Facebook “500” Giveaway


I will post the winner soon.  THANK YOU!!


I want to start by thanking everyone so much for your support!  It’s been such fun getting to “know” so many of you.  Thank you all for being willing to share your talents and gifts.  I learn so much every day!

Now on to the good stuff!

I had to stop myself.  I just kept finding cute stuff.  Valentine’s is such a fun cookie holiday.  So I thought it would be the perfect theme for my first-ever giveaway!

The winner will receive all of this:

  • Set of 2 Wilton cookie cutters – winged heart and the scalloped square (one of my all-time FAVORITES!)
  • Set of 4 cookie cutters – heart with arrow, double heart, lips and Hershey’s Kiss
  • Set of 2 cookie cutters – “I *heart* U” and “Love”
  • Heart-shaped silicon mold (I love these things)
  • Heart-shaped whisk
  • Bottle of mini pink, red and white heart sprinkles
  • “Who Loves You” owl hand towel
  • Set of 3 mini “LOVE” ceramic vases (These are great for cake pops, cookies on a stick, props for photos…I have a set & I LOVE mine!)

I will leave the giveaway open until Sunday, January 22nd at 5pm CST. (US only for this one).  I’ll post the randomly-chosen winner Sunday night so I can get this mailed out Monday morning to be there in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day!

Since it’s my first-ever giveaway, I’ll keep things simple.  To enter, just do these 3 things ON MY FACEBOOK POST:

1) “Like” my Facebook page (if you don’t already)

2) Share the giveaway on your Facebook page

3) Come back to my Facebook page and post ON THE POST that you did 1 & 2.

That’s it!

Thank you all again for your support.  Good luck!

Two things…

So, there are two things you need to do.

First, you must stalk follow Bridget at Bake at 350.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.


Did you come back?  It’s easy to get sucked in over there.  She’s a cookie maven.

And #2?

You need to make these.

Nutella & Sea Salt Stuffed Sugar Cookies.

I’ve been in the mood for something Nutella-y, so when I saw Bridget’s post, I knew they would fit the bill perfectly.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, just doing a few things differently.  Some worked, some didn’t.  I’ll share both.

1) Instead of scooping out 2 TBSP of batter and dividing it in half, I scooped out 1 TBSP, put the Nutella on top of it, then scooped out another 1 TBSP and put it on top.  My OCD required that each side be 1 TBSP.  I just didn’t trust my splitting skills.

2) I did all of the 1 TBSP bottoms first, then added the Nutella all at once.  That way, the Nutella wasn’t sitting out for too long.  Because….(see #3)

3)  The Nutella warms up very quickly.  If you let it un-freeze after you put it on top of the dough (like to answer the door and talk to a neighbor for 15 minutes), it makes a BIG mess.  Trust me.  (Can you guess which one I’m talking about?)

4) I used silpats rather than parchment.  Because I did this, I didn’t need to scoop the Nutella off with a spatula.  I just lifted them off with my fingers.

5) Mine took closer to 14 minutes to cook.  I took them out at 10, and the centers were too doughy.  But it’s always very humid here, so I typically do have to cook things longer.

These cookies are pure magic.  Nice crunch on the outside.  Soft, fudgy, nutty center.  With that slight twist of the salt.  I had to stop myself.  They are just that good.

So trust me and do these 2 things.  It will start your week right.


Here is a link to the recipe.


Late to the party

I was raised that if you are not 15 minutes early to something, then you are late.  9:59am to a 10:00 meeting does not constitute being on time.  That is late.  And forget 10 minutes late.  Not an option.

But that was 22 years ago, before a husband and three kids were thrown into the loop.  That, my friend, changes everything.

So it is of no surprise to people that know me that I am just now really getting on Facebook.

In my defense, I’ve had a personal account for a year and a half.  And I’ve been on Twitter for over a year.  So I’m not a complete social media recluse.  Only in the area of the largest social media platfom out there.

Ok, saying it that way sounds bad.

But all that aside, I’m out there.  Livin’ large.  I’m “The Sugar Tree”.  Not to be confused with the other Sugar Tree.  Apparently there are 2 of us.  But she’s in Canada and I’m in Tennessee, so we have totally different twangs.

