Posts in Category: Bake

Halloween 2016 Vampire

Halloween isn’t very big in Australia, but damn it is a great reason to make fun cookies.

Our Halloween usually entails one of following three types.

1. Where we buy a little bit of candy, but no one comes to the door
2. Where we buy no candy and suddenly there are kids knocking so we pretend we aren’t here, or
3. We hibernate and watch horror movies

Granted, in the last five years, I think we’ve had two kid visits, so….like I said, it ain’t that big here. But we need no excuses to watch horror movies or eat cookies.

FYI – We watched Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil last night, and it’s just hilarious. Totally a comedy/horror you should check out.

I asked Jason what I should make that was Halloween themed and he told me chibi vampires. Basically chibi is Japanese slang for a short person or small person in a cute way. I think these little guys fit the bill.

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I’ve been reading a little about photo composition and fancy camera terms over the last day. I know my photos are generally terrible, so hopefully you’ll notice them getting better from here on out. Leave a comment and let me know what you think?

I realised, I am also terrible at making purple icing. Vamps’ cloak is meant to be purple, but all I ended up making out of two tries was maroon, and aubergine. Yes, technically aubergine is a purple but not what I was going for. It developed the colour as it dried, and looks almost black now.

Stay tuned for more Halloween cookies over the next week.

Until next time, have fun!

UnBEARably Cute Cookies

There was just a little leftover dough in the fridge after the ladybug/leaf cookies, and after rifling through my cookie cutter stash, I found a bear head cutter that I had never used. Some earnest Pinterest browsing and I had some inspiration.

I suppose my Cookie/Cake board being called Inspiration and having 2500 pins might tell you I absolutely love the Pinterest.

Anyways….here’s some beary cookies for you.

I wanted to try to make these grey teddies look furry. The bear on the left has a bit of brush embroidery, where I’ve piped a line around the edge, and then dragged the icing in using a paintbrush. The bear on the right has its fur done by piping tiny lines quickly around the outside, and then going around it again. I wanted that rough, I guess, imperfectness which lends a more realistic look?

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Stepping away from your traditional bear, we have some utterly cute polar bears. Their cheeks and ears have been brushed with pink petal dust. Oh I just want to squish their little faces!

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Last, but certainly not least, more bears. I found it quite difficult to make a tan colour. The brown gel dyes I have are VERY brown, so I realised I needed to add yellow. When it didn’t work, I totally googled how to make tan icing and I was on the right track, just needed even more yellow! And then some more white icing to make it lighter again.

I sort of dropped a bag of icing on the chin of one of them, so he has a bit of patch job going on.

Jason thinks these guys look a little smug. Like they did something naughty and got away with it.

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Oh, and I got these lovelies in the mail today, some more Stellar in Tourmaline for the blankie. Perfect timing as I will run out of the first ball today.

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Until next time, have fun!

Ladybug Baby BBQ

My dear friends, Angela and Jay, are having their first bubba in a few months, and to celebrate they had a BBQ get-together with friends and family this past weekend. It was a gorgeous spring day with lots of fun and good food!

Angela asked me to make some cookies for the event, which of course I would have to do! They’ve nicknamed the bub Bug, so there was a ladybug theme, though thankfully not over the top as some baby shower parties can get. Good job on a relaxed and fun party!

I thought I would show a few of my supplies and the process for this set of cookies, as it was pretty full on. The order was for fifty cookies, and due to friend status, I made them big!

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Day 1 – I pulled out my DoughEZ rolling mat, trusty rolling pin, and my Baker’s Secret baking trays.

If I just have one batch of cookies, I usually don’t bother pulling out the mat but I had four batches to roll, hand-cut and bake. This mat and its guide rules, just make it so quick and easy to roll to the same thickness and to peel them off. Unfortunately it’s only available from the US via this website but they do ship to Australia. Still, if you make a lot of cookies, pastry, or roll sugarpaste, this mat is definitely worth the cost and I think it’s going to last a lifetime.

The rolling pin I purchased from my TAFE teacher when I did my cake decorating course years ago, so sorry…no idea where it’s from or what it’s called but it is the best rolling pin I have ever had.

