Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2019

Merry Catsmas Cookies

Does one say Merry Catsmas or Meowy Christmas?  Whichever way you think kitty pronounces it, it's so easy to make kitty cat gingerbread or sugar cookies for Christmas.  This is exactly what I did for my niece and nephews over the weekend.   For over a decade, I have made it a tradition to have a set of cookies with me as I travel out west to spend Christmas with my family.  I don't like to repeat myself with cookie designs for the niece and nephews, so it's a bit of a challenge coming up with things they've never seen me create.   Kitty cats are beloved pets in our extended family.  Using my Martha by Mail cat cookie cutters and a Wilton snowflake cookie cutter, I quickly iced cookies in a matter of an hour or so.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing difficult. For the kitty cats, I applied two consistencies of white royal icing.  A very stiff icing was used to pipe the scarves on each cat with a #18 open star tip.  Using a flowing royal icing, I piped a bead of

Jadite-Colored Christmas Sugar Cookies

It's difficult to imagine a Christmas without cookies.  For this year's sweet edibles, I turned to that mid-century colored glass known as jadeite/jadite/jade-ite for my color palette.  Working with three particular shades of green, I decorated several holiday shapes for our town's Christmas cookies.  Ornaments, mittens, candy canes, tiny houses, hemlocks, junipers, arborvitae, and spruce trees, were given the jadeite treatment in royal icing.   When you're in charge of decorating dozens upon dozens (I can't photograph all of them) of cookies and you are working solo, you tend to stick to easy decorating techniques.  Most of the cookies that you see here were decorated with multiple colors of royal icing, and were then either sprinkled with nonpareils or were enhanced with holiday-themed candies.  That is it.  Nothing fancy. For this project you will need royal icing tinted with Americolor Avocado, Wilton Kelly Green and Wilton Leaf Green.  Mix just eno

Acorn Sugar Cookies

One of the nice things about crafting decorated sugar cookies is thinking about how the recipient is going to react when they behold their treats.  Whether I'm creating cookies for a friend, a family member or for customers, I like to know what colors people like, what shapes they adore and what will make them smile if given one or two of my cookies.  It's all about designing the right mood and look.   A dear neighbor of mine whose daughter is going to be two years old this week, asked if I would make her some acorn cookies to celebrate.  What you must understand is that little Lillian has a fascination with acorns.  Most mornings, you will find her coming into the cafe with a small bucket of them that she's collected on her walk with her mother.  Naturally, a few acorn sugar cookies seemed to be the right thing for her second birthday.  For this birthday project, I knew which cookie cutters I wanted to use.  A set of graduated acorn cookie cutters were gathe

Cookies for a Tea Party

I was commissioned to make a set of Downton Abbey inspired, tea-themed cookies for a local event in my town.  With a set of cookie cutters in the shapes of a teapot, a teacup, a teabag, a cupcake, a scalloped round and a plaque, I quickly iced cookies worthy of any tea party. These cookies were made with a specific color palette at the request of a friend.  A deep turquoise, a soft pink, a dark lavender and some jet black (not to mention white, of course) is what you will need to make these specific cookie designs.  You may also want to add a bit of gilded touches to your cookies if you want to make them stand out even more. I don't know if Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, would ever have had a reason to own a  black and white bone china teapot, but this one works.  It almost resembles a piece of Wedgwood.  I do know that she probably would never have eaten a frilly cupcake like the ones you see here.  That's OK, though.   For the teapot, outline and

Adorable Halloween Cookies

It doesn't take much to make whimsical and adorable sugar cookies for Halloween.  With a few cookie cutters, a reliable sugar cookie dough recipe and some tinted royal icing, your Halloween treats will be the talk of the town as soon as neighbors get wind of them.  It's a guarantee that these will fly off the racks and into loot pails in no time. For the people around town, I looked to a variation of a cookie that I made for my niece and nephew last year, and I made another variation of a ghost cookie that my friend Janet created several years ago.  Chubby pumpkins with smiley faces, some trick-o-treater ghosts that are very cute, and a few spiderwebs with creepy spiders, are what I made for my neighbors this year. Take a look at the easy patterns and make some in the next few days for your Halloween party or for the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood.  Everyone is going to want one or two of these sugar cookies. The royal icing colors are: pumpkin orange

Lingonberry Upside-Down Cake

Lingonberries, also known as mountain cranberries, cowberries and partridgeberries, are small red fruits native to Scandinavian countries, areas of Canada and in parts of Alaska.  Recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, these tiny berries grow wild on an evergreen bush called Vaccinium vitis-idaea , a member of the heath family.  At first glance they are very reminiscent of cranberries, and yet, they are less tart, a bit more delicate in aroma and infinitely edible.   I had the pleasure of using wild lingonberries (I used frozen) a few days ago to make an upside down cake for a gathering at a neighbor's house.  The results were well worth the effort of tracking down wild lingonberries.   Click here to buy the exact berries that I used from Northwest Wild Foods.   For the recipe itself, I turned to the trusted experts at King Arthur Flour.  Their Harvest Apple Cranberry Cake looked like the perfect base to use for this particular dessert.

An Antique Tobacco Sorter

I came across an antique tobacco sorter, also known as a tobacco sizing box, that I could not pass up.  Little did I know that such tools have been used for about two centuries in this country by tobacco farmers to size the leaves of the tobacco plant upon harvesting.  After a lengthy discussion with a good friend of mine who has gone tobacco picking on a farm in Massachusetts, I was surprised at what an ingenious tool this wooden frame really was for farmers.   At first glance, you might come to the conclusion that it is a spice rack, much like the one that I own ( click here ).   Did you know that a tobacco sorter such as the one above was the actual inspiration for my Martha by Mail spice rack? The first time I saw a tobacco sorter was on the set of Martha Stewart Living Television several decades ago.  I assumed it was a spice rack or a spice shelf, because that is how Martha was using it on the set (above).  Little did I know I was completely wrong. It wasn't u