JV Football Sugar Cookies and M&M Cookies

Baking date: November 1, 2017

This year, my son was moved up to the high school varsity football squad in his sophomore year. It was very exciting for him, but meant a considerable shift in my photography hobby.

I have been taking pictures of him for more than 7 years on the sidelines of all of his sporting events – baseball, football and basketball. The varsity team already has a photographer mom on the sidelines whose son is also a sophomore. So I was watching him from a new vantage point – the stands.

Because many of the boys he had played with for years were still on the JV team, I decided to show up to those Wednesday night games and take pictures. I was able to take care of my photography fix, and share the photos with the football families.

For the last game of the season, I decided to make goodie bags for all the players and coaches, and share the extra cookies with family and fans in attendance.

I made the base cookie dough for big, fat chewy chocolate chip cookies. Instead of chips, I added 1 cup of royal blue and 1 cup of gold M&Ms, since the school colors are royal blue and gold. I also saw these in the grocery store, so I made 3 batches. There’s no shame in my game when it comes to fantastic shortcuts for weeknight baking:


I then stuffed cookies in treat bags and put football and gold star stickers on the packages, with a gold tie. IMG_0762IMG_0763

Each coach and player received a treat bag. For the parents and fans in attendance, I had left over cookies that one of the moms helped me to hand out.


Congrats to the Walkersville JV Lions on a great season, 6-2. And thanks for letting me be there to capture the action!


The JV Lions players and coaches have a tradition of kneeling before their game, hands on one another, led by a player in prayer. That shadow you see in the lower left corner is me taking their picture.


Cheer Cupcakes

Baking date: October 20, 2017

This year, my son Alex was moved up to the varsity high school football team. He is one of only 4 sophomores and 1 freshman to be invited up. It’s exciting for him, but we know that he won’t see much playing time unless the team has a lead securely in hand.

It’s quite an accomplishment to be that close to the older kids, who made it to the state championship game in 2015 (lost 21-20), and in 2016, when they went 14-0 for the season and brought home the championship. This year, it was #NewTeamSameDream of heading back to the state championship game for a repeat.

I’ll spare you the suspense..our boys lost in the Regional Championship game. It was a close-fought game, against two powerhouses in the region.

But back to those cheer cupcakes…the cheerleaders had made yard signs for all the varsity players this year at the beginning of the season:


I thought that was a very nice gesture and wanted to do something for the cheer team. I asked for the team roster and set out making chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. But to amp up the offering a bit, I dipped the frosted cupcakes in blue sugar sprinkles, piped on the cheer names in golden yellow tinted frosting, and added candy melt hearts in royal blue and yellow. I made extra cupcakes with yellow frosting and added the blue sugar sprinkles. Some had the extra candy hearts (the mold makes 20) with some of the blue sugar sprinkles.

Here’s a look at the cheer cupcakes (coaches included!):


And here are all the cupcakes:


Thanks WHS Cheer!


And thanks to my friend Michelle, for capturing photos during my son’s Sophomore year on the varsity squad. I   and I ❤️ #54


High School Football Championship Cakes and Cookies

Baking date: January 6, 7 and 8, 2017

I’m going to cut to the chase here – my son’s high school varsity football team won the Class 2A Maryland state championship in 2016. He played on the JV team because he is a Freshman, but this accomplishment is no less exciting for all of us in the community. Last year, the team made it to the championship game but came up short by 1 point.

In January, the teams — both varsity and JV — held their awards banquet and meal. Of course, this was a perfect opportunity for me to bake and pay tribute to the players, coaches, and parents who were part of this amazing season.

First up was general cakes for all to enjoy. I made a large (16″) square cake.  I covered it in buttercream frosting, and piped on bursts in royal blue and golden yellow, with white sugar pearls on top of each burst. The item in the center of the cake is a buttercream icing transfer. The intricate letters were not that easy to pipe on and instead of peeling off the wax paper, I used an icing spatula to “slide” it off, which smeared the colors a bit. Finally, I made a giant Lion paw with yellow and royal blue candy melts.


I also made a 1, a 4, and a 0 (Baker’s note: this is the new version of this pan. I have an older version that does not have angled edges). This team’s record was 14-0. I even made a dash with a mini bread pan. I used the motto “Small Town, Bigger Dreams” we had printed on tee shirts as buttercream transfers on these cakes. The buttercream frosting I made is really better designed for piping and not spreading. In the future, I may microwave it a few seconds to get better spreading consistency.


Next up were some special cakes. First was the cake for the team mom. She manages all the communications and activities between coaches, players and parents for both varsity and JV. She received a football make with red velvet cake (her favorite) and a chocolate cream cheese frosting (sorry, can’t remember where I got the recipe!). She also got a big lion paw candy melt in yellow and royal blue.


