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Showing posts from June, 2015

American Flag T-Shirt Cookies

Let's display the star-spangled banner around our home and bake up some treats for the Fourth of July decorated in red, white, and blue.  If you're heading out to a parade, attending a celebratory gathering or are hosting a delicious barbecue, I encourage you to make iced sugar cookies with images of the American flag.  Let's celebrate! This year I decided to make some t-shirt cookies with American flags to surprise some guests at a four-family gathering.  Rather than just having rectangular images of old glory, I wanted to include stars and hearts for variety and visual interest.  What I had in mind was a plain white t-shirt, with a bold image right in the middle.  True to my style of decorating cookies, I kept the images simple, yet thoroughly prominent.  There is nothing whatsoever difficult about these American Flag T-Shirt Cookies, and what's nice about them is that they can be made any time of year.  You don't have to wait for the Fourth of July to be

Summer Entertaining Favorites

Summer is a great time to entertain.  Everyone likes to have company over at least once or twice during the season, so that one can share good food, lots of laughs and the best of the best.  I'm all for going to the farmers market every single week to pick up the most colorful, juiciest and flavorful fruits & vegetables for us to feast on here at home, but if I happen to be harvesting summer berries or other fruits from the property, even better.  Should I have company over for an afternoon luncheon or dinner, then I make an extra effort to bake a pie or a cake and pick the most flavorful meat for burgers or perhaps some Maryland blue crab for savory crab cakes, if I'm in the mood for them (this is most often the case during summertime).  After I choose a main course and at least one dessert, then everything else falls into place.  The dinnerware, flatware and glassware can be dressed up or down depending on the ambience I want to create. Here are a few of my

Garden Cookie Delights

Every now and then it's a good idea to surprise a dear friend or relative with a gift made from the heart.  A week ago I wanted to do just that to a very good friend of mine by baking and decorating some garden-inspired cookies to send their way.  With a few cookie cutters that I recently added to my collection, I cut out chocolate cookies in the shapes of a watering can, garden flowers, ladybugs and a garden shed. I only used three colors of royal icing for them and a handful of decorative elements to embellish.  Wrapped in clear cellophane bags and tied with grosgrain ribbons, the cookies were packaged in pairs  in order to provide extra support and minimize breaking during shipping.  It's one of my little tricks that has worked for all of my cookie shipments. In the near future, I will give a more in-depth tutorial on how to safely ship decorated cookies. If you've been following my cookie decorating posts these past few years, you know that I like to wo

What is Dutch-process cocoa powder?

A reader recently asked me: what is Dutch-process cocoa and where can one find it?  To put it simply, it is cocoa powder that has been treated to make it alkaline, and it can be bought in most supermarkets or gourmet food stores, and, of course, online. I have a penchant for using Dutch-process cocoa in my desserts because I love its flavor and color.  The beverage in this photo is the last word on hot chocolate.   Click here for that recipe. Cocoa powder is the cocoa solid end product when cocoa butter is removed from the cacao beans; cocoa butter or cocoa fat is what's used to make bar chocolate.  In its unadulterated state, cocoa powder is light in color (photo above), naturally acidic, and is high in flavonols.  Natural cocoa powder is the most common type found in supermarkets and is not expensive whatsoever (think Hershey's). Baking recipes for cakes and cookies which use 'unsweetened cocoa' or 'natural cocoa' generally call for baking sod

Martha by Mail Flag and Shield Cookie Cutters

If you want to make the most patriotic cookies this season, reach for the collectible cookie cutters from Martha by Mail shaped like a flag and shield. The giant closed-back cookie cutters made of copper were offered for a very short period of time through Martha by Mail.  This set was the nineteenth design for the large, closed-back cutters from American coppersmith, Michael Bonne, through Martha by Mail.  They have since become classic Americana and are highly sought after by bakers and collectors.     Use the iconic cookie cutters to create American flags and shields this season to give as gifts for Independence Day.  Everyone is going to want one!  Decorating the Cookies Use royal icing to decorate your patriotic cookies to look like the ones on the front of this card.  You will also need gel food coloring in red and blue, a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, an offset spatula or toothpick, dragĂ©es and tweezers (optional), and sanding sugar. Royal I