Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Dear Friend with Some Sweet Dolly Cookies

by Darla

Do you guys remember how I said on Monday that I was into a cuter, gentler Halloween? How I’m not into scary movies and stuff?

Then why am I suddenly obsessed with The Walking Dead?!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends statused on facebook about how she was mad at The Walking Dead for sucking her in. At the time, I thought, “Hmmm. The Walking Dead. That sounds like vampires. Meh.”

Don’t get me wrong…a good vampire book, show, or movie makes me happy (as long as it’s not terribly gory, please), but there’s been a lot of overkill for a while now.

Then, last week, The Walking Dead shows up on Netflix Watch Instantly. And you know what?

The picture totally makes it NOT look like a vampire show…so what is it?

Well, fortunately for you, my curiosity got the better of me (if I were a cat, then I would have used up my nine lives a long, long time ago).

It’s a zombie show. A half-rotted-corpses-walking-the-streets-attacking-innocent-coma-victims-who-woke-up-completely-unawares-that-the-Zombiepocalypse-had-descended zombie show.

And it’s good. Really.

It can get gory, I’m not gonna lie. I find myself covering my eyes no less than half a dozen times per 45 minute episode. But it’s usually an anticipated gore; they sort of build up to it, and you’re expecting it, so there’s plenty of time to wimp out and A.) Turn the show off, or B.) Cover your eyes.

It’s okay. There is no shame in this.

It’s also pretty intense at times. Like, holy crap that zombie actually has ahold of you and will zombify you in about 2.37 seconds unless you get awa- Oh. Whew! You got away.

Seriously. In the first episode, our hero gets mobbed by zombies (we’re talking hundreds) before he *just* manages to slip into a conveniently open tank. I mean, it was a close one.

Anyway. I like this show. A lot. I’ve already finished the entire first season. Since Halloween. Sure, there’s only six episodes, but I have pretty much done nothing for two days except sit around on the edge of my seat. Half the time with my hands over my eyes.

Which leads me to the cutesy dolly cookies that I’m sharing with you guys today. Because I’m gonna need to make some more. Stat.

I’m thinking it’s the only way to cure myself of the zombie induced insomnia that I’ve suffered the last two nights.

Come on! What if I wake up to find that the zombie apocalypse has struck?! Sure, I could probably out run them, but I’m not fully prepared otherwise. My stockpile of suitable weapons is severely lacking.

I’ve determined that the only solution is pretty sweets and cute things to distract. While I prepare.

I actually made these cookies last week for a wonderful friend of mine who was celebrating her 30th birthday. Her dear friend was throwing her a surprise party and knew that I would love to be involved somehow, but being so far away, would have to contribute in a more unique way, since I couldn’t make it to the party. Our solution was cookies (of course).

I used my favorite rolled sugar cookies. These were only my second attempt, ever, at using royal icing. The real stuff, like Callye, of The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle, uses. My dream is to someday be at least half as gifted as she is. Seriously. Have you seen these? Or THESE? She is truly gifted. She even makes the most adorable 3D cookies! She’s seriously my cookie idol.

While my cookies are not on her level, by any means, I think with a lot more practice, I’ll have some cookies that I’d be happy to show her. :)

Now, I followed all of the royal icing decorated cookie rules here and outlined my cookies with a thicker icing, then flooded them with a thinned down version. So far, so good…except I had lots of air bubbles. I spent a long time popping them with a toothpick. It wasn’t fun.

After letting the icing set up for a couple of hours, I went back to add my decorations. I decided to do half cupcakes/ hald adorable little dolly-type characters. My friend, Karen, is seriously the Cupcake Queen. There aren’t many reasons why she would turn away a cupcake. I’ve never known her to do it. :) So, of course, there had to be cupcakes.

I started out by drawing the outline on, again in a thicker icing. I just drew these free hand, because they’re just a combination of a few simple lines.

Once the outlines were complete, I added some little details to the bottom of the cupcakes – little lines to represent a cupcake wrapper, and a sweet little pink heart.

Finally, I flooded the cupcake with thinner icing, and finished them off with some cute star sprinkles. The design for these is actually based on a sweet, little felt cupcake that Karen made for me a couple of years ago that I seriously love.

Next up, my dolly version of Karen. :)

Again, I stuck with simple shapes to create these. Maybe as I gain experience, I’ll make more elaborate and detailed designs, but for now, these were elaborate enough. I still have a lot of practice to do.

