Tag Archives: cookies

Photo Friday: Lego Cookies for an Architect

2014-07-25_LegoCookies-32014-07-25_LegoCookies-1

Recently, one of my good friends passed all of his tests to become a Registered Architect. His wife threw a big bash to celebrate and I agreed to do a few cookies for the guests. The invitations used the quote, “From Legos to Lincoln Logs to real bricks and mortar, Andy has always wanted to be an architect.”  It seemed like the perfect theme for cookies. Each of the guests at the party got a lego cookie to take home to symbolize being a building block on his journey to being an architect.  And, as a special surprise, I did a few extra cookies that displayed some of the experiences that have been a big influence on his career.

I was happy with the cookies overall. Sadly, it was a humid week around here, and I had some trouble with splotchy icing and craters in the lego cookies. AGH! Fortunately, the party guests didn’t seem to notice and the cookies were a big hit!

Congrats, Andy!

2014-07-25_LegoCookies-52014-07-25_LegoCookies-4

2014-07-25_LegoCookies-22014-07-25_LegoCookies-6

On Mondays…

2014-06-01_Cookies-9

The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for me. There have been a lot of great memories – my first Color Run with the hubby, a cookie decorating party, and the kiddo’s first trip to Hersheypark. Sadly, I’ve also found myself a bit more stressed than usual, as well. I’ve been busy decorating cookies, getting very little sleep, dealing with the day-to-day struggles of staying home with a toddler, and also dealing with a broken camera. I’d love to say that I kept it all together, but I know that I’ve lost my temper more than I’d care to admit. I’ve had my share of cranky moments.

The good news is that it’s Monday.Continue Reading

White Balance for Perfect Cookie Color Palettes

2014-01-27_WhiteBalancingIcing

Want to know a secret?

I hate to color icing. I know, hate is a strong word… But, I’ve been known to go to great lengths to come up with cookie ideas that use only white icing. (Remember my Christmas cookies from this past year?)  Seriously, though… Who wants to spend an hour coloring icing when you have cookies to decorate?

I think part of the reason I dislike the icing coloring process is that I’m picky. When I set out to decorate cookies, I have an idea in my mind of exactly how they will look. I know how each color should look. If I am decorating a beach cookie, the water has to be the perfect seafoam blue… Not sky blue, not aqua, and certainly not royal blue.  Since I do not have an endless variety of food coloring for my icing, I often find myself mixing up my own custom colors, which can be a bit of a hassle.

So, I’ve developed a trick for faster color mixing that ensure that my icing color palettes work together… I white balance my icing.

(Please note – The only thing worse than the wrong color blue for beach cookies is a color palette that doesn’t work together. Actually, I lied. A color palette that doesn’t work together is worse. Much worse.)Continue Reading

Sugar and Spice Cookies

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-14

Today is a special day… Why? Because today we are having a baby shower for Jamie from My Baking Addiction!

I’ve “known” Jamie for quite a while… I think I probably knew her before she knew me. You see, she is a far more fabulous blogger than I am… She is the authority on all things baking, and I have been reading her site for forever. And, her photographs? They are absolutely gorgeous.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie in person at the Big Summer Potluck a few years back. And, as it turns out (and as I always suspected), she is even sweeter and fabulous in person.  She was kind enough to keep me company and hang out with me even though I was rather pregnant and rather cranky. I sincerely hope our paths cross again soon so that we can catch up!

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-2

In addition to a love for all things baking, Jamie and I have something else in common… Our blog names are somewhat similar. We both get the same crazy pitches for TV shows about people who eat laundry detergent and other strange things and emails about rehab facilities. And, on occasion, there are people who think that I am Jamie… I always consider it a huge honor. And, then I promptly correct them and send them on their way to one of Jamie’s fabulous recipes!

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-10

When I started thinking of what to bake for Jamie’s baby shower, the popular rhyme came to mind… “What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, And everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of.”  Sounds like the start of a lovely recipe, doesn’t it?

I’m hoping Jamie will enjoy these sugar and spice sugar cookies (they’ll be arriving on her doorstep in a day or two!)… I’ve added just a bit of spice to a traditional sugar cookie.  Instead of just using granulated sugar, I’ve also added some brown sugar since I love how the caramel and molasses-y flavor pairs with the warm spices.

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-1

I chose to decorate the cookies for Jamie, but you could also just slather them with a bit of buttercream and sprinkle them with some spiced sugar.  They’d also make an adorable cookie sandwich, too.

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-11

My inspiration for these cookies actually came from a pair of Maddie’s pajamas.  She has a cozy pair of cream colored flannel PJs with a cute pink and brown leopard print pattern.  I decided to try my hand at the leopard print (every little lady needs some leopard print in her life, right?) and then use that color scheme to decorate the rest of the cookies.

2014-01-14_CelebratingJamie

Want to see what other bloggers are baking up for Jamie and her sweet little girl? Don’t miss these great recipes!

Amber from Bluebonnets & Brownies | Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
Julie from The Little Kitchen | Pistachio Pudding Cupcakes
Shaina from Food for My Family | Vanilla Raspberry Mini Meringue Kisses
Glory from Glorious Treats | Modern decorated cookies
Cheryl from TidyMom | Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
Katie from Good Life {Eats} | Raspberry Hibiscus Soda
Aimee from SimpleBites | How to freeze a big batch of homemade waffles
Amanda from I am Baker | Heath Bar Cake
Steph from Steph Chows | PB Oatmeal cookies
Allison from Some the Wiser | Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
Megan from Stetted | Strawberry Jalapeno Palmiers
Shelly from Cookies & Cups | Bacon Cheddar Scones
Emily from Jelly Toast | Meyer Lemon Scones
Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen | Samoa Layer Cake

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-62014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-9

Sugar and Spice Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Royal icing or frosting of your choice

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-32014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-8

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape the seeds out and add them to the creamed mixture.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and then continue to beat on medium speed for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, until the egg is well incorporated.

While mixing on the lowest setting, gradually add the flour mixture.  Mix just until the flour is incorporated. Gather up the dough and divide it into two sections.  Roll each portion of dough out to 1/4-inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter to cut cookies out of the dough and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Gather any scraps and re-roll the dough as necessary.

Bake the cookies for about 14 minutes, until the edges are just starting to turn a golden brown.  Cool the cookies on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting or decorating.

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-52014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-7

Merry Christmas!

2013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-32013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-2

It’s amazing to think that another year has come and gone. This year has flown by for me, faster than any year I can remember. It’s been an amazing and wonderful year, but it’s also been a tough year. There have been many milestones and even more sleepless nights. There have been smiles and laughter and plenty of tears.

This has been my first full year of blogging with a baby. I was determined to stay true to my food blog roots and avoid becoming a “mommy blog.”  I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy.  Keeping up with the blog (even with the limited posted I’ve been doing) has been tough.  More times than not, I have just wanted to hang it all up and walk away from it.  But, here I am.

2013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-72013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-9

Since last Christmas, Madison has gone from a little baby to a toddler. It’s amazing to me to think of how much she has changed in the past year. She is taking in the world at a rapid pace, and I am so blessed to be able to be there by her side every step of the way.

A lot of things have to change when you have a baby… That’s not news to anyone. I knew our sleep schedules would change (though, I’m not sure I expected to still be getting up 2 – 3 times every night after 14 months!), and I knew that we wouldn’t be going out to eat, going to movies, and doing all of the things we used to do.  In many ways, those were the easy things to let go of.

For me, letting go of things that I “always do” has been the bigger challenge.  I’ve barely made any cookies this year for Christmas.  I haven’t had a lot of time, and baking with a toddler who just wants to play with the oven isn’t really an option. While I have mourned the fact that I didn’t have countless hours to decorate elaborate cookies, I have also enjoyed watching Madison laugh and smile, learn to walk, and hug Yellowdog after they share a morning snack.  Sure, I have my setbacks (and, most recently, not having time to decorate my annual Yellowdog cookies was one of them), but I am learning to let go of things a bit and just enjoy the time I have with my family.

2013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-42013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-1

Compared to previous years, my cookies aren’t very elaborate this year. I stuck to two colors of icing – white and red. I only did about a dozen cookies with flood icing.  You see, I have never really enjoyed the flood icing part of cookie decorating. I much prefer to pipe. So, when I knew I had to cut back on my decorating this year, I decided to do what I enjoy. I made a single batch of gingerbread cookies, and I spent one afternoon piping away and listening to Christmas music (during naptime).

2013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-62013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-5

I debated whether or not to even take the time to share these cookies and write a Christmas blog post this year.  After all, I haven’t exactly kept up with all of the gift lists, recipe roundups, and other Christmas-related blogger “obligations” this year. But, I think this year’s Christmas cookies are a pretty good reflection of my life in 2013. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up with everything, but I’ve learned that I can’t do it all. So, I’ve scaled back and focused on the things that I love, the things that are important to me.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a “goodbye” post, though it may read a bit like one. I’ll still be here in 2014. But, I think you’ll see a bit of a change… I hope you’ll notice a change. Instead of writing because I feel like I should, I plan to write when I want to. I am going to be focusing on making the food that I want to make, not what I “should” be posting for a particular holiday. I’ll be sharing photos that I love and not worrying about how they measure up to other bloggers’ photos (no matter how many sites reject them).  Starting in January, I am giving myself permission to do what inspires me.

2013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-8

Until then, I am going to take a short break… Last Christmas, Maddie was only 2 months old. She fell asleep while we were opening her gifts. So, for all intents and purposes, this is her first Christmas. I want to enjoy every moment of it. It may take her 3 hours to tear every little piece of paper off of her gifts, but it will be a blast. She probably won’t remember it, but I know we will. And, I want to remember that we had a great time together as a family.

2013-12-23_MerryChristmas2013-10

From my family to yours, have a very merry Christmas and a blessed year in 2014!