Google Sugar Dot Cookies: May 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kopykake Projector - Two Tips to Keep Cookies from Shifting

Welcome to Tuesday's Tips - where I share just a little something with you that I hope you'll find useful.

Today I have two quick tips for making sure that your cookie doesn't move under the image from a Kopykake projector.

* Swing the lamp around so that the projected image is close to the edge of the board.  No reaching!

* Tape a napkin to the board and place your cookie on it.  The tape keeps the napkin from moving.  The napkin keeps the cookie from moving because it's less slippery than parchment or wax paper.

Monday, May 28, 2012

American Flag Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing - Tutorial

It's Memorial Day. Today I'm thinking about and appreciating the sacrifice of our military and their families. I so admire anyone that has served our country. Their bravery and their willingness to sacrifice everything to defend us is something I find hard to truly understand. They fill me with awe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In honor of Memorial Day, I've made an American flag platter of sugar cookies with royal icing.

It was inspired by the Bearfoot Baker and Cookie Artisan.  I saw Cookie Artisan's platter on flickr first and thought about making my own version.  Then I saw the Bearfoot Baker's blog post and knew it was fate.

I decided to make a mini platter.  The cookies aren't minis.  The platter is.  It's just one dozen cookies.  If you're looking for a super fast and easy set of cookies, this is it.  Here's how . . .

I decided to add stars to the rectangles, just to change things up a bit.

When the dough is still raw, make an impression with a mini star cutter on the upper half.

If you can  fit four mini stars on your rectangle, that would be great.

I made two of these, but only ended up using one.  If you're making a large platter, you should make four of these.

Using blue royal icing, outline and flood the background.

Allow it to dry while you flood the rest of the cookies.

For one dozen, you'll need:
1 star cookie,
5 red,
3 white,
3 divided in half - red on top, white on bottom

Flood the white stars.  After they dry, outline them.

I decided to try one other version - 3D stars.

I made some mini stars and adhered them to a solid blue background with royal icing.

Please do as I say, not as I do . . . Use your background color icing to glue!  In this case, use blue, not white.  And don't use so much that it oozes out.  Sheesh.

Here's the second version.  I like the first one better.

Fast, easy, and oh so patriotic.

Perhaps I'll make the all star version like Cookie Artisan's for Fourth of July!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vintage Pattern Embroidered Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Mr KopyKake and I had a fabulous date last Saturday night. I already showed you the embroidered cat and knitting cookies that we created together.

Here are three more designs that we worked on. These are from vintage patterns.

Super adorable monkey!

Sweet little bluebird.

Too cute Scottie dogs.

I took the liberty of adding the vines and berries (or are those flower buds?).  I may have gone a bit overboard there.

Gotta love those vintage embroidery patterns!

You can see all of my embroidered cookies here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Embroidery Pattern Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing - Cat and Knitting

I've been decorating cookies lately, trying to replicate embroidery. You can see the others here.

This time, I decided to use embroidery patterns, but pipe outlines instead of stitching lines.

These are Sublime Stitching patterns.

A very fashionable cat . . .

And cookies for a knitter . . .

That KopyKake is quite a fabulous piece of equipment.  The possibilities are just endless with it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baking Cookie Dough with Small Points - Tip Tuesday

Welcome to Tuesday's Tips - where I share just a little tidbit with you that I hope you'll find useful.

Do you ever bake cookie shapes that have small points like these tulips and houses?  Do those little pointy bits get over-browned?

I have a few tips for you.

The first is to know your oven. I know that the perimeter of my oven is cooler than the center. I make that work for me when baking these kinds of cookies.

I place them on the sheets with their little protrusions pointing toward the outside.  The parts of the dough with the largest area to bake are closer to the center of the oven.  (Just like the photo above - except spaced farther apart.  I moved them all in closer to snap a photo.)

If you're baking larger cookies, you'll obviously be baking them longer.  In that case, be prepared with small pieces of aluminum foil.  Place the cookies on the baking sheets the same way I just explained, but fewer of them.  After about six minutes, cover the pointy bits that are already baked through with the foil pieces.

I hope you'll give this tip a go the next time you're baking those hard to control shapes!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Embroidered Baby Flower Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

I embroidered these quite some time ago . . .

What?  You find them odd?  What's odd about a sweet baby face as the center of a flower?  Ha!  My husband finds them creepy.  They're from a vintage embroidery pattern. I think they're hilariously adorable and classic crazy vintage. 

