dinsdag 15 april 2014

A Virtual Baby Shower!


One of the things I love most about the internet is the fact that you get to 'meet' people from all over the world sitting behind your computer.

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to 'meet' a lot of fellow cookie decorators and even though I never had the chance to meet one of them in person, I really feel like I am part of a very special 'Cookie Community'.

I was surprised and honoured when I was invited to my very first 'Virtual baby Shower' for Sugarbelle and Lila Loa a while ago by Michelle (Make Me Cake Me), Mike (Semi Sweet) and Haniela (Haniela's).

The theme of this shower is 'Her Royal Highness' and even though I really tried coming up with something fit for a Princess (or actually two Princesses...) I somehow ended up with a family of Gingerbread Cookie Bakers.
This always happens when I don't have a plan...



Just to show you what a little make-up can do, here's how they looked before their make-over...

Luckily there where 14 other very talented guests invited to this party and they came up with some really amazing Royal Cookies.
Enjoy!


1. Sweet Ambs
2. Jill FCS
3. The Decorated Cookie
4. Klickitat Street
5. Semi Sweet
6. Simply Sweets by Honey Bee
7. Make Me Cake Me
8. Haniela's
9. Montreal Confections
10. The Partiologist
11. Munchkin Munchies
12. The Cookie Puzzle
13. De-Koekenbakkers
14. Chapix Cookies
15.Ali Bee's Bakeshop


Thank you Michelle, Mike and Haniela for inviting me and congratulations to Callye, Georganne and their families with the birth of their baby girls!!



woensdag 15 mei 2013

Cookies are a girl's best friend!


Before I start sharing cookie decorating tutorials I first want to finish a blog post about Royal Icing but since English is not my native language (as you probably noticed) it's taking me a little longer than expected...

In the mean time I'll share a short tutorial from my cookie book. 

I love baking cookies with my kids and am always looking 
for new ideas to let them have some fun playing with their food.
 When my daughter Rosalie turned four last year, this is what we did on her birthday party.

Maybe a fun idea to spend an afternoon baking cookies with your kids or grandkids this weekend?  


Making a cookie necklace with coloured dough beads


*Colour the dough by kneading in some food colouring.
I used 100% natural food colouring from Vrouwtje Deeg.

(You can find the recipe I used for these cookies HERE)




*Roll the dough extra thick (1 cm = 0,4 inch) and cut out lots of different shapes of cookie-beads using mini cutters and make a hole in every cookie with a straw. For the medaillions you could roll the dough a little thinner (5 mm. = 0,2 inch) and cut some bigger shapes like hearts or flowers.




*Bake the cookie-beads just like normal cookies 
only a little shorter (because they are so small).




*Use a ribbon or candy lace to make a necklace with the cookie-beads. You could also add extra candy beads.




Making a cookie necklace is a really fun thing to do on a kids birthday party and it also makes for a great birthday treat or gift for little girls.


** Rosalie happy! **




Cookie Jewelry

Just for fun & inspiration here are some cookies I made a while ago. These are more 'grown-up' versions of cookie jewelry that involve royal icing and a lots of edible glitters so I will talk about these some other time.






Have a wonderful weekend!

maandag 13 mei 2013

The perfect cookie

What better way to start of a blog about cookie decorating than to share my favourite cookie recipe?

Of course there is no such thing as the perfect cookie because taste differs from person to person but when it comes to cookies suitable for decoration I think this recipe comes really close...



Warning!
This recipe is adapted to the 'European' taste and will result in a crispy and crunchy cookie. When I first started decorating cookies I tried a lot of 'traditional' sugar cookie recipes and I soon found out these sweet and often soft & chewy cookies are not very popular overhere.  
We like our cookies CRISPY and CRUNCHY!

The biggest advantage of this recipe is that because these cookies are baked untill they are crispy they don't contain any moist. This means they can be stored for up to three months in an air-tight container (or bag) and still taste just as good!

Tough Cookie!
On top of that, these cookies don't break easily because they are very firm and sturdy so they are perfect for shipping or building things like 3D cookies and houses. 



Ingredients

- 250 gr. unsalted butter
- 150 gr. confectioner's sugar
- 1 large egg
- 450 gr. pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- flavor (see below)

Coversion chart HERE


1. Cream butter (on roomtemperature) and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachement on low speed.


* Don't mix too long or you will get too much air in your dough which causes the dough to spread and form bubbles while baking. 


2. Add egg (on roomtemperature)  and flavor and mix briefly.

3. Add the pastry flour and salt and mix untill completely incorporated. 

* Again, don't mix too long because the cookies will become tough. 
* If you cannot find pastry flour then use all-purpose flour.

* Don't skip the salt! Salt really brings out the flavor.

* Using confectioner's (or powdered) sugar will prefend spread and result in a finer texture of the dough and sharper edges on your cookies.

* If the dough is still sticky, add a little more flour.
If the dough is too dry, add a little more butter or egg untill you have a coherent dough.


4. Form the dough in a flat disk (1-2 cm thick), wrap in cling film and chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

* If you are in a hurry, you can also chill the dough for 
15 minutes in the freezer


5. Roll the dough between two peaces of parchment paper using wooden slats or perfection strips to make sure your cookies will all be the same thickness. I prefer my cookies to be 5 mm. thick (=0,2 inch).

* Don't use any flour when rolling the dough because the extra flour can make your cookies dry or tough and when the flour sticks to your cookies even a very small amount can cause stains in your royal icing decorations later on.

* If the dough gets too sticky to roll, chill it for a few minutes in the freezer before you go on.

6. Cut out the cookies shapes and place them on parchment paper lined baking sheets.

* The baking time of your cookies will depend on the size. The cookie dough will bake from the outside inwards and the larger the cookie, the longer it will take to bake all the way to the middle. To make sure small cookies don't get dark brown edges put cookies of approx. the same size together on a baking sheet.


7. Preheat the oven at 160°C
(= 320°F).


8. Start baking the cookies for 10 minutes at 160°C (=320°F). After 10 minutes the shape of your cookies is set and now you can ajust the oven temperature and additional baking time to the size of your cookies:

small cookies: 10 min. at 160°C and then another 10-15 minutes at 150°C

- medium cookies: 10 minutes at 160°C and then another 20-25 minutes at 140°C

- large cookies: 10 minutes at 160°C and then another 30-40 minutes at 130°C

Coversion chart HERE

* Buy an oven thermometer to make sure your oven operates at the right temerature.

* The cookies are ready when they feel firm to the touch (also in the middle!) and have developed an even golden brown color.

* If you have air bubbles on your cookies you can use a cake smoother and gently press the bubbles down when the cookies are just out of the oven and still hot (!!) and soft.

9. Let the cookies cool completely on a rack and then store them in an airtight container untill you are ready to decorate (or eat) them.


Vanilla cookies
add two teaspoons
of vanilla extract

or the seeds of one
vanilla pod
Chocolate cookies
replace 50 gr.
of flour with
50 gr. of
cacao powder

Cinnamon cookies
add one tablespoon
of cinnamon




I hope you will enjoy my recipe as much as I do
and bake lots and lots of delicious & beautiful cookies with it.

Happy Baking!