Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Tea Scones Practice

Next Tuesday night our "Abide" (church ladies' group) Team  are hosting our first Christmas Tea, a wrap-up of the Fall session and preparation for the Advent Season.  What would a Christmas Tea be without scones though, right?  I found this recipe on for World's Best Scones so I thought I'd give it a "practice run" before Tuesday's attempt to make batches for the Tea.

The recipe was easy enough, although I have to say I HATE the gooey dough stuck on the fingers part.  Thankfully I have a box of "surgical" gloves in my kitchen cupboard I use for baking.  They came in super handy while forming the dough into usable form.  The recipe made 12 medium sized scones and even though I forgot to brush them with the milk/sugar mixture on top and forgot to let them sit 10 minutes before popping them in the oven (thanks to trying to read the recipe on my iPhone I missed those steps), they turned out  nicely.  They were light and fluffy and quite delicious if I do say so myself.  All that was missing was the devonshire cream and jam ... and hot cup of my favorite tea.  Come Tuesday I'll make them a little smaller so to get more from the recipe and I'll remember the steps correctly!

For those of you ladies from the church reading this... I hope you'll join us Tuesday, Nov 30 @ 7:15pm at the church.  We'd love to have you there to celebrate with us.

They really were the World's Best Scones... 
or at least the best ones I've ever made

Sex and the City Cupcakes

A friend was over yesterday and I was helping her decorate cupcakes for her twin sister's "Sex and the City" themed Bachelorette Party this weekend.  She had premade the cupcakes so after a quick bite of lunch we were able to quickly get to the decorating.

Not sure what we'd do, I decided to make a template that we could use to trace around on the hot pink fondant I had left over from my Great-Niece's graduation party.  (I love that it stays good for a year!)  Using a picture of a high heel cookie cutter, I freehand drew a shoe onto cardboard while Julie rolled out the fondant and cut out the shoes while I made the buttercream frosting.

After a quick lesson on using the piping bag I let Julie decorate the cupcakes so she could say with all honesty that she made these cupcakes!  Didn't she do great?!

Sex and the City Cupcakes

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby Shower Cookies - Take Two

Once again I offered to take sugar cookies to a baby shower, but this time it was for my newest Great-nephew, Baby Elijah.  You know how they say, "Practice Makes Perfect"?  Well, I'm thinking they were on to something.  Now my second attempt at making fancy cookies like the amazing creations I see online weren't anywhere near "perfect", but by tweaking the icing recipe a bit, they were one step closer than my first attempt.

What I did differently this time was a) added corn syrup to the Royal icing recipe (it's supposed to make it shine) and b) (I think this is super important)... I sifted the powdered sugar.  I didn't have a sifter when I started, so I used this little plastic sieve about the size of a 1/4 cup measuring cup and over an hour, gently tried to sift 3-1/2 cups of powdered sugar.  My Hubby picked me up a sifter while he was out that morning but not before I had wrestled my way through the hard way.

Sifting the powdered sugar made a huge difference to the texture of the icing.  It seemed to have a nicer glean and consistency, but if truth be told, it still didn't look like the cookies in the pictures online.  I guess more practice is in the future to "perfect" this even more!   And I still can't seem to get the right consistency to "flood" fill with the icing after they are first piped.  Hmm.  Better luck next time I'm thinking!

Anyways... here is the final product from my Baby Shower cookies ~ take 2!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Old Faithful ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't know about you, but when I am in a pinch to take something for "snack" to an event or just need a little "comfort food", one of the first recipes I go to is the old faithful, Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the back of the Chipits or Tollhouse chocolate chip bag.

This recipe, for those who normally "cheat" with the Pillsbury Dough Boy, is super easy and quick.  Late yesterday afternoon before our church evening Ladies' group, I realized I had forgotten to touch base with the person on the list for bringing a snack.  Instead of running to the grocery store on my way to the Bible Study, I just whipped up a batch of these cookies and voila...

Afterwards, one of the ladies asked me how I get my cookies so crispy yet gooey inside and honestly, I think it is in how I mix them.  What I find works best for me is using my hand mixer and not my larger mix-master.  I don't know why the difference, but there definitely is one in the consistency of the cookies.  

My other "trick" is knowing my oven and then under-baking the cookies, watching for the light golden brown color to start to show.  I often get rave reviews on my chocolate chip cookies and without sounding too proud, I like mine pretty much the best of any I've tasted.  

