You don’t bring me flowers

Last week, a friend of mine was in a bit of a slump.  And not the short-term kind.  The type of slump that only bright, happy things can get you through the day.  She needed some flowers.

But, of course, in my language, that translates to cookies.  Cookies make all things better.  Especially smiley, flower-shaped ones.

**Disclaimer** As if my photos aren’t lighting-challenged enough, these were taken at 11pm, so pretend there is beautiful, natural light shining in on them, would ya?  Thanks.

Flower Bouquet

I used the bamboo stick idea from Callye @ Sweet Sugar Belle.  I was going to stick them in big brownies to make them doublely yummy, but that didn’t happen.  So foam blocks it is!

And since I went a little nuts on the number of flowers I made, I decided to make one for each of my girl’s teachers.  My 13-year-old son would have been mortified if I walked into his school with these little babies, so his teachers had to do without.  (That’s what they get for teaching middle school)

My 1st grader’s teacher is a frog fanatic, so we had to throw the frog prince in there for her.

And my 4th grader’s teacher – well, I don’t know anything about her.  But what woman doesn’t like edible flowers and smiley face, right?

And because I couldn’t seem to stop myself, I also wrapped up the leftovers and put them in little tin buckets and passed them around at school.  (No, I was not trying to score points with the principal’s assistant.  Why do you ask?)

These were really easy to do and made everyone that saw them smile.  So if you know anyone that could use a little pick-me-up, these cuties will do the trick!

It feels good to be back in the kitchen.  Have a great week!

Works for me Wednesday – Bright White Coloring

I remember several years ago, walking through the baking section of Hobby Lobby and thinking “what in the world would you use white icing coloring for?”  Ah, I was so naive.

When I first started reading about decorating sugar cookies, several bloggers mentioned using it for their white royal icing.  This may seem redundant, but it really does make a difference.  It really makes your whites “pop”, and it keeps them from looking dingy.

Well, I have found another great use for this bottle of wonder.

I have been decorating Easter cookies this week, and found myself in the undesirable situation where I had to color match some icing.  I didn’t make enough, so I was trying to match my blue and purple.  Now, for those that don’t know me, I’m not really as pastel color kind-of-girl.  I’m bold, dark, bright colors.  So, when I went to mix up my blue, I got it WAY too bright.  I mixed in a little of the white icing to tone it down.  But because it was pretty dark, I ended up having to dip into some of the white icing for the purple.  But the blue matched, so all was well.

Until, of course, I mixed the purple too dark, also.  (Did I mention that I do not function well late at night?) So because I had used all the extra white icing on the blue, I was out of luck.

But then my white color came to the rescue.

Did you know that you can also use this stuff to lighten icing?  You would think it would be obvious, but not to me.  It worked like a charm.

This little bottle has become indispensible in my baking box.  If you don’t own any, you are missing out on the magic.

My first year Christmas baking

As a new baker and REALLY new at decorating cookies (just 3 months), I was really happy with the way everything turned out.  (It’s fun to see  how everyone’s favorite is different).  As a newbie at all this, I have had to seek out people who really know what they are doing, since I clearly do not fall into that category.  So most of these have been inspired by the amazing talent that I have recently discovered, such as Bake at 350, Sweetopia, Bakerella, Tidy Mom, I am Baker and so many more!  Thank you all so much for sharing your talents with those of us who are less…gifted.  *raising hand*

For no reason other than curiosity, I decided to try a new icing recipe.  The one I had been using was good, but after seeing other’s cookies, I decided to try something new.  I used the recipe listed on Bake at 350.   I have to admit, I like hers better.  I like the shine, and it was smoother to work with.  And it made a nicer flood icing.  So Bridget, you’ve got a convert!

I had to try the ornaments. The marbling was such fun! Thank you for the inspiration, Bridget.

The Santas were a bit of a challenge for me. Somehow I ended up with no Santa-shaped cutter.  Not clue how that happened.  I tried a candy corn cutter, but he ended up looking like a gnome.  Didn’t have an ice cream cone, so I just went with the circle.  That meant I had to freehand the Santa face.  Not one of my skills to date, but I think they turned out ok.  A little extra for the “puff”.

I love the reindeer.  I think they are one of my favorites.  With a little added bling for the nose.

Played around with some Christmas tree designs.  The lights are my favorite.  They were inspired by a picture I saw on Twitter.  I wish I could remember who it was, but her cookies were fabulous!  If it’s you, please leave a comment (assuming anyone actually reads this, of course) so I can give proper credit.

I also really like the gingerbread people.  They were fun.

And I can’t have Christmas stuff without candy canes!  I was going to make the icing peppermint flavored, but alas. Maybe next year.

The snowmen are another favorite.  I couldn’t decide whether to sanding sugar or not, so I did half and half.  Somehow I had no green, so that guy got rainbow sparkles!

Then there are the snowflakes.  While I think overall they look ok, they definitely show my lack-o-piping skills.  I’m still working on the straight lines (thanks for the tip, THE Tough Cookie!). The sugar helps mask it a little, but I left the blue plain, so they show it the most.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.  I had a great time making them, and I look forward to getting better (and faster!).

Merry Christmas!