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

Michael’s Way

Hey all!  How has everyone been?  I’m dropping in with a quick post about some cookies I just made!  I didn’t get a chance to take any nice, professional looking photos before I sent these out the door (new work responsibilities, grad school and attempting to have a life in between have me feeling like everything is moving at warp speed these days, know what I mean?) but I wanted to do a little write up, mostly to spread the word about a great charity.

Michael’s Way is an organization in the Philadelphia area that provides assistance to the families of children battling pediatric cancer.  According to their website, “Michael’s Way has raised more than $6 million to lessen the financial hardships of hundreds of families whose children are suffering from cancer. 100% of money raised, as well as private donations and grants received from foundations goes directly to the families, not to overhead.”  I think that’s pretty amazing given the number of “charities” that spend more per dollar on salaries, marketing and who knows what else than they do on actually helping people.

For the third year in a row PMC Property Group is sponsoring a bowling party at Lucky Strike in Philadelphia to raise money for Michael’s Way (4/20/16 – details here if you are interested!) and I was more than happy to make some Michael’s Way logo cookies for the event!

So here’s my crappy picture of what turned out to be a pretty cool cookie!!

Michael's Way Logo Cookies #charity #decoratedcookies

If you suck at bowling or aren’t in the area, but are interested in making a donation to this wonderful organization head over to their online donation form!

 

For those who don’t like candy corn…

Word on the streets is that some of you out there don’t like candy corn?  How is this possible???  It’s almost as confusing to me as folks who don’t like PEEPS.  Does. not. compute.   But hey, to each his own, right?

Since candy corn is quintessentially Halloween in my book I thought I’d share some candy corn treats that don’t actually contain any candy corn.  You’re welcome haters. 😉

First up – I made some candy corn decorated cookies!  Everybody likes sugar cookies, right?  (If you don’t, please don’t tell me.  My head might explode.)

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies for #HalloweenEverybody loved my mustache Easter bunnies so much that I thought I’d give the  ‘stache a try on my candy corn too.  As I suspected, these were a big hit.

I also made a super easy Halloween bark with Kraft Jet-Puffed Candy Corn Marshmallows and Wilton Halloween sprinkles.

Marshmallow Candy Corn Bark - A super easy treat to make for #Halloween!Marshmallow Candy Corn Bark

Ingredients
2 – 12 oz bags of chocolate melting wafers, any flavor
Bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Candy Corn Marshmallows
Halloween sprinkles

Directions
1. Melt both bags of chocolate in a double boiler, or follow the instructions on the package for melting in the microwave.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment paper and spread evenly with a spatula.
*IMPORTANT – if using a double boiler, make sure you dry the bottom of your pan thoroughly before pouring the chocolate onto the parchment paper.  You don’t want any water dripping onto the chocolate.  I just put a dish towel down on the counter and wiped the bottom of the pan across it a few times to dry it off.
4. Immediately top chocolate with marshmallows and sprinkles.
5. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and let the chocolate harden.  If you’re in a hurry you can pop the tray in the refrigerator for about a half an hour, otherwise you can just let the bark rest on the counter top.
6. Once the chocolate has set, cut the bark into randomly sized pieces.

Quick and easy Marshmallow Candy Corn Bark for #Halloween

It really doesn’t get much easier than that, and look at how fun and festive that bark looks!  Plus – chocolate and marshmallow – can’t go wrong there, right?  Right?!

There you go, you despisers of candy corn.  You can still have some candy corn treats this Halloween!  We can all live together in peace and harmony!

You PEEPS hating people on the other hand… I can’t even deal with you. 😉

So, how do you feel about candy corn?  Love it or hate it?  Let me know in the comments, and have a Happy Halloween!

Operation Cookie Takeover – Easter Edition!

Every few months the awesome people at Operation Cookie Takeover ask for volunteers to bake and ship cookies to our deployed troops.  I’m proud to say I have participated in every round!  This time I was assigned a Marine stationed in Japan.  I sent out an email to my department at work saying that if anyone wanted to send a card, note, or small treat along with my cookie shipment that I’d be glad to add it to my box.

