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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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Perfect Cupcake

Sometimes you have an idea about a certain cupcake flavor in your head but it can be difficult to find the right recipe.  I don’t yet consider myself good enough to just completely whip something up on my own like the contestants on Cupcake Wars.  Once, when I was a teenager I wanted to make microwave brownies but I didn’t have the cocoa called for in the recipe.  I (mistakenly) thought I could use hot cocoa mix instead.  Instead of gooey, chocolaty brownies I created the most foul-smelling thing to have ever come out of a microwave.  So you can see why I don’t quite trust myself to just wing it.

A friend has asked that I make Rum and Coke cupcakes for her son’s 21st birthday coming up later in the month.  Having never made them before, I wanted research some recipes and do a test batch.  I found this recipe for Cola Cake, direct from the makers of Coca Cola themselves.  I figured that would be a good place to start.  I followed the recipe exactly, and then topped the cupcakes with a basic vanilla butter cream icing that I spiked with some Gosling’s Bermuda Black Rum.

I got to have some science experiment type fun, dissolving the baking soda in the buttermilk and watching it fizz up, and I ended up with a very tasty, slightly chewy around the edges cupcake that tasted NOTHING like Coke.  : /  The icing did taste like rum at least, but I was definitely not getting the Rum and Coke vibe.  Back to the drawing board…

I found a recipe on Betty Crocker‘s website for rum cupcakes which I think I will try, and then I purchase a bottle of cola extract online which I will try to incorporate into the icing.  I have never used cola extract before so if anyone has some experience with it and can offer some advice, I’m all ears!

As you can see, in the meantime I got my Rum and Non-Coke cupcakes all gussied up for the upcoming holiday!  I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!  And here’s  just a little bit of humor for the road…

Cinco D’OH Mayo

So, the thing that sucks about writing a blog about things that you make is that when you don’t make anything, you have nothing to blog about! D’oh!

I haven’t been baking anything and despite enduring quite a few days in the past two weeks that have totally been worthy of adult beverage drinking, I haven’t been doing any of that either.  I have, however, been doing a lot of laundry.  How one man can create so many loads of laundry in the span of a week I will never understand.

Anywho, despite my utter lack of shaking, baking OR partying lately I do have a tasty drink recipe that I wanted to share in time for Cinco de Mayo….

Dancers at the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival i...
Dancers at the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beer Margaritas!  Or as I like to call them – BeerGaritas.

Margarita with lime in a margarita glass.
Margarita with lime in a margarita glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me preface this by saying (quite emphatically) that I despise beer.  It’s just gross.  Even on the rare occasion that I can find a beer that doesn’t make me want to scrub my tongue with a Brillo pad I do not enjoy drinking the stuff.

Brillo Pad logo
Brillo Pad logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOWEVER, I absolutely loved these beer Margaritas!

Beer Margaritas (link will take you to the original recipe!)

Ingredients

1 (12 fl oz) can frozen limeade concentrate
12 fl oz tequila
12 fl oz water
12 fl oz beer (I used Corona)
ice
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)
salt (optional)

Mexican Beer: Corona 6-Pack
Mexican Beer: Corona 6-Pack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Directions

Pour limeade, tequila, water and beer into a large pitcher.  Stir until well blended and limeade is melted (you may want to strain the pulp out, depending on preference).  Adjust with additional water if needed.  Add ice.  Rim margarita glass with salt and garnish with lime wedges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Cadbury Dream

 

While scrolling through Pinterest the other day (instead of doing something productive like laundry) I came across a recipe for a jelly bean martini.  With all the delicious varieties or Easter candy available you would think there would be tons of Easter themed cocktails but I have only seen a few.  I thought of all the different types of jelly beans, coconut eggs, peanut butter eggs, Cadbury Creme Eggs…

There had to be a Cadbury Creme Egg Cocktail!  I did a search.  I found a recipe for a Cadbury Caramel Cream Martini.  While that sounds delicious, in my opinion nothing beats the taste of the original Cadbury Creme Egg.

Cadbury eggs, a common Easter candy. One is br...

Since I couldn’t find a recipe I decided to invent my own!  I got some Cadbury Creme Eggs at the drugstore (buy one get one free – yes!) and then headed to the liquor store.  I didn’t really know what type of liquor I wanted to use but came upon the vodka section first.

PB&J vodka, cucumber vodka, bacon vodka (breakfast martini anyone?), a vodka flavor called Dude that is the color of Mountain Dew…there are so many bizarre vodka flavors out there that I was half hoping to spot one called Cadbury Creme Egg.  Alas, I did not, so I headed to the next aisle.  I was considering the Baileys when I saw something called RumChata – a rum cream.

I had never heard of this before but I thought – cream, Creme Egg, sounds good!  I brought it home and as soon as I opened it I knew it wasn’t going to work.  All I could smell was cinnamon.  Definitely not an ingredient I want to mix with my chocolate egg.  Since I opened it, I tried a little nip of the RumChata and it is REALLY GOOD stuff.  I will definitely be experimenting with that in the future, but I had a Cadbury Creme Egg Cocktail to concoct.

I decided to try to use some of the Pinnacle Chocolate Whipped I had on the shelf.  I poured a shot of that into my trusty Magic Bullet, then added a splash of chocolate milk (I used chocolate soy milk since that was all I had).  Next I chopped up a Cadbury Creme Egg (messy!), dumped that in there  with some ice and blended.  I think adding the ice before I blended the creme egg might not have been the best idea because the creme filling got a little hard from the cold and I had to chop at it quite a bit with a spoon to break it down.  So if you want to make this I’d suggest blending the egg and the liquids first, then adding ice and you definitely want to make this because it was AWESOME!  I rimmed my martini glass with some of the leftover yellow sanding sugar I had from making Peeps Bunny Cookies, poured in my mixture and voila!  The Cadbury Dream was born…

 

Cheers to the Easter Bunny!

 

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!