Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just Hatched! Mini Speckled Egg Cookies

After making these bird's nest cupcakes with speckled egg cookie toppers last year, I couldn't get speckled eggs off my brain.  They are really so simple...and so much FUN to make!
This year, I ditched the cupcakes, added a few colors, piped on some details, and plopped them in berry baskets. {You can get the berry baskets here.} 

Two things you must know about these cookies: 

One: Mini cookies are a lot harder to resist eating.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Two: Flicking the food coloring, it's fun.  It's so much fun that you should do it when your kids are at school...or where they can't see you.  Otherwise, I see food coloring being flicked all over your house. 
{This is a warning from the uptight mom-lifeguard-teacher-prison warden side of me.  If you are one of those cool, laid-back moms I dream of being, by all means, let your kids loose with the flicking.}

To make the mini speckled egg cookies, you will need:
  •  mini egg sugar cookies
  •  royal icing, tinted with AmeriColor Chocolate Brown, Ivory, Avocado Green, and Turquoise mixed with Ivory
  • coupler and tips (#1.5 or #2, #1, #15 star)
  • disposable icing bags
  • squeeze bottles
  • toothpicks
  • chocolate brown food coloring
  • small ramekin
  • small paintbrush
  • glove
Using a #1.5 or #2 tip, outline all of the cookies with chocolate brown icing.  Reserve leftover brown icing for piping details the next day. (Just place the bag in the refrigerator.)

{Have I mentioned that piping egg shapes make me nervous?  My eggs are never exactly perfectly shaped.}

Thin the ivory, green, and turquoise icings with water, a bit at a time, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup.  You'll want to drop a "ribbon" of icing back into the bowl and have it disappear in a count of "one thousand one, one thousand two." Four is too thick, one is too thin.  Count of 2-3 is good.  Cover with a damp dishcloth and let sit for several minutes.

Stir gently with a silicone spatula to pop and large air bubbles that have formed.  Pour into squeeze bottles as needed.

Flood the cookies with the colors, using a toothpick to guide to edges and pop large air bubbles.

Let the cookies dry uncovered, 6-8 hours or overnight.

The next day, place all of the cookies close together on a cookie sheet.  Mix a few drops of chocolate brown food coloring with a few drops of water in a small ramekin.

Put on your glove...I learned from last year.  Dip the paintbrush in the food coloring mixture, and with one finger, flick it onto the cookies.  Rotate the cookie sheet every so often to get all of the cookies.

Let the reserved brown icing come to room temperature.  Use a #1 or a #15 star tip to add details onto the speckled cookies.

Speckled Egg Cookies...don't you want to try?!?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cookies...Works for Me Wednesday

Cookies ALWAYS work for me.  They really are the world's most perfect food.

And I'm not talking just decorated cookies here...chocolate chip (my personal favorite), oatmeal, peanut butter...ALL cookies!
That's what I was so excited when my friend Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod released her e-cookbook, Cookie Cravings.

Maria is known as a queen of cookies in the food blogging world.  She is always coming up with the most delicious and delectable combinations imaginable.  For example: Triple Chocolate Oreo Chunk Cookies, and Fluffernutter cookies.  See, I told you!
Cookie Cravings is a collection of 30 favorite cookie recipes...each one photographed BEAUTIFULLY by Heidi Larsen of Foodie Crush.

When you purchase the Cookie Cravings Digital Collection, you'll also receive:
  • Cookie Days, a second book with favorite recipes from other bloggers and cookie decorating inspiration
  • Printable gifting labels for a year of special occasions from
  • Printable Kitchen Conversion Chart
  • Printable What’s in Maria’s Pantry: Baking Cookies
  • Printable Cookie Recipe Cards for your own cookie recipes
  • Printable Chocolate Toffee Almond Cookie Recipe Card from Two Peas and Their Pod
  • Printable Keep Calm and Bake On Graphic
  • Computer Screen Saver Wallpapers
  • VIDEO: Maria’s Step-by-Step Cookie Baking Tutorial
Guess what?!?  Maria is giving one Cookie Cravings package away to a Bake at 350 reader!  Woot!  Cookies!  You are going to LOVE it!!!

To enter to win, just leave a comment below answering the question: 
"what is your all-time favorite cookie?"

{PLEASE be sure that your comment links to or includes an email address so I can find you!}
Giveaway open through Friday, March 30th. Good Luck!

