Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Many Sweet Treats

I know it has been a while....I apologize for that. I'm becoming blog-lazy. It is easier for me to just post recent pictures on Facebook instead of just showing them on my blog. I also think more people come to blogs to get recipes or tutorials and I don't really offer either. I'm debating on not blogging anymore and just having a Facebook page. I don't really have that many followers or feedback....and, like I said, I've just gotten lazy on blogging. I'm busy with my one and a half year old and decorating cookies. Anyway....here is what I've been up to since Easter:

Birthday cookies for my aunt. She has two cats and I tried to recreate them in cookie form. 


Beach theme birthday cookies for my best friend. I got the idea for the beach scene from Sweet Ambs. You can find the tutorial here. You can pretty much find the seahorse, crab, sand dollar, and starfish tutorials here from the Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

Yoga thank you cookies I made for one of my besties who let me stay at her and her husband's house during a visit back home. She is a huge yogi. I used a stencil and airbrush for the backgrounds and I used my Kopykake for the silhouettes.

Princess cookies I made for a friend's little girl who turned one.

Here is a smash cake I made for the little girl from above. This wasn't at her party, but used for her photo shoot. I used a cookie for the number 1 topper. This cake may look good (I'm proud of it), but this is my second attempt. The first attempt was an EPIC fail! There is a reason I don't decorate cakes!

Mickey and Minnie cookies I made for a friend's birthday. I gave these to her as a present (these were not sold!). She is a huge Disney fan so I figured she'd like these (and she did!). I used my Kopykake to make these.

Little man baby cookies. Some friends of ours are expecting a little boy soon. They moved to Belgium and another friend of theirs was sending them a care package so I decided to add cookies to it. They are nerds (in the best way!) so I wanted to incorporate some of their favorite nerd things into this set (i.e. Dr. Who and Harry Potter). They loved these and they arrived ALL the way to Belgium unscathed!!!

Bee cookies I made for the fun of it. I was bored and had some frozen cookie dough to use so I made this set. I loved them! It was also nice to only have 3 colors and make such a nice set of cookies. These were the first set of cookies I made using tip-less bags which are all the rave right now in the cookie world. I'm a convert now....I love tip-less bags!

Graduation cookies I made for twin girls who live across the street from me who graduated this year. I don't really know them all that well so these were a pleasant surprise for them.

Cookies I made for my husband's coworker's wife who is not doing well medically. This isn't a 'get-well soon' situation so I decided to do something cheery. I did flowers (because who doesn't like flowers!? Especially cookie flowers!), and some Audrey Hepburn quotes. These were also a nice little surprise for her.


Five dozen diplomas for some kindergarteners who are graduating. I got the tutorial from Sweet Sugarbelle.

Thank you cookies I made for our mailman. He went out of his way to deliver a package that needed to be signed to us. He really is the most awesome mailman.


Chocolate birthday cake for us and the neighbors. He is a chocoholic and I wanted some cake too....so I made two small cakes :-) I also made cake balls using the carved pieces of cake. First time making them. They're a pain in the butt to make....but oh so good!

Cake ball close-up from above!

Guinness brownie and ice cream made for St. Patty's Day. This is my go-to recipe for brownies now...they are super good.

Strawberry tres leches cake. I LOVED this cake. The only problem is we only ate half of it before the strawberries got fuzzy and needed to be thrown out :-( This cake was ridiculously good though. I made it for Cinco de Mayo.




Coconut cupcakes I made for a friend whom I was visiting in VA. She loves coconut.


Chocolate banana bread. Let me just say....heavenly!
Zucchini bread. This was a first time that I made this and tried it. I liked it a lot....but I think banana bread is still my favorite. 
Strawberry shortcake made with fresh local strawberries, homemade angel food cake, and fresh whipped cream. Such a good summer dessert.
Last but not least, lemon meringue pie. My mom requested this as her Mother's Day treat. This was fantastic and my first time making it. I think I'll probably make it more often now!


Sorry to pile so much on you at once. If you want to get more recent pictures....then "like" my page on Facebook. I would love to hit the 500 "likes" milestone and if I do, I'm going to do a give-away of some sort ;-)  Also I have an Instagram account if you want to follow me on that as well....I'm artsyqt43.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tons of Cookies!!!

As per usual....sorry I haven't blogged in a while. If you like this page on Facebook, then you'll notice I post pictures up there sooner than on here. Since my last post, I've made a lot of cookie sets. I am a hobby baker and just do cookies mainly for the fun of it or for family and friends. 

I got a new cookie tool that I'm ecstatic about....a Kopykake! It is a projector that can project an image onto your cookie so you can make character cookies actually look like they're supposed too or write on a cookie nice and straight with cool fonts. The opportunities of what I can do on a cookie now are endless! The only thing I've used my Kopykake for so far is the Easter cookies at the bottom of this post. I used it to write "Happy Easter" on the plaque cookies. 


Valentine's Day cookies. I tried the new "chalkboard" effect on some of these. I still have a lot of practicing to do, but I had fun with it nonetheless. These are actually red velvet roll out cookies that I got from Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle.

