Uncle Sam Cookies

I made it pretty clear a while back that I am no longer in my twenties. You might have missed that...but now you know. And since that is the case, you can be sure that I've been through A LOT of Independence Days in my life. When I was a child, they were filled with pancake breakfasts and probably candy.

And then I got older and things got more exciting when people started setting themselves on fire. I even got to see what happens when you light fireworks and throw them under water. (Which is probably a really bad idea because I'm sure it killed fish. And I had guilt for kind of a while after that.)

Ooh, and one year they cancelled the fireworks show literally 20 minutes before the start time and told everyone to RUN to their cars. (It was a small town so there was absolutely NO NEED to worry about stampede dangers.) But I didn't make it and I got pelted with golf ball size hail. Didn't expect that one. And that was the summer that the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" came out where the world nearly ends right after golf ball sized hail comes around. So..you know, on the way home I was pretty sure I would never seen another 4th of July again.

And now my Independence Days are chronicled in cookies. I'll call this "The Year of Unconventional Cookies Wherein I Also Made an Uncle Sam Cookie." You can call it that too if you want. I didn't like, copyright it or anything. But...you will have to make the cookies. It's super easy. Mostly.

You need two cutters for this cookie. A scalloped(ish) cutter and a rectangle cutter. See that weirdy part of my scalloped cookie? It's because I only own ONE scalloped cutter and its pretty small. So I tried to make one. And I got impatient to make this cookie so I didn't actually glue it together before using it as a cutter. I don't think that will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.

Cut a chunk out of the scalloped cookie with the rectangle cutter. (I always feel so disturbed when I talk about cookies that way. I promise -- I'm seriously a cookie lover not a hater.)

Put them together on your baking sheet and kind of mush them together so they are snug. It's cool if your rectangle gets all lopsided on the journey over to the baking sheet. It's in good company with all my rectangles.

Bake them all up and let them cool. Then pipe the brim of the hat in navy blue. Or just regular blue. Or whatever type of blue you enjoy. (Cobalt blue anyone?) Let that dry for awhile. Especially if you went with navy because that always seems to bleed more than regular blue.

Do the red stripes up the hat next. And let those dry. While you are waiting, you should really think about eating some watermelon. Because I sure won't be. They are $20 each here. And maybe I'm idealizing the good ol' US of A since I'm gone...but I remember watermelon being closer to $5 last year.

Whoa. Anyway...after you've felt bad for me and eaten as much watermelon as you can possibly stand..go ahead and do the white for the hair and the beard. Actually, you could probably do these two steps at the same time. But then you would miss out on all that watermelon. (And the cracks in the brim part? I may have dropped this cookie while trying to take a picture of it. Don't eat this one.)

Fill in the face and ears and do the white stripes at the same time. (See? I can DO more than one color at a time.) But definitely let those dry again before moving on to the face.

The last step is drawing on the face. It seems that Uncle Sam always has a, umm, well, a real big nose, so I went with that. I piped 3 dots for the eyebrows and let them melt together so there would be some kind of texture to them....but I'm pretty sure that a straight line would look almost exactly the same. Then I added some rosy cheeks because I felt a little bit bad about the whole big nose thing.

Patriotic Cookies

I am officially proclaiming this the year of the unconventional cookie. Go ahead and do what you want. Especially with patriotic cookies.

 In case you don't know...I am American and our flag has 13 stripes and 50 stars. Try making THAT on a cookie. Or...you know...not. That's  what I did. (The "not" option.) Because I can't make 13 straight lines. And believe me....someone ALWAYS counts.

I had this great idea to make red, white, and blue beach themed cookies. I had the most darling sunglasses all pictured up in my head. And then...I saw that someone else had made them, right down to the beach towel and sunglasses. And they were gorgeous. And I was so jealous that I forgot who made them. But if any of YOU see them...tell me and we'll share them with the world. In the meantime...check out THESE by Pam at Cookie Crazie. I just want to snatch that shaved ice cookie right off my screen!

Seriously, I think that a holiday celebrated with barbecues and watermelon spitting contests can handle a little unconventional-ness. It's practically telling you to take it easy and lay off the tricky details. You should probably listen.

Birthday...party of one...

This may come as a big shock to all of you, but apparently, I know myself better than anyone else on the planet. My daughter turned ONE last week. I knew it was coming for quite a while. I started planning months out. I got really into the color theme of navy, white, and yellow. And then.... (just as I KNEW I would, I might add) I got tired of it. And switched to red and white days before the party. And by "party" I mean, regular old evening spent with her parents and big brother except this time she got to eat all the cake she wanted and got actual presents that were for HER and not hand-me-downs from her brother.

So, if you remember...I had originally planned something like THIS. 

And she ended up with THIS. I tell myself that it's okay because she's only one and she doesn't care what her cake looks like as long as it tastes good and she gets to eat as much as she likes. And I tell myself that I still love her just as much as I would if I had made her a giant cake that took days and days. And I tell myself that when she is 34 and going through some personal identity crisis that it won't at all be related to the fact that she didn't feel loved and adored because she didn't get a huge decorated cake on her first birthday like every other loved and adored child in the world does. I tell myself that she will have personal issues years down the road because I let her burn her tiny little finger on her very first birthday candle** -- but not because of the size of the cake.

Even though the "party" was tiny. I still had to coordinate things. And match colors. And have candy. I can't help it.  Although, I'm a little weirded out by the droopy strawberry cake. In fact, if you were really my friend you wouldn't even be looking at this picture in the first place. 

Seriously, stop looking at it. 

In my defense (because it's really important to me that you not judge my strawberry and cream  cake making abilities without ALL the facts)...I had to make it with frozen strawberries. Okay. Go ahead and judge now. Thanks for hearing me out.

