Friday, February 20, 2009

Love Cupcakes and Cookies!

Hi. Wow I am excited for this! I have been wanting to make a baking blog for about a year now. I kept putting it off because it seems like so much work! Well, after some much needed motivation and insisting by my friends and family, I bit the bullet and started it. Now on to the Baked Goods ( why you are probably here in the first place)!

Love Cupcakes and Cookies!

OK, well, they were actually valentines cookies and cupcakes, but, well I have been goin' non stop since V-day so this is really my first chance to post these. So now they are just baked goods for love! It still fits though, I know this will sound cheesy but one of the best ingredients in anything is L-O-V-E!

So I used Pillsbury DJustify Fullough Sheets already floured and rolled, bought right from the store. I always have such chance with roll-out cookies. I have tried using sugar cookie cut out recipes and the bag mixed variation to roll out, but alas with each no luck. I tried these however, not to make nice cookies but for a project where I needed a smooth surface to use Cookie Markers ( I did not know the wonders---and perils, but that's another post!--of Royal Icing) and thus cut them into shabby squares and drew on them. Anyways I realized they did not spread whatsoever when baking (as a good cut out cookie should) and was thus drawn to them.
Valentine Cookies 4
You can only get them at holiday times unfortunately! I have seem that at V-day, Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. And you can only freeze them for two months but I still stock up when I see them in store. They may or may not come with pre-made packets of icing as I have seen them both ways. The packages with icing come with 2 dough sheets about 1/4 inch thick and about a foot by 6 inches. The packages without icing come with 3 sheets the same size. The dough can be rerolled after the initial cut just make sure to use flour because it will stick and will spread more.
Valentine Cookies 3
I do not have pictures of the rolling process or the dough sheet as this is a backdated post but in future posts I promise I will!
Valentine Cookies 2
The royal icing recipe I used came straight from the Pages of Martha Stewart's Cookie book. Royal icing was as well I was having a hard time getting the recipe quite right. Do I use egg whites from an egg, egg whites from the bottle, or egg whites from a can? Do I use cream of tarter or lemon juice or vanilla extract or none at all? So many questions and so many different answers, it was hard to come up with a general consensus. I used 4 different royal icing recipes with none with total success-- one never harden, one was too thick and then too runny, one would not take on color and the other recipe made absolutely no success. I tried the one in the book and I'm not gonna lie I was skeptical, but it worked perfectly and tasted nice (well as nice as any royal icing can taste) and took on color perfectly. The consistency was right too! So I would recommend that recipe, which I think you can find Martha's Website,
Valentine Cookies 1
For the cookies I used various heart cutters of all sizes and in smooth and crinkly--you will see in the pics. I outlined and decorated with a pastry bag and filled and flowed with a squeeze bottle.

I am not by any means an experienced baker or even a careful baker. My lines are sloppy, my edges are drippy and my work area is messy. These may not be up to the level of some of the baking bests, i.e. Bakerella over at her blog ( seriously check her out, her baked goods are art and everything she does is so classy and sophisticated much like the other baking best, Martha Stewart. I mean I already mentioned one of her books so you know I must like her style. Anyways my point was, please, pardon my imperfections and mistakes. And my wordiness! :)

Anyways, now on to the cupcakes.

Again, these were made from a mix. I always buy the holiday funfetti cake mix- frosting combos because they are so cute and you get free sprinkles (again I will elaborate on another post). It was the day after V-days and I felt guilty for leaving a Valentines mix in the pantry when it was after V-day, so I whipped them up in about 30 minutes and change so the little box of mix wouldn't go unused and unloved.
Love Cupcake 3
I also broke out the holiday cupcake liners and sprinkles. I decorated the cupcakes simply, although I am a fan still of the ornate ( just not the time consumption). Luckily, the mix made exatly 13 cupakes which is just right for my cupcake stand I bought to display my works. See I never really understood the rule of 2/3 fill cup. Is 2/3 in the cupcake liner or 2/3 in the actual cup in the pan becuase there is a big diffrence so I have never gotten the full 24 cupcake load.
Love Cupcake 2
I tried using a gradient technique that I atleast had not heard of until I thought of it. Basically what you do is you put a sweep of thick icing in one color in the pastry bag and then a sweep of the other color(s) and then you pipe it out and you get a gradient tecnique that can be unpredictable but beautiful. It however did work out quite as obviously as I would have liked. See the icing out of the can was already a light pink and I wanted a gradient to hot pink but it was not that noticable. Oh well, it still turned out relatively nice. I also just used a cut ziploc bag for this as I did not want to waste a pastry bag for non-intricate designs.

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