I started by drawing a simple circle for the head (let’s not get into the fact that I can’t draw an actual circle to save my life…after all, the hair will hide most of it). Next I drew two little arms, leaving room for a dress. I gave each dolly a little white collar…although, they sort of look like pearls…and I outlined the dress in a light purple before adding cute little legs and simple purple shoes. I did all of this in the thicker icing, then, I went in and flooded everything in corresponding colors, and added details as needed. If you add details while the icing is still fresh and wet, then they will sink down into the design and begin perfectly smooth. If you want something a little more 3D or textured, then wait an hour or two before adding the details.

In the end, I’m really pleased with how these turned out, although, I had hoped for a little more detail. I think they’re cute, and they are perfect for my lovely friend, who loved them and was very surprised!

I have work to do on how I make my icing; you’ll notice that the cookies aren’t perfectly smooth. I’m not sure why that happened yet, but I’m sure that I’ll be able to research an answer from somewhere soon. :)

In the meantime, I’m pretty happy with my second foray into the world of royal icing, and I’m excited to try it again. Plus, these are so darn cute and happy, I’m sure I won’t be worried about zombies outside my window. Much.

Happy birthday, again, to my dear and lovely friend. I’m so happy that you were surprised, and that I was there in a small way! xoxo

If you haven’t tried decorating with royal icing yet, I recommend giving it a shot. Honestly, it can be a bit tedious, but if you love to draw or paint, then it’s also quite fun. The possibilities are endless, and the results, good and bad, are delicious. Enjoy!

P.S. I totally know how to ship sugar cookies now. It’s kind scary, not gonna lie.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca November 2, 2011 at 10:22 am

Hi Darla! Everyone at the party thought these were absolutely beautiful! I seriously had to tackle a few people just to keep them from taking the whole dish home with them. Thank you for this extraordinary project of love for Karen. Happy baking!

xoxo
Your devoted fan,
Rebecca

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2 Giselle@ Baking-in-heels November 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Walking Dead….I got sucked in from Netflix too. It’s my son’s fault who begged me, who HATES scary movies (I’m scared of everything) to watch it. I love it. Season 2 just started a few weeks ago and I record it EVERY Sunday night on the DVR so we can watch it together……the whole family, well minus the two babies…don’t want them getting nightmares and interrupt my show lol.

Adorable cookies!

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3 Samantha November 2, 2011 at 11:03 am

Very cute!

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4 Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. November 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

You did a great job with these! I had my first experience with royal icing this past weekend and tedious is the best word to describe it! Mine came out pretty smooth, but I do not have a steady hand so my outlines were a mess. I also had some air bubbles. Not sure why yours did not come out smooth, perhaps it wasn’t thin enough or it was over-mixed a tad? The other issue I had was that after I flooded my pumpkin cookies, I noticed some white spots after they dried, so I don’t think I mixed my icing enough after I added the coloring. Argh!

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5 Robin November 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

These look like a great idea for my daughter’s 13th birthday in a couple of weeks. So sweet – on every level.

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6 nicole {sweet peony} November 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

oh darla these are adorable!!! decorated sugar cookies are on my to-do list & those cupcake cookies are calling my name!

by the way, i love the walking dead too… the second season is super good so far but a little bit scarier than the first (which means i’m constantly doing that half covering my eyes, half peeking through thing haha).

anyways, thanks for sharing. love everything you come up with!

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7 Ingrid November 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Lovely cookies! Definitely a thing to try! I will be doing some flower cookies for my best friends baby on her 1st birthday party and the link to the royal icing will sure come in helpful!

And you nailed the cute and simple design! So cute and I love the purple dress on the girl (yeah purple’s my FAVORITE color!) Simple adorable!

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8 Cecily November 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Cute cookies and zombies. A perfect combination. I’ve had the sam problem with royal icing in the past, but yours look great anyway.

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9 Wendy November 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Awww, these are adorable, you did really well (and I’m not even going to qualify that with a “for your first time” – they’re just good). I really love the cupcake in particular.

As for not having a smooth finish, that tends to be from overmixing the icing – that happens to me when I’m too finicky with getting the right shade, so I’m mixing in more color again and again. It just beats too much air into the icing.
And if you want more detail, you should use stiffer icing, otherwise it spreads out once you pipe it on.

Hope that helps…

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10 Choc Chip Uru November 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Aren’t these do gorgeous! Our friends are lucky people and your skills are out of this world!!!

