When Irish eyes are smiling…There must be a cookie nearby!

It’s almost St. Patty’s Day!!!  Since it falls on a Saturday this year I figure most people will be too blasted all day to bother reading my blog, so I decided to share my St. Patrick’s Day cookies a wee bit in advance!  But first, a little music to set the mood from my favorite Irish band – Flogging Molly!

Okay.  So, I had grand plans for shamrock cookies and pots o’ gold and I’m happy to say everything turned out better than I had hoped!!  I even got some props and whatnot so I could take snazzier pictures than my standard fare of snapping shots of cookies just lying forlorn on my dining room table.

St. Patrick's Day Cookies

St. Patrick's Day Cookies

As you can see, I did not have a black icing disaster this time!  To read about when I did – click here!  I was a little worried at first, because when I mixed up the icing it looked more gray than black but I let it sit for a while and it darkened up nicely.  The pots came out perfect!!

Pot of Gold cookie

I ended up having to make a second batch the other night because people who saw the first set just couldn’t resist and had to have some for themselves.  This time around I had a NEW black icing disaster!  I made the icing the same exact way that I did the first batch, and then left the cookies to dry overnight.  To my absolute horror when I checked on them the next day I discovered that a number of them had become splotchy looking.  I freaked out.  Were they wet, moldy, infected with cookie pox?!?!

After a brief internet search I learned it was most likely due to humidity.  It had been pretty humid the night I iced the cookies even though it’s not even Spring yet!  (Strange weather these days, earthquakes, locusts, cookie pestilence…those Mayans might be on to something)  Anyway, there was nothing to do but work with it!!  So I wrote on the damn things.

I should have taken a picture of the splotches so you could see what I’m talking about, but I was in no mood for documentation.  Trust me though, under that writing lurks dark spots.  I think it was a nice cover.  No one has to know, except everyone reading this right now.  You won’t tell, right? ; )

I hope everyone has a fun St. Patrick’s Day!  Time to start plotting for Easter…

Oh (no!) Baby!

I just read an article about a two year old who threw such a massive fit that her family was kicked off a JetBlue flight bound for Boston.  My ears hurt just THINKING about the amount of screeching and screaming that must have been taking place for things to come to that.  UGH.

I don’t want kids, and I oftentimes question the sanity of those that do.  I mean, really – the screaming, the crying, the pooping, the puking, the snot, the not sleeping, the worry – and that’s all just the first night you bring one home!  I value my sanity (and my nap time!), thank you very much. However, I LOVE shopping for baby clothes and shoes and toys – a frequent necessity since my friends are having them left and right.  Small things are cute, what can I say? Chipmunks, mini cupcakes, baby booties…

Tamias minimus (Least Chipmunk), Glacier Natio...
Image via Wikipedia

 

Also cute – these cookies I made for a baby shower!  A friend at work was throwing one for her daughter and asked me to make the cookie favors.  We decided on a baby carriage and I ended up doing a very simple design, using only pearl dragees as decorations.  Cute, classy, and unlike a baby – won’t get you kicked off a plane!

Lego My Organic Waffle

So tonight I was sitting around making myself hungry watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.  I wandered into the kitchen in search of something tasty for dinner and for some reason decided to make waffles.  Not just any old waffles though – organic blueberry waffles.  Sounded wholesome, smelled great heating up in my toaster, tasted…like cardboard.  I didn’t think it was possible to mess up a frozen waffle.  I was wrong. I won’t name names, but this was just not right.

Back in front of the TV, completely unfulfilled and Guy Fieri is mocking me with some delicious looking pizzas.  I think about the crummy, disappointing waffles.  Then I think “leggo my Eggo!” which then reminds of LEGOS which leads me to today’s post.  LEGO Man cookies!!

My coworker was having a LEGO themed birthday party for her son and she asked me to make cookies for favors.  We decided on a cookie in the shape of the LEGO Man’s head, and chocolate LEGO bricks.  I found a LEGO shaped chocolate mold on eBay (what CAN’T you find on eBay?! ((oh yeah, you can’t find a LEGO Man head shaped cookie cutter, so I made a template out of a coffee can lid using this template from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle))

Here are my cookies, lined up and ready to decorate.

I knew I wanted a smoother finish on these cookies than I had on my angel cookies so I Googled how to decorate cookies with royal icing.  The short version is that you make the royal icing per the recipe, outline the cookies, then water down the icing to a very runny consistency which you then use to “flood” the cookie.  The outline can be done in the same color you will be using to flood, or it can be done in a different color.  For the look I wanted, I went with black (more on THAT disaster after the pictures!) then flooded with yellow.

 (note my handy mustard squeezy bottle – perfect for dispensing runny icing!)

You may be thinking to yourself, “What disaster?  They look pretty damn good!”  Just as I learned tonight that the word ORGANIC in relation to waffles really means DRYWALL, on that night I learned that it is really hard to make icing black.  I knew that it wouldn’t be as simple as mixing some black gel color into the white icing (because black + white = gray) so I also Googled how to deal with that ahead of time.  All I had to do was make a different color first – blue,brown, dark green, mix of everything?! – and THEN add the black.  Well, I tried that and got gray.  I had also read to try adding cocoa powder so I dumped some of that in there with a little more black gel color.  STILL gray. Finally in desperation I mixed in ALL of the black gel color I had.  Black icing accomplished!!!!

