Friday, December 31, 2010

Snowflake Cookies

A few months ago, I was honored to be asked by a local chef/cafe owner to help her decorate holiday cookies.

I first got to help out with some of the Halloween cookies (sorry, I didn't have time to post pictures of those and it just seems silly to post them now).

More recently, I went to the cafe to help with Christmas cookies. I only had time to get the snowflake cookies done that day. Since Colorado finally got some snow, it seemed fitting to share the pictures with you today.

My favorites are the chocolate sugar cookie snowflakes with the white frosting and sanding sugar; I think they are so striking!

I love decorating cookies at the cafĂ©! It provides me a creative outlet that I often don’t have in my day job and it’s so much fun. Plus, when I decorate cookies there, I obviously have to leave them there, so I don’t wind up eating way too many cookies like I do when I make them at home :)

By the way, these are some of the best sugar cookies I've ever had! If you want to know where to find them, send me an e-mail at: and I'll send you the address for the cafe.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Five is One!

Exactly one year ago today, I posted my very first blog post.

That means that today is my blog’s 1st birthday!

Thank you so much to all of you that have stopped by my blog to read my posts. A special thank you to those that have left comments and encouraged me in this fun little journey.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Every year at work, our division has a ‘Holiday Goodie Table’ the week before break. They divide up the alphabet and folks are welcome to bring in treats to share on their assigned day.

I decided to use up some peppermint chips that I had in the freezer, but I didn’t really like the recipe suggested on the back. I decided the best pairing for peppermint chips would be chocolate. So I adapted the recipe from the back of the Reese’s peanut butter chips bag (a recipe that I have used before).

They turned out great! Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Adapted from Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies
(recipe on back of Reese’s peanut butter chips bag)

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
¾ cup (I used generous measurements, not leveled off) cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips

Heat oven to 350 F.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peppermint chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Party Post: Jungle Baby Shower

As I mentioned in the previous post; one of my friends hosted an amazing Jungle Baby Shower for one of our other friends. You saw the invitations and cupcakes yesterday, so I'll just show you all of the other adorable details today. It’s such a cute theme and perfect for moms that have decided to wait to find out what they are having.

Take a look at all these details.

Matching plates and napkins with matching stuffed animals helped complete the cupcake table.

Clothesline #1

Clothesline #2 (Sorry about the picture quality on this one.)

Hanging decorations helped carry the theme throughout the entire room.

Fun presents

Adorable centerpieces made out of little baby washcloths – such a creative idea!

Cute favors for everyone to take home.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jungle Cupcakes

I’m lucky enough to have some amazing friends in my life that I’ve known since I was very young. Some people find that weird; perhaps because it’s so rare these days that relationships would last so long with so many people constantly on the go and moving around. But it’s not weird to us; in fact I think it’s one of the greatest blessings. It’s nice having people that not only know who you are now, but know who you were, where you came from and how you’ve grown. It’s also so much fun going through various life stages with all of them.

For example, one of these friends is expecting her first baby and another friend hosted an adorable baby shower for her! (There will be a Party Post tomorrow with all of the amazing and thoughtful details that went into the shower.) The hostess thought cupcakes would be perfect for a baby shower since they are essentially ‘baby’ cakes. So, she asked me to make them, I was so excited!

We met over coffee so I could find out all the pertinent details: shower theme, style, flavors, quantity, etc.

She had found the most adorable invitations that were the primary inspiration for the cupcakes and the shower.

We searched stores and online for coordinating cupcake liners and/or wrappers and found the perfect set from Wilton (found at Michael’s).

The cupcakes were white cake with white ‘Extra Special Buttercream’. Since the paper liners, wrappers and picks were fairly colorful I decided to keep the frosting color and design simple, just a simple swirl with a large star tip.

I think they turned out very cute; but wait until you see the rest of the shower details tomorrow!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cake Balls

What do you do when a cake falls apart like this one did?

(This post is about a month late which you probably noticed based on the date of the crumbled cake post - sorry!)

You can either use it as an excuse to eat it as is, or make cake balls! Since I had to have something to take to a party anyway and I already had the broken cake and leftover frosting from a few cakes I had done recently; I opted to give cake balls another try.

This time I was going to try and make a few cake pops from Bakerella's new book to go with some cupcakes I was making for a baby shower that weekend (post to come soon) and use the rest as plain cake balls for the party we were going to; but I was having some issues and running low on time, so I turned them all into cake balls.

You can find detailed instructions, and much prettier versions of cake balls and cake pops, on Bakerella's web site or you can view my first attempt here.

Here's a quick overview:
Basically, you crumble up a baked cake and mix in frosting. This time I used leftover 'Extra Special Buttercream' instead of the canned frosting. Then form the cake/icing mixture into balls and refrigerate or freeze for the required amount of time. Melt your chocolate and/or candy coating according to package directions. This time I used milk chocolate, white chocolate and peanut butter candy coating. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate/coating and let set. Then refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you don't care what they look like, which obviously I didn't this time, it's a pretty easy and fast solution to a crumbled cake. If you do want to make them look better or try any of Bakerella's cake pops, you'll need a lot more time and attention to detail.

These were pretty popular at the party, which was great because I didn't want to have to bring any home!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post today to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

I know I've gotten behind on posting again; with work, wedding planning and the holidays, the last month has definitely escaped me. I promise I haven't forgotten you or my little blog; I hope to have some great posts for you right after Christmas. In the meantime, take some time to enjoy family and friends during the holidays.