Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet Scents

Along with the Valentine's Day cookies I made, I also made some really cute potpourri hearts for a few friends. They were super simple and definitely a cute addition to my bagged cookies.

The only supplies you'll need to make one (or five!) is some scrap fabric, needle & thread, some cotton balls, buttons (optional), and potpourri! Sounds simple enough, right?

First you just cut your fabric into hearts. I folded my fabric in half when I cut so that I'd get the same sized front and back pieces. Or you can print or draw a template to trace onto your fabric to make it easier.

Then, thread your needle, making sure you tie off one end, and start stitching around the heart. I started at the top center of the heart- since that was where I wanted my button to go when I was finished. Make sure you leave about 1-2 inches unfinished so you can stuff you heart before closing.

Once you get to this point, stop stitching and stuff your heart with cotton balls. I stuffed along the outline first, and then added the potpourri dust into the center of the heart, placing the cotton balls around the edges of the heart so the dust wouldn't fall out of any creases. You can probably just stick the potpourri pack into the heart itself, but I wanted it to be more fragrant, so I emptied the contents directly into the heart!

Now all you have to do is stitch up the open part, and knot off your thread where you started. I placed the button over the knots to hide the messy final stitches and left enough thread for a loop in order to hang the heart- just in case!

And that's it! Now you have a very sweet scented heart to give away, or you can make some for yourself to throw into your drawers or car! Who said scents couldn't be cute?!

Idea inspired by a post from lovely indeed!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Cookies

I have been trying to practice my skills at decorating cookies, and I thought I'd try out a new royal icing recipe that my cousin shared with me (not to mention a yummy, super easy sugar cookie recipe, too!). The whole "outlining" and "flooding" tasks were very new to me, but I just had to try it! And it wasn't too hard! Here's what I came up with...

Not too shabby, eh?

Here are the two recipes I used for the cookies and icing.


*3 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
*1 cup sugar
*1 large egg
*2 teaspoon vanilla
*food coloring (if you want to dye your dough!)

1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar with your mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.

3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until the two are thoroughly blended. If your design calls for adding food coloring, do so now, and blend well.

4. Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into two or three equal portions. Form each one into a rough disk. Now you're ready to roll, chill, and cut out cookie shapes. NOTE: It's best to form dough into a disk and roll out onto wax paper. Cover the top with wax paper as well and put in fridge to chill for 20-30 min. Using the wax paper helps with less mess [no flour to use!] and makes it easier to roll. The dough will be nice and smooth and the wax paper will peel off easily when chilled.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

6. After you've rolled and cut the dough and the coolie shapes are on parchment-lined cookie sheets, bake them in the middle rack of your oven for 12-16 minutes or until the cookies start to turn slightly golden around the edges.

7. Cool the cookies completely before icing!

*4 tablespoons meringue powder
*scant 1/2 cup water
*1 pound powder sugar
*1/2 - 1 teaspoon light corn syrup (optional- helps add shine to icing!)
*few drops of clear extract for flavor (optional. i like to use lemon juice)

1.Combine the meringue powder and water. Beat until combined and foamy with electric mixer.

2. Sift (important!!) in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.

3. Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired.

4. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. Don't overbeat!

5. Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food coloring and start decorating!

**This recipe is perfect for outlining your cookies. Once you've outlined, add a small amount of water until icing is smoother, and use that to flood your cookies- once your outline is dry, of course!

After I made all the cookies and iced them, I let them sit for a day before packaging them up! I used a super cute print-out from I Heart Faces to decorate the bags. (Become a fan of hers on facebook and it's free in her Exclusive tab!) Instead of adding a picture, I left the circle gray and wrote names in the empty space. Once that was done, I passed them out to friends and family and tried not to steal any for myself...

CREDITS: Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe came from Cookie Craft Christmas and the royal icing recipe came from Bake at 350.

Ready For Spring!

