April 27, 2012

The Great Blotchy Royal Icing Mystery

******** Feb 5, 2014 UPDATE *********

Hey all, just wanted to give you a quick update on this complete PITA of a royal icing problem.  

I recently decided to give Americolor meringue powder a try because I read that it doesn't separate as readily as some other brands.  Within about 12 hours of flooding, all of my darker icing colors were starting to get blotchy at the edges.  ACK!

This is a problem that I haven't experienced since I switched to Henry and Henry meringue powder in 2012.  I will definitely be going back!  This solidifies in my mind that this problem (at least for me) is meringue powder based.  I can't wait for my H&H to arrive tomorrow!



Has this ever happened to you?

You finish flooding your cookies late at night.  You go to bed with visions of the beautiful cookies you're going to decorate tomorrow.  Only to come downstairs in the morning and see this:

GASP!!!  Your icing has turned some sort of funky darker color at the edges!?!

After pulling out your hair and shedding a few tears, you realize you don't have time to make a whole other batch of cookies, flood them, let them dry for 8 hours, and then decorate them.  You HAVE to make this work...

Well, I have good news.  You can fix this.

Believe me, after struggling with blotches on my royal icing for the past year, I've had to develop some strategies.

The best thing to do, if you don't mind your icing turning just a little bit darker than you originally intended, is to turn your oven light on, and put your blotchy flooded cookies in the oven so they stay just barely warm.

Leave them there for several hours or overnight and they will all convert into the darker color (they usually eventually do this anyway, but this speeds up the process if you're in a hurry).

See?  These are the same exact cookies, before and after about 8 hours in a warm oven:

Lots of blotches

All gone!
So, you're probably thinking to yourself, well that's great and all, but how do I prevent the blotches to begin with?!

Excellent question.  Keep reading (stick with me...this is a long post)

April 24, 2012

Spring Fling 2012

Spring Fling 2012

This past weekend, I was able to attend the first ever Cookiers Spring Fling in Louisville, Kentucky!  Spring Fling was a "cookie convention" that brought together lots of women from all over the US and Canada to talk about decorating cookies, types of icing, new techniques and tools, where to find inspiration, how to arrange and photograph cookies....pretty much anything that you can think of related to cookies (including how to stay sane when it's 3am and you're trying to get an order out the door!).

May and Kay from Cookie Two Shoes

May and Kay from Cookie Two Shoes worked so hard to get everything ready for us.  After preparing something like 60 DOZEN cookies and over 290 pounds of icing, coordinating with sponsors, printing brochures, and coordinating travel plans for 64 cookiers, I can't believe they could still stand up by the time we got there!  But they were the most energetic and fun MC's that an event like this could possibly have.  Talk about southern hospitality!

They also arranged for some of the BEST instructors to come and share their cookie wisdom with us.  Here are all of our fearless leaders: (from left to right) Karen from Karen's Cookies, Ali from Ali Bee's Bake Shop, Maryann the Cookie Artisan, Glory from Glorious Treats, Pam from Cookie Crazie, and Callye from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

If you aren't familiar with these ladies work, you need to go check out their sites.  Seriously.  Do it now.  And then go order your cookie supplies from KarensCookies.net!

It was so exciting to meet them in person after watching their cookies on Flickr for years and reading their blogs every day.  Someone compared it to learning about football from Peyton Manning, and I think that was a pretty accurate analogy!

Here's Cookie Crazie Pam in action, talking about her glaze icing:

I can't even begin to describe how much fun I had with all of the other ladies at cookie camp.  When you get that many women together who love cookies, it's hard to get us to shut up.  Just ask "Red Rover" Kay.  We couldn't contain our excitement!

We all brought cookies for the Kentucky theme and voted for our favorites.  Mine were the Woodford Reserve bottle and Kentucky Derby horse.

Spring Fling cookies

The winning cookies were the ones next to mine with the adorable blackberry plaque and jar by Jackie from The Cookie Corner.  She is so talented, and she even brought her own burlap prop!  And how cool is that KFC cookie in the back by Alyson from Corner House Cookies?!

Maryann is amazing at creating cookie platters, and she graciously agreed to arrange all of our cookies for us.  Look at all of this talent!

Spring Fling Kentucky cookies

Spring Fling Kentucky cookies

Spring Fling Kentucky cookies

Spring Fling Kentucky cookies

And it wasn't all about the cookies either.  We got to take a tour of Churchill Downs where they're busy preparing for the Kentucky Derby!  We learned about all of the superstitious idiosyncrasies of the jockeys (a hot tub from the 1950s?!) and got to check out Millionaire's row.

Maryann and Glory out of the gates!
I'm so happy to have met so many wonderful cookie friends this weekend!  It's nice to know that you're not the only one who's crazy about cookies :)

I'm so sad about the shadows in this picture. Sorry but it's the only one I had!

I didn't know my roommate Cynthia before the event but I couldn't have asked for a better one!  We had a blast together, hitching rides all weekend and meeting new people.  She raises sheep in Nevada and her cookie name is Cookies for "Ewe" - love it!  And check out the beautiful location we were in for cookie camp!

Keep in touch ladies and don't forget to share those pictures!

For anyone who is interested in attending another event, May and Kay have said that they are actually crazy enough to host another one!  Keep an eye on CookieTwoShoes.com for more information about a Fall Fling!

April 18, 2012

Brush Embroidery Shower Favors

As you might imagine, I'm typically responsible for providing the favors for any parties that my family hosts these days!  So, these were the cookies that I made for a bridal shower that my Mom hosted a few weeks ago:

I included the bride's first initial "N" in Edwardian Script (using my KopyKake projector ) accented with a brush embroidered flower in her wedding colors.  Don't worry if you don't have a projector, you can get the same result by tracing the letters and make royal icing transfers.

