Friday, March 30, 2012

Wet-On-Wet Daisies


Soooooooo -- I have a (some) confession(s) to make -- I LOVE to make my kids' clothes into cookies.

Also, I may or may not have, on more than one occasion, purchased clothing for my children solely because I wanted to make them into cookies.

Also, there is a chance that I have a stack of clothing next to my cookie cutters that I intend to make into cookies before I let my children wear them. I'm just saying there's a chance.


Also - and this has nothing to do with the first three - my nearly 2 year-old daughter saw a vacuum in action for the first time in her life. She was terrified. Basically, I can never vacuum again. I've got to look out for my daughter and her happiness.

What I'm saying is that I have the cutest kids in the world and I have to make cookies to match. But I just make cookies to match their clothes. Because if I made matching hand cookies or something, that would be totally weird. And not at all appetizing. It would be closer to terrifying. Kind of like a vacuum. And I avoid vacuums if at all possible. (Obviously.)


This is not the first time I have made cookies that look like my kids' clothes. This isn't even the first time that I've made THESE clothes into cookies. But it IS the first time I used a white bowl to hold the cookies I made of my children's clothing. First time for everything, right?

I am IN LOVE with these little wet-on-wet daisies. I don't know why I don't make them more often. I think everyone should make them. Cross out whatever you have on your to-do list for tomorrow and make these. Or at least put it as #1 or #2, because I'm afraid you will lose your list before you get to them if you put it any further down than that.

You need some cookies. And 3 different colors of icing -- a base color, a petal color, and a center color. I use 12-15 count icing. If you outline and fill all of these colors need to be flood consistency. You also need toothpicks. NEED them. (PS -- Is there someone who makes cookies without these things? I don't know that I could do it.)

Since this is a wet-on-wet technique, you want to work quickly. Completely ice your cookie. Pipe 5 dots in a rough circle. Repeat this for as many daisies as you want.

Put your toothpick in the middle of a dot and draw it toward the center of the circle. I pull my petals to the middle in a star pattern so that the flower doesn't get all lopsided. (So I do the top dot, a bottom dot, the top left dot, the other bottom dot, the top right dot...) Don't wipe your toothpick off.  You don't have time, and it looks cooler to have the "vein" or "stem" in the middle of each petal. And let's be honest, all I really want out of life is to be cooler.

Drop a tiny, tiny circle of yellow in the middle of each petal. Give it 2 minutes and you have tiny dots of amazing daisy goodness. Unless of course you made giant dots. Then you would have giant dots of amazing daisy goodness.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ducks, Chicks, and Sheep. (No Bunnies)

I'm not a good holiday understander-er. I don't really get why its okay for strangers give my children candy in little buckets while they wander around the neighborhood in the dark on Halloween. How did THAT happen? I mean, I have done AT LEAST 20 minutes of research on that holiday, and I still can't figure it out.

Or what about having an entire day dedicated to watching magic wildlife look at itself or its shadow or whatever it does and then decide if it would like to single-handedly change the seasons. OR a holiday where you are basically expected to put kool-aid in the shower head and serve your family dinner that's really a dessert, but it looks like dinner just to celebrate the fact that once again the first day of April came after the last day in March. Oh, and I think that if you are still single, you have pretend to be engaged for at least a day. It might be a rule. You should check.


And....obviously... Easter. Have you seen the Easter decorations at the store? I don't get it. And there's a lot to not get. We've got an anthromorphic rabbit that gives out candy and eggs. Candy. And. Eggs. Where is all this supposed to be coming from? Is he magic? Does he have robots? Is there a giant chicken farm somewhere in middle America? Is that what Kansas is hiding? Also, you know how you are not supposed to play with your food? That doesn't apply at Easter time. We dye and paint and scratch and color and modge-podge and glitter all sorts of different designs onto an otherwise ordinary breakfast and baking item. And baby animals? Who was in charge of choosing which animal babies got to come to the Easter party? The Easter Bunny? That's a clear case of nepotism if I've ever seen one.

Sigh.

