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Here, have a cookie

2 Nov

I made these way before Halloween, so it seems somehow fitting to post them way after. Restoring the balance or something. You know?

I’ve got to tell you, as happy as I am with how these cookies turned out, I’m in no hurry to use black icing again. It got EVERYWHERE. On the floor, on the table, on the counter, on me, in my hair, on my face. I nearly lost a shirt to its fiendish spread, but luckily that was salvageable. Plus it took like hours and half the bottle of dye to get the icing actually black, and not dark purple-y gray.

And then I made these:

Shortbread fingers. Literally. I made them for my boss, who took them to his grandkids and promptly scared them senseless. I hear they didn’t sleep for days. I’m happy to have been a part of such a momentous occasion in their lives. I can’t imagine they’ll quickly forget the time Grandpa tried to feed them fingers.

I would have taken “after” shots, but I was busy trying to get butter out of my pants. Geeze! You’d think that the more time I spent in the kitchen, the less mess I would make, but it seems to be going in the exact opposite direction.  However, take it from me (and those poor children), these cookies ended up eerily realistic. Maybe I’ll post the recipe later so you, too, can traumatize unsuspecting people.  Ah, who am I kidding? In all reality, I probably won’t. Don’t hold your breath.

Hey guess what? I had chili for dinner tonight. That’s right folks, it’s chili weather in NC! At least it was today.

Sugar Cookies: Birthday Edition

19 Aug

So I’ve told you all that I got a full-time job. I really love it; the people are great (both the ones I work with and the ones I help everyday), the job is interesting, and there’s always something new and different to keep you on your toes. And on top of that, my coworkers are turning out to be my best customers! First, I got an order for 3 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies.

And then I got an order for a dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And my eyes have been opened! I thought oatmeal raisin cookies were delicious. I thought chocolate chip cookies were delicious. But I always turned my nose up at oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Cookies are not supposed to be mixed like that! The proper ingredients need to be with the proper cookies. You can’t go switching things around. That was my mindset until I tasted these cookies, and then I did a complete 180. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? They are God’s gift to man. Nectar of the gods. The best cookies on earth. No lie. I am a believer, and never shall I doubt the power of the cookie. Plus, when I mentioned it to some friends, not only were they already clued in, but they offered up other tasty variations. Oatmeal butterscotch, anyone?

And because I didn’t package the cookies up like the above picture, I gave the orderer a baker’s dozen. Everyone should have a plethora of these cookies handy at all times.

Trust me.

Next, I got an order for sugar cookies for my boss’s granddaughter’s birthday. When I got the order, I was really excited to be able to practice my piping skills. When I got down to making the cookies, I was way less excited. In my less than infinite wisdom, I waited until after a full day of work to decorate the cookies. They still turned out very well, in my opinion, but I was wiped out. Never doing that again.

I’m still working on my icing consistency, which seems to be the key to excellent sugar cookies, catapulting them from pretty to oh-my-god-that’s-amazing. Interestingly enough (ok fine, interestingly enough to me), it’s not the flood icing that’s giving me problems, it’s the stiffer piping icing. There’s a very fine line between so-stiff-my-hands-cramp-up and not-stiff-enough-so-it-oozes-all-over-the-place, and I keep missing it, though I am getting closer and closer each time.

Obviously, I made more than a dozen. The birthday girl will receive one dozen; the rest were practice cookies/cookies set aside to be used as well-placed bribes.

My mom is in an EKG reading class, where they attach and read those heart monitors you see in movies when people are flatlining. So I made some cookies for her. I think they’re pretty adorable. I’m going to have to befriend a hospital so I can make these again.

My camera had the hardest time focusing on this design. The waviness tricked the camera into thinking it was moving, and I kept getting an alert to hold the camera still. Or maybe I really was shaking while I was taking this picture. Who knows? Who cares?

For the birthday girl. Never again will I write letters on cookies. I must have written this name half a dozen times, and this is the best one out of the lot. How frustrating.

Also, remember my friend Angie? The one who sent me stationary that inspired a set of sugar cookies? She sent me another letter the other day, on new stationary. I feel like she’s challenging me, and I couldn’t resist!

This is the stationary, and at first I was intimidated. How to translate that onto a cookie? This is what I came up with:

Simple, but very pretty. It turned out to be my favorite design of the night. Normally, I like my sugar cookies completely covered in icing, but I was happy to make an exception this time.

So pretty.

So very, very pretty.

