Monthly Archives: April 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from my family to you. Here are the cookies and treats I made this year:

Homemade Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs {think Reese’s}

We have a thing for peanut butter around here. Reese’s are definitely a family favorite. While talking to my sister on the phone last week, she mentioned her husband’s favorite Easter candy are the Reese’s Eggs. I didn’t think much of it. Until a couple days later when I was dipping the marshmallow eggs in the chocolate. There was no turning back.

I grabbed the last package of graham crackers and started processing them in the blender, while I pulled up Our Best Bites to make sure I didn’t leave anything out of their delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars. My roommates used a very similar recipe in college. Let me just say…this stuff is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I can eat spoonfuls of it before it even gets in the pan.

For the eggs, I just mixed up the peanut butter fabulousness and pressed it into a floured egg shaped cookie cutter on parchment paper. I then covered them and put them in the fridge until I dipped them.

After dipping, you don’t want to refrigerate them or your chocolate will change colors. I don’t have a lot of experience with chocolate dipping or candy making, so, I don’t have a lot good tips for you. My only advice is use good chocolate and heat it very, very carefully (slowly and at a low temperature).

These were a huge hit! I was told many times they taste just like Reese’s. I see many variations in the future.

Bunnies and Carrots

Of all my Easter cookies…these were the biggest hit! Maybe it was because everybody liked the idea of eating a cookie carrot…definitely my favorite kind of vegetable. :) Or maybe it was the puffy cheeks on the bunny.

For all my Easter cookies, I used one icing consistency. The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle and Sweetopia have some great tutorials on icing consistency. My icing was just thin enough to spread and thick enough to hold it’s shape. I outlined then immediately filled. I had to shake it down a bit on a few of the cookies. I used all disposable bags this time around…no bottles. It was a lot faster not preparing two consistencies, especially since I was using so many colors that day.

For a great tutorial on using this technique and for making the carrots and bunnies check out Sweet Sugar Belle.

Colorful Eggs

When I first saw LilaLoa’s colorful Easter eggs featured on The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle, I just had to make some!

I already had the chocolate cookie eggs ready to decorate when I realized that she also used chocolate dough for hers. I figured, what is Easter without chocolate eggs. So, chocolate egg cookies were a must.

LilaLoa has a great tutorial on her site. The cookies take a while to dry between each color. So, I recommend working on another set of cookies at the same time. Or if you are like me, sneak in a couple a couple of stripes between chasing around the kids, potty training/changing diapers, and building block towers.

I loved using a rainbow of colors!

Just Hatched – Little Chicks

These little chicks were fun to make. The egg shells were especially easy.  I just baked some egg shaped cookies and cut them after they came out using The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle’s technique. Unfortunately, I waited a bit to long to cut some of them…that happens frequently around here with a toddler and a baby. I just went back over some of the cuts with a paring knife.

I haven’t decided on the ONE cookie or icing recipe that I am in love with and going to use exclusively for the rest of my life. I keep experimenting with a different recipe every other time.

This time around I used the Sugar Cookie and Royal Icing (sort of) recipe from The Decorated Cookie. I loved them. And they were a hit with my family….okay cookies are always a hit with my family. I used Almond Emulsion in the cookie recipe and I just a little vanilla extract in the icing (no almond this time). I loved the almond flavor. Mmm…mmm.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs

Growing up my mom used to make these yummy treats at Easter time. This Easter, I decided against buying candy (except for one package of peeps) . This way I didn’t feel as guilty making so many homemade goodies.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Source: Sugar and Spice and All Things Iced– My Mother (previously Eye Candy Bake Shop)

1/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup water
1 pkgs Knox Gelatin
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dipping Chocolate

BEFOREHAND: Fill two 9×13 pans with approximately 2 inches of flour (you might need 4, I used 2 for half a batch). Using a hard boiled or a plastic egg, carefully make indentations in the flour. This takes a few minutes and you will want to have them ready as soon as your marshmallow is ready.

