Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Happy Sunflower Cookies

I think I may have mentioned quite a few times that I love sunflowers! They make such a presence with their size and cheerfulness that you just have to take notice. They make me happy. :) I don't have much of a green thumb, but I can grow sunflowers.
One year my son and I had such a fun time watching one of out giant sunflowers growing. It was so tall that we needed a ladder to get a good look at it. :)
Our sunflower garden from the past and my cookie inspiration. I really need to plant some ASAP!
One happy sunflower with its face turned toward the sun, of course.
A cookie sunflower garden. 
I made a couple of bigger sunflowers too.
One more for good measure.

Happy Sunflower Cookies
Ingredients:
Sugar cookie dough
Royal icing
Chocolate brown AmeriColor food gel
Sky blue AmeriColor food gel
Leaf green AmeriColor food gel
Gold AmeriColor food gel
Black Foodoodler food coloring marker
Brown Foodoodler food coloring marker
Wilton leaf tip #67
Wilton tip #3
Small round cutter
"Tall" cookie cutter (Mine is 4.5-inches by 2-inches from Whisked Away Cutters)
Directions:
1. Bake cookies according to recipe.
2. Make royal icing according to recipe.
3. Divide royal into four parts, tinting one part blue, one part yellow (gold), one part green and one part brown.
4. Outline and fill the entire cookie with the blue royal icing (#3 tip), and allow it to dry completely.
5. Use a small round cutter and brown food marker to trace a circle for the sunflower.
6. Outline and fill in the brown circles with the brown royal icing and a #3 tip. Let dry for about 30 minutes.
7. Using the leaf tip, and a thicker yellow/gold royal icing, apply the petals around the brown center with the leaf tip (#67).
8. Use the green royal icing (and #3 tip) to make a stem on the flower, and a thicker green icing for the green leaves with the leaf tip.
9.  When the brown has completely dried, add the facial details with the black food marker.

HAVE FUN!



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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Elephant Cookies and Simply Perfect Party Cakes for Kids by Zoe Clark

A while ago I was invited to review the book, Simply Perfect Party Cakes for Kids by Zoe Clark, and was generously provided with the entire PDF file. Thanks so much!
From the get-go, I fell in love with the book; it's beautiful!
The author, Zoe Clark is an extraordinarily talented, internationally known, cake decorator/baker!  She was even commissioned to make the cake for The Queen of England's Diamond Jubilee celebration! How cool is that!?! :)
Zoe Clark has a shop in London which looks absolutely dreamy, The Cake Parlour.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend approached me about making some elephant cookies for a baby shower; she wanted some cute, whimsical elephants. Almost instantly I remembered this elephant on the cover of the book! It was used on a cake as a fondant decoration, and as a cookie. There was even a template included in the book.
I simply traced the template (adjusting it to the size I wanted) and transferred it to cardstock.  I then used the template, along with a small, sharp knife, and cut out the elephants from the sugar cookie dough. I made 30 elephants.
The colors for the shower were gray and cream. For the black details I used an AmeriColor food marker after the royal icing was completely dry. 
I packaged each cookie in a cellophane bag, tied with twine. 
When my friend picked them up she was super happy with the elephants.

Simply Perfect Party Cakes for Kids includes a dozen cakes (and some cupcakes and cookies) with detailed instructions and gorgeous photos.  I think next up for me will be the "Surf's Up" cake or the Dessert Treat cookies. 
There is definitely something to please everyone. 

Simply Perfect Cakes is simply perfect!

Zoe Clark has published many cookbooks, and besides the links at the top, can be found on facebook here and here.

Happy Baking!









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Sunday, April 12, 2015

12-Layer Sugar Cookie Cake

Ever since I laid eyes on Carrie Sellman's (The Cake Blog) spectacular 12-layer Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, I have wanted to make one of my own. Love her blog, by the way!
Well, March 30 was the 6th birthday of my blog, and I thought it was the perfect occasion for a 12-layer cookie cake! 
To celebrate Munchkin Munchies being around for six years, I figured a sprinkle laden, sugar cookie cake would be perfect!
Cookie Process
Top left: I used a #10 scoop for the cookie dough (looks like ice cream:)). and placed it on parchment.
Top right: Place parchment (not in photo) on top of the dough ball, and firmly press down (with your hands) and then outward rotating it around to make a circle. You can re-use the top piece of parchment on the other cookies.
Bottom left: Baked 7-inch cookie
Bottom right: Pale pink frosting for the filling.

Carrie's tutorial was so helpful and I followed it step-by-step. The process was a bit time-consuming since I could only fit two cookie sheets (one big cookie on each) in the oven at once, but I really enjoyed it. :) 
Tip: I rotated between four cookie sheets so that two had time to cool (while the other two baked) before I needed to use them again.
I love the look of this sprinkled, sugar cookie structure and the pink icing between the layers. 
 I was overly anxious to cut into it and started to slice it right away, but it started to crack and squish, (oh no!) before I remembered I was supposed to wait at least four hours before doing so!  So, I covered it and waited...
The next morning when I sliced into it, my expectations were definitely met!  
I couldn't resist adding the last bit of saved frosting* to the top of the cookie cake (which also covered the crack:)) and sprinkles...it's not everyday that your blog turns six!

*It was pure serendipity that when I was making this cookie cake, I discovered Sweetapolita's book in my mailbox. :)  I used her Vanilla Bakery Frosting recipe and it was perfectly delicious! I know Rosie's book is destined to become one of my favorites!
 I shared this wedge with my husband and we both loved it! The cookies were soft, with crunchy edges, and the creamy, tasty frosting complemented the cookies perfectly.
  
Quite a bit of  "WOW" factor!
Sprinkles make me happy.
Happy 6th birthday to Munchkin Munchies!
I look forward to trying this with other cookie/frosting combinations, though I think this one will be hard to beat!
Thanks Carrie for the fabulous and fun idea!

12-Layer Sugar Cookie Cake
1. Mix up sugar cookie dough (This recipe made a dozen cookies). Don't forget to add sprinkles!
2. Place a mound of cookie dough (I used a #10 scoop, 3-4 oz.) on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
3. Place another sheet of parchment on top of the cookie dough and use your hands to shape the dough into a circle about 1/4-inch thick.
(Try your best to make them all close to the same size; mine were 7-inches.  A few of my cookies turned out a little too big for my liking, so I trimmed them with a pizza cutter while they were still warm/soft.)
4. Remove the top sheet of parchment (use it with all the cookies) and bake the sugar cookies at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes, or until browning around the edges. 
(I baked two sheets at once in my oven and rotated them halfway through the baking process.)
5. Lift the parchment sheet with the baked cookie from the cookie sheet and move it to a cooling rack. Let cookie cool. Remove the cookie from the parchment and let it cool completely.
{Once all the cookies have cooled, it's time to frost and stack them}
7. I held each cookie in my hand while I used a small, offset spatula to spread a thin layer (tinted pink!) of the soft, creamy frosting around it, coming about a 1/2-inch from the edge. 
You may place the first cookie directly on the serving platter and frost it that way if you prefer.
{frosting recipe below} 
8. When all of the cookies are frosted and stacked, the cake needs to rest, covered, for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
9. Time for the payoff...slice it up (I used a serrated bread knife) and serve some happiness! 

Vanilla Bakery Frosting 
(from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, included with permission)
Ingredients:
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) high-ratio shortening (I only had Crisco on hand)
Pinch of salt
3 1/4 cups (410 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Directions:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and almond extract.
2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
3. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable.



Cheers to more years!

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