Christmas Cookies on Video!

It’s here! Just when you need it most!
Check out my “Bolg” for the newest “Video Tutorials on Cookie Decorating”.
These are about 2 minutes of quick, little cookie tips to help you with those last minute gingerbread cookie decorating ideas.
They are FREE! Just let me know if they helped.
Happy Holiday Baking!
-Cathy

Cookies for Sweethearts!

Can you believe it??!!  We just took down the Christmas decorations and it’s nearly time for Valentine cookie baking!

Be sure and check out my cookie tutorial “Flying Hearts!”  You’ll find a step by step lesson on how to create beautiful cookies for Valentines Day.

With just over 3 weeks to Valentines Day, now is the time to make and freeze your cookie dough.  You can even bake and freeze un-iced cookies.  This do-a-head will make cookie decorating day go so much faster.

Happy Baking!

Cathy

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

Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!

  I love the 4th of July!  Fireworks and picnics, get out the lawn chairs and wait ….(what seems like forever) for the fireworks to begin. 

This year I am going  to fireworks celebrations Fri. and Sat. (maybe even Sun. somewhere?)  Can’t wait for that first ear-shattering……BOOM!  Then it begins!  Sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 1 hour of “open your eyes and turn on the party lights in the sky“.

One of my very favorite July 4th  memories is a yearly party with the Swemm family.  Kerrie Swemm was my very dear childhood friend and our families would meet near the American Legion Post in my hometown of Danville.  There was always wonderful picnic food; grilled hotdogs, red potato salad and  garden fresh tomatoes from my dads garden.  Then there were the desserts!   On one end of the food table lay a massive amount of all things sweet and tasty.  I remember the pies; berry, apple and lemon.  Also, my moms famous blond brownies and a sheet cake iced with homemade buttercream iced to look like the flag; red, white and blue.   Then there were the cookies!  Chocolate chip, molasses and ginger, peanut butter, and of course sugar cookies.  I helped make the sugar cookies. (go figure?)  My job was to sprinkle red or blue sparkling sugar onto the cut out cookies.  Then my mom would pop them into the oven and we would wait.  12 minute later………joy and happiness!  Cookies!  We could each have just one cookie before the picnic. Guess which one I wanted?

I remember all of this like it was last week……….can it really be over 30 years ago?  My mom no longer bakes so I carry on the cookie tradition for her.  So here’s to you mom (and dad).  Happy 4thof July!  Enjoy the fireworks tomorrow! I love you both!

Happy Baking!

Chill that (cookie) dough!

Wow! It’s hot out there! One very important thing in rolling out any cookie dough, is to be sure your dough is well chilled.  This makes rolling out the dough and cutting cookies out so much easier!  Remember, if your dough is too warm, it will stick to the mat and your rolling pin.  You will end up using more and more flour to keep it from sticking and your cookies will be tough and will grow to giant-size!  So always freeze or really chill dough.

Another tip: place several ice packs on your counter top.  Place the wrapped cookie dough on top. This way as you roll out small amounts of the dough, the rest of the dough will stay chilled.  I use to re-wrap my dough about every 10 minutes to chill it over and over.  Now I can leave it on the counter (on top of  the ice packs). It stays nice and cold.

Happy Baking!

-Cathy