I decided to make this recipe for my family. One thing to note is that the eggs need to be at room temperature. And the butter will need to be softened, so you’ll need to pull those out of the frig in advance.
The first time I made this, I rolled it out into a circle, but a square shape works best. I go for a rectangle, and then roll it up the long way to cut up the pieces to put in the pan.
Another hint – the first time I made this, I really crammed each sliced piece next to eachother in the pan. These need space to expand and cook fully. So give them the space they need in the pan.
Even though I slice each piece thin, I find that 15 minutes is not enough to cook. In my experience, 25 minutes is closer to what works.
The cream cheese frosting makes more than enough to coat the buns completely.
I posted about our company’s return to work process, and the brownies I made for Group 1. Group 2 was allowed back into the office on July 6, so I made shortbread cookies. I skipped the chocolate for dipping and decorated them with royal icing in white and teal with purple decorations on top (corporate colors).
One of the new additions to our family during the pandemic was a rolling cookie drying set up (pans and counter-surfing dog prevention cover included!!). My husband is sick of “cookies covering every surface when you get your cookie groove on.” So I did some internet searching and came across this:
I’m not sure an online review has spoken to me more directly. I even put it together myself:
I used a “2” cookie cutter and also made a few free-form cookies. I decorated them with the royal icing and some purple sugar decorations.
It was great to safely welcome Group 2 back to the office. As of mid-October, Groups 3 & 4 are still on hold as we wait for county guidelines to be updated to allow for greater office occupancy. I’ll definitely think of something fun for Group 3!
This year, COVID turned many celebrations upside down, including graduations. Our oldest son was a senior in high school, and nothing was as we imaged it.
Our community decided to host a graduation parade for seniors in our neighborhood. At the end of the parade in the community pool parking lot, each graduate who participated in the parade received a goodie bag. I was asked to make a graduation-themed cookie.
I decided on a very simple decoration style since the parade was mid-week and I was back to work. I didn’t have much time in the evenings, and this parade was a spur-of-the-moment idea!
I used white royal icing for the cap. I watched a YouTube video for decorating tips. I followed the directions and piped on the white icing in segments to help add dimension. If I’d had more time, I would have done a royal blue graduation cap, since blue and gold are the school colors.
These are the cookies halfway through the decoration process:
I used a yellow mini-M&M for the button on top, and piped on the tassel with golden yellow royal icing.
This COVID thing really put a damper on my baking for special events. Because school shut down, there were no Spring sports Senior Nights. And while I normally have a bunch of graduation party requests for cookies/cakes/cupcakes, because social gatherings were quashed, there was none of that. I did bake the occasional plain cake or cookies for my family.
It wasn’t until June that I had a reason to bake for others again. That was when a very small portion of our staff was able to return to the office, following established occupancy limits in that county. Our office does daily temperature checks, has one way hallways and doorways, requires masks at all times if you are not in your office, limits the number of people in meeting rooms and offices, provides hand sanitizer for every person and at each entrance/exit to our office suite. The administration is doing everything it can to keep staff safe.
So, because some of us were going back to the office after 3 months, I decided to make treadmill worthy brownies to celebrate. These brownies are dense and decadent. I leave out the nuts when I’m making this for large groups in case there are any allergies.
I decorated the slices of brownie with a candy melt “1” in turquoise (corporate color is teal, so this was close enough) and outlined in bright white. This signified Group 1 that was returning to the office, since our staff has been divided into 4 groups. I didn’t make enough of the ones, so there were some brownies without them.
It was good to get back to the office and some small form of a safe, new normal.
Since my oldest son has been playing high school football, I have been making treats for the annual end of season banquet.
The big year was the banquet after our 2016 season when the team won the state championship. I made lots of cookies, number cakes celebrating the 14-0 season, the state championship, and our head coach’s selection as the Baltimore Raven’s high school coach of the year.
Although, the year there were 26 seniors also kept me pretty busy! That was the first year I made personalized jersey cookies. And then there was last year when there were only 9 seniors. But our dog Jake table surfed and got a few of the cookies after I had added the royal blue royal icing, so I had to bake another batch of cookies.
This year was my son’s senior year, and I once again created jersey cookies out of chocolate sugar cookies. They were covered in royal blue royal icing. This year, I made the numbers out of royal icing transfers in golden yellow and outlined in white.
Last names were piped on in white. Jersey details were added in golden yellow.
The remainder of the varsity players received a personalized football-shaped chocolate sugar cookie. Each had the seams piped on in white and the player number using the royal icing transfers.
One of the childhood friends of my husband and his brother has a son who began playing football for Alabama in 2019. We were tuning in to games throughout the Fall in 2019 to watch Shane. The player ahead of him had suffered a season ending injury and Shane was getting to start on defense as a true freshman.
Our family gathered on New Year’s Day 2020 to watch Alabama take on Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. I decided to make a cake to snack on while watching the game.
I picked a simple design – I would make the big “A” logo for Alabama out of bright white candy melts and cover it with red sanding sugar. I’d then place it on top of a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.
Here’s the big “A” for the top of the cake. I had placed wax paper over a print out of the “A” logo and piped on the candy melts. I then covered the candy melts with the sanding sugar.
