Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Cookies Part 2

I've been working on orders nonstop for the last couple of weeks and I'm finally done!  I haven't shared any more pictures because, well, I've been busy, and also, with the exception of my fun purple order, I didn't change up the designs much from the last Christmas cookies I posted.  So here they are!

The tree on the first picture was my first try at brush embroidery.  I'm not sure if I had the right consistency of icing, but I thought it turned out ok.

The color on the purple cookies is way off in the pictures, and I used disco dust and luster dust, but it's hard to tell in the pictures.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Cookies and My First Boutique

This last week, for the first time I had a table at the Christmas boutique that my husband's work has every year.  I worked nonstop for 4 days making and decorating lots of cookies.  I had no clue how much to make, so I made about 70 medium-sized cookies and about 120 mini cookies, packaged by the dozen as well as in 4s. 

I was really happy with the way the cookies turned out.  I was so sure they would sell, so it was really frustrating when I sold out of the minis by the second day, but no one had touched the individual cookies, which I had spent way more time working on.  It wasn't until we lowered the price 40% that we ended up selling half of them.  And not one container of sugar cubes sold.  :( 

These were the minis, although it's kind of hard to tell from the picture.

And here are some pictures of the table setup, which was all thanks to the help of my cookier friend, Kris.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Avalanche Hockey Cookies

Last week I had another order of hockey cookies.  This time the team logo was the Avalanche.

The logo was kind of tricky and I wasn't super happy about the way they turned out, but oh well. 

I've been crazy busy these last few days working on cookies for a Christmas boutique that my husband's work has every year.  I've never done a boutique before, so hopefully the cookies sell!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Cookies

I recieved an order for some Thanksgiving cookies with the theme of "God is faithful", with a cream and white color scheme.  I ended up making pumpkins, leaves, and square cookies that had the theme written on them, in muted colors.  I really liked the way they turned out.

This time change is killing my pictures!  I don't get to start decorating until naptime at 3pm, and it's been getting dark around 5pm now, and I usually have to package up the cookies early in the morning.  The result:  dark pictures.

Another bit of news is that I finally created a facebook account.  I'm pretty sure that I was the only person on earth that didn't have one.  I'm still figuring out how to use it and what I'm even supposed to post.  Here's my page:

Monday, November 21, 2011

King's Hockey Cookies

Last week I had a cookie order for a hockey coach's baby shower.  I have the feeling this kid better like hockey or else!

I reversed the colors on the king's logo so that their mouths won't be black.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas Sugar Cubes

In a couple of weeks, I'm going to have a table at a Christmas boutique that my husband's work holds every year.  I'm a little nervous because I've never done anything like that before, and I'm not even sure that many people will even be interested in my cookies.  After lots of brainstorming, I have decided to just offer cookies and decorated sugar cubes.  I have a few orders coming up over the next couple of weeks, so I decided to make the sugar cubes now since they stay good forever.

This was the first time I've made these, but I liked how they turned out, especially the poinsettias. Wouldn't these be cute at one of those women's Christmas desserts that lots of churches put on?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ladybug Cookies

Sorry I didn't share anything last week.  I try to keep consistent with at least a post a week, but the macarons I worked on last weekend were macawrongs.  It was a new recipe, and even when I tried out different baking techniques on each sheet, all of them were lopsided.  Weird, right?  They were so ugly that I didn't even bother making a filling for them.  My toddler still enjoyed munching on them though.

Anyway, I did have an order last week for ladybug cookies for a baby shower.  I made them to match the invitation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Macarons with Pumpkin Italian Meringue Buttercream

In order to show you that not all of my creations turn out perfectly (in case any of you actually thought they did), I have kind of an embarrassing admission to make.  When I first started making macarons and posting pictures of them here, I told you guys I had never actually had one before, but they looked right, tasted great, and the texture was how the book described it.  Well, last week I came upon this blog post and learned that they aren't supposed to have a large air pocket between the top and the bottom of the shell.  How was I to know?  Of all the books and all the blogs that teach you how to make macarons, I haven't seen a single cross section of one until now.  Here I was thinking I was doing it right, and apparently not so much.  I'm pretty sure the reason was that I was overmixing the batter, but to be fair, the book I was using actually told me to mix it really well and then deflate the batter with a dough scraper, and the picture in it showed a thinner batter. 

