Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Movie Cookies

I worked at a volunteering event today and then ran a bunch of errands, so I ran out of time today, but am hoping to get this in before it's too late. I made some movie theme cookies.
My son's school does a huge fundraising event every year and this year's theme is movies, so I made these as extras. 

If you haven't heard yet, we are having a COOKIE CHALLENGE this week on my Cristin's Cookies Facebook page. I hope you'll join us in making Animal Print cookies and posting them on your wall and tag Cristin's Cookies or post them directly to my wall. Challenge ends on Friday and then on Saturday I will post a collection of the animal print cookies on my blog along with who made them.

I also created a spreadsheet of all my favorite cookiers on Facebook. You can see the list and add them to your favorites by downloading the spreadsheet here. I love to be able to respond to posts with NAMES and so I've been collecting names of all my favorites.

Here's more of the movie cookies, many of which were inspired by SugarBelle. They are pictured here in the cutesie cookie tags with a movie theme. Many of the clipart images that I purchased to use in this collection were from MareeTruelove.













Now go bake and decorate some Animal Print cookies and share them!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Want S'more?

My son is going to be an EAGLE SCOUT! Yes, I'm extremely excited and proud! My son has been in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for the last 10+ years. This past weekend he finally finished his Eagle Scout project! YAY!!! So what did Mom do... bake cookies of course! I had hoped to make lots of camping cookies like tents, sleeping bags, bears, hiking boots and such, but I didn't have time as the project was coming together very quickly now. So I gave my son several cookie design options of what he would like to give out to his scout volunteers working the project with him. He chose S'mores. Guess what I did for the next 10+ hours... yep about 30 cookies or so.
Thankfully Glory of Glorious Treats had made a guest post tutorial on Sweet SugarBelle's blog on how to make S'mores cookies, so I used that as a guideline. Thanks Glory & Callye! This really came in handy!

I started by hand-cutting the shapes. I NEVER hand-cut cookies. I'm a bit of a cookie cutter snob I guess. I really like cookie cutters and don't trust my ability to hand-cut or re-shape cutters. But I bought this handy tool on Amazon.com and went for it. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, but then again, this was a pretty simple design!  
After the cookies were all cut, I outlined the cookies. 
 I then used a knife to fill the larger areas with icing.
 I used a toothpick to get the icing pushed to the small corners.
 Here they are with the graham cracker parts done
 Then I filled the bottom section to look like dark chocolate
 And I used a knife to fill the marshmallow section white. While the white was still wet, I used a toothpick dipped in the light brown icing to create marshmallow burn marks on the s'mores.
 Sorry the pictures aren't the best. It was hard to decorate the cookie and hold the camera :-)
 I then put the rest of my brown icing into a bag & tip and used that to make the holes on the graham crackers. I also decided to add a center line like how the graham crackers have those break apart sections.
 I then made homemade cookie tags thanking the scouts for helping Nick with his Eagle Scout project. I found the s'mores clipart on Google and bought the camouflage and marshmallow clipart from Maree Truelove's Etsy shop. I love her clipart for these type of projects! I let the cookies sit overnight before bagging them to make sure they were fully dry.
Thank you to all the scouts that help Nick with his Eagle Scout project!
 Nick and his volunteers, built three benches that will be placed in a garden on his school campus and they will be dedicated to the memory of my father.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bicycle Cookies

So as you know, a friend of mine asked me to make bicycle cookies. A LOT of bicycle cookies. I love baking and decorating cookies. It is such an honor to be a part of bringing joy to family and friends with baked goods. Think about it... we bakers make cookies for birthday parties, graduation, holidays, baby showers, wedding and even a recent celebration of life. Truly an honor.

