Making Dipped Christmas Cookies

Christmas is approaching swiftly!

We had a holiday party at the taekwondo school last weekend and I was supposed to make cupcakes. I was so physically exhausted that I could not stay up long enough to make them 😦 What I did do, was opt for a quicker, and easier, sweet option…

Dipped cookies!

While this seemed to be an easy task to me, some of my friends had either never heard of the techinique or thought it to be really complicated. I promise, it’s super easy! So if you have a holiday party coming up or need a last minute idea for dessert to take to a family dinner, check this out:

1. I went to the store and bought 2 bags of Chips Ahoy cookies. You can pretty much use any cookie you like, these were just ones I picked up because they were on sale 🙂

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2. Melt your chocolate or candy melts. I use a double broiler for the chocolate. If you’re using the candy melts, you can use a double broiler, but you can also use a bowl or other microwave safe container to melt them; follow packaging instuctions.

3. Dip your cookie in the chocolate (or candy melts.) There’s no real rhyme or reason to this step, just dip them in as much or as little chocolate as you like 🙂

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4. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. The wax paper will make it easier to remove the cookies when they’re ready to come out of the freezer. Decorate with sprinkles, jimmies, nuts, whatever. Do it at this stage so that they will be set in the chocolate. I mixed my red and green sprinkles in a bowl together so I wouldn’t have to do double duty trying to sprinkle them on individually.

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5. Freeze the cookies for 5 min. This will allow the chocolate to set. Remove from the sheets.

6. Package and deliver! If you’re going to store them in the refrigerator, make sure that you use cellophane or plastic packaging. If you don’t, the chocolate will sweat and then everything will be sticky and gross. Chocolate and water don’t like each other so much :/

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These are quick, fun, and easy for a holiday party…or any other event! You can make them in any color to fit any theme 🙂

I hope that you have a happy a safe holiday season!

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Whimsically Detailed Featured Blog: Oh The Places He’ll Go!

Y’all…I just had my first blog featured! I’m beyond excited! I’m so appreciative for Whimsically Detailed featuring my party! I’ll write it up in explicit detail later, but head on over to her blog and check it out! 

How To Make Valiant Cookies

For Father’s Day this year, I decided to make my dad some cookies. I didn’t want to do the traditional necktie or mustache  cookie…even though they’re adorable, I thought I’d go for something different and unique. I didn’t have the proper cutters, and me being a repeat winner of the Procrastinator of the Year award, I’d waited too late to order them in time for Dad’s Day. I was forced to dig around in the cookie cutters I already own and get creative…

So as the basis for my design is described in the card/topper that I made for dad:

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To get thoughts from my head into the oven, this is what I had to work with:

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A tie and a tulip. Can’t really say there’s a real valiant vibe to that, but we’re going with it…

So the first thing, roll out your cookie dough, and place the cutters. Not really any magic to it, but make sure that you have enough space on the bottom part of the tie to make your handle for the sword.

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To make the shield, the next step is to de-stem it…ie. cut off the part you won’t need. Simply using a non-serrated knife should be fine.

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Making the handle of the sword is a little more involved, but still not very complicated at all. I free-handed the design, but if you’re not comfy with that, using a ruler or template is cool too 🙂 Make sure that you cut out the space to reinsert the handle and that it fits properly so that your cookie will bake together and close the gaps. If you reassemble the sword on your parchment paper before trying to move it, it will certainly save you some frustration…

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Bake your cookies according to the directions for the recipe you’re using and let them cool completely before decorating.

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Most decorators will tell you to wait a day so that the oils don’t leach into the icing, but I’m certain that they don’t have nearly as many Procrastinator of the Year awards as myself, so 30 min later…

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Depending upon the consistency of your icing, you can outline and flood at the same time, which is what I choose to do…you know, with it being the Saturday afternoon before Father’s Day and all… I did the same technique when making the shields. I got so giddy coloring in the shield/rushed for time that I forgot to take pictures of these steps, but here’s the outline that I started with:

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The one on the right reminded me of a police badge

Before the handle on the sword dried completely, I thought it would be fancy to add some pearl inlay:

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While that was drying, I decided that I wanted to make an ornate emblem to put on the shield. I’m not that good of an artist so I have to compensate and get creative in that area too. My dad’s zodiac sign is Leo, so I thought. “Man, I’m gonna make a lion to put on his shield!” I found an image online, re-sized it to an inch to fit the shield and used my tracing prowess, a #1 and #2 tip and went to town!