I'm just bitter because I wanted to make little baby animal faces for Easter and I can't make a bunny cookie if my life depended on it. I know because I've tried. A lot of times. And they all ended with me eating ice cream in my closet, telling myself it just doesn't matter that I'm incapable of contributing in sugar form to the over-commercialization of the Easter holiday.

Anyone want to forget about bunnies and make cutesy sheep with me?

First...make some cutesy little sheep ears. Let them dry for 3-4 hours or overnight. Probably overnight would be best. Then you won't have to be too careful. And I don't know about you, but I am really good at not being too careful.

Then do this stuff.
1.  Pipe a cutesy circle-ish shape just below the center of the cookie.
2-4. Add a bunch of cutesy dots. Let them dry. Repeat. (I used some thick icing to avoid as many craters as possible. About 18-20 count.)
5. Pipe or draw a cutesy face.
6. Add your cutesy ears. Use a small dot of icing on the back of the ears to adhere them to the cookie.


In case you are wondering -- I did the ears as a royal icing transfer because when you pipe over an un-even surface, it runs into the cracks and crevices and messes up your nice neat lines. And that bugs me. (But, I mean...that's totally cool if your cookies look like that though. I don't mind. I just bug myself. It's another secret talent of mine.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

COOKIE CONTEST with big fun prizes

I am SO EXCITED to share my big news with you today. I am hosting a contest! And not just any contest, it's a --

CREATIVE COOKIE DECORATING CONTEST!!!


Here's what you have to do -- Bake a cookie using this cutter. If you don't have this cutter, that's okay, just print out this high-tech sharpie version (or trace it right on your computer screen. It's the right size.)  and then hand cut a cookie or four. And then decorate that cookie to look like anything except a present. That's it. Easy peasy. You can cut off parts of it if you want, or add pieces if you need to. Just make sure that we can tell it came from the present cutter to begin with.

Before you start telling yourself you won't enter because you can't win --- there is more than one way to win. Stay with me.

The cookies will be judged by a panel of judges. One of them is my mom, so no dirty words, okay? The judges come from backgrounds in graphic design, party planning, sculpture, and pastry arts. They will be independently scoring your cookies in two areas -- Creativity and Overall Appearance. The creativity score will make up 75% of your final score. That means that even if you just started decorating -- YOU CAN STILL WIN.

Also, voting will be enabled on this link-up and there will be a "People's Choice" prize that will go to the cookie with the most votes.

ALSO -- I had 10 ideas for this cutter. I used ONE of them when I made the strawberry cookies last week. If any of you come up with one of my other 9 ideas....YOU WIN a prize as well.

Seriously, I'm all over these prizes and giving them and...loving a happy day that involves making creative cookies from a present cutter. 

What? Prizes?! Let's talk about that next.


The first place winner will receive --

fancy plaque square cutter (Copper Gifts)
20 cutters of your choice (The Cookie Cutter Company)
Fox Run set of triangle cutters (Karen's Cookies)
Hot Pink and Black Magic disco dust (Karen's Cookies)
Set of square cutters (Karen's Cookies)
2 pixie dust shakers (Karen's Cookies)
the FULL LINE of PME tips (Karen's Cookies)
Hello Kitty cutter
brightly colored scraper and whisk
training chopsticks for the pirate in your life
silicone cupcake holders in a weird Korean bowl


The second place winner will receive -- 

fancy plaque square cutter (Copper Gifts)
Miami orange and rainbow disco dust (Karen's Cookies)
2 pixie shakers (Karen's Cookies)
double sided circle cutter set (Karen's Cookies)
Hello Kitty cutter
brightly colored whisk
training chopsticks for the pirate in your life
silicone cupcake holders in a weird Korean bowl 


The People's Choice winner will receive -- 

fancy plaque square cutter (Copper Gifts)
10 cutters of your choice (The Cookie Cutter Company)
Fox Run set of rectangle cutters (Karen's Cookies)
Heat Green and Amethyst disco dust (Karen's Cookies)
2 pixie shakers (Karen's Cookies)
 Hello Kitty cutter
brightly colored whisk
training chopsticks for the pirate in your life
silicone cupcake holders in a weird Korean bowl 

And anyone who comes up with one of my 9 remaining designs will get a Hello Kitty cutter and some Korean candy. 

