Homemade Snowman Marshmallows

Homemade Snowman Marshmallows

Homemade snowman marshmallows are a fun way to dress up your winter hot chocolate. It’s the perfect day to make marshmallows. Snowmageddon has hit the east coast.  Why bother digging out?  The roads are closed, flights are cancelled and the family is all in doors playing games. It is the perfect time to try something new. If you have never made homemade marshmallows it needs to go on your baking bucket list. They are delicious.

HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT SNOWMAN MARSHMALLOWS

For printable recipe, click here.

Adapted from Alton Brown

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Nonstick spray

1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat and stir continually. Place a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat. This is not the time to multitask. Many things can go wrong if you leave the boiling sugar.

3. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour in the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase the mixer to high speed. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 18 minutes. You definitely don’t want to under mix the marshmallow mixture. If you do the marshmallows can become weepy. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

To make into Snowman marshmallows:
1. Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. To make the thin marshmallows you will need a large jelly roll pan. I use a 16×12.

2. Lightly spray the metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Use a sifter and dust the entire pan. Coat the bottom and the sides. Leave the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

3. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining powdered sugar. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Homemade-Snowman-Marshmallows-Cut

While your snowman marshmallow batter is resting this is the perfect time to get together the colors for decorating. There are two options that you can choose from. You can either melt orange and black candy melts or you can use royal icing. Candy melts is the easiest to use. You can find Candy Melts at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby. You just follow the directions for melting the chocolate on the back of the bag and place in a plastic disposable pastry bag. Snip the tip of the bag and you are ready to decorate. Or you can make royal icing and color one small bowl black and one small bowl orange. Here is a great link to a recipe for a small batch of royal icing. {LINK} You want a thick consistency, so don’t add too much water when you prepare your royal icing.

Homemade-Snowman-Marshmallows-Cut-2

Now it’s time to cut out your snowman marshmallows. Take a small 2″ or smaller round cutter. I took my circle cutter and placed it inside my hot chocolate mug so I could find the perfect size. Spray the cutter with vegetable oil or coconut oil. Spraying your cookie cutter will help keep the marshmallow mixture from sticking. Dust the sides of the marshmallows with powdered sugar and set in a large bowl.

Homemade-Snowman-Marshmallows-with-Royal-Icing

Now that all your  snowman marshmallows are cut out, we can decorate them. Line up your homemade snowman marshmallows on a plate. Then dust off the tops of the marshmallows. If you do not dust off the tops you will become frustrated. Just ask me.  The royal icing or candy melts will not stick to the marshmallow if there is too much powdered sugar.  Next, take your pastry bags that are filled with royal icing or candy melts and place two small black dots for the eyes, the orange carrot nose and the black dots for the mouth. Let them sit out to dry.

Homemade-Snowman-Marshmallows-Piping

Once you let your homemade snowman marshmallows dry, you can plop them in your favorite hot chocolate or package them up in mason jars as adorable gifts. I love the cute hot chocolate tins from Swiss Miss. I love giving a mason jar filled with the homemade snowman marshmallows alongside a tin of hot cocoa mix as a hostess gifts.

Homemade-Snowman-Marshmallows

 

Enjoy and have fun!

homemade snowman marshmallows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmhouse Kitchen Recipe Crate

Farmhouse Kitchen Recipe Crate

Have you ever heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines? If you have, chances are you are addicted to Fixer Upper on HGTV. I love watching this talented couple take a house that is in shambles and turn it into someone’s dream home. Joanna is the queen of the farmhouse kitchen. I would give my right arm for her to redesign my kitchen. Well maybe not one of my arms, it would be pretty difficult to roll out cookies without both of them. But one can dream, right?  I have always loved the look of a farmhouse kitchen. Rustic tables, recipe cards from grandma on the counter and vintage dish towels. My son, Jude, often makes jokes that his inheritance of vintage dish towels is awesome. While he might not appreciate it them, his wife might someday.

farmhouse kitchen

Last week while I was day dreaming about my dream farmhouse kitchen and I ran across the cutest picture on Craft-o-Manic’s Instagram feed. It was a DIY Embellished recipe box tutorial. It’s great how a simple Instagram picture can help someone find just what they are looking for.

farmhouse kitchen

I fell instantly in love with Canvas Corp Brands. Thank you so much for the introduction Craft-o-Maniac. On their website they have a whole farmhouse kitchen section.

