Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Oh dear god....I cannot believe that I am finally done. I have been working what feels like an eternity trying to get a bunch of cookies done for family back on the east coast. Everything from Vanilla Sugar to Dark Chocolate to Spritz and even Peanut Butter. A little bit of everything for the folks back home.

I really wish I had had more time to make more and send out to even more people but between a time crunch and finding out the hubby's position at work is no more come Jan 1st, things are getting much tighter around here.

(Thankfully though he has a temp position with the company down in Oregon for a month to help give us time for him to find a perm one and to move. So fingers crossed people, we need a Christmas Miracle for this family.)

Anywho, back to cookies!

Finally finished them last night. They were all dry this morning, so spent the last 4 hours wrapping them up in plastic wrap, bubble wrap, padding, boxes, then in more boxes.... Ugh!

Well over 100 hand decorated cookies are done. Thank god! I did everything from Snow flakes to mittens to snow men, houses and even made Santa (Out of a Pumpkin cookie cutter no less! Thank you Sugarbelle!)

I did take a few pictures of some of the cookies but I did not take pictures of most of them since my family reads this blog. I didn't want all the designs to be shown, no surprises then!

Granted these pictures are just of the general cookies, the ones I didn't take pictures of were some more specialized one for certain people in the family having other big life events this time of the year. LOL.

But I can at least post a few here for everyone to see. Very proud of these.





Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Polar Express

Well here we are, just a little over a week till Christmas and many all over are running around like Chickens with their heads cut off. I am no exception. Thankfully though I have one more thing crossed off my - GET DONE NOW! - list. The Polar Express Cake for the 1st Grade Classes Christmas Party. Just gonna leave you with some notes on it and pictures. I am BEAT.

Cake - Second design since I could not get the cake pan I needed in time.
Flavor - Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge swirl
Frostings - Chocolate and Almond Butter Creams
Icing - Royal Vanilla
Fondant - Vanilla and Chocolate
Train - Molded out of Dark Chocolate
Luster - Gold and Silver Lusters
Disco - Red Dust




Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eggnog French Toast

Oh yay! It's December! Which means all those out there that normally don't do a lot of cooking and baking are revving into high gear and those of us that normally cook a lot are trying to find new ways to kick it up a notch as it were. Why not start with a wonderful French Toast!

And I am not talking your mama's french toast. This is an exquisite overnight French Toast that will make all those that try it think you slaved to make it. In all reality it is almost effortless!!! Which I know all can appreciate.

Just tried this recipe last night, tweaked it a little and served it to the family. It is not my original, just one I found and tried and then tweaked till I felt it was as good as it could get, lol. My husband about had a foodgasm, my daughter huddled over it like Gollum with a precious and my eldest son jump huggled my leg over it. So I would say it went over well, lol. Honestly I thought it was divine and I know this is going on the Holiday Treat list from now on.

So, let us get started!

Eggnog French Toast

Ingredients: 


4 Cups Eggnog
4 Large Eggs
1.5 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1.5 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Loaf of Home Baked Bread, cut into 1 inch thick slices




Now, before I begin, if you do not have home baked bread, go to the store and get bread that is uncut from the deli, something that is a dense bread. Thin sliced and general Texas toast will not hold up for this recipe.





Directions:


1. In a large mixing bowl pour in the eggnog.
2. Add in the eggs, nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. Mix on medium for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
4. Take 2 deep baking pans and lay out the bread slices in a single layer. Do not stack!
5. Evenly pour all the eggnog mixture over all the slices.
6. Cover each pan with plastic wrap.
7. Refrigerate overnight.
8. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
9. Next morning remove each slice carefully and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
10. Bake for 15 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and carefully flip over each slice. Be cautious, the slices can rip.
12. Return to oven and bake another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
13. Remove from oven.
14. Top with families favorite toppings and enjoy!!!

My family adores this recipe sprinkled with powder sugar and topped with chocolate shavings and syrup or with a Cranberry-Apple Compote.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter Has Arrived

Finally, the fall has drawn to a close and now my favorite season is upon us, Winter. Why is it my favorite? Well for one I do adore Christmas. The lights, the festivities, wrapping paper and not to mention the cooking! It is my time to shine! Baking galore starts the day after Thanksgiving and continues until Christmas Day in this house.

Let us add that since I come from a very diverse background, both religiously and via heritage, so all the major holidays are approaching. Friends and family will be celebrating Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice and so many others. I am rather lucky to be able to be apart of all these equally. I don't get left out of any of it, which in all honesty is probably one of the greatest gifts I could have.

And to top it all off now my favorite color is one of THE colors of the season, Ice Blue. YAY! Granted yes, it gets over shadowed by Red and Green. Oh well, what can a girl do? Just keep baking! So here I am with my first batch of cookies for the Winter Season.

Spritz! Why these and not something else? Because this is what I was raised on! It is part of my heritage, along with nine million other heritages in my family line, lol. Scandinavia is where my heart and these cookies are that part of the world through and through.

I cannot remember a winter season where we did not have hundreds of these in cookie tins all over the house. I remember my mother hand pressing these out of a copper press year after year. Thank god I have an electric one because I think my husband would kill me if I didn't make them at Christmas time. (Funny, he's Irish, lol.)

I wish I had more pictures but my camera died and it was a pain just to get a couple pictures. Anywho! See you soon with more holiday cookies and if you have suggestions let me know! I hope to cover all the major religious holidays in my cookies this fall.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is that time of the year here in the US. A time for gathering with all your family and friends, cooking for 18 hours straight, yelling at each other till you want to throw the turkey out the window, eating the meal in 12 minutes, blaming your tummy ache on someone else for not stopping you on your 15th helping and them falling into a food induced coma....All in the name of being grateful.

 That's right, it's Thanksgiving! The air is cool and crisp in most of the US. Some of us are still dealing with a summer heat while others are plowing snow to get to their in-laws. Today you will feast on not only Turkey but dressing, stuffing, casseroles and ham. Not to mention all the sweets!

 Oh the sweets, those glorious sweets! It is the time of years when Granny and Auntie pull out their most prized recipes to make. Those treasures of the family that are such a pain in the butt to make they only get made once, maybe twice a year. Everything from cakes to pies to cookies will all contribute to the clogging of many an artery today.

 But let us not forget those that are so far away from now. Soldiers are still holding the front line. Police are still on the beat. Doctors and nurses are still in the hospitals. Not to mention the firefighters and EMT that are on call today to run over to your house because you forgot to thaw the turkey before you deep fried it. Yeah, I'm looking at you.

 So, give thanks today. For your family, all those crazed relatives that contributed to the mess you are today. You know you love them. For your friends, the ones that helped you through all the crazed messes your family drove you to. For our soldiers, police, doctors, nurse, firefights and emt. For healing us and protecting us time and time again.

 Just be thankful because remember, no matter how bad it is, it can get worse and we should all...In every country, every where....Take a moment here and there to give thanks, for all we have had, for all we have and all we will have.

 Happy Thanksgiving to All!


Maple Sugar Cookies:


  • 2.5 Cups Unsalted Butter, room temp
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Egg
  • 5 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2.5 Teaspoon Maple Extract
  • 5 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  1. In a bowl sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar on slow speed until just creamed. 
  3. Add in the eggs and extracts.
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture until everything comes together. Be careful not to over mix the dough or get too much air into it. You don't want these to rise or lose shape.
  6. Take the dough, sprinkle it with the cocoa powder and roll it out between 2 pieces of parchment paper until .75-1 cm thick. I use dowel rods on each side to rest my rolling pin on. This gives me the perfect equal thickness for each cookie. 
  7. Place the rolled out dough into your refrigerator for 3 hours. 
  8. Remove and cut out shapes. Arrange on cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. Return to refrigerator for another hour. 
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 till all the scraps are used up and chilling.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Make sure oven is to temp before baking.
  11. Remove each cookie sheet from the refrigerator 1 at a time and bake for 12 minutes. 
  12. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool fully.
  13. Decorate!
  14. Serve and Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Star Wars Lego

Okay, finally sitting down and taking a quick breath to post this. I just dropped off the Star Wars Lego Birthday cake and from the looks of things, everybody loved the design.  Yay!  Very glad the birthday boy looked excited about it. ^_^

Would say more about this but in all honesty I just want to sit back and relax for the rest of the day.  Between getting the Turkey cookies and the cake this week I am beat. So, see you all later next week and if I don't get to say it later - Happy Thanksgiving!


