I decided to replicate the pattern on sugar cookies with royal icing using the KopyKake . . .

What do you think? Sweet or creepy?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New House Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Can you guess why I made these cookies?

No, I didn't buy or sell a house.

No, I don't have new neighbors.

Nope, I don't know anyone that has moved or is moving any time soon.

These were cookies for my Mom for . . . Mother's Day!  A tad unconventional, huh?

She was a realtor when I was a kid.  She recently renewed her license and just sold her first house this second time around.  I'm so proud of her.  The last time she worked in realty, there were no cell phones.  There was no internet.  I don't think they even had fax machines then.

She had to learn a lot of technical stuff to get this house sold, like editing documents and getting them signed online, then forwarding them to people.  I'm no techie, but definitely more techie than my Mom, and I don't know if I could have figured this stuff out.

One funny thing that she learned and shared with me was the phrase "copy you".  Her client told her that she'd "copy her" on an email.  Or maybe she wanted my Mom to "copy her".  Whatever it was, it was a revelation to good old Mom.

I hope that when I'm her age, I'm able to somewhat keep up with whatever crazy advances are happening.

So here is my "I'm proud of you", "Happy Mother's Day" present for Mom. Sugar cookies decorated with royal icing . . .

Moving trucks and keys.

Sold signs.

Cute houses and mini houses.

I had so much fun with these.  It was hard to stop.  I thought about adding siding lines to the houses, tiles to the roofs, a trellis around the doors. 

Bake at 350 was the inspiration behind these designs.

And unfortunately now . . .

Keepin' it Real . . .

This is the section in my posts to show you the cookies that I'd really rather not. The cookies that didn't quite live up to the dream.

Do you have any idea what these were supposed to be?

No, not a green flag of some imaginary country.

They were meant to be astro turf door mats!  Ha ha!

I saw some over at Cookie Crazie.  Aren't hers adorably hilarious?  It looks like she used green sanding sugar.  I decided to make mine using a #233 icing tip.  You know the one with a bunch of little holes?  I thought that it would make fabulous astro turf.  Well, it probably would if I had thicker consistency icing. 

The welcome mat cookies were the last ones I made of this batch.  It was 11 pm, the night before Mother's Day.  When the grass affect didn't work, I had a few choices . . . 1. thicken up the icing and try the #233 again, 2. make some green sanding sugar, 3. spread the icing around a bit and call it a night.

Obviously I chose #3.  I ate one and gave the other to my son.

The next time I have the occasion to make "new house" cookies, I'm going to try that 233 again with thicker icing!

Oh, and did you notice that all of the cookie designs are mirror images?  Yeah, baby.  You can read about that tip here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mirror Image Sugar Cookie Designs - Tuesday Tip

Welcome to Tuesday's Tips - where I share just a little tidbit with you that I hope you'll find useful.

Have you ever made sugar cookies and wished that you could achieve mirror images?

I have.  Many times.  Like with these chicks.  Why do they all have to face the same direction?

And the pink and orange bunnies below. They're headed in the same direction as the chicks.

Where's everyone going?  What's over there?

I like things symmetrical.  Always have.  Whatever's happening on the left, the opposite should be happening on the right.  Right?  Kinda like this . . .

Aaaahhhhh.  That's more like it. Symmetry.  Reverse image cookies.  I feel better.

Asymmetry just doesn't sit right with me.

To get mirror image cookies. . .

You want to just flip the cutter over, but most have that seam for strength on one edge.

You could decorate the bottoms of the baked cookies, but they're not as smooth as the tops and the edges square off differently.

So how do you create mirror images?

Cut out your shapes as usual with the sharp edge of the cutter.  Then . . . . . flip half of the dough shapes over and put them on the baking sheet and into the oven.

Doh!  Seriously, why didn't I figure that out sooner?

Am I the last one to know?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

Pinterest.  *sigh*

I've been resisting the whole Pinterest craze.  I knew.  Just knew that I'd lose hours and hours of my life to it if I gave in.

Well, I gave in a few days ago and yes, I've already lost hours and hours of my life to it.

But I've gained a few things too like cleaning and organization tips and new recipes.

I thought that I'd use it to pin and organize recipes and maybe some crafty stuff that I already had bookmarked.  I started out pinning cookie recipes - some I've used and some I haven't yet tried.  But then I got lost.  Lost within Pinterest.  One thing just leads to another and another and another.

