I’m still hoping some bakers might join my little expedition into historical baking! Buy the book here!
My first journey into Cookies and More Cookies (here on out known as CMC) was my aforementioned nemesis, BROWNIES!
Why do I have such a difficult time with brownies? The only thing I can come up with is…well, they are BROWN! I always over-bake them. I’m afraid they are under cooked so I leave them in for another minute, then one more minute… then presto! They are crispy and taste terrible 🙁
As I am determined to overcome my fear, I will do my best to make some amazing brownies from some 80+ year-old recipes! Maybe not such a great idea, but here goes.
My father-in-law recently gifted me a cook book. He knows I love to bake, especially cookies, and snatched this one up for me at a church work day. They were cleaning out the church library and getting rid of all non-essential books and this little gem was one of them. It was a conditional gift, as I had to promise to save him some of the recipes I make from it 🙂 (more…)
Have you ever eaten a cookie ‘baked’ on the stove? I haven’t until now! This Welsh Cakes recipe was graciously given to me by my friend Anna who lives in Wales. Since she is not a Welsh Native, Anna was able to find a real Welsh ‘cookie’ recipe from her friend, Shirley Llewellyn, who is a Welsh native, so these are about as authentic as it comes! Thank you for your Welsh Cakes recipe, Shirley! I hope I can do them justice 🙂
Anna and her husband Kevin are doing mission work in Wales. They have an adorable little family that has grown by adoption, something they are very passionate about. Check out their website here and follow them on Facebook to see their work in progress. I’ve learned quite a bit about the area and the difficult Welsh language by just following them on Facebook.
Anna is also quite the photographer and posts beautiful pictures of her family, mission work, and the beautiful area where they live.
I’ve been busy this week working on Easter eggs and bunnies! I didn’t make any last year so I was excited to try my hand at some eggs and bunnies, and would prefer to do some with writing on them like “He is Risen” but I’m still practicing for that.
I flooded all my cookies with white royal icing, then used a couple of different techniques for the designs.
Wet on Wet and Piping Details
I designed these cookies using lines of colored icing close together, then dragged my scribe tool through the lines in opposite directions. I left a space here and there to make some hearts. Wet on wet is still my favorite technique and I really enjoyed decorating these.
SPRINKLES! Who doesn’t want to learn how to make your own? When I realized how easy it was, I was super excited to do it!
In addition to it being so easy, it’s a great way to use up that extra royal icing you really don’t want to throw out. Sprinkles have become very trendy for cookies and other desserts, and can include everything from snowflakes to large shiny balls. We aren’t going that crazy, but simple sprinkles are fun to make and easy.
Here is a step by step tutorial with lots of pictures so you can make your own! (more…)
Everyone starts somewhere, and that includes aspiring cookie decorators! We don’t all begin with handheld projectors and airbursh systems, but we can get a good start with some essential decorating tools. These will give you a great start to create beautiful cookies while you learn the tricks of the trade and decide if it’s something you want to do long term. You can easily fill your amazon cart with all these tools to save time and get them all at once, or you can find most of them at your local big box store.
Don’t have a large cookie decorating budget? No problem! I’ll be giving some tips and tricks to find some items on the cheap (I LOVE a bargain!). (more…)
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Our family usually does and this year is no exception. I usually make the corned beef and cabbage but this year I’m bowing out for the meat and stepping in for the cookies… and the Irish soda bread which I’m buying from the store (Shhh! Don’t tell!)
I’ve never done St. Patrick’s Day cookies and was pretty excited at all the possibilities of green, rainbows, and pots of gold. The only problem is that I have a baby shower I’m making cookies for this week as well and really didn’t have a lot of time to put into these. I’m using these as a learning experience 🙂 (more…)
Living in Minnesota for the majority of the past 17 years, I’ve learned a little bit about Scandinavian culture. Minnesota and Wisconsin have sister cities in many Scandinavian countries and the Minnesota State Fair is filled with tasty treats like Lingonberry ice cream and Lefse (a potato-type pancake…thing). In honor of all things Scandinavian and Minnesotan, I have decided to make Berliner Kranser cookies for my first installment of Cookies from Around the World. They are also called Norwegian Wreaths or Butter Knots.
I made Berliner Kranser cookies with my friend as a teenager and they stuck with me! (more…)
Vanilla 2.0 is a recipe from LilaLoa, a blogger and cookier who’s pretty amazing. I’ve read so many good things about Vanilla 2.0 I decided to give it a try. The hope of this new recipe was to have even, flat tops and retain the shape as closely as possible, and of course, amazing flavor. Were those hopes realized in the recipe? Well, yes and no.
A post is in the works to do a comparison of 3 different popular cookie recipes. This recipe is one of the three so the complete results won’t be included here. The great cookie comparison is something that I’m really excited about! I cannot wait to share my results with you and I’ll be going into much more detail about each recipe and the cookies it produced in it.