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11 Tina@flourtrader November 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Thanks for the intro to Sugar Belle, I popped on over there and she does have a great blog, very talented.
Your cookies are a darling distraction from the walking dead. Interesting to read about the royal icing issues, I have yet to tackle that artsy side of cookies, but good to know. In spite of those issues, the cookies turned out great, what a lucky friend you have to be the recipient of these! Great post-thanks for sharing.

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12 Kieli Heart November 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Wow, these look great! And so yummy-looking too! Your friend is definitely lucky to get these as a gift! I will have to try making these one day :3

Oh and I know how you feel about horror movies. I try to watch them with friends and always end up covering my eyes lol!

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13 Mattie November 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Aw, those are cute! It does not make me want to try my hand at decorating with royal icing, though ;)

And by the way, although very impressive, I do not consider cookie decorating to be the most interesting branch in the wide world of baking.. There are only so many recipes of roll-out cookies you can invent, and no matter how nice it looks, a sugar cookie with frosting still tastes like a sugar cookie with frosting. I’m all for pretty decorations, but when you can actually combine it with an interesting or surprising flavor (like in a cake!), I find it sooo much better (but that might just be my sweet tooth talking)! So yeah, what I mean to say is that I don’t get what the big deal is with cookie decorating, when eating the final product isn’t THAT fun! Just my two cents though :)

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14 Stephanie November 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm

These are so cute. Second time?! I’m on my life, 2084 time, and yours are awesome! Simple is the way to go, for sure!

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15 michelle November 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

they look great! love your cute monster cookies too…did you always draw, love your style and it comes through great on cookies or other sweets :)

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16 Amber November 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

when you take someones recipe you really should credit them. http://iammommy.typepad.com/i_am_baker/2009/10/sugar-cookie-recipe.html

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17 Darla November 8, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Hello,

I would like to clarify that I have been using my cookie recipe for well over 10 years now. It was passed on to me by my aunt shortly before she succumbed to breast cancer. Upon closer examination between my and Amanda’s recipes, you’ll see that there are minor variations between them.

I think that you could spend hours scouring the internet, and you would be hard pressed to find sugar cookie recipes that were very different from each other. It is such a basic recipe, there is a right way and a wrong way, so most bloggers will have, by coincidence, very similar recipes. Are there different recipes out there? of course! But there are hundreds of us who are using the same family recipes that may or may not have come from the same old cookbooks. This applies to most old, basic recipes, like yellow cake, buttercream frosting, and chocolate chip cookies.

Amanda, of i am baker, and I are blogging friends, but at the time that I wrote my original sugar cookie post (March of 2010), I had never heard of her, or her blog. I’m lucky to have found such an incredibly talented friend in the blogging world that I respect to such a great extent, and I feel confident saying that she respects me and my work in return.

In fact, we have had one on one conversations about the fears and consequences of dealing with people who have taken too much liberty with one of our ideas or recipes. She has even advised me on how best to handle the situation when it has happened to me. We follow one another on twitter and have some form of contact on a daily basis, so I feel very confident saying that if she thought that I had “taken” her recipe, she would have approached me personally.

I would also like to point out that I took the time to credit my friend Callye, of The Adventures of Sweet SugarBelle, with the icing recipe that I used, so clearly, I am more than willing to give credit where credit is due.

Furthermore, you’ll find that other brilliant and gifted bloggers, such as Heather, of Sprinkle Bakes (and another good friend of mine), have recipes that are extremely similar (http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2009/12/my-secret-sugar-cookie-recipe.html), if not identical, to that of mine and Amanda’s.

I appreciate your concern and loyalty to Amanda, however, it’s important to remember that there are two sides to every situation.

I have tremendous respect for my fellow bloggers and their work. We all work extremely hard to be creative and innovative in a world where our gifted peers are constantly coming up with brilliant ideas that we all wish we had thought of. I work hard to make sure that credit is given where credit is due, whether it’s a recipe, a decoration, or merely an idea, so being accused of so-called stealing one of my friends’ recipes is painful and frustrating.

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18 Summer Jo Brooks November 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I’m doing a special feature on my blog this month called 30 days of desserts which each day I feature a different dessert from different bloggers featuring their recipe and blog (etsy shops, fb pages, etc…). I came across your blog and was wondering if you would be interested in participating! Just let me know!

Thanks,
Summer Jo Brooks
Author of Believing Boldly
http://www.believingboldly.com
believingboldly@gmail.com

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