I saw a recipe there for Chocolate Coca Cola Cake.  I'd heard of it before.  I knew that it was a Southern classic but that's it.  It reminds me of Texas Sheet Cake - one of my very favorites!

Give me a recipe that has cinnamon and chocolate together and I'm there.

This recipe is so easy and delicious.  The Coke makes it kinda fun.

After the chocolate glaze sets, it's like a layer of fudgy deliciousness.

Here's the recipe that I repinned.

Here I am on Pinterest.  Join me there!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Garden of Flowers Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

An assortment of sugar cookie flowers for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.

My mom-in-law is an incredible gardener.  Her gardens should be featured in magazines.  She's truly that good.

I sure got lucky getting this lady as my second Mom.

These are all new cutters so they were really fun to try out.

Huge tulips and cute little leaves.

Gorgeous dogwoods.  One of my favorites.

Happy sunflowers.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easter / Spring Cookie Decorating Class

taught by me!

This class was back at the end of March.

I work at a recreational cooking school.  I do office work and assist with classes.   This was the first class I ever taught.  It was a blast!  Caroline, Elizabeth and Wendy were my assistants.  (How cool is that?)  Elizabeth is an awesome photographer.  She snapped some photos during class.  I snapped a few too.  Even if hers weren't watermarked, I'm sure you'd be able to tell whose photos are whose!

I baked the cookies the day before class.  The students made the icing and decorated the cookies.

Here's Caroline.  Pastry chef extraordinaire.  Personal chef extraordinaire.  Caterer extraordinaire.  Teacher extraordinaire.  Yeah, I'm a huge Caroline fan.

I usually assist HER.  This time, she was assisting ME!  It was such a comfort to have her there.  Actually she was a comfort before class even began.  I went in that morning to set up.  I called Caroline from work.  The conversation went something like this....

Me: "Caroline!  There are only a few toothpicks left in the box!"
C: "Don't worry.  I have some.  I'll bring them.
Me:  "Caroline!  I can't find the paper plates!"
C: "They're right there under the prep table."
Me: "Oh. Yeah.  I see them."
Me: Caroline! I only have 14 #2 tips!"
C: "There might be more in the drawer.  I have two.  I'll bring them."

I could go on.  There was more of the same.  She ended the call with.... "Don't worry.  You'll do great.  The class will be great.".  Shew.

Here I am giving my little introductory talk.  Explaining the basics of sugar cookies and royal icing . . .

One of the fabulous students adding water to some royal icing to thin it a bit before coloring . .

Me demonstrating adding coloring to some royal icing . . .

Adding more water . . .

The class working away at their cookies.  This pleased and cracked me up.  They were totally absorbed in the decorating.  There was very little chit chat . . .

Two students decorating.  Just look at those skills! . . .

Working away . . .

Having a taste . . .

Finished cookies by one student!  Aren't they awesome?!  Oh, and check it out.  She took notes! . . .

Packing up their cookies for the road . . .

I so enjoyed that class!

A few weeks ago, I heard from one student that made cookies on her own.

One of the assistants, Wendy, has been making cookies at home.

Yesterday, I got an email from another student.  She made cookies for her sister's bridal shower.  Here they are! . . .

I'm so proud! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cracker Sugar Cookies and White Chocolate Cheesecake Spread

Sugar cookies shaped like crackers with cheesecake spread!

LilaLoa posted this idea and recipe back in December.  I've had it bookmarked to give it a try. 

My sister had a party last night.  I needed to bring a dish but didn't have time to do the whole sugar cookie with royal icing thing.  This dish can be done in hours instead of days.  Perfect.

For some reason, I never follow a recipe or the directions exactly.  I've always got to make a few changes.  Sometimes that's good.  Sometimes not so much.

I altered the recipe a bit . . .
  • Added 1 cup of powdered sugar instead of 3/4 cup (because I misread the recipe,  not because I thought it was a good idea!)
  • I added a touch of vanilla though the recipe didn't call for it.  That I did because I thought it was a good idea!
  • I used cinnamon graham crackers instead of plain.  Um....because I like those?  
  • I covered the cheese spread with both white and semi-sweet chips though the recipe suggested just the semi-sweet.  Why?  Well, why not? Oh, and they weren't minis.  Because I had the regular size already.
  • I may have over-beat the whole thing.  It was just so light, fluffy, and beautiful, I couldn't help myself.  (This may have contributed to problems you'll see in a moment.)
Then I started messing with the instructions.  Things took a turn for the worse here.