***giveaway closed. congrats, jennifer!***

Cookies.  They always work for me! 
{{oh, and you know there is a SAVORY side to Bake at 350?  There's a cookbook giveaway going on over there as well!}}

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Make-Money-From-Your-Teenager Salted Butterscotch Blondies

How often does your child offer to pay YOU to make something?  It really doesn't happen often, um, ever, around here.
A few weeks ago, I volunteered to provide a tray of blondies for an event.  Now, if your house is like my house, all sweets must be "tested" before leaving the premises.

Kiddo was 2 bites in and announced,
"I will PAY you to make more of these."

Ok.  Deal.  What do you think I should charge?  $2?  $10? A promise he'll come home every weekend when he's away at college?  A promise that he'll let me choose his bride, her dress, and provide me with at least one granddaughter since my sister & I have all boys and need to buy some pink and tutus?
Yeah, that ought to do it.

Kiddo is right about these...they are one of our new favorite recipes for spring.  Heck, spring, summer, winter, or fall. (Are you singing James Taylor right now?)

The dangerous thing about these bars is...they are SO easy to make.  You won't even need your mixer....just a bowl and a spoon.

Now, you will be using Imitation Butter Flavoring. 
I know, it sounds a little scary.  I'm not asking you to drink it straight up.  You'll use a teaspoon.  And, if you cut your blondies into 24 squares, you'll only consume 1/24th of a teaspoon in each one.  It's totally worth it. 

Here's the don't even have to pay me.

Salted Butterscotch Blondies


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1 & 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
12 ounces butterscotch chips
1/4 tsp. flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.  Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Once melted, pour the butter into a bowl and stir in the sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla and butter flavoring until combined.

Stir in the flour, and then the lightly beaten eggs.  Stir until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the butterscotch chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spreader.  Sprinkle on the flaky sea salt.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

{adapted from The King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion}

Salted Butterscotch Blondies.  
How much will YOU make from your kids by baking them? 

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you check out Suzanne Goin's springtime recipes at, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children's U.S. programs. Plus, you'll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with Symmetry™ Double Ovens– featuring two large ovens (that can each fit up to a 28 pound turkey!), providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time...

Me (whining to husband): I think my cookies are a fail.
Him: That's what you get for messing around with Don Draper.

*sigh* I should have known better.
Are you ready for Sunday night?  You know, the return of Don, Betty, Joan, Peggy, Roger, Pete...the gang?

I'm talking about my beloved Mad Men.  Season 5 starts Sunday and I thought I would make some really cool Mad Men cookies to celebrate.

Really cool turned into a kinda fail.

Here's how these cookies came about...

Every now and then, I like to look at the "keyword" searches that bring people to the blog.  Most you might expect, like "Bake at 350" and "my royal icing is sticky."  Sometimes they are really, really funny...I've seen more than one search for "butt cookies."  Hmm.

Anyway, one day I came across someone who found my blog searching for "Tom Selleck cookies."  I've never made Tom Selleck cookies, but I have mentioned him in a post before.  So, I wondered what other "Tom Selleck cookies" might be out there.

I found these.  Awesome, right?

So, I thought I'd use the same technique to make Don Draper cookies.

They'd be all cool with captions like...

As it turns out, my Don Drapers look more like Mitt Romney than anything else. that not the spitting image of Mitt Romney?!? I mean, Mitt is pretty handsome and all, but he's no Don Draper.

{I asked kiddo who they looked like and he said "a cross between Mitt Romney and that Blagojevich guy."  He knows of Blago...that scares me.}

IF you want to try this method, and be warned, it takes about 142 hours, here's what you'll do...

  • Find an image and resize it to the size you want.  Don't make it too small since you'll be cutting out small details.
  • Print one copy of the image in's easier to see the edges this way, and another in black and white. 
  • Cut around the edges of the color copy.  This will be your template for the cookie shape.
  • Using an X-acto knife, cut away the black areas of the black & white copy.

  • Lay this cut-out on top of your dough.  Use a paintbrush to fill in the uncovered areas with food coloring. {I used a 1:1 mix of AmeriColor Super Black and water.}
  • Freeze the painted cookies for 10 minutes before baking to prevent spreading.  Then, bake as usual.
Oh, I also made a Joan.  I love Joan...a woman with curves...on TV!  Woot!  Let's hear it for the curvy girls!  {OK...I'll stop cheering now.}  The Joan cookies didn't turn out so hot, either.