Farmhouse Kitchen Supplies

farmhouse kitchen

Can I ever just do a DIY craft without making cookies? The answer is probably, no. Plus, I have a firm belief that cookies make everything better.  I love taking every day items and turning them into cookie sets. I couldn’t help but want to say thank you to Camille, from Canvas Corp. She was so kind to reach out to me after I freaked out about how awesome their products are. The printing is beautiful and the quality is impeccable. I was so excited to receive this in the mail.

farmhouse kitchen

If you love to craft, Canvas Corp. Brands has a plethora and I mean plethora of goodies to enjoy.

farmhouse kitchen

Party in a Jar Book Tour

Party in a Jar Online Book Tour

Busy mom’s are constantly trying to come up with great crafting and party ideas for their young kids. I am so excited to share with you about Vanessa Coppola’s new book, Party in a Jar.  For those of you who do not know Vanessa, she is the chief blogger over at See Vanessa Craft.   I absolutely love her tagline:  “it’s my mission in life to spread my love of hot glue guns and glitter to others.”

Party in a Jar Book Tour

Party in a Jar is Vanessa’s labor of love.  What mom does not want to kill two birds with one stone? In the book she features sixteen kiddo friendly craft projects that not only provide entertainment for your mini party goers but the craft jars also function as take home party favors!

Party in a Jar Book Tour

Party in a jar is not only perfect for any hostess,

but it would also make a great hostess gift. The other great bonus is that the projects are easy for any mom to create.

Party in a Jar Book Tour

I have to have it…

You can purchase your own copy of Party in a Jar from Amazon or Gibbs Smith! Or if you want to step up your game, Vanessa is offering signed copies of Party in Jar.  Vanessa will be sending out signed (super cute mason jar) bookplates to stick inside the books by request. To request a bookplate, simply email seevanessacraft@gmail.com with the subject line BOOKPLATE. You’ll need to provide proof of purchase (Amazon order screen shot, photo of receipt, etc.) and a shipping address.

Party in a Jar Book Tour

What are you waiting for moms? You know you have a pantry full of mason jars. It is time to put them to use. Your kiddos will thank you for it.

Party in a Jar Book Tour

 

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

The holidays are here and life gets a little crazy around this time of the year. I thought this would be the perfect time to put together an easy ornament sugar cookie tutorial. Many mom’s are burning the candle at both ends creating gifts from Pinterest, baking holiday treats for neighbors, and running to the store endlessly for that one item you forgot to pick up yet again. I love teaching mom’s in our sugar cookie decorating classes that decorating cookies does not have to be overwhelming. I encourage them to break up the process into different parts. I created these simply decorated ornament sugar cookies for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and decided it would be an easy tutorial for anyone to be able to create.  If you are looking for a good chocolate sugar cookie recipe you should pop over to the prior blog post.

chocolate cookie recipe

Baked sugar cookies and sugar cookie dough freezes very well. If you know you want to make cookies, make your dough ahead of time and store your sheets in the freezer or refrigerator. We have a great tutorial that will take the headache out of rolling dough. Then all you have to do is pop out a sheet of dough or two and cut out your cookie shapes. {Cookie Dough Rolling Tutorial} Once your shapes are baked you can place them in freezer bags and lay them flat in your freezer. Here is an example of what you could do if you knew you wanted to make cookies with your family over a weekend.

  1. On Monday make your dough and roll it out in sheets wrapped in plastic wrap. Then place in the refrigerator to chill. {see tutorial above}
  2. On Tuesday or Wednesday cut out all our cookie shapes for the week and bake them. Then place the cookies in freezer bags and place them flat in the freezer. You can re-roll any excess dough scraps and re-wrap them.
  3. When you are ready to decorate, let’s say on Friday or Saturday, just pull out the freezer bags of the shapes you want to make and let them come to room temperature on a cookie sheet
  4. While the cookies are coming to room temperature, make your royal icing and you are ready to decorate.

When you break the decorating process out in two different stages, it does not seem so overwhelming.  I was just talking to one of my cookie decorating students the other day and this is how she decorates cookies for her family now.

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial Steps:

Step 1:

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

Step 2:

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

  • Mix a bowl of thick royal icing for the ornament sugar cookies.
  • I used a small drop of Americolor gels electric blue.
  • The picture above shows how the icing does not move from the spoon.
  • You want this type of consistency so that the icing does not move underneath your stencil.
  • leave icing in the bowl and cover

Step 3:

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

  •  Center the stencil on the ornament sugar cookie.
  • I like these Martha Stewart stencils for when I am using icing because they lay completely flat on the cookie and they slightly cling to the cookie.