** True Story. I really do need to work on my "mothering skills."  Do they offer some kind of  How-To class for mothers before they have to put together a first birthday party? Maybe a support group or something?

Graduation Cake

So... I've never made a graduation cake before. I wasn't sure which approach I should take. I had a few viable options--

Option 1:  "Good luck on making it in that big scary world that is waiting to eat you up and foreclose on your future house."

Option 2: "Thank goodness you don't have to go THERE everyday anymore, huh?"

Option 3: "Congratulations Graduates!"

The second option is what I would have gone with if it were my own graduation. The third one seems the most celebratory, but it made me quite nervous. I mean...now that Cakewrecks is around, the standard for graduation cakes is set pretty high. I was pretty sure it would end up something like this --

"Gongradulates Cradations!"

And in case you are wondering...that wouldn't be ideal. So I chose an alternate route with absolutely no emotion or advise or really much of anything except stars and swirly metal things and sugar. Lots of sugar. But then I started getting all weird in my head. I kept looking at the cake thinking, "It IS 2011, right? Shoot, I better go look at my calendar. Okay, whew -- 2011. Whoa --- what if I bought a misprinted calendar and it's really NOT 2011. And no one told me. For 5 months. Great, now I have bad friends and made a huge mistake on a very important sugar confection...." And then I got over that and started wondering if "CLASS" was spelled with two "s's" or not. I should probably just not make graduation cakes.

More on the Seashells

After I posted my seashell cookies yesterday, I took a quick trip around the internet and saw that about a gajillion other people are making seashell cookies this week. Isn't that great?!  I'm totally part of a "fad!" (Or is it a "trend?" Is there a difference?) Anyway...as promised...here is a bit more about how I made them.

 The starfish cookies were probably the easiest. I took a 5 petal flower cutter and pulled the petals out a bit and pinched the ends so they curved sideways. And then after I had baked them all...I realized a star cutter would have been much simpler. I iced the background and let them dry for a couple of hours. Then I used some thicker icing and piped big dots in the middle and slightly smaller dots radiating outwards. Done.

I actually made the cutter for these cookies. I know they sell a clamshell cutter, but I don't like the bottom part of it. Although, I'm fairly sure you could just cut that part off.

But, I think that you could make a similar cookie by cutting out a square cookie and then cutting off two of the edges with a scalloped cutter. (Let's not judge my incredibly skilled paint job, okay?) Or you could use the candy corn cutter from Halloween with a scalloped circle. Or...you could take that candy corn cutter, and just make indents with a toothpick for the scalloped parts. If there is something that works for you...you should probably just do that.

I did this first. I probably shouldn't be blogging today. I can't even think of words to describe this. Umm, I piped half of the pointy-fan-shaped-rib-type-things first. I let them dry for about 30 minutes and filled in the rest of the shell.

I made these with a regular ol' circle cutter.  And a drinking straw. But no duct tape. (Please someone out there tell me that I was not the only girl in the world who was forced to watch MacGyver with her brothers because they outnumbered her 3 to 1, which means I NEVER got to watch My Little Ponies or Rainbow Bright.) 

These would have been THE perfect use for my flimsy metal circle cutters that can't cut a true circle to save their lives. But I couldn't find those cutters. Because I had placed them right next to my rolling pin. (Apparently, being "organized" or "neat" really IS over rated.) So I used my sturdy circle cutter and just stretched them and bent them a little to make them look a little more real.

And then I bent the end of a drinking straw so that it was oval shaped and cut out all the little holes in the sand dollar. Did you know that those holes are called pores? Yeah....not in my cookie they're not. That totally grosses me out.

And don't forget to cut out a notch on the top. That's the detail that makes or breaks this cookie. Seriously...without that you all would have been wondering why I was making daisy frisbees with holes in them. Okay, maybe not...but I like doing it anyway.

So then, you know, you ice the thing and let it dry. When you are icing the top, if you use one consistency icing, make sure you actually don't get too close to the holes. The icing moves a bit and will get itself a lot closer than you originally intended it too.

You can just pipe the petal like pattern on if you want. I wanted it to be a little more subtle so I painted it on. I did one each way in the picture above. (And you probably didn't even notice, did you?)

Just take a dab of icing on the end of a food grade paint brush and then paint one side of a petal. Get a new dab. Repeat. Over and over. And over.

I love that it doesn't have to be perfect or even or anything. You know, because nature is rarely perfect. Whew. I think I need to go take a nap after this post. Good luck with your cookies.

The End.

White Seashells

You all know how much I love colors. WHAT?! You didn't know that? That's okay. I'll tell you now. I LOVE COLORS. I love deep, dark, saturated colors. Love them. As in, I would marry them if they were a person and I hadn't already met and fallen in love with my most handsome husband. That being said, I also really, really like these cookies. And they have absolutely no color added.

I have to admit, the lack of color was part of the charm. I mean....I made the icing and put it straight into a bag. ONE bag. One tip. I might never use my icing colors again. (Ha ha ha ha. I'm totally kidding. You couldn't pry those things out of my hands.Not that I walk around town with them or anything. I keep them safe in safe spot where they will be...you know....safe. I'm not taking any chances with those things.)

Anyway...white cookies. Love them. Love the beach. I wish I had a house on the beach like someone else I know. But then, I would probably never make cookies because I would be at the beach. Every single day of my life. Except in winter. And then I would probably only go on alternate Tuesdays. 

P.S. -- Come back tomorrow-ish for some behind the scene pictures and details on making these cookies.

P.P.S. -- Let's all just pretend we can see the beautiful shimmer dust I put on these cookies just for you.

UPDATE -- CLICK HERE for the picture tutorials.