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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Star Cookies

I haven't forgotten about you! As soon as Christmas was over, my body realized that I'm not Superman by any chance, and gave out on me. I was sleeping for 3 whole days with a heavy version of the flu! I went to work today and I went to work yesterday afternoon.. oh it is terrible!! You know how it goes...runny nose, coughing...sneezing very loudly (I can't help it while I'm sick!). Yesterday I had to run away from the customer I was helping to grab a tissue! It was sooo embarassing!!!

So as you can tell from all my adventures, I wasn't able to be in the kitchen! I baked a Pecan Tart on Christmas morning, and that was it! I haven't done ANYTHING in the kitchen since.. not even washed a plate or cup or nothing!

Before all that though, I had the time to bake my Butter Cookies. I usually bake them into hearts or flowers or whatnot..this time they were stars, for Christmas. I filled half of them with Nutella and the rest with Raspberry Jam. They were completely sold out by the next day!

I promise you that these are SUPER yummy! I only had one. The rest I knew had to be sold so I kept away from them.

And this is a picture of the Christmas Cake I baked for my friend. The Gingerbread People on top are the ones I had made for my Gingerbread House that never finished. The little Teddy and Merry Christmas sign are from my favorite baking supplies shop, Sprinkles & Sparkles. The ornaments at the bottom are the Gingerbread Baubles I baked and decorated.  The inside of the cake was red and green layers, just like the cake here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas !!!

I just wanted to with to all of you a
Very Merry Christmas
this year. I also wanted to thank everyone that's supporting me by placing orders with me.
And I want to thank you all that visit my blog.

Those that live close to me, stop by my house and share some Christmas Cake with me and some coffee or tea. The door is always open. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread House

I've been talking about this Gingerbread House in all my past Christmas broke! Right before the finish line, the cleaning lady stumbled on the table it was sitting and floup! It fell and broke... You have no idea how devastated I was. I was going to finish it that evening and send pictures of it to my friend Jody. If you don't know who Jody is, you can read all about her at my post Gingerbread People.

Thankfully, I took a picture with it that I posted on Facebook. See, my friend Michelle sent me a customized chef's jacket and apron that says "Fairy Cakes Joy" on it :) So I took a picture wearing the jacket to send to her. Thank you thank you thank you my Michelly!!! She also sent me a picture which has smaller pictures of her on it wearing my jacket and making one of her recipes. The back of the picture has her recipe written down. She's soooo thoughtful. I feel blessed to have a friend like her!

See, I had made a Snowman Cookie and 2 Gingerbread people, a boy and a girl, that I was going to put in the garden of the house. I bought sweets and candy to make a red and green picket fence, too! I was going to finish up with more decorations and such, but oh well. It tasted good, so I don't regret eating it after the accident :)

But I'll show you some pictures to see the process.

This is the front and back of the house. One side had a broken tip [on the left].

This is the roof of the house. I wasn't done with the chimney. I was going to put snow on it.

This is the side view of the house. Under the windows I was going to make a green bush with red flowers on it. Next to it is the snowman. I was going to give him a black hat :) And on the top are the boy and girl I was going to put in front of the house. They went to a different post..coming later.

All glued and waiting for the roof.

And this is the support I had for the roof while it dried.

Next year I promise to make a Gingerbread House till the end. It was the first time I made it from scratch, so I was in the learning process. I really enjoyed myself. I took the time to make it and decorate it with so much joy. I wish I had a picture of it on its own, at least to the point I had reached but oh well, next time :) Maybe I'll make a pink one for Valentine's Day or something.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Baubles

They are finally done!!! Not that they should take too long, it's just that I had to go to work between making the dough, letting it sit, making the cookies, baking the cookies, cooling the cookies, making the royal icing, coloring the royal icing, filling the cookies, decorating the cookies, making mistakes, fixing mistakes, and eating a cookie here and there!

The base for these is gingerbread, so I had to let it sit for a few hours in the fridge. I made four different bauble sizes and some round ones. The packet of cookie cutters I bought also had a mini round cutter to cut out holes so you can actually hang these if you wanted to. They came out very tasty.

After these were completely cool, I started flooding them. I got the idea of the colors from Peggy Porschen's Book Simply Spectacular Cakes.

(Don't mind the gingerbread people on the top right. They are for that other movie we talked about, "Gingerbread House").

After these were completely done and dried, I started adding the details and embellishments.

They all have ribbons, too, in case someone wants to really put them on their tree. I did that once, when my goddaughter was little, only it was with chocolates. We just saw the whole tree fall and she was under there, still holding on to the chocolate ornament!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread People

For the first time EVER, I made gingerbread people from scratch! Super exciting! Plus, it's so Christmassy! But before I tell you about my gingerbread cookies, I have to tell you the story behind the scenes :)

When I lived in California, I had a neighbor, who is also my bestest friend in the whole wide world, called Jody (she's still my friend! She just lives in California still and I moved to Cyprus). Jody is 74 years old now. I'm 27. We met when I was 20. We got along so well that I couldn't ever leave her house! She cooked for me almost everyday, I cooked for her a few times, and I NEVER did her dishes! She doesn't like it if you do her dishes! She used to have a ranch with cows and all. Has 3 children who are grown and live about an hour and a half from her little appartment. So she still visits family, and they visit her, but I was right next door. We used to do EVERYTHING together. Grocery shopping, paper making (I lie.. her sister, Coralie, was involved in that one, too), go stay up in the snowy mountains for new years ...Coralie was there, too. Watch movies.. put up her tree for Christmas (I don't have a picture after all these years, but it's the BEST tree you've ever seen, trust me! She puts like 5 strings of Christmas lights on so that the tree is ALL LIGHTS and THEN we put the decorations.. that she's been collecting since...if I remember well 1967? She has dates under all her ornaments and who gave them to her.. I think the pair of slippers, which is her first ornament, and the first to go on the tree, is dated 1967). AND make gingerbread houses!