Next was a cake for the head coach, who received High School Coach of the Year honors in the state of Maryland from the Baltimore Ravens.


His football cake was triple chocolate cake with the same chocolate cream cheese frosting. He also got a large Lion paw candy melt on his cake.


And then there were the players. I got the roster from the team mom. I made football shaped sugar cookies with royal icing. I piped each players name and number on the cookies with a #1 Wilton tip. There were also cookies for the coaches, managers, statisticians and videographers. Extra cookies were decorated with either royal icing or chocolate jimmies.


There was also a special larger football cookie for a team mom and photographer, decorated with royal blue and golden yellow buttercream bursts.


Congrats to the coaches and players for bringing the win home to our community and for all the accolades and pride that came with it!


Football Playoff Sugar Cookies

Baking date: October 28, 2016

My son Nick’s 8th grade football team made it to the playoffs this year. As has been my custom with football playoff games for my boys throughout the years, I make treats for the players, coaches, cheerleaders, and fans.  There would be three rounds of playoffs, quarterfinals, semi-finals, and the SuperBowl.

Originally, I was inspired by these cookies:


but decided that those would be the cookies I would make if the team got all the way to the SuperBowl.

For this first round of playoffs, I decided to make sugar cookies in the shape of footballs that were personalized. I use a recipe for the sugar cookies that I found on Food Network. For the royal icing, I always substitute one of the tablespoons of water with a tablespoon of almond extract. I think it improves the taste of the royal icing.

Here are all the footballs with the brown tinted royal icing. I left a portion white for the football laces:


I also tinted some of the icing golden yellow and royal blue, which are the team colors. I used these colors for piping on names, numbers and other decorations.

The players’ cookies had their name and number:


The coaches’ cookies had their names:


The cheerleaders and their coaches had their name and a blue “pom” (tip #233) on each end of the football. Not easy to do with royal icing that is more flooding consistency, so my poms looked more like blobs.


There were also cookies for the water crew — younger brothers and sisters of players on the team. On the extra cookies, I piped on Lions:


And last (but certainly not least!), I hand shaped a large football cookie for the team mom:


Our team was up against the top ranked team…and I’ll spare you the suspense. Our boys did lose and our playoff run was over after only one game.

But the important thing is…even when it was very clear the game was out of hand, our boys continued to play hard until the end. And the other important thing? We had cookies to celebrate what great kids, coaches, and fans we have!

Good luck in high school, fellas!


2016 GVAA Walkersville Varsity Lions



Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking date: August 14, 2016

In the local sports association football program my boys have played in, they have weight limits for age groups. If you are over the designated top weight for your age group prior to the first game, you must either sit out games (and be re-weighed a few weeks later), or play up in the next age division.

Our oldest son was always close to the top of the weight each year. And his second-to-the-last year of playing, he was over and had to work real hard to make weight to play with his friends, rather than sit out or play up with older kids. Helping growing boys make weight – it’s awful. I even blogged about the experience.

When one of the young kids was faced with a similar battle this year, his mom asked for ways to help Jonny drop the weight in advance of the official weigh in. Many people chimed in with advice; parents and his teammates offered to run extra laps and work out with him more.

I offered inspiration as well – sharing some of the things we had Alex do that week before weigh-ins. I also offered this:


I know it seems counter-intuitive to offer someone baked goods for losing weight. But so what – motivation comes in many forms!

After a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and self-discipline, Jonny made weight. His mom let me know he liked red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

I used a box cake for red velvet – I haven’t found a scratch recipe I like yet. For the icing, I used a classic cream cheese frosting recipe.  The recipe made plenty of frosting and I used the leftovers to frost some banana bread later.

To make the cake extra special, I added the letters WEIGH TO GO JONNY using royal blue candy melts. I included chocolate candy melt footballs, with some of the extra cream cheese frosting piped on for the laces. I also included royal and yellow Lion paw candy melts. Here is a view of the cake from the top:


And from the side, because I piped bursts along the lower edge, and added in alternating blue and gold sugar pearls:img_1737

Let’s just say that Jonny thought all the work was worth the weight:


Game-saving Interception Football Cake

Baking date: November 22, 2015

Many of my readers know that my boys are into sports. In the Winter, it’s basketball. In the Spring, the older one plays baseball and the younger plays lacrosse. In the Fall, both play football.

Next year, our oldest enters high school. He has been playing in the junior football league for six years and is looking forward to playing in high school. Each Friday, we go to the games and cheer on the high school team.

This year, our team has a strong group of sophomores — some of whom my son knows from their time in the junior football league. This year the team had a good year and in the final game – against a long-time county rival – they won and punched their ticket to the playoffs.