Once you have made your cookie, put it on your blog and link it up below. If you don't have a blog, or if you are having problems with the link-up tool EMAIL ME your submission. I'll take care of it for you. You may enter as many different designs as you like.You have until midnight on Saturday, May 5 2012 to enter. Voting begins as soon as the submissions are closed and continues until Saturday, May 12, 2012. Judging will take place between May 5 and May 12 as well. And....the contest is open internationally.


Okay, so let's review all the important information. Make a cookie from the present cookie cutter that does not look like a present. Link it up or email it to me. Win great big fun prizes. Tell all your friends.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Strawberry Cookies


I'm basically the worst friend I could ever have. I like all the wrong foods. I let myself make all sorts of impulse purchases that I know I'm going to regret later. And when I'm having a bad day, I never take myself out for a night on the town. I'm "way too busy" for that. I pressure myself into staying up real late making cookies and "socializing" on the internet and then I talk myself into a lazy morning drawing whales on a whiteboard that is still located on the floor from the previous day. (I told myself I'd clean it up...but I was lying.)


And healthy food? Exercise? Just when I start thinking that I might start thinking about them...I realize that I'm already running a very successful sabotage campaign and I may as well order pizza for lunch. 

Luckily, Korea's got my back on this one. Whenever you order a pizza, they put corn on top. It's what they do. Sometimes, they also cover it in waffle fries and mayo. But at least it has corn. I mean --hello -- I'm eating VEGETABLES on my cheese pizza. I'm practically more fit already. I didn't even need to work out today I was so healthy. Which was great, because it left me more time to make these little charmers.


And just so you know --- something SUPER FUN and EXCITING and umm...super exciting is coming on Monday. I can't tell you yet. Come back on Monday to find out. And then retrace your steps to this very post and look at these cookies. Everything will make sense. 

What? Keeping you in suspense over the weekend? Told you. Worst. Friend. Ever.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Making Sugared Carrots

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called, umm....Louth Lorea, there lived a girl named Leorganne. She liked to make cookies. She made cookies nearly every day of her life. She tried to keep it a secret from the big, bad "peoples" of the world that didn't understand. She was like a secret agent of the cookie world, trying to maintain her alter-identity by doing things like "laundry" or "cooking actual food." It was a rough life at times, but other times it was just real, real nice.

Anyway...she got all obsessed with making carrot cookies for spring and then realized that she didn't have any carrot cookie cutters. Like, at all. Of her treasure trove of cutters, ZERO of them were carrot shaped. Sad, sad, sad. But she didn't give up her dream. That resourceful cookie maker Leorganne of Louth Lorea figured out how to cut out carrots from an ice cream cone cutter and a ... ummm, once again, I have forgotten the name of that little cutter. We'll just call it "the cutter she used." So she cut out her cookies, and she baked her cookies and the VERY NEXT DAY, she got a package in the mail from her super sweet friend Licole that contained...A CARROT CUTTER!!!! She hadn't even told anyone about her carrot-cookie-making wish, and yet somehow she found herself in the middle of her lair kitchen holding a carrot cutter. But wait...the story does not end here. Guess what happened the very next day after that? (Seriously, I am NOT making this part up.) ANOTHER super sweet friend named Lanessa gave her a different carrot cutter!

Moral of the story -- There are some good people in this world, in spite of all the stories you hear to the contrary.

Moral of the story #2 -- Apparently carrot cookies were just meant to happen this spring.

Moral of the story #3 -- Really? All those mothers just happened to come up with weird sounding "L" names? I'm not buying it.


1. Cut out an ice cream cone shaped chunk of cookie dough.
2. Use the top of the ice cream cone to round off the top of the carrot.
3. Using that "cutter she used," cut into the top of the carrot. Okay, actually this is embarrassing. Someone recently told me the name of this cutter and I just can't remember it. Every time I look at it, all I can see is  "Bam!" and "Kapow!" in bright colors from a distant comic book memory. Hold on. I'm going to go check the archives and....yes, here it is. A mini daisy flower cutter. Does that sound right?
4. Replace cut-out portion with a whole mini daisy flower.

