Monday, August 11, 2014

Baking Monday – Rainbow Sugar Cookies



Goodness, I love rainbows. It's about the only trend that I loved as a kid and still love today. One of my Pinterest boards is devoted to rainbow-themed items that still make me squeee! (Entering "80s rainbow"  into the search bar sends me into a spiral of feel-good nostalgia. The shirts! Belts! Shoelaces! Stickers! I had them all!)



Doing a colorful dessert again was not the original plan ... just looking for an easy cookie to bring to Jeff's softball game.



The dough was tinted because I only had clear sugar on hand … but these would be just as adorable kept plain and rolled in differed color sugars.



I originally saved this recipe because I'm always looking for opportunities to use Princess Emulsion. It's gives the cookies a unique, unexpected flavor … something different from the usual vanilla and almond (which are both delicious, don't get me wrong!)



A few alterations to the recipe: butter instead of Crisco, 1 tsp of vanilla instead of tablespoon (that seemed like a LOT!), and chill the dough before baking. The dough would also work well as slice and bake. Bake until set, don't wait until browned … they turned out perfect!



What a great, simple, yummy cookie! And they make my rainbow spot happy! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Baking Monday – Rainbow Cake!


This is so exciting … I have been wanting to make a rainbow cake for awhile! But we aren't big cake eaters around here, so we waited for an occasion to share a cake with friends. We celebrated the end of Dora's summer theatre workshop with fellow actor friends, in color!



I also wanted to make it from scratch. This recipe is great!! I doubled it for this cake, which is enough for at least 20 slices. It would have been six layers … but I dropped the orange batter on the floor while mixing. I said a very loud word ("SH…UGAR!") before cleaning it up, which was a big PITA. Happily, not a drop fell on my white shirt. So the yellow layer was more orangey-yellow to make up for it. The directions call for salt but does not list it in the ingredients … I added 1/2 tsp salt to the dry ingredients (1 tsp total, since the recipe was doubled). Finding a recipe was a challenge, because I really wanted to find one that uses all-purpose flour and whole eggs. I also recommend disposable pans (unless you happen to have six identical cake pans laying around) coated with Cake Release. And Dollar Tree prices (.50 each) were much more reasonable than the grocery store ($7.00 for three!) The cake turned out very moist and yummy. This recipe would also be super scrummy with almond extract!!



Buttercream icing on top … two sticks of softened butter, one bag of powdered sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla, and milk until it was spreading consistency. That made EXACTLY enough! I don't like a super thick layer of frosting, so this was perfect. Look, all white and innocent looking … just a boring vanilla cake ...



But wait!!! Rainbows ahead!!! We were all SUPER excited to cut into this cake. The kids made a point of not telling our guests what was waiting inside!


Very yummy. Rainbows make everything better! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Baking Monday – Crunchy Nutty Muffins!



Clark saw this recipe in a Highlights magazine months ago and wanted to try them. Of the three kids, he's the one who most often helps out in the kitchen and enjoys baking with me. It took us awhile to get to making them … yay for summer vacation!


Walnuts are not my favorite, but I did enjoy these very much. They are buttery and moist, and I like the crunchiness (as promised in the title!) Plus cinnamon sugar makes everything yummy. Clark measured, poured, and mixed the ingredients and also filled the muffin cups!


I didn't get a great picture of him with the muffins, because he was excited to eat! He and a friend shared the first two and both gave them a thumbs up. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Zentangle Cookies!


So … while the kids were having their marathon decorating session, I snuck in and decorated a few for myself. I wondered if my new obsession with zentangle could be applied to cookies? 



Why yes indeed! I used a hybrid royal/glaze icing for the outlining, so the lines stayed very neat, with no blobbing or spreading. And though they were lovely as outlines, I really wanted to know what they'd look like in color ...



YAY! Love them! But super time consuming! I would MAYBE consider doing these for an order for someone very special. I used thinned out glaze for the color and a #2 tip to fill in (plus toothpicks for spreading).


I have a plan for the next round … stay tuned! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SAC – Watercolors



I broke out the watercolors last week. There are two mini square frames hanging in the bathroom that needed some new artwork. First I did a batch with straight up Crayola watercolors ...



… then mixed a batch of my own. (I liked those better.)



Then I made some some blobs … and embellished with some doodles.


It's really hard for me to let go of everything not being perfect, but the end result is charming!



Then I started with a watercolor base and added some zentangle doodles ...



… and then Prismacolors on top. I love the way it turned out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kid Cookies!


Theo has two moods in the summer: Best Thing Ever or Worst Day Ever. If he is not currently doing a perceived Best Thing activity, he melts to the ground in Worst Day mode. He was having a Worst Day moment when I pulled out all the cookie decorating stuff. I had lots of icing leftover from an order so I baked one batch of random shapes just for them to decorate, and goodness … what a great job they did! 



I loved Dora's fireworks ...



… and Theo's (unintentional) 80's glam rock tribute.

Besides having a tray of beautiful cookies to share with friends, I also got an hour of sibling harmony. Dora and Theo had a great time decorating, and I even heard Theo say, "This is so much fun!" So happy that cookie decorating turned out to be a Best Thing.


I asked them to set aside three for me!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baking Monday – Musical Sugar Cookies



I made this batch of cookies for Dora's church youth choir picnic.



Music notes and crosses … plus shooting stars and hearts just for fun.


Happy hearts!


And Dora made the centerpieces. Since we were having the picnic at a local park that is on a hill and notoriously windy, we needed something that would not blow away. Dora wanted to make these flowers that she saw in American Girl magazine, and came up with the idea to tape them to rocks for stability. Pretty and practical!