Saturday, July 7, 2012

Starting Simple

Aaahhh... vacation... A "break" if you will...  "Time-out" from every-day life...  A few weeks ago we had a great time visiting family out east - NJ to be exact... No, we don't know Snooki, but we did get to be extras at the Shore Store during filming of "Jersey Shore" while hangin' out at Seaside Heights boardwalk - (Mike "The Situation" made my "Jersey Girls Don't Pump Gas" t-shirt and my daughter paid Dina for it - all on film!) - I'll let you know if we show up in any episodes! And in a few days from now, we will be exploring beautiful San Francisco.

For these few weeks in-between trips, one would think I had time for lots of cookies, right?  Sometime in-between the 20+ doctor/dentist/ortho/vet appointments, tennis/music lessons, and  my daughter's hip & hand surgeries... ummm, nope...  Ususally during this "vacation" time of year, I have to close the "cookie-kitchen" since cookie art is so time-consuming, and I usually only get to bake other stuff.  Instant gratification stuff.   Which isn't so bad...  I made a rhubarb pie the day we came back, with fresh Jersey rhubarb we bought at a little roadside farmstand in the teeny town of Gillette (I was excited since rhubarb in Chicago is like a one-day occurrence - and only if you're lucky enough to be in the store on that day, when they are putting it out, will you get any rhubarb! And before you say it, I've never had any luck growing my own - no green thumbs here, unless it's from icing!)  I also had some time to test out some new Pinterest recipes. Like OMG Chicken, 7-Up Biscuits, PB and Banana Bars, Cinnamon Bun Cake, Banana Cake, and 6 Minute Microwave Caramel, just to name a few.  All very good recipes, and all pass my "I wanna bake something but don't have a ton of time" test - give them a try!  (word of caution - when making microwave caramel - use a LARGE bowl and watch it closely...and you may want to use your candy thermometer... just sayin'...)  Anyhoo, since this is more of a cookie-blog than a "Review-Your-Pins blog" I figured I should squeeze in a quickie cookie post.

I only had 6oz of dough in the freezer and not a whole lotta icing, but the icing colors just happened to be red, white and blue, and it was the Fourth of July... so little stars it is!  And since the next step in my tutorials is icing the cookies, I figured we should start simple - flood the stars and sugar them to cover any imperfections in icing just in case this might be your first time.   What could be easier than little monochromatic sugared stars?  If you're already a "cookie-queen" (or on your way there), sorry for what must be remedial for you, and you can stop here if you like.  But maybe we can make some new cookier friends... : )

OK, you've got your dough made, cookies baked, icing mixed & colored and in bags/bottles... Time to ice that cookie! 

I like to use a #2 tip on these small cookies - for outlining and flooding (filling in the middle).  I outline first, fill in the tips of the star with a zig-zaggy motion next, then fill in the middle. 

At this point the icing may look lumpy... but wait a few seconds & it will smooth out all on its own.  Next, hold it over a paper plate and shake some sanding sugar on top, turn it upside down & back up to get off any excess sugar, and then I like to lay them on a parchment-covered baking sheet to dry, in this case overnight. (can you can tell I took these pictures at night...?)  You can pour the excess sugar back into the jars. 

The next morning, or whenever they are dry, take a brush (one that the bristles won't fall out of so it doesn't look like there are hairs in your cookies (I like silicone pastry brushes for this) and brush off the excess sugar onto a paper plate.  You can do this by individual color and pour the excess back into your jars, or make a new color combo & pour it all into an empty jar to use on another project. 


All that's left is to either package them, plate them, or eat them!  (after taking some pictures first, of course...  I forget that sometimes, which is bad, 'cause once they're eaten there is no real proof that you did any of this... : )  My favorite is the waving flag : )

Hope you all had a happy & safe Fourth of July! Next time we'll do something a little more interesting... and then there will be a giveaway (yay!) before tackling some more detailed cookies and techniques.  And forgive me if there are any more mundane posts in-between - it's very time-consuming to be on "vacation" you know... 


  1. Great Jersey Shore moment! Ha!

    I always love seeing how others do the most basic things. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love making mini cookie bites and this combination of cut and color is perfect for them. Sometimes simple can make a great impact. Thanks for sharing.