Cookie Assortments are Back!

This Holiday Assortment contains 13 hand-decorated cookies in a reusable tin. These delicious cookies are approximately 3×2 inches. Assortments will vary. We will send the freshest from-the-oven cookies. Call today for holiday delivery. 812-858-0634

Free Cookie Decorating Videos

I have just posted several free cookie decorating videos on You Tube. Please check these short videos and let me know what you think. (I am working on additional videos.)

Also, for you last minute cookie decorators I am offering customized on-line Skype classes. Please let me know if you would like to sign up for these personalized one-on-one classes. (Please see the top post.)

Mitten Cookie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjDdVQyOS4

Snowman:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUaGG4OoItY

Sleigh Cookie:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y66Jmm32UM

Christmas Tree:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YSy8us7hsI

One Minute Snowflake Cookie:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEmz0HkwIG8

Thanks!
Cathy

“Love the South”!

Just got back from teaching Cookie Decorating Classes for the wonderful folks at Viking Cooking School in Memphis.

What a  lovely group of people!   Everyone is so warm and friendly!

“Southern hospitality” is alive and well in Memphis!  Can’t wait to return!

The classes all decorated beautiful Santa cookies, Happy Snowmen cookies,  Snow-covered Sleigh cookies and  Sparkle Snowflake cookies!  (And did a wonderful job!)

Photos will be posted on my facebook account, Cathy’s Designer Cookies.

Thank you again Memphis!  Love ya’ all!

Happy Holiday Baking!

Cathy

Last Minute On-Line Skype Cookie Classes

Featured

Skype staged-video-call (Credit: Skype)

Get a private “On-Line” cookie decorating classes  using Skype video conferencing software. These personalized one-on-one classes are great for last minute holiday cookie decorating! The 2-hour classes are big hit and can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you. (Yes I work day and night during this most joyous season.)  By utilizing Skype video conferencing software I can teach classes almost anywhere at any time.

My “private” one-on-one classes are a great for beginning cookie bakers or Moms wanting to decorate special holiday cookies with their children.

BTW, if you want to have a crowd in your kitchen for the class, that’a OK!

The set-up is simple. You will need a webcam; install the free Skype software www.skype.com and contact me (812-858-0634) to arrange a time for your personalized class (you will also need a broadband internet account).


You can make your own cookie blanks and royal icing or I can send you my Holiday Cookie Kit to use during the class. The basic kit includes holiday cookie blanks, icing and decorating sugar to decorate 5-6 beautiful holiday cookies.

The basic kit is $24.95 which includes ground shipping. All the cookie decorating kits are customized just like my classes. The on-line classes are only $50.00 per hour with a 2 hour minimum. Please call or email me today with questions or to set up your personalized on-line class.

“Coffee and Cookies Two”!

Being the coffee nut that I am……IE: can’t move without my morning cup (or four)!  If anyone out there is like this, do I have a cookie recipe for you!

“Chocolate Espresso Cookies” is an old recipe, but very tasty!  Who doesn’t like caffeine, sugar and chocolate!? Exactly my point.  Just a thought here, espresso coffee actually has LESS caffeine than regular coffee. The water is forced through the espresso grounds so fast, that it absorbs less caffeine.  This is according to Mike and Shelly at Kitchen Affairs.

On to the recipe!

Chocolate Espresso Wafers

by Cathy’s Designer Cookies

1 cup  unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 tea. salt

1/4 tea. baking soda

3 Tabls. unsalted butter, room temp.

3 Tabls. margarine, room temp.

1/2 cup plus 2 Tabls. sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1-1/2 Tabls. instant Espresso powder

1 tea. vanilla extract

1 large egg white

Sift first 4 ingredients in to a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat butter and margarine until creamy.  Add both sugars, espresso powder, vanilla and beat to blend.  Mix in egg white.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just to incorporate.  Use your hands to knead the dough briefly to make a smooth dough. 

Form dough into a log 14 inches long by 2 inches wide.  Wrap log in waxed paper and chill until very cold. (About 2 hours).

Bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice chilled log crosswise into 1/4 inch disks.  Place disks on a parchment lined heavy baking sheet.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  Tops will be cracked and almost firm to the touch in the middle.  It’s okay to slightly under bake these cookies.  They just will not be as ‘crisp’.

Cool cookie on a wire rack.  Will keep in an air tight container for up to two weeks.  May be frozen for up to 1 month. 

Happy Baking!

Oh! That Holiday Magic!

Let it Snow!

Let it Snow!

Holiday decorating classes are in full swing this time of year. As I (frantically) prepare for several weekend classes I have one thing to say regarding preparations for the holidays. “Do-Ahead!”

Check recipes twice; Shop Early; Buy extra ingredients; Make dough ahead of time and freeze; Bake the cookies early; Make icing ahead and refrigerate; Call freinds for help (they will love you for it) and plan for extra munching treats!

The more that you can prepare in advance the more you can enjoy your friends and family during this joyous time of year.

Enjoy the Magic of Christmas!

Cathy

Packaging your Treats

It does seem a little early to be discussing packaging and the how-to’s of wrapping your cookies for gift-giving.  But, I like to share this information in the summer.  This way, as you are out shopping you can keep an eye open for tins, boxes and baskets on sale that you can store away and use when gift giving season rolls around.  Funny thing, the holidays come exactly the same time every year yet we are some how ‘surpised‘ to see how fast they arrive.  Nothing is worse than  making some beautiful cookies and having nothing to deliver them in.  I shop/buy  year round for unusual containers, tins of all kinds, pretty boxes and totes to place my cookies in.  Even the most humble homemade treats look fabulous in a lovely tin or little hat box.  It’s like getting two gifts.  #1, the cookies or treats you made and #2, the tin or container they arrive in.  Many people re-use the containers to store items or pass it on to a friend.

