Welcome to my Sweets Blog!

Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
I've been looking for a way to share my sweet creations with everyone, and I think I have found it--here is my sweets blog! As I experiment with delicious desserts & sweet treats, I will post pictures, recipes, and how-to tips & tricks. Hope you enjoy reading about my sweets as much I enjoy eating them!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hanukkah Sugar Cookies (with a Twist)

At the last minute (or what felt like the last minute for a non-professional baker, making tons of Christmas cookies in my,  eh-em, spare-time), my friend at work asked me to make Hanukkah cookies for her this year, instead of Christmas cookies. (She celebrates both holidays, and knows that I usually give a handful of my coworkers an assortment of Christmas cookies every year.) She made her request the week before Christmas (a few days before Hanukkah), after I had already closed the chapter on all of the cookie-baking, and was focusing on all of the royal icing decorating. [I made huge batches of all sorts of Christmas sugar cookies: snowflakes, trees, wreaths, stockings, santa hats, etc, etc. See a bunch of them here and here!]

I had to do some quick thinking to save myself from getting all sorts of disorganized & throwing my cookie decorating schedule off track...*insert whiney voice here*...I just did not want to bake another cookie that week! But I could not disappoint my dear friend, who keeps me sane at work every day!  

Well, I had made a ton of 5-point stars for my Christmas Tree Cookie Towers, but clearly they would not work for the 6-point star needed for the Star of David. I also had a bunch of presents that I could decorate with blue and yellow icing instead of red and green, but that didn't seem special enough to stand alone. Then I realized that all of the snowflakes that I already had baked had 6 points! I was saved! And somehow, at the 11th hour, I envisioned a menorah in the upside-down Christmas tree. A stroke of brilliance I am sure will not be soon replicated.  


Happy Hanukkah! 

A Few More Assorted Christmas Cookies

Just had to share a few more Christmas Cookies to round out the holiday baking season...

Some more snowflakes (for these I sprayed the white snowflake with Wilton Color Mist in Pearl, and then piped on the name & lightly dusted with pearl luster dust, and topped with silver dragĂ©es)

And last but not least, one of the only sets of cookies I made for myself this season... Christmas Girls' Night Cookies! 

The name plaques are made with two scalloped round cookies that I pieced together to make a wider scalloped oval. I made these the day of the party, so I did not have time to take step-by-step photos. I will definitely use that technique again in the future, so stay tuned! 

I love the cosmos & the green-on-white wreaths and Christmas trees. And everyone at the party loved the mini-candy canes! 

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Looking forward to an exciting New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Stocking Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing Transfers

I have to admit, I wasn't sure this was going to work. But these Christmas Stocking Sugar Cookies came out exactly as I had envisioned them!

A few posts ago, I mentioned my favorite way to overcome red food coloring issues is to top 'light red' royal icing with red sanding sugar. [Read about it here.] Well, I knew that trick would be essential to this cookie project, a big red Christmas Stocking, but I also knew I wanted to pipe holly leaves and berries on the stocking too.  Piping small details over the rough texture of sanding sugar is not impossible, but definitely doesn't yield the most pristine details. So I wondered if I could make a Holly Royal Icing Transfer, place it on the stocking's not-quite-red royal icing while it is still wet, and then top the whole thing with red sanding sugar. Then, in theory, when I shake the excess red sanding sugar off the cookie, it wouldn't stick to the holly decoration, since the holly had already hardened! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie Tower

The Christmas Tree Tower is definitely becoming my signature Christmas cookie treat. 

Me! Showing off my cookie tower on Christmas Day in 2009
I've been making it for quite a few years, and it's still somewhat of a work in progress. Every year I am trying to find the right balance between transport-ability and eat-ability. I want to be able to display it on a platter and bring it to parties, without everything falling apart during the car ride. But I also want it to be easy enough to take apart so the cookies that make up the tower actually get eaten! Regardless of the process, the end result has always had that wow factor, which makes me a happy baker. 

I will share the method I used this year. Who knows, next year I may fine tune the process and I will blog about it again. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Segmented Santa Claus Sugar Cookies

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town!

I am so excited about these Segmented Santas! Before I say one more word about them, I have to share that they were hugely inspired by one of my all time favorite cookie-decorating-bloggers, Callye, also known as Sweet Sugarbelle [check out her blog here and her flickr photostream here]. Her cookie decorating skills are impeccable and she has some of the most creative cookie ideas I've seen.

