PALM TREE COOKIES/ Rhinestone Cowboy

Rhinestone Cowboy is Glen Campbell's signature song. Other favorites are Galveston, Wichita Lineman, Gentle on my Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix. With his clean-cut, good looks and musical talent, this small-town boy soared in popularity in the 1960's and held his own against the rock-n-roll tunes of The Beatles and Rolling Stones. I have a special memory associated with Glen Campbell.

(Source: Getty Images)

When I hear a Glen Campbell hit, it takes me back to a special week in New York City. It was the summer of 1969 and my grandmother who we called Mom, chose to spend her only week of vacation with two of her granddaughters. My cousin and I were both age 12 and I remember thinking how nice of her to spend her time off from work with us. She lived in the Borough of Queens and she wanted to show the two of us around New York City. Well, after just one day my cousin was homesick and my uncle came to pick her up. She surely missed out because it was a memorable week.

Every day my grandfather drove my grandmother and me in his taxicab into the City. We took the Circle Line boat cruise down the Hudson and around the Statue of Liberty, where my grandmother had immigrated nearly 50 years earlier, visited the Empire State Building and took a bus tour around the city. The big stand out was the day we went to Radio City Music Hall, the only time I have been there. To this day, I remember the blue and white floral sundress I wore with the cutout in the back. At that time, Radio City showed a daily matinee and evening movie, followed by a performance of The Rockettes. Now they only perform at Christmastime. The movie showing that summer was Glen Campbell in his debut acting role with John Wayne in True Grit. My eyes were naturally drawn to the handsome, young actor as opposed to the crusty character with the eye patch played by John Wayne. The movie was great and I was mesmerized by the performance of The Rockettes. After the show, we had a late lunch at The Plaza Hotel and my grandmother, so proud of her family said to the waiter in her Scottish brogue, 'This is my granddaughter.'  I remember being slightly embarrassed yet touched by her pride. All fond memories and sad to think of another musical icon in rock-n-roll heaven.

Still on a Lilly Pulitzer kick, these palm tree cookies were a bit of an experiment. Instead of stencils, airbrush colors were streaked across the cookie in no particular pattern.

Palm Tree Cookies
Palm Tree Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted White with AmeriColor Super White
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
AmeriColor Airbrush Colors (Deep Pink, Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow, Sky Blue)
Airbrush Kit
This design technique inspired by Hillary's Flamingo Cookies at The Cookie Countess.

Outline cookie with #2 tip in white icing
Flood cookie with white icing. Let dry overnight.

Spray cookie with streaks of airbrush colors. Let dry 30 minutes.

New colors such as purple and teal appear as the hues overlap.

Palm tree images left behind after airbrushing color applied to cookies.

(Remembering Glenn Frye of The Eagles)


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Fashion during the 1960's was one of extremes. The classic look of our elegant first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy wearing A-line skirts, pillbox hats and pumps appeared in early 1960. By the middle of the decade as the country shed its wholesome image, a new style emerged. Twiggy, fresh from London, modeled mini-skirts, go-go boots and big hoop earrings. There was another style popular with the posh set of Nantucket and The Hamptons. Only sold in boutiques in quaint, resort towns and bursting with vibrant colors, the shift emerged designed by Lilly Pulitzer. She may be considered the Kate Spade of her day. Inspired by her family's citrus groves of Southern Florida, Lilly designed simple, sleeveless dresses in colorful summer cottons in bright pinks, greens, blues and yellows. The distinctive fabric splashed with lemons, pineapples, sailboats, seashells, flamingos and palm trees could be seen from across the room. Some were adorned with lace detail on the collar or ran vertical along the front of the dress.

(Source: Lilly Pulitzer)

By the time the 1980's came along with mid-calf, pleated skirts, shoulder pads and paisley bow ties, the Lilly look faded away. Since fashion tends to go in cycles, Lilly Pulitzer has made a comeback with updated designs. It is beyond popular with the preppy set and has branched out beyond dresses into accessories. It is not as exclusive these days being sold online and in department stores, yet still pricey.

Now onto cookies …. These cookies are Lilly Pulitzer-inspired. They were easy and fun to decorate using the airbrushing and stencil method. This preppy is anxious to decorate more Lilly cookies and you may be seeing similar designs in future posts.

(Source: Town & Country Magazine)

Lilly Pulitzer Cookies
Daisy Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted White with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Hot Pink with AmeriColor Electric Pink
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Elegant Teardrops Stencil
AmeriColor Airbrush Colors (Sky Blue, Orange, Leaf Green)
Airbrush Kit

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

Pipe 5 lines in pink icing.
Pull toothpick through the icing to create marble design. Let dry overnight.

Place stencil on the cookie. Spray with airbrush color. 
Gently lift stencil.

Let dry 20 minutes.



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The University of Maryland football team takes a lot of teasing over their uniforms. Literally, from head-to-toe and from helmet-to-cleats they are covered in red, white, yellow and black which depicts the flag of the State of Maryland. The university has embraced its state heritage with pride. Its beautiful, colorful and distinctive design is easily recognizable. The design is so popular that apparel is sold across the state from ties and belts to socks and shoes. The flag depicts the family crests of the Calvert and Crossland families, two families who played important roles in the establishment of Maryland, the most uniquely-shaped state in the United States with the Chesapeake Bay cutting through its center.

Naturally, a large flag is displayed at University of Maryland graduations and some graduates decorate their caps with their own version of the flag. I've attended four graduations at Maryland, Bachelors and Masters Degrees bestowed upon two nephews and a niece. (To digress, the best thing about being an aunt is the 'brag factor' … just one of the many things I get away with as an aunt.) In honor of my nephew's recent graduation with his Masters Degree in Engineering-Fire Prevention, I decided to take on the design of the Maryland flag in a cookie. It was my most challenging design to date and I was not sure if I could pull it off. It took some planning as I could not include all the flag details but aimed to capture the essence of the flag. The airbrush gun and stencils were key and I was delighted with the outcome. Come see!

Maryland Flag Cookies
Plaque Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining, flooding and detail tinted White with AmeriColor Super White
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Card Stock paper
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Stencils (Harlequin, Narrow Stripe)
Letter Stencil ("M")
Dinkydoodle Airbrush Color (Super Red)
AmeriColor Airbrush Colors (Lemon Yellow, Super Black)
Airbrush Kit

Outline and flood cookie with #2 tip in white icing. Let dry overnight.

Place stripe stencil on half of cookie.
Cover other half of cookie with piece of card stock paper.
Spray with red airbrush color. Gently lift stencil. Let dry 20 minutes.

Cover striped half of cookie with piece of card stock paper.
Spray other half of cookie with yellow airbrush color. Let dry 20 minutes.

Place harlequin stencil on cookie. 
Cover striped half of cookie with piece of card stock paper.
Spray with black airbrush color. Gently lift stencil. Let dry 45 minutes.

Center letter stencil on cookie. Apply light pressure so the stencil stays in place.
Spread white detail icing with spatula. Remove excess icing. Gently lift stencil.
Let dry overnight.


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PASTEL CAKE/ Creamy Buttercream

I have been on a cake kick lately. I am still experimenting with buttercream frosting and I think I have found ‘the one.’ This recipe is creamy and fluffy making it easy to spread and scrape for a clean look on tall cakes. I tweaked my Favorite Buttercream Frosting which is absolutely delicious on the White Cupcakes and Devil's Food Cake. To achieve an ultra creamy finish I simply increased the amount of butter ever so slightly. The result is so creamy that I did not need to add milk to this recipe. The taste is just as splendid.

Vanilla Three-Layer Cake
2¼ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/8 cup Flour), sifted
1½ cups Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup Milk
1½ tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs

Grease and flour three 7-inch cake pans.
Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Shortening. Add a little over half of Milk to the dry ingredients. 
Add Vanilla. Add remaining Milk and Eggs. Mix well. Pour into baking pans.
Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 until cake tester comes out clean.
(Refer to Recipes page for baking time for two-layer cake)
[This is the Rich Golden Cake recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

Creamy Buttercream Frosting
1½ cups Butter (3 sticks), softened
6 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
½ tsp Vanilla
1-4 tbsp Milk (optional)

Beat butter for 8-10 minutes until pale and double in volume.
Gradually add the sugar ½ cup at a time beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and milk. Beat well until icing is smooth and fluffy.

Separate frosting into three bowls. Keep some frosting white. No need to color the frosting white.
Color frosting Pastel Pink with a smidge of AmeriColor Super Red.
Color frosting Pastel Green with a smidge of AmeriColor Avocado.
Color frosting Pastel Blue with a smidge of and AmeriColor Sky Blue.

Assemble the cake and frost each layer in white icing.
Then crumb coat (optional) the top and sides of cake with white frosting.
Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Frost the outside of the cake starting with pink frosting along the bottom of the cake, 
followed by green and blue on the sides and top of cake.



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