Our boys were the lowest seed in the first round against a #1 seed team. In a game that certainly stunned the #1 team, the Lions won and moved on to the regional championship.

In the regional championship game, our boys faced the #1 seed once again. With our boys leading 17-14 in the final minute and a half of the game, the opponent was moving the ball down the field toward a score. On a second down long pass, one of our boys made a game-saving interception and we won the game.

With that, the underdog Lions became 2A West Regional Champs!

And, of course, I would need to make a special cake for Ethan High who made the interception. Ethan’s younger brother had played baseball with our oldest for a number of years. And Ethan’s youngest brother played lacrosse with our youngest.

I asked Ethan’s dad what kind of cake he likes and his dad said “chocolate anything”. I started with a dark chocolate fudge cake mix and used the football cake pan.

For the icing, I also used dark chocolate fudge frosting to match the cake. It was a bit dark — milk chocolate frosting looks more football like. But I wanted the cake and frosting to be super chocolaty, so that’s what I used.

I used a #47 tip with classic white frosting to create the laces on top. I hand piped the letters onto wax paper using yellow candy melts (printed out the words/numbers reversed, so that the smooth side would be facing the correct way when they were on the cake. I taped the wax paper over the letters and then did the piping.). Note: In the future, I will make all caps block letters, as the lower case letters are tough to form freehand, especially with lots of curves and loops.

I texted his mom halfway through decorating to give her a sneak peek and to confirm a time to drop the cake off:


I added two large paws in yellow and royal blue candy melts on each end of the football, with Ethan’s number 8 piped on in frosting dyed royal blue. I added bursts around the bottom edge of the cake, and placed a gold sugar pearl in the center of each burst.

Here is the cake all decorated:


Ethan was truly surprised. His parents were having grandparents and aunts and uncles over for a family meal Sunday night, so the cake just added to the celebration.

Ethan and Cake

Way to go Ethan!

And congrats to the Walkersville Lions, who won the state semi-final game against another #1 seed the following Friday and are now on their way to the State Championship game this Saturday!

Halloween-Themed Playoff Cupcakes

Baking date: October 30, 2015

Both my boys’ junior league teams made the football playoffs this year. As is my tradition, I make goodies for the boys after each playoff game, with the hope that we make it to the SuperBowl.

I had hoped a couple of images I had created and posted on Facebook football groups would provide the players with additional inspiration:

JV and Varsity

The first of the playoff games on the way to the SuperBowl fell on Halloween. Cupcakes are the easiest thing to make in terms of individual treats and I decided to decorate them in team colors (royal blue and gold), but with a spooky look.

First I made candy melt spider webs in yellow (one of the team colors). I also made extra cupcakes for the fans at the games and created vibrant green candy melt spider webs. I only made the “half web”, not the whole web.

As the spider webs were setting, I added sugar sprinkles in gold on top of the yellow ones.

The cupcakes were a simple yellow cake box mix. I dyed the icing using royal blue dye. I used a 1A tip to pipe on a “monster” and used sugar eyeballs. I then added on the spider webs I had created.

Here are the monster cupcakes in my fridge:


But to me, they looked like a royal blue version of the poop emoji:



I thought, what 12 or 13 year old boy wouldn’t love a cupcake decorated to look like poop? Here are the two trays (there were exactly 24 players and coaches).

I posted an inspiration photo of the treats on the team’s Facebook group page:


I also made additional cupcakes for the fans and families in attendance because I had a feeling this would be the last game for the JV team. They were up against the top seeded team. And I was right; they lost the game and their season came to an end.

Here are the extra cupcakes with the vibrant green candy melt spider webs. I didn’t swirl on the icing for more poop emojis. I only used one eyeball on these cupcakes:


There were two trays of this version of the cupcake

For the varsity team, we were the #1 seed in our quarterfinal game. We had come off an undefeated season and expected to make a run through the two playoff games on our way to the SuperBowl. I planned to make more elaborate creations once we got to the semi-final and then the SuperBowl. Full disclosure – I also ran out of royal blue dye and wouldn’t have had enough frosting to make more poop emoji monsters, so I just covered the top of the cupcakes with some frosting, the candy eyeballs, and a yellow spider web candy melt.

Here’s the varsity version:

Once again, I was lucky that the number of players and coaches was 24.  I posted an inspiration picture on the Facebook team group page:


But for my son Alex, his teammates, and coaches, the road to the SuperBowl ended that day. It was a sad day for the boys, but I have had the honor of watching them become fine young men over the past six years.

While the ending wasn’t so sweet for either of my boys’ teams this year, I’m grateful to have good boys, with good friends, who play on good teams to cheer for.