I have to say that I think my piping skills have gotten a lot better over the last year, so I was excited to try out snowflake cookies again this year. Snowflakes have always been my favorite cut out to decorate. Last year I decorated them all the same see here but the day I made these I decided to do whatever flowed from the tip. I love how they came out, especially the white on white one. I used the No Fail Sugar Cookie recipe posted on Cake Central. I've had a lot of success with this recipe, but have learned that the cookies work better when rolled thicker and that they get really, really hard if you let them bake too long (like even the slightest brown.) To decorate, I used a simple royal icing...I never measure, just mix egg whites and confectioners sugar together until I get the right consistency. I think I decorate cut outs different than some people; I learned from an old employer to paint on (with a smaller paint brush) the royal icing. It is much easier to do (unless you have shapes like a circle, and then you HAVE to pipe the outline to get it perfect) and then pipe on details (I used a #2 tip.) For the ones with the the blue in the middle, I used a smaller snowflake cutter and cut out the middle, added crushed blue Jolly Ranchers, and baked them (make sure you are baking these on parchment paper....I'm sure they would stick if you didn't.) After I decorated and the royal icing was all set, I brushed on super pearl luster dust. I love how these cookies turned out; it is pretty rewarding to see the difference between my last year ones and these.
One would think that after making 100 (yes, you read that right...ONE HUNDRED!) 5" pies for wedding favors a few weeks ago that I would be SO over pie making. However, after a week of serious cake making, and after still seeing a peck of Ida Reds (which I purchased from an Amish farm back home for $3...the whole bushel was only $7!) still sitting in the corner of my kitchen, I decided to whip up an apple pie to stick in the freezer. The reason I really like pies is probably (other than the crust) there is no measuring....some of this, some of that...whatever I feel like putting in. And somehow it always turns out great. Since I only had enough pie dough for a single crusted pie, I decided to do a crumb topping. WOW...talk about a bad day to start doing a low carb diet! I had a tiny bite of the piece I cut (so I could take a picture of the inside)...I am a sucker for the crumb topping. To make my crumb topping I used a stick of butter, added flour and brown sugar and mushed it all together, adding more flour until I got a crumbly texture. Mmmmmm.....
My second quest today was to make a pumpkin roll. I used this recipe from Allrecipes. Ehhh, it was ok. I chose to do a cream cheese buttercream instead of the filling, which was my mistake. Another problem that I had with the recipe was the pan size. I chose to use a 12x12 pan, which is larger than what is called for, and I still don't think it is large enough. I had a tough time rolling it without the cake cracking. I have found that the thinner the cake is, the easier it is to roll. I might try it on a 1/2 sheet pan next time, maybe with a different recipe.
I had to post this picture of my niece with her birthday cake. I dropped the cake off half way to my sister in law on Saturday, and let me tell you...4 hours worth of construction zones are a death sentence for a cake!!! My niece still loved the cake though...next time I'll have to figure out a way to get some better support in it!