal icing (recipe also in my book!). I used brown stiff icing and a small round tip to pipe the outline of Princess Leia's hair, and then filled it in with brown runny icing.

For the face, I used ivory food coloring to tint my icing a flesh tone, and then used the ivory stiff icing to outline the face, and ivory runny icing to fill it in.

Once the cookies had dried for several hours, I used brown stiff icing to pipe the outline of the hair, as well as swirls for Princess Leia's hair buns.

Finally I used black stiff icing to add the eyes and cute little smile.

Aren't they cute? :)

Once the cookies had completely dried, I wrapped them individually in cellophane favor bags, and tied them closed with raffia.

Happy Birthday, little Leia! Hope you had fun at your party!

Stay tuned to see the smash cake that I made her as well!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

hello kitty oreos (hello kitty TKOs)

If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I often turn my desserts into Hello Kitty desserts on a whim. As was the case when I recently made homemade oreos using Thomas Keller's recipe from the Bouchon Bakery book. (His cookies are called "TKOs" ... Thomas Keller Oreos. Cute huh?)

I've had my Hello Kitty cookie cutter for years, and it's come in handy for so many things (Hello Kitty cookies, Hello Kitty tartsHello Kitty tarlets, Hello Kitty Pumpkin Pie, and Hello Kitty tortilla chips, to name a few!) And I love that it comes with a little stamper as well, so that you can stamp Hello Kitty's features right into the cookie before baking!

As mentioned in my previous post, these babies are filled with a delicious vanilla buttercream, which turned out to be the prefect sweet compliment to the extra dark and chocolaty (and slightly salty) cookies.

So cute and so delicious!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

homemade oreos (homemade TKOs)

A few years ago, I tried making homemade oreos but I wasn't happy with them. The cookie was too crumbly, and the filling was too soft. Later on, I tasted the TKOs (Thomas Keller Oreos) at Bouchon Bakery. Delicious! I eventually bought myself a copy of the Bouchon Bakery book, and the homemade oreo recipe was the first thing I tried!

After rolling out the (very chocolaty) dough between two sheets of parchment paper, I cut out my scalloped circles with a 3-inch decorative cookie cutter.

And then baked them for about 16 minutes.

For the filling, I followed the white chocolate filling recipe in the book, but it didn't work for me. It came out very, very runny. So instead I whipped up a vanilla buttercream and used that instead.

The book tells you to pipe the filling in teardrop shapes, to accent the scalloped edges of the cookie. So pretty!

I have to admin, these were much much better than my first attempt at homemade oreos years ago. This cookie was more chocolately, with a slightly salty bite, and the texture was perfect to hold in the delicious filling. So addictive!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

coffee and cream ruffle cake

For my best friend Sue's birthday this past March, I wanted to make her a cake flavor that she hadn't tried yet. In the past, I've made her Hello Kitty ice cream cake, Boston cream pie cake, triple chocolate mousse cake, Hello Kitty chocolate mousse cake, and a piped petals chocolate mousse layer cake (for her baby shower). This time I decided to go with something lighter, so I went with a light and fluffy coffee chiffon cake!

After baking four 6-inch layers of coffee chiffon cake, I filled it with freshly whipped cream which I flavored with a paste made of espresso powder and hot water. Then also covered the tops and sides of my cake, and smoothed it out with an offset spatula.

For the decoration, I wanted something girly and frilly, so I chose to pipe continuous swirls of ruffles, as I did with my recent green tea ruffle cake and pink velvet ruffle cake.

I think this is definitely my current favorite way to decorate a cake!

The cake ended up being soft and moist, and reminded both of us of a mocha cake that my mom used to buy for me every year on my birthday, ever since junior high. (Too bad that bakery is no longer around, or else I would gladly continue that tradition!)

To one of the most fun and thoughtful people that I know, Happy Birthday, Sue!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

year of the goat (or ram) cookies

Along with these decorated egg cookies for my friend Selena's red egg and ginger party for her baby, I also made these Goat cookies, since it is the Year of the Goat! I again used my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipes, which can be found in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book, and for the cookie cutter I had my husband create me another custom copper cutter! He's so handy :)

Selena and I had decided on purple and red for the color of the cookies, since those are "lucky" colors for the Year of the Goat. Once the cookies had baked and cooled, I used stiff purple icing to pipe an outline of the goat, and then filled it in with runny purple icing.

Once that had dried for several hours, I used stiff red icing to pipe the Chinese character for "goat".

I thought they looked pretty cute as-is, but I decided to also add eyes with stiff black icing, which I regretted because afterwards I thought they looked like little dinosaurs instead of goats!

Oh well, they still looked cute :)

Happy one month, little Dominic!

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!