I've had a lot of questions about cookie decorating, so this week I've used the bicycles as a learning tool and showed you a couple videos on cookie decorating. Well my friend, Bob Corman, picked up his bicycle cookies this morning, so now you can see the final product. As a cyclist, these were really fun for me! Contact Bob at Infinity Press for all your printing needs!
Here's a couple of them bagged and ready to go bring joy:
And since Bob insisted they must be RED and I personally feel EVERY bike should be PINK, I rebelled (as usual) and made one of my very own ;-)
Does it look familiar? ;-)
So I started by making 6 batches of cookie dough and rolled out and baked 108 cookies. Since this particular cookie is fragile, I made a few extras just in case. Two broke fresh out of the oven, three are left for the human garbage disposal teenage son ;-) and 103 went to my friend Bob.
Then I iced the bottom layer of the bicycle all white. I've never done that before on bicycles as most just detail the frame and wheels and leave the rest without icing, but I decided I wanted the whole cookie iced and none of it "naked". This took A LONG time to do (two days), but I was happy with how the came out.
I then used my Kopykake projector to make perfect circles for the tires. This was unnecessary, but if you're inside my little brain, then it's required ;-)
Next I added the spokes on the wheels. I used a small #1 tip to make the thin spokes. Yes #1 tips are a pain because they clog up, but it worked. I also added small pearl candies to the center wheel for an added touch. Then I waited about 8 hours (overnight) so that the next color (red) wouldn't bleed with the black.
Next I used a thicker #3 tip to draw the red frame of each bicycle:
Again I waited at least 8 hours so that the next color wouldn't bleed with the red. And then I added the saddle and the handlebars:
Then I made personalized tags for my friend and bagged all 100 cookies. Thanks Bob for letting me be a part of your project!
Tomorrow I will show you S'mores cookies that I made for my son's Eagle Scout project that he FINISHED on Saturday! YAY!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tutorial - Cookie Decorating - How to use a KopyKake projector

I'm continuing to work on the bicycle cookies for my friend, Bob. I figured this would be a good opportunity to show you some simple cookie decorating techniques. Today I'm going to show you HOW to use a KopyKake projector. I've actually heard from a couple people that they are considering purchasing one and even from one gal that has already purchased one, but hasn't taken it out of the box yet to figure it out. A KopyKake (KK) is simply a projector that allows you to project an image onto a cookie. They are very easy to use once you play around with it a bit. Today I am using my KK to make a simple (perfect) circle. You can use the KK to draw anything. See below for a picture of my recent Hello Kitty cookies for instance.

Thanks to my son, Nick, who agreed to be my videographer for y'all! Remember to turn up your speakers as I can be too quiet. I always tell hubby that he's wrong when he says that I mumble, but after watching the videos, I see that he's right. Just don't tell him that I said so! Please excuse my nerves. I hate being in the spotlight! Also excuse my very white hands. We cyclists wear gloves and have dorky tan lines ;-) Also when I say "move this" I'm referring to the lens (the black part of your KK projector) as you'll see later in the video. Enjoy!
All my bicycles have tires on them now :-)
and many have full wheels now too
One really cool thing about a KK is that you can use it to project any image onto a cookie. I had bought a Hello Kitty coloring book and used it to project these images to decorate Hello Kitty cookies.
I better get back to cookie decorating.

On a side note, my son is completing his Eagle Scout project this weekend. I'm so incredibly proud of him that I actually cry tears every time I think of it! If he's smart, he won't allow his crying mom to be at the Eagle project! ;-) He has worked in scouting for about 10 years and finished earning all the merit badges for Eagle over 2 years ago and started his first Eagle project, but it fell through because the recipient changed their mind and so he had to start all over with a new recipient. Everything has fallen into place extremely easily with this new Eagle project, so we know it is all God's plan. He has learned so much from this experience and we couldn't be more proud of him for sticking with it and accomplishing his goals! Nick, and his team of volunteers scouts, will be building 3 benches and dedicating them to my father who lost his battle with Cancer in 2008.
I posted this picture on my personal Facebook page and a friend wrote this. It actually made me cry tears! I'm SUCH a SOFTIE I know! Thanks Michael!
Every time I see you two together on a picture, it makes me smile. Nick is always smiling, and you look so radiant and proud next to him. These are some of the happiest pictures I know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cookie Decorating Tutorial

This week I am making bicycle cookies - lots and lots of bicycle cookies. Those of you that know me, know that, in addition to being an obsessed "cookier", I am also a cyclist and have many cycling friends. Last year I was a hard-core cyclist putting over 9,000 miles on my bicycle and participating in many cycling events, one of which was riding my pretty pink bike for 400 miles in 26 hours. This year, we've had too many family commitments and events, but many of my friends are still going strong with the really big cycling events. A few of my friends are even competing in the Furnace Creek 508. Yep, you guessed it. They are going to ride their bicycles for 508 miles with 35,000 feet of climbing. Painful! One of these crazy friends is Bob, who asked me to make these bicycle cookies for him.