For those who don't know the recipe I'm talking about, let me give it to you and walk you through how I make these cookies:

Original Chipits Cookies

1.  First I cream 1 cup of Crisco shortening with my hand mixer in a large mixing bowl.
2.  I then add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar.  Blend.  Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar.  Blend.
3.  Next I grab my 2 eggs and blend those, and 2 tsp vanilla and blend again.  The key is blending well after each ingredient is added... not just plopping them all in and blending at once.
4.  Next, I take 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt and gradually blend them into the bowl, still using the hand mixer.
5.  Laying the mixer aside, I hand stir 1 cup of flour into the bowl, making sure to get all the flour from the edges of the bowl and stir it well.
6.  Lastly I add 300g or 1-1/3 cups of chocolate chips (and you can add 1 cup chopped nuts if sometimes you feel like a nut ... or two) and stir them into the mixture well.
7.  Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets, small spoonfuls of cookie dough and bake at 375F for... the recipe calls for 10-12 minutes but my oven runs hot so I usually only put 5 minutes on my timer so gauge the time according to how your oven normally runs.  Depending on the size of your cookies this recipe can make up to 6 dozen cookies... but I never usually get that many.
8.  Cool cookies on wired rack and then enjoy while still warm with a cup of tea or a glass of nice cold milk!

Remember  you'll want to watch the cookies carefully for the golden brown color to begin around the edges and tops and then grab them out quickly.  Last night my first two batches were perfect but the last two pans burned on the bottoms a little.  Not sure if it was my darker pans or my not watching them closely.

Enjoy this old standard and don't forget to share them with someone!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dessert, Anyone?

I woke up this morning with the anticipation of one of my nephews coming to join us for dinner.  Thinking to myself, "Self... what would make him feel really special?" I remembered what he'd told me on one of his last few visits.  That visit I had wanted to surprise him with his favorite pie, only to realize that cherry is not only NOT his favorite, but one he doesn't like at all.  Oops!  So in light of that faux pas, today became "Favorite Pie ~ Take Two" and hopefully tonight it will be a big hit.

Now I realize that technically pie is not a cookie, cake or cupcake, but Oh My since it's my site I can bake and blog whatever I want. This recipe is super easy and fully "manufactured" thanks to the Crisco and Dr. Oetker products I used to make... Lemon Meringue Pie.  If you've never made a lemon meringue pie before, don't be intimated.  It's much easier than you might think.

I always make my own pastry which is where my favorite pie-making ingredient (besides Cake and Pastry flour) comes into play.  

My paternal Grandma was a fabulous piemaker and she swore by Crisco so that is what I've always used.  Tradition or habit?  Whose to know after all this time!  Making pastry is fairly easy with practice but I often find the most difficult part is putting it into the pie plate without it breaking apart.  Sometimes I'll lay the ball of pastry between two sheets of plastic wrap to roll out.  This makes transfer very simple, but today I just rolled out my pie shell on my handy Tupperware rolling mat.  Do you have one of these?  If not you really must.  I use it to roll and cut my cookies and  pie dough.  My Mom had one when I was growing up and it's one of the few Tupperware musts I own!  Here's what it looks like:

Once my pie shell was baked (following the directions on the Crisco box) I let it cool.  Hours later I followed directions on my box of Dr. Oetker's Shirriff Lemon Pie Filling before pouring it into the cooled shell.

Again, I let the pie cool on the counter before making the meringue with the leftover egg whites (the egg yolks are in the lemon pie filling) and sugar.  Once it nicely baked in the 350F oven it came out looking like this:

Dessert Anyone?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

My friend asked if I'd bring some Oatmeal Raisin cookies to her hubby's surprise 40th birthday party tomorrow and so I pulled out my old standby recipe.  These aren't "fancy" like my other creations so far, but boy are these good!  They are super easy and absolutely delicious.

I got this recipe from a friend at church years ago and although I don't see her very often (she goes to a different congregation at a different location), I think fondly of her every time I make these.  Since my Hubby doesn't like raisins, I alter the recipe using Ocean Spray "Craisins".  He'll eat them this way!  Here's the recipe:


3/4 cup Crisco
1-1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cup Quick Rolled Oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins (or cranraisins... or whatever variation of dried fruit you want)
1 cup nuts (optional)


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease baking sheets.

Combine Crisco, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed until well blended.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until just blended.  Stir in raisins/cranraisins, etc and nuts.

Drop rounded TBSPs full of dough 2" apart onto baking sheet.  Bake at 375F for approx 10 mins (depending on how your oven runs) or until lightly browned.

Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet then remove to foil.  (The longer you wait to transfer, the harder they stick and the greater the chance of them breaking or crumbling)

Makes 2 -1/2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"It's A Boy" Baby Shower Cookies

Our church secretary is expecting a baby and I offered to bring cookies to the baby shower a few weeks ago.  Once again I pulled out Mom's Sugar Cookie Recipe and began baking.  I made the cookies in advance and let them cool completely before I began icing them the following day.

I had found some GORGEOUS cookies online that I wanted to use as my inspiration as I googled "baby shower cookies".  I had borrowed my niece's Baby Accessories Cookie Cutter Set and wanted to give them a little more "wow" factor than just plain glaze icing.

I thought at first about icing them using Royal Icing, but then decided I didn't want them to be too hard to bite into.  Instead, I chose my glaze icing recipe I'd used on the Thanksgiving Blessing cookies a few weeks prior and my Step-mom and I spent a few hours icing the cookies using 6 different pastel colors.

We let the cookies sit for a few hours before I went back to my batch of Royal Icing I'd made, and adding tiny amounts of water at a time, I was finally able to get the Royal Icing to a consistency I could use to pipe the outlines of the cookies to give them a little more "zing".  These were my first attempt at detailing the cookies and they didn't turn out exactly as I'd planned, but in hindsight they were satisfactory looking, and delicious to eat.

Mom's Sugar Cookie Recipe

Since my Mom passed away in 2003, one of the treasures that keeps her memory alive is her delicious Sugar Cookie recipe.  Each Christmas Mom would pull this one out of the cookbook and prepare yummy sugary treats glowing in red and green crystal sugar baked on top.  It's a super easy recipe and since Sugar Cookies aren't just for Christmas anymore, this is a recipe I use often.  Here it is for you to enjoy too:


2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP milk


Cream shortening and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add in sifted dry ingredients and then milk.  You may choose once it's mixed to put it in the fridge to 30 mins to harden or you can do what I do and use it right away but make sure you have flour on hand to prevent it from sticking to the counter and rolling pin.

Roll the dough out until just less than 1/4" thick and cut into shapes.  You may sprinkle them with colored sugar at this point, or leave them plain if you want to ice/glaze them later.

Bake at 375 degrees on lightly greased cookie sheets for 5-10 minutes (depending on how hot your oven runs - mine tends to run hot so my cookies are in for less than 5 minutes).  You'll know they are done when the bottom edges begin to turn golden brown.  Watch them carefully so they don't burn!!

Thanksgiving Blessing Cookies

In Canada, Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October.  The weekend prior to Thanksgiving I was in Michigan with one of my online girlfriends, at the huge Bronner's Christmas store in Frankenmuth, where I found a large maple leaf cookie cutter.  This year, along with my homemade pumpkin pie, I decided to make some Thanksgiving cookies for Hubby's family feast with the new cookie cutter.

I started with my Mom's classic Sugar Cookie recipe.  After the cookies were completely cooled, I made a Glaze Icing using:

2 cups icing sugar,
2-3 TBSP milk,
1/4 tsp extract

(I used almond for one batch, maple for another and vanilla for a third).  I split the icing batches into different bowls for different colors and flavors.  I then added food coloring to each bowl to get my autumn colors:  orange, red, yellow, green and brown.

Once the cookies had been glazed and left to harden for quite a while, I then took a food coloring marker to write on each cookie.  The ones in the top picture are the Thanksgiving Blessings I wrote on the general cookie plate,

 but I also took some of the cookies and made place setting "cards" for each dinner plate at the table:

Since making these cookies, I've picked up a new set of leaf cookie cutters at Golda's Kitchen which I can't wait until next Fall to create an entire "forest" of fallen leaves to accent my Thanksgiving Blessing cookies and name cards.

Pass the Buttered Popcorn, Please!

When thinking of a fun dessert to take to a friend's going away party, I decided to pull out my favorite cupcake books, Hello Cupcake and What's New Cupcake.  I decided on the Buttered Popcorn design for it's quick and easy recipe.

I first baked a pan of mini cupcakes inside mini cup-cake cups.  Once cooled, I frosted them with buttercream icing.  The "popcorn" pieces were then cut and assembled on top.  Each popcorn piece consists of a mix of white mini marshmallows and the yellow mini marshmallows found in the bag of colored marshmallows.  Some marshmallows are cut into thirds with 2 of the cut pieces being "glued" with icing to a single whole marshmallow. They are set on a cookie sheet to harden a bit before being placed carefully on top of the mini cupcake.  Here's a close up look:

I found the red and white popcorn bags at the bulk food store and filled them 3/4 of the way with tissue paper.  I then gently placed the cupcakes inside the bag and very carefully transported them to the party.