Step 4:

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

  • Take a small amount of icing with your paint brush and simply paint a thin layer of icing over the area
  • Use your brush to wipe off any excess icing

Step 5:

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

  • Wait about 20 seconds for the icing to set a little, then lift the stencil from one edge and quickly remove
  • When removing the stencil, think of it like removing a band-aid. Swift and quick.

Step 6:

Ornament Sugar Cookie Tutorial

  • There are so many great gift ideas for these ornament sugar cookies.
  • Place them in mason jars and wrap them with a pretty bow and tags.
  • Place them in individual cellophane bags and give them as teacher gifts.
  • Place them on a platter for a holiday party.

Cookie decorating does not have to be difficult. There are many simple techniques that you can use to make beautiful cookies. I hope you enjoy this simple tutorial so that you can make some beautifully decorated ornament sugar cookies. Happy Baking.

 

 

 

 

Dessert Recipe Roundup-Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Dessert Recipe Roundup!

I love lazy Sundays. After church we normally come home and relax. Take a walk.  Work on a puzzle. Have fun together as a family. Doesn’t an afternoon of relaxation sound nice? Yet, relax is not a word I am very good at practicing. I know that it is important but for some reason I find myself able to sit still for about 5 minutes before I leap into another project. On Sundays though, I try to discipline myself to sit still for a little while. While I am “relaxing” today, I thought I would round-up some of my favorite dessert recipes that I have written for Best Friends for Frosting.

Dessert Recipe Roundup

Peppermint Mocha Cookie Recipe {Link}

December was my very guest post at Best Friends for Frosting. I was just a tad nervous writing for one of my favorite websites. Amazing contributors and desserts all in one place.  If you are looking for a happy place, I am pretty sure Best Friends for Frosting is a great place to hang out.  I thought I would kick it off with one of my all time favorite flavor combinations: chocolate and peppermint.  In my ever so humble so humble opinion they are the two best flavors ever!

Dessert Recipe Roundup

Ombre Sugar Cookie Cake {Link}

My ombre sugar cookie cake has been my favorite post so far over at Best Friends for Frosting. I can spend hours writing out lists of ideas, only to end up crossing off ninety percent of them.  This was one of the those ideas that came to me in the middle of the night. The kind where you want to shoot up in bed and tell your husband, “I’ve got it!” Only for him to look at you kind of strange and say, “Your woke me up at 3 am to tell me about a recipe?”  Apparently, not as earth shattering to him as it was for me.

Dessert Recipe Roundup

Green Velvet Cake with Jameson Whiskey Buttercream {Link}

Don’t be green with envy, you can have your cake and eat it too! I think whiskey is just about the nastiest liquid on the planet but you add sugar and butter to it and all of a sudden it transforms into something quite delicious. For those of you who know me well, know that I am not a fan of a lot of food coloring. I tried to make it with natural plant-based coloring but it failed miserably. I ended up caving and using good ole’ food coloring to make this delicious St. Patrick’s Day  green velvet cake.

Dessert Recipe Roundup

Spring Flower Cupcakes {Link}

Does piping flowers on cupcakes ever scare you? I thought I would try something a little different and top these cute spring cupcakes with natural flowers. They are perfect for any spring dessert table.  Easy + Cute = Fantastic!

Dessert Recipe Roundup

Mini Gift Cakes {Link}

Last but not least mini cakes! Have you ever seen those really cute shaped cake pans? I own a couple but I never really use them. For some reason decorating a cake that has already been shaped scares me, yet I keep buying these pans. I decided to over come my fears and turn these little cakes into a great gift for a Mother’s Day Brunch.

I hope you have enjoyed my first dessert recipe round from my contributor posts over at Best Friend’s For Frosting. If you have any great advice on how to relax I would love to hear it?  Better yet what is your favorite go to dessert recipe website?

 

 

Peeps Centerpiece Cookies

Peeps Centerpiece Cookies

Today is the perfect day to hop around the web for fabulous Peeps recipes, crafts, creative ideas & even a Peeps giveaway.  Christi from Love from the Oven and Michelle over at Sugar Swings! Serve Some, organized an amazing group of women to help you get creative with your favorite set of Peeps.  I can not wait to share with you these easy, yummy, and fun Peeps centerpiece cookies.

