Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Thursday, February 25, 2010


I did this Dash (from The Incredibles) cake for our Godson Charlie - years ago - probably February of 2005 because we were still in our other house. I did the design using a buttercream transfer - my first (and only so far) attempt at it. I used instructions here from cake central.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I tried a new royal icing recipe today - thanks so much to Amanda for the recipe and some other great tips!!! This royal icing tastes GREAT (no meringue powder) and is easy to work with and make!

These are for Ryan's Valentine's party at preschool. I made 2 cookies for each of the 13 kids, plus 2 for each of his teachers. I hope they like them!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I love to see stacks of blank cookies. I think it is the potential they hold. They can be so many things. Polka-dotted. Sugared. Sprinkled. Striped. EATEN. I also think I'm still in awe that I'm able to bake fairly even and non-burnt roll-out cookies. For years and years they've been my favorite type of cookie, but it always seemed like too much work to make them, and they'd never come out like I hoped. Edges would be overcooked. Centers would be undercooked. Not that I didn't eat them :-) They were always delicious, but I went years without making any.

Then a few months ago I saw Cookie Craft mentioned on Bakerella and quickly called the bookstore to put it on hold. Marc picked it up on the way home from work that night and my cookie baking has never been the same. I studied the pictures of the amazing cookies and dreamt off someday making something even half as beautiful. I hesitated to use their technique for baking the cookies because it seemed like it might be tedious. After trying it, I have to say I love it though!

First, here are some things I use:

  • I have "cookie slats" (one set that I use most is 1/4" thick - the other set is 3/16"). They are made out of balsa wood and I got them at a craft store, near some other balsa items including dowels.
  • After trying the cookie slats with my old rolling pin I ended up buying a longer one so that I don't have to roll as many times (I can roll larger pieces of dough). Mine is a Wilton 20" plastic fondant rolling pin.
  • Parchment paper - it can be SO expensive - but Marc found a special at a local Restaurant Supply store and I got box of 1000, 16 3/8" x 24 3/8" sized pieces for less money than 2 rolls of the kind you can get at the food store. One of those rolls holds 30 sq. ft., and if my math is right, I have over 2700 sq. ft. Ahhh, that makes me feel good, LOL.
So with my cookie slats, rolling pin, and parchment paper, this is what I do:

  1. After mixing the cookie dough, I roll it right away, before chilling it at all. I roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, with the cookie slats on top of both.

  1. After rolling, I place the dough sheet (between the parchment paper) in the fridge to cool for 20+ minutes. Finding space for this is the most difficult part of this technique, LOL.
  2. After 20 minutes or so, I take out one sheet at a time and cut the cookies, placing them on a parchment lined cookie sheet to bake. I re-roll scraps between the same parchment and then return it to the fridge and repeat as necessary. I try to keep all of the cookies on a cookie sheet the same shape or at least close in size for more even baking. Smaller cookies cook faster.
I usually don't use ANY flour to roll. (Depending on the dough and the cutter, I have occasionally dipped the cutter in some flour a few times) That's the best thing about this method. Using the parchment paper, the dough does not touch the counter or the rolling pin. I have heard so much (in books and on cooking shows like Good Eats) about how flour makes the cookies tough, especially as you re-roll. I also don't waste any dough this way!

Another tip: I pick out at least one really small cookie cutter to use in the spaces left after I finish cutting out larger shapes. I try to re-roll as little as possible! I have a small cookie sheet that is half the size of my others, and I keep that (or a piece of parchment paper to slide onto a cookie sheet when one is available) near me to fill as I go. By the time I'm done with all of the other cookies I usually have a full tray of the tiny ones! These are great cookies to give to kids when they ask for one! My kids will frown upon being handed a half of a large cookie but they are thrilled to be handed a whole tiny cookie :-)

Here is a very proud cookie thief - she climbed up on the island to get this and she's pretty thrilled with herself, LOL.

I think she approves.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I made this in February 2006, a day or two before I found out I was pregnant with Ryan! That probably didn't help with how exhausted I was being up all night decorating this, LOL! The cake was for our godson (and Marc's cousin's son), Charlie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ryan's 1st Birthday Cake

This was his first birthday cake (we did a jungle theme) - October 2007. I got the idea from a Wilton magazine - used the pre-made fondant to make the loops for the mane and tail. I used red and orange fondant - though the colors look a bit off in these pics.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I made these just before Christmas - for a cookie exchange. It was my first time using royal icing and doing any piping on cookies. This was also my first time making gingerbread boys and girls - I LOVED designing their outfits!

Recipes from Cookie Craft.

ketchup - Train cookies

I made these for Ryan's 3rd birthday - as a treat for him to bring into preschool. This was my first attempt using corn syrup and a paintbrush (food only) to decorate a cookie. It's SO EASY to do (after cookies are baked and cooled) - you just paint with the corn syrup (next time I want to try watering it down a bit) and sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles. It's a great technique that I learned in Cookie Craft. Many thanks to Bakerella for suggesting the book - it is amazing! The cookie recipe is from there too!

ketchup - Ryan's 3rd birthday cake

A "catch up" post. When I don't have new stuff to post, I'll post some previous things I've baked just to get it on here - as ideas and reminders for myself :-) I'm trying to tag things so that I can go back and look at cookies, cakes, etc.

I used this awesome Nordic Ware train cake pan - it bakes 9 individual train cars - it also works really well for muffins and other everyday baking! They are really cute without even decorating them. I also used some real matchbox cars and GeoTrax RR crossing signs and gates - Marc cut the bottoms off (of the signs) to make them sit on the cake better, and then I carefully washed everything before using them! Everything else is edible - I used lots of candies including realistic rock candies as cargo :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentines . . .

Tried a new recipe today - chocolate roll-out cookies (check that off my baking to-do list!). Mmmmm, they are pretty yummy! It is the recipe from Cookie Craft, and the dough was very easy to work with. I want to use them to practice flooding. We'll see!

I have a Valentines Party playgroup coming up on the 10th (with cookie decorating for the kids) and have to make some cookies for Ryan's preschool party on the 11th. I am so excited about making all the heart shaped cookies - they'll be so much fun to decorate! I HATE baking darker colored cookies though - so hard to tell when they are done!!