I guess my enthusiasm for watching Shane play eclipsed any sense of measurement, because I had printed the “A” out on the 11 inch vertical orientation of the paper. For a cake that was 9 inches in circumference.
Congrats to Shane and his teammates on the 2020 Citrus Bowl victory.
Baking date: cookies baked early in December 2019, decorated December 22 and 23, 2019
In 2012, I started my own Christmas tradition, based on one my parents used to have. This year in addition to the mini breads and candy, I made the following varieties: sugar, chocolate sugar, and gingerbread cookies (well-used recipe card below)
This year, the cutouts were snowmen, upside down gingerbread men designed as reindeer, candy canes, circles, stockings, Christmas trees, and stars. In 2019 I did not customize them with names like I had done in years past. I hope to get back to that in 2020. For families with dogs, I also included a peanut butter & pumpkin-flavored dog treat that I baked. Because, of course I have a dog bone cookie cutter.
The cookies were decorated in a variety of ways with green, red, and white royal icing.
The goodie bags were packaged up using my assembly table method.
And then the least cheerful Elf in the history of Elfing assisted me with the deliveries. Though he was kind enough to smile for the photo.
Of course, he’s probably not very jazzed about being helpful because his mom wears her reindeer antlers driving around making deliveries,
Many recipients post on my FB wall about the goodies received. Here are a few samples.
Here’s hoping your holiday traditions are the sweetest!
I saw a video on YouTube (yes, I spend time watching videos on how to decorate cakes, cookies, and cupcakes) on making a stacked Christmas tree out of cookies. I’m a big “hey, I can do that!” kind of gal, so I purchased the cookie cutters and got to work.
You’ll need a cookie dough that makes a lot of cookies. I went with a rollout gingerbread dough. You can tell by my recipe card that I’ve used this one a lot. I follow the directions in the video and cut out the center of the larger cookies with the smaller cookie cutters of the half size.
My only tip on the royal icing is to make sure it’s not too flood-like. You need it to be fairly stiff so that it doesn’t drip too much. The first time I made this, the royal icing was too drippy.
Well, I have two tips for royal icing. I think royal icing that doesn’t have any extract is rather bland, so I always add a clear extract, like special clear vanilla, almond, lemon, orange, or peppermint (baker’s note: go light with peppermint if you use it – it is super strong!). I typically add one tablespoon of the extract in place of one of the tablespoons of water when I’m mixing the royal icing. Again, go light on the peppermint, if that’s the extract you use. Maybe a 1/2 teaspoon to start.
I put the icing on the base cookie first on a cookie cooling tray, sprinkle on white sparkling sugar, and then place the base cookie on a fancy cake board. I then frost the each cookie one by one the same way, adding the white sparkling sugar before securing each star with a bit of the royal icing on top of the cookie below it. Once the cookie has been added to the “tree”, on the points of the stars, I add gold decorations included stars, pearls, and sanding sugar before the royal icing sets. When I place the final small star on top, I do it vertically, to simulate the star on the top of the tree.
People never want to be the first to break into the tree because it looks so pretty. So you may have to start the feast yourself!
Because I had new co-workers in 2019 after changing jobs in April, they had not seen any of my previous Thanksgiving creations. So I made them turkey cookies and gingersnaps.
The turkey cookies are round sugar cookies topped with chocolate cookie icing (hey people, don’t hate on me for a few shortcuts!). First, I adhere the candy eyeballs to M&M candy colors with the chocolate cookie icing. Then I flood the sugar cookie with the chocolate cookie icing and add candy corns around the top half with the small side facing in. I place the eyeballs on. Then I sprinkle multi-colored jimmies between the candy corns and eyeballs. Finally, I pipe on a beak just under the eyeballs, and feet under the beak using golden yellow icing.
The gingersnaps are a very old family recipe. It makes a ton of cookies! Here it is:
I also made turkey cupcakes. For these it was a chocolate cupcake, topped with chocolate cookie icing, so they’d be smooth on top and help the Reese’s Pieces used for the feathers set. After icing the cupcakes, I stood up the Reese’s pieces with 5 brown around the outside edge, 4 orange next, and 3 yellow in front of the orange. I used some the the extra candy eyeballs on top of M&Ms for eyes. I dipped the tip of a Hershey’s Kiss into orange candy melt, and then attached a mini red M&M to that for the beak.
Everything was “gobble”ed up. See what I did there?
The team mom for the high school golf team asked me to make jersey cookies for the seniors, along with special cupcakes for their end of season banquet.
I made 24 chocolate cupcakes and used my supply of gold and royal blue foil cupcake liners. I covered them with a white frosting, and dipped the edge in a ChocoMaker mix of graham cracker crumbs and bits of chocolate. I dipped the center area of the frosted cupcake in dark green sanding sugar. I added a large sugar pearl on the top, to simulate a golf ball.
For each of the Seniors, I made a shortbread cookie with royal blue polo shirt in royal icing, with golden yellow trim.
Congrats Jack, Dayne Jacob, Gabe, and Ryley! (photo is a full team selfie with coaches)