Put 1/3 cup cold water in a big bowl; add gelatin and stir until moistened. Put sugar, syrup and water in a pan. Bring to a rolling boil. The syrup should make a string. The temperature should be about 220°F. Remove from stove and pour into the gelatin mixture. Add vanilla. Beat with the mixer until light and fluffy. This may take about 20 minutes (or less…much less if you make half a batch…be sure to check on it).

After beating, spoon the marshmallow mixture into the holes. Let hem set overnight or at least three hours. Then brush off the excess flour and dip into melted chocolate. Sometimes the tops are very sticky. You can put a little flour on the top, in order to make them easier to handle.

After you are finished, sift the flour and use it again for something else…don’t throw it away.

This recipe can be doubled (or reduced)…just be sure to adjust the mixing time.

Makes about 4 dozen medium sized eggs.


Tweet Tweet…Sweet Little Birds

Last week I had some leftover yellow and pink icing. Of course, I just had to make more cookies…can’t waste extra frosting, right?!

This is my two-year-old’s hand. She had fun stealing cookies helping me take photos.

We love the mini bite sized cookies at our house. How about you? I definitely don’t feel as guilty eating them.

French Meringue Macarons with Lemon Buttercream Filling

This was my first experience making a French macaron. Actually, prior to making these, I had only tasted a macaron once. However, every time I saw I picture of a macaron, I was intrigued. They are so cute! I heard that these adorable cookies are finicky and a challenge to make. Finally, I decided I just had to try them.

I used the Basic French Meringue Macaron recipe from Tartlette. I was really disappointed when almost all of my shells stuck to my parchment paper. (I even tried the tricks of putting them back in the oven and putting water under the parchment paper. Apparently I need to practice more.) However, once I filled them with a little Lemon Buttercream Frosting they were a lot better.

I decided that everyone is right, they are a challenging cookie to make. One of these days, I’ll try them again. But for now I will probably stick to my sugar cookies. :)

Chocolate Chocolate Layer Cake

I love to try different flavored cakes. I am particularly drawn to vanilla and fruity flavors (especially lemon). There are not enough occasions to make all the cakes I would love to try. Hubby on the other hand, loves chocolate cake. Just chocolate…preferably rich and fudgy. So, naturally, every year for his birthday he gets chocolate cake.

This year, I used a cake mix and doctored it up using a modified version of this recipe: (If I remember correctly, I added a bit of cocoa powder in place of some of the flour. ) For the frosting, I used three different recipes, because I didn’t make enough of the first or second kind I couldn’t decide on just one.

Frosting Recipes:

Baking Note…make enough frosting to cover and fill your entire cake before you start icing. It is just easier that way! Plus, I don’t know if anybody ever complains about having a little extra frosting left over. Isn’t that what graham crackers are for? :)

As for my fabulous easy decorating method: Keep the outside a little messy then crumble a little extra cake on top. I happened to have an extra thin layer that didn’t come out as nicely as the others. This was a fast way to decorate a cake. I was able to start and finish decorating the cake while my little girls were taking their naps. Sometimes, it is just easier to do this kind of thing without the extra hands. I loved my 2 year old’s reaction when she saw the cake “Pretty Happy Birthday Cake!”


Spring Daisies

This month I made a few daisies…around 450 to be exact. The first 50 or so were to practice on for my cousins wedding. The wedding colors were pink, yellow, and forest green.

I love the sanding sugar on the centers. But I also love them without the sugar. I did have a problem with air bubbles in the centers. So, I mostly stuck with the sugar. :)

I loved the daisy cutter. But I had a problem with the petals breaking. So, I didn’t use them on the “real” cookies. I am pretty sure one of these petals was eaten during the photo shoot. :)

Just in case you are wondering what 400 daisy cookies look like. It really doesn’t look like a lot when they are all set out like this. But I think I definitely have had my fill of yellow, pink, and daisies for this month.

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