Playing catch-up

21 Jul

I’ve been cooking and baking all the time, but I haven’t bothered to post pictures for you all. So this post is to fix that. Check out some of what I’ve been up to.

Here are some cookies I made when I made the sugar cookie stationary.

I FINALLY got the wet-on-wet technique down!

These got sent to my old co-workers in Texas

This was my favorite cookie of the bunch

When I go to the farmer’s market, I always get lots of zucchini, which makes a wonderful bread. And when I make it in the bread machine, I do approximately 5 minutes worth of work and end up with deliciousness. I’m ok with that input/output ratio. Also! I got new cupcake tips and they’re amazing.

See?

So, between the zucchini I’ve got, and the new tips I bought, I had to make this:

Delicious zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! So moist. That was the first time EVER I piped frosting onto cupcakes, and I was cackling with glee the entire time.

And since they contain about 2 cups of zucchini, I like to think that they’re good for you.

In other news, I also have an ice cream maker attachment for my kitchen aid, and look at the containers I’ve got to hold my all my beautifully churned ice cream!

Adorable!

I’ve already made several kinds of ice cream, including avocado!

It was not the most appetizing looking of all ice creams. It was ok. Really creamy, and I used almond extract, so there was a good flavor. But there was kind of a grittiness from the avocado that you can’t get rid of, and a very pronounced after-taste. Plus the color and the fact that it was avocado were really hard to get over. But I tried it and so did my family, which I’m proud of us all for. In the end, though, we ditched most of it, and it will not ever be made again in this household. But this one will be:

Homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

I also made pancakes (and dyed them pink!) with homemade blueberry syrup and homemade whipped cream. I’m not the world’s biggest pancake fan, but they sure hit the spot!

Some fudge sandwiches for your viewing pleasure:

Can you see that filling? Made with sweetened condensed milk, so you KNOW it’s good! This was such a rich and sophisticated cookie. Very decadent.

The sheer amount of sugar and cream that went into this post is mind-boggling. I won’t share the details with you because I don’t want to scare people away. But it was a lot. That’s just how I roll. I bring treats into work, where everyone is on a diet, and I neglect to tell them that the cupcake they’re eating was made with 6 cups of sugar. Ha! Does that make me a bad person? I don’t believe in diets. I do believe in moderation, but not diets.

The end.

Sugar Cookies: Stationary

2 Jul

I love snail mail. The thrill of opening the mailbox and finding a letter or card never gets old. In college, my mother kept my mailbox full. About once a week, whether I wrote back or not, she sent me a letter. On Valentine’s Day she sent me flowers, and on Halloween and Easter, she sent me candy. Now that I’m home, I exchange mail with friends. I’d like you to meet two of them.

The first of the pen-pals is a girl I’ve known since third grade. Her name is Angela, and she is one of the nicest people I know. Really lovely, inside and out. She always sees the best in people, and is one of those people who you instantly feel comfortable with, you know? Plus, she’s funny.

Hi Angie!

We went to private school together; it was her first year there. At this school, students were given certain jobs each week, and my soon-to-be friend was assigned the role of bathroom monitor. I’ve been thinking and thinking, and I’m not really sure why the job existed. She was supposed to make sure no fights broke out in the girl’s bathroom, I guess, because what else was there to monitor? My school was big on teaching responsibility, even if technically there was nothing to be responsible for. So there we were: she was brand new to the school, still making friends, and I was fresh off summer break, all pouty about being back and cooped up in a classroom. I was the last one into the bathroom, where she was monitoring, and after I used the restroom and washed my hands we walked out together. And she said to me, “You know, you’re the only one who washed your hands…” Disgusting, right? So we bonded over germs. Pretty effectively, too, because we’re still best friends all these years later.

Looking windswept at the beach

Perhaps not surprisingly, she is now a registered nurse. She moved away in sixth grade, so I haven’t seen her all that much in person, but we still keep in touch. A couple of weeks ago, she sent me a note on the cutest stationary.

Is that not adorable? Naturally I thought I’d send her cookies to celebrate her certification, her new job, and her new apartment. And even more naturally, I decided to match the cookies to the stationary.

I’m tickled with how they turned out, and I hope she likes them!

The other friend I want you to meet is a college buddy. I met her the beginning of my sophomore year. She was part of a group (called the Orientation Team) that guided the new students through orientation week (moving in, picking classes, exploring campus, etc). Her name is Heather, but I call her Awesome, because she is.

My friends are pretty.

