Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Celebrating Mike's 50th Birthday with Fish Cookies


Mike loves to fish and his sister wanted cookies to celebrate his 50th birthday.  They were so fun to make (watch attached video) I heard back from Mike's sister that the cookies were a hit in both looks and taste!  Mike loved them!

video

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kung Hei Fat Choy - Year of the Sheep/Goat Cookies

Kung Hei Fat Choy!  Happy Chinese New Year!  Today marks the most important Chinese holiday and 2015 marks the year of the Sheep or Goat.

Elizabeth contacted me for cookies to help her little guy Charley celebrate his heritage with his friends and what better way than cookies?  In addition to a cute goat on half of the cookies, the other half have the Chinese character that means friendship!  I loved making these cookies and received the best compliment from Elizabeth's husband who thought I did an excellent job with the Chinese character.  I have the best customers!!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Circus Themed Cookies and Cake

Working with Tobi of Tobi Goldspink Cakes is always great.  She is such a professional and always creates the most beautiful cakes.  This time we worked together to create a cake and matching cookies for our client Elly.  We were giving lots of creative license, but Elly did have a colour scheme in mind that we were thrilled to use because it was so beautiful!


While Tobi and I met in person (over lunch) to discuss the design and colour scheme, we still worked independently in our own business kitchens on the cake and cookies.  It wasn't until we brought the elements together to photograph that we realized we had created something fabulous!  Our client was thrilled!


Video Post - Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookie


Enjoy this video of me creating a "Chocolate Covered Strawberry" in time for Valentine's Day!

Pink Flower Cookies


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Triathlon Cookies

It has become a tradition for me to host a brunch with my triathlon training friends.  This year we started the day with a mini winter triathlon that included swimming in the pool, spinning on spin bikes and running on the track at the Bradford Leisure Centre.  It was a lot of fun and after our event we started by handing out Sweet Handmade Cookie Medals to the winners.


Then we gathered back at my place for some food and socializing.  Each year I create a set of  triathlon cookies to enjoy and this year was no exception.  Luckily the entire group has a great sense of humour so I could add some "triathlon fail" cookies!


Luckily there were enough cookies for my friends to bring home to their children and here is one super adorable picture of a future triathlete enjoying his!



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Superbowl Party Platter

What Superbowl party is complete without a deli platter?  And what hostess wouldn't appreciate a deli platter made of cookies?  Complete with crackers, cheeses, meats and pickles, these delicious cookies will rock tonight's Superbowl celebrations!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Valentine Cookies

Are you looking for something sweet for your Valentine?  It isn't too late to place an order!


"Chocolate Covered Strawberries" (cookies, of course).  A box of 6 - $15.


Double heart, perfect for a valentine exchange, no minimum order.  $3 each.


Sexy lips, perfect for your favourite valentine!!  No minimum order.  $4 each.

Pickup is Wednesday, February 11 or Thursday February 12 from 6 pm until 8 pm.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

TBT - Elmo and Cookie Monster Cookies

This is a throwback to last summer when I created these Elmo and Cookies Monster Cookies for the Bradford Farmers' Market!  I loved them and so did the customers!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Backpack Cookies

Thinking about all the kids returning to school tomorrow after a luxurious two week vacation!  I hope the backpacks are packed!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season!



These "Joy" cookies were inspired by the talented Christy from Dolce.


Great jingle bell design from Sweet Sugar Belle!






Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Redpath Sugar Cookies

The title of this post is a bit of word-play.  Are they cookies for Redpath Sugar or cookies made with Redpath Sugar?  Well, the answer is both!  As you know, I have been a huge fan of Redpath Sugar for a long, long time and love to work with all of their products.  These logo cookies were created for a corporate event a few weeks back.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Doctor Who Inpired Tardis Cookies

Emma is a big-time Doctor Who fan!  Her mom arranged for a gift of Tardis cookies for her birthday and Emma had no idea what she was getting when she came to pick them up.  Her reaction was amazing and she loved them!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

PH Fundraiser with Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal Cookies

I met Ruth in the change room at my local pool.  We share a love for swimming, a certain brand of undergarments (this is what happens when you spend a lot of time together in various states of dress and undress) and motherhood.  Ruth has also shared her family's journey with Pulmonary Hypertension, a disease that affects one of her daughters.  There is just something about Ruth that makes me want to make a difference in her daughter's life and for the cause of Pulmonary Hypertension.


November was Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month and Ruth helped to organize a couple of fundraising events at our local Leisure Centre.  There was both a swim-a-thon and a walk-a-thon with prizes for the top fundraisers and top swimmers/walkers.  The top swimmer swam an amazing 910 laps (22 3/4 kilometers) in a week!  I participated in the swim-a-thon and while I only reached a quarter of the winner's distance, we all had a great time swimming, meeting at the pool during the week at odd times to get more distance in and cheering each other on!

Photo courtesy of instagram.com/phatoronto
We all gathered poolside at 6:45 am last Thursday (cutting our swim class short) to award the winners.  It was a great cause and a great way to raise money.  People worked really hard - and some of them did it just because of cookies!  In the end over $1500 was raised and we all can't wait until next year.  Here are some of my friends wearing their cookies medals!!

Photo courtesy of instagram.com/phatoronto

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oak Leaf Cookies

Fall is truly finished, as we wake up to another dusting of snow on the ground.  These oak leaf cookies will remind us of a recent time when the leaves were a blaze of colour.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Real Estate Thank You Cookies

Another happy couple is in their first new home, thanks to wonderful real estate agent, Jenn.  To make things even sweeter, Jenn dropped off these delicious cookies!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yo Gabba Gabba Inspired Cookies and Cake

My dear friend Tobi owns a cake shop in Bond Head and we have collaborated on a few projects (and I don't mean when I buy her stuff and eat it, although that happens quite a bit too!!)  This is the first time we have been able to get photographs of our cake and cookies together.

This project was for twins who love Yo Gabba Gabba and while neither one of us wanted to blatantly copy the characters, we were both comfortable drawing inspiration from them.  We love how it came together and so did the client!  Another birthday made happy!


If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit Tobi's shop, make sure to drop in Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays for macarons, cupcakes, salted caramels and meringues.  Her custom order cakes are spectacular!  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Tip - Press 'n Seal

I use plastic wrap to cover small bowls of icing in between filling bags, but for longer storage (even a few days) and for better protection against crusting, I love Press 'n Seal!




So my Tuesday Tip this week is to invest in a roll of Glad Press 'n Seal and use it to cover your bowl of icing.  It has a great sealing quality and you will also find yourself using it all over the kitchen for all of your storage needs.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Splash Cookies for Swimmers

Those of you who follow my life might know that I only learned to swim about two years ago.  I am part of a triathlon training program and we meet twice a week at 6 am for swim workouts (and two more times a week at 6 am for spinning and running).  A few weeks ago our swim instructor decided to mix things up and instead of getting into the pool at the shallow end, where we tend to hang out and chat in between lengths, she decided we would now start in the deep end - she is a slave-driver!!  When I walked onto the pool deck that morning and saw what our instructor had up her sleeve I almost had a panic attack.  I had no idea how I would get into the deep end without looking like a fool!  I watched as my fellow team members dived or jumped in and I just waited until everyone started swimming and then I slowly lowered myself in along the wall.  What a wimp I was!  I told myself I would have to learn how to jump in and one morning I announced out loud that I would be doing it that day.

So I stood at the side of the pool and fought the panic as it threatened to send me into a full blown panic attack.  All my optimistic team-mates left to get on with their day and I was still standing there.  The swim instructor left and I was still standing there.  Twenty-five minutes later it was just me and one encouraging lifeguard left on the pool deck.  I looked at the time and realized I had 5 minutes left before I would be kicked out and I thought it was now or never.  So with a few more encouraging words from lifeguard Jaclyn, I went for it.  It wasn't horrible, in fact, it was fun.  I got out and did it again.  And again and again!  I hugged Jaclyn and went home and announced my success to my teammates on facebook!  I was so proud of myself.  So about a week later I decided to try diving and did it too!!


Today I thanked my teammates for all of their encouragement with cookies - splash cookies!!  There is something so special about our group, so many happy and encouraging friends to meet with multiple times a week.  Our instructor got the role of "cookie pimp", handing out the cookies to each team member as they were leaving and she was as good at that as she is at kicking our butts in the pool!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Christening Cookies for a Sweet Boy


These cookies are to celebrate the Christening of Mary-Lynn's grandson, Ryken.  God bless you, Ryken!  

P.S.  This is my 400th blog post!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Tip - Making Royal Icing + Recipe

I recently answered a survey about how I make royal icing.  The questions were multiple choice and when the question of how long I mix my icing came up, two of the options talked about mixing at high speed for 25-30 minutes.  I almost fell off my chair!  I literally mix for less than 2 minutes at the lowest or second lowest speed.  I might have a lot to do with not being able to tolerate the sound of the mixer for any longer.  I also have no interest in adding air bubbles to my icing that I am going to have to deal with later.  I really am trying to just combine the ingredients.  I make about 4 or 5 double batches each week and I have never had any problems with my icing - it dries with a lovely sheen, it is stable, it tastes delicious.  So I admit to being insanely curious how long you fellow cookiers mix your icing, please leave me a comment or send me a message!

I also make my icing thick, adding just enough water to make it combine - look for more information about that in next week's post.

So if I had to sum things up, I would say:

"Don't whip, make it thick."



After dissolving my meringue powder, I add my Redpath sugar and the remainder of the water.


I add it all at once, all the sugar and all the water.  Then I start my mixer on the lowest setting.

After just starting the mixer.
15 seconds of mixing.
30 seconds of mixing
45 seconds of mixing.
After about 60 seconds of mixing at the lowest setting, I stop the mixer and lift the whisk attachment out of the mix.


At this point the whisk attachment is clogged with dry sugar that I still have to mix in.  I think there are a variety of ways to deal with this, like mix at high speed or add more water, but I reach for a spatula.


I use the spatula to remove most of the dry sugar and to wipe the side of the bowl.


There - that looks better!  Another 30 seconds or so of mixing, this time at the second lowest setting.



And this is what I am left with:


At first glance it is not completely smooth, there are still lumps and bumps.  And it is thick.  Your first instinct might be to add water or mix it longer - but don't!  (More on that next week.)  I find that the lumps and bumps work themselves out as the icing sits.  For me this is the perfect base - I can now adjust the consistency and the colour and make a perfect icing for my cookies. 

Sweet Handmade Cookies' Royal Icing

10 tablespoons meringue powder
7 tablespoons of water
1 kilo icing (confectioners') sugar
5 tablespoons water

  1. Place the meringue powder in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Pour the first amount of water over the powder and using a whisk, combine the meringue powder and water, no vigorous action required, just combining the ingredients.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Stir the meringue powder one more time and then place the icing sugar on top.  Pour the second quantity of water onto the sugar and attach the bowl to your mixer.
  3. Using the whisk attachment on the lowest setting, combine the ingredients for about 60 seconds.  Stop the mixer and clear the still dry sugar from the whisk attachment and wipe the side of the bowl.
  4. Reattach the bowl to the mixer and mix for another 30-45 seconds.  Use the spatula to give the mixture another really good stir, make sure there are no dry pockets.
The icing will have lumps, but as long as there are no dry pockets, you are good to go!

In the next couple of weeks I will teach you about getting the perfect consistency!  I will be offering workshops in the new year, stay tuned to learn more!