Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Potted Pastries

It might be too cold to plant flowers outside, but it's the perfect season for making flower cookies indoors.  After cutting the flower shapes out of my sugar cookie dough, I stuck a cookie/lollipop stick in each one and baked it. Next came the fondant to cover the cookie and the royal icing to add some definition to the petals.  And the sugar crystals never hurt either ;-) Once the flowers were done, it seemed unfair to let them stay on the plate.  The mini terra cotta pots stuffed with two shades of green felt were the perfect display for these pretty, tasty treats.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cookies Fit for Decorating

Unfortuantely, not all cookies are suited for decorating. (Just to be clear, all kinds of cookies are perfectly good for eating.) The sugar cookie recipe below is my favorite recipe for getting a perfect cookie that is frosting-ready every time.
Sugar Cookies
2 sticks unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
Cream the margarine and sugar together on a low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the mixing bowl and mix for another minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a seperate bowl, combine the baking powder, salt and flour. Add the dry ingredients in 2 shifts. Mix well after each addition.  Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least an hour before use. I like to lightly flour my silpat mat before rolling the dough out on it.
Note: If you are making cookies that you intend to cover with fondant, skip the baking powder in the recipe. The slight expansion in the cookie due to the baking powder will make it more difficult to match the fondant cut-out to the cookie.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cookie Cuties

Eight young ladies have joined me on a delicious 4-week decorating adventure.  During each 90-minute class at my house, we explore different ways of dolling up our cookies so they look (and taste) amazing.  These girls are so talented, I'm truly impressed by their weekly creations! Move over, Cake Boss, you have competition!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ahuva's First Birthday

Would you believe me if I said that Ahuva made it herself? I didn't think so.  Preparing this cake has kept me busy for a couple weeks. First baking and freezing both cakes (the large rectangle on the bottom and the 1 cake on top), the royal icing drop flowers that were made 2 weeks ahead of time, the double-batch of buttercream frosting that was made last week. I finally got to put it all together tonight in time for her party tomorrow. Can't wait for Ahuva to smush it all over her face!

You can't eat just one. Or maybe you can. (Pun intended). These one cookies were super-easy, directions to follow in a coming post.

 Party City's gimmicky first birthday paraphernalia, which of course, we bought into.

Don't pretend you don't dream of those Cake Pop pans you see in the infomercials.  I couldn't resist when I saw them on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond.  The pops are dipped in white chocolate and are coated with gorgeous, shimmery purple and pink glitter, which this picture really does not do justice.

Ahuva having her cake and smushing it too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pretty Tasty Adventures (PTA) with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

The cookie decorating was supposed to be for the kids while the parents sat in on the meeting. As it turned out one of the parents snuck out to decorate. A pretty tasty time was had by all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Who needs a little black dress anyways . . .

When you have a pretty, tasty, purple dress? And the matching hat!  These demo cookies were prepared for a class I am teaching a group of young girls.  I can't wait to see what this extremely creative group will come up with for their own cookies.  I've got ribbons, colored sugar, fondant imprint mats, and other decorative edibles to make their cookies beaulectable (= beautiful + delectable. Yes, I just made that word up).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The British are Coming - Let's Make Some Royal Icing!!!

Ok, so my humor is slightly corny.  I've had a couple requests for a good royal icing recipe.  Royal icing is great because it hardens as it dries and allows for beautifully decorated cookies, amongst other things.  Royal icing requires egg whites and some prefer to substitute meringue powder in the recipe to avoid the possibility of salmonella exposure.  Also bear in mind that grease the greatest enemy of royal icing.  Make sure all utensils you use in the preparation of the icing are completely free of any greasy residue.

Royal Icing
3 tbsp meringue powder OR 2 large egg whites
4 cups confectioners sugar (approximately 1 lb)
7 tbsp warm water

Mix ingredients with a mixer on a low speed for about 8-10 minutes. Your icing is ready to move into an airtight container or cover the mixing bowl with a taut piece of Saran wrap.  Keep the icing covered/closed whenever possible to avoid it hardening.  If you would like to color your icing, I recommend a professional brand like Wilton's  which is very concentrated and won't thin down your icing like a standard grocery store brand will.    Royal icing can remain in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for a few months.