Tips-y Tuesday Tip #6

Happy Tuesday everybody! Spring has arrived (according to the calendar) so I am inspired to talk about colour, since I am happy to put the dreary winter days behind me!

The colour I am talking about is of course, the kind you use for food. There are many kinds and they can be found in grocery stores, craft stores and even your local Wal-Mart. However, they are not all made equally, and some are better for certain purposes than others. I personally am a fan of the Wilton Icing Color pots. They are affordable, and a little can go a long way since they are very concentrated. They also come in a wide variety of colours. I use them for colouring frosting, royal icing,  and fondant since they are a gel consistency and don’t add any liquid to the frosting or fondant which can be a problem if you’ve ever used liquid food colouring for such purposes. With the liquid formulas, you basically end up with runny frosting or a sticky fondant mess, and nobody likes that!

Food colour markers (also by Wilton) are also a quick way to add some colour to dried royal icing and fondant, since you can basically “draw” with them. Sometimes if I need a small amount of fondant in a pale shade, I will just scribble on it with the marker and then knead the fondant to blend the colour. It literally takes seconds to do and doesn’t alter the texture of the fondant.

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Hope I’ve inspired you to add some colour to your day!

Until next Tuesday…

M xoxo

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Tips-y Tuesday Tip #4

Who has trouble getting their royal icing to be just the right colour? Just about everyone! If you’ve ever needed a darker colour,  and had scraped out your pot of icing colour, stirred until you couldn’t stir anymore, and were basically ready to chuck the whole thing out the window and go back to buying your cookies at the store, then this tip is for you. You need………….

………………………………..

Drum roll, please…………

…………………………………….

COCOA POWDER!!! 

I kid you not, my fine feathered friends, cocoa powder is the answer. It gives just a hint of chocolaty flavour, and helps to darken your colours so that you don’t go insane or burn a hole through your hand from all that stirring. Just make sure to sift it before adding to your icing to avoid any pesky lumps, and if the icing turns out too thick you can always add a bit of water. I usually start with about a 1/4 tsp of cocoa powder and go from there. This works for reds, browns, blacks, etc, any time you need a bit more depth to your icing shades. As an added bonus, the icing will also smell and taste yummy! Just don’t eat it all, ’cause you know, it defeats the purpose if the icing never makes it onto the cookies……  😉

Until next Tuesday…

M xoxo

Tips-y Tuesday Tip # 1

Happy Tuesday everyone! As promised, here is today’s tip:

Gritty royal icing: is there a solution??

Yes! Some types of meringue powder have a grittier consistency, so put an end to that pesky gritty icing by tweaking the recipe a bit. Try mixing your meringue powder and water together first until foamy, and then adding the powdered sugar. Beat until stiff and peaky, about 5-10 minutes. Your royal icing should turn out nice and smooth!

Until next Tuesday…

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 🙂

Empire Cookies: Biscuits fit for the Queen!

I don’t know one person who doesn’t like Empire Cookies, or Empire Biscuits, as they tend to be known in the UK. Not one. They are simple to make, so yummy, and you can’t eat just one. They are typically enjoyed with tea, but I don’t like tea, so I have them with milk. And did I mention I love jam? This is definitely my kind of cookie. 

I made these for a recent family dinner, and although they have jam in the middle like the traditional recipe, I added coloured royal icing and sprinkles to the tops to make them a bit more festive. Traditionally, it is only the white icing and a glace cherry on top, but that’s boring and those cherries are yuck. Plus my little one is obsessed with sprinkles, so I knew she would approve 🙂

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, and I would recommend this if you’re baking for a crowd. Or if you love cookies. This recipe makes about 24 cut outs, but remember that you’ll have half of the cookies you cut out since they will be a sandwich cookie in the end. Lesson learned; the first time I made these I ended up with 12 cookies and a family fighting over them. Not pretty.

Ingredients for the cookies:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

about 1 cup of strawberry or raspberry jam, for the filling

For the icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 tbsp hot water

Make it:

-with an electric mixer, cream butter. Add sugar and beat well. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth and creamy

-Combine flour and baking powder, and gradually add to creamed mixture until a dough forms

-Roll out the dough, and cut into rounds. You can use whatever size of round cutter you like. Personally, I like the cookies to be a little bigger than bite-size because you can fit more jam in between 🙂

-Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 F for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned

-Once cookies are completely cooled, they are ready to fill and frost. I like to add some jam to a cup and stir around a bit to get a smooth consistency, and then use a piping bag to fill the cookies. This method is much faster and neater than using a spoon. Once filled, top with another cookie.

