Christmas Cookies 2016

Happy Christmas Eve Day everyone!  I can’t believe this year is almost over!  I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to the blog lately (school, work, work, school) but I took a little time off last week and was able to get in some baking!

Here, in no particular order, are this year’s Christmas cookies!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and a Happy New Year!  See you in 2017!

Gingerbread Man Decorated Cookie

Christmas Tree Decorated Cookie

Ugly Sweater Cookies - Shake Bake and Party

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Mother Nature Mischief

It’s been an interesting few days here in NJ.  In case you missed it, the East Coast and other areas just got their asses kicked by Hurricane Sandy, aka “Frankenstorm”.  I am VERY fortunate in that our basement didn’t flood, we did not lose power (just a few pieces of siding), and though my cable/internet was down most of the day it is up and running again.

I did spend a good deal of time worrying that my neighbor’s dead tree was going to come crashing through our roof, but it somehow stayed put.  The worst part of the night last night came when my boyfriend entertained the thought of climbing out onto the roof – in the dark in, the middle of a hurricane with 70 mph wind gusts! – to try to tack down the siding that was coming loose.  Thankfully, common sense prevailed.

In order to keep my mind off the threat of impending doom, I spent a good portion of the day yesterday decorating some Halloween cookies and drinking wine.  Though trick or treating has been postponed in my neighborhood until Friday, Halloween is still tomorrow.  We’ve had enough tricks, now for some treats!

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween (no matter what day you actually get to celebrate!) and my thoughts are with all of those affected by this devastating storm.  It’s times like these when you really appreciate all that you have!

I Enjoy Being A Girl?

I am definitely not a “girly” type of female.

I prefer jeans and sneakers to skirts and high heels.  I have never (nor will I ever) worn a pair of stilettos.  Your feet really aren’t meant to do that.

I would rather watch hockey than Dancing With the Stars.  I was going to make NHL jersey cookies during the Stanley Cup playoffs this year.  I had the cookies baked and everything, but I was too busy watching hockey to decorate them.

Me with Lord Stanley, many moons ago…

I’m not a fan of pink.  I don’t scream at the sight of mice or spiders.  I don’t get manicures unless I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding.  I don’t spaz out when people bring their babies in to work.

I wasn’t even very girly when I was a little girl.  Take my Barbie dolls for example.  Yes, I had Barbies.  No, they did not go shopping or go to fancy dances or get married to the perfectly coiffed Ken dolls.  Barbie drowned in the Barbie pool.  She hung herself from the second story of the Barbie house.  Barbie fell to her death out the third story window of my actual house.

Barbie muerta
Barbie muerta (Photo credit: nicoventurelli)

Remember the Heart Family (Mommy, Daddy and two little toddlers – one boy, one girl) and the Heart Family car?  They didn’t go for leisurely rides to the zoo.  The Heart Family car was a plastic deathtrap on wheels hurtling down the stairs from my attic bedroom, smashing into the wall at the landing and sending Mr. and Mrs. Heart and their progeny flying in all directions.

The Heart Family - Kisses & Cuddles
The Heart Family – Kisses & Cuddles (Photo credit: Freddycat1)

I did have a heart shaped pillow with a picture of Dylan from 90210 (the ORIGINAL!!) on it and I like my cocktails sweet and fruity, so the girly-girl is somewhere there inside me – she just doesn’t come out that often.

I Love Dylan
I Love Dylan (Photo credit: emilydickinsonridesabmx)

Given all this, you can see why I would be amused by the fact that I have made not one, not two, but THREE girly baked treats in the past four days.

First up… Wedding Cake Cookies!  A coworker’s daughter is getting married next weekend and she asked that I make cookies to put in the gift baskets she is making for their out of town guests.

Next, I attempted to make some hydrangea cupcakes I saw on Pinterest.  For a tutorial on how to make these yourself, go here!  These were to celebrate the birthday of one of my friends at work on Monday.  They came out pretty good.  When I was taking the photos my camera was choosing the flower macro setting, so at least I had Canon fooled.

Last but not least are the teapot cookies I made for my friend’s daughter’s Princess Tea Party 6th birthday shindig this weekend.

Okay, I’m gonna go blow up a Barbie doll or something…

Action Barbie
Action Barbie (Photo credit: SamJUK)

Hop, Hop, Hooray!

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the bunny trail… One of my favorite things at Easter (aside from candy out the wazoo) was this old tin egg we had.  It looked exactly like this (I love the internet!!) –

Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (Photo credit: NedraI)

When you turned the hand crank, it played Peter Cottontail.  I loved turning the crank really fast; here comes Peter Cottontail flying down the bunny trail!  I can still hear the tinny tune in my mind.

My absolute favorite Easter memory is of dyeing eggs with my brother, mom and dad.  I remember the smell of the vinegar, the fizzing sound of the dye tablets after you dropped them in the cups.  My dad always got really into things – making crazy designs with rubber bands and bits of paper towel dipped in various colors.  His eggs were always works of art.

These days my dad’s art takes the form of wooden carvings in the style of Easter Island Moai and (in case this is your first visit to my blog) my art is of the cookie variety!

This is my first Easter making decorated sugar cookies, and I’ll admit, I went a little nuts.  I had a bunch of coworkers and friends to make cookies for – about 200 cookies all together!  So last week I took a half a day off of work on Thursday and a full day on Friday.  I baked Thursday, ran out of dough, made more, then baked again Friday morning.  After lunch I spent a few hours mixing up all the icing colors I would need and then I decorated well into the night AND all the next day!  By the time Sunday rolled around I think I was partially crippled.  Apparently my cookie decorating stance is very bad for my back.  It still hurts!

However, despite the long hours and the concern that someday I will become a hunchback because of Easter 2012 , I am SO HAPPY with the way my cookies turned out!  I absolutely love them, and I hope you will too!

Check out my snazzy slideshow, and have a Happy Easter!!

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Peeps Part Deux

A few weeks ago I did a sneak peek post on one of my favorite holiday goodies – The Peep! – and my attempt at making Peeps bunny cookie.  Today I am back with more sugar coated marshmallow-y goodness!

And for the finale … Last year a few days before Easter I went to the grocery store and imagine my utter delight when I saw this parked out front!!!

It’s the PeepMobile!

The Sunday Bunnies

So, after three days of nearly nonstop Easter cookie immersion I am happy to report that I am DONE (and only slightly insane…)!  I’m going to do a post on everything later in the week, but today I wanted to share a little how-to for making bunny cookies.  For these particular bunnies, I went with the “as found in nature” look – very simple but extremely cute!

First (if you’re me) you start with a crap-load of bunny cookies…

Take your white royal icing and fill in the area where the bunny’s tail goes.

Next, flip your bunny over and dip his (or her – we don’t discriminate here) tail into a bowl of white Nonpareils.

You want to do this part first because you don’t want the Nonpareils to stick anywhere but the tail.  After the tail is looking nice and cottony you can outline the rest of the bunny.

At this point you should  add a little water to your icing so that it spreads easily and then simply flood in the outlined area with the icing.  Once that is dry, outline again adding a little detail on the ears and feet and then give bunny an eye and a nose and you’re done!  I used edible marker for the eye and pink royal icing for the nose.

I also had a few requests to put names on the cookies, so here is what one of those looks like!

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend!  Personally, I’m exhausted!