These are a fun treat that would work well for a kid's sleepover party or movie night.  They are quick and easy to make and delicious to boot!

Finished product!

Happy Birthday Stars!

My very first foray into making a Birthday cake was this past July when I offered to make the cake for my Hubby and his twin sister at our family birthday party.  My Mom had been a fabulous cake decorator and I had watched her many times in my youth, but I had never taken it upon myself to learn.  With the help of my niece (who did sit at her Grandma's right arm watching and learning dutifully), I was able to make a beautiful cake that was enjoyed by Hubby and his family.

I used a normal Betty Crocker cake mix (French Vanilla I believe if memory serves) and baked 2- 9" round cakes.  Once they cooled completely, my niece showed me how to skim the top off the one to make a flat base for the second cake to sit in.  She then frosted the outside of the cake while I prepared my colors for the decorating.

I used Wilton food colorings:  Cornflower Blue, Buttercup Yellow, Juniper Green and Aster Mauve as well as the white Buttercream.  The main layer of icing was just spread on with the metal spatuala, while the decorating was piped on using a Star tip.  I outlined the Star shaped designs with a cookie cutter gently pressed onto the icing and then outlined with the star-tipped piping bag before filling in with stars.  The names were later piped on using a straight tip #2 (or 3... I can't remember now).

Here is my finished product.  My one little "flaw" to the cake is that the layers slipped some, but it didn't affect the taste one little bit!

Pomp and Circumstance

My next creation was a request I had from my niece for her daughter's high school graduation party.  My great-niece desired cupcakes co-ordinating with her color scheme of  hot pink and black.  I racked my brain for weeks, googled graduation ideas ad nauseam and finally came up with my own creation:

I had found some Wilton graduation cupcake cups and made a french vanilla cupcake from mix.  I then made a buttercream frosting which I piped onto the cooled cupcakes using different tips.  The grad caps were a bit tricky.  I had found some white chocolate hot pink fondant at my new favorite store in my City, Golda's Kitchen, which you can order online from as well as visit in person (if you're fortunate enough to live nearby like I do!).  I'm not a big fan of fondant usually, but this white chocolate fondant is not only easy to work with, but it's actually quite yummy as well.  

I'd never used fondant before so I was a bit intimated at first but it was very easy.  I rolled out some fondant after first working it to pliable consistency with my gloved hands.  I then cut it into strips to make the square bases of the caps.  I turned them upside down and then made the bases (that part where the hat would sit on one's head).  Next I let them harden in the fridge for an hour or so before going on to the next step. Meanwhile I took strings of black shoelace licorce and cut one end into 3 distinct lines to make the "fray" of the tassles, which once the bases were stiff, I placed on the flat tops of the caps and covered with a round "dot" of fondant.  I placed them back in the fridge to keep hard until it was time to place them on the cupcakes the day of delivery.

Grad cupcakes on display at the Party

Mums The Word

Last May, friends invited us for dinner and had asked us to bring dessert.  I had just picked up a copy of What's New, Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  If you have never had a chance to peek inside this book, or it's predecessor, Hello, Cupcake, you don't know what you've been missing!  These books contain some of the cutest cupcakes you've ever seen.  They're on sale at Amazon right now so grab your copy today!!

For my first foray into baking fancy cupcakes, I chose these gorgeous flower cupcakes.

These were super easy to make, although they were time consuming.  The flower petals are made of mini marshmallows, dipped in colored sugar.  The stamins are "good & plenty" licorce candies although I've since seen on line that others have used other candy (Smarties, M&M, Skittles) to put in the center.  The stems of the flowers are green licorce.

It was fun to watch our hosts eat their cupcakes.  Some would pull off each  "petal" one by one, while others, like myself would cut a slice of the cupcake to enjoy the entire combination on my taste-buds at once.

These are a great idea for a Spring shower, Mother's Day or any other fun Spring/Summer get-together.

Welcome to Cookies, Cakes and Cupcakes... Oh My!

Welcome and thanks for visiting my new blog, Cookies, Cakes and Cupcakes... Oh My!

This is my little piece of the web where I'll be sharing the latest creations from my kitchen.  I am learning to love to bake and create fancy, delicious treats, both for my family and my friends.  One day I dream of perhaps starting my own bakery or small business with these delectable treats.

In the meantime, I'll be posting pics and sometimes recipes of my latest creations, as well as other tips or cool utensils, sites or shops I find along the way.

Enjoy and come back again soon!