I've received many emails from bakers wanting videos and tutorials, so here we go. I've decided to give the cookie a white background so that none of the cookie would be "naked". Since the entire background is one color, I outlined the cookie with a little bit thicker white icing in a bag and tip and then filled the rest of the cookie using a knife to spread the white icing onto the cookie. If it's a smaller section of cookie, I almost always use a bag and tip, but if I'm icing the bottom layer of a large cookie all one color, I usually use this knife method. You'll probably need to turn your speakers up. I can by pretty quiet - hubby says I mumble ;-)


Here they are before the bottom layer of icing. 
Tomorrow, if my son has time to assist as a videographer, I will show you how to use a Kopykake Projector as I've had lots of questions about that too. I will continue the decorating of these bicycle cookies. Stay tuned...

Oh and by the way, if you haven't seen Karen's video on easy clean-up with icing bags, you just have to watch this: http://www.karenscookies.net/Cookie-Decorating-Video-Color-Mixing-Bag-Filling_ep_74-1.html it is such an incredible time saver!

Me and my baby girl, Mellissa, after the 107-mile LiveStrong Challenge last month in memory of my father and for those battling Cancer.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Organization of Cookie Cutters & Baking Supplies

Are you as OBSESSED with cookie cutters as I am? Doubtful. I know you think you are, but seriously doubtful.  Well if you've started your collection of cookie cutters, then you know that they take up A LOT of room and they keep growing! I've changed my cookie cutter organization a couple times, but this is what is working for me and I LOVE IT. I don't have any cookies to show you as I've been out of town this week looking at colleges with my son for next year, so instead, lets talk organization today...
 I have 12 wood cubbies that line up almost one whole wall in my office. My wood cubbies are from Target from their ITSO line of products, but now they only come in white and I prefer maple or pine colored furniture so as I've expanded my cubbies, I've found these from Foremost at Amazon. When I bought mine, they offered free shipping, so hold out and see if they offer that again or see what your local stores carry. I HATE to shop, so I buy everything online whenever possible. For me, it's much more time efficient. That "Go Cristin" sign is from my friends, Sonia, Monica & Shilpi during the LiveStrong Challenge that hangs proudly in my office.
 The cloth storage bins are from Target. They come in small size for smaller categories of cutters like Get Well or Pirate and also in medium size for bigger categories like Sports or Christmas.
 Did I mention that I'm an organization freak? Everything in my house has a specific spot it's supposed to be in. So, as you can imagine, this system for my cookie cutters works well for me. 
 All those cookie cutters in bags haven't even been played with yet! I need to get baking...
 See how easily they pull out and I can just grab the whole bin of the category I'm working on. The cutters in the picture below are my Cowboy cookie cutters. Super cute. CopperGifts.com was kind enough to post my decorated cookie of Cowboy Clyde on their website. What an honor huh!
 Each bin is labeled for easy access and they are also in alphabetical order to find easily.
 Here's an up-close of the bins and their labels
Okay are you wondering how to organize your own cookie cutter obsession? This might be of help. I created a spreadsheet of every cookie cutter that I have and the dimensions and where I bought it. I keep them organized by category so that when I want to make "movie" cookies, I won't forget to also make popcorn cookies and to get my star from my shapes bin and so on. I keep a list of all cookie ideas in that category saying "see this bin for this cutter". I have made a copy of my spreadsheet and deleted most of my own cookie cutters except for the first category so that you can see how to organize your own cutters and use the spreadsheet for yourself. Click on the picture below to download and personalize your own copy.
Another recommendation is to keep a running list of your wish list of cookie cutters. This way you remember what you're wishing for when your birthday comes around and Christmas and your family wants ideas so they can get you something really special. CopperGifts.com also provides a saved wish list on their website for you.

Okay back to getting organized. I have four binders of cookie ideas. Whenever I decorate a cookie that I like, I take a photo of it and store it in this binder, so that I can remember how I did it the next time. I'm getting old and senile so this works for me ;-). I also find cute ideas on the web and from friends and I save that too along with a note of who had the idea that inspired me so that I can give credit where credit is due.
I also have pretty glass storage containers for my sanding sugar. I bought these from Amazon as well. Actually I found the larger ones on top at Target and the smaller ones on bottom at Amazon. Warning, the smaller ones on the bottom the top pulls off, so always lift from the jar, not the top unless you happen to want pretty sanding sugar all over your counters!
I store all my decorator tips, bags and such in pink bins in my kitchen cupboard. Easy access and stored neatly and pretty in pink :-)
and my pretty pink mixer is stored away nicely in a cupboard that pops up when I need it. This was a gift from my hubby. He scored LOTS of points with this one ;-)
So that's my organization method for my crazy baking obsession. I have some work to do in my office today, but then I hope to get back to baking very soon! I hope you're enjoying your day!