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 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
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!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Cookies

I made Christmas cookies recently. I had a friend order some for her coworkers and her husband's coworkers. I did a few different designs. She wasn't picky on what I made for her. For her husband, I decided to make ninjabread men. I found a kit at Target that I thought was too funny/cute so I had to buy it. It came with 4 different posed cookie cutters, the gingerbread mix, icing mix, and candy for decorations (I just bought it for the cutters). I don't use boxed anything when it comes to baking so I made a homemade gingerbread with homemade royal icing. I used Sweet Sugar Belle's gingerbread recipe which was very delicious.

The cookies went over quite well. I had a lot of fun making them too. I made some extras to put in our mailbox for the mailman (he loves it when I put cookies in there!). I will most likely make more ninjabread cookies for my husband's coworkers!

Paris Party

My daughter is turning one on Christmas Eve. I really wanted to throw her a party, but I also wanted all of our friends to be able to make it without interfering with holiday plans. We decided to have it on December 6th and sure enough, mostly everyone that is very important to us was able to make it! I wanted to do a Paris theme because I love Paris and it is also a "girly" theme. I needed to do this party on a budget since Christmas is right around the corner. I decided to buy a print it yourself package from Etsy. I also had a ton of serving dishes (I really have a ridiculous amount of cake plates), beverage glasses (thanks to many Starbucks Frappuccino drinks in jars....they look like old timey milk bottles!), and I borrowed a drink dispenser from a friend. The most expensive thing in this party was the food which was mainly bought at Costco.

I had a ton of fun creating this party and it was well received by our guests. My daughter had a great time and got spoiled rotten (but what else is new)!

My Table that I'm so proud of. I already had the Eiffel Tower picture and all of the dishes and boxes already. I just bought the print your party package, plates, utensils, balloons, etc...

These were homemade. I don't have a place where I live that make these. They are vanilla Macarons with a chocolate ganache filling.

Homemade cupcakes. They're white cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate Eiffel Towers on top. I got the Eiffel Tower chocolate mold from Country Kitchen SweetArt.

These are recycled Starbucks Frappuccino beverage glasses that I drank and got at Costco. I made the drink labels using the print your party package from Etsy. These aren't drink labels that the package came with (the ones that did come with it didn't fit these bottles so I had to get creative) I used the patterned paper and party circles that came with the package. Hot glue and a paper cutter were my best friends during all this party preparation. 

This is a banner of my daughter months 1 through 11. I did this so people could see her growth throughout the months.

Mini quiches bought at Costco.

Cookie party favors that I made.

Brie and French baguettes bought at Costco.

Smash cake. I found a healthier version that had no added sugar or dairy in the cake (you can find the recipe here). The recipe calls for whole wheat flour, but I just used all-purpose. The frosting is mainly cream cheese sweetened with apple juice concentrate. I did add a little powered sugar to get a good consistency. My daughter loved this cake! The gum paste booties were made by my cake decorating friend, they were on my baby shower cake last year.

More cookie party favors that I made.

Oh, so delicious cream puffs bought at Costco....very addicting.

Madeleines bought at Costco.

Meat and cheese stuffed croissants made by us, but everything was bought at Costco.

A very delicious punch that I made (recipe I found on Pinterest) with the Starbucks glass Frappuccino bottles and Perrier waters (bought guessed it! Costco!).

Tutu butt!

The homemade cookie favors that I made for everyone. They all got one of each as they left. I thought I was going to have carpel tunnel syndrome by the time I was done with the Eiffel Towers. They are hand piped and done free-hand (no KopyKake involved). I am quite proud of these!