Friday, December 31, 2010

Pucker Up, Buttercup (New Year's Eve Cookies)

Mr. E & I didn't meet on New Year's Eve, but I like to say that's when we fell in love. 
His roommate had been dating one of my best friends for a while.  So, we knew each other, but never given one another much thought.  At a New Year's Eve party, while my girlfriend Laura was running around finding her cousin to introduce to Mr. E and some guy to introduce to me....we ended up talking.  We never did meet that cousin or that guy we were supposed to have been set up with.

At midnight, Mr. E kissed me on the cheek.  I was smitten.  A little over 3 years {and one breakup} later, we were married. ♥
So, New Year's Eve has a special place in my heart....even though we won't be going out, we'll be sipping champagne at home (well, he'll be sipping a beer), watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV.

I'm running out of time to get these posted, so no tutorial, but you can see from these pictures how the cookies came together:
{I used my candy corn cookie cutter. These were decorated with royal icing, with a touch of luster dust on the hats and food coloring pens for the girls' cheeks.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 for 10 : 10 of my favorite cookies from 2010

My friend Jen over at Tatertots and Jello did a great post on her favorite projects of 2010 (be sure to click over; she is SO fun).  I loved seeing her reminded me of her projects I actually tried and those that are still on my to-do list! ;)

So, I decided to go back through all of Bake at 350's posts from 2010 and come up with my favorites.

{And, y'all....after going through EVERY post, I am no longer wondering how I gained 6 pounds this year.}

Top 10 of no particular order:

Pink Posie Cake cookies for a Sip 'n' See

If I get my act together, I'll have one more set of cookies for 2010...then, lookout 2011, here we come!!!

{OH! I almost forgot. If you look at the navigation bar at the top of the blog, there is a "cookie index" link.  That page is now up-to-date (I think. I hope.). If you are looking for a certain decorated cookie from Bake at 350, you'll find the link there.}

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hoping you had a Holly Jolly Christmas!

Christmas!  It came and went!  But, I'm still celebrating because there are still CUPCAKES!!!

These are coconut cupcakes and they are delicious!  The cake, the frosting, everything!  They're from Ina, you know, the Barefoot Contessa.  Don't you wish you lived right next door to Ina?  I'd like to live right in between Ina and the Pioneer Woman with maybe Martha the next block over....I don't clean enough for Martha to live next door.

I trust Ina....and this recipe is no exception.  I've made them several times and make the recipe exactly as she writes it.  No tweaking, no's perfect.
Here is the recipe for the coconut cupcakes and the frosting in their original perfect state from Ina. (I did use large eggs instead of XL, but that was all I had on hand.)

{Just to give you an idea of how good it is.....the frosting starts like this:
....with 3 sticks of butter and a pound of cream cheese. Yep, it's good.}

For the holly, I planned to make fondant, but December 25th kept getting closer and closer.  I saw marzipan on the grocery store shelf and decided to give it a try.

You was EASY!!!  Marzipan is basically ground almonds and sugar.  Inside the box, it comes wrapped in a tube.
I divided it and used my AmeriColor Gel Paste food coloring in Super Red and Leaf Green to color it.  (I put my hands in baggies while kneading in the color because I didn't have any gloves....and we were going to a Christmas party and I didn't want to scare anyone with red & green hands.)
To shape the holly berries, I just pinched off pieces of the colored marzipan and rolled it into balls.  For the leaves, I rolled out the marzipan and used a tiny maple leaf cutter. Then with a paring knife, made the leaves a little more pointy.  I used the knife to make veins in the leaves as well.
Once formed, the marzipan can be left out at room temperature.
I do hope you had a HOLLY jolly Christmas. We did...and this picture about sums it up...
{Have a favorite from your holiday baking? Or a favorite from someone else? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.}

Friday, December 24, 2010

BAA humbug

{subtitle: cookies inspired by sheets}
Here's a sign you've become cookie obsessed.  When you're looking at sheets in the Garnet Hill catalog and think..."now, that would be a cute cookie."

{I think Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie is genius at transforming things into cookies: breakfast, jean pockets, donuts...}

My favorite part of this cookie? The scarf. :)
I sure hope Santa likes them!

{PS...I promise these are my last "play on word" cookies involving sheep.}
You guys have a very merry Christmas!!!  I hope your holidays are filled with laughter and love and all things SWEET!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peppermint Bark with a Little Somethin' Somethin'

{I just asked kiddo if a "little somethin' somethin'" was an expression. His response..."maybe for people your age." Someone is getting coal in his stocking.}
Anyhoo....this might not be the prettiest Peppermint Bark in the world.  (My friend Cheryl makes the prettiest peppermint bark.)  I think it's one of the yummiest, though.
It has a secret ingredient.....RICE KRISPIES!

Peppermint Bark with a Little Somethin' Somethin'

1 pkg. Starlight Mints (peppermint candies)
16 oz. bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, chopped
2 c. Rice Krispies
16 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Crush the peppermint candies.
{Those little suckers are HARD...I used a hammer.}
Place the crushed peppermints in a fine sieve over a bowl and shake out all of the fine powder, leaving only the chunks.  (You can stir that powder into hot chocolate.)  Set aside.
In a bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the bittersweet chocolate.  I like this Ghiradelli Bittersweet's in the baking aisle.
Once melted, gently stir in the rice krispies.

Pour onto the prepared pan and spread with an offset spatula.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Pour over the bittersweet chocolate.  Sprinkle on the peppermint chunks.
Refrigerate 30 minutes until set.   Break into pieces.  Take to the neighbors. :)
{PS....if you are shipping cookies with week, but sure to check the vlog post at University of Cookie on packing and shipping cookies.}
What are YOU baking this week?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread Dudes, Gals & Pups, plus *the best* gingerbread cookie recipe

EVERY year, I say I'm going to make gingerbread cookies more often.  And every year, I forget. But I'm making these again next week (and quite possibly the next week and the next).
I'm going to beg you....MAKE THESE COOKIES!  They are some of my favorite cookies ever....soft, chewy, spicy...delicious!
I had a little too much fun making these.  The gingerbread dudes and gingerbread gals were just decorated with a bit of royal icing.
Was it wrong to start pairing off the gingerbread couples? It's like eHarmony for cookies over here. 
{Sign you've spent too much time with your cookies? You start staring at the gingerbread girl wishing you had her outfit.}

Here's a little trick for making hair from Martha:
Use a garlic press (this is the only thing I ever use mine for). Just fill it with dough and....

These gingerbread scotties could not be easier.  A little collar, a little spring of holly...voila! Gingerbread Scottie Dog.
Here is the recipe.  I'm going to go out on a limb and call it the BEST GINGERBREAD COOKIE recipe EVER.  (I can say that because it's not my recipe, it's from the Southern Living Incredible Cookies cookbook.)

Gingerbread Cookies
(modified from Southern Living Incredible Cookies)

1/4 c. water
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. molasses
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
5 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1 & 1/2 TBSP ground ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Line baking sheets with parchment.

Stir together the water and baking soda until dissolved. Stir in the molasses; set aside.

Beat butter & sugar until fluffy and combined.

Whisk together flour, salt and spices.

Add to the butter mixture, alternating with the molasses mixture. Begin and end with the flour. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with a floured cookie cutter and place on baking sheet. Freeze for 5 minutes before baking. {They are going to spread.}

Bake 10- 12 minutes (for a large shape). Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating with royal icing.
 What are you waiting for?!?  Go make 'em!!