Cookies for an artist

artist4Here’s another cookie post. I made these for my dental hygienist, who paints on the side and has given us some really beautiful artwork. He gave us this painting coincidentally on the same day that we put a bid in on our house.  And how it’s hanging over our fireplace.

painting-for-blog

Since he shared his art with me, I wanted to share mine with him.

These were fun to make. I used a thicker layer of royal icing for filling in the palette by using Wilton tip #3, instead of my usual #2 tip. I still used the #2 tip for outlining the palette, though. For the paints, I used  a large tip (#11 or 12 will work nicely) and full strength icing. A more detailed tutorial on how to decorate sugar cookies (and also the recipe) can be seen here.

artist2artist3artist1

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Twin baby boy sugar cookies

Twins1I’m really into sugar cookies lately. They are so easy to make, and then you can spend all your time decorating them in cute ways. You don’t have to worry about the structural integrity like with carved cakes, and they are easy to transport since the icing dries hard. And who doesn’t love a sugar cookie? Find me one person…I challenge you! My favorite recipe is this one, and it has never failed me.

Anyways, I made these for my friend’s baby shower, and as you can guess, she is having TWIN BOYS! Double trouble :) I can’t take full credit for the design…I found them on Pinterest. This was fairly complicated to draw on a cookie, but after a few tries, I got it.  The entire design is done with royal icing (recipe here). Start by drawing the outline with full strength royal icing, and let that dry. I used a wilton #2 tip. Then, to fill in the cookie, add just enough water to the royal icing so that it flows freely from a spoon. You still want it a thick liquid, but fluid. I also used a #2 tip for this part, because if you flood the cookie too much, you will lose the designs. So I filled in with a thin layer of blue and peach icing so you could still see the faces and polka dots. If you are really concerned, you can add some icing to the cookie (using an icing bag and tip) and then spread it around with a toothpick.

A more in-depth tutorial can be seen here.

Remember, for complicated designs, keep the pressure on the icing bag steady and move slowly and deliberately. I messed up most when I rushed. If you do mess up, you can take a thin paintbrush (that is devoted to cake decorating), dip it in water, and gently move the outline where you want it. You can also use this method to smooth down stray icing that doesn’t lay flat. But do this right away, as the icing dries fast.

Have fun, and be creative! Think of sugar cookies as your canvas and icing as your medium.

Twins2Twins3Twins4

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Deflategate cupcakes made with Sam Adams Boston Ale

Deflategate1My apologies to my Boston family and friends, but I cannot defend the Patriots this time. I’m all for creative plays (not that I understand them fully), but stealing the balls and deflating them is just too much. Luckily, I can have a sense of humor about it. So I decided to make “deflategate” cupcakes, and what better flavor than something made with Sam Adams beer?

The recipe called for Sam Adams Boston Lager, but I decided to go with the Boston Ale, because it was smoother and had hints of caramel. I thought it would be a better cupcake beer. It turned out great! The cupcakes were not overly sweet, and had a bread/yeast flavor. I would say these are a cross between a cupcake and a cornbread muffin. I decided to pair them with my new favorite cream cheese frosting.

Deflategate2Decorating was the most fun! To make the deflated footballs, I knew I needed some kind of dried fruit. At first I wanted prunes, but I know they are not a fan favorite. I found that dried dates look even better, and I think they taste better than prunes. We’ll see what people think when I serve them. I just did 5 stitches with royal icing, and it was all pretty easy.

Deflategate2I had to go with Pats colors, and the supermarket didn’t have red and blue sprinkles that I could purchase alone. So I had to get a few bottles of patriotic red, white, and blue sprinkles.

What happened to all the white sprinkles, you may ask. Well, a huge thank you to my hubby who sat with me and helped pick out all the white sprinkles! What a pain in the ass, but the finished product really does look good! Next time, I will leave myself 2 days so I can order single colors of sprinkles on Amazon!

Now they are in formation and ready to go for the Superbowl!

Delategate4Who am I rooting for in the game? I’m not sure…I guess whoever makes it so that I win a little money in the pool I’ve entered!

Enjoy the game, everyone!

Cupcakes made with Sam Adams Boston Ale (from the Sam Adams Blog)
 
Makes 24 cupcakes. Originally made with Boston Lager, but I made the decision to use the Boston Ale. I do not regret my decision
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups of white sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅓ cup Samuel Adams Boston Ale
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
  3. In an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and egg yolks and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  5. In a large bowl, sift the flour and add the baking powder and salt.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the milk and Boston Ale.
  7. Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix well. Then add ½ of the milk/beer to the butter mixture and beat. Continue alternating adding the dry ingredients and milk/beer until it is entirely incorporated.
  8. Scoop batter into the cupcake liners, and fill ⅔ of the way.
  9. Bake 16-18 minutes (top rack of oven, bottom may take longer), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.

 

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My new favorite cream cheese frosting

I have found perfection, and it is in the form of this cream cheese frosting recipe I found online from Wicked Good Kitchen.  I find most frosting with cream cheese ends up being too sweet and doesn’t really hold up for piping. This one is mostly butter, and it both tastes and looks perfect. I used it to make the Merry Christmas Eve cake I posted a few days ago.

Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting (from Wicked Good Kitchen)
 
Standard recipe, for 12 cupcakes or one small cake
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package of Philadelphia cream cheese, chilled
  • 2½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 to 4½ cups of confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy.
  2. Add cream cheese and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.
  3. Gradually increase mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary with a rubber spatula.
  4. Gradually add the 4 cups of confectioner's sugar until the frosting is the desired consistency. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes until it is completely smooth.

 

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Merry Christmas Eve

xmas-eveHope everyone had a great Christmas Eve! Don’t forget to leave out milk and cookies for Santa tonight…

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