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Sweets by Suz: April 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take your Son Daughter to Work Day

Today was take your son's and daughters to work and spend the day with their Dad at Blackboard Transact.  The kids made some cookies then I made a dozen logo cookies as a thank you to the HR director who coordinated this event.  Logo cookies - blah!  But actually, I would make these again because they were fairly simple and I like the color scheme.  

I used the Kopykake 300xk for these.  Here are some tips on doing letters like these

1) Prepare royal icing slightly thinner than outlining icing.  I like to sort of build the letters by stacking the icing close together and the icing has to be thin enough so it doesn't curl when it comes out of the piping bag.  If it is too thick you'll be able to see the individual lines, and not one complete letter.
2) Under-outline the letters.  By this I mean, use the KopyKake as a guide but make them smaller than the image should be.  Use a toothpick to drag the icing to line up with the image.  You can always add more icing, it's much harder to remove the excess.  So take it slow!  

I started with Blackboards main image, but used the white background version.  

Those ones at the bottom were very challenging because I couldn't find my PME 00 tip.

More photos of the cookies.  I love the 3-D look of the Bb one.

On to the Thirty Thursday portion of this post...

This box is a 3 pack sold at the dollar store.  I bought them for Christmas for my kids PJs and was frustrated by the fact that they are SO SMALL!!  Maybe good for doll clothes...  It turns out they are the perfect size for one dozen three inch square cookies.
I am the laziest person when it comes to packaging and wrapping, so I just use what I have and make due.  I like the way the bags looked sealed and folded then all of them are wrapped in tissue paper.
The kopykake was out, I had the logo in the projector so I used it to draw the logo on the box with a sharpie.  I guess I could have made it cuter by printing it, mounting it on cardstock, etc. etc.  but I didn't have time for that - I literally had 5 minutes before the kids ran out the door.
 I found some curling ribbon in my gift wrap box and added a bow.  Someday I'll have a collection of fancy ribbon.  Anyhow, I like how the theme of the cookies is reflected in this inexpensive box.
Thanks again to everyone at Blackboard for making this a great day for my kids!  And thank you black icing for cooperating.

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Anyone can decorate cookies!

The girls are hard at work making cookies for "bring your son/daughter to work day."  The HR manager asked kids to make cookies and bring them for the afternoon snack.  They are so excited that this is their own little project and I even let them prepare the icing by themselves.  Half of the flood icing ended up the counter.  Since I've started this craze in November they really look forward to going crazy with the left-overs - when I'm finished with a project I let them roll out their own shapes and decorate them on their own.

I love the Disney movie "Ratatouille" and agree with the chef's motto - "Everyone can cook!" and will apply this to decorating cookies.  

Day 1 Decorating - Flood & Fill
The flood icing looks just right - like Elmer's glue consistancy.  Cute Juju.
Cute Alexandra popping bubbles
 Alexandra using the KopyKake 300xk to draw the company logo on the cookie.
Julianna drew these logos on the cookies but would not be photographed.
Tray of cookies to share with the other kids.  Other than putting them in and out of the oven the girls made these themselves.
 Guess who is so excited about "bring your kid to work day?" - me!!! They are going to have these little monkies there all day!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you Blackboard Transact for the day off work!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chocolate Haagan-Dazs Ice Cream

Hi.  This is Kaley from Green Boot Living.  I blog about real food recipes, green living, and a little farming.  I am excited to do a guest post here at Sweets By Suz.

We love making homemade ice cream.  In Florida, the summers are long and hot.  Ice cream is a necessity for my boys (and for me too~ little secret).  Homemade milk shakes are even better when you make your own ice cream.  My all time favorite ice cream is Haagan-Dazs.  Growing up my mom always bought Haagan-Dazs ice cream for my Dad, but the kids were not allowed to eat it.  I would often try to sneak it.  Hence, my obsession with Haagan-Dazs.  Thanks Mom!

3 cups cream
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix eggs and sugar in a large bowl.  Add cream and vanilla.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  Turn mixture into your ice cream maker bowl (the frozen one).  I use the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and Love it.  Turn on.

Mix for 20-25 minutes

Place in freezer for a few hours to set or enjoy right away!

Add your favorite toppings.  I love frozen blueberries.

~Kaley's Kitchen  

Check out my chocolate ice cream w/ a probiotic punch.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Farm Cookies decorated with Royal icing


Farm Cookies headed to Munith, Michigan...

