Sweet Leaf

Finding Beauty through Baking ~by Susan Baxter-Peace

Homemade Oreos April 22, 2016

After the Power Ranger cake last week I had some fondant leftover. Last time I had leftovers I made some little fondant-covered two-bite brownies. We were about to host a party at our place and I didn’t think those would be the right fit, so instead I decided to try and make some imitation Oreos and use the fondant for the filling.

I looked up some recipes and settled on a chocolate sugar cookie. It was pretty straightforward, cutting out all the chocolate cookies, and then cutting out the fondant to match.

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The fondant was quite smooth, so I knew it wouldn’t stick to the cookies very well on its own. I was also making some empire cookies, so I just put a dab of royal icing on each side of the cookie to stick the sandwich together. It worked out pretty well, and because I had two colours of fondant leftover, we had two colours of cookies: white and hot pink. They were pretty tasty little guys, I will definitely be doing them again if I have leftover fondant!

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Flooding Cookies May 24, 2015

I often admire the bright, clean look of cookies that have been decorated with royal icing. They are so attractive that you almost don’t want to eat them and mess up their perfect appearance. I have been wanting to try and make them for a while now, but I actually don’t often bake sweets unless there is a specific purpose; for example, a special event. Well, this weekend I had my chance. My husband and I were going to attend a party to celebrate life – most notably celebrating people who have survived breast and other forms of cancer, people who are still fighting cancer, and just the amazingness of life in general.

I decided to make some simple sugar cookies and use the flooding method to make pink ribbons as decoration. I looked up flood icing, which is basically royal icing that has some extra water to make it more runny to ‘flood’ an iced outline.

I made a dark pink icing for the outline, with the thought that it would look better to see the definition of the ribbon crossing itself. Then I made a lighter pink icing for flooding. When I first made the icing in the morning it seemed to be a good consistency; not too thick for a small piping tip. But when I went to use it in the evening it seemed to be thicker. I had already loaded the piping tool by the time I discovered this and decided to do the best I could with what I had, because I didn’t want to go to the trouble of taking it all out again. I had made the lighter pink icing runnier than the dark pink to begin with, but even so, it too was a bit thick for the purpose of flooding. It wasn’t a flood so much as a sploosh that needed a bit of spreading to reach the edges. The perils of not testing things in advance!

It ended up taking quite a bit longer than I anticipated, and my outlines didn’t have the super smooth look that I like so much, but I enjoyed the challenge and feel that I’ve learned something for the next time I try it. Practice makes perfect, so I just need to find a few more events to attend! Or I could just bite the bullet and make them for fun, I’m sure my family wouldn’t mind!

 

Christmas Cookie Tradition December 27, 2014

For the last couple years I have hosted gingerbread cookie decorating for my family during the Christmas holidays. We moved this year, too far for my family to come over for a cookie decorating afternoon, but I really wanted to keep up the tradition. So we decided to try and use it as an opportunity to get to know some new people in our neighbourhood.

We weren’t sure just how many people would come, but I wanted to have plenty of cookies, so I spent several evenings making sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies in various Christmas shapes – trees, snowflakes and gingerbread persons.

I got lots of little candies for decorating, and made some royal icing (which my daughter kept calling the ‘glue’). I also got some disposable piping bags, as I thought that would be slightly less messy, and possibly safer for kids, than spreading icing with a knife.

We had several families come and had a great time, plenty of sugary Christmas spirit enjoyed by all. But we had A LOT of everything left over. I knew we would never use it all ourselves, having already received a lot of holiday baking from other people. My sister-in-law works part time at a women’s shelter, and I decided to ask if they might appreciate having the extras. She took it all in a few days before Christmas, and I was so glad that all those cookies and treats would be enjoyed by some very courageous people. I hope that these will be traditions we can continue for many Christmases to come!

 

Christmas Cookie Decorating December 24, 2012

Christmas can be such a busy time of year, but it should also be a lot of fun! This year I thought it would be great to have a cookie decorating party with all of our family that are close by.

I made a variety of gingerbread cookies – people, wreathes, trees, moose, trucks, holly leaves – to appeal to the variety of ages that would be present. I made royal icing for those that wanted to have their decorations stick on tight, and buttercream for those who might prefer something easier on their teeth! I had an array of sprinkles, coloured sugars and edible sparkles for decorating, and the rest was up to everyone’s imaginations.

It was a wonderful way to spend some holiday time together, and to remember that Christmas is about being with those you love, and not about what might be under the tree. I hope you will all sense the Love that makes Christmas so special!

 

 
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