Saturday, December 27, 2014

christmas wreath cookies with soft frosting

For my youngest son Micah's daycare Christmas party this year, I signed up to make cookies. At the time, I didn't know what kind of cookies I was going to make. But as Christmas got closer, I knew exactly what I wanted to make - inspired by both my Christmas wreath cupcakes a few years ago, and my sugar cookies with soft frosting, I decided to make Christmas wreath cookies with soft frosting!

I started by making a batch of my sugar cookie dough (recipe in my new book!), and rolled it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Then I used a simple round cookie cutter, plus the back end of a large star piping tip, to create my wreath shape. Then I baked them at 350F for about 11 minutes.

Once the cookies had cooled, I whipped up a batch of buttercream frosting, and tinted it leaf green. Then I filled a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #352 leaf tip, and piped a row of leaves around the perimeter of my wreath cookies.

Next, I piped a second row ...

and then a third row.

I finished it off by sprinkling a few red and pink nonpareils on the top.

It took a while to get all the leaves piped on, but when I was finally done, the cookies looked adorable!

Although my husband prefers cookies iced with royal icing, I kind of like the combination of soft frosting with sugar cookies because of the creaminess compared to royal icing.

And I also like it because the combination reminds me of the grocery store bakery cookies that I loved to eat as a kid. Except these are better. ;)

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

paw patrol badge cookies

My friend Celeste is another friend who asked me to make cookies after seeing the caterpillar cookies I made for Nancy! While Celeste and I recently reconnected via Instagram, I hadn't seen her since her wedding several years ago! Since she was having a Paw Patrol themed party for her oldest daughter Cameron, she asked me to make dog pone or paw print cookies. But when I suggested making cookies in the shape of the Paw Patrol badge logo, we both thought that would be better!

But first, I had to get my hubby to make me another custom copper cookie cutter :) As always, he obliged, and made me this awesome shiny new cutter!

After baking 2 batches of sugar cookies (recipe in my new book!), I started on the decorating. I made a batch of royal icing, divided it, and colored it. I started with the outlines for the dog bones on the badge, piped with stiff blue icing.

Next I used stiff yellow icing to pipe the letters "PAW", above the bone.

Then I switched back to the blue stiff icing to pipe the borders of the badge.

Next I filled in the bone and the badge borders with runny white icing...

.. and then filled the inside of the badge with runny red icing. I let the cookies dry overnight, and then went back with stiff blue icing to pipe the words "PATROL" on the bone, as well as outlining the bone with another layer of blue.

To make the letters pop a bit more, I did another outline of "PAW" with stiff yellow icing, and then added the final touch - a piped paw print in the center of the "A", with stiff white icing.

And then they were done!

I wrapped each cookie in a cellophane bag tied with raffia, since Celeste was going to add these as party favors in each goodie bag.

I met up with Celeste to give her the cookies, and got to meet her daughter Cameron for the first time! She's adorable! And it was so good seeing Celeste again after all these years! It's amazing how fast time flies, isn't it?

Happy birthday, Cameron! Hope you had an awesome party and enjoyed the cookies!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

hello kitty cookies with soft frosting (and hello kitty con!)

For the first ever Hello Kitty Con this past October, I was super honored to be invited to give a cookie decorating workshop! I was asked to give 4 one-hour sessions on the first day of the convention, with about 35 participants per session. Plus, I would get a free badge to attend the convention for the entire weekend, and attend the opening night reception! Let me just say, I was out-of-this-world excited!

To prep for my workshop the week of, I baked 150 giant Hello Kitty cookies. And when I say that the cookies were giant, they were about the size of a piece of toast. That's because I used a Hello Kitty toast cutter to cut out my cookies! (See below with a quarter placed for size reference).

The cookie/toast cutter came with a stamper, that allowed met to get Hello Kitty's details on the cookie before baking. I would use these marks as a guide for the participants to decorate their cookies. I decided to use a "soft frosting" (buttercream) instead of a "hard frosting" (royal icing) so that the participants could learn this technique and also apply it in decorating a Hello Kitty cake, like this one! (see here, hereand here for other examples too!)

The first step was outlining the bow with black frosting.

Next came the rest of Hello Kitty's face and ears, plus her eyes and whiskers. And yellow frosting for the nose.

Next came piped stars in red frosting to fill in the bow.

And then piped stars in white frosting to fill in her face.

And there you have a delicious giant Hello Kitty cookie! Now for all you avid bakers out there, this probably seems pretty easy to do. But the majority of the participants in the workshops had never even held a piping bag before! So many people came up to me afterwards to tell me how much fun they had!

Besides baking all the cookies for the workshop (to be hand-carried on the plane), I also had to prep all the piping bags to be fitted with tips. That took forever.

And making the frosting and filling the bags took forever too! I can't believe I flew with all this frosting! I flew with two suitcases, and only half of one suitcase contained my actual clothes and things. The rest was frosting. Given that each suitcase was over 50 pounds, that's about 75 pounds of frosting that I flew down with me. CRAZY.

By the way, in order to hand carry my baked and undecorated cookies onto the plane, I had the cookies neatly stacked in bakery boxes, which were then stacked inside my handy cupcake courier. With my two suitcases full of frosting safely checked in, I was at the gate about to board the plane, when the flight attendant glanced at my cupcake courier and mentioned that the plane was really small, and that I might have to gate check my cookies. WHAT?! I almost had a heart attack - there was no way that my cookies would survive being gate checked! Luckily, I was able to shove the cupcake courier almost all the way under the seat in front of me, and for the remaining 1/3 of the cupcake courier sticking out I was able to use my legs to stealthily hide it. Whew! Disaster avoided.

Anyway, here's me before my cookie workshop. So excited!

And here's the setup that each participant had.

Here's a shot of the workshop in progress. It was so fun meeting everyone, and they were all so happy to be there! And I was so happy to be among fellow Hello Kitty lovers! It's like we all had an instant bond in Hello Kitty :)

Here's a shot of me and my bestie Reggie, and PAUL FRANK! He was there giving a workshop on making wall hangings, and decided to stop by. So I gave him a cookie. :)

I had such a wonderful time at Hello Kitty Con and everything that came with it - all things Hello Kitty including art, fashion, food, workshops, lectures, and panel. Just being surrounded by all things Hello Kitty, and being able to hang out with other people who also love Hello Kitty was seriously the best! Words can't express how thankful I was for this opportunity!

I'll end with some pictures that I took during my time at Hello Kitty Con! Enjoy!