Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Day Cookies

Right after I finished the legos cookies order, I was sad when I realized that I didn't have any more orders coming up.  Luckily, my husband reminded me that I now have time to make cookies for fun.  I can try new recipes and I can try new designs.  So I've hit both of those ideas in one cookie batch.  I tried out a recipe for lemon poppy seed cookies and decorated them for Valentine's Day.  I really liked the cookies (my husband isn't big on lemon, so he wasn't a huge fan).  And while I usually find the royal icing a bit to sweet for my taste, I thought it tasted great with the tart lemon flavor.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Robin Legos Themed Cookies

These are the cookies that included the dreaded royal icing transfers.  When I first heard about the concept, it sounded pretty easy.  So I made the transfers ahead of time.  And of course sometime between the time I made them and the time I needed them, half of them broke.  So I made more.  Then yesterday I flooded the cookies and applied the transfers, and they looked first.  As they sat though, I started to notice that the red icing was starting to show through the yellow part of the transfers in a major way, which was something I had definitely not anticipated.  Here's a picture of them.  It's hard to see in the picture, but it was pretty noticeable.

So I tried a few things before finding something that worked.  First, I tried flooding an extra layer of yellow over the 'R'.  But it spread too much as it sat and it turned into a very bloated 'R'.  Next, I tried using a brush to paint yellow icing over the red parts, which made it look leprous.  Finally, I remembered seeing on a post on Dina's blog (here) about how to fix a poorly flooded cookie, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  It turned out pretty well.  Not the original plan, but I think it'll work.  We named it the bedazzled Robin cookie.
Here's some pictures of them with the legos.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snowman Cookies

Here are the cookies I made for my nephew's birthday party today.  The snowman and snowglobe were inspired by Sugarbelle.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snowflake Party Favors

These cookies are for my nephew's birthday party tomorrow.  It's a snowman themed party, so my sister-in-law asked me to make some plain white snowflakes for party favors.

I also made a bunch of cookies to be served at the party.  I'll post those tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sad News

I have some sad news.  Here's a picture to illustrate just how sad:

Do you feel how sad it is now?  Are you with me?  Ok, I guess I can share with you the tragedy of wasted time and effort.
Yes, 3 of the 6 royal icing transfers that I made have broken.  One from my own clumsiness, but I don't know how the other two happened.  It's almost as bad as the numerous times when I've just finished a beautifully detailed cookie to lose my grip on it as I'm moving it to its drying location and have it fall facedown on my cookie drying rack.  It just breaks my heart. 

At least I still have enough time to make more before the order is due, but it still makes me sad. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Royal Icing Transfers

I have an order coming up for a birthday party with a Robin (of Batman and Robin of course) Lego theme.  We decided to go with legos cookies and I was told there was apparently an "R" logo for Robin.  So I googled it and realized that there was no way I was going to be able to do that cookie freehand.  I just do not have the piping skills to pipe it directly onto a cookie.  Then I saw The Vanilla Bean Baker had made Batman cookies using what is called a royal icing transfer, and I realized that I could totally do that for the Robin logo.  So I've made up a few, and I think they turned out pretty well. 

Now comes the tricky part though, the part where I have to remove it in one piece, center it on the cookie, and get it to adhere to the icing without breaking it.  I'm a little afraid, but I only committed to the legos cookies, so these will just be a bonus for her if they turn out.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cupcake Bites

My husband informed me that there are some fans out there of cupcake bites and that I had to do a post on them.  Cupcake Bites (also known as cake balls) are essentially just cake crumbs mixed with frosting and covered in chocolate candy coating.  I like to make mine in the form of little cupcakes, hence the name "cupcake bites."  Also, as someone told my husband, that name sounds much more appetizing than "cake balls," and I totally agree.  I've made them several times, but unfortunately I didn't take any pictures until the last time, as part of my first order.  My husband took the mess-ups to work the next day and people went nuts over them (or so I was told).

It's not a great picture.  Next time I make some I'll have to make sure I get some better ones.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hand-Decorated Sugar Cubes

I forgot to include in yesterday's post my sugar cubes!  After taking the Wilton classes, I remembered having seen sugar cubes with little flowers on them and realized that they were probably just made with royal icing.  So I figured out how to make little tiny roses on sugar cubes (which, believe me, is not a very easy thing).  They are fun to have at events like bridal showers or baby showers.

I made these for my mother-in-law's table at her church's Ladies Christmas Dessert.  They were meant to match Royal Albert's Old Country Roses china pattern.  Everybody went crazy for them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My First Attempts

Ok, so this all started last March when my mother-in-law and I took cake decorating classes at the local Michael's.  Here's my first cake:

My son's first birthday fell within a few days of this class, so I made it into a birthday cake.  Not so pretty, but he didn't seem to mind.
Then I made a similar cake for my husband's birthday.  He's a Star Wars fan, so this was his selection:
Then I took the second course on flowers.  Here was the final cake for that class:
 And then there was the final class on fondant and gum paste.  I'm not much of a fan of fondant, but it was interesting to learn.
From there, I started playing on my own with cookies.  I first saw it on Our Best Bites.  I started out using their glace icing.  Here's my first attempts: cookies for Fourth of July.
 Then for Halloween, I made some pumpkins, bats, and spiderwebs that I thought turned out pretty cute.

And then for Thanksgiving, I made some acorns, turkeys, and maple leaves. 
This was my last attempt at glace icing.  Although I like the taste of it more than royal icing, it was so hard to get nice detailing with it.  The only way to get good definition (for me at least), I had to make it so stiff that it was hard to pipe.  Also, I noticed that a day or two after the icing dried, it got a sort of cloudy look to it that wasn't so appealing.  So then I tried my hand at royal icing.  My first attempt was for my first paying order that I mentioned yesterday.

It went ok.  Some of the cookies dried a bit splotchy, and I've figured out that my piping icing was a bit too stiff, so it didn't flow very smoothly.  On my next order, I thinned the piping icing quite a bit more, and it went a lot smoother.

Which brings us to my latest project.  We were invited to the first birthday party of our realtor's little girl, so I made her some cookies:

I thought they turned out pretty well.  Not perfect, but definitely improving. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

The First Post

So I was complaining to my husband that I was sad that I didn't have any friends that shared my passion for baking, cake and cookie decorating.  I've been following lots of cookie decorating blogs for a little while now, and I told him that as sad as it was, that would pretty much have to suffice.  He told me in his matter of fact way that I've been following so many blogs lately, but I couldn't really make friends with other bloggers unless I too had a blog.  So here it is.  I've made the dreaded blog.  I didn't think I'd ever be one of those people.  I have been learning how to decorate sugar cookies since last summer, and my skills have improved quite a bit, and it'll be nice to document all of my baking projects. 

This past month, I got my first paying order to make all the desserts for a Christmas party.  People liked my desserts so much that they actually paid me for them!  Can you imagine?  Then a couple of weeks later, some of the girls who were at the Christmas party I catered ordered some more cookies and candies.  So now I'm seriously going to try to turn this hobby into a business.  As tiring as it was making all those desserts while taking care of a family (mainly my little toddler),  it was really fun.  It's amazing to get paid to do what you really love.  I've never experienced that feeling at any of the jobs I've had.

Soon I'll add pictures.  I'll start with my first attempts at sugar cookies and then my latest ones.  Hopefully you can see the improvement.