I made these fun animal print birthday cookies for my best friend who lives in VA. I really enjoyed making these....but there was one little set-back.....I ended up getting a nasty stomach virus and did not realize it as I was making these. I ended up throwing these out since my friend who was to receive them was 9 months pregnant (and even if she wasn't, I still wouldn't have sent them) and I didn't want to chance getting her sick. It is no fun when you spend hours on cookies and you just end up chucking them :-( At least I got pictures!
 
Birthday cookies that were kind of last minute. I had planned on having lunch with my friend and when I planned the lunch, I absolutely forgot it was her birthday....when I finally realized it, I HAD to make her some cookies, but I decided to stay classy and simple. I just stuck with two colors and used my airbrush to add some pearl sheen to them. I like how these turned out even if they were last minute.

Birthday cookies for my best friend who lives in VA and I had to throw out the first set of cookies. She LOVES shoes (especially black pumps) and Starbucks. I love these cookie cutters I got from Piping Mad Prints (they have a facebook page....look em up!). I did have a little issue in shipping the shoes though....I sent her three shoe cookies and 2 of them broke....even with my careful packing. She still enjoyed the delicious cookies. I am not a talented enough drawer to do the actual Starbucks logo so I had to settle for writing it instead, but I'm still happy with the end result.

 
I made these cookies for the same best friend who lives in VA and just had a baby boy. I can't wait to meet the little guy! I'm a fake aunt now!!!




   
St. Patrick's Day cookies. I got the hat and rainbow cutters from Piping Mad Prints as well and love them. I had fun making these cookies though I did have some casualties. 
"Frozen" cookies I made for a friend's daughter's birthday. I never saw the movie before making these, but there were ton of "Frozen" cookies online to draw inspiration from. I finally did see the movie on Tuesday when it came out and LOVE it! I've watched in three times since then which is unusual for me since I'm not one to watch stuff over and over.
I love Olaf's carrot nose :-) "Hi, I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs"
Logo cookies I made. These are all hand-done and no cheating methods were used. 
Peeps! I love these Peep cookie cutters I found at Michael's. I'm actually not the biggest fan of Peeps....I find them to be a little too sweet....but I think they are absolutely adorable.

A quote from a friend "shabby chic" Easter cookies. I didn't think of it that way....but now that I look at them, they kinda are shabby chic :-) These were made for the fun of it and with no plan in mind. Sometimes those kind of cookies are the best to decorate. I had lots of fun with these. I even used my new Kopykake for the writing on the cookies.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Macaron Shop Review

A few days ago, my family and I went for a day trip to Savannah, GA. My father-in-law has never been so we decided to show it to him. I have many fond memories of Savannah. My grandparents have lived there fore about 20 years (give or take). They actually used to live in the historic district which was a wonderful adventure for a kid such as myself. I remember going there when I was a kid and when I was in middle school for spring breaks and summer vacations. They lived close enough that you could walk to River Street! I loved it. They moved out of that house about 11 years ago and I'm heartbroken that they moved, but the house, being over 100 years old, was just getting to be a hassle to keep up with as well as rising prices/taxes. I will hold on to those memories forever though. I'm not fluent in my way around the city, but I do know how to get to a few places.

Anyway...I heard (not sure how) about a macaron shop in Savannah. I've made macarons three times and they were good, but there were still things wrong with them. I've also eaten a true French macaron in Paris when I was there in 2010 on our honeymoon. I had no idea their popularity at the time here in America so I only ate one while in Paris. They were everywhere! A few times, while in Paris, we would go to some bakeries and just pick out stuff we wanted to try and one day I chose a chocolate macaron. I had no idea what it was....I just pointed at what I wanted. When I ate it, it tasted a lot like a brownie to me....the same dense texture. I really enjoyed it....but I'm really wishing I would have gotten more. Where I live, there really isn't a place to get macarons...so I either have to make them myself (which a lot of practicing is needed), or go to Savannah :-)

The chocolate macaron that I ate while in Paris.


French macarons in a window in Paris.


I HAD, HAD, HAD to try this macaron place. I do have to admit, I was most excited about this endeavor when going to Savannah over anything else. I wanted to taste what a "correct" macaron was supposed to taste like and compare notes.

When we arrived, it was in an obscure place in the business/commercial part of Savannah. They supposedly have a location in the historic downtown as well....but we went to the one that quite nicely enough, was pretty close to where my grandpa lives (I might be dropping some hints for what I'd like for Christmas since he comes here to celebrate with us!). It was a very cute little store. They just sell macarons and drinks like coffee, tea, etc. We came and got one of every flavor that they offered at the time which was 13. I watched a video of flavors that they offer online and I was bummed that some of them weren't there like the red velvet and cappuccino. We just got a bag of them and went on our way. A bag of macarons for a dozen is $20 and a box is $22. I was so happy that my husband bought these and didn't worry about price. We don't get to go to Savannah often and he knew just how excited I really was.






I ate the macarons over time....I didn't pig out all in one day. The first one I tried was vanilla bean. It was so delicious! I loved the filling. The shell was crunchy, but with the chewy texture and no huge air bubbles on the inside (like mine have had in the past). My husband got chocolate mint and pistachio for himself. I had a nibble of each, but these just aren't flavors that I care for in general. My husband loves ALL things chocolate mint whereas, I only like the occasional Andes mint.