So yesterday I gave Ms. Humble's recipe a try and things went much better.  And I got to use my blendtec to grind my almonds, and it did an amazing job.  It blended the almonds much finer and much quicker than the food processor.  For the filling, I decided to try a new recipe for pumpkin Italian meringue buttercream. 

And here's a cross section.  Other than one random larger bubble on the bottom shell,  it looks much closer to what it's supposed to look like!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More OMAO Cookies and A New Cookie Cutter

A few weeks ago, I fell in love with a sort of plaque cookie shape that I found on Pinterest and have been searching all over the internet trying to find the cookie cutter.  I emailed the person who made the cookie to find out where the got it, or if the cookie was hand-cut, but the person never responded.  Since I couldn't find it anywhere, I thought I'd try that make-your-own-cookie-cutter kit again.  I found a bunch of objects around the house to use to shape it, but (shocker!) it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  So after a few minutes, my wonderful husband took over (without even being asked!) and made me a cutter.  It was a really tough one to do and the metal snapped in half on him a couple of times, but he just kept going and connected the pieces of metal with double sided tape.  It didn't look perfect, but I was pretty sure that once the cookies were baked and iced it would definitely work.

A couple of weeks ago I had another order for OMAO mayo jar cookies, so I thought I'd try the cutter out using leftover dough.  I decided to make a thank you cookie for the lady who ordered the cookies.  I thought the shape turned out pretty well in the end!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Owl Cookies for a Baby Shower

This is the other order I had last weekend.  The order was for owl cookie favors for a last minute baby shower for some friends of my husband's family.  I was asked to make the owl cookies based on some that Sweetopia did awhile ago.  I did change things up a little bit by using slighly different colors on the wings and belly, and using a different technique on the belly feathers.  After a long week and decorating all these cookies, I was too exhausted to attend the shower, but I was told that everyone loved them.

And here's a picture of my dining room table with both orders.  Needless to say, we ate dinner in the living room on TV trays that night.

And this picture was taken after I had already cleaned up all the piping bags, bottles, and icing containers that also littered the table.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pretty Pink Princess Cookies

I have had a busy weekend.  I've had a barrage of last minute orders over the last couple of weeks.  It's funny how I can go a month without getting any cookie orders and then get 4 orders within a couple of weeks.  One of the orders I had this weekend was for princess themed cookies for a little girl's birthday party.  I was asked to make tiaras along with some swords mixed in so that the little boys at the party wouldn't be too inundated with pink girliness.

I brushed wet silver luster dust on the swords, and I added larger sanding sugar crystals on the sword hilt to look like little gems.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Budgeting Webinar Cookies

These cookies were a bit of a last minute order from a former co-worker of mine before I changed careers (to being a mom, that is).  They are supposed to look like signposts with the name of the project they've been working on.

The writing on the cookies scared the heck out of me, so I made the cookie as large as I could to make it easier.  It was the smallest lettering I've ever done and I didn't think it was going to turn out so well, but magically I got the exact right icing consistency and it went pretty smoothly.  And of course I used the kopykake.  Best investment ever!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Boring Almond Cookies and A New Toy

I don't have any fancy cookies to share today, just some regular, ordinary cookies.  A good friend of mine called me the other day and siad that she knows someone who wants a ton of almond flavored cookies around Christmas.  It's not a definite order at all, but I saw a recipe for some almond shortbread cookies in one of my cookbooks (Pastry Queen Parties) and I thought I'd see if they were any good.

They were tasty, but I think I prefer my regular sugar cookies with the addition of almond extract.

A couple of weeks ago I also got a new toy for my kitchen.  I've very slowly been working on replacing my less than stellar kitchen appliances with ones that actually work well, and I finally broke down and bought my dream blender, the Blendtec.  I've been wanting it forever, but it's pretty expensive.  So a few weeks ago, since the value of gold is so high right now, I traded in some old gold jewelry that I never wear and got more than enough to pay for the blender.  So after that I didn't feel quite so bad about spending that kind of money on it. 