Peeps Cookies

Here are a few items that you will need to get started to make your Peeps centerpiece cookies.

Peeps Cookies

Peeps Centerpiece Cookies

  • 1 batch of your favorite sugar cookies
  • a package of your favorite Peeps
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate {yields 8 cookies}
  • unsweetened coconut {I love Bob’s Red Mill}
  • 1 ziploc bag
  • green food coloring
  • pastry bag or ziploc bag

If you are not married to a particular sugar cookie recipe, I would recommend Alton Brown’s recipe. When you make the recipe instead of using 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  I love how brown sugar transforms plain sugar cookies.

Peeps Cookies

Place one cup of unsweetened shredded coconut in a plastic bag with a couple of drops of liquid green food coloring.  Shake the bag making sure all the coconut is covered. I like to use unsweetened coconut so that the cookies do not become overly sweet. Once your “grass” is colored set the bag aside.

Peeps Cookies

Next, trim off the bottom of your Peep. This will help the Peep stand up nice and tall on the cookie.

Peeps Cookies

Place your chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. You do not want to heat or melt the chocolate too quickly. If you would like the thin the chocolate just a little, add 1/2 tsp. of shortening.  Once the chocolate is melted, let it cool just a little. Then pour into a piping bag.

Peeps Cookies

Now you are ready to put all the pieces together.

Peeps Cookies

Snip the bottom of your pastry bag or plastic bag. In a circular motion cover your cookie with the chocolate. Do not go all the way to the edge or the chocolate will spill over.

Peeps Cookies

Place the Peeps in the center of the cookie. Then sprinkle the coconut mixture around the Peeps.  Let the chocolate set.

Peeps Centerpiece Cookies

Open to US Residents Only.  Use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter, please remember it can be slow to load.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Ready for more fabulous PEEPS recipes and ideas???  Visit the following websites, each is sharing an amazing PEEPS post for you today, so hop on over and check them all out!   Don’t forget to enter to win the fabulous PEEPS Prize Pack as well!   Happy Spring!

 

Ready for more fabulous PEEPS recipes and ideas???  Visit the following websites, each is sharing an amazing PEEPS post for you today, so hop on over and check them all out!   Don’t forget to enter to win the fabulous PEEPS Prize Pack as well!   Happy Spring!

 

Food Photography Setup

Food Photography Set Up

I think food photography can be quite challenging.  A few of my baking buddies have asked me about my food photography setup at my house. Then in my email this morning, I received the latest blog post  from Lilaloa and she is having a photography challenge for the month of March.  What a perfect time to share my photography setup?  My food photography setup has evolved over the past year. Slowly but surely I am starting to have my own style and way that I photograph my food. There are so many fun an innovative ways to arrange your food photography setup.  Let’s get started.

food photography setup

This is my lovely Wal-Mart garment hanging rack, that I picked up for $14.99. Some photography background stands can cost anywhere from $50.00 to $150.00.  I decided to go the cheaper route for now and it totally works for what I am taking photographs of my food.

food photography setup

Lisa, from The Bearfoot Baker brings out my inner McGuyver.  When I read her blog posts she helps me think outside of the box. I am very talented at thinking inside the box.  I will explain what these bungee cords will help with in just a second.

food photography setup

I love Ink and Elm. Their photo backdrops and floor drops make food photography set up really easy.  It helps you change the mood and setting of your pictures.  You can order their vinyls with something called a grommet.  A grommet is a ring inserted into a hole through thin material.  I was feeling very adventurous one day when I decided to order a backdrop with grommets than the normal floordrop.  When I received them I realized I did not have hooks to hang the back drop. I ran off to Wal-Mart and bought some bungee cords. The reason I chose bungee cords was so that I could lower the back drop if needed.

food photography setup

The picture above is my normal food photography setup. I am really fortunate to have floor to ceiling windows in our dinner room.  I simply put the garment rack behind my table, open the windows and choose which vinyl “table” I will be using that day.  One of the benefits of vinyl floor drops for your food photography setup is that they can be cleaned. You can wipe them down after you are finished or before the next time you decide to use them. One time I had posted a new picture and one of my dear friend Nicole asked me, “where did you get your dining room table?” Well, it was actually one of the vinyls. How fun is that?