When it came time to chill the cream cheese, I thought that it would be a brilliant idea to put it into a plastic wrap lined bowl.  Instant cheese ball right?

Immediately after doing it, I had a moment of panic.  Uh oh.  What if it totally sticks to the wrap?

Well that's what happened.  After chilling, it was still rather ball-shaped but I had to use a spatula to scrape the cream cheese from the wrap.

As I attempted to cover it in graham crackers and chocolate chips, the ball became more of a disk.

So I had another equally brilliant idea to embrace the disk idea and put it onto a small plastic plate to keep it from spreading more during the party.  It looked like a huge chocolate chip cookie.

Then it occurred to me that this is an outdoor party and it's nearly 80 degrees today.

I have one of those Pampered Chef bowls that are kept in the freezer so it keeps your dish cold during a party.  I decided to nix the whole "cheese ball" idea and convert it to a "spread".  I was able to lift the disk off of the plate, somewhat fold it into a ball and place it into the bowl.

Shew. The third "brilliant" idea is finally the one.

The sugar cookie crackers were pretty easy to make. No calamities there.  I made a variety of shapes and a two different colors.  Why?  Because I can't leave well enough alone apparently.

The reaction of those at the party was fabulous and very funny.

There were mostly adults there.  A few kids were running around.

It was a Cinco de Mayo party.  Sort of.  It happened to fall on the 5th of May so it was a loose Cinco theme.  There were probably about 15 appetizer dishes - all of which were savory.  Most of which were Mexican inspired chips and dips. Sitting amongst the guacamole and chips, the salsa and chips, the black bean corn dip and chips, the quinoa dip and chips, the hummus and chips, were my cracker cookies and cheesecake dip.  Ha ha!

To say the least, people were confused.  I kept hearing, "What is it?".  One person would explain it to the next, then that person would explain it to the next.  Very funny.

Once the kids got wind that there were cookies, they were all over it and man did they heap on the cheesecake spread!

Everyone LOVED it - kids and adults alike.  I loved it too.  The spread was like an amazing cream cheese frosting.  Divine!

Even with the kids piling it on, there was still half of the spread left when the cookies were gone.

I am definitely making this again.  Of course there will be changes.  (There always are.)

I think that next time I won't try to disguise the cookies as crackers unless it's an April Fool's party or unless it's placed on a dessert table. Maybe a tag to let people in on what it actually is would be wise.

I'm thinking that next time I'll make cookie shapes that go along with whatever the party theme may be.  They'll actually look like cookies.  Cut down on some of the confusion, you know?

Though I ran into a few obstacles (all my own fault), this dish is definitely a winner.  You've got to try it! Thank you LilaLoa!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kitchen Sugar Cookies Embroidered with Royal Icing

I've made more embroidered cookies.  You can see my first set here.

As I mentioned in the other post, I have tons of embroidery patterns.  Some of my favorite modern patterns come from Sublime Stitching. Her designs are super fun!

I've stitched up many of them on kitchen towels and aprons . Here are a few . . .

Aren't they cute?

It looks like the exact pattern I have is no longer available but there's an updated version here.

I thought of these when trying to come up with my monthly cookie challenge design.  I wanted to make embroidered cookies.

This month's theme is "Home is Where the Heart is".  The cookies are to reflect anything about our homes.

I decided to focus on my kitchen.  That's where I spend most of my time.  If I'm not cooking, baking or cleaning up, I'm most often still there doing other things - on my laptop, going through mail, sewing at the table.

I pulled out my Sublime Stitching pattern and the KopyKake projector and got busy . . .

My kitchen is green so that's what I chose for the flooded royal icing background for the cookies.  Thankfully my kitchen isn't anywhere near the shade of green in these cookies!  It's a light, sage green but I had the darker icing already mixed up to be used for some leaves.  For convenience I just went with it.

I wish the background was lighter, but other than that, I love how they came out.  The embroidery.  The kitchen equipment.  They reflect me and my kitchen.

a measuring cup . . .
 measuring spoons . . .
 a timer . . .
 My favorite . . . a stand mixer . . .

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