Sleepy Elf From Ornament Cutter

Originally, I thought I saw some elf potential in the cookies I made from the Wilton ornament cutters from Walmart. I thought the pointy, striped,  sparkly pompom’d hat looked like something an elf might be happy to wear.

It wasn’t until I was playing around in Picmonkey with the picture that I started thinking maybe those little striped hats looked more like night caps. And my elves looked more like happy, sleeping children- dreaming of the presents they might find the next morning.

The Children Were Nestled All Snug In Their Beds (Ellie's Bites)Either way, once I saw cute little faces in cute little caps, I couldn’t un-see it. So I made a cute little tutorial for you. (By little, I mean I had a frustrating mishap with my new air brush and forgot to take several pictures. By cute, I mean that’s what you will think of my tutorial and ignore the missing pictures.)

You’ll need: A light colored icing (I used Wilton ivory mixed with Wilton white) in both piping and flooding consistency, A hair colored icing (I used a mixture of Americolor gold and Americolor egg yellow) in piping and flooding consistency, flesh colored icing (I used a toothpick dipped in Americolor Copper/fleshtone) in one step/20 second consistency, food color markers, pink luster dust, white sanding sugar, red airbrush color (optional- use a red food color marker if you don’t have an airbrush).

Elf from ornament collage (Ellie's Bites)

  1. Cut out your cookies using ornament cutters. Bake the cookies and turn them upside down.
  2. Outline your hats and fill the top part. Outline and immediately fill in a face. Wait 10-20 minutes for the icing to set.
  3. Add hair in two sections, waiting 10-20 minutes between sections. Add a neck (not pictured). Let this dry completely.           Sleepy Elf From Ornaments (Ellie's Bites)
  4. Add hat details with an airbrush, paint brush, food color marker, or icing.  Add a brim and pompom to the hat, sprinkle on some sparkle if you so desire. Add a nose with the fleshtone colored icing and add a mouth and eyes with a food color marker. Add cheeks with some pink luster dust. Pipe some details onto the hair.
  5. Allow the cookie to dry completely before packaging or eating.

PS- thank you to my online cookie friend (SugarNosh Treats) who was able to hear, diagnose,  and  cure my airbrush issue in about five seconds!

 

 

Making a Perfect Square Cookie and Using The Scraps

This is a little unconventional for an Earth Day post. But I thought it had something to do with conservation so I figured I would share today.

I baked three dozen square cookies this past weekend (I’ll share that project later) and for some reason, they spread a little. It was no big deal to get the shape back. I just pressed the cookie cutter into the cookie while it was still warm out of the oven and trimmed off the excess. Just be careful, the cookies are hot, and the cutter will get hot.

square (Ellie's Bites)

 

(This picture is actually a reenactment since I didn’t take a picture originally. I rolled these cookies a lot thinner, and they barely spread- of course.)

When the cookies cooled completely and hardened a little, I used a microplane zester to smooth the sides. I didn’t think to take a picture of that process, but here is a picture of the tool I used and the resulting cookie dust. Just gently rub the sharp side against the rough cookie edge. It takes very little effort, so don’t rub too hard.

cookie dust

 

I thought the dust was too pretty, and the scraps from the squares were too tasty to throw away, so I UPCYCLED them!

I used the cookie dust to rim my glass of chocolate milk. You could, of course, fill your glass with a milkshake or a cookie flavored martini. The point is…. save your cookie dust to enhance your drinks!!!

Cookie Dust Rimmed Glass (Ellie's Bites)

 

Pour out a little milk onto a saucer or shallow bowl, dip the rim of your glass into the milk, then immediately dip that into the cookie dust. Fill the glass with the beverage of your choice.

Cookie dust rimmed glass with chocolate milk

 

I cut my chocolate milk with half skim milk, because that’s what I do for my kids (shhh). They don’t notice, but I did and I regretted it. If you are going to go to the trouble of dipping your glass in cookie crumbs, go for the full chocolate milk.

I took the scraps from trimming my square cookies, and turned them into a fun treat.

Cookie Fries (Ellie's Bites)

 

I’m sure this has been done before, but I was inspired to make cookie fries when Ben saw them sitting on the counter and asked if he could have some french fries. I also happened to have red RI made, but buttercream for dipping would be a lot of fun!

Using Cookie Scraps (Ellie's Bites)

 

Do you do anything special with your cookie scraps? Besides eat them, I mean ;)

 

Mad Men Inspired Chocolate Bourbon Cherry Cookies

Warning- This post may contain spoilers… but only if you never saw the very first episode of the very first season of Mad Men. If you’ve seen that you’re probably good.

In a way, I’ve always associated Mad Men with baking cookies.

When the first season started, in 2007, I was preparing for Ellie’s first birthday party. It was, more or less, the first time I had made decorated cookies. Then every year after, the first episode of the season fell around the time of her birthday (for the first three seasons, at least). So I spent many late nights watching Don pathologically cheat on Betty while decorating birthday cookies and packing up party favors.

To celebrate the premier of the sixth season on April 7th, naturally I wanted to make cookies. Just not the decorated kind. The cookies I wanted to make reflect Don’s recurring downward spirals  a drink that was popular during the era. An Old Fashioned. Only, instead of bitters, I used chocolate- for obvious reasons.

Chocolate Bourbon Cherry Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup plus 2 TBSP bourbon
  • 1/8 cup maraschino cherry juice (or grenadine)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/4 tsp baking power
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 30 maraschino cherries (roughly one per cookie- I can usually get about 2 1/2 dozen out of a batch)
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring 1/4 cup of the bourbon and the grenadine to a boil. Reduce to about a Tablespoon. (About 5 minutes or so- keep an eye on it) Let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F and line two- three baking sheets with parchment.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, blend the butter and both sugars.
  4. Add the egg and mix well.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and the other 2 TBSP of the bourbon.
  6. Sift in the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and flour. Mix until combined.
  7. Mix in the cooled cherry/ bourbon mixture
  8. chocolatecherrybourbon cookies (Ellie's Bites)
  9. (Apparently the picture is the 8th step so don’t worry that there is something missing…..) Using a tablespoon sized cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  10. Use the back of a spoon to make a little indentation in the ball of dough, place a cherry in the indentation.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for five minutes or so then remove from pan to cooling rack. These are really good warm from the oven. There isn’t too strong of a bourbon taste. If you let them cool completely, you’ll taste the bourbon a bit more.

You can definitely soak cherries IN bourbon, but I have small children with sneaky cookie stealing hands so, for the time being, I tend to avoid recipes where the alcohol doesn’t bake out.

So, make these and pour yourself a Canadian Club and tune into AMC Sunday night to watch with me. (I’ll be putting my obsessive Netflix Dean Winchester Supernatural viewing on hold for the night.)

I’m linking these up to Simply Sweets Saturday at Simply Sweets by Honeybee.

 Simply Sweets by Honeybee 

Also, don’t forget to check in at The Cookie Puzzle for a month of posts in honor of Autism Awareness Month. Please take the time to tell Kim what an incredible thing she’s doing!

Caramel Maple Bacon Cookies

This week, I made about a hundred trillion baby shower cookies. It is definitely the season for babies!

Instead of sharing those today, though, I played around and made something that has been on my mind.

A few months ago I ran to Whole Foods to pick up a few things and they were having a sale on their flavorings and extracts. I bought a few, including maple extract, with no idea what I would use them for. I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out how to use it!

Caramel Maple Bacon Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

So, these cookies take a little prep work. A few hours before you plan to bake them, you’ll need to make some bacon, using the bacon making method of your choice. Just make it crispy. I bake mine at 400F for 12 minutes or so. Then you’ll need to brown 1.5 sticks of butter. Do this by melting the butter in a sauce pan. Once it’s melted keep stirring it until it turns brown and smells delicious. Then pour it into a bowl and put it back into the refrigerator until it becomes solid again. Third, make some caramel sauce. I used this recipe by Pioneer Woman, you can use any recipe you like or you can use a store-bought jar. Finally, while your bacon is cooling, your butter is hardening, and your caramel is chilling, make yourself a spinach and egg white omelet and squeeze in an hour on the elliptical. Or referee 10 rounds of “I don’t WANT to watch Willy Wonka again, MOM why do we always watch what HE wants to watch???!!!!”

Once your butter is hardened (but still soft, do you know what I mean?) gather the rest of your ingredients.

  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter (browned)
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of salt (optional- the bacon will make the cookie salty)
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 8 slices of crispy bacon chopped into small pieces
  • caramel sauce for drizzling
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the two sugars until fluffy
  3. add  egg, vanilla, and maple extract. Mix well.
  4. Add baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until incorporated.
  5. Fold in the bacon
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly browned
  7. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Heat caramel sauce in a small bowl in 15 second increments until it is pourable. Drizzle the sauce over the cookies.

Caramel Maple Bacon Cookie (Ellie's Bites)

Making the caramel was tricky for me. I’m not sure what happened to the first batch but it was grainy and all wrong. I threw that batch out and made another one. This one worked perfectly, only I think I let it go for too long, as it was a little harder than a sauce. It was a little tough to drizzle, but it was perfect for sandwiching between two cookies.

Caramel Maple Bacon Cookie Sandwiches (Ellie's Bites)

Either way you make them, you could probably serve them with a cup of coffee and a spinach and egg white omelet and call them breakfast!

I’ll be linking these to Simply Sweet Saturdays at Simply Sweets by Honeybee.

 Simply Sweets by Honeybee

Anzac Biscuits

As of this month, the book club I am in has been meeting for six years. That is six…. years. Short of being married and, well, being Ellie’s mother I don’t think I have ever committed to ANYTHING for six whole years!