The picture above shows you another option for a back drop. I love using fabric backdrops. I grab a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby and then search through their fabrics. For backgrounds I have learned to stay away from busy patterns. You want your food to be the center of attention, not the background.  The great thing about fabric is that you can just lay it over the bar and now you have a beautiful backdrop.

food photography setup

The shot above is the grommeted back drop from Ink and Elm. It makes such a lovely back drop against the dark natural wood of my dining room table. Now that we have talked about my food photography setup, let me share with you a few tips on props. Food blogging or taking pictures of your beautiful creations can become costly, but it does not have to be. Each item above except the flowers came from Goodwill. Those gorgeous antique dessert serving plates I got for $6 for the whole set. I have used them in quite a few shots. The fun lemon plates and vintage ball mason jar as well. It is always worth popping into to your local thrift shop to see what they have in stock.

Things to look for at Goodwill:

  • tablecloths
  • table runners
  • vintage plates
  • silverware
  • old china
  • mason jars

Here are a few of my favorite pictures using my food photography set up.

Custom Cookies

Can you see how the different backdrops change the feel of the pictures? I used the black ruffle fabric from Hobby Lobby and the Old White Wood Planks floordrop from Ink and Elm.

St. Patty's Day Donuts

“Oh Henry” floordrop from Ink and Elm. This transforms the picture from a cooler color look like the Parisian set to warm tones.  Plus, I thought, “Oh Henry and St. Patrick’s Day donuts went together perfectly.  I own 4 different floor drops which allows me to own four different tables! It helps keep my photography fun and fresh by changing the backgrounds.

Custom Cookies

If you would like my resources on food photography, here are just a few links:

Alright, now for my submission to Lilaloa’s March Challenge.  I was so bummed that I was unable to finish my cookies that went with my sketch for last months challenge.  Let me share a secret with  you. I am scared of shooting photos outside. I have become so accustomed to my indoor shooting spot that I don’t like to shoot anywhere else. I know just how to set my white balance and I know just the right aperture setting. Take me outside and I feel a little lost. But I braved the outdoors for this challenge.

food photography setup

One of the nice parts about being outside is all the natural light. Even though I get plenty of light by the dinner room table I have to shoot at a much lower f-stop than if I am outdoors.  Normally, by the window my f-stop is set between 2.8 and 3.2. While I was outside I had taken shots between 5.6 and 7.0.  That is a big difference.  One of the things I noticed about shooting outdoors is that my straight out of camera shot came out sharper. I am going to have to look into why that would happen.  Well I am off to begin investigating. What do you struggle with when shooting food? What are tips or tricks you have learned along the way? I look forward to hearing about your journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Bowl Brownies

Super Bowl Brownies

Are you looking for that perfect dessert for your Super Bowl spread? Look no further. I will show you an easy way to turn a plain dessert into these super cute mini Super Bowl brownies.  I am a big fan of mini desserts; especially for parties and gatherings. Ever since I started my baking business, I love watching people at parties and functions. I promise I won’t stare long enough to make you feel uncomfortable.  Mini desserts fly off the table while often larger desserts sit untouched. The even funnier part is to watch a person pick up four mini desserts but they would never pick up one large brownie. It’s amazing the head games we play with ourselves. The other great aspect is the mini desserts can go a long way. One pan of these brownies yields twelve, 3×3 brownies, which doesn’t seem like much for a big party. But you can take those 12 brownies, split them into fourths and now you have 48 Super Bowl brownie bites.

Alright, let’s get started with these Super Bowl brownies. Since brownies can be quite the controversy, I thought I would leave it to your favorite recipe or the box you adore.  If you are using a box recipe, you will need to double it to fit in this size of pan.

Super Bowl Brownies

My favorite pan for baking brownies is Magic Line’s 9×12 inch pan. I love the fact that you get perfectly square edges. Feel free to use a 13×9 pan, you will just have some rounded edges and the measurements will be slightly off.  Grab a box of parchment paper and I will show you an easy way to remove your brownies from the pan.

Super Bowl Brownies

Line your pan with parchment paper. Make sure you have a large enough piece, so that the sides of the parchment paper come above the pan. This will help you remove the brownies easily so that you can cut them into squares. I don’t know about you, but trying to evenly cut brownies while they are still in the pan is impossible for me.

Super Bowl Brownies R3

Fold the parchment paper down on both sides and then on the end. Remove the parchment from the pan and cut out the square area where the corners would be.  This will help you fit the parchment back into the pan without any overlapping. Spray your pan with non stick spray and smooth down the parchment paper.