I had been sketching out ideas for a large Santa face, made from a 6-petal flower cutter & the Santa Hat cutter. Then, when I saw her blog post featuring her Dancing Elves & Segmented Santas earlier this month, I knew my Santa needed a big belly and black boots too!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Assorted Christmas Sugar Cookies

It's finally Christmas Week! Can't wait for all of the celebrations, but first I have so much baking still to do. Even though the whole baking and decorating process is very therapeutic and relaxing for me, I definitely feel the pressure of the time crunch this time of year! 

I've done a few big sugar cookie projects that I am really proud of for Christmas, and I would love for you to check back in a few days for pictures and tutorials.

For now, I hope you enjoy this assortment of Christmas cookies that I have made so far...

Christmas Trees 

These were actually decorated with the same color green icing. The one on the left was sprayed with Wilton Color Mist in Pearl. Sweet Sugarbelle gave the product rave reviews recently [read her post here] and so I was eager to try it out. I love the look of both of them!


Also sprayed with Pearl Wilton Color Mist. It really adds elegance to white cookies!


The color mist on the red and green icing
gave the ornament such a vintage effect!

Christmas Wreath

I've made lots of wreaths in past years, but this one is my
favorite so far. It has texture but maintains elegance!

Green, White, and Red Set

Not my favorite candy cane design,
but I do love the color scheme.

White-on-white Pearlized Set

This is the full set of Snowflakes and Ornaments sprayed with the
Pearl Wilton Color Mist. I can't wait to try the other colors! 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and got some ideas for your own Christmas cookies! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa Hats: A Tip for Red Icing

This will be a short post, for a fairly simple cookie design, but it's a perfect opportunity for me to share a tip on making red royal icing.

Reaching a true red color can be difficult with some brands of food coloring. I use Wilton gels, since they are found in all of the craft stores near me (AC Moore, Michaels, JoAnnes, etc.) and even the party stores (Party City & Party Box). Now, I can tell you that Americolor food coloring is pretty popular among my favorite cookie bloggers {see side panel for links to their amazing blogs}, but I have not worked with it yet, since I would have to order it online. I just can't seem to plan my color purchases that far in advance! So for all of you who also rely on spur of the moment store purchases, you may appreciate this tip.
As convenient as they are to find in stores, the Wilton reds have an awful flavor when used in large enough quantities to get past pink and reach a true red. They do make a No-taste Red, but it just never gets to a deep enough color. I usually mix the No-taste with their Red-red or Christmas Red and that helps a little. But my favorite trick is adding red sprinkles! Sanding sugar, to be exact.

When adding red sanding sugar on top, you can get away with a lighter red, which almost comes out in the coral family.

When working with sanding sugar or any type of sprinkles, pour them onto the wet icing over a clean bowl. This way you can shake off the excess into the bowl, and re-use the excess sugar or sprinkles!

After the red dries, you can add the white rim & pompom. I've done this part before with white nonpareil sprinkles or clear sanding sugar to match the red section, but this time I was personalizing the cookies for a Christmas party, so I left the white sections alone & piped the names on with green royal icing!  

Santa is coming soon! What treats are you making for the holiday?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Snowmen Sugar Cookies

Snowman Faces with Winter Hats!

In my last post, I showed you how to bend and reshape a santa hat cookie cutter into a winter hat. {Read about it here} Well now I will show you how to put the hat on a snowman!

Start with a few large circles and hats.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Hats, Mittens & Snowflake Sugar Cookies

 Winter is here!

When I was out stocking up on supplies for Christmas cookie decorating, I found this adorable winter sprinkle set, with non-traditional Christmas colors: blue, purple, & white with white snowflakes. I also had some leftover green royal icing {from a project which you will see featured in an upcoming post} that I was eager to use up. Typically I find royal icing will keep for about a week, as long as you stir it up before re-using it. I store it in an airtight container in the fridge, but technically it won't go bad if you don't refrigerate it. Anyway, I thought the blue & purple sprinkles accented the green icing nicely and would be perfect for this project!

These Winter Hats, Mittens & Snowflake Sugar Cookies were a 'hump-day' treat for some of my colleagues who have had a somewhat chaotic week so far. I think the cookies really brightened their day!