We meet once a month and rotate hosting. The hostess provides food and drinks and we usually discuss the book for at least 10 minutes or so. Unless no one liked the book. Then we just proceed directly to wine.

This past month we read Wildflower Hill by Kimberly Freeman which takes place in Australia, specifically the island of Tasmania.

Wildflower Hill is about Emma- a Prima Ballerina in London who is forced to retire when she is injured. Emma returns home to Sydney, Australia where she discovers that her grandmother, Beattie, has left her the remains of a sheep farm in Tasmania. The story flips back and forth between Emma (in present time) and Beattie (in the years leading up to WWII). As we read about Beattie’s challenges, we also read how Emma finds a new life for herself.

Anyway, we all really liked this book. One thing we got into the habit of doing over the past six years is serving food, or at least one dish, that represents the book in some way. Of course, I turned to a group of cookiers in a Facebook group I belong to. I knew a couple of members live in Australia and they did not disappoint! They unanimously suggested this cookie and it made my kitchen smell so good that I want to make them every time I have company. (Note- if you’ll be selling your home the smell of these cookies freshly baked may get you an offer….)

Anzac Biscuits (Ellie's Bites)

I used a recipe from Martha Stewart, but I made one change (out of necessity). This recipe called for desiccated coconut. Well, I couldn’t even find unsweetened coconut and unfortunately I didn’t leave myself the time to shred and dehydrate my own coconut. So I just used the sweetened coconut I had in my pantry and made a minor adjustment to accommodate the extra sweetness.

Anzac Biscuit (adapted slightly from Martha Stewart)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not the instant kind)
  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut dehydrated (spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-10 minutes at 250- watch carefully at about 5 minutes- don’t let it brown. Here are the instructions I followed)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup (I used Lyle’s Golden Syrup which my husband found at Wegmans in the Great Britain section of their international foods department)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, and coconut.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the butter and the syrup and heat until melted.
  3. Add the water with the fully dissolved baking soda to the butter mixture and stir until combined. Work carefully because the butter will foam up when the baking soda mixture is added.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly.
  5. Scoop the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets with a 1/4 cup cookie scoop about 2 inches apart. Make sure you pack the scoop so the dough sicks together. It will be very crumbly. Flatten the dough slightly.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. The cookies will be golden and firm, but still soft and chewy inside. Your kitchen will smell like heaven.
  7. Let cool completely.

Anzac Biscuit (Ellie's Bites)

If you can find unsweetened desiccated coconut, I recommend that you follow Martha’s recipe. From what I read, it’s more difficult to find than sweetened coconut, so I thought I would share the changes I made to work with what I had.

If you’re in a book club, I recommend both the book, and the cookie!

Do you have any book/food pairings you can recommend?

I’ll be linking this recipe to Simply Sweet Saturdays at Simply Sweets by Honeybee.

 Simply Sweets by Honeybee

Inspiration Challenge: February {Famous Couple}

This was such a fun challenge. In honor of Valentine’s Day, Melissa from Simply Sweets by Honeybee and I decided to cookiefy a famous couple. That was the only guideline. Past or present. Alive or not. Real or fictional. Whatever. If they were a couple they could be cookied.

A while ago, I posted this picture amongst a group of cookie friends on facebook.

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I loved the guesses.

Will and Kate? John and Yoko? Bonnie and Clyde? … Will and Grace? Ok stopping now.

Bert & Ernie? Sonny and Cher?

Brad & Angelina? Kim & Kanye? Romeo & Juliet? Ike & Tina? Homer & Marge? Lucy & Desi? Adam & Eve?

.Captain and Tenille, The King and I, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, Pebbles and BamBam, Joannie and Chachi, Siegfried and Roy, …

At this point I was starting to doubt myself, because not one of these guesses was what I had in mind.

There was one couple that stuck in my mind. A fictional couple that remind me of me and Bryan. Mostly because Bryan is a clown and I’m, well…. I’m not flat chested.

Roger and Jessica Rabbit (Ellie's Bites)

When I started introducing Bryan to my friends and family, I was told “marry him, and you’ll never be bored.” And he has certainly provided me (and my friends) with hours of entertainment. If we’re friends on facebook, you may have seen him singing “Ice, Ice, Baby” in front of a hundred or so people. It’s hard to tell from the video, but he was sober.

“He makes me laugh”- Jessica Rabbit

Roger and Jessica Rabbit 2 (Ellie's Bites)My kids seem to have inherited the wacky gene from him, too. Life is certainly never boring.

Next month, we’ll be celebrating THE most important holiday in the calendar year. The vernal equinox. Also known as the first day of Spring. March 20th at 7:02AM. Not that I’m counting or anything, but we’ll be sharing a cookie that says to us “Spring is in the Air”.

Is there a famous couple that reminds you of your relationship? Or just  a couple that you admire, or one that you have been looking for an excuse to “cookie”? Here’s your chance! Go check out Melissa’s famous couple cookie, and while you are over on Simply Sweets by Honeybee, you can link up your famous couple cookie!