Oh was fun to try.  And I'm STILL excited about Mad Men.  I may even make a martini. On a Sunday night. {I won't; but quite possibly there will be a glass of wine involved...and cookies, definitely cookies.}

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why I love blogging, TERESA, Doggie silhouette cookies, and Seattle, Seattle, Seattle!!!

{Be warned...a very wordy post, with lots of personal pictures. But, there ARE cookies, too!}
I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  My very favorite thing about blogging is not anything I ever expected or anticipated.

My very favorite thing about blogging is that it has brought some really amazing and true friendships into my life. ♥

For Mother's Day two years ago, Mr. E surprised me with a trip to visit my very first blogging friend, Cheryl from TidyMom. It was so much fun that I decided then and there that visiting bloggy friends in real life must be continued.

When we were thinking about a spring break trip, we decided on Seattle. Yes, warm, sunny Seattle.  Neither one of us had really seen the city, and kiddo had never been to that part of the country.  And guess who just happens to live there?!?

TERESA from Blooming on Bainbridge!!!

Now, Teresa and I had gotten to the point of texting each other, oh, about 247,000 times a day.  It was high time we met...and we DID!!!
We had a wonderful dinner together in Seattle and had a groan-worthy, unbutton-the-top-button-of-your-pants dinner at Teresa's home on Bainbridge Island.  (I waited until we were on the ferry back to Seattle to do the don't want to be TOO weird when meeting a blog friend.) We were so busy gabbing that we didn't take many pictures.

You know how Teresa is the sunniest, funniest, happiest girl on her blog?  Well, she's that x 1,000 in person.   And her house?  Oh, it's only the cutest place ever.

{Psst...See that handsome man with the cool glasses in the picture with kiddo and & Mr. E?  That's Teresa's husband.  I swear, bloggers have the best husbands.  I just love him.}

Oh, and y'all...Seattle is a foodie town.  Great food is everyWHERE!  Take a look at this salted caramel cupcake from The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co
But, the BEST food we ate all week was at Teresa's house on Bainbridge.  Chicken Pot Pie, Mashed Potatoes, all kinds of appetizers, Ina's Chocolate Pudding.  Mr. E is so spoiled now.
And I'm chubby.

Let's talk about Seattle...or, our home away from home, the Pan Pacific Hotel.
This was our view:
{No, I'm not kidding.  That's the Space Needle.  How cool is that?!?}

I'm pretty much in love with this hotel.  From the location (in a hip little neighborhood where Amazon is making it's new home), to the service (impeccable), to the WHOLE FOODS MARKET downstairs!

Foodies...if you are planning a trip to BlogHer Food in June, you might want to consider the Pan Pacific! {Y'all...they have free wifi.  They know better than to separate a blogger from her wifi.}
{A few more pictures...we didn't stay in the suite pictured up top, but I thought you might want to see it.  I'm going to dream about it. The lobby is also very chic and modern...wonderful seafood restaurant and a Starbucks attached (this is Seattle after all!).  ALL of the rooms come with BIG soaking tubs and sliding doors that open up to the room.  After a long day of walking around Seattle, relax in the tub with a glass of wine, and enjoy your view of the Space Needle.  Of course, I did not do this since kiddo was with us, but I imagined it. ;)}

As far as what to see....I could go back and spend a month or so in Seattle just exploring.  Well, exploring and EATING.  Space Needle, monorail, Pike Place Market, the ferries...there is SO, so much to do!!!

Now to the cookies...
If you know Teresa, and you should, you'll know her ADORABLE Wheaten Terrier doggie, Doogan.

So, I stole a picture of Doogan from Teresa's blog ;), and printed it out.

Then, the day before I made the cookies, I placed the printout on an upside-down cookie sheet and covered it with waxed paper.  I outlined and filled the picture, just like I would on a cookie.

For the cookies, I used Callye's method of turning a scalloped circle cookie into a scalloped oval.  (I love this!)  The cookies were outlined and filled with light turquoise icing.

After the cookies had been drying for about an hour, I peeled the Doogan silhouettes off of the waxed paper and gently placed them on the cookies.  (The cookies are still wet enough to hold the silhouette without disturbing the icing.) Then, the cookies dried uncovered overnight.

