Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day... Cookie!

 Winter finally found us last night so I broke out the
butter and decided to spend today in the kitchen!
I rescued these daffodils from the yard this morning. Sure didn't
make you-know-who happy but with the chilly weather and temps
dipping below freezing tonight, I'm saving them from frostbite!
At least that's my story... And, I'm sticking to it!
Thank you for not judging me about the four new cake stands I picked up
this week! It's not my fault. Pottery Barn sent me a catalog and when I
saw the bunny dessert stands, I couldn't resist. As for the two you
see in the photo below... All I can say is that I couldn't fight Martha
off at Macy*s last night. Martha needs me... What can I say?
When I posted photos of my cookies to my Facebook page, I was
immediately asked about thickness. I get that question a lot and I
answered it in this post here. But I'm happy to show you again!
Always just over a quarter inch!
And, I use vanilla paste instead of liquid extract for the
added depth and warmer vanilla flavor it provides. I also like
the little specks of vanilla beans that show up in the dough!
Oh, and vanilla paste amps up the smell
of cookies baking in your kitchen too!
All very valid reasons to throw your old extract over for this vanilla paste!
Now that all my hearts are baked, it's time for icing!
Let's mix up some Royal icing!
4 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of Wilton
meringue powder and 6 tablespoons of warm water!
1 tsp. extract of your choice, (clear if you're not coloring) and you'll
get Perfect every time! Finish with Americolor gel coloring
from our dear friends at, and...
Spin it!
Your color will darken as it dries, so keep that in mind when...
The red you want looks a little...
Trust me...
It gets better!
And, you will be happy!
Very Happy!
I cannot believe that Valentine's Day is just around the corner!
I have always loved Valentine's Day. But especially the one
twenty-one years ago when I was discharged from CHOMP!
Because that Valentine's Day was the day
the Ranger first met his baby brother!
Sometimes it feels like yesterday, and some days it feels like a lifetime ago...
Happy 21st birthday!
Love, Mom


  1. Silly question, but I'm not well-versed in Royal icing and want to try it: Do you flood the cookies with the same icing you outline the cookies with? Is that raw sugar on top?
    Also, King Arthur Flour makes a Princess flavoring emulsion that is so wonderful for cakes, cookies, and frostings. It's a citrusy vanilla that makes everything taste like it came straight from the bakery, plus you get the flecks, as well! :) It's wonderful.

    My younger son turns 21 in June; something else in common, Janet!

  2. First of all, Nancy, happy birthday to your son and congratulations to you and your husband!

    Secondly, I've just popped over to your blog. Thank you for your kind words about me/the cookies there!

    But really... There is no magic, no secrets and best of all, YOU can do it! I stumbled onto cookie decorating a few years ago at a blog I read (and never miss!), "Bake at 350" written by the most helpful, most wonderful woman you could ever hope to know, Bridget Edwards (watch for her book coming out later this year!) Anyway, my "talent" if you want to call it that, was born of following Bridget's recipe and decorating tips and then adding in my own ideas to make the work my own. I have put together what I call my cookie recipe and tips (for decorating) sheet, complete with photos. If you would like me to send it to you, please send your e-mail address to:

    The sugar on my cookies is called, "sanding sugar" and is sold wherever you find sprinkles. I have it in every color. What I used on these hearts is actually Christmas red - I bought out (50 bottles) the clearance on it after Christmas! Same with the green I have stockpiled - it was put out at Christmas but it'll work fine for shamrocks at St. Patrick's day and cookies I make for Easter too! It doesn't expire - as long as it is kept in a cool, dark place, sprinkles and sanding sugar has the shelf life of a Twinkie! The, "flood" icing on my cookies is the same icing I use to outline AFTER it's thinned with water! Some decorators, (like me!) always outline and others, like my friend Teresa (her blog is another must-see at Blooming on Bainbridge) don't. It's a personal preference... and both methods work just fine!

    Again, thank you for reading my blog and for being such a sweetheart!

  3. I just had to say YAY! because two of my favorite people (and blogs) are united! :) And I cannot look too closely at the beautiful cookies because frosted sugar cookies are my F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. thing in the world - and I'm doing low carb these days. ugh. At least I can go eat bacon.

  4. Beautiful cookies! Wonderful post! Coming by way of Nancy's blog!

  5. Thanks, Janet. I will be one who has to outline. :) My baking project got delayed while I dealt with phone calls from both boys and cohabitation issues. Nothing they can't overcome; they simply needed mediation.
    I have sanding sugar, as well as several other varieties, like pearls, etc.
    I am going to mix up my cookie dough since it needs to be refrigerated, then cut, bake, and ice tomorrow/Wednesday. I'm going up to see the boys on Thursday, so they'll get their valentines after all. :)

  6. Love the hearts! You mentioned almond paste when you were explaining your recipe. How much of this do you add in? Are you still using more of a shortbread recipe? We love thick cookies in this house because they are so much easier for the kiddos to decorate and not break. :)

  7. Christine - it's actually vanilla paste and I use as much as the recipe calls for - if the recipe calls for 1 tsp. vanilla extract, I'll just use 1 tsp. vanilla paste instead.

    Nancy - I used to chill my dough - but I find it isn't necessary. It may just be because I keep the house really cold (and love it) but I find rolling and cutting is easier straight out of the mixing bowl. Chilling is fine, if you prefer to let the ingredients/dough "rest" but if you are chilling to make it easier to cut out shapes, you can save yourself the time. :)

  8. Happy Birthday to your son! Your cookies are beautiful. I love baking with vanilla beans (paste and beans from the pods). Those latest cake/cupcake stands are too cute.
    I can't imagine how many cookie bakers/decorators Bridget is responsible for encouraging but I do know that I am one of them. Love her and I'm so excited for her and her first book!

  9. LOL, Janet; I did know that, but it's my excuse for not baking them today. I'm out of time! I also love vanilla paste; much better flavor and appearance.

  10. A. Those hearts are adorable!
    B. I love seeing them cooling on the counter
    C. Thank you for the sweet shout-outs!
    D. LOVE spending time in your kitchen!!! :)

  11. All credit belongs to you, always, Bridget!

  12. Gorgeous work, as usual. I wish I'd seen how you decorated yours before I went off and decorated mine. (

    Although, I did cut them thick like you taught me a while back!

  13. Your baked goods are beautiful- and an inspiration! I still 'decorate' with icing from a ziplock bag. I'm thinking of stepping it up though. Maybe even ordering some of the items you've suggested. I'm a sucker for beautiful baked goods!


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