Thursday, February 22, 2018

3D Alligator in the Swamp Cookies

So last September, we went alligator huntin' in the Louisiana bayou. 

Actually, we went on a swamp tour that nearly wasn't. I tell ya, over the years my hubby and I have had quite a few adventures. 

We have flipped our kayak in Kauai, nearly drowned when our whitewater raft hit a rock and tipped us out into the Nantahala, hubby's air tank sprang a bad leak on an underwater Bahamas get the idea.

So when we boarded our boat I should not have been surprised when a few minutes later as we were winding our way through the wetlands, our motor began smoking! And then when our--really he was a wonderful--guide couldn't get a signal out on his cell phone, I had visions of us going down in that swamp in flames! Whew!

But alas, we were saved. Another tour came by, helped us tie our boat to theirs, and towed us back to the dock where we boarded a new boat. And we live to see another day.πŸ˜…
These 3D alligator cookies were inspired by both the real alligators we saw as well as the adorable cookie cutters I found in one of the cute gift shops.

My oldest grandson--I love you, Jojo--is a huge fan of alligators. His goal is to wrestle and tame them! Be still my heart! Maybe I'll just give him these cookies and we can forget all about that craziness! Yes..that sounds good to me!

Cookie time!

I think I'll go ahead and take a bite out of mine before it takes a bite out of me!
Make your favorite cookie dough, or use this one as you scroll to the end of the post.

Separate the dough in two parts and tint half of it green.
 I used my rectangle 4 1/2 x 3 inch cookie cutter for the base. You can find it here.

You can also find the alligator cutter here.
Roll out your pretty green cookie dough on a lightly floured surface.
Cut cookies, and place on a parchment lined pan.
While cookies are already on the pan, use the rectangle cutter (or a knife) to cut off a bottom portion from gator. 

Be quick about it as gators don't like this much.😜
 Cut out, bake, and cool cookie bases.
We are using canned frosting, food color, candy eyes, and green and blue candy melts to decorate our cookies.
With a drop or two of blue, stir into canned frosting to tint. Spread a thin layer of frosting onto rectangle cookie bases.
I don't know what took me so long to start melting my candy melts in piping bags. So much easier, quicker and way less messy.

Just pop a few melts into bag, melt at 50% power in 30 second increments stopping to squeeze bag each time until melted smooth.

Snip off the tip of bag and you're ready to, pipe!
I piped these freehand. It's just swamp grass, so there is no wrong way to do it.
Ohhh! Let's put these together.

Use the green melts to attach the candy eyes to the alligator faces.

Melt blue candy melts as we did the green and pipe "water" onto the cookie base. You can smooth it with an offset spatula.
Place alligators and swamp grass on cookies.

Look how fun these turned out!
Here we have an aerial view of our swamp.
If you've never been to Louisiana, I say hightail it on down and take a tour. And if you find yourself near New Orleans, stop in at Cafe Du Monde and enjoy the most amazing beignets and coffee you've ever tasted!

Later, gator..KarenπŸ’—

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Strawberry Sweethearts

The closer we get to Valentine's Day, the more chocolate dipped strawberries we'll find.

Dipped, dunked and decorated strawberries.

These yummy Wilton Strawberry Candy Melts are the perfect choice for dipping these beautifully red strawberries.

I guess you could say, they were made for each other!
To get started, you will need:
fresh strawberries, candy melts, small candy eyes, large conversation hearts, ready-made chocolate frosting, jumbo heart sprinkles, confetti sprinkles.
You will also need a star tip (i used wilton #32) for piping hair, a small round tip (i used wilton tip #3) for piping arms and noses, a decorator bag or baggie to fill with the frosting, and parchment paper.
Melt candy melts at 30 second intervals at 50% power in microwave, stirring each time until melted and smooth.

Dip two strawberries into melted candy and place on parchment paper with sides touching. 
 Attach the candy heart and hold in place until set. Attach candy eyes.
With a frosting filled bag fitted with a small round tip, pipe noses and arms.
Time to pipe the hair. Just two quick squeezes for each strawberry, and you're done!

The "sweet nothings" on my conversation hearts were off center and just not pretty, so I chose to turn them backwards. Then I photoshopped my own words onto the hearts.
Hope you all have the sweetest of Valentine's Days!

Keeping life sweet, Karen 😊

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year Cookies!

I have been blessed with a wonderful year.
My grandbabies, children, and hubby are happy and healthy. So that makes me happy too!

I pray God gives us ALL an amazing new year in 2018!

 We can start with these cookies!
Sweet and sparkly cookies; as any new year treat should be! πŸ˜‰
Prepare your favorite cookie dough.

Once again, I've used Lila Loa's vanilla cookie recipe. It's so good!
On a lightly floured surface, roll out cookie dough to 1/4 inch and cut out stars.
Bake your stars @375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. I bake mine for nine as I like them a little crispety!