Cake: White
Icing: Buttercream, Fondant, Decorator
Death Star Foundation: Rice Crispy Treat
Figures: Fondant

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey Time

Been a little bit since the last post and sorry about that. It has been one heck of a long week that I personally cannot wait to be over. Thankfully it ends tomorrow evening for this family, lol. I have been working all week on a Star Wars Birthday Cake as well as a little side project for my sons 1st grade class.

They are having their Thanksgiving Feast today instead of the last day of school before holiday due to some scheduling conflicts. Needless to say that threw me off a little since I thought I would have all weekend and half the week to do their treat and could just focus on the cake but hey, things happen. This is an example of why I am the queen of multitasking.

Finished up the treat for the kids last night, have most of the cake done minus the figures. I will be working on those all day today. Got some of of the base done but still gotta long way to go. Thankfully that is pretty much all I have to worry about today.

Anywho, it is still very early and my coffee has yet to kick in. So, enjoy the pictures because it is Turkey Time!

Cookies: Maple Butter Cookie Pops
Icing: Vanilla Royal
Beak: Candy Corn
Body: Rice Krispy Treat with Chocolate Fondant





Friday, November 11, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Before I even begin this post there is something I want to say...

Happy Veterans Day!

^_^ Just had to put it in there even though I have been blasting it all over Facebook today, made the family actually shut up for 2 minutes for a moment of silence (that is a feat in a home with a toddler) and been posting over and over again videos and images to all the veterans. ^^ What can I say I have a soft spot for all those that have served, do serve and will serve. 

But I know you are not here for that, you are here for sweets! And boy do I have some today! Some strawberry sweet treats! And inspired by the Miss Strawberry Shortcake herself! 
You see I grew up on Strawberry and all her friends. I loved it! It was the only thing pink that I could stomach as a girl growing up. Well, here we are decades later and Strawberry is back once again! The Hub has new episodes of Strawberry that are on every morning in this home. Both myself and my daughter love her. 

So, here we are with a plethora (I love that word) of little treats. Now, they all are a Chocolate Strawberry Sugar Cookie with a slightly tart lemon royal icing. Even some of these cookies have a wonderful strawberry cream cheese frosting in the center.  
Granted, after finishing these up, all I could think of was that I really need some better tips. I just couldn't get the control I wanted with the dots on all of these that I wanted. 

         Oh well, practice does make perfect and it just means that I need to practice some more. (Though I don't think I am doing too bad for only have been doing this for what? Like 6 weeks?) 

Anywho, as you can tell I branched out of the normal circles and did some other shapes and designs. But as you can also see I did still do some royal icing transfers. I love them. Okay, gonna move on from ramble to purpose. Promised to share the recipe for the cookies when I posted...So here it is!

  • 2.5 Cups Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoon Strawberry Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 4.5 Cup All Purpose Flour
Gently cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and strawberry extract. Sift together the salt cocoa powder and flour. Fold dry and wet ingredients until they come together. Roll out, refrigerate until still, cut out designs. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 F for 8-11 minutes. (Large circles 11, small 8). Allow to cool fully, decorate and enjoy!


I know, wasn't exactly the best instructions but you get the point, lol. If you have any questions just ask!

 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall is here

With the temperatures dropping quickly around the US, there is one thing that is certain...Fall is here. For some it hit us months ago when the first cold snap hit, for others it is just now settling in. The leaves are falling from the trees and people are having to grab a coat as they run out the door in the mornings. Depending on where you are you might just need that hat and gloves as well, or even need to let the car warm up in the mornings. I know a few of you are having to deal with the snow already, it looks to be a crazy end of year for all those around. More so than normal!

Halloween has come and gone, leaving us with tons of candy to help fuel those days out raking the leaves and preparing for Thanksgiving. It is only a couple weeks away but families and friends are already sending out invites and dividing up who will be cooking what this year. Are you bringing your grandmothers cranberry sauce? Who is taking care of the pumpkin pie! Does anyone know how long to cook a 20lb turkey! And the list goes on and on.

Sadly, for us out here, we are far away from our friends and family this holiday season. The Hubby and I are used to him working on Thanksgiving but then having one heck of a gathering later on for all our friends. We end up cooking for days straight and having everyone over to just stuff their faces.