To briefly state it, the cookies tasted good, but not as good as my original recipe. The texture and mouth feel were completely different. Not bad, just different. The same cookie recipe has been made in this house for the past year and a half; it’s a big change!
The cookies were perfect for decorating which was a huge plus. The tops were even and flat, and the cookies were almost the exact same shape as when they were put in the oven.
This recipe calls for 2 types of sugar, one of them being brown. Because of this, the cookies are darker than I normally would like because I only had dark brown sugar on hand. I made this recipe on a whim which goes against two of my rules of baking –
Never start a recipe until you have read the recipe at least twice
Never start a recipe until all ingredients are in stock.
I should listen to myself more often!
Here are the cookies before and after decorating
My dear Mother’s birthday was just yesterday and I wanted to make her some cookies. They decorated so nicely! I baked and decorated in the same day and I really don NOT recommend doing that. The cookie decorating here looks sloppy to me and I didn’t use my own creation, the Cookie Design Worksheet (being made available as soon as I can figure out how to do so). That helps my MS brain simplify my process and organize my thoughts before they can slip away. It’s really hand and I’m excited to share it with you!
The final results…
I enjoyed trying a new recipe and think it was a very good thing to do something new. Sometimes we get into our comfort zones and have a hard time getting out!
Will I make the Vanilla 2.0 again? That’s a definite yes, but of course I’ll follow all my baking rules. I’ll also add a few more minutes to the timer when I’m baking to see if that helps with the textures. The cookies are super dense and I think a few more minutes in the oven would have fixed that. I’m realizing I want to have several recipes in my arsenal to use for different occasions.
The best part is that my mom loved her cookies and I even had a few to share with some ladies at my church.
Have you tried a new recipe lately? Drop a comment and let me know what it was!
I finally finished and photographed my cookies I made and I’m ok with how they turned out. Royal icing can be tricky to get right and as a beginner, I’m still working on it. This batch was too thin for some of the things I wanted to do but it was great for flooding and wet on wet technique. I’ll be doing an upcoming blog post on Royal Icing and letting you know all my mistakes so hopefully you won’t make them too!
Back to the cookies!
So here is the good, the bad, and the ugly! That’s how we learn, right? If I don’t want to post ugly cookies on the blog then I’ll have to improve, or that’s my theory anyway. My goal was to have a plan for the cookies I was going to decorate, and of course that didn’t happen exactly how I thought it would. I also wanted to stick with 3 main colors. Again, didn’t quite stick with that. Does white count as a color? I don’t think it does, so I’ll say I only went over by 2 or 3. I worked with pinks, red, green, and white. My main goal was to make several identical cookies for photographing – NAILED IT! My good cookies had at least 3 of each, some more. I kept working on it until I got it right… or ran out of cookies.
My new technique I worked on this time was wet on wet roses. I really love how they look painted on the cookie, very feminine and delicate. I think these were my favorite cookies out of the batch this time around. When I made these cookies I was a little disappointed how the actual cookies baked. It’s a large heart cutter with a smaller heart to cut out the center. When they baked the center heart lost a little of its shape. If you look closely at them the outlines aren’t so great and my flooding could use work. More cookie goals!
The small hearts received roses also and some wet on wet patterns. Those were some of my favorites.
How could I forget kissy cookies for Valentine’s Day! I love doing these and I’m still working on getting them to look just right. I liked the pink, but do prefer red for the lips.
LOVE these arrows! They are very simple and I didn’t flood them like the rest, but I’m happy with how they turned out. It took me several tries to figure out exactly what I wanted on these. Remember I said I was going to show the good, the bad, and the ugly? Well, prepare for the bad and ugly part!
The Bad and The Ugly:
Yes, here are the very ugly and sad arrow cookies. I’m sad it took me that many tries to figure out what I wanted! They still taste great of course, just ugly. You have to close your eyes when you eat them 🙂
Here is another mishap for this batch. I talked about brush embroidery in the quick post from yesterday. I was planning on doing several cookies in this style but because my royal icing didn’t turn out, my brush embroidery didn’t turn out. You need stiff icing for it and mine was just too runny. Oh well, there’s always next batch.
Ok, One more good one…
On a brighter note, I tried some filigree and liked it. I really enjoy the flowing lines and curves of filigree and it’s another goal of mine to become proficient at this. For these, I looked at a stencil as I decorated. Eventually I would like to be doing this freehand but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
Things I learned from these cookies:
Plan ahead! I knew I needed a plan of how I wanted to decorate the cookies and didn’t make one.
Follow the recipe for Royal Icing exactly! Usually my icing is ok, this time it was not and I know what I did wrong. I added my water all at once instead of a little at a time like I was supposed to.
Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t turn out the first time. Keep trying to get better!
Any big plans to make Valentine’s Day cookies? I’ve got a couple of orders and I’ll not only be making a plan on how to decorate them but actually using it!