Sweet Valentine’s Cookies

Who loves Valentine’s Day?! …… Hello? Anyone home??

Ok, so there are not that many people out there who love Valentine’s Day. As kids it was exciting to get little cards and candy from friends at school, but as adults, we know it’s just another day for the stores to make money. Sure, there can be a romantic side to it, but that has been overshadowed by the commercialism. Pretty much like every other holiday. Sigh…

Anywhoo, personally I don’t care too much for Valentine’s Day, aside from the chocolate.  I have to pretend to get a little excited for the benefit of my little one, but really I think we should love each other all the time not just one day out of the year. Of course though, since we make cookies for every other holiday, it is necessary to have Valentine’s Day cookies too. Any excuse to cover things in pink icing is a good excuse in my books 🙂

I decided to go with the usual shapes that my little one would recognize, like hearts and lips. I also wanted to add some writing to the cookies, to help her with spelling and letters. I got an adorable set of square scalloped cutters in different sizes and thought the largest one would be perfect for little “cards” and “envelopes”.

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I used my chocolate sugar cookie recipe, because we love chocolate. Here are the lovely cut-outs below, ready to be baked!

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For the decorating, I used 25-second royal icing, so that I could outline and flood all in one step. I personally like how the cookies turn out and it is easier to use the bottles for both instead of using piping bags as well. The colours used were red, light pink, white, and bright blue. I wanted to add another pop of colour to all the reds and pinks that you usually see for Valentine’s Day, and the blue seemed to do the trick.

The lips and hearts were simple to outline and flood, but I wanted to show you a little trick for the scalloped squares. Instead of outlining each little scallop, I put a dot of icing on each one, and then connected them with a line of icing. Kind of like connect-the-dots for cookies 🙂 Much easier and less messy this way.

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Once the outlines were done,  I just filled in the middle, which would be the “paper” the message would be written on. I let that dry for about an hour, and then used the blue icing to write on the messages and add details to the envelopes. I kept the messages simple so that the little squirt could read them, and I think they turned out sweet.

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Once the hearts and lips were outlined and filled, I added some heart sprinkles to the lips and some details to the hearts. No stencils or anything, I just wanted to keep these simple and fun.

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And here they are, all together and looking fabulous!

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What a great way to celebrate love; with yummy cookies!

Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo

More Scaredy cookies!

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Since Scaredy Squirrel has pretty much taken over our house, I thought it fitting to make more Scaredy cookies. The theme for these is from the original book, which has Scaredy hiding in his oak tree most of the time until he spots a “killer” bee and falls out of the tree, which is when he also discovers that he is a flying squirrel!

The shapes for these chocolate sugar cookies were of course Scaredy, an oak leaf, a “killer” bee and Scaredy’s trusty safety kit. Some cute cookies to go along with a hilarious story equals one very happy five year old 🙂

Rudolph the Red-Nosed……Bunny???

Hope everyone’s holidays were fabulous! We have one more Christmas coming up next week, and then (thankfully) it’s all over and we can get back to normal and not rush around so much.

Although this isn’t my favourite time of year, I’ll take any excuse to make yummy treats for my family. New Year’s Day is no different, as we have a big, cozy, family dinner complete with desserts. This year, I decided to make a reindeer cake. No, I don’t have a reindeer cake pan, so I used the Wilton Easter Bunny pan (hence the title) lol I think it came out pretty well, and everyone thought it was adorable. And of course I will share my recipe with you, my fine followers!

Chocolate Cake with Banana Pudding Filling

Ingredients for Cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups of water

2 cups sugar

6oz of chopped baking chocolate ( I used unsweetened, but you can use dark or semi-sweet. Make sure it is good quality baking chocolate, not chocolate chips)

6 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

Make it:

-Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease your cake pan and set aside 

-Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside

-In a saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter and stir until melted. 

-Add the oil and vanilla, and then add the eggs quickly while stirring. It’s important to add the eggs quickly so they don’t cook. We want a cake, not scrambled eggs 🙂

-Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth

-Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 mins or until your toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let the cake cool completely before filling.

Ingredients for Banana Pudding Filling:

1 package banana flavoured cooked pudding/pie filling mix (not instant pudding)

2 cups milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

-For this filling, completely ignore the package directions. Instead, pour the pudding mix into a saucepan, and add the milk and sugar. Now get ready to stir. A lot. Cook over medium-low heat and stir constantly, otherwise it will stick to the bottom and burn. Keep stirring until no longer foamy and thickened to a pudding consistency. Once thickened, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally to prevent the pudding from getting clumpy as it cools. 

-while waiting for the pudding to cool, whip the butter with the whisk attachment until light and creamy. Then add the cooled pudding mixture and whip until nicely incorporated and smooth.

To assemble the cake, I cut it in half and filled it with the pudding mixture. Since I was using the bunny pan, I cut off the tips of the ears, and attached the pieces to the side of the reindeer’s head, for ears. Then I frosted the entire cake with chocolate whipped cream buttercream and added the facial details and antlers with royal icing. Some chocolate candies added some colour to the antlers and made the cake festive.  

Cute and yummy!

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Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Cookies!

We all know kids love cookies! So when I was asked to send in a treat for my daughters class party at school, I knew exactly what to make. She requested Christmas shapes of course, as well as Olaf the Snowman from the Disney movie Frozen. I made these and sent them off to school, and was later greeted by a very happy teacher and an empty tray. What a  great way to start off their winter holiday-with bellies full of festive cookies!

A selection of the different shapes:

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These two were my favourites!

