Valentine, You Make My Heart Go Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Another year, another Valentines day! This year, the kids don’t actually have school on the 14th so Ellie’s class was planning to exchange Valentines on Thursday the 13th, instead. Of course, like all of our best plans this year, the sky is planning to dump anywhere from 3 inches to 3 feet of snow on us tomorrow. And that’s why I was up until 1AM last night finishing and wrapping Valentines cookies!

I’m not sure if I have mentioned here that Ellie, age 7 1/2, has been working her way through the Harry Potter series. She’s just about half way through book seven already. Can you believe it? I’m not sure I’m ready for her to finish. Well, anyway, she insisted on Harry Potter Valentines and I was really excited to show her these printables created by Darla at Bakingdom. Then we were even more excited when we got a note from her teacher telling us that since she is planning on sending Valentines home with the kids she was OK with us including sweets. Yay! (This is unusual at our school.) So, I made her these:

Harry Potter Valentines

 

I wish I had had time to finish these today instead of last night so I could have made a tutorial. They were super simple.

  1. Bake and cool heart shape cookies and mini tie shaped cookies.
  2. Base coat the hearts in white and allow to dry completely.
  3. Cut a triangle out of sturdy stencil plastic. Hold the triangle on to the heart and airbrush over it with black. Admire your trendy dip dyed fingertips (ala Lorde) and remind yourself to pick up some gloves for airbrushing,
  4. Pipe the red Gryffindor color along the edges of the triangle with a 20 second icing. (This is a mix of maroon and red)
  5. Pipe and immediately fill the red part of the tie. Allow to dry for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Fill the remaining spaces of the tie with gold (this is Americolor gold and egg yellow).
  7. Allow the tie to dry then attach it to the heart cookie with icing.

I had wanted to attach a tag that said “I Gryffin-adore you, Hog’warts’ and all”. But Ellie insisted on using the valentines from Bakingdom. Feel free to use mine if you want! Or don’t whatever.

For Ben and his three to four year old friends, I made something a little more Preschooler friendly. These cookies are based on the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Valentine

 

The coconut trees were really easy.

  1. Bake and cool palm tree shaped cookies.
  2. Mix 20 second icing in brown, lighter green, and darker green.
  3. Pipe and immediately fill the tree trunk in brown.
  4. Pipe and fill spiky leaves with the light green and allow to dry for 20 minutes or so.
  5. On top of the light green, pipe and fill darker green spiky leaves.
  6. Let dry.

And look! Since I have proven these can be made at the last minute, I figured out how to share the printable tag I made to go with the cookies! Just click below where it says “download”!!

Download

Then, whatever you do, don’t do what I did and drop them all while locking the front door. Because that would just be ridiculous.

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Cereal Cookies For St. Patricks Day…Or Valentines Day….Or Whenever

I made these cookies for a wedding shower, but on the off chance that the recipient reads my blog, I won’t share the really cute centerpiece cookie with the couple’s name on it yet.

BUT…. I DID make a tutorial to share. So that’s something, right?

Lucky Charms Wedding Shower cookies (Ellie's Bites)

 

As much as I like handcutting, I am happy to say that I was actually able to find cookie cutters that I could use to make these cookies. That’s right, I didn’t hand cut a single one of them!

The spoons are made from baby rattles, and the milk bottles are baby bottles. The cereal bowls took a bit of altering, and I took a few pictures.

Cereal Bowl Collage1- Using a round cutter of whatever size cookie you want, cut a circle

2&3-Use the scalloped side of the same cutter to make a scalloped top. To do this, carefully angle the cutter so you are only using the top of the cutter to cut only the top of the circle. It won’t remove completely, so you’ll have to cut the sides with a knife to remove the scalloped top.

4- Using the knife, trim the bottom of the circle so it’s flat.

Decorating Cereal Bowls

 

  1. Using white piping icing, outline the shape of the bowl.
  2. Fill in the outline with flood consistency white icing. Let this dry until it is at least surface dry.
  3. Give the bowl a little depth by piping a rim to the bowl. You can flood this too to give it more dimension, but I didn’t do that.
  4. Start piping pink hearts.
  5. Fill in a few orange stars.
  6. Add your yellow moons.
  7. Follow with your green clovers.
  8. Throw in some blue diamonds.
  9. Finish with purple horseshoes and forget to take a picture.

You can obviously add some red balloons and any other marshmallows they may have added since I last ate Lucky Charms. And don’t feel like you even need to make Lucky Charms. Make Trix or Cocoa Puffs if that is more your cereal.