I met her at a dance party the Orientation Team was holding while the first-years climbed the tower we have on campus. A few days later, after classes started, I walked into Latin class and found Heather already there. Over the next two years, we bonded over classes, celebrating the end of classes (see pic below), speaking French*, soccer, wearing high heels (we’re both really tall – the heels put us at a couple of inches over six feet), taking a lot of pictures together, celebrating 21st birthdays, and graduation. And that just barely scratches the surface of all the fun times we had. Like Angie, she’s wonderful and funny. As a matter of fact, all my friends are.

* Should you be interested, here’s the story of how we met, in French. Courtesy of Heather.

L’histoire de Sarah et Heather: Il y a deux filles qui manquaient quelque chose. Mais, un jour, les deux filles ont recontré sous la tour de Trinity. Là, sous les lumières, elles ont dansé beaucoup. Puis, après quelques semaines, Sarah a transféré dans la classe du latin et elle a trouvé Heather! Sarah et Heather étaient enfin completes parce que elles se sont eues. C’etait parfait! Les deux sont devenues Princess et Awesome et elles prennent beaucoup d’images.

To celebrate the end of Latin class, we burned all our notecards.

Now we bond over recipes, the World Cup, how we act like 80-year-old women, the places we’ll travel, and current events as they pertain to the World Cup. Since June, most of our topics of conversation have been about recipes or the World Cup, actually.

I have approximately 1,234,096,190,364 pictures of us.

In honor of our letters back and forth, I made some letter cookies for her.

The “A” blob stands for Awesome, and the “P” blob stands for Princess, which is her nickname for me. “Sarah” means “princess,” and it was only fitting that I got a nickname after I dubbed her Awesome.

Did you enjoy meeting my friends? I did, all those years ago and I’m very glad they are in my life. They’re witty, intelligent, loyal, goofy, slightly insane, loving, classy, motivated, and inspiring people. And who could ask for more in a friend?

USA! USA! USA!

26 Jun

USA for the World Cup!!

Spring Sugar Cookies!

25 Apr

Ok, I’m late on the Easter sugar cookie train. Very, very late, I know. But that also means I got my Easter cookie cutters and sugar on sale. Woo hoo! And even though they’re “Easter,” they make the transition to “Spring” very easily.

I’m very happy with how these cookies turned out. I read somewhere that instead of waiting for the outline to dry, you should go ahead and flood the cookie right after piping the outline. That way there’s not that obvious line around the icing. And I must say, I think that little tip makes my cookies look so much better.

On top of that, I did a pretty simple design that I think is absolutely adorable. Sometimes, simpler is just better. Behold:

Here’s a little closer look:

Look at their little bunny tails!! Aren’t they precious? I found these guys on one of the cookie blogs I read, Cookie Crazie. It’s basically the most brilliant idea ever, because you don’t have to mess with decorating a face or anything. Plus it’s unexpected, which I think just makes it all the more fun!

I did do some other cookies too, tulips and butterflies. These are my prettiest:

I didn’t have a whole lot of cookies to ice this time around. I decorated several with just sprinkles instead of royal icing, and my family ate kind of a lot of the undecorated cookies. I guess I’ve been depriving them of sugar cookies/cookies in general these days. Must remedy that.

Also, I’m teething and it’s painful. My wisdom teeth are coming in. Ouch! I know, this has no relevance to the post or really anything. But let me tell you, I feel for those poor babies growing all those teeth instead of the two I’m dealing with. Now, I’m off to gnaw on some ice and whine about it.

Au revoir!

Hi!

29 Mar

I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day. We definitely did, complete with corned beef and cabbage and friends! Two of my college buddies were here for their spring break, and we did a lot of eating out, while my family was left to fend for themselves. Nice, right? But things are back to normal, and I’ve got delicious pictures for you!

I have not been photographing everything I make. Bad Sarah! So the goodies you see here are but a small sampling of what has been cooking in my kitchen.

Homemade marshmallows covered in toasted coconut. So tasty. And so much better than the store-bought ones.

Shamrock cookies! I piped the shamrocks separately on a plastic bag, let them dry, and then placed them on the wet flooded icing.

Soft pretzels! Made from scratch! Isn’t it beautiful?! And it was totally delicious.

In addition, we made chocolate chip cookies, some kind of butterscotch-caramel pots de creme, and maybe something else? I don’t remember. It’s been a while.

So there you go. Maybe someday in the near future I’ll stop being a bum and post recipes/post more regularly. Time will tell.

Ciao!