Today I shipped three large flat rate boxes full of cookies, Easter candy, crackers, toiletries, cards, Tastykakes and other goodies.  I work with some awesome people.  Here is a shot of all my cookies and just some of the other donated items:

IMG_0394

And here are some closeups of my cookies!

Easter Bunny Cookies - Shake Bake and PartyPatriotic Easter Bunny CookiesIf you want to check out all the amazing cookies being shipped out this week head over to Operation Cookie Takeover’s Facebook page, or search the hashtags #OCT2015 and #operationcookietakeover on Instagram!  If you know a deployed soldier be sure to follow their Facebook page and when the next mission rolls around you can sign up your soldier to be a cookie recipient!

Cookie Postcards

I recently participated in another Operation Cookie Takeover mission.  If you don’t know what OCT is all about you should check out their Facebook page!  The quick rundown though is this – people nominate deployed soldiers to receive cookies from the volunteers who have signed up to bake and send them.  Volunteers have shipped over 37,000 cookies to deployed soldiers since 2013!

This was the fourth mission and my fourth time participating.  It was also, by far, my favorite experience.

My idea for this round of cookies was to create a cookie “postcard” – a handwritten, edible note of thanks.  I have been seeing a lot of cookie decorators using the stamping technique to embellish their cookies and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a try.  I used a rectangular cookie cutter to make my postcards and covered them in a layer of white royal icing.  Then I picked up a few postage related stamps from the craft store, read this tutorial on cookie stamping from Fancy Flours and went to town.

Cookie Stamping
It’s always best to practice first… : )

After trying out a few stamps I decided I liked the postmark one the best, so I stamped each of my postcard cookies with it.  Because my cookies weren’t perfectly flat, sometimes the stamp didn’t lay the ink down evenly in all spots but I figured that was okay – most postmarks aren’t completely uniform so I’m calling it “authentic.”  I let the ink dry overnight and then packed the cookies up and took them into work the next day for the fun part!

Cookie Signing Station

Along with my cookies I brought in a few sets of edible ink markers and set up a cookie signing station in an empty cubicle.  I invited all my coworkers to stop by and write a note to the troops on one of the cookies.

Here are a few of them:

Cookie Postcard

Cookie Postcard

Cookie Postcard

And here are all 24 together!

Cookie Postcards for the Troops

Thanks to the help of all my awesome friends at work these turned out so much better than I imagined.  I was so excited to ship these off to the Marine that I was matched up with.  I hope they all made it in one piece!

3rd Annual Go Bo! Foundation Bake Sale

Fall is seriously THE best time of year. In addition to all the usual favorites (cooler weather, apple cider, gorgeous fall foliage, pumpkin EVERYTHING…) it is also the time for fun things such as my birthday (next week!), Halloween, signups for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and the Go Bo! Foundation Bake Sale!

Go Bo Foundation Bake Sale

This amazing bake sale is put together by Jill from Jill FCS Funky Cookie Studio to support the Go Bo! Foundation’s mission of funding cancer research and helping the families of children with cancer in Door County, WI.  This year cookie artists from ALL 50 states AND 17 countries have donated their time and efforts to this worthy cause.  If you are in the area you should definitely go check it out! Don’t worry though if you can’t attend because you could seriously spend hours scrolling through the Go Bo! Foundation Bake Sale Facebook page looking at all the fabulous contributions.  There are some seriously talented cookie decorators out there!

This year Jill asked that in addition to whatever themed cookies we wanted to make we also send at least one butterfly cookie.  So here are the cookies I shipped out to WI last week:

Black Cat/Full Moon Halloween Cookie | Shake Bake and Party

Butterfly Decorated Cookie | Shake Bake and Party

                                                                 “You only live once so make it count.” – Bo

If you would like more information or would like to donate, please visit www.gobofoundation.org.