Pipe some random stripes on your carrot. You could make them straight if you wanted to (and if you are capable of that. I am not, so I make things wonky.) Cover with orange sanding sugar and let dry for 30 minutes or so.

Dust off the excess sugar and fill in the remaining stripes. At this point, I just wanted to eat these carrots. I would suggest maybe not giving in to that temptation if you are planning on sharing these cookies with anyone.

After the middle stripes are dry-ish,  (Give them at least another 30 minutes) fill the stem area with green icing and dump some green sanding sugar on top of that as well. And then you are done. And you can go do "laundry" or "cook actual food" or whatever it is that cookie secret agents do in their down time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Easy Speckled Eggs

I've decided that women just don't give themselves enough credit. Guys are usually pretty good at that. They've set up this system to reward each other. Its a complex system involving high-fives, head nods and grunts. And it MEANS SOMETHING to them. It doesn't really cross genders though. I mean...a guy grunts and me, and I don't start feeling better about myself. I start thinking about maybe calling the police or something.

I was thinking that we, as women, need to get together and come up with our own system. We could use a combination of points and levels. So, you know, when you see that girl at the store with fantastic patience in spite of the customer in front of her that has unloaded 3 carts of groceries at the "express" check-out, you can give her a quick, "5 points for patience! NICE JOB!"

Or, how about that lady at the ER with two screaming (starving) children? You start talking to her and find out she has a third child who probably has a broken leg, AND her husband is gone for the weekend with his guy friends. Go ahead and give her a --"Wow! Level-UP!!"

Be sure to take care of yourself as well. Made it to the gym today? 10 points. TWENTY points if you don't share it on facebook. And I was thinking that the points for having to wake up in the middle of the night with children should be on the Richter scale. So you get 1 point for the first time you get up. 10 points the next time, 100 points for the third time....basically what I'm saying is that after last night, I'm pretty much as cool as Meryl Streep.

And...I'm not quite sure what the exchange rate is here, but I'm guessing that 3 points is roughly equal to a high-five and 10 points is a head nod. So...be sure to let your husband and all your guy friends know.

PS -- Want to make the easiest speckled eggs ever?

 I like the look of 3 speckle colors mixed together, but you can do what you want. (Obviously.) Just make sure that you don't mix too much sugar together because you can't undo that. And you really only need a small pinch of sugar for each cookie.

Ice your egg shaped cookie of deliciousness.


And then ever so very lightly, sprinkle some sugar on top. Don't go overboard. Less is more. (Ha ha ha....I've always wanted to be able to say that. 2 points for me.) If you sprinkle the sugar on right away, it will sink in to the wet icing and create little speckles of color without a rough texture on top. Cool, huh?

CLICK HERE to see how I made the carrots.




Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Baby Girl Cookies


I live in South Korea. People are ALWAYS crowding around my children, especially my newborn. One time, I left my husband with the cart at a grocery store while I ran to the next aisle to grab some cereal. I came back and found my husband  on the outside of a gathering crowd of people with cellphones in their hands, all taking pictures and cooing to my grocery cart and infant daughter. Apparently, my husband had reached over to pull something off the shelf and they took that as sign of weakness and pressed their advantage.We just stood there discussing the merits of frozen mandu until everyone dispersed enough that we could reach through and reclaim our child.


I'm not kidding. Or even exaggerating. This really happened. Every detail. Including the mandu conversation.

Here's the deal. In Korea, babies don't leave their home until they are 100 days old. So people really don't see tiny babies. (And especially, they don't see tiny babies with blue eyes.) Anyway...at 100 days of life, the parents and family and friends have a HUGE celebration and then tell their child to get a job. Okay, not the last part, but they do have a really big party.


And since we all know that I'm pretty much scoring in the 25th percentile for motherhood, I don't think it will come as a big surprise that I missed my daughter's 100-days-of-life day. She was at least 103 days old before I realized it. So I made her some cookies to make up for it. But since it will take her practically forever to get old enough to ingest them...I ate them for her. And we had a big ol' party and I invited her dad, her brother, AND her sister. Seriously, our house was rockin'.  