I've gotten so much inspiration from Ali Bee lately, first with these ruffle cookies, and now with brush embroidery!  I've been wanting to try this technique for a while and thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

bridal shower brush embroidery cookies

Overall I thought it was fun to do and I was happy with my first attempt.  I can't wait to get more practice this weekend at Spring Fling with the master herself!!

April 16, 2012

Skyrim cookies

Anybody recognize these cookies?

skyrim cookies

Even if you aren't a gamer, you probably recognize the center logo from all of the video game commercials.  These are Skyrim cookies.  The center is the game logo, and the viking masks are one of the more recognizable images from the game.

Here's the full collection of cookies:

skyrim cookies 2

The package included the Skyrim dragon logo and 3 of the masks that the characters wear in the game.  My husband loves this game, and I'm sure he could get all technical and tell you exactly what each of them are and who wears them and what they do.  But umm...he's sleeping right now, so you'll have to be satisfied with my rudimentary explanation :)  My video game skills never really evolved beyond Super Nintendo.  

These cookies were a birthday gift and were sent along with 1 additional "Happy Birthday" cookie:

skyrim birthday cookies

These were a lot of fun to make and I hope they enjoyed the cookies!

April 13, 2012

Veterinary Thank You Cookies

paw print and dog bone cookies

These paw print and dog bone cookies were ordered as a thank you gift for a veterinary practice.  I was given free reign to do what I wanted with the color scheme, so I decided to add some bright colors to the dog bones.  I don't know if you've heard, but neon is totally in right now.  At least that's what Vogue magazine told me while I was getting my hair done last week.  And they're never wrong...right?  Anyway, I hope they're right, but I'm really loving the neon lettering on these dog bones!

I had a complete head smacking "aha" moment while I was making these cookies.  I've never really loved my handwriting, and I've always found it challenging to get my writing straight and evenly spaced when I write on cookies.  And then I realized...I have a KopyKake!  Duh!!!  Why am I not using it all the time when I need to write on cookies?!?  I'm sure this seems so stupid to you, because well, you're right.  It was completely stupid that I didn't think of this before!  So anyway, after I finished Miley's tiara cookies and all of her names were nice and straight and consistent, I decided to do the same thing for my thank you cookies.  This font is Bradley Hand, and I LOVE it!  Ah, it's the little things in life, right?

Dog bone thank you cookies

April 11, 2012

Princess Themed Birthday Party

tiara cookies

Happy birthday Miley!  These cookies were ordered for a princess-themed birthday party.  The request was for pink tiaras with the birthday girl's name in silver.  I used my KopyKake projector to trace Miley's name in Chopin Script font.  I think this might be my new go to scripty font!

It's hard to tell in the picture, but I did all of the lettering and details in gray icing and then painted them with silver luster dust.  For a great tutorial on how to use luster dust, check out Bake at 350's post here.
Every time I decide to paint with luster dust, I forget how long it takes!  Oh well, I think they turned out really cute.  Hopefully the sparkle was worth the extra effort!

April 9, 2012

Outdoorsy Engagement Cookies

engagement party cookies

This super fun collection of cookies was created for an engagement party for an outdoorsy couple.  The request was for surfing and rock climbing themed cookies, along with some sapphire rings to match the bride-to-be's new engagement ring.  I absolutely adore the bright color scheme that was used for these cookies.

Rock climber cookies

I'm not gonna lie, I'm kind of in love with these rock climbers.  Maybe I'm biased because I really like rock climbing as well, but I really like how they turned out :)

Surfboard cookies

The surfboards I've done before, but they're still some of my favorite cookies.  The color scheme for the party was yellow and gray, so I used a lot of yellow throughout all of the cookies, and added some touches of gray to the surfboards.

Sapphire ring cookies

I've had this ring cookie cutter forever and finally used it for the first time for this order!  I used Wilton Silver Color Mist spray to give these cookies some shimmer.  One tip if you're using the spray- cut out a piece of paper to cover the inner circle of the ring before you spray.  That way only your ring will be sparkly, not the cookie in the center.

April 7, 2012

Lemon Glazed Cupcakes

Lemon cupcakes

Last weekend my Mom hosted a bridal shower for my future cousin-in-law (is that what your cousin's wife is called?  I don't know, but that's what I'm going with!).  She did an awesome job planning the party and I was able to help out with a few of the hors d'oeuvres and desserts.  I love experimenting with new recipes and I'm excited to share some of them with you over the next couple of weeks.

These lemon cupcakes were one of those recipes and they turned out to be a huge hit at the shower.  The cake recipe is from a family friend.  The addition of instant lemon pudding and a lemon glaze after baking makes it a super moist cake with tons of lemony flavor.  The frosting was based on a vanilla buttercream recipe, but lemon juice was substituted for milk and the addition of lemon zest really punched up the flavor.  This was pretty much improvised as we went along, but it turned out great and I tried to capture everything in the recipe below as accurately as possible!  

If you like citrus desserts, you'll love these.  And they're perfect for Easter if you're still planning your menu!

April 3, 2012

Easter Eggs

Can you believe Easter is this weekend?!  These holidays seem to be sneaking up on me lately.
Easter cookies need to be ordered by TODAY, April 3 to ensure shipping in time for Easter!

These personalized Easter eggs are perfect for your neighborhood Easter egg hunt, for your kids to bring into school for their classmates, or even as place settings for your Easter dinner table.  And now they're available on sticks!

Doesn't everything just look cuter on a stick?


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