Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's Valentine's Day! I made some cookies! I'm going to keep this post light on the talking and heavy on the pics, cuz they're so darn cute."Bee Mine!"


And some pretty lace :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'Tis the Season to Say YES!

It seems like so many people have gotten engaged in the past month! I guess it's just that time of year :) I was lucky enough to be able to make cupcakes, a cake, and cookies for three different couples who recently got engaged. These cupcakes are vanilla with a lemon filling frosted with vanilla buttercream, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
In case you can't see them very well, the little wavy banners say "to have and to hold..."

Next up is a simple cake:

I was trying to think of a good, simple way to represent an engagement and thought this silhouette was really cute :)

Now here come all the pictures: cookies! These cookies were ordered for an engagement party and, aside from being told which colors would be used, I was given free reign over the design. I made a few different cookie shapes and put lines from the traditional wedding vows on them.

I started out with these adorable hearts:

Half of the hearts had full borders (as pictured above) and said "to love and to cherish," while the other half had a tiny heart just at the bottom and said, "as long as we both shall live."

I also did the traditional engagement thing and made ring cookies :)

I wrote on them "with this ring" and painted them with silver luster dust, and added some white sparkles to the diamond on top.

The next cookies are simple squares with the couples' names reading from top to bottom...

...and "to have and to hold" reading from side to side. Cute, no? :)

Here they are all together:

And here they are packaged up and ready to go! A cookie was left at each place setting at the party :)

Congratulations to everyone who has recently said "yes!" I wish you all the best of luck and lots of love for as long as you all shall live :)

Merry Christmas!

These little guys are in the Christmas spirit with their holly bowties on :) I bought this cookie cutter last year and never had the time to use it, so I was super excited to be able to make these penguin cookies for my friend's cookie exchange party!

I made this "wild" Christmas cake for my family's Christmas party. We do a gift exchange with different rules and themes each year, and this year's theme was "wild thing," so I made this animal-inspired cake and topped it off with a glittery Santa hat!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish everyone the best in 2012!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I put together this spooky graveyard for the high school's staff Halloween festivities :)
Happy Halloween everyone! And, just because they're oh-so-funny, here's a picture which shows all the tombstones :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

4x4 Poker Run Cookies

My dad is in a 4-wheeling club--you know, like Jeeps crawling over rocks and stuff? Anyway, every year his club, 4x4 In Motion, holds a poker run as their big fundraiser. So people from all over come up to camp out for the weekend, and everyone drives (or attempts to drive) along the Niagara Rim Trail and at certain points they pick up a card, and by the time they've completed the trail they have a full poker hand, and whoever ends up with the best hand wins some cash moneys. In case you wanted to know. The point, though, is that one night of the weekend there is a big raffle. This year, my dad bought two dozen cookies from me to donate to the raffle.

So, I started out with this cookie of the trail, based off a graphic from the 4x4 In Motion website. Aside from my imperfect handwriting, I was really happy with it :) Then, since it's the Poker Run, I added in some playing cards. I made at least one set of each different type of possible hand, from a pair on up, and then I made extras of the more fun ones, like a full house and a straight flush.

And, of course, I had to make some Jeeps! These ones, I think, came out a little bit better than the ones I made before, for my camping cookie platter.

Per my dad's request, since he drives a 4-Runner instead of a Jeep, I attempted to make a few 4-Runners and other trucks, but I wasn't very happy with them, so they don't get their own picture ;)

Anywho, they got packed up all perdy in a box and were ready to go!

I hope whoever won these enjoyed them!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Camping Cookies

Every year, my family and some close friends go camping at this awesome spot in the Stanislaus National Forest which we call Ramsey's. And every year, a couple weeks before the trip, one of our friends has a barbecue so everyone can get together and plan for the trip (or, you know, drink beer, eat good food, and play wiffle ball golf). The barbecue was this past Saturday, and I made these cookies for dessert :)

My dad and uncles all drive their Jeeps down the trail, and some of us hike. Ramsey's isn't a normal campground; there are no showers or toilets, no RV hookups (it would be impossible to get an RV down the trail anyway--there's a reason they drive Jeeps), no hundred other people crammed into sites next to you. It's quite fabulous.

We have a lovely big campfire going the whole weekend. We use it to cook and roast marshmallows, then we stoke it up and just enjoy sitting around the fire talking and telling jokes.

We spread our tents out on various clear, level patches in the forest. We don't have to worry about other campers, because Ramsey's is private property, owned by a close family friend.

And we enjoy the beautiful view of pine trees, and the sound of the river, which we are lucky enough to have bordering our campsite on one edge.

I was going to put in an actual picture of Ramsey's here, but I forgot to add it initially, and Blogger hates me and doesn't want me to move pictures around, so....sorry. Instead, we'll move right along to a close-up of one of my Jeeps:

The Jeeps aren't quite perfect, but they came out far better than I was expecting them to. I'll be making more this week as part of a raffle prize for my dad's 4x4 club, so hopefully I can fix what I don't like about these ones :)

Projects for the coming week: 4x4 Poker Run cookies (more Jeeps!), possibly a Jeep cookie tutorial, and my brother's awesome birthday cake! (I haven't made the cake yet, but I am thinking positively.) See you real soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Strawberry Cupcake Recipe

I made these ballet slipper cupcakes for a little girl's 6th birthday last weekend. Half of the cupcakes had ballet slippers, and the other half had the girl's inital, K. She wanted strawberry cake with chocolate frosting, which I liked because then the cupcakes were pink too ;)
I really like strawberry cake, and last year I tried out a TON of strawberry cake recipes. What I discovered is that it is very difficult to make strawberry cake using only strawberries. All of the cakes I tried, whether they called for strawberry chunks, strawberry puree, or strawberry jam, did not taste much like strawberry. The fruit left a vaguely sweet flavor which you could tell was not just sugar, but which was not easily discernible as strawberry. So I thought and thought about how I could make a stronger flavor and eventually decided to add Jell-O. I normally prefer to use only fruit in my fruit-flavored cakes, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do ;)
The Jell-O definitely helped, and the resultant cake was quite yummy! My only note is that this cake does not rise a whole lot, so you might want to fill your liners just a bit more than you normally would. So, for any of you who have had similar strawberry cake problems, here is my recipe ;) Some of the measurements are kinda weird, I know sixth-cups aren't commonly used, sorry bout that.

Strawberry Jell-O Cupcakes

Bake at 375. Makes 10 cupcakes.

4 Tbsp butter

9 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

5/6 tsp baking powder

5/6 C flour

1 oz strawberry Jell-O

1/6 C strawberry puree*

1/4 C milk

Whisk together flour and Jell-O powder and set aside. In mixer, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and puree, and ending with flour. Beat until mixture is smooth.

Bake 18-20 minutes.

*You could probably substitute strawberry jam. However, to make strawberry puree, buy a bag of frozen strawberries. Place them in a strainer over a pot and let them thaw out. Stir/squish them occasionally to try and get as much juice out as possible (but don't squish them through the strainer, you only want juice in the pot, not strawberry chunks). This may take a long time. Once you think you've got all the juice, put the strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Meanwhile, set the juice over med-low heat on the stove and boil until it's reduced to about a quarter of the original amount. Don't stir, but swirl the pot around once in a while. Combine the juice and strawberries, et voila! Puree! Most people also add a touch of lemon juice, which is supposed to enhance the strawberry's flavor, but I often skip it.