Jody used to buy the kit and put the house together, and I'd decorate it with her. Well..more like eat all the frosting is what I did! One year we did this with Coralie's great-nieces, and I would eat the green frosting and Jody would pretend telling me off, and the girls had so much fun! The frosting...being green, was all over my face! I remember we also made Snickerdoodles that day. That's when I found out they are my favorite cookies! Thanks Coralie!

So with all my beautiful Christmas memories with Coralie and my dear Jody (I have to also mention Niki, Jody's Japanese Chin, the only little dog I love to death!-I'm a big dog kinda girl) and River.. Coralie's dog.. and Lola, the cat! (we are such a big family after all!), I decided this year, after a whole page of reading for you guys, to bake gingerbread people from scratch, and also make a Gingerbread House...from scratch!

This is the first gingerbread man I cut :) I got the little cutter rather than the big one, and these came out looking really cute. With the same batch I cooked the pieces for the house, too.
I thought the dough was kind of dark, but once cooked, it lightened in color.

All cute and ready to be decorated! What I liked was that after making the dough, you let it sit in the fridge for up to overnight. So between my full time (plus over time for the holidays) job and baking cookies, I had some time to rest. Under normal circumstances, I would've baked other cookies while these rested, but unfortunatelly, I'm not a robot of any kind.

Now if you remember my post The Making of: Cat Cookies, then you should also remember that, that was my first time decorating cookies. So this is my second time. So judge lightly if you may, please :)

See the top left one? I ATE HIM! He looked more like a ghost rather than a gingerbread man! So I indulged! I did different kinds to have variation. Don't mind the snowman, he's there for the other movie, Gingerbread House!
Some are even wearing scarves...with a little pin on it..

Don't mind the top left one.. he's just sad because he wasn't wearing the scarf!

And don't tell anyone...shhhhhh...but here's a little preview of my house (if I can ever put the roof together!):

I bought my supplies from Sprinkles & Sparkles

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Special Brownie Order

I know it's been a few days, but I promise, I was super busy! Before I post anything about Christmas, I have to tell you about this brownie order I did. It was for my friend's husband who's in the military and wanted to give treats for his name day. He doesn't like sweet stuff that much, but when he came to my tasting event, he tried my Swirly Cheese Brownies and LOVED THEM! He immidiately ordered brownies for his name day [3 months in advance]. One little detail: He wanted me to add Hazelnuts!

Ok no problem. I don't like to disappoint my customers. Only thing was that it was a bit difficult to get a nice swirl with the nuts in between the knife. But this is how it went:

I smashed the hazelnuts with a mallet. They were completely raw. Not toasted whatsoever. I put them in a little baggie little by little and smashed them. It was fun!

Then I did the cream cheese mixture. This wasn't as much fun as the smashing, but it was till fun :)

After I was done with the brownie mixture, I added the hazelnuts. If he wanted any more brownies, they'd be outside my mixer bowl! Haha not really, I would had made another batch.

You put the brownie mixture in the pan, then you add the cream cheese mixture, and then you swirl away!

And here are the brownies just before they hit the oven!! I delivered today and I hope whoever tries them is happy with the result! I know I was ;).
Now that all my non-Christmas orders are done and over with, I'm ready to do some Christmas stuff!! Here is a little preview of what's coming your way :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Baking Please!

Let me tell you a little something that you might not know: if you're Greek, you come with a name day! A name day is celebrated on the same date every year. If you have the same name as someone else, they celebrate that day with you. Since each day has a set date, it is easier to know when someone's name day is, rather than remember their birthday. Therefore, people give treats for their name day more than they do on their birthdays. Makes sense so far?

One of the most popular male names here in Cyprus, is Andreas. And the name day for that was yesterday. I had TONS of orders for that!!! I hadn't slept in 4 days! Up baking all night, waking up early to finish up! I delivered my last order yesterday afternoon after work, bought some more supplies (getting ready for Christmas), came home and stayed in my PJs! Made me a cup of hot white chocolate (I have to tell you the recipe for this one day.. it's delicious!) and rested.

NOT REALLY! I kept thinking about Christmas!!! So I sat by the fireplace with my hot chocolate, brought out all my books, and started to pick out the recipes I will bake this year along with which Christmas Cake I should pick.
I have my grocery list ready so I can start, and I'm attempting to do a Gingerbread House from scratch! If it looks good, I'm sharing. If it doesn't...well then we all have to laugh together :) I'm also making gingerbread baubles for my Christmas tree. Those I will share, too.

So get ready for some Christmas Baking!!!
Here are some of the cupcakes I whipped of up St. Andrew's day: