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OWL COOKIES/ Baby on Board Soon



These owl cookies were made for a special occasion, a baby shower. These were for the daughter-in-law of a friend and I wanted to make an amazing cookie. She requested that I draw upon the theme of the invitation which had images of deer, owls and hedgehogs in autumn colors of red, green, yellow and brown. This was going to be a challenge as I had never decorated an animal cookie or a cookie with a face.

The owl cutter is fairly narrow and requires lots of detail. I wish someone would make a chubby owl cutter!  I made test cookies and contemplated how to decorate this cookie, whether to use a contrasting color for the wings, how to create the feathered look and most importantly, to make sure it resembled an owl when completed. I decided to decorate each cookie in one color using the invitation colors with brown as the accent color. To add interest, I came up with a second design to decorate the back of the owl so there would be two cookies in each favor bag.

Fast forward to 80 cookies baked, decorated, wrapped in cellophane bags and ribbons. I delivered them on the morning of the shower to the soon-to-be grandmother who was delighted with the cookies. Phew!!

BEST WISHES TO HEATHER, ERIC AND BABY MASON WHOSE ARRIVAL IS EXPECTED NEXT MONTH.



Owl Cookies
Owl Shortbread Cookies
Red Owls: Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Super Red and AmeriColor Chocolate Brown
Green Owls: Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Avocado and AmeriColor Leaf Green
Yellow Owls: Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with Wilton Gold and AmeriColor Egg Yellow
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Brown with AmeriColor Chocolate Brown
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Cream with Wilton Ivory
Royal Icing for detail tinted Black with AmeriColor Super Black
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tips #2, #3, #5
Toothpicks
Front of Red Owl Cookie

Outline cookie with #2 tip in red icing.

Flood cookie with red icing.

Pipe dots with brown icing on body of owl. Let sit 30 minutes.

Pipe two large dots for eyes with #5 tip in cream icing. 
Pipe small dots with brown icing on eyes. Let sit 15 minutes.

Outline body of owl including wings with #2 tip in red icing.

Pipe beak and feet with #3 tip in black icing.

Back of Green Owl Cookie

Outline cookie with #2 tip in green icing. Flood cookie with green icing.

Pipe three lines with brown icing on back of owl. Pull with toothpick to create design.

Let dry overnight.




MORE COOKIE DESIGNS

TURTLE COOKIES

GENDER REVEAL COOKIES

TIARA COOKIES

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STRAWBERRY COOKIES/ Pickin' Strawberries



There is Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Parfait, Strawberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Daiquiris…my favorite, the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever and even a cartoon character.  So why not strawberry cookies!

Besides looking forward to the end of the school year, June was the month for strawberries. Now they are plentiful but a few decades ago (OK, I'm dating myself), the season lasted only a few short weeks and Mom would rush to the fruit stand and purchase a couple of pints. She would use a huller to remove the leaves. Now, I take the shortcut method and simply slice off the leaves. With our morning cereal we would have strawberries and light cream. The taste of the strawberries would infuse with the cream turning it light pink. Umm!  Every June Mom would make a Strawberry Shortcake. She made her own version using a sponge cake recipe topped with homemade whipped cream with strawberries on top. 

Have you ever thought about the fact that strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside? What do strawberries bring to your mind every summer? 


Strawberry Cookies
Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Red with AmeriColor Super Red and AmeriColor Deep Pink
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Green with AmeriColor Leaf Green
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Light Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Hint: Color until deep pink to achieve red. Icing will dry red. Just a smidge of Lemon Yellow creates light yellow.
 
Outline strawberry part of cookie with #2 tip in red icing.

Flood cookie with red icing. Let sit 30 minutes.

Pipe strawberry leaves with #2 tip in green icing.

Pipe seeds with #2 tip in yellow icing. Let dry overnight.


MORE COOKIE DESIGNS

STRAWBERRY COOKIES

PEACH COOKIES

WATERMELON COOKIES

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BLOSSOM COOKIES/ Going Home



Who says you can’t go home? Who says you can’t go back? Sounds like lyrics to a Bon Jovi song. I grew up in a city of 75,000 in Eastern Pennsylvania. I graduated high school, left my hometown for college, got on with my life and never looked back. I did not attend class reunions* or stay in touch with anyone. Bethlehem was my past, my childhood.

Well, earlier this month I went home. I wanted to show my husband where I grew up. The two houses where my family lived were torn down to make room for an office park. It was sad to see no visible signs of the old neighborhood of 11 homes that once were. The field where the neighborhood kids played baseball, where I learned to swing a bat and catch a ball, the streets where I rode my bicycle, played tennis and trick-or-treated….all gone. My church and schools are still standing so there were places to see.

The first stop was my elementary school where I spent 8 years taught by nuns who didn’t like little kids. I walked into my old school and into my first grade classroom…room 101. It hasn’t changed much after all these years and even the original tile floors are still there. Then we walked across the courtyard to the church where my family attended Mass every Sunday and Holy Days, where my brothers and I received First Communion, Confirmation and finally 8th Grade Graduation. I lighted candles for my parents and said a prayer. Then I strolled downstairs to the church basement where my brown bag lunches were consumed during those eight long years. It brought back a memory of the day in 4th grade when my best friend, Barbara made me laugh so hard that milk came out of my nose. Sorry for the yuk!

Along the route to my high school, we stopped at Monocacy Creek Park where people picnic and feed the ducks. It’s a neat old park built at Illicks Mill by the WPA in 1937, with beautiful brownstone pavilions and the site of my 6th grade picnic. The rushing waterfall looked much bigger at age 11.

We drove to my high school. The place still looks the same, a six-year old building when I attended and now slightly weathered. What were fields of earth and rocks surrounding the campus are now practice fields for softball, baseball, soccer, football and the marching band. Then came the one place I had to visit, the local football stadium where I marched at halftime as a majorette during three of my high school years and loved every minute of it. The stadium was also built by the WPA with steel from the local mill.

It was a nice trip down memory lane topped off with a visit to childhood friends, Mary & Peggy, sisters who lived across the street from us. We share many childhood memories having lived in the same neighborhood and attended the same schools, making it a very special reunion. Bon Jovi is right. You can go back!

*One year after this posting, I attended my 40th High School Reunion which I wrote about here.




Dotty Blossom Cookies 
Blossom Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Blue with AmeriColor Navy Blue and AmeriColor Turquoise 
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Bright Green with AmeriColor Electric Green and AmeriColor Leaf Green 
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2  

 View Video Tutorial




Outline cookie with #2 tip in blue icing.


Flood cookie with blue icing.
 
Pipe dots with green flood icing on each petal and in middle of cookie. Let dry overnight. 
  

MORE COOKIE DESIGNS

PINK DOTTY BLOSSOM COOKIES

 MORNING GLORY COOKIES

DAISY COOKIES

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BLUEBERRY MUFFINS/ Berry Season



Blueberries are not as popular as strawberries but they rank a close second in popularity. They are good for our bodies and our brains. But you know that!

With plenty of summer left the blueberries are plentiful and I often grab a two-pound box at Costco. My favorite recipe is Blueberry Muffins. I admit, because they are easy to make and are the perfect addition to my morning coffee. To save time instead of greasing the muffin tin, I use cupcake liners and it’s a faster clean-up too!

I have made this muffin recipe for years but recently added another ingredient to my old standby. Muffins tend to be dry so I added ¼ cup of sour cream to the recipe. Oh, what a difference. You gotta try it!


Tip. Do you know how to make your blueberries last? When you get home from the store, toss out any rotten ones, remove stems and rinse the berries in a colander. Then, store them in the refrigerator in the colander for adequate air-flow. If you don’t have space for a colander try my method. Trim off the lid of the original plastic container, place a layer of paper towel in the bottom to soak up any excess water, add the berries and close the lid. The blueberries usually keep for at least two weeks and are ready to use in recipes or spoon over your morning cereal.

I like to heat my muffin for 15 seconds in the microwave, slice in half and spread with butter. Ooo la la!

Blueberry Muffins
2 Cups Flour
½ Cup Sugar
3 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
1 Cup Milk
1 Egg
4 Tbsp Butter, melted & cooled
¼ Cup Sour Cream
¾ Cup Blueberries

Pour Milk into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add Egg and Butter. Blend well with wire whisk. Set aside.
Sift together Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Blueberries and stir gently.
Make a well in center of flour mixture. Pour egg mixture into flour well. Stir with large spoon 7-8 strokes.
Add Sour Cream. Finish mixing with 7-8 more strokes just until incorporated. Batter will be lumpy.
Pour into muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan. Makes 12-15 muffins.
[This recipe is a slight variation of the Blueberry Muffin recipe from the Easy Basics for Good Cooking cookbook]




MORE RECIPES

 BLUEBERRY CRISP

LEMON RICOTTA MUFFINS

LEMON BLUEBERRY CAKE

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HEART COOKIES/ Purple Hearts



Who wants cookies? I hear me, me, me! We fell in love with them as toddlers when we ate our first cookie that fit so perfectly in our tiny hands. Then, we asked for another and another. We’ve been hooked ever since! Nowadays, cookies go beyond your basic drop cookie and sugar cut-outs. Cookie decorating is gaining popularity as a new edible art form.

Have you ever glanced at those colorful, decorated cookies in your grocer’s bakery and thought I could never do that?  Well, I’m here to tell you …Yes, you can!  I’m going to show you how easy it is. With some practice you will be decorating beautiful cookies. There will be a surge in your popularity as taste-testers line up. Have you ever indulged and purchased one of those pretty cookies and thought …It doesn’t taste as good as it looks? Well, I have a delicious Shortbread Cookie recipe that will not disappoint and a tasty, not-too-sweet Royal Icing recipe.

What better place to start than with the basics of cookie decorating. Today, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite cookie designs which is easy and fun. These dotty hearts are done with the wet-on-wet technique. I’ll demonstrate how dots transform into hearts in this adorable design. A cookie decorator’s secret tool is the toothpick. Let’s get started.


Dotty Purple Heart Cookies
Heart Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding in Violet with AmeriColor Violet and AmeriColor Regal Purple
Royal Icing for flooding in Light Gray with AmeriColor Black
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Toothpicks
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Hint: Just a smidge of Super Black on a toothpick will create light gray.

View Video Tutorial




Outline cookie with #2 tip in violet icing.

Flood cookie in violet icing.

Pipe dots along edge of cookie in gray flood icing.

Pull toothpick through dots to create heart design. Let cookies dry overnight.


MORE COOKIE DESIGNS

 
STENCIL HEART COOKIES

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