Since I was visiting Teresa (the queen of pink and gingham), I had to tie her cookies up in some big pink gingham ribbon. ♥

Seattle Spring Break...I recommend it.
{...especially with your sweethearts.}

I'll leave you with one more (can you stand it?) picture. It's blurry, but I think it's my favorite.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Double-decker Rainbow Shamrock Cookies

You didn't think you'd seen the last of the double-decker cookie, did you?!?  Oh no...I sense a double-decker cookie obsession coming on.
As soon as I started thinking about St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to do a shamrock version of the hearts...but I couldn't decide on a background.  Then, out-of-the-blue, it came to me....rainbow!  Do you know I've NEVER made a rainbow cookie before?!?  Never!  How is that possible?

Of course, you could really put any shape in the middle for your second cookie...heart, cloud, unicorn... ;)

For the double-decker rainbow shamrock cookies, you will need:
  • cookies...rectangle and shamrock
  • royal icing, divided and tinted with AmeriColor leaf green, bright white, super red, orange, egg yellow, sky blue and regal purple
  • disposable icing bags
  • couplers and tips (#2)
  • squeeze bottles
  • meringue powder
  • small paintbrush
  • white sanding sugar
Outline the cookies with a #2 tip.  Use green for the shamrock and white for the rectangle.  Pipe stripes across the rectangle.

Go ahead and save some of this piping consistency green or white doesn't matter which one. You won't need it until the next day; this will be your "glue" to attach the cookies together. You can just plop the icing bag right in your fridge.

Thin all of the icings (except white) with water, a little at a time, stirring gently with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup. (Here is a video I made a few years ago showing how I do it.)  Cover with a damp dish towel and let sit for several minutes.

Stir gently with a rubber spatula to pop any air bubbles that might have formed.  Pour into squeeze bottles as needed.

Fill the shamrocks with the green flood icing, using a toothpick to guide to edges and pop large air bubbles.

Fill in the rainbow with the other colors....remember Roy G. Biv?  Follow that, but I just skipped green since we have the shamrock, and indigo, because, well, I just did.

TIP: Small spaces, such as the individual rainbow colors have a tendency to cave in, or crater, while drying. After talking with fellow cookiers, we've decided it's trapped air bubbles that don't have anywhere to go.  So, to help avoid this...
  1. ...don't overfill the area.  Use just as much icing as you need to cover the area well, but you don't want a mound of icing.
  2. a toothpick all the way through the icing (I use an 8-pattern), even if your icing has already spread across the area to me filled.
Let the cookies dry overnight.

The next day, take the reserved icing out of the fridge to warm up a bit.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon water with 1/4 teaspoon of meringue powder.  Brush with mixture onto the shamrock cookies with a small paintbrush.  Sprinkle on the sanding sugar and shake off the excess.

Pipe a small amount of icing onto the back of the shamrock.  Press onto the rectangle cookie to adhere.  Let the cookies dry about 30 minutes before packaging.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

May your troubles be less,
 And your blessings be more
 And nothing but happiness,
 Come through your door  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hint o' Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Quite frankly, I'm surprised that there are any cookies to show you today.  I kind of inhaled a good portion of the cookie dough before baking it.
{I think I'm having back-from-Seattle-vacation withdrawals...that's my excuse anyway.}

So, I spied these mint dark chocolate m&m's at my grocery store, immediately snagged them, and tucked them away for St. Patrick's Day.  But, don't limit yourself to St. Patrick's Day, these are really perfect, with the mint, your cookie doubles as breath freshener.

The cookies are BIG and thin, so they might look crispy....they're not.  They're soft and bendy, and utterly delicious.

Then, if you want to get a little do, right?  Break out the mint chocolate chip ice cream and make yourself a minty ice cream sandwich.

{I made this one for Mr. E.  See...when we were in Seattle, Teresa made this glorious chicken pot pie...I know he's still dreaming of it.  I'm trying to remind him that I can spoil him, too.} ;)

Hint o' Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 & 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces mint dark chocolate m&m's (you won't use them all)

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars together until combined and fluffy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions and scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the flour on low in three additions, just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, or a spoon, scoop out about 2 TBSP of dough per cookie, leaving at least 2" of space between cookies.  Press in 5-6 m&m's on the top.

Bake for 12-14 minutes...the side will look done and the middles will still be soft.  Cool on the tray for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

If desired, sandwich around mint chocolate chip ice cream.