I'll post step by step instructions of each type.  I just wanted to share the group photo.  I purchased vintage cookie cutters on ebay because I could night find any online that looked right.  I hand-cut the barn to go with the group.  Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Easter Candy 75% off

This post has nothing to do with Cookies. So sorry. Anyways, this year I wasn't going to do it. I wasn't going to go down the Easter candy aisle, but today after grabbing the essentials I saw it, the candy marked 75% off, almost 2 weeks after Easter. I usually stock up on chocolate, but knew it would be gone at this point. What I did buy was tons of Ring pops, starbursts and a few other treats. When you open the packaging they look like normal ring pops, and I'm so happy to get a four pack of these for 0.25 cents.

I love parties, especially big Mexican-style birthday parties and with four kids I know I will use these long before their expiration date in 2014. If they are not gone by our last birthday in September the trick-or-treaters will be happy to take these home. It's nice that once you open the starbursts and Ring pops the packaging is just normal, but honestly I could care less about giving away Easter candy at my kids' parties. If someone has a problem with this they don't have to come to our party and they don't need to be my friend. I'm happy I can stay home with my kids, even if it means I have to pinch pennies and give away Easter candy at my kids parties all summer. Tragic.

So think ahead, pinatas, ginberbread houses, lemon aid stands and buy some candy at these rock-bottom prices. I try to keep the minimum amount of chocolate in the house because I know I will eat it.

Happy Thursday

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cute Little Easter Chick Cookie

Here is another Easter Cookie I made this year. I simply covered the cookie with a thin layer of royal icing using the back of a spoon. For more info on how I did this look at this post.

I used the KopyKake 300xk to outline the chick and was happy with how it turned out; however, royal icing on top of royal icing does not give the best cookie texture. The second layer generally dries too hard for my taste. I don't notice it with small accents or with 2nd layer detailing, but with this type of cookie it's a little too much royal icing for me.

Especially when working with royal icing, you don't want to cross that line where your cookie becomes like a gingerbread house - pretty to look at but not something you'd want to eat. I'm still trying hard to find that perfect middle ground.

There are a lot of beautiful designs out there but I don't even want to try to make a cookie that I wouldn't want to eat.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to use Sanding Sugar to Decorate Cookies

Decorating with Sanding Sugar is as easy as using Elmer's glue and glitter - Use wet royal icing, cover with sugar, shake off excess - that's it. If you want just a small area covered in sanding sugar you will have to do this in sections.
I really only use white Sanding sugar. I love the way it softens the colors of the royal icing. With the small Easter Eggs above I simply covered the eggs with thin consistency royal icing then sprinkled white sanding sugar on top of the egss. The sugar sort of takes on the color of the icing.
Sanding sugar looks best with simple designs. It adds texture, and allows for light to bounce off the cookie in hundreds of directions. I had to make A LOT of simple Valentines Day Cookies and Sanding Sugar made these pretty.
To add sanding sugar just to the edges add icing to a cookies as usual, allow it to dry completely. Add a thin royal icing border and immediately add the sanding sugar. Shake off the excess. Just like adding glitter to a simple craft.
Do not use sanding sugar on detail work such as lettering or scrolls. I used yellow sanding sugar on the duck on the right. It does not work there. I used white sanding sugar to outline the bubble letters "BABY" - it works there because it follows simple lines.
Here is another example of sanding sugar giving something extra to a simple design. These flower centers and the edges of the petals were added on the second day of decorating.
Sanding sugar gives these chicks and birds a fuzzy look.
I used white sanding sugar on these elephants. I added the sugar to the first elephant immediately, for the second and third elephants I waited a moment to add the sugar and the sanding sugar was not able to absorb the grey color of the icing.
Again sanding sugar for simple designs.
We used sanding sugar here to help hide the fact that our icing was way to thin. So use sanding sugar to hide mistakes.
When you are asked to donate over 12 dozen cookies, and you are really tired use a simple sanding sugar design. I love the way it looks on stars. These look very impressive, especially when light bounces off the cookies.
This crystal sugar made these chocolate cookies so pretty and delicious.

Other notes:
1) RED SANDING SUGAR tastes so so so so gross. I would only lightly sprinkle that on a cupcake. Use with caution.
2) I only like sanding sugar on thicker cookies. It makes a thin cookie too crunchy.
3) Keep out of the reach of children.

Any other thoughts???