I found a recipe the other day for strawberry lemonade cookies. I was immediately salivating and I just HAD to make them. So tonight I took the challenge and produced some very pink cookies! They are very sweet and very tarty and totally easy to make! If you're a strawberry lover, this is a pretty great cookie, but unfortunately for me, I'm not too huge on the mix. But I'm still glad I made them, and I think they will grow on me as I continue to eat the pile of cookies in my kitchen! I think the icing is super yummy and would be great on a simple sugar cookie or even a plain lemon cookie. Also, next time I make them, I'm going to try half strawberry and half vanilla cake mix to tone down the strawberry flavor! NOTE: these would make a super-duper cute addition to a pink baby shower or birthday party! Definitely a feminine cookie!

Want to try them out yourself? Here's the recipe!

For the cookies:
* Strawberry cake mix
* 1 stick butter, softened
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1 Tbs. water
* 1/2 cup pink lemonade mix

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a mixer till well blended. Drop by teaspoons onto a baking stone or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

For the frosting:
* 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
* 3 Tbs. pink lemonade mix
* 3 Tbs. soft butter
* 1-3 Tbs. milk

Stir the powdered sugar and lemonade mix together in a small bowl. Stir in the butter. Add the milk gradually, until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. You want it thick, but smooth enough to spread. Frost cooled cookies.

(And thank you, Tiffany for the recipe!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dark Chocolate/Mint Morsel Chocolate Cookies!

Try saying that three times fast!

These cookies are really simple and really good! During the holiday season Nestle always had a great assortment of morsels to chose from and the Dark Chocolate and Mint morsels add quite a kick to this cookie! But you can always use regular semi-sweet chips and they will taste great too! Here's the simple recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups of your choice of morsel

Preteat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 9 - 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set but still soft. I like to bake mine for 9 minutes- they seem to be very moist and soft! Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Candy Coated Red Velvet Truffles

Now the name may be a mouthful, but I can guarantee you this treat is nothing but a mouthful of Heaven. I cannot believe how many compliments and requests I get for these delightful finger desserts! It many not be as easy as chocolate chip cookies, but it's worth the time and effort. Thankfully one batch makes about 60- so you're covered for quite a while!

Here's how to make these great treats!

Item Needed:
*1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix (plus ingredients on box to make the cake)
*1 can cream cheese frosting
*2 to 3 14 oz bags of chocolate chips (or candy melts- I used 3 bags of colored candy melts for the orange and black candy for the picture above)
*vegetable oil (if needed for thinning out candy melts)

Make it:

Mix and bake your red velvet cake as directed on box.

Once cooled, crumble cake into large mixing bowl.

Add entire can of frosting to bowl- mix until blended!

Roll mixture into half inch balls with your hands and place onto cookie sheet.

Once mixture is used up and you have rolled all the balls, place cookie sheet into freezer for 30 min, or fridge for up to 2 hours to allow cake balls to firm.

Once firm, melt 1 bag of chocolate in a bowl. Heat in increments of 30 seconds- stirring in between (or as bag directs). Make sure it melts to a consistency that drips when you run a fork through the candy. If it's still too thick, add a few drops of vegetable oil until thinned out.

I wasn't able to get pictures of the dipping process since I was by myself- but I will try to explain as best as I can!

Drop a cake ball into melted candy. Spoon candy over cake ball so it covers it completely. Using a fork, lift it out of the bowl- letting the excess candy drip from the fork. Poke with toothpick and drop onto a cookie sheet topped with wax paper. If you want to use sprinkles, act fast, and sprinkle after every 2 to 3 cake balls as the candy coat hardens quickly. Try to allow as much candy coating to drip off so the melts last longer and go further.

Once all cake balls are dipped, allow to harden at room temperature, or stick in fridge. Just to warn you- if you put them in the fridge, the candy coating may not look as smooth or may look cracked. It's not hugely noticeable, but something worth noting.

One candy hardens- serve them, eat them, or give them away at gifts!