Saturday, October 17, 2009

Double stacked of cuteness...

I made my very first Iced Shortbread cookie for little Emma's 6th birthday party.
They wanted something different as party favours and asked if I could come up with something like the iced sugar cookies.
This project started my new hobby of hunting down and collecting cookie cutters, Yay! for me, but not so much for my little house that is already jammed packed with full of 'stuff' :OP
I'd love to try making my own too, if only I knew how to, but that will have to be added onto my long list of 'things to try'.
My cookie cutter hunt lead me to the idea of a double layer cookie, and I found a fab set of cutters to do just that. It was a set of one large 5" flower for the base and little individual petals and a bumble bee for the top layer. All in all, it was a total of 9 cookies in one. Quite the assembly job it was, but well worth the end result.

Anyway..... I don't know about you, but a sugar cookie tastes like sugared cardboard to me, more like a biscuit, and I'm not a big fan of biscuits.
I love cookies! So I could not make myself bake any biscuit-like sugar cookies. I just couldn't do it! I need to love what I make so I had to find a recipe that I loved to suit this very purpose. After spending a week of trying out recipes of different sugar cookies, I just dropped the whole idea of it and started from scratch.

What did I love? Well, I do love the melt in your mouth Shortbread cookie, so that was what I started with. I had to adjust my Shortbread recipe to make it suitable for cutting and icing, and still kept all the elements of a delicious buttery rich melt in your mouth Shortbread cookie.

A week and 8 attempts later, I got a recipe that I was truly happy with. It held its shape well, was buttery, with a hint of lemon n vanilla, wasn't dry, and tasted perfect! By this time however, everyone who lived near me was over loaded with shortbread cookies :OP

The assembly line for this cookie was long.... and although it was only an order for 15 cookies, it took forever! Let me put it this way, I had to individually cut, bake, ice and stack each of the 15 big flowers + 15 bumble bees + 105 petals = a lot of cookies!
After a lot more practice, thank God I work a lot faster these days, because those cookies took what felt like an eternity.
But it was FUN! Loved every second of it and I especially loved the Bumble Bees! I even made some extra bumble bees for the fun of it because they were just too cute :O)

So here's my Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Iced cookies

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obcessed with the Gingerbread tree...

OK, so I'm obsessed with making this Gingerbread tree, and what do I find at the store one day on sale? A Wilton Gingerbread Christmas tree cookie cutter set for a Large tree, on SALE!

So I wasn't the only person who thought of making a 3d Gingerbread Christmas tree. Now if I had thought of it much much earlier and sold the idea to Wilton...hmmmm.

The assembled tree is nearly 12" high by 10" in diameter. AWESOME!
I went on an icing craze with this tree. It took me 3 whole days from start to finish.
First, I iced the base layer of leaves on the tree which were a darker green. Round and round I went for hours till it was covered from top to bottom. Next, two more layers of lighter green leaves were applied and then it was left to dry for the night. While waiting for the leaves to dry, I made a tray of little red poinsettias with yellow centers and leaves. This would be the first time I had made icing flowers, lots of fun! I will have to remember to make it a point to do more projects that include different flowers in the future for practice, and yes.... for FUN!

The Snow was next, and round and round the tree I went again. Oh yes, I forgot to mention: this tree is Big, and, being so big, it took 3 Gingerbread Cookie recipes to make and half a day to bake all the parts, which meant, a whole lot of wonderful delicious and intoxicating smells concentrated into one gigantic cookie. It was Christmas in mid summer for 3 whole days.

To complete the tree, I attached the pre-made poinsettias along with little silver sugar balls. Round and round I went again trying to get a good balance for the placement of all the flowers and silver balls, and it sure made me dizzy at times :OP

All that was left to do was to top off the tree. I made a smaller star, iced it in yellow on both sides and sprinkled some sugar sparkles over it, then I added some silver sugar balls for some extra bling, and attached it on top of the tree.

Ta Da!!!
The foot high Large Gingerbread Christmas Tree was completed.
That was FUN! And it was even followed by a week of back massages too :O)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gingerbread Christmas Tree craze....

Recently, since I decided to set up my Home-baked Cookie business, and with my icing skills a tad better, I wanted to give my small 5 1/2 inches Gingerbread Tree a little make over.
Equipped with proper icing tools this time round, I managed to decorate the tree in more detail.
However, more detail meant more time, plus a sore neck, back and eyes.
But it was surely worth every minute and all the effort as it turned out to be absolutely adorable, don't you think?

Development of my Gingerbread cookie...

Last winter was unbelievable. How beautiful can a white winter be? Very! It was peaceful, silent, and everything seemed to glow.
We had a record breaking snow fall and it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen from my bedroom window.
There are several large pine trees outside my house and they were covered in snow, gorgeous!
That gave me an idea to make my Gingerbread cookie gifts a little different that year.

I ruffled through my box of cookie cutters and found a few varied sizes of Star shaped cutters. I was going to assemble a forest of little Gingerbread Trees. In my happy holiday mood, I baked the star shaped gingerbread cookies in all sizes, gathered them into sets and started to ice and assemble them one by one.
By the end of the night, I had a forest of Gingerbread Trees in my living room that filled the air with spice and everything nice. Nothing better to set the holiday spirit at home.

A new discovery....

Did I mention I love Art too? Yep... love to draw and paint just as much as I love baking.
So, two Christmases ago, along with my brand new oven, I made my first Gingerbread-man cookies. It was my first attempt at icing a cookie and it was just like art on a cookie. Can't remember ever having so much fun!

I was never a real fan of the gingerbread cookie. Most of the ginger bread cookies that I have tasted were dry, and over spiced. But I had just bought some really cute cookie cutters that I wanted to try out. What else was one to do? Do some research, test some recipes, and put together the parts that I liked and tweeked it 'til I was happy.
The result: a ginger bread cookie that was moist, yet held its shape well, smelled like heaven, and tasted fabulous. Since then, I've made gingerbread cookies all year round, drizzled with white chocolate and topped with candied ginger. Delish!
Icing the cookies was tricky, as I had never tried it before. All I had was a plastic icing syringe from the dollar store :O)
The icing on the cookies turned out pretty good for a 1st timer I guess. I even made some ornaments for my Christmas tree and gave some as gifts to my friends. All in all, I was pretty happy with them.