Or you can just click here –> The Sugar Tree

I’m also still on Twitter.  @TheSugarTree.

And unlike here, apparently, I actually post stuff there.  It’s revolutionary, I know.

WFMW: My new best friend

I am a home baker.  When I make cookies, it takes over my entire kitchen.  Baking sheets everything.  Cooling racks stacked where my coffee station belongs.  My second oven doubles as a drying rack.  So when I need to cook dinner after a day of cookie-ing, I can’t even make pizza because my cookies are drying in both ovens.

Being a relatively new cookie decorator, I just assumed that was how baking at home was done.  Until I saw this.

Genius.  Pure and simple.

Mind you, I’m no where near the cookier that Callye is, so I didn’t need the jumbo 20-tiered bad boy.  The half rack works great for me.  I use the half-sheet cookie sheets, and two of them fit into each slot.

So now, I just wheel it in the kitchen when I need it.  All of my cookies are right there at my disposal.  They are all nicely organized.  And when it’s time for dinner, I just wheel it into the dining room and you’d never know I had been baking all day.

It is, hands down, the best baking purchase I have made to date.  Well, and PME Supatubes.  But that’s another post.

I ordered mine from here.  It arrived quickly and was by far the best price.

Have a great Wednesday!


A pie to remember

Who would have ever thought that you could get so attached to people that you don’t even know.  But I find myself in tears as I think about Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen.

For those that don’t know, her husband passed away suddenly earlier this week of a heart attack.

I have lost my son, my father and my brother, all tragically. I cannot imagine adding my husband to that list.  My heart just breaks for her.

So in honor of her and her husband Mikey, I am making a peanut butter pie today.  Mikey’s favorite, as well as my husband’s. And saying a prayer for Jennie and her family.

I can’t remember exactly where I got this recipe. But of all the PB pies I’ve made, this is the one my husband likes the best.



  • 1 whole 8-inch Oreo (or Graham Cracker) Pie Crust
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 8 ounces, Cool Whip


Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Gently fold in the Cool Whip.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until firm.

NOTE: You can also put the filling into individual sized crusts, as pictured above.

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.

Works For Me Wednesday – Curling Ribbon

I love all of the tips I’ve learned from other people’s WFMW, so I figured I would do one, too.

I am not what I would consider “crafty”.  I am not very good at scrapbooking, redesigning furniture, making neat artwork.  I don’t have fancy dowel ribbon holders.  I just keep them in baskets.  I do ok with cookies, but that’s about the extent of it.

So individually wrapping cookies, which should be easy, is somewhat of a challenge for me.  Sometimes I think this step takes longer than decorating.    Because of this, I’m always looking for things to make this step easier and faster.  Now this may be common sense for most of you, but it was a total AHA moment for me (which is kind of sad if I really think about it).

So, what is this glorious time-saver that I have discovered?  Well, let me start at the beginning.

We are redoing our kitchen.  It was decorated in 1969 and has been trapped there ever since.  We are slowly but surely bringing it into this century.  A few weeks ago, I removed an old wooden paper towel holder (the kind that mounts to the bottom of the cabinet).

I was going to get rid of it, but I wondered if I could find some use for it.  So I set it aside.

About a week later, I was getting ready to wrap some cookies, and I saw it laying in the corner.  What about curling ribbon rolls?  Would that fit around the rod?

Sure enough!

I placed it on a spot on the counter and pulled the ribbon to the end of the counter.

Then I would cut it, giving me ribbon pieces that were all the same size.  No measuring required!

Now, let me explain to you my old method so you can fully appreciate this revelation.

I would set the ribbon upright.  When I pulled it out, it would often times move the roll, which did not make for equal length ribbon pieces. Also, sometimes the ribbon would get tangled at the bottom of the roll, so I would have to stop and untangle it.  This happened about every 5-6 pieces.  Not very time efficient and extremely frustrating!

Anyways.  Not rocket science, but I’ve done it twice now this way and it has been SO much faster and no tangling!  So it now qualifies as my new method.

Have fun finding what works for you!

A friend I don’t even know

So, this has nothing to do with sugar.  Or food.  Or anything even edible.  And it’s about someone I don’t even know.  And no one is really even reading this, but I just feel the need to share it, on the off chance that the one person that needs to read this, does.