So I outlined and flooded and let them dry overnight, then I piped on the faces the next day.

Once they were dry I started bagging them up with my chocolate LEGO blocks…

….only to discover that apparently dumping an entire pot of black gel color (along with other colors and cocoa powder) into your royal icing can really dry it out.  : /  The faces on my poor LEGO Men started flaking off!!!  I packed them up as carefully as possible, boxed them, took them in to my coworker, apologized and told her not to move the damn things until she was ready to give them away.  Luckily they survived the trip and she was really happy with them (at least that’s what she told me!).  I had two coworkers who saw them ask if they were supposed to be computers, so it would seem that there are people who actually have never seen LEGOs before – who knew?

Anyway, I hope that someone out there can learn from my mistakes.  Organic Blueberry Waffles suck, and don’t over-color your royal icing.  I have since read that Americolor Super Black gel paste does the trick, and I have a bottle of it just waiting to be used next week when I attempt to make Pot of Gold cookies for St. Patrick’s Day!  Stay tuned…

Put A Stick In It!

Last May my friend was having her son’s baptism.  I was helping her look for centerpiece ideas and we both loved the centerpieces made out of cookie pops.  Not only do they make cute centerpieces, but at the end of the party everyone takes a cookie and you have your favors taken care of as well.  Plus, it’s a cookie on stick – what’s not to like about that?  Well… there is one thing.  The price!!  Fifty, sixty bucks for ONE centerpiece!  Obviously that wasn’t going to happen so I said, “We can make them for WAY less than that!”

Now, I’d never made a cookie pop in my life and my only previous experience with making any type of decorated cookie resulted in some slightly sloppy (but still cute!) Pac-Man Cookies.  How hard could it be though?  You cut out your cookie shape, put a stick in it and bake.

Well, for the most part it really was that easy!  We decided to do angels and crosses.  My friend got the cookie cutters, and the only real snafu was that the cross cutter made cutouts too small to be sticking sticks in.  In the end I think that worked in our favor because we wound up making crosses out of blue melting chocolate instead and they made a nice contrast against the angel cookies.

I knew from my Pac-Man cookie experience that I would need an icing with a little thicker consistency to decorate the angel cookies and the good old internet told me that royal icing was the way to go.  So I whipped up a batch using the recipe from the container of Wilton Meringue Powder that I bought and got to work.  I’m definitely no artist, so all I did was trace the outline of each section (head, wings and body) and then filled them in.  Being only my second attempt at doing a decorated cookie I had yet to learn about the technique called flooding which makes a much smoother finished product (more on that later!) so they were a little lumpy looking but other than that I thought they came out great.

I used an edible color marker to draw on the face, then wrapped each cookie in individual cellophane bags.  For the base of the centerpiece I had purchased little white square buckets from Oriental Trading Company.  I put a foam craft ball in each bucket and then stuck the cookie pops and chocolate pops into the foam.  To cover up what you could see of the foam ball I used some green tissue paper and green gem stones.  Here is the final product…

Not bad for not spending a fortune, eh?

Totally Awesome 80’s Party and Pac-Man Cookies!

A.  Being a child of the 80’s I have a special place in my heart for hair bands, jelly shoes, and all things neon.

B.  I love theme parties.

A + B = C (aka Totally Awesome 80’s Party!!)

A few years ago I decided to throw an 80’s themed party.  I spent hours surfing the internet for ideas for decorations, food, drinks and the perfectly tacky 80’s outfit.  One of the food ideas I came across would become my first attempt at making decorated sugar cookie cutouts – Pac-Man Cookies!!

The cookies themselves were simple enough to make.  I needed three mini cookie cutters – tulip, a circle and a heart.  Flip the tulip upside down and you have a ghost (or to be more specific, a Pinky, Blinky, Inky or Clyde).  The circle makes the Pac-Man, and the pointy end of the heart can be used to cut a wedge out for Pac-Man’s mouth.  They baked up perfectly!

Next step was to ice the cookies.  This ended up being a little messy (remember, I said this was my FIRST attempt!!).  The icing recipe I ended up using was more like a glaze and my application method involved a spoon, a toothpick and some foul language.  Despite the cursing and the dripping icing, my finished product was pretty cute and VERY tasty.

(a mini chocolate chip placed in a small dot of white icing from a tube makes the eyeballs)

The cookies were a hit, as were the drinks!  I made a pitcher of Electric Smurf and a pitcher of Slimer’s Ecto Cooler, both which fit my 80’s theme in name AND color.  Just in case that wasn’t enough sugar I also had a table filled with candy from my childhood.  That’s right people, I found RAZZLES!!

I set up a playlist of all the greatest hits of the 80’s, covered my walls with 80’s posters and my couches with He-Man sheets, scrounged up an Alf hand puppet, and also had an 80’s game table!

I put a ton of work into my 80’s theme party and for the most part it was in fact, Totally Awesome!  One note of caution – it seems that when you throw a party that reminds people of their childhood/teenage years there is a greatly increased likelihood of people actually acting like children.  That is a story for a whole different blog though… : )

Oh, and that perfectly tacky 80’s outfit??