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The tray that went to school:

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Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas baking 🙂

Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo

Oh no! Frosty’s melting!

We had some hideous snowy weather in the last few days, so I couldn’t resist making some snow-themed cookies. Plus, it gave me an excuse to hide in the house away from all the yucky snow.

I made these using my sugar cookie recipe, and cut them out with a large round scalloped cutter. To decorate them, I used white, blue, red, orange, and black 25 second icing. For the heads, I used large marshmallows, and drew eyes, a carrot nose, and mouth on with icing. I wanted to give them a cute “surprised” look. I also added some rosy cheeks with pink luster dust. Then I let them dry for  a few hours.

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I then outlined the cookies with kind of a squiggle, to represent the melted bottom half of the snowman, and then filled them in all in one step.

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As soon as the outline was filled in, I attached the snowman’s head so that it could stick to the wet icing. I did them one at a time to make sure the marshmallow stuck well. Then, once the base icing had dried for about 20 minutes, I added a scarf to my snowman.

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Once that had dried a bit too, I went back with black icing and added stick arms and buttons. 

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I made different versions of the snowman, some were girls and some were boys. The girls had a bow on their heads and a scarf, and the boys had either a scarf or earmuffs in different colours. I also made some snowflake and swirly cookies which I think complemented the snowmen nicely.

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They were easy to make and turned out great! They would be delicious with some yummy hot chocolate.  Now if we could just get the real snow to melt….

Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo

Five years goes fast when you’re having fun!

We had our annual family Christmas photos today, and I got to thinking how there are so many things I’ve been doing since my little Peanut was born, and how some of these traditions have been started just for her. Like the photos for example. I don’t like getting my picture taken, but when she’s in  the picture too, it is so much easier (and cuter). 

One of the things I’ve now been doing for over five years is cake decorating. I’ve always loved baking with my mom and Baba, but the real cake decorating for me came when my little baby was about to turn one. Now, as every parent knows, turning one is a BIG deal. That 1st birthday is a milestone for so many reasons. Not just for the little squirt, but for the parents too. It means you’ve made it through the sleepless nights, the million feedings and diaper changes, the crying, the colic, the teething and the never-ending “advice” coming from family, friends, and even your  neighbour who doesn’t have any children but feels that being the owner of a guinea pig qualifies her to give you parenting advice. You’ve made it through a WHOLE YEAR of keeping a tiny human intact and happy and yourself (somewhat) sane and normal, while integrating this small new person into your life.  Now if that’s not cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. And what better way of celebrating than with cake! 

Growing up in Europe, we never had store-bought cake for birthdays. Or ever, really. I never even knew what boxed cake mix was until we moved to Canada. In my family, if you wanted cake, my mom and Baba were more than happy to oblige with a homemade treat. We had cake for birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s, first day of school, just because, etc. We basically had cake all the time. And not the same cake either. There were plenty of cookbooks around with elaborate recipes, and we were always trying something new. Which was awesome. I have a feeling that my love of cake began with my 1st birthday cake, when not a regular cake would do, but a cake with a handmade gumpaste basket filled with elaborate gumpaste flowers on top. Now, as a one-year-old, I had not a clue what was happening, but my parents kept that basket, and it was something I would often admire growing up. Plus I have pictures of my tiny self basically attacking this cake. For my first day of school, my mom made me a cake. Shaped like my school. It had chocolate wafer cookies for doors. Not even joking.

So, when little Peanut turned one, I knew I had to make her an amazing cake that she could look back on too. She was still tiny, and quite clueless as babies can be, so it’s not like she had a lot of input in the cake. I was left to come up with my own ideas. Thankfully, she had a Piglet stuffy which she liked to hug a lot and so I decided on a Piglet cake, since I knew it was a character she would recognize. There weren’t any Piglet cake pans, so I set out to carve the shape myself. Why, you ask? Well, it couldn’t be a boring old flat cake; no sir, it was going to be in 3D. Go big, or go home; no half-assed attempts here. Using the Piglet toy as inspiration, I began to gather my supplies. A quick read through a Wilton Yearbook my aunt gave me was enough to never look back, and I rushed out to Michael’s and stocked up on fondant, cutters, and food colouring and got to work. My mom helped me with the cake itself, as it was a recipe she made many times. This basically consisted of baking thin layers of cake, stacking them, and then carving them to look like Piglet. Yeah I know, a bit over the top for my first attempt, but nonetheless, I pushed on. It took me 3 days, a lot of messes to clean up and some frustrating moments (like when Piglet’s damned floppy ears were too floppy and kept falling off the cake), but I did it. After the powdered sugar dust had settled, and the cat had eaten some fondant off the floor, I had my masterpiece in all it’s Piglet glory. I remember finishing it and Peanut’s daddy bringing her into the kitchen to see, and when she spotted it, I got the biggest smile ever and she held out her tiny hand to touch it.  She knew what it was! And that was better than anything, and the reason I keep making cakes. It’s all in the reaction, people. That’s where the warm fuzzies hide.

Four years later, with more and more input each year, my little one and I are making birthday cakes to remember. She comes up with the idea, and I do the rest. It is usually a favourite cartoon character, or her favourite toys, but it is always creative and she has this awesome way of explaining exactly what she wants. Her theme doesn’t change throughout the year, but she does tend to add more to it. Which I love, because there’s nothing like a cake challenge, and nothing better than satisfying my most discriminating “customer”. Our family and friends look forward to seeing what we come up with too, and the reactions are always the best part. Her birthday is in September, and we have already started planning her next fabulous cake. And you can bet that I am just as excited as she is.

Piglet Cake

Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo