Football Jersey, Football Player Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Baking date: January 5, 2019

Each year for my son’s football team, I have been baking for the annual banquet. The year they were the State 2A Champs, I went crazy. The following year, we were conference champs, and I baked a bunch for that banquet as well.

This past year, after losing 25 seniors, our team was in re-building mode. We had a tough season and we weren’t the same powerhouse. In addition, we lost a number of key starters to injuries. So, while we didn’t make the playoffs, we still celebrated the boys and their coaches who worked hard through a tough season.

I made personalized jersey chocolate sugar cookies for the Seniors. The cookie cutter is large, so keep that in mind for the amount of cookie batter you will need. This recipe makes a ton of roll out cookies, but the year we had 25 Seniors on the team, I ended up making two batches.

What you see here is the first batch. Because our naughty dog Jake at3 about 4 of the cookies off the table and I had to make more. Luckily, I had not used all the cookie dough at this point.IMG_2401

For the non-Senior varsity players, I made personalized gingerbread men football players. For the JV team, I made cupcakes.

Here is my kitchen table, with the cookies in various states of decoration. I used Betty Crocker cookie icing in royal blue, white, and white dyed golden yellow, so that everything would be in the school colors.

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You can see my list at the bottom of the picture. Getting a complete roster with the correct numbers is very important. I cross them off as I decorate them!

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The coaches and the team mom get football cookies

Here are the Senior cookies:

Player Jerseys

 

Here are the remainder of the varsity player cookies:

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And an assortment of the rest, including a cookie for the team mom/photographer:

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Here is the dessert table, that included the JV cupcakes (chocolate with vanilla frosting, topped with gold and royal blue colored chocolates, and yellow and royal blue sugar sprinkles), as well as some store-bought cupcakes and cookies.

Full table

I know their job as teenagers is to try and act cool, but we did manage to catch a number of them showing off their personalized treats. Even my kid posed (he’s #63) with a few of his linemen buddies.

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I donate my time and the cost of materials for this effort. This banquet is one of the ways I pay-it-forward for the kids in my community — many of whom I have watched play football for 10+ years.

#WalkersvilleProud

#ILoveWHSLions

Star Gingerbread Cookie Tree

Baking date: December 9, Assembly date: December 16, 2018

I had seen this video tutorial on YouTube and immediately purchased the Wilton Star Christmas Tree cookie cutter set because I wanted to try it. It took me a year, but in 2018 I finally got around it.

Baker’s note: I followed the instructions in the video of cutting out the center for the larger stars. But a note of caution – I thought all the stars with centers cut out were the largest and should be stacked in reverse size order. Turns out, one of the full size cut outs is actually bigger than the cutouts with hollow centers. You need to stack the cookies in size order prior to using the royal icing to build your tree.

I used pre-made white cookie icing instead of making royal icing from scratch. The cookie icing was a bit runny for this task. I would recommend making a royal icing from scratch that is a bit thick. It will still drip over the edges and will be less messy. My arm was covered in icing once I was done.

I made the cookies out of gingerbread, from a family recipe. Here’s the tree completely assembled and with white, blue and silver decorations.

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I let the cake “set” overnight. I took this with me to the office to share with co-workers. It was my co-pilot on the hour and a half drive in. It traveled just fine in the top of my turkey roasting pan, because it was too tall for my normal cake holder.

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People were wow’d. At first, no one wanted to break off a piece. But once they started, it was quickly gobbled up.

It was pretty and it tasted great – the perfect combo!

Royal Icing Lace Technique

Baking date: December 8, 2019

The unit in my organization decided to have a gingerbread house decorating contest during the lunch hour during December. Teams of four were given a pre-fab gingerbread house kit. In addition to the decorations the kit came with, additional icings, sprinkles, decorations and candies were provided.

Unfortunately, the contest took place on a day that I was teleworking, so I couldn’t participate. I decided I would submit a single gingerbread cookie, decorated with royal icing on the day prior to the contest.

I searched YouTube for ideas on how to decorate the cookie, and found a tutorial on making holly lace.

I decided to make a Christmas ornament with some new cookie cutters I found from Crate & Barrel (seasonal availability):

Cookie cutter

I also found an inspiration cookie for other decorations around the lace, since I was only going to make the lace in the middle of the ornament:

Inspiration Cookie

Here’s my final cookie, in the shape of a bell ornament. I added a red sugar pearl in the center of the holly for a little more color. I piped on the inspiration border around the lace. For both the lace and the inspiration border, I used a #1 tip.

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It is time-consuming, so I’m glad I was only submitting one cookie for the contest!