This thing is amazing.  We've seriously used it at least once a day.  My husband and I used to always get smoothies from Jamba Juice but we stopped because they were getting so expensive.  I found a bunch of Jamba Juice recipes on Top Secret Recipes and we've literally made a smoothie every single day.  And the kid loves watching it go.  He was born with a moderate hearing loss, so I think he gets a kick out of how loud it is.  I can't wait to see how finely I can grind almonds with this thing the next time I make macarons!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mayo, I mean, OMAO Cookies

One of the ladies at my husband's work ordered some rather unusual cookies last week.  They've been working on a project with the abbreviations OMAO, and because it sounds like "oh, mayo", she ordered mayonnaise jar cookies to share with everyone at the last meeting. 

I searched through all of my cookie cutters because I've never seen a jar cookie cutter and I knew I'd have to get a bit creative.  So I invoked my inner Sugarbelle* and this was the best I could do.  I ended up using a large candy corn cookie cutter, cut off the top, then used the top of a cauldron cookie cutter to get the lip of the jar and squished them together.  I kept the decorating pretty simple because it was a bit of a last minute order on a week where we already had weekend plans. 

Oh, and after these cookies and the eMBA cookies I made back in June, I've officially decided to add an additional charge for lettering.  I hate to nickel and dime people, but it takes a lot of time to pipe the lettering on, especially if it's a specific font, or for a logo.

*For the non-cookiers who may be reading this, Sugarbelle is an extremely talented cookie decorator who gets very creative with her use of cookie cutters and often uses several cookie cutters to get a custom shape.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Halloween Cookies, Round 1: Little Monsters

I know it's a bit early for Halloween, but I found a bunch of really cute Halloween cookie cutters at my local cake shop and I thought I'd give them a try.  Last Halloween, I was just barely starting to decorate cookies and I made pretty basic cookies, so it still kind of feels like the first time I'm really tackling Halloween cookies.

This week I tried out the little monster cookie cutters I bought.  Oh, and I also tried out LilaLoa's chocolate cookie recipe, which is really delicious.

And for the spiders, I had to go with whimsical, colorful spiders because...well, I really hate spiders so much that even spider cookies really gross me out.  In my son's preschool, the music therapist makes fun of me because I refused to touch the (overly realistic) rubber spider, muchless put it on my head for that awful song "There's a Spider on the Floor".  In case you don't have a preschooler, here's a youtube video I found of it.  Seriously, what sicko came up with that song? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pretty Pink Macarons with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Well, I don't have any more cookie orders coming up, so now I get to make whatever I want.  This weekend, I thought I would return to my precious macarons.  I decided to try making pretty pink ones this time.  I've never added food dye to them, afraid that it would somehow mess with them, but I've heard the gel pastes are ok, and I have so many of those on hand for the cookies that I thought I'd give it a try. 

I knew I was going to do Swiss meringue buttercream again, but I couldn't decide what variation I should do.  In the end I was deciding between chocolate and lemon flavored (using lemon emulsion), and I asked my husband which he preferred.  He said he'd like chocolate more, so even though I was thinking lemon sounded yummy, he really hates it when I do that thing where I ask him his opinion on something and end up doing what I want anyway, so I went with chocolate for the sake of our marriage.

And they're good, but the chocolate isn't strong enough.  I guess that's why chocolate macarons usually use ganache instead of frosting.  But it was still Swiss meringue buttercream, so it's still delicious. 

And of course, with a bunch of egg yolks laying around, I had to make some more Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Monday, August 8, 2011

Welcome Cookies (Again)

This weekend I had another order for a welcome basket for another new tenant in an office building.   So I did half keys and half the company's logo.

I used the kopykake for both designs.  I used a stencil the last time I did keys, but as organized as I thought I was, I could not for the life of me find the stencil I had made for the last order.  So I found a different design and improvised, using my kopykake as a guide for consistency.  I also added dry gold luster dust for a sparkly look on the keys, but it's hard to tell in the picture.

The company that ordered this basket has a logo that uses the same colors, so I made up one cookie with their logo as a thank you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hawaiian Luau-Themed Cookies

Here are the cookies I made for Lorelai's Hawaiian luau-themed birthday party.  All of these cookie designs were a first for me, but I was very happy with the way they turned out.