-For the frosting, just stir together all ingredients and use a spoon or spatula to frost the tops of the cookies. I like my icing a little thicker so it doesn’t run off the sides, or you can use 25 second royal icing to really make sure it stays put. Then you can add sprinkles, sanding sugars, or cherries to the tops to make them pretty, or you can just leave them plain. 

Such a simple and delicious little treat!

Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo

 

 

 

Decorating Cookies With Royal Icing

Who doesn’t love sugar cookies? They’re super yum on their own, or decorated with icing. And the best part is that they are very versatile, meaning you can decorate them to look like just about anything.

For my brother’s recent birthday, I decided to make cookies shaped like Ninja Turtles and pizzas. If you know the show, you will know that Ninja Turtles love pizza, so this seemed like the perfect combination. I started by making my sugar cookie recipe, and then cut out the cookies with cookie cutters. For the turtle, I used the Wilton “apple” cutter from their Halloween set, and just turned it sideways. For the pizza, I used a scalloped circle cutter I have from another set.

 Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I set to decorating them. I used my royal icing recipe, and coloured the icing in green, red, black, tan, a pale yellow, and left some white. I used both piping and flooding consistency icing, and used piping bags and candy decorating bottles to outline and decorate the cookies. My piping icing is right from the mixing bowl with just the colour added. I find this thins it a bit and I don’t need to add water. You want a nice smooth line to come out of your piping bag and stick to the cookie. The flooding icing is simply thinned with water, to a creamy consistency that spreads when piped onto the cookie. Oh, I also want to mention that the candy decorating bottles are a life-saver. Easy to use and clean and the icing goes where you want it!

Here are the cookies being outlined. I used the tan colour for the pizza “crust” and the green to outline the turtle’s head.

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I let the outline dry for a while, about 20 minutes, and then set to flooding the cookies. I find that by the time the last cookie is outlined, they are ready to flood. For the pizza cookies, I wanted to add “cheese” to the middle. I made a few squiggles and then kind of spread them around. Melted cheese looks kind of messy, so I wanted to achieve the same effect here. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me, you might have a slight issue with the icing going OVER the edge of the cookie. It’s ok though. Breathe and remember the messy cheese!

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While those dried, I continued with the turtle cookies. I added the red sash to the green outline of the head.

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Starting to look like Raphael! Once all the turtles were outlined, I went back to the pizzas. I added some red to resemble sauce. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect!

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Once again, I went back to the turtle cookies. I flooded with both red and green icing, and then left them alone. I let them dry overnight before adding the mouth and eyes, because I definitely didn’t want the green and red mixing with the white icing. 

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Back to the pizzas! I added some red dots for pepperoni and green squiggles for peppers. Then I let them dry overnight too. The pizza cookies were finished!

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The next day, I went back to the turtle cookies to add the whites of the eyes and teeth. I was in a hurry so I didn’t think to take a picture, but it was pretty simple. I piped two dots on top of the red sash for the eyes, and sort of a figure 8 onto the face for the mouth/teeth. Then I let those dry overnight too. When they were dry and hard to the touch, I went back in with a black food colour marker to add black dots to the eyes and lines for the teeth. 

I think they turned out pretty good, and everyone loved them!

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Have a sugarrific day!

M xoxo

Hooray for sugar cookies!

This recipe is one my mom found, and we’ve been making them for years. We have a tradition where we make these for Christmas every year, and she always got a kick out of my brothers and I cutting out the cookies in different Christmas shapes. And then eating them of course, which is always the best part. Now I make them with my little one, and she absolutely loves them.

I now use this same recipe for all the cookies I make. It is versatile (you can add cocoa powder to make chocolate as well), it is easy to roll out and cut, and they bake nicely and hold up very well to royal icing. And the recipe is easy-peasy, meaning you can make a whole load of cookies in not a lot of time.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies, but that depends on the size of cookie cutter you use.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Make it:

-stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.

-mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in mixer bowl on medium speed until light and creamy

-add the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until well blended. As I add more of the dry mix, I prefer to switch to the dough hook attachment as it makes the mixing a bit easier.

-I like to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for about 20-30 mins just so it is easier to roll out.

-when ready to roll out, dust your work surface and the dough with flour and then get to work. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out with cutters. You can use any variety of cookie cutter, just make sure everything is well-floured to prevent sticking.

-bake at 375 °F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are just slightly browned. These bake for 9 minutes in my oven, but times will vary depending on the thickness of the cookie and the oven itself. Just watch them, they can burn quite easily if you’re not paying attention.

-decorate with royal icing, buttercream, sprinkles, candies, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless! They are also delicious when eaten plain.

These cookies can keep in a container for up to a week, but they rarely last that long in my house! You can also freeze the dough for later use.

Happy cookie making!

Have a sugarrific day,

M xoxo