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun Easter Cookies with Royal Icing

More Easter Cookies - Softer colors, next year I want to try even lighter colors.
Easiest way to outline & flood - using a cheap plastic bag! Great for simple designs. Thank you Daily Cookie - go check out her Facebook page, she is an amazing artist!
See using a plastic bag works just fine!! Now flood away!
Rainbow colored Easter Egg and Easter Bunny
Plain old polka dot eggs. I tried dots with other colors, the white is best.
New design - happy flowers! I like the wide set eyes and little mouth.
Swirly Butterflies, I never know how to decorate a butterfly.
More yellow chicks, I'm in a swirly mood.

Baa, Ram, Ewe, Baa, Ram, Ewe.
Little birds. I think swirls look great for feathers.
Happy Carrot Cookies
I hope these make someone happy!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Vintage Cookie Cutters from Estate Sales - Elephant Cookie Zebra Cookie, Seal Cookie, Camel Cookie & Alligator Cookie

I used some left-over royal icing to make these animal cookies for my nephew. Please note, the Alligator is completely wrong, I would have added green texture but was completely out of thicker icing and too tired to thicken what I had. Same problem with the seal, I used left-over icing and only had thin flooding icing.

The goal of this project was to see how these cookie cutters would work. I think they are great, and with the right shapes decorating is very easy.

Do you want to know the best part about these cookie cutters? I found them at an estate sale for 10 cents each. I love the simplicity of the lines on these and the size. Just as our portions have grown, so have our cookie cutters!! Some of the animal cutters I have seen online are close to 5 inches! These are perfect, barely three inches.

So go hunt for cookie cutters and estate sales or yard sales, and someday we may share an episode of hoarders.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter! Cute Easter Bunny Cookies - How to make a tiny sticker into a cookie

Bunnies dressed for Easter
Bunny Platter

To begin, you will need:
1) Sugar Cookie Dough
2) Bunny Template to hand-cut shapes
3) Royal Icing in lots of pastel colors (I use Sweetsugarbelles recipe found here)
4) I made the icing in both piping and flood consistency, but you may be able to get away with using just one. My family doesn't like too much royal icing on a cookie so that that is why I always flood with very thin icing.
5) Lots of time to hand cut shapes, a couple of hours to decorate. This part is so fun the time will fly by!

Inspiration - Stickers
I have a big box of stickers I have been collecting for too long. I've finally grown up a bit and let my kids use which ever ones they like. I found these under my daughter's bed, all dusty and squashed and decided I had to make these little bunnies for Easter. So I have no idea the brand or artist, but there they are, and thanks to whomever designed these. I won't pretend it was me. I just find things I think are cute and put them on cookies.

I put the stickers into the scanner, scanned them, enlarged them in word, printed that, then made these card stock templates for decorating. Hopefully you can print these out and save some time.
Template, maybe you can just take it off my page. I'm so not computer savvy and really don't have time to embed or label any photos.
Hand cutting is not easy, but is necessary if you want something unique. Use the template to cut out the Bunnies. I think in the time it would take me to make a cutter I can get them all done by hand. The key here is to have very cold dough.
Meanwhile prepare the icing. I learned to go softer on the colors. I wanted really soft pastels but found they became darker...
...later that evening
35 minutes later. Yes, I timed how long it took to bag everything.
Sorry about the dark photos, I like to keep it real.
Begin by outlining separate parts of the bunny's body. I kept the head and ears as one peice. The little arm was separate from the head.
Now outline and flood section 2, the bunny's outfit. I also added the pink to the ear, using the wet-on-wet technique. I did this while the white is still wet so it dries flat.
From that point, I added the feet. Notice on the sitting bunny the feet go over the dress. I had to think about this a long time. In one of the standing bunnies I left room to place a carrot on top.
Various stages of bunny detailing. I've added a carrot, some facial features. Next I will add the arms on top of the carrot. This has to be done about 30 minutes after adding the carrot. So, as you can see, it's all about layering the bunny sections.
Some notes about the faces. I kept the eyes very wide spaced, and the nose is sort of heart shaped just below the eyes. The mouths go just below that. I learned this time around that some features look better with royal icing. In this case I wanted the eyes to pop out so they are done that way. The mouth I wanted more in the background So I drew it on. I did a few mouths in royal icing but it didn't look quite right.
These bunnies have details drawn on with Americolor Edible writing pens. I think I need a new set. This was difficult as my pens were dull. I should have added some of these details before the feet were attached.
More examples of how I decorated their outfits.
They looked so cute in a little bag with either a mini egg or a mini carrot.
Here is the gift I presented to friends.
Happy Easter!

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