Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cookie Bouquets and More Tutorial

I thought it would be fun to get a new set of cookie cutters and opted for plastic ones this time. I usually like to go for the copper ones, but it gets kind of pricey so I thought, why not try out Wilton's 101 piece Cookie Cutter Set?

I looked inside the box and look what happened next! I made.....................

Personalized cookie bouquets, baskets of cookies and giant cookie pops! (and a little house of baby crackers for an 8 month old who can't quite eat cookies yet) These happened to be perfect as party favors for my 2 year old's birthday party.

I made letters to spell out each child's name using the alphabet cookie cutters that were included, fun summer shapes (flowers & butterflies) and large round cookies decorated to look like lollipops.

Here are most of the Cookie Bouquet Supplies I needed to put everything together.

I ended up having to make 3 sets of icing colors to decorate the cookies which was quite time consuming. This is because I thought it would be nice to get different colored planter pots for each child and I wanted the colors of the cookies to co-ordinate with their planter. I would definitely recommend getting everyone the same color to save time. Unless you are not obsessed with colors having to co-ordinate. (Something I am working on) Above is the 3rd set of colors.
To make the icing, I used this recipe.
For the sugar cookies, I used this recipe.

After baking and cutting out all of the cookies, I decorated them. Once the icing dried, I piped the royal icing one the back of the cookie, then placed the stick on it. I was sure not to press the stick down all the way to the cookie as this sometimes causes the stick to fall off even after the icing dries. I then covered the stick with more icing, then allowed it to dry completely.

For the letters, I carefully broke the long candy stick in half and attached the stick, the same way as above. Be sure to cover the broken end of the stick with the icing so that the rough end does not show.

These are the pots I used to plant the cookies in. Other containers that can be used to make lovely cookie bouquets are large mugs, decorative bowls, pretty buckets, teapots or cookie jars.

I lined each pot with tissue paper.

I then placed a bag of sugar in the pot.

Next, I arranged the cookies in the sugar. The sugar can be used for coffee or tea which are perfect beverages to enjoy with the cookies. The sugar can also be used to make more sugar cookies.

I carefully tucked in the bag and arranged the tissue paper around the cookies.

Here is what it looked like.

To finish it off, I wrapped it in cellophane and....................

tied it with a matching bow!

For the children with longer names, I lined up the cookies to surround the bottom of the pot before wrapping in food safe cellophane. This was because the pots I used were not very big. (4" pots)

To fill the pots, I used sugar, but here are some other options:

Fill a foodsafe pot/container with white sugar, topped with packed brown sugar. You can include a cookie recipe, (such as Oatmeal) so that the cookie bouquet recipient can use the sugars to bake more cookies! Oatmeal cookies require both brown and white sugar, so this would be perfect.

Styrofoam alone or wrapped in tissue paper to match the cookie bouquet container.

Florist's foam which is already green and ready to go!

Candy (smarties, jelly beans, m&ms)


*If you are using a large pot/container or makeing several bouquets, using styrofoam or florist's foam would probably be best as candy, rice or sugar may get pricey.

Here is one of the baskets filled with tulips.

The cookie pops displayed in a sundae cup.

Another completed bouqet.

A bouquet for my niece Emily.

I also filled some other sundae cups with smarties and put Twinkle Pops in them to make a twinkle pop bouquet. Can't have a child's birthday party without lots of candy, cake, cookies and ice cream!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to Make a 2nd Birthday Cupcake Tower

This is the cupcake tower I made for a 2nd birthday party that was held last weekend. It has fun and bright colors, perfect for summer.

I used royal icing to pipe ladybugs and flowers on the caketop as it was a summertime themed party. For this top tier, I made a light cake using a recipe my mom gave me. (recipe follows at the end of the post) It is a great cake choice for those who like cakes that are not too sweet. I decorated with whipped cream to keep it light.

The cupcakes are topped with flower shaped cookies that spell out happy birthday as well as the birthday girl's name.

I used a Wilton 4 tier cupcake tower to place the cake and cupcakes on and it worked out very well, because each layer can be separated. This made the cupcakes easy to store in the fridge before the whole thing was put together just in time to be served.

I made a sugar cookie dough for the cookies and cut out the shapes with a small flower shaped cookie cutter. I inserted toothpicks into each cookie before baking them so it would be easier to keep them upright on the cupcakes. I was sure to warn the kids and the parents that they were in there so that we would not have any mishaps.

Here they are, baked and ready to decorate with royal icing.

Here they are decorated in Americolor Soft Gel Paste colors lemon yellow, leaf green, and dusty rose.

I was sure to make extra cookies just in case I made a mistake on some of them, which I did.

I did not make too many mistakes so with the rest of the extras, I decorated them for the additional cupcakes.

Cupcake time! After baking the cookies, I baked the cupcakes as the cookies needed time to cool off before being decorated. This was all the day before the actual party. The cookies were ready to go, but I left the cupcakes to cool off, then I placed them in an airtight container to be decorated the day of the party.

Here they are in their cute Tinkerbell cupcake liners complete with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkles.

I also made cookie bouquets, cookie pops, and little baskets of flower & butterfly shaped cookies as birthday party favors. This went along well with the summertime theme, as those who received the cookie bouquets could plant something in the pots after the cookies are eaten! Feek free to check out the tutorial for the cookie bouquets here!

Cake Recipe
*For the top tier, I used 2 round 8" cake pans
**I made a 2nd batch for the cupcakes. Be sure to fill the cupcake liners almost to the top if you want a bigger cupcake. I found that when I didn't fill it enough, the cupcake was not as fluffy.
8 large eggs or 10 if they are smaller
1 cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. I usually break the egg whites into the bowl of the stand mixer I will be using, and put the egg yolks into another mixing bowl.
*Make sure that the mixing bowls are completely dry as this helps when whipping the egg whites to a proper consistency. It is also important not to let any of the egg yolk get into the egg whites.
2. Add the cream of tartar, 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt into the egg whites then whip on very high speed. Whip until the egg whites are fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
*Do not overwhip as the egg whites will fall and become liquid. When that happens, there is no turning back. =(
3. Add the flour and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar to the egg yolk and beat, just until mixed.
4. Carefully fold half of the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Repeat with the second half. Be gentle as this will help to keep the volume of the cake.
5. Pour cake batter into the desired cake pans.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.
*For the cupcakes, I baked them for 30 minutes.
**To double check if they are ready, poke a toothpick in the centre and if it comes out clean, then it is ready.
7. Cool on wire racks before decorating.