My New Favorite Accessory

I have found my new favorite accessory. I’m usually not the type to go out and buy everything Wilton makes, but on a whim and a suggestion from my cake decorating instructor, I decided to throw a bag of these in my cart last time I was at Michael’s.

And boy am I glad I did! They are amazing!!

ICING BAG TIES

Before this week, I would wind rubber bands around the end of my bags, which was a huge pain when I had to A) put the band on B) move the band down as the icing was used and C) remove the band at the end of the day. These little guys are sooo easy to put on and take off. Just wrap the band around once and stick one end through the other. Presto…bag sealed and tight! And the best part? As the icing is used you just push the band down and it stays tight. No need to remove the band!

LOVE ♥LOVE ♥LOVE

 

 

Color Me Chartreuse

I’m on a mission to decorate a cookie that looks like a chocolate chip cookie. However, I am the proud owner of only 6 color gels…none of which are close to brown/tan. So I got to thinking…do they make decorating gels in every color or do they have some sort of mixing table to make certain colors? Looks like the latter is where it’s at. I’m happy to say that I will be purchasing some more gels this coming week so I can play around and decorate up some chocolate chip sugar cookies…OH YEAH!

Here are the links I came across that seemed to be the most helpful. I obviously haven’t tried any of them, but wanted to get them documented so I can soon :)

Americolor Soft Gel Color Guide

Americolor Guide from Sweet Sugar Belle’s Blog

Chefmaster Color Gels

Chefmaster and Americolor Guide

Wilton

Hodge Podge of Everything

Petal Power

Monday nights…Bachelor and cake decorating class. Oh and a glass of wine, after class of course! I suggest this for anyone who gets the Monday blues…sure makes my Mondays super!

Last night we learned to make flowers using royal icing. Very different than the royal icing I use for cookies. Used the Wilton recipe which, seemed very airy but made pretty flowers. I’m thinking in the future I’ll add some cornstarch to thicken up the icing before piping any flowers. Learned this tip when my roses were having impotence issues ;)

For color inspiration, I used the beautiful flowers a good friend sent me as a thank you for making her baby shower favors. I was going for a light pink and a nice girlie pink but wound up with a purpleish pink and a hot pink. Guess the teacher was right…colors will brighten up when left over night! Need to take this into consideration next time I make up icing!

We learned the Wilton Rose, apple blossoms and the primrose. I’m picturing some of these on my final cake :)

Wilton Rose

Primrose

Apple Blossoms

 

It’s All In The Icing

We’ve all baked cookies. I’ve been baking cookies since I was a little girl.  Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and of course the most deceptive of them all…the sugar cookie. “Deceptive” you ask? Yes. The sugar cookie. It seems so plain, so easy, so transparent… so transformable. Oh yes, the sugar cookie can be molded into anything the creativity of the mind can imagine.

But what makes the sugar cookie a step above the others…icing. It’s aaalllllll in the icing. And the key to a really good, no GREAT, icing? Consistency. Always start with a thick thick thick icing and water it down to the right consistency for what you are piping. Check out some pictures of my thick icing…my whisk wouldn’t move if I left it in the bowl standing straight up. It’s a product of 10 minutes of whipping!

 

 

Cookie Cutter Addict

Some people game. Some people Hulu. Other people shop. What do I do online? I surf for cookie cutter deals. [hand raised] My name is (name withheld for legal reasons…well not really but kinda diggin’ the anonymity) and I’m a cookie cutter addict. I spend hours poking around looking at cookie designs, reading tips on decorating and of course scouting for that absolutely perfect cutter to add to my ever growing collection.

Are you a cookie cutter addict? Or are you looking for a club to join? If so bookmark away! And by all means…if I missed one of your favorite sites please post the link :)

Copper Gifts

 

Off The Beaten Path

 

The Cookie Cutter Shop

 

Cheap Cookie Cutters

 

eCookie Cutters

Wilton

 

Karen’s Cookies

Create For Less

 

Blog Surfing

It was a quiet night here in cookieville. I baked up some more sugar cookies this afternoon (which I’ll be decorating later this week), but after the kiddos went to bed I was ready to crawl in myself. Some days are just like that. Rather than picking up my Kindle and starting a new book I decided to blog surf. I came across an awesome video by Sweet Dani B showing the different marbleizing techniques to decorate Easter eggs. You could really use the techniques she showcased for endless decorating ideas. I especially liked the dot marbleizing technique that turned out to look like hearts (cue audience: “awwww!”) Thinking I’m going to have to give it a try on some Valentine’s Day cookies. Maybe I’ll head to Michael’s or Walmart  and see if they have any heart shaped cutters this weekend.

Enjoy!

To Extract or to Emulsion…That is the Question

I can’t get the evaporated almond extract out of my mind. I’m fixating on it. I kept wondering why the flavoring wouldn’t evaporate out of the cookies in the oven like it did when left out on the counter…both environments it’s exposed to dry air. Hmmm. Seriously I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I decided it had already sucked enough brain power out of me thinking about it so I decided to settle the burning question with some research.

What I found was, extract does “bake out” of the cookies because of the high heat, leaving you with a less flavorful cookie. This is due to the alcohol in the extract.  Apparently, the way to go is to use emulsions. Baking emulsions are alcohol-free and pack a more potent flavor due to the fact that the flavor is incapsulated by a gum type stabilizer and thus protected during the baking process. Again…wish I would have remembered those chemistry classes better!

Decided to buy some from LorAnn Oils and give it a try. It better be good considering the shipping was $3 more than the 4oz bottle of almond emulsion! It if works I might need to shop around and/or see if I can’t find a place locally where I don’t have to bend over for shipping ;)

Almond Power

Baked up some cookies a couple days ago and was at it again today. I’m prepping for an upcoming “order” and figured I would be more efficient if I had the cookies all baked and the icing all made up before the day before I needed the cookies to be completed. I know…call me crazy ;) Anyway, measured out all the ingredients for my cookies last night and every time my husband and I walked near the bowl of almond extract we melted! My god that stuff smells heavenly!

Finally found time to make the cookies this afternoon. Unfortunately, the almond extract evaporated. OK…I took chemistry in college and should have known that a liquid with alcohol would evaporate into almost nothing if left open to air. Guess this batch of cookies are gonna be vanilla flavored ;)

Wanted to show my tools of the trade. One of the blogs I follow showed using a angled spatula to transfer the cookies from where you roll them out to the cookie sheet. I am super excited to have picked up this tip! It works brilliantly!

Coloring Red Frosting

Ok so did some digging last night and found that the bitter nasty taste and the gallons of red coloring are normal. Apparently coloring white frosting red isn’t as easy as it seems. Here are some tips I found:

  • Americolor seems to work better than Wilton’s coloring
  • Color your frosting pink and then color it red
  • Use red (no taste) coloring
  • Color your frosting a day in advance. After 24 hours that pink will turn red

I have some Americolor downstairs that I use for my cookie decorating…will have to give it a try this weekend when I whip up some more rosettes!

Frosting Consistency

It’s been bugging me that both cakes I made had frosting that wouldn’t set up. The instructor in my Wilton’s class said to use a thin consistency icing to frost the cake but that didn’t seem to be working for me. So I did what every other desperate for knowledge decorator does…I hit the Google :) Turns out, a medium consistency icing is used for frosting a cake.

Armed with this knowledge I will see how my next cake turns out. Hopefully smooth baby!

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