Keeping the cookies fresh is really important.  I always package cookies in airtight containers.   Because home bakers do not use any type of preservatives, most cookies will last 4 to 7 days without loosing quality.  After this, most cookies or baked goods start to dry out or become stale.  The exception are highly spiced cookies like my gingerbread cookies.  These cookies will last several weeks if kept in an airtight container.

It is important to keep crisp cookies together and soft cookies, (like chocolate chip cookies) in a different container.  Do not mix the two types of cookies.  The crisp cookies will absorb moisture from the soft cookies making both cookies taste less than perfect.  If I am going to ship two different types of cookies together, I’ll place each type of cookie in different air tight containers.  Then place the two types in the same box and ship it off.  I know the cookies will taste great when they arrive.  It is fine to place your cookies in large zip-lock type bags.  Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can before you seal it.  I like to wrap decorated cookies in their own little cellophane bags and hand tie the bags with a pretty ribbon.  This way, each cookie looks like a little “gift“. You can purchase these bags at party stores and hobby stores.

Happy Baking!

Cookies of Louisville!

A really big Thank you to all of the students in my Cookie Decorating classes in Louisville, KY this week!

Classes were held at Campbell’s Gourmet Cottage in Louisvillewww.gourmetcottage.com (ph.502-893-6700).  The class members made wonderful Holiday cookies in the “Christmas in July” Cookie Decorating Class.  About 18 students participated in each class. The students learned several decorating techniques and applied them to a Giant Santa cookie, as well as several other cookies we created in class.  Everyone’s cookies were simply outstanding!  Students were able to take home 4 beautiful Holiday cookies they decorated in the class.

In addition to the Giant Santa Cookie, the class made a large Holiday Cottage, an adorable Snowman and a Decorated Christmas Tree.

I encourage everyone in the greater Louisville area to check out the classes at Campbell’s.  Sign-up for a cooking class, and bring a friend!

(Special thanks to Jennifer for bringing her gal friends Cindy and Amber!  We all had way too much fun!)

Looking forward to September!

Happy Baking!

Decorating Party!

As I’m getting ready to teach a cookie decorating class this week, I started thinking about all the different steps needed to make a class fun and successful.

The same preparation steps I use to teach a class are the same steps you would use to bake and decorate cookies with your kids.

First, make your cookie dough and chill for several hours. While the cookie dough is chilling, decide what cookie cutters you want to use. I like to make cookies similar in size so they will bake evenly. If you really must have a ‘giant butterfly’ cookie then bake this cookie on a baking sheet all by itself. You will be much happier with the results. Remember always use parchment or a Silpat liner on your baking sheets. (Plan on 3 to 4 cookies for each child to decorate.)

Once your cookies have been baked and cooled, it’s time to make the icing.

I would limit your icing colors to five or less. Make several double batches of royal icing and place it in a covered bowl to keep it from drying out.

Take some of the white icing and place it in a medium size bowl. Place a very small amount of color gel or color paste into the icing and mix well.

Pour the colored icing into a quart size freezer zip lock bag. Or place it directly into a prepared pastry bag fitted with a #3 or #4 tip. You can also place small amounts of the colored icing into pint size zip lock bags. Nip a small hole in one of the points and use this as your pastry bag.
Seal the bag(s) well. Repeat with the other colors you make.

If using pastry bags, keep the tips moist by placing them in a tall glass with a damp paper towel in the bottom of the glass.

You are now ready to start your cookie party! Be sure you get out all the sprinkles, jimmies and other candies in the cabinets. Most of all , have fun by turning a dull summer afternoon into ‘arts and crafts time’ that you can munch! Yum!

Royal icing: 1 lb powdered sugar, scant ½ cup water, 5 tbls. meringue powder, 1/8 tea. real vanilla. Beat all ingredients until smooth. Keep covered.

Happy Baking!
-Cathy

Coffee and Cookies

Don’t you just love coffee?  People that know me, know I NEED my morning coffee!  I like to sit outside and drink my first cup and slowly greet the morning.  (It’s even better with a plate of cookies!)

Did you know, by adding strong, cooled coffee to any chocolate dessert, you bumb up the flavor of the chocolate? Just a tablespoon or so, really adds to the taste.  You will not really taste the coffee, but it will make whatever you bake with chocolate so much better.  You can also use espresso powder.  Yum!

Some of my favorite chocolate parings: Add orange, real vanilla or hazelnuts for a wonderful taste treat.

  I can never leave a recipe alone.  I am always experimenting with unusual flavors.  But…….trust me……sometimes they do not work.  (Like the time I added hot peppers to brownies.)  Now, a bit of heat in chocolate brownies can be quite tasty, but these were awful!  See?……..even I make baking “boo boos”.  The point is, I try…….I experiment.  And sometime it turns out to be a wonderful new treat!  NOTE: A word about altering recipes for baked goods. Be very careful not to alter the liquid/dry ratio or the fat/dry ratio in baked goods.  You want to add ‘flavor’ not change the structure of the basic recipe.

So go bake something today!  Let me know what you come up with! I love to hear from you!

Happy Baking!