Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Flower Cookies

 spring flower cookies

Spring has finally arrived! Last weekend we had such beautiful weather and what better way to add some sunshine inside than making a colorful platter of flower shortbread cookies! Ok, I did get outside and enjoy the sunshine too...

For the cookies, I used the same dough as the Easter cookies (this shortbread cookie recipe from sweetopia). I also got the inspiration for this cookie from sweetopia. On the blog she made daisy cookies in which she made royal icing transfers.

First I made a template for my flower on a piece of wax paper, using edible marker, but looking back at it I could have just as easily drew it on a piece of paper and used a regular pen. I then suran wrapped over it to make it stay on the counter. I usually suran wrap my counter top to make a nice clean surface for me to work on...and it makes it so easy to clean up. Gotta love that costco suran's practically endless!
Once I had my template. I cut out squares of wax paper for each flower and wiped some shortening on them so the flowers would easily come off. The wax paper is kind of opaque so the template shows thru nicely. I then piped the flowers on each piece of wax paper using pink, yellow, lavender and green royal icing. While the flowers were still wet I put a pearl sprinkle in the center of each one.
While the flowers were drying I piped a circle on the fluted circle cookies, leaving about a 1/8" border and filled with with white icing. Once the white set a little, I piped little dots with the correponding flower colors around the white circle to add a decorative touch. Then it was the moment of truth...I carefully peeled the flowers off the wax paper, piped a little icing on the back and adhered it to the center of the cookie.
With all the cookies together it looked like spring! It was so much fun making these and I really liked this technique of making icing transfers. Thanks again sweetopia!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Carrot cupcakes

carrot cupcakes

Also for Easter I made some mini carrot cupcakes. With the Easter cookies, I kind of ran short on time and decided to take a little shortcut and use the betty crocker mix for make these cupcakes. Just didn't have enough energy to shred all those carrots...

However, I do like the mix too. It's very light and not too sweet. I frosted half the cupcakes with a whipped cream/cream cheese frosting (only frosted half because I actually prefer it without the frosting, but my husband would disagree). For the carrots I used the orange wilton tube icing (this tube frosting has come in handy for these little carrots and the beaks for the thankgiving turkey cupcakes). The tube icing is very stiff which is good for adding the little ridges for the carrots, but it is tough on my hand muscles. I just used a little bit of the cream cheese frosting and tinted it green for the stems.

I found cute stripped mini cupcake liners at World Market but I'm always a little disappointed when I bake up the cupcakes and can barely see the print on the liners anymore. Wish there was a trick to ensuring the print will show through...

These cupcakes were so simple and easy to make. Next time maybe I'll muster enough energy to try it all from scratch...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Easter!

easter shortbread cookies

For Easter I decided to try out this shortbread recipe I found on the Sweetopia blog. She does the most amazing decorate cookies. I was really excited to try her shortbread cookie and icing recipes and compare them to the ones I've always used before. I have to admit I've been a little obsessed with her blog. I'm just in awe of how amazingly perfect her cookies are!  I strive to be as good of a cookie decorator as her...someday.

So, for Easter I decorated eggs!...egg shaped cookies that is. Using pastel pink, violet, yellow and green I decorated the eggs in white polk dots and flowers. I piped a little dam about 1/8" from the edge of the cookie then filled it in with corresponding colors. Before the base layer set I piped white polka dots. For the flowers I piped the yellow centers and five white dots (petals) around the center. I then took a toothpick and dragged the white dots in a semi-circular motion towards the yellow center to create petals. I found that shaking the cookie (gently) really helps the polka dots and flowers to settle in nicely into the base color to make a nice smooth finish. A toothpick is also a great tool to help pop any tiny air bubbles.

For the bunnies, I iced them all white and piped a little black eye using the wilton tube icing. I have to say, this has been great to have on hand because I don't have to make a little bit of black icing for tiny eyes (ie. the elephant cake). Black icing is not fun to uses so much food coloring! For the tails I piped a little white tail, after the base layer set, and used yellow sanding sugar to add that fluffy tail texture and some color.

Sorry in the picture I only had one flower cookie left...I was a little delayed in getting my photoshoot together and some didn't make it to the shoot). But, I liked the polka dot ones better anyway. Needless to say I really enjoyed making these and the cookies taste great. They are more crumbly and delicate than the shortbread cookies I usually make but I love how light and melt in your mouth they are. The icing recipe was great too. Thanks Sweetopia!

Hope everyone had a happy Easter!