Thanksgiving & Turkey Sugar Cookies

Baking date: November 12 & 18, 2018

Given that November was over 6 months ago (!),  and that was the last time I posted an update, I guess you could say things have been busy. And yes, I’ve been busy, but I haven’t stopped baking, so be prepared for a flurry of postings — I hope to get up-to-date this weekend.

For Thanksgiving at work, I made my traditional turkey cookies for my co-workers. More accurately, sugar cookies decorated like turkeys. I use a sugar cookie recipe from Food Network. I baked them a week early and stored them in the freezer until the following weekend, when I was ready to decorate them.

Baker’s note: if I’m working on sugar cookies that I’m going to cover in royal icing and don’t have a ton of time to make cookies from scratch, I find that our local Walmart sells sugar cookies by the dozen for under $2. The surface is not smooth, so I only use them if I am going to cover the cookies completely with icing. 

I decided to change up the eyes for the turkeys this time. Instead of an M&M with a dot of black icing, I went with pre-made candy eyeballs secured on top of the M&Ms with some of the cookie icing. I liked how they turned out much better that just a dot of black icing because the white background makes them stand out, even on the darker red and brown M&Ms. Here are all the eyeballs, ready to go on after I iced the cookies.

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I iced the cookies with white and chocolate pre-made cookie icing. I added candy corns around the top edge — 3 or 4 candy corns depending on how big the cookie is. I typically make a few cookies in a large size, and those get 5 candy corns. I placed M&Ms with the candy eyeballs just under the candy corns. I sprinkled multi-colored jimmies between the candy corns and the eyeballs.

Once the chocolate and white icing had set, I used yellow cookie icing (similar to the Betty Crocker brand, but it may have been Walmart’s Great Value brand), I piped on the triangular shape of the beaks, as well as the “feet”.

Here’s the final product:

I also used the icing, M&Ms, and candy corns to create some non-turkey cookies. Here’s the entire batch:

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Of course, I always have to protect my work from our canine counter surfing labs as it dries. Here’s my clever way to do that: IMG_2195

Baker’s note: A few months later, the taller of our two labs showed me just how ineffective this protection method is. 

Making cookies and sharing them with co-workers is just one way to give thanks for all their hard work all year.

Football Player Zombie Gingerbread Cookies

Baking date: October 28, 2018

As  member of the Athletic Boosters for my sons’ high school, I do a lot of picture taking (in addition to managing both the Facebook and Twitter feeds). I take pictures for the JV football team, as we have another football mom with a MUCH better camera/lens than mine who takes pictures of varsity games.

The JV team had a game originally scheduled on Halloween, but due to weather, it got moved to November 1. Unfortunately, the move meant I would not be able to attend the game. But that didn’t stop me from preparing a fun post-game snack for their final contest of the season.

I decided to make Zombie football helmet gingerbread cookies. I used a recipe from the Mary Meade’s Country Cook Book:

Ingredients: 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 2 cups molasses, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 8 cups flour (yes, 8  cups!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – set aside (for amounts this large, I place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift” them). Beat egg in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.  Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (it will fizz up!). Add water alternately with flour mixture. Chill at least one hour prior to rolling out.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes (time may vary, depending on your oven and the size of your cut out cookie. The gingerbread man cut out I used was 14 minutes).

I used a drinking glass with a wide mouth for the round cut out. I flooded the cookies with white royal icing, and then added the eye section with black royal icing, red royal icing and candy eyeballs, following the basic tutorial video I found on Nicki Lee Bake’s channel. I used royal blue cookie icing to make the helmets, and more of the white royal icing dyed golden yellow to make the helmet stripes and facemask.

Here are the cookies in various states of the decoration process:

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And here are the cookies in their final format. I didn’t personalize them since I wouldn’t be there to help hand them out. There were enough for coaches, as well as the players. Some of the other team moms were gracious enough to take the cookies to the game and hand them out.

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Great season, JV. I look forward to seeing a number of you move up to varsity next year, joining my son Alex as he plays in his senior year.

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Football Player Mummy Gingerbread Cookies

Baking date: October 26, 2018

This year, my son helped to coach players in the junior football program he grew up in. The kids on the team he helped to coach are 6th and 7th graders, who are on the D2 team. The D2 team is more of an instructional level than the competitive D1 squad.

My son always played on the D1 squad when he was in the program. His D2 team made it to a “Bowl” game, that took place October 27. Because it was so close to Halloween, I decided to make the players and coaches football player “mummies”.

I used a gingerbread cookie recipe my mom sent me from the Mary Meade Country Cookbook. The edition my mom has is probably from the mid- to late- 60s. The recipe is:

Ingredients: 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 2 cups molasses, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 8 cups flour (yes, 8  cups!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – set aside (for amounts this large, I place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift” them). Beat egg in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.  Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (it will fizz up!). Add water alternately with flour mixture. Chill at least one hour prior to rolling out.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes (time may vary, depending on your oven and the size of your cut out cookie. The gingerbread man cut out I used was 14 minutes).

When decorating the cookies, I started with an all white royal icing base. I then piped on a black royal icing square where the eyes would go – I got the idea for the eyes from a Nicki Lee Bakes video tutorial. At first, I thought it looked like a bunch of astronauts!

Spacemen

After I added the red royal icing and then candy eyeballs, I added strips of white using a #46 basket weave tip.  I then used royal blue cookie icing (pre-made royal icing, if you will) to pipe on the helmets, with royal icing dyed golden yellow for the facemask and stripes on the helmet. Finally, I added each players’ number in royal blue cookie icing.

Here are the finished cookies for players:

Player Cookies

These are a few on the ones that I made for the seven coaches (including my son), For those, I piped a baseball hat instead of a helmet:

Coach Cookies

And, of course, we can’t forget the Team “Mummy”:

Team Mummy

I placed each cookie in a treat bag. After the game, as the coaches spoke to them, I handed out cookies to the kids and coaches. I also had made cinnamon spice drop cookies (I use butter, not shortening) for parents, siblings and other fans in attendance.

The kids were a muddy mess after the Bowl game:

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Even though they lost, the kids loved the cookies! I believe you should always be paying it forward as much as possible. Cookies were one way I could do that for these kids.

Below is a slide show of my gentle giant (Walkersville High School varsity O-line tackle), with the kids throughout the season.

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Minnie Mouse Themed Cupcakes

Baking date: September 1, 2018

These cupcakes were made for a 1st birthday party. I also made the smash cake for the birthday girl. I was commissioned to make 25 strawberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting and 25 french vanilla cupcakes, with vanilla frosting, in a Minnie Mouse theme. The liner was pink with white polka dots. Baker’s note: the strawberry cupcakes are dense and do not rise when baking, so unlike other cupcakes, you should fill the batter close to the top.

This is the inspiration cupcake I was sent, that the mom found on Pinterest:

Inspiration Cupcakes

I didn’t have a candy mold for bows, so I went to YouTube and searched on royal icing  Minnie Mouse bows. I found this video and decided to use the concept to create royal icing bows:

I also had watched this video on royal icing transfers and learned about using acetate.

I didn’t have time to order the super thin kind of acetate described in the video, so I went to a local craft store and bought two sheets of a much thicker type. I wanted to try it alongside the recommended parchment paper. The thick acetate did not work (more on that below!). I ended up using wax paper instead of parchment paper.

I printed out the template and taped it under the acetate and wax paper. I began by piping in the bow center knot in royal icing dyed rose. I added white royal icing dots using a #1 tip while the rose royal icing was still wet, so that the dots “sank in” and did not sit on top,

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Once the center was dried (about 2 hours), I piped and filled in the rest of the bows and added additional white dots with the #1 tip. I used a fondant modeling tool to move the wet royal icing around to fill in the shape.

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Here is the full set of 50.  I piped them on cutting boards and the bottom of a number of cookie sheets and pans for a stable surface.

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I made more 50 just in case of breakage when I removed them. Glad I did! When trying to remove the bows from the thick acetate, I had a lot of breakage.

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It is a good idea to make these royal icing transfers in advance and then store them in an airtight container. If you have problems, you’ll have time to make more.

The bows on the wax paper came off much more easily. But you will need lots of patience as you remove them from the wax paper. I used a tapered frosting spatula to remove the bows. In this photo, you can see the “folds” that I piped on after the bows had set. If you do that before the bow sets, you won’t get the 3D effect of the fold.IMG_1905

For the ears, I used black candy melts with a general circle mold I have. I piped a swirl on each cupcake, using a 1M tip. I placed the “ears” in the frosting, tipped forward slightly. Then I added the bow in front, tipped back slightly, toward the “ears”. I added white sparkling sugar sprinkles on the vanilla cupcakes, and pink colored sugar sprinkles on the strawberry cupcakes so people would know which was which.

Here is what the cupcakes looked like, all put together.

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I had decided to make bright pink candy melt squares, and using the vanilla icing, spell out her name, with the ears:

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And also, spell out the name her grandparents call her – “Tootie Tot”:

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Here is everything on display at the birthday girl’s party:

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Happy Birthday, Hannah!