The Baker’s Secret pans I have had for a few years now and they are still in great shape. They are non-stick, and just the right colour to not overcook the cookies.  They don’t mind metal spatulas being used to lift the cookies after baking. They are reasonably priced as well, about $12-$15 each. I think I’m going to pick up another three to bring my total to six as it was a bit of a handful baking fifty cookies with only three trays.

Unfortunately, my rented house’s oven is utterly terrible. I have to use a oven thermometer every time to achieve the right temperature (not that that is a bad habit) but I have to put the gauge onto 175-180 to achieve 160 degrees C, because the thermostat keeps breaking regardless of how many times it has been readjusted. I’ve learned its quirks but I only feel comfortable baking one tray at a time.

So, four and a half hours of mixing dough, rolling, cutting, baking, and we have 54 cookies ready (always make a few extras in case you mess some up). Another hour to mix up the 1 and a half batches of royal icing and colour it.

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Day 2 – Here is everything laid out and ready to go. I make my piping bags from baking paper myself, it’s cheaper than buying plastic piping bags and your icing stays cooler in them as well, especially if you have hot little hands. I pulled out my really good piping tips. I swear by PME!

I managed to get the bases piped in two and a half hours, colour achieved by Americolor Avocado, the darker “outline” lines with just a bit of black icing added to the avocado icing. I left them to dry, and later that night piped the green swirls and dots.

Day 3 – Ladybug time! These took about an hour all up to pipe. I did the bodies and heads, then went back and piped the tiny antennae. The white dots were piped onto the red using the wet on wet technique, just like the green outlines the day before.

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The cookies were left to dry for another 24 hours. Look at these little cuties!

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Day 4 –  Packaging took around ninety minutes. Here they are ready to party!

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I’d like to acknowledge Jill’s Funky Cookie Studio, whose design we appropriated for this cookie. She is just fabulous, so you won’t be disappointed if you go to check out her Facebook.

Hope you enjoyed this little journey. Until next time, have fun!

Dachshund Cookies

Spelling dachshund is pretty hard, don’t you think? I can see why they get called sausage dogs, it’s just easier.

This lil guy was the inspiration for these cookies that I FINALLY made for my sister Lisa. I always say better late than never. This is Mustard, my sister’s cutie of a dachshund.

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I have been out of practice with making cookies, so I tried to keep it simple, and sometimes that works out to be super cute. I can imagine Mustard doing a lot of napping and begging like these guys below, though a soccer ball is probably bigger than him!

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Hopefully you can see in this closeup I used a pink luster dust on the cheeks. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have used a sparkly one 🙂 Poor puppies, all prettied up and nowhere to go.

I painted on their eyebrows with a little black powdered food colouring.

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I wanted to show you two types of balls I did. The lower soccer ball is a more traditional pattern, but I think it just looks crap, really crowded and lacking definition. So I simplified a bit more and I think they look great now.

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Definitely not my best cookies by far, but made with love! There’s some air bubbles in the royal icing, which caused a hole in the foreleg of the above dog cookie and dimpling in almost all of them. I couldn’t find my best piping tips, so everything just looks a little sloppy to me. I guess I need to do a sort of my cookie supplies! But even if my skills are lacking, it was fun to get back to this. Now I need to decide what to make with the leftover cookie dough and icing 🙂

Until next time, have fun.

Sesame Honey Slice

This week’s treat is Sesame Honey Slice! It’ll make 12 but be careful, they are so more-ish.

Ingredients:

75g margarine

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup SPLENDA Granulated Low Calorie Sweetener

175g rolled oats

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

My adjustments – Used butter instead of margarine, used white sugar instead of Splenda and added 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds. I sort of thought when making this they should have called it “Honey Oat Slice with a little bit of sesame”. So feel free to add more more more!

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line an 18cm square baking tin (I used a rectangle slice pan, it really doesn’t matter).
  2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan with the honey. Stir in the Splenda, oats and sesame seeds.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the tin and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  4. Set aside to cool completely. Cut into 12 squares. Store in an airtight container.

You really do need to let the slice cool completely as it’s really soft and will just crumble if you try to take it out. But as it cools, the honey will harden and make it really firm, and you’ll have to get your muscles out to cut through that thing.

As you can tell from the photo, I am terrible at cutting equal sized pieces. But it’s all good, because I am now eyeing off that largest one 🙂

Apologies, I do not know the source of this recipe, it could be from one of the Coles free recipe magazines you can get in stores?

Until next time, have fun.