Honestly, I don't know if we know how to cook for just us, LOL. But we are gonna try! Looks like this year the hubby might actually be off for Thanksgiving! YAY! Though I do wish we had all our friends around us like we have had in the past. Holidays just aren't the same without the crew flopped on our couch eating everything they can and then some......I really miss it.

Anywho, here is the first batch of Fall Cookies! Nothing spectacular or spritacious! But I do love them. They look all warm and inviting. There will be many more cookies to come for fall and Thanksgiving before I start on the ~insert holiday here~ cookies, LOL. (Yes I am still refusing to say that word till Black Friday.)

See you later!


Monday, November 7, 2011

What man? Megaman!

Oh how I love old school games, if you couldn't tell. I am hooked on making these 8 bit game cookies and I have a lot more that I want to do. So many more that I want to do. I think I have only just begun to scratch the surface of what all is actually possible to make with cookies and icing. Guess I have found a new canvas! Oh yeah! How sweet it is!

The hubby, Chef Gibson, and I have been talking about a lot of old school things these days because of the cookies. Not just old school games but shows as well. Things we watched growing up and every time something comes up in conversation all I can say is - COOKIE!

So many cookies and so little time. Actually time doesn't seem to be the major factor right now. With it being the holidays I was going to be baking and decorating like crazy as it was.

This is just giving me practice and something to actually bake instead of wondering what I should make. Though I will admit that none of these cookies are holiday related. Next batch will be. Already have them baked up.

Going to be trying yet another technique that I have used before. Okay, this one isn't totally new. I used it with my daughters birthday cake - Painting with Luster Dust. Granted that was on a cake and cookies are a bit different. Plus I am not sure how it will work on Royal icing instead of fondant but we will see.

I took some of the dough from the chocolate batch and cut out some lovely fall cookies with it. I cannot wait to get started on icing those and decorating them but gonna have to wait because I do have a slight problem....

Anyone want a cookie? LOL I have so many sweets in the house lately and I cannot let the kids just devour them constantly. So, if you are in the are and want cookies, let me know. I might just have an extra batch sitting around, LMAO!

Anywho, I am out and will see you later! Enjoy the main man himself - Mega Man! Along with the stage villains from MM2!




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Super Mario Brothers

Another day, another cookie. Sadly the pictures for these really turned out like crap but gonna post them any way. Anyone that wants to donate a better camera for macro photography will forever be on my - You Rule - list. ^^ LOL Anywho, back to the topic at hand.

It's a me! Mario! 

That's right my 8 Bit fiends! We have another in the 8 bit cookie series. This time the main man himself, Mario is making the grand entrance. Along with him comes his entourage Luigi, Peach and others.

We also have Bowser and some other creatures that seem to always like getting in the way. Better watch out because the Princess is in this castle but that just means she is going to die like the rest of them.

Hey, they're cookies! They live the sweet life well! :P

I also have a bit of a nice treat for you! A cookie recipe! That's right! Yummy yummy cookies that you can make at home with you and yours. Now, the base sugar cookie recipe for these cookies is not mine. I got it from a goddess in the cookie world, Marian from Sweetopia!

Seriously, you should read her, she is wonderful. I took her base Sugar Cookie recipe, some tricks for keeping the dough from spreading and added my own personal twist. And what did we get for all this? Only the most divine Chocolate Sugar Cookies I have ever had. ^_^ Granted I am biased but hey, my blog! LOL :P

Anywho, here you go!


  • 2.5 Cups Unsalted Butter, room temp
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Egg
  • 2.5 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • .5 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 4.75 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • .5 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  1. In a bowl sift together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar on slow speed until just creamed. 
  3. Add in the eggs and extracts.
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture until everything comes together. Be careful not to over mix the dough or get too much air into it. You don't want these to rise or lose shape.
  6. Take the dough and roll it out between 2 pieces of parchment paper until .75-1 cm thick. I use dowel rods on each side to rest my rolling pin on. This gives me the perfect equal thickness for each cookie. 
  7. Place the rolled out dough into your refrigerator for 3 hours. 
  8. Remove and cut out shapes. Arrange on cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. Return to refrigerator for another hour. 
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 till all the scraps are used up and chilling.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Make sure oven is to temp before baking.
  11. Remove each cookie sheet from the refrigerator 1 at a time and bake for 12 minutes. 
  12. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool fully.
  13. Decorate!
  14. Serve and Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my kiddos are right now! 
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