I'm not usually an edible image kind of gal. But, (and maybe I'm completely biased) I can't think of a prettier way to use an edible image. Plus...as soon as I found out that Copper Gifts was going to make more sizes of their fancy square cutter, I couldn't wait to make some picture frame cookies.

They are basically perfect for EVERY occasion. You know, like a -- "Yeay! I'm eating corn-on-the-cob on a stick!"  kind of occasion. Or, if you happened to need to cookie-frame a picture of the view off your balcony. Those would be two very appropriate edible-image-cookie-frame type of occasions.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keep Calm Cookies

Sometimes I'm really good at multi-tasking. I think it might be my super power. I can't fly. I don't laser things with my eyes. I have never in my life even contemplated the chance that I could break through a brick wall with my bare hands. And it were at all possible for me to run as fast as lightning...I would probably just run into stuff. But multi-tasking -- now that's MY bag of fruit.

I can, and have, carried out 2 different conversations with 2 separate children while folding laundry and watching a movie.

I can, and have, cruised the grocery store aisles with one hand on the cart, one hand simultaneously grabbing groceries and an 18 month old run-away, soothing a crying baby and somehow convincing my husband that tofu is an acceptable ingredient for that evening's dinner. AND still managed to remember those 2 coupons in my back pocket.

I am also adept at helping my oldest with schoolwork, drawing with my girl, feeding the baby, reading gorgeous food blogs and designing cookies all at the same time.


Sometimes though...things get a little funny. I end up trying to fold my movies and watch my laundry. I leave my cellphone on the cereal shelf and ask my 18 month old to return the library books on her way home from work. Or I end up with a cookie that has a suspicious similarity to a certain item at the top of a popular (and sparkly ) dessert blog.

Also, I thought I was really funny when I made these cookies. I giggled to myself the entire time. And then I took a picture and I suddenly realized that they might not be funny at all. In that case, they are a social commentary meant to invoke endless hours of thought and eventually inspire you to action by using your own super power to create a better world.  Your choice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rainbow Shamrocks


I'm not exactly what you would call "a great cook." In fact, I spent almost all of my growing up years trying to avoid learning how to cook or sew or do anything else that would later benefit me in life. My poor mother. Combine my lack of skill with the fact that I am the pickiest eater alive...she probably thought I would starve to death upon moving away from home. Well, that or somehow manage to live solely off cottage cheese and Wheat Thins. (She would be right on her second assumption.)

These days I have kids. And I'm married to a guy who eats actual food. On a daily basis. It gets tricky. So I have created a system for making dinner. Basically, I take a whole bunch of different foods out of the fridge and freezer. You know, like vegetables, rice, eggs.... stuff that people eat. And then I pour it all into a bowl. Or a blender. Sometimes I even heat it up. And then...I hope madly that it isn't disgusting. Some days it works out and some days it doesn't. When all else fails, I add garlic and cheese. 

These cookies were kind of like that. I threw a bunch of St. Patrick's Day themes in a blender and spread them on a cookie. I wasn't really sure how they would turn out. And even after they were done, I couldn't decide if I liked them or not. I asked my husband if he thought they needed cheese...but he said to just leave them alone. 

It takes a lot of icing colors and about a jillion (ten) steps to make these, but they really are quite simple. Each step only needs to dry for about 15 minutes or until it starts to look a little dry-ish. The colors are bright enough that none of them will really bleed into the other.

Also -- I used 12-15 second icing for this. If you decorate only by outlining and filling -- try outlining everything with white or black first. And if you do that, you can fill every other color section instead of doing one at a time.


1. Pipe a semi-curved line in the middle of the third leaf.This is the rim of the pot o' gold.
2. Add a circle shaped bottom to create the...umm, bottom.
3. Start with blue and curve your line from the left to the right, ending at the pot.
4. Add green on top. (For every line after blue, I started at the pot and went to the left. It was easier to keep it skinny at the pot. And to be honest, I decorated these cookies upside down because it was easier to keep the gentle curve that way. I'm weird. Do what you want.)

