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!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm a Cupcake Explorer! Plus, Yummy Lemon Cuppies Recipe

Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to announce that I (and 49 others) have been selected out of a pool of 700 applicants (I'm not even kidding) to be an Official Cupcake Project Explorer. Yes, yes, I know, it's a very prestigious position. Wait, what's that you say? You haven't heard of this "Cupcake Project?" Well, for those of you not in the know, let me shed some light. Stef is the lovely mastermind behind cupcakeproject.com, where she shares her delightful and quirky recipes. Stef has been reinventing cupcakes since she offered to bake for her friends' wedding back in 2007. If ever you are bored with plain chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, I highly suggest you peruse Stef's blog. Her cupcakes range from traditional flavors to out-of-this-world crazy, but all are 100% unique and described in such a way that I want to eat them ALL. So, you might now be thinking, what is this "Explorer" business? Well, much to Stef's chagrin, she does not have a go-to "perfect" vanilla cupcake recipe, which seems like rather a large hole in an otherwise very impressive portfolio. So she has been baking, and baking, and baking in search of The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake, and she feels she has finally come up with a recipe that is worthy of the title. Before she shares, however, she has enlisted the help of 50 fellow cupcake enthusiasts (the Explorers) to bake and critique her vanilla cupcakes. Before the end of this week, we will vote and decide if this is indeed The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake. I am very excited to be a part of this, and to possibly have the chance of saying (very proudly) that I was among the first ever to bake The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake. Alas, until decisions have been made, we Explorers are not allowed to share anything about the recipe or the end result, but never fear! I will most certainly be back as soon as I am able to tell you how it went!
Now, moving on to cupcakes for which I can give you a recipe! As I mentioned in my post about my camping cookies, I was at a barbecue over the weekend. In addition to cookies, I made some yummy lemon cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and fresh blackberries. All sorts of summer goodness!

I don't remember if I've shared this lemon cake recipe before (and I was feeling too lazy to look through my blog), so I am going to share it now (for the first or second time) because these cupcakes are moist, lemony, and delicious. And if I may say so myself, the simple-yet-sophisticated pairing of lemon, cream cheese, and blackberries was truly scrumptious :) So here it is: (Note: I did not make this recipe, but I have forgotten its source)

Lemon Cupcakes

(works equally well as a cake recipe--actually, it is a cake recipe)

Preheat oven to 350. Makes ~35 cupcakes

3 c cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 c butter

2 1/2 c sugar

5 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp lemon juice*

3/4 c buttermilk

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the lemon juice and buttermilk; end with the flour. Bake for 18-22 mins.

*This cake has an extremely, extremely light lemon flavor. Whenever I make it, I start with about a cup (or more) of lemon juice and reduce it on the stove until I have the proper amount. This intensifies the flavor and gives the cake a wonderful lemony zing.

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!