Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday -- Keep Your Sanding Sugar Where You Want It


If you are going to use sanding sugar, there are some thing you need to know about it.


1. Sanding sugar is a fun accent.


2. It's sparkly. And I like that.


3. You can use it to add dimension.

4. It gets everywhere. Everywhere is not an exaggeration. It gets in your brain and under your microwave. It sticks to your clothes and rolls into the shadows. You've got to build yourself a trap and be ready for it before it turns on you. There's no room for tolerance and mercy here. Sanding sugar is not going to give you a second chance.

Make sure that the entire cookie is dry. Pipe fresh icing wherever you want the sanding sugar to stick. Place the cookie on a cooling rack or dehydrator tray. Put two paper towels underneath the rack or tray. The paper towels should still be connected.

Use a spoon to gently shake the sanding sugar over the top of the cookie, completely covering the fresh icing.

Gently shake the rack or tray and the excess sanding sugar will fall through the cracks. Depending on the area of your paper towel, and the size of your tray or rack, you can put sanding sugar on 4-6 cookies at one time before shaking.

When you've run out of sanding sugar or are finished with your cookies, move the tray or rack off the paper towels completely. Fold in half where the two paper towels meet and gently pour back into your sanding sugar container.


Click on any of the pictures above to go to the post the picture was found in...or...

Pipe Straight Lines

Bake Perfect Circles

Keep Your Icing in the Bag

And because I KNOW you're going to ask... I got my plastic sanding sugar jars HERE.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Decorated Cherry Jam Cookies

Decorated Cherry Jam Cookies Tutorial

Some days are the worst days, aren't they? People are making horrific choices all over the world. WE make bad choices. People around us are "intentionally" mean and impatient. I'm not quite sure that it is possible to be thoughtless on purpose, but if it were... they would be doing that as well. You know, because there is so much bad in society that it's probably just going to implode on itself soon anyway It's really not worth the effort of trying to do good any more. Except... that it is. Because there *IS* so much good still in our lives.

Like a little boy dying of cancer. (Admittedly very depressing, but stay with me here.) All he cares about is making other people happy and inspiring others to be a little nicer. In fact, he spends what time he has raising money to help other children fighting cancer.

Like his mother who has never ever stopped trying to make the world better. She continues trying to bring happiness to others and spread joy even when her greatest source of personal joy lost his battle on this earth.

Like the entire community that rallies around that mother and that young boy's cause.

Like a neighbor who organizes a bake sale and is thrilled when 60 cookie decorating friends send their creations for the first bake sale. And completely astounded that not only are they still donating 3 years later, but that they've been joined by 350 MORE decorators from 50 states and 17 countries.

Like every single one of those 407 cookie decorators that have committed their time and their resources and their love to a bake sale in Eastern Wisconsin where the proceeds will go to help people they've never met...and in all honesty probably never will.

There is good in the world. And thankfully, there are also cookies.

And as long as there are cookies, I'll be here telling you how I made them. (That kind of came out sounding like a threat. But I mean it in a very non-threatening, let's have cookies and be friends forever kind of way.)  (Also, if you are threatened by cookies, I'm going to have to politely recommend that maybe you try a different blog. I'm not going to be the villain here.) (Unless you want me to be the villain. And in that case... *I'M* weirded out and you should still try a different blog.)

Still with me?


Cherry Jam Cookies.

Grab what appears to be my favorite cutter. When you cut out the cookie, use your finger to round off the top before baking. (This really should have been #1, but I'm bad at numbering.)
1. Pipe a squiggly line around the half way point and fill in the bottom section with red icing. If you like, add a white "shine line" along the right side before the icing dries.
2. Add a squished oval for the top of the jar with teal icing. Let it dry for 15 minutes.
3. Then fill in the rest of the cookie with more teal icing.
4. If you have problems with icing colors bleeding in to each other, let your cookie dry overnight before adding the white square label.
5. Add the cherries, string, and details lines with a #1.5 tip and thick icing. And then give them to people you love.

If you want to learn more about that little boy.... click HERE.

If you want to learn how YOU can join this cookie decorating force for good... click HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Puffy Icing -- Quick Tip Tuesday


Pumpkin season is coming. Which means... you're going to need some puffy icing to get all that gorgeous texture you've been dreaming about all year. There are 2 things you need to know if you want puffy icing.

First -- and really, this is ALWAYS the first thing you should think about when making cookies -- you need the right icing consistency. For regular type puffy icing, when you draw a line through the icing with a knife, it should take at least 15 seconds to disappear. But if you want crazy-puffy type icing, it needs to be closer to 19-20 seconds before it disappears.

My new test for puffy icing consistency sounds a little passive-aggressive, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I stir it all up and then while the surface of the icing is all uneven and you can still see the stir lines, I bang the bowl on the counter 4 times. If the surface has smoothed out... I call it good. I'm just a little impatient these days and have decided that 20 seconds is entirely too long to wait to see if I need to add a little more water or powdered sugar.

The second thing you need to know about puffy icing is -- Keep your tip down. Your icing tip should be close to the cookie, forcing the icing to pillow up around it.

**And as an added bonus... if you leave puffing icing in your piping bags over night... you don't have to re-stir them in the morning. What could be better?!


 More about too-thin icing here.

A whole lot more than you ever wanted to know about icing consistency here. 

Find out which cutters I used to make all these pumpkins here. (A hint -- NONE of them were actually a pumpkin cutter.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shading a Baseball Mitt Cookie

I'm first generation computer literate. I grew up with paper. My elementary school got computers when I was in the 4th grade. It was kind of  a big deal and we had a bunch of classes to learn how to NOT touch the eye hole on the floppy disk before we were allowed to actually use one of those computers. And the screens were black and green. And made sounds like "pew, pew, pew" and "tick, tick, tick." And we all thought we were going to be geniuses because we were using COMPUTERS!

And then they got all mainstream and everyone in high school was building their own website. Mine had rainbow colored text because I was a teenage girl and I couldn't possibly conceive of a world where people wouldn't want to read a rainbow texted website. And we all got email addresses. Of our own. And we didn't tell our parents. And then we sent each other messages. Again, without telling our parents. We were rebels. We were the first computer generation. We taught our parents what a "mouse" was for. And how to turn off auto-correct in Word.

And then we grew up and got actual jobs. And if your actual job didn't include computers... all technical tomfoolery stopped there. I had a lot of cool jobs (furniture delivery, river guide, personal trainer, sailboat sailor person...) and none of them were overly technical or computery. Actually NONE of them involved a computer. Not even for time cards or anything.

So, basically, I'm saying that I'm SUPER PROUD of myself because I just made a gif file. And all you super-computery people out there... don't tell anyone how easy it actually is, okay? (Because I didn't even do it the real way. I used the cheater way.)

Look? See? The blue lines/circles are where you add luster dust to make the glove look real. And then you can see what it looks like with the dust. All in one picture. I love this world!

Also... I wanted to tell you that I made these cookies and the tutorials for them for Sugar Ed Productions Sugar Art School. I've been working with Sharon for the last year and I absolutely LOVE it over there! They have such amazing sugar artists with some fantastic tutorials. And if you wanted to check it out, there couldn't be a more perfect time because as you can see above... you can get a whole month subscription for just $3. Which is kind of a good deal if you're into that sort of thing. And if you're not...

Hey! More baseball cookies!



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