5. Add yellow.
6. Then orange.
7. And red. And then stop for a while. You are going to be adding white next and all that red needs to dry a bit first so you don't end up with pink.
8. After at least an hour of waiting and waiting and waiting, add your white background.

9. Let the white dry a bit. And then pipe on some gold coins.
10. Immediately cover with some yellowish sanding sugar. Shake it off and you are done. No need to add cheese or garlic or anything.

Feel free to visit Sugarbelle's HERE to see how I made the little leprechaun hats.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Icing Consistency -- It MATTERS.

Sometimes people ask my advice.

I would say that its against my nature to tell people what to do, but that would be totally lying. I love telling people how they should live their lives, or exercise, or what kind of car to buy. Its just that people don't usually ASK. So as you can imagine, this is a little weird for me.


I get a lot of emails from new friends just beginning their journey into the cookie decorating world. They tell me their stories (love that) and sometimes show me some pictures (love that too) and then they ask if I have any advice for them. And then I lose all sense of time and food and bedtime hours and write them a little novel that I could feasibly sum up in one little sentence.

You can forget EVERYTHING you have ever learned about decorating cookies as long as your icing is the right consistency. 

But, here's the deal. Not all of you are emailing me. And since I'm so good at dispensing unwanted advice, you are going to get the mini novel right here and now. (And then go pay your cell phone bill. Credit ratings are a real thing.)  

The most important thing to remember about icing consistency is that it is YOUR CHOICE.  Not everyone likes royal icing. Some people use glaze. Not everyone makes a vanilla sugar cookie. Some people make chocolate sugar cookies. Not everyone likes bacon. Some people are vegetarians. And not everyone outlines a cookie with a 20 count and then floods it with a 10 count. Some people just use one consistency of icing. And sometimes its an 18 count icing. Or a 12 count icing. It's YOUR CHOICE. Don't let anyone else make that for you. And don't get stuck on one type of icing if its not working for you. And at the same time...when you find a consistency you like, don't feel like you have to keep experimenting. Do what you want.

And if you've only just begun discovering you cookies you have another question burning in your head at this very moment. WHAT IN THE WORLD IS 12 COUNT ICING?! Let's talk about how you figure out how thick your icing is. And what to call it when you do figure it out.

Stir up your icing nice and easy with a knife or a spoon or chopsticks or whatever it is that you choose to stir your icing with.

"Draw" a line on the surface with the icing that falls off your stirring utensil of choice. As soon as you are done, start counting the seconds. When your icing disappears into the rest of the icing THAT NUMBER is your "count" for your icing. So if it disappears at 10 seconds -- it's a "10 second icing" or a "10 count icing."

Here's another visual. Notice how the 12-15 second icing is kind of gone at 12 seconds and completely gone at 15 seconds? That is EXACTLY what I am looking for. Perfect icing right there.

Perfect icing FOR ME

I know how thick I like my icing. I've made it a jillion times. I almost don't even have to draw a line and count anymore, because I can tell how thick it is by the way the knife feels in my hand as a I stir my icing. But I still count. Because it matters. Because having the wrong consistency of icing is the single most frustrating cookie decorating problem there is.

If your background icing is too thin, it will run off the cookie.

 If it is too thick the icing won't be smooth. If your details run away with themselves you need thicker icing. If you get peaks on everything you try to pipe -- it is too thick. Are you piping dots and want to avoid the sink-holes? 17 second icing is your friend.

Once you've figured out how thick your icing IS and how thick you want it TO BE, its a simple matter of powdered sugar and water to get it there. You will learn very quickly that you want to add tiny amounts of either one. If your icing is too thick, add water literally one drop at a time or use a spray bottle to lightly mist the surface. If your icing is too thin, add sifted powdered sugar one teaspoon at a time. Then stir it up and repeat your icing consistency test until it is perfection in sugar form.

Trust me on this. Once you get your icing as thick or as thin as YOU LIKE IT, you will LOVE decorating cookies. Its going to change your world. It is always worth the time to get the icing right before you begin.


MORE royal icing help --

Recipe for royal icing with dried egg whites 
Royal Icing Consistency at The Bear Foot Baker
Making Royal Icing at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle
More on royal icing at Haniela's

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