Two weeks ago, I found out about a woman named Joanne Heim.  She is 38-years-old.  She is married with small children.  I don’t even know where she lives.  But I do know that on January 11, 2011, she had a massive stroke and was found on the basement floor by her young daughter.  She is currently still in the hospital, and will be for a long time.

Her blog is The Simple Wife.  It is being updated by her husband, Toben, of her progress and daily battles.  Joanne’s sister, (who’s name I also don’t know) writes about it through her eyes and photos at KH Photography.  (She is an amazing photography, btw).

I don’t even know this family, but God has really placed them on my heart.  So if you have a moment, please click on the links above and read this family’s amazing and inspiring story.  It will touch your heart.  And if you pray, please add them to your daily prayers. You will be among many that are #PrayingForJoanne.

You can also follow Toben on Twitter for updates – @tobenheim .

Ghosts of Cookies Past

So, I write 3 posts, then disappear.  Great start for a blog, eh?

Since my health has been keeping me from playing in the kitchen, and since I didn’t have this blog when I started decorating cookies back in September, I decided to do a flash-back of my prior attempts at sugary art.  (Plus, this will give me something else to look back and laugh at years from now.  One can never have enough of those logged away).

It all started when I stumbled across a website – Bake at 350.  There was a guest post by a woman named Marian (who I later learned is Sweetopia to the rest of the world) about marbeling sugar cookies.  I had been making cakes, cupcakes, truffles – but never tried decorating sugar cookies.  But with this post, I was intrigued.  I could do that, right?  As I looked through their sites further, I realized that it was something that had to be done.  I had to decorate sugar cookies.

I used the recipes listed on these sites, grabbed my toothpicks and away I went.  This was the result (please forgive the photo quality.  iPhone camera):

Some of them look better than others (my friend said they look like fancy pop tarts), but I was hooked.

I made a ton of them, so I passed them out to friends and neighbors, one of which was an 86-year-old couple across the street.  Then, a funny thing happened.  This couple’s daughter came by that day and saw my cookies.  She said she’d seen lots of decorated sugar cookies, but none like this before.  She also, coincidentally enough, had a friend that was looking for a new cookie lady, as hers had just retired.  The couple gave their daughter my name/phone number, the daughter gave the info to her friend, and 2 days later I had an order for 5 dozen cookies for a 4-year-old’s birthday party!   (I didn’t even have any cookies cutters other than the squares.)

Not the greatest in the world, but she was really happy with them.  And I was hooked!

I saw some butterflies on Sweetopia’s site, so naturally, I had to try those.  So I bought more cutters.

How about some fish?

(Did I mention that when I get hooked on something, I get REALLY hooked on something?)

I posted all of my cookies on Facebook, and my girlfriend said that her daughter was turning 7 and would be having a small party at her school.  She had seen my cookies on FB and wanted me to make some for her daughter’s party.  Unicorns.  Pink and Purple.  (Of course)  So, I bought more cutters.

And I had seen the cake idea, so I made a big one especially for the birthday girl.  (Do my photography skills rock or what?  {insert sarcasm here})

Then my aunt that lives next door heard about my cookies (ah, the joys of a small town) and asked me to donate some for a local fundraiser (“some” = 8 dozen decorated and 16 dozen drop cookies.  Family can be so great sometimes):

Then, Halloween came a knockin’, and I ended up making a total of 26 dozen of these babies for various people.  It was completely overwhelming for me, and it took F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  And of course, I had to buy more cutters.  (are you seeing a trend here…)

Here are the platters I took to my daughter’s kindergarten class.  (I like the “Boo” ghosts better)

Next came Thanksgiving, which again – more cutters.  I used this holiday as an excuse to play around with different cookie flavors.  I used the chocolate and spice cutout recipes from Bake at 350.  The spice was a nice addition to the regular ones for fall.  But the chocolate ones stole the show. And the design for the turkey is also from Bake at 350.  I saw a lot of different turkey cookies, but I thought hers were the perfect mix of fun and realistic.

Well, thank you if you’ve made it this far.  I really do love decorating cookies.  And I’m starting to think there is no longer a cookie cutter I don’t own.  (It’s amazing how many you can acquire in such a short amount of time).

Now what to make for Valentine’s Day?  I think I need a new cutter.