The flavors we got were: vanilla bean, raspberry, chocolate, meyer lemon, pistachio, chocolate mint, chocolate hazelnut, Tybee turtle, salted caramel, blackberry lavender, key lime, bourbon pecan, and snickers. Of all these flavors, I'd have to say I really enjoyed the meyer lemon, vanilla bean, salted caramel, and chocolate hazelnut the most. I wasn't so sure I'd like the blackberry lavender, but it wasn't too bad. There was a hint of lavender flavor and it was a gorgeous purple color.







This place was a huge success in my book. I'm already dying to go back. Please check this place out if you are going to the Savannah area....or they ship as well from their online store.

Maison de Macaron
Website
1100 Eisenhower Dr. Suite 28
Savannah, GA
Monday-Friday 9:30am-6pm
Saturday 11am-4pm
Closed on Sunday

Friday, January 24, 2014

Long Time, No Blog.....

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, I've had a busy few months. Things are just now settling down. I also had a wonderful Christmas with awesome presents :-) How was yours? I got a Keurig coffee maker which I LOVE, an airbrush machine for cookie decorating, and a tackle box to hold all my awesome cookie tools.

I've done quite a few things since my last post:

Mason jar snowballs. I made these for some friends for Christmas. They are vintage-style blue mason jars with sugar cookies that have royal icing and sugar on them.

Here is a second set of Christmas cookies that I made. I made these for family coming in town for the holiday.

My awesome Christmas presents. I got an airbrush, Americolor airbrush paints, and a tackle box to put all my goodies in, which organizes everything very nicely!
Eggnog cranberry cake. I found this recipe on Pinterest. I had some leftover fresh whole cranberries and eggnog so I decided to make them into a cake. I wasn't the biggest fan of this because the cranberries were so tart. I think next time I would chop them up into smaller pieces and maybe toss them in additional sugar. I also added an eggnog glaze to this cake using 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 tbs eggnog, and a tsp of vanilla bean paste. You can find the cake recipe here.

This is my new cake pan mold! I LOVE it. I went to a friends house and she pulled out a pound cake that was in this shape and I asked her where she got the pan....she and I, got it a Williams Sinoma. The first cake that I made in this awesome pan is Whipping Cream Pound Cake that was supposedly Elvis Presley favorite. You can find the recipe for it here. I really liked this cake. It was moist, tender, velvet-like crumb, and packed with great flavor. I was just happy eating it by itself....I didn't need whipped cream, fruit, or ice cream to accompany it. This went over very well in my house :-) The glaze is one cup powdered sugar with a tsp or two of vanilla bean extract.

Eggnog pound cake. As you can tell, I really needed to get rid of some leftover eggnog....what better way to do it than making it into a pound cake?! This cake was good, not quite as moist as I would've liked, but still good. This cake had a velvety texture to it. I lost the recipe to this. I'm pretty sure I found it on Pinterest but managed to forget to pin it. 

Chocolate overload cupcakes. I made these for a friend who is leaving to live in Belgium for a few years. She loves chocolate so I brought these to her going away party. They are chocolate cupcakes, Ghirardelli chocolate ganache filling, chocolate frosting, mini chocolate chips, and a white chocolate drizzle on top. These cupcakes were very highly rated at the party!

Red velvet cupcakes I made for the same friends as the above cupcake. They came over last night to say good-bye to us and I threw these together. I was hoping my awesome baking skills would keep them here...but unfortunately to no avail. I tried a new red velvet recipe that I think will be my new go-to recipe. I found it on Pinterest and I really love it. This recipe calls for coffee which really brings out the chocolate flavor. I like my red velvet cake more chocolate(y) and this really helps. You can find the recipe here.

My yummy southern dinner I made. Homemade buttermilk fried chicken, homemade buttermilk mashed potatoes with onion gravy, green beans, and homemade red velvet cupcakes....all I'm missing is the sweet tea!
Baking themed cookies I made for the fun of it. I used my new airbrush to stencil the plaque cookies, used my new piping tips and couplers, new cookie cutters, etc...I had a lot of fun making these and I love them! I found a new cookie cutter company that I really enjoy called Truly Mad Plastics. She has a 3-D printer that she makes cookie cutters out of. I ordered a few of them during a New Years sale. In this picture, the cake stand and 2 plaque cookies are from her cookie cutters. They cut wonderfully and she has a lot of neat designs that are hard to find elsewhere.

Thank-you cookies I did for a girl who watched my dogs for the day while we took a day trip to Savannah, GA. I used my new airbrush on these with silver and pearl sheen airbrush colors and stencils. I just LOVE my new airbrush and stencils! 

Welcome cookies I made for our new neighbors. I wanted to use my airbrush for the first time so I made a bunch of blank canvases and just had fun! I've never used an airbrush before so these aren't the prettiest, but they aren't too bad either.

Well, that is about it for what I've done since my last blog post. I'll try not to space my posts out so long. I hope you enjoyed!