Super Bowl Brownies

Now let’s just imagine for a minute there are some lovely baked brownies in the pan above. Let the brownies cool completely. All you need to do is run a sharp knife down the edge that does not have parchment. Then use the top tab of parchment to remove the brownies from the pan. Place the brownies on a cutting board. Cut the brownies into 3×3″ squares.  Grab a large knife and a ruler. On the short side of the brownies, make a mark a three inches and at six inches. On the long side of the brownie pan make a mark at the 3, 6 and 9 inch mark.  Now that you have your hash marks, use the large knife to cut all the way across and down.  If brownie goo sticks to your knife wipe it off before cutting you next line.

Super Bowl Brownies

Once your brownies are evenly cut into twelve 3×3 inch squares then you can cut them into fourths. Place each of the mini Super Bowl brownies into cupcake liners. One pan of brownies yields 48 mini Super Bowl brownies.

 Super Bowl Brownies

While your brownies are cooking this is the perfect time to make your buttercream. Use your favorite recipe or you can use ours. To make the grass on the brownies you will need a Wilton Tip No. 233 used for making grass or Ateco No. 133.  If you don’t already own this type of tip they are super easy to find at most craft stores or baking shops in your area.  Hold the decorating bag 90° straight up; the tip should be 1/8 in. above surface as shown. Squeeze bag to form grass. Pull up and away when icing strand is long enough (about 1/2 inch) stop pressure and pull tip away. Grass will be neatly formed only if you stop squeezing before you pull tip away.

Butter Vanilla Buttercream

You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. organic shortening
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Lorann’s Butter Vanilla Extract or Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp. half and half

Directions:

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening and salt for about 3 minutes.  Add 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and half and half. Once the mixture comes together, scrape down the bowl.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Scrape down the bowl again.  Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy. Mix with green gel food coloring.

Super Bowl Brownies

For the footballs, I used chocolate covered espresso beans. Nothing like jacking your guests up on caffeine for a hotly contested game. No. No.  No. The real reason I chose espresso beans is because you can lay them flat without them wobbling.

Super Bowl Brownies

Place the flat side of the espresso bean down on the work surface. Then take a pastry bag with semi-stiff royal icing and pipe the lines on the espresso beans. Set aside and let them dry. ** You don’t have to use royal icing, you could use white chocolate or buttercream. You could set aside a small amount of your buttercream from the recipe above before coloring and use it for the lines.

Super Bowl Brownies

Place your espresso bean footballs on your mini Super Bowl brownies and you are ready to go.

Enjoy!

 

Well Dressed Gingerbread Men Cookies {Tutorial}

Who doesn’t like a well dressed man? Better yet who does not like well dressed gingerbread men cookies?  I know I do. I thought I would share with you how to easily dress up your gingerbread men cookies in snap.  Some people have gingerbread house decorating parties.  I think decorating gingerbread men cookies would make a great holiday party alternative as well. You could bake gingerbread men cookies and then have different decorating stations. Families could make their own set of gingerbread men cookies to take home. Some times people are intimidated by royal icing but anyone can apply fondant to a cookie.  The great thing about using fondant is that you can make quite a few different patterns in no time at all.  Let me show you how with a few easy steps.

Gingerbreadmen Cookies

Gingerbread Men Cookies

STEP 1:

gingerbreadmen cookies

Here are a few items that you will need:

STEP 2:

 gingerbreadmen cookies

You know what is great about fondant? It’s easy to work with. You don’t have to worry about royal icing consistency and makes for a great medium for impressions.  Grab a small handful of chocolate fondant. Knead your fondant till it is nice and pliable. Sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on your work surface. The cornstarch helps keep your fondant from sticking. Roll out your fondant to your desired thickness. I roll mine out to 1/8″. Place your cookie cutter over the area to make sure it is big enough to cut out.

STEP 3:

gingerbreadmen cookies

 Take out the fondant impression sheet from the fabric set from Karen’s Cookies.net , that you would like to use.  It comes with six different patterns. For this gingerbread man I used the rope looking fabric. Sprinkle just a light amount of cornstarch on top of the fondant. You do not want the impression sheet to stick to the fondant. Then use firm pressure with the rolling-pin and go over the mat.  Remove the mat from the fondant. When you remove the fondant, if the impression is not uniform, you must re-roll out your fondant. Make sure you put even pressure on the impression mat with the fondant roller.

STEP 4:

gingerbreadmen cookies

Use your gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut the fondant into the right shape. Since cookies spread a little when they are baking, the cookie cutter shape comes out just the right size. Easy peasy?

STEP 5:

gingerbreadmen cookies

Take a brush and apply a small amount of piping gel to your cookie. Gently place the fondant on the cookie. Be careful at this point. You don’t want to apply to much pressure when you are putting on the fondant. Normally, I would use a fondant smoother to adhere the fondant to the gingerbread men cookies.  But you will erase the pattern if you do that. All you have to do is lightly press the fondant on the gingerbread men cookies.

STEP 6:

gingerbreadmen cookies

For this pattern I used the Wilton Gold colorspray, from Karen’s Cookies. Make sure you are about 12 inches to a foot in half from the cookie. You only need a light dusting of the gold for it to highlight the fabric pattern. Then all you have to do is apply some royal icing eyes and a bow tie and you are good to go! Told you these were easy. Takes about 5 minutes to make! You can’t beat that when you are making a lot of holiday cookies! Then just take royal icing and add your favorite embellishments to your gingerbread men cookies. 

Gingerbreadmen Cookies

Tips for Rolling Cookie Dough

Tips for Rolling Cookie Dough

This morning I thought I would share some helpful hints when rolling cookie dough that I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago. It’s 1 AM and there is a freaky storm outside and I can’t sleep. I can’t rev up the mixer and wake everyone else up in the house,  so I chose to finish my blog post that I set out to write this week!  It’s a win/win. I can be productive and quiet!

Normally, when I make cookie dough, I divide the batch into two round discs and cover in plastic wrap to chill in the refrigerator. I like to chill my dough for at least twenty-four hours. I like the way the flavors develop when they are allowed to rest.  The hard part is when I pull a disc out of the fridge to use, the outside of the dough would soften before the inside. If you are going to be rolling cookie dough, you know this can be problematic.  If the dough is too soft your edges will spread. I had the tendency of trying to roll the dough out while it was too cold and I would run into cracking problems. I began to think about some ways to solve this conundrum.

STEP 1: 

Grab a rectangle shaped cake board. I use the quarter sheet size for rolling out cookie dough that way it will easily fit in the refrigerator or freezer.  Cover the cake board evenly with plastic wrap. I use stretch-tite, it is the only plastic wrap I am able to use without going insane. It doesn’t get sticky and unmanageable.

Rolling Cookie Dough

STEP 2:

Place your dowels on either side of the cake board. You can find dowels at any craft store. When I started I used dowels but then I decided to give these perfection strips a try because they are long and flat. They come in three different sizes. Next, take a large ball of dough and flatten with the palm of your hand.  Because the dough has not been chilled it will have a tendency to be soft and pliable but this can cause the dough to stick to your rolling-pin.  To help alleviate this problem, lightly flour the surface of the dough.

Rolling Cookie Dough

STEP 3:

Take your rolling-pin and begin to roll out your dough gently.  Do not roll the dough further than the cake board surface.

Rolling Cookie Dough

STEP 4:

Once you have your desired thickness, take another sheet of plastic wrap and place over the top of the dough.  Smooth down the plastic wrap to make sure the dough is completely covered and that there aer no air pockets.

Rolling Out Cookie Dough

STEP 5:

Take another cake board that is the same size and place it on top of the cookie dough and flip over. Then take another round of dough and repeat the process of rolling cookie dough.

Rolling Cookie Dough

STEP 6:

Flip onto opposite cake board and you can stack the dough rounds on top of one another. Depending on whether you are making 6 cookies or 36, just pull out the amount of dough that is needed.  I layer different cookie flavors on separate cake boards and label the board for each flavor.

Rolling Cookie Dough

STEP 7:

For dough that you will not use within three days, place in the freezer. When I place my dough in the freezer I add another layer of plastic wrap around them to ensure freshness. You can freeze dough for up to three months.

Rolling Cookie Dough

STEP 8:

Pull your dough round out from the fridge or freezer and unwrap. When the dough is rolled this thin it only takes 5 to 10 minutes for it to evenly come to the right temperature.


How Do You Like Rolling Cookie Dough?

Do you have any tips or tricks that you like to do when you are rolling cookie dough? Would you like to share them? We would love to hear about some things you have discovered while baking cookies!

Hope you enjoy! ~Melissa