Lucky Charms Cereal Wedding Shower Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

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!

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies

I had never tried a baking emulsion until last week. One of my best baking/blogging friends sent me a bottle of lemon emulsion and I really want to try it, but I am waiting for warmer, Springier, more lemony type, weather. So with my curiosity about baking emulsions piqued and an extra twenty dollars floating around my bag, I ran into Home Goods (because of it’s reputation for carrying a wide assortment of discounted baking emulsions) to see what I could find. I didn’t hit the jackpot, but the trip was worthwhile. I found a bottle of vanilla bean paste (another thing I have been meaning to try) and almond emulsion.

When I got home, I opened the bottle of almond emulsion- just to smell it- and it reminded me of something I haven’t thought about in years. Amaretto. Back in my college, just starting to discover alcohol, but not sophisticated enough to try something that doesn’t taste like dessert days, one of my favorites was Amaretto and cream. I know- I’m trying not to think about how many calories I consumed in an average night. But there is something about the memory of that flavor that I wanted to try to capture in an actual dessert (now that I focus on EATING my calories instead of DRINKING them). And there is something about approaching Valentines Day that makes me want to cover the whole thing in chocolate.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies (Ellie's Bites)So- firstly: is the picture a little busy? I got carried away with the Valentines features on PicMonkey (almost carried away enough to sign up for the paid package). Secondly: I’m going to share the recipe I used,because it tasted REALLY good, however something happened in the baking process which caused the surface to bump and crack a little. I’m not sure what it was and I’ll play around a little the next time I can make cookies for fun and see if I can find the issue. Since they are covered in chocolate, the surface of the cookie didn’t matter much. In fact, I also used some cookies from this batch for a few upcoming projects and the surface didn’t even effect the royal icing. SO it might not even matter.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies (adapted from LilaLoa’s Vanilla Variation)

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter- room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp almond emulsion
  • 2 large eggs-room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (or semisweet chocolate finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (finely chopped in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries (cut into small pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, line your baking sheets with parchment
  2. In a standing mixer, beat the butter until it is soft- scrape the sides of the bowl if needed
  3. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy
  4. Add the vanilla and almond emulsion, then add each egg beating between additions
  5. Add baking powder and salt, mix until combined
  6. Add flour- one cup at a time and mix until combined.
  7. Using about a quarter of the dough at a time, knead the dough until a smooth ball forms (you may need to coat your surface with a bit of flour, but the dough shouldn’t be too sticky). Roll out the dough to 3/8 inch and cut out your shapes.
  8. Bake for about 9-12 minutes depending on your oven. I checked after nine and needed another 1 1/2.
  9. When the cookies are finished, take them out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with about 1 tbsp chocolate chips (depending on the size of your shape)
  10. Let the chocolate sit for about 2-3 minutes until it starts to melt then use an off set spatula to spread the chocolate.
  11. Immediately drop on some cherries and chopped almonds.
  12. Let the cookie sit until the chocolate hardens and the cookie cools completely.

Chocolate Cherry Almond cookies Collage

If you let these sit for a day or two, in an airtight container, the cookie will get really soft and the flavors of the chocolate, cherry, and almond will marry. In this case, it’s okay to have a marriage of three.

Chocolate Almond Cherry Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

Yes, that heart bokeh is one of the PicMonkey effects.

 Simply Sweets by Honeybee

Love Song Cookies

Out of all the Christmas cookies I made this year these were, I think, my favorite. In fact I think they may have been my favorites of 2012. If not my favorite- definitely in the top ten. What I loved about them, is how pretty they looked with one base color and a song piped on in the same color. (Did that make sense? It is so loud in my house right now, I can’t hear myself think!) Any way, of course it was simple enough to redo them for Valentines Day using love songs instead of Christmas songs.

While searching iTunes for some of my favorite love songs, I was surprised to find myself going back to The Beatles over and over.

Beatles Valentines Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

 

I had also, while playing around with no real idea in my head, cut out a large heart cookie and a smaller puzzle piece heart from the middle. I was trying to decide how to decorate this, and every time I looked at the smaller heart, I kept thinking to myself, “what should I do with this little piece of the heart?” Now, baby…

Janis Joplin Valentine Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

 

Haha, it is so loud in here right now. Ellie is home from school for MLK Day and Bryan is home with her since I have to go into work in an hour. They’re playing Monopoly Jr. and Ellie is slowly dominating the board. She has a whole song and dance routine going every time she gets a property or he lands on one of hers. It’s seriously these moments that remind me how lucky I really am.