Happy Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week

I made cookies!  I feel like I haven’t made any in a while.  As I look at my past posts I see that I’ve made them often.  🙂

These were actually created in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.  At my 9-5 some of the employees and I planned a small event for the teachers (we call them ‘Coaches’) in our after-school program so of course I was tasked with making a dessert.  

As we wrap up Teacher Appreciation Week we will soon be celebrating Mother’s Day.  When you have a chance make sure to thank teachers for their dedication to our education, as well as our mothers and mother figures for their dedication to us. 

Since my mother also happens to be an outstanding teacher I thought these cookies would make a great, but small, representation of her.  To my mother, and mothers everywhere, we honor you for your unconditional love, compassion, numerous sacrifices and immeasurable influence.  There are not enough words (or cookies) to thank you for just being you. 

school cookies

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The dog cake!

I have a great obsession with love for dogs; they’re the most loyal, wonderful animals and I can’t wait until I have one of my own.  Now when it comes to dogs in cake form, I’ve avoided making one like the plague.  One day I knew it would eventually catch up to me…and it finally did.  How, you ask?

My father celebrated his birthday Wednesday, but this past weekend we threw him a surprise party.  Of course I was tasked with the cake and I had two choices: a ‘Star Trek’ ship or a dog cake in honor of his dog ‘Mutley,’ (or ‘Mutty Mutt’).  I had to go with the lesser of two evils (there was no way I was making a ‘Star Trek’ ship…yet).  

I’m a big fan of Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes so I stayed glued to her dog sculpting video as I made my cake.  She, being the expert, carved the dog’s head out of styrofoam, but I couldn’t find styrofoam that’s easy to cut so I used marshmallow treats…not a good idea!  Even if you coat it in buttercream to harden, as soon as it thaws that dog head is coming down.  That is why the right side of the dog’s face is a little droopy in the photo…and his nose is not quite centered, ha! 

Other than that I kind of like him for my first attempt.  I love trying out new cake ideas on family because you can work out the kinks. 

Schnauzer cake

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March Madness…in April

So I’m a little late (as usual).  I should have posted some March Madness-related treat in March, but I did not.  Well, maybe I’m not late since March Madness is still taking place…in April.  Since this madness has moved into a different month maybe they should just call it Spring Madness, no?  Sounds too girlie? 

Either way, I have to admit I don’t keep up with college basketball (I’m more of an NBA fan, go Mavs!) so when a client asked me to make some college basketball-themed cookies a while ago (yes, these are old…don’t judge me) I jumped at the chance!  Her son was a fan of many college teams (I guess taking this route gaurantees he’ll always have a winning team :)) so I made b-ball cookies with team logos.  I had fun making the cookies, but designing logos out of royal icing in such a small form can be tedious and delicate…there was much logo breakage. 

Based on these cookies and where we are in the tournament he only has Duke to root for now!  To all the teams left in the tournament, Good luck!

College basketball cookies

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French Macarons for Easter? Oui, Oui!

It feels like a while since I’ve blogged…oh wait, it has been a while.  Sorry!  Anywho, I realized I’ve never blogged any Easter desserts so now is as good a time as any.  Okay, so French macarons are not technically Easter desserts, but I used pastel colors and I made them right before Easter so in my world it counts.    

I absolutely looovvveee French macarons.  Not to be mistaken for the coconut macaroons Americans except me seem to love, French macarons are a delicate, rich meringue-based confection made of egg whites, sugar, almond meal and confectionary sugar.  They’re usually made into sandwich cookies, but are so much better than any sandwich cookie I’ve ever had.

It’s been a while since I’ve made macarons (2008 in culinary school to be exact) so I found a ‘no fail’ recipe online and…I failed!  I think the cookie turned out too delicate — even for a macaron — which made it difficult to sandwich and photo without breaking. 

I definitely want to perfect a maracon recipe so…I guess I’ll just have to take one for the team and keep practicing.  😉

French Macarons filled with pastel-colored buttercream for Easter

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Happy Valentine’s Day!!

With inspiration from the crossword puzzle cookie I made last year, I decided to keep the fun and games going by making an actual puzzle cookie.

Lesson I learned:  you can’t slice the cookie before you bake it because you may not be able to put it back together.  Yes, I’m reluctantly admitting that I could not put back together my own puzzle.  It was partly because I didn’t lay out the pieces in the heart shape before baking, and also because the cookie pieces spread slightly, leaving the heart a bit out of shape.

Now on to cookie number 2:  I cut out the heart shape (I couldn’t find a cutter that big so I used the trusty Exacto knife), I then traced the letters into the cookie (be careful not to cut all the way through the cookie).  As soon as I pull the cookie out of the oven I cut the puzzle pieces.  It keeps the pieces an accurate size and keeps the puzzle pieces in place.

I had to rush to complete this cookie (it wasn’t for a client; just the blog) so next time I will be more careful with my icing so it won’t run over the sides and the pieces will fit closer together.

I was going title this post ‘Have a Piece of my Heart,’ but that’s too cheesy…even for me.  I’m just going to keep it simple and say ‘Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!’

Valentine's Puzzle Cookie

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Life is like a box of chocolate…cake

As the saying goes ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get’…unless you take a bite out of every chocolate in the box to find the ones you like (I know I’m not the only one who does that.)

I wanted to piggyback off the box of chocolates idea, and knew Valentine’s would be the perfect time to recreate it.  It’s something I wanted to make last year, but didn’t have time.  This year I was determined to bring this idea to life after receiving some inspiration from Rosie of Sweetapolita, who created an amazing depiction of chocolates made out of cake. 

Time was a big issue for me (as in I didn’t have any) so I decided to forego carving, stacking and filling cakes and just made the ‘chocolates’ cakeball style.  The dark chocolate…’chocolates,’ are covered with dark chocolate ganache and the other ‘chocolates’ are covered with fondant.  I wanted to paint the pink heart a shiny red, but I was told pure red luster dust doesn’t exist.  There are definitely some other adjustments I would make if I had more time, but this is a good start. 

box of chocolates...cakes

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Never-ending love…

Sappy title, huh?  Well Valentine’s Day is a week away so I figured I would participate in the love fest…at least in the food department.   I’ve just never been one to take Valentine’s Day too seriously.  In fact, last year an ex and I celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day so we wouldn’t have to deal with crowds of people out on the actual holiday. 

For me it’s all about the sweets, so I’ll do what I do best: bake.  For the next week I’ll feature a few Valentine’s Day-inspired desserts, so first up: a heart wreath cookie.  Do you see how the title fits?  Never-ending love?  A wreath is a circle, which never ends…it’s made out of hearts, which is a symbol for love…yeah, you get it.  I used a heart cookie cutter, pressed the heart cutouts together to make a wreath, and baked the cookie on a pizza pan.  It’s incredibly easy, but stands out more than the standard heart cookie. 

Hearth Wreath Cookie

After thinking about it, you know the best part of Valentine’s celebrations for me: February 15.  That’s when grocery stores sell Valentine’s candy for 50% off. 

Now that’s love.  🙂

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