Ducky Cookies

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Aww, little duckies! These cookies work for springtime — or for a baby shower (anyone know why little ducks are always associated with baby showers? Maybe because kids love their little yellow rubber duckies at bath time? I don’t know). I wasn’t planning on making these cookies, but got the idea when I was digging through my bin of cookie cutters and found the little ducky.

If you are a new to decorating cookies with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • The ducky cookie cutter that I used was part of an Easter collection that I bought years ago. I’m sure you can find something similar on Amazon or another retailer.
  • I dyed the icing using Wilton’s gel colorings — Buttercup Yellow and Orange.
  • The black icing was colored with AmeriColor’s Super Black gel.
  • After flooding the yellow icing, I let the cookies sit for a minute or two, then dipped each into yellow sanding sugar.  Same goes for the orange beaks – create a little triangle of orange icing and dip it into orange sanding sugar.
  • I used a round tip to pipe the little black eyes onto each ducky.
  • I used the recipe below for the sugar cookies — and it will make a lot of cookies, especially if your ducky cookie cutter is small! I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half – otherwise you’ll end up with 4 dozen plus cookies.

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).


White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

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Carrot Cookies (Kind of)

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Today marks the beginning of my parade of Easter treats! I have these carrot cookies, plus a few other treats to share over the next few weeks. To be honest, I hate carrots. But I love how they are associated with spring and bunnies and all things cheery. And orange is a great color.  So here are some carrot cookies — that don’t involve any real carrots!

If you are a new to decorating cookies with royal icing, here are some helpful tips and links:

  • I used my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe, which is listed below.  Another good cut-out cookie recipe can be found at Bridget’s wonderful Bake at 350.
  • I used a royal icing recipe from Annie’s Eats, which is listed below.
  • If you are new to decorating with royal icing, please visit this post by Annie’s Eats, which will teach you about outlining and flooding.  Bake at 350 is also a great resource for cookie decorating and ideas (I love Bridget’s book, too!).

Here are the specifics on how I made these cookies:

  • I found the carrot-shaped cookie cutter on Amazon
  • I dyed the icing orange using Wilton’s gel coloring.
  • For the leaves, I used Wilton’s Leaf Green gel coloring — and a medium-sized Wilton leaf tip.
  • Once I flooded the cookies with orange icing, I let the icing set for just a few minutes — then I dipped each cookie into orange sanding sugar.  I think the addition of the sugar gave the cookies more detail and dimension. (and MORE SUGAR!)
  • I used the recipe below for the sugar cookies — and it will make a lot of carrot cookies, so you may want to cut the recipe in half.  Or not.  Depends on how many cookies you want!
  • On a related note, it’s hard to tell you how many cookies you’ll get out of the batch of dough.  It depends on the size of the cookie cutter you use.  But it’s safe to say that you’ll get at least 2 dozen large carrot cookies out of the recipe listed below.

Omi’s Sugar Cookies
Print Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 8 minutes).


White Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.

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Carol - April 7, 2014 - 3:27 pm

I don’t think I ever told you that your Grandma’s sugar cookies are the BEST! Okay, Mom or Dad’s mother?

Oreo Pudding Cookies

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A good indication of how delicious certain treats are is to see how many people ask you for the recipe. I brought these to school and I had quite a few people request the recipe — that’s when I knew they were something special! I think the addition of the Oreo pudding mix really makes these cookies stand out – and makes them nice and soft (my favorite kind of cookie).

Oreo Pudding Cookies
Recipe source: The Girl Who Ate Everything
Print Recipe

1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo pudding mix
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Hershey’s Cookies N Cream Candy Bars broken into small pieces (I used chopped Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Kisses instead)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in pudding mix until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Stir in cookies n’ cream pieces and chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.
3. Using a cookie dough scooper, place golf ball sized dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
4. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a cooking rack. Store in air-tight container. Makes two dozen.

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Katrina @ WVS - April 3, 2014 - 11:47 am

I love these cookies. They sound perfect!

Lemon White Chocolate Bars

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Happy April, everyone! April is the month of springtime, Easter (usually), and my mom’s birthday. My mom’s birthday is in mid-April, but when I was home over spring break last month I made these bars for her — because there are few things my mom loves more than lemon-y baked goods.

My first attempt at making these bars was a bit of a disaster – and demonstrated the importance of knowing the oven you’re using to bake. My parents oven, as I found out, runs HOT. So when I baked these sweet little bars, they ended up being sadly over-cooked. Boo. They tasted OK and the flavor was there, so I knew that if I tried them again and could get them right, they’d be amazing.

These bars are ooey and gooey and filled with the flavors of lemon and white chocolate. Hope you enjoy!

Lemon White Chocolate Bars
Recipe source: Life Love & Sugar
Print Recipe

15.25 oz lemon cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Combine cake mix, butter, egg, sugar and milk in a bowl and mix until smooth. Batter will be thick.
2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.
3. Add a little more than half of the batter to the bottom of the pan and spread evenly. Because the batter is thick, it might help to drop spoonfuls into the pan, then spread.
4. Add the white chocolate chips in an even layer on top of the batter.
5. Pour the sweetened condensed milk in an even layer on top of the white chocolate chips.
6. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining dough on top the sweetened condensed milk, spreading it a bit to mostly cover the other layers.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
8. Allow to cool in the pan, then cut into squares. Bars should be good stored in an airtight container for 7-10 days.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - April 1, 2014 - 5:16 am

I totally want to sink my teeth into these! Yum!

Bakery Review: Tamara’s Cakes

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I’m reviewing Tamara’s Cakes – located in Oshkosh, WI!

  • My hometown of Oshkosh doesn’t have many bakeries left. All of the old-fashioned bakeries (Schoenbergers!) have gone out of business and Appleton had been our next closest city for good bakery. Tamara’s has been around for a few years and recently opened a new shop on Oregon Street.
  • Tamara’s business revolves around making wedding cakes, specialty cakes, cupcakes, bars, brownies, and an assortment of other treats.
  • Truth time: the first time I went to Tamara’s, I wasn’t impressed. The cupcakes were dry and just kind of blah.
  • But things have improved! It seems as if they’ve hired more bakers and are consistently producing a fresher (and better) product.
  • I visited Tamara’s twice over spring break to sample a variety of cupcakes.
  • My favorites: cherry Dilly bar (oh my god, my favorite cupcake!), salted caramel, peanut butter, and circus animal.
  • My least favorites: strawberry lemonade (sadly, it was flavorless) and carrot cake (though to be fair, I never enjoy carrot cake)
  • Tamara’s changes their cupcake menu daily — so you never know what to expect when you walk through the doors.
  • My only complaint about their physical store is that it is poorly lit. The one and only window is blocked by huge displays of fake cakes. Guys, natural lighting is always best and can do nothing but make your product look better! Don’t waste that window!
  • So if you ever find yourself in Oshkosh, WI (unlikely, I know), visit Tamara’s and try a cupcake!

Note: I’m not being paid to promote this bakery. I just like to try new places and I’ll take any excuse I can get to eat a few cupcakes.

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