Search This Blog

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

My cousin Naomi got engaged on February 6, 2010, and this weekend I went to her bridal shower in Montreal. Since she loves, and I mean loves chocolate, I modified my sugar cookie recipe with a little cocoa powder to make chocolate sugar cookies for the shower.

I followed my usual recipe for making sugar cookies, but replaced 1/3 cup of flour for 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Click here for the rolled sugar cookie recipe I love!

I was really happy with the results.

This was one of my favourites!

I used some of the new cookie cutters I bought including the square and circle cutters with rigid edges.

Click here for to learn how to create feathered stripes on wet flood, (as seen on the middle cake cookie on the bottom row of cakes above, and, as seen on the first wedding dress in the photo below).  

I tried some simpler designs as well, because some people prefer a little less royal icing and sweetness on their cookies.

The wedding date is set for 10. 10. 10.  What an easy date to remember!

I think she loved the cookies! On another note...Naomi is probably one of the most creative people I know. She also took the coolest engagement pictures, photographed by Blushing Bride Studio.  She researched when and where there would be a carnival in Montreal and managed to find one taking place in Pierrefonds, Quebec in early July.  Click here to view the awesome shots taken by Chelsea, the owner of the company.

Congrats you guys!  We are so excited for you and can't wait to celebrate with you at your wedding!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Butterfly Cookies

I had fun baking and decorating butterfly shaped sugar cookies for my friend's daughter's second birthday. To make your own butterfly cookies, follow these steps.

Click on this post for my favourite sugar cookie recipe. Choose the royal icing recipe that you like best. I am still learning how to make the perfect royal icing. I still have difficulty avoiding all those air bubbles!

Select icing colors to tint the royal icing. I chose black for the border, and Wilton velvet, teal and red for flooding.

Next, add the icing colors into small bowls of royal icing and mix. Black requires a very generous amount of color before it reaches its darkest shade. Repeat for other desired colors.

 Pour the colours for flooding into squeeze bottles.

It makes it easy to flood the cookies and get into the curvy areas.

Pipe the border of the cookies. Let dry.

 Creating feathered stripes on wet flood...

Flood cookie with desired color.

Immediately, squeeze lines in contrasting color on each wing.

Drag a toothpick through both lines toward the middle of the butterfly. This will create a feathered effect that that will blend into the original flooded color of the butterfly.  

For a fancy houndstooth butterfly, alternate colors in the shape of the cookie until all areas are flooded without any spaces remaining.

 Drag a tooth pick diagonally from the bottom left wing of the butterfly to the top right wing, and back down again just a quarter of an inch over this time. Continue to alternate toothpick direction with each row, on opposite wing.

Or, just add some simple details.
They look so bright!

Then personalize for loot bags!

The kids just love them!

Since I had so much space on these cookies, I tried a different type of lettering this time. I think it looks pretty cute! 

Happy Second Birthday Addison!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes

I think I'm in love...with this new recipe!  Ever since last summer when I made Mini Zucchini Cakes that turned out super cute, but not as perfect as I would have liked, I have been looking for a new zucchini cupcake recipe.  I think I have found it!  Thanks Martha!

This recipe is super easy to follow. The lemon and the cloves are hidden in the picture above, but all of the other ingredients needed to make the muffin part of the cupcake are included. I used one regular zucchini and one yellow zucchini, mostly because that is what I had in the fridge. The recipe calls for 2 green ones.

Grate 'em up. This time, I grated the zucchini by hand since I didn't feel like cleaning my food processor. I love the colors of the green and yellow zucchini. 

Fill each muffin tin three-quarters full. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
Mmmm...the batter looks so yummy, even before it bakes in the oven.

Test by inserting a cake tester or tooth pick in the middle of a cupcake.  It should come out clean when ready.

Let cool and serve.

Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes
(Taken from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes p. 44)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 cups packed grated zucchini (about 1 1/2 zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  In another bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla and zest until well blended; whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Stir in zucchini, then add flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to two months, in air tight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

I prefer eating the cupcakes as muffins without any frosting. However, for those of you who especially love cream cheese frosting, once cooled, you will enjoy these cupcakes even more when they are spread with cream-cheese frosting.

Cream-Cheese Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low.  Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. 


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rice Krispy Birthday Cake

My aunt is always so busy making dinner and dessert for everyone else's birthdays, so for her birthday, I decided to whip something together in no time at all.  For all of you who really want to make a cake but feel that it is too difficult, here is the perfect idea...a Rice Krispy Cake!

Generously spray a spring form pan with non stick cooking spray. Prepare the Rice Krispy cereal mix as you would to make Rice Krispy Squares.  Click here for the recipe.

While mixture is still warm, pour into the spring form pan.  Using a buttered spatula or buttered hands, press mixture evenly and add sprinkles for additional colour.  Let set and cool. 

In the meanwhile, roll out some fondant and use alphabet cookie cutters to cut out a happy birthday wish.
Once the cake cools, arrange the letters on the cake and use chocolate frosting as glue to set the skittles in place.

Mmmm....I love skittles!
Transfer to a plate and serve!
For guaranteed freshness, eat the same day.