If you like your cookies softer, stop at 7 minutes. 
I used this Wilton molds set for my fondant numbers along with, black and gold sprinkles, canned frosting, and black fondant. You will also need cornstarch, corn syrup, a food safe paintbrush, and a spatula.
 Yes, cornstarch, I missed you so much today. You see, in my absent-mindedness, I used powdered sugar to dust my fondant mold.

I molded my numbers twice and nearly gave up as they were sticking to the mold. You might think I would have realized the problem. I did not. Hence my wonkified numbers.

Remember, bakers, dust your molds with cornstarch!
 We'll add our black sprinkles to our 2018 by painting corn syrup on the numbers first and then shaking on the sprinkles.
To make our beautiful and sparkly gold star cookies, use a spatula to spread the frosting and then shake on those gold sprinkles. Attach numbers to cookies with a dab of frosting to the backs.

Now you have your edible, New Year's Eve party decorations all ready for your hungry guests!

What a great way to start off the New Year!

Hope you have a blessed and sweet one, Karen 😊

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chocolate "Gingerbread" Cookies~Tangled in Christmas Lights!

Can we call these gingerbread cookies when they're made with chocolate cookie dough? Yes, we can! Because this is not just any chocolate cookie dough.  It's Georganne's awesome recipe from Lila Loa! She makes some of the most amazing cookies!

Cookie baking and decorating is just one of our Christmas traditions. Choosing new ornaments is another. Every year, at least one of these ornaments will be personalized.
I LOVE this one!

We found it at Personal Creations.

And it is my inspiration for today's post!
To make and decorate these cookies, along with the chocolate cookie dough, I used:
gingerbread man cookie cutters, icing tubes in white, green and black, and candy coated sesame seeds.

I also used Wilton tips #2 and #3 with my Wilton brand icing tube.
 Roll out this delicious, chocolaty cookie dough on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out with cookie cutters and place on parchment lined pan.
Here comes the fun part!
Slice off the inside arms..wait! Where's my Christmas cheer? That should not be fun! hehehe!
 Place and gently press the arms onto the outside shoulders of the chocolate gingerbread peeps.

Next, lift one inside leg and place on top of the other.

Bake cookies @ 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
So here's where it gets tricky for me.
I can not pipe. 

If you feel that you're in the, #cantpipeclub, with me, go ahead and make these anyway. If I can do it, I know you can too!
Whew! Faces done!
Using the green icing, pipe the tangled lines onto cookie.
Now let's decorate with our Christmas lights by placing candy sesame seeds atop the strings.

Aren't these sweet?!
 So I had this tiny little gingerbread cutter..and made a wittle, bitty cookie! 
This is where I used my #2 decorator tip for the mouth. It's okay if you don't get right on the first try. I had to pipe and scrape off the icing more than once!

Kudos and awe to all you wonderfully talented cookie decorators! For me, this is just a *pipe* dream! ha 😜

Wishing you all a Sweet & Merry Christmas, Karen

Happy Birthday Dear ol' Dad. I πŸ’— You!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Epic-Mega-Giant Reese's Rudolph and His Mini-me!

It's Rudolph and his mini-me! Well, almost his mini-me!

They may not have the same antlers, but that's because I'm out of those tiny candy canes. And, he kinda only made it to the party because I wanted to show how huge this giant Reese's is!

Half a pound huge! 4 inches across and 1 inch thick huge!

It's still hard to tell in the photo just how big this thing really is, and I had to guard it because when my hunky hubby saw it, he really wanted to swipe it!

He will get a nice surprise tonight to find out it's his after-dinner dessert!

I have a big pot of chili simmering on the stove while the snow is falling today in Fayetteville, and it is beautiful! The snow, not the chili!😜
To create the giant Rudolph, you will need:
One Mega-Giant-Epic Reese's Cup
Regular size candy canes
A large set of eyes-I used the ones from this Wilton's kit
Red Peanut M&Ms
Ready-made frosting
This Reese's cup looks like a pie!
Use a long, sharp, heavy knife to cut/trim the ends off unwrapped candy canes.
I used one of those paper straws to make the opening for the candy antlers.
It was the perfect size.

Just give it some good pressure and twist until straw pushes through the chocolate cup.

If you need to improvise with something else and your opening becomes too big, just dip the ends of the candy canes in a little melted chocolate before inserting into Reese's cup. This will stabilize antlers when chocolate sets. 
Make sure the holes line up evenly or your antlers will be lopsided. I mean, who wants loopy, lopsided antlers?   
Use the icing to attach candy eyes and nose.
Now look at this yumminess!!
You know you need one!

To make the mini-me, I used:
Mini peanut butter cup
Tiny candy eyes
Red Hots candies for the nose
Candy antlers from the same Wilton kit above
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be on CBS tomorrow night (Dec. 9th) @ 8pm!

Will you be watching? I will!

Merry Christmas, Karen 😊