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Despite the perceived awesomeness of my idea, I have to be honest and say this next step was a pain in the butt! Transferring a 1″ piece of really delicate sugar is not the most fun process on the planet. I’m sure there are worse things, but after breaking this thing twice, it’s highly debatable. Carefully lift the image from the wax paper and place it gently on the shield. Try really hard not to swear if, and when, it comes apart. Use some wet icing to fix it to the shield and let it dry.

If you’re doing the tracing technique, make sure that you use plenty of shortening on your wax paper so that the design can be more easily peeled/slid off onto wherever it’s final destination happens to be. To get the shimmer, I just brushed them with luster dust.

So after all is said and done, I made my dad’s Father’s Day cookies and he loved them! It was amazing to see his reaction and then watch him devour them, just after stating that they were too pretty to eat. In all honesty, I might have been slightly offended if he didn’t eat them!

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In retrospect, I think this would be a really cool technique to make shield for other themed parties…Princess Merida from Brave was just crowned as the 11th Disney Princess, so it may come in handy one day!

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It’s Dad’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!

I hope that you’re having a wonderful day and that you’re showing your dad how much he means to you.

Men sometimes get a bad rap these days but to those of you who are doing what you’re supposed to do…raising your families, being a source of comfort, love, motivation, and inspiration to your families and those who don’t have dads, you are incredibly loved and appreciated. Please know that you are so needed…I’m telling you from us all…THANK YOU! You are our heroes 🙂

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A House Full of Sugar

A few weeks ago I had one of the best nights of my life.

My friend called at the last minute looking for a babysitter for her two little ones. Since I’m having the baby cravings, I was delighted to help her out. Since I’m crazy, I suggested inviting my niece and nephew over to make some new friends. So on a spontaneous babysitting gig, our home was filled with the pitter-patter of 4 sets of feet belonging to minis ages 3, 4, 5 and 6.

I don’t try to fully ascertain how my hubby felt about it, but at one point amid mass screaming, I realized that he’d disappeared and that an adult beverage was missing from the fridge. All I could think was that this very well could be real life…

The kids came over. They played Twister. They played Connect 4 Launchers. They laughed. They ran. They screamed…and remembered to say “excuse me” on their laps through the kitchen. They watched Finding Nemo for the bajillionth time. They put Guitar Hero stickers all over themselves and each other.

I promised them that if they were good, we’d paint sugar cookies. This led to the tribal chanting of “Are the cookies done yet? Are the cookies done yet?” Those were the longest 10 minutes on the planet.

Since this was a spontaneous babysitting gig, I didn’t have time to make the canvas sugar cookies for them to draw upon, which would have been pretty sweet to see the little artists work. Aunt KC decided to wing it and just make sugar cookies from the package and let them paint straight from the oven with icing and edible markers.

Lesson learned? Drawing in icing with an edible marker is not a good idea. Pretty sure I’ll have to replace that set, but the memories and time spent with the kiddos? So incredibly worth it! Plus they dedicated one cookie each to me. I adore those munchkins…

Can’t say auntie will be jumping at that opportunity again any time soon. Good to realize that I haven’t lost all of my faculties.

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Surprise! It’s a Baby!

Ok, so the baby wasn’t actually a surprise…they’d been trying for a while. And then they got pregnant! YAY! So when my friend told me that she was pregnant, I was over the moon! I’m at the age myself where babies are awesome and I just want to love them and kiss them and squeeze them and hug them and then I will call them George. I guess it’s a good thing that my husband wants a family because I’ve apparently broken the snooze button on my biological clock and any baby within reach is subject to random amounts of mushy, babbling nonsense. From me.

But moving along…

My friend is having a baby!! We know how these things go…mom wants a girl, dad wants a boy. I talked to my friend about the possibility of doing a baby gender reveal. The premise for this sort of event is that you basically find a fun and creative way to announce if you’re expecting a boy or a girl. Most parents find out with the rest of their family and friends and get to be surprised with everyone else. My friend and her husband are not most parents. But I really couldn’t blame them…they’d already waited so long to get the baby in the belly that they wanted to know right away! They played along anyway and I’m so proud of mom that she didn’t let the secret slip; I saw from subsequent posts that she had to avoid certain phone calls to keep it to herself… *high five* to you lady!

Most gender reveal parties have a theme or other special meaning to the couple. I saw one where the couple did theirs via painting the baby’s room with the color corresponding to the baby (pink=girl, blue=boy). The theme for this party came after musing over a conversation with mom:

Mom: I think I want to do it with the ladies in my Bible study class. I want it to be small and intimate and this would be the perfect setting since the ladies will already be there.

Me: Ok cool! Well, let’s schedule it and I’ll come over before Bible study to set everything up. I’ll leave and let you ladies do your study and then I’ll return when it’s time for the party…

Mom: You can stay for the Bible study *smiles* we would love to have you!

Me: Nah, that’s cool…I wouldn’t want to interrupt *smiles*

Mom: Well aren’t you a Christian?

Me: Yes ma’am I am!

Mom: Well, one more Bible study in the week won’t kill you then *big grin*

Me: *laughs* Yes ma’am, I’ll come to Bible study…

We ended up not doing with the Bible study group, but that conversation got me to thinking and literally out of left field, EUREKA! The theme for the party!

Adding a Prince or Princess to the Kingdom of God!

I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to plan this party! First, the color scheme…purple and gold are the symbolic colors for royalty, so that’s what I chose. I made a royal mobile/chandelier to go over the table, but there was already a chandelier over the table, so that was out of the question… Never thee worry, we hung it over the crafts station!

For the table set up, we had purple and yellow chocolate covered pretzels and some more of the awesome jello cookies, similar to the ones in the birthday post…these were made lemon and grape to stick with the color scheme.

For the actual reveal, cupcakes were made with icing the appropriate color corresponding to the baby’s gender, and put into individual boxes that had Bible verses pertaining to child rearing attached to them. I know from being a kid, having nieces and a nephew and from being around other people’s kids, the most commonly heard phrases usually included petitioning God at some point for just a portion of help/strength/mercy/restraint…

Before we did the reveal, we had the activity, which involved trying to figure out if there was a prince or princess on the way. Only the parents and I knew the gender of the baby, but we all played along. To make your decision/guess, you had to make a crown corresponding to your estimation. If you thought the baby was a boy, you were asked to make a purple, blue or green crown. If you thought they were having a girl, you were asked to make a gold or red crown.

Everyone got involved, but I think the kids really had more fun than the adults…

Once we got everyone in the crowns, it was time for the big reveal! I passed out individual boxes to everyone and had them open them together. One lady had hers open LITERALLY a split second after I said “GO!” and within 2 seconds she was off the couch dancing around with excitement because she was right in her guess…

They’re adding a Prince to the Kingdom!

Dad was re-esctatic about it! (I don’t know if that’s a real word, but we’re going with it!) A son! All of their friends and family were so happy! I think everyone kind of knew, but they were still surprised and overjoyed. I tried to comfort mom and tell her that it was good to have a big brother to protect his little sister when she gets here. She said girls can look out for themselves… She’s absolutely right about that, but the future little sister will have a big brother to dote over her, protect her and keep the other boys away when mom and dad aren’t around!

So congrats to you on your son-to-be…Malachi, your family can’t wait to meet you! They are absolutely some of the most fantastic people that I’ve met in quite some time and you couldn’t be joining a more gracious bunch!

Make It Awesome!

Piecing It Together

Friday was a really busy day…3 parties between noon and 9pm…

First up, my boss. He turned 60 this year, so we decided that we should throw him a surprise birthday party. And by “we,” I mean “me.” Also, because I’d forgotten his birthday the past two years, he kind of deserved it and had it coming. I can’t remember dates for jack, which is also a contributing factor to why I didn’t pursue a childhood dream to become an historian/archaeologist/Indiana Jones.

We are a small outfit and fortunately my coworkers played along and helped out. I had a blast planning and pulling off the whole operation. And because of the whole surprise element, I had to recruit other people to basically fib to my boss to 1) keep it a secret and 2) make sure he came back to work on a beautiful Friday afternoon. I enlisted his wife and a few other employees to help out (think hiding from him on lunch breaks and scheduling fake meetings.)

The theme of his party was “You’re An Important Piece of the Puzzle.” My boss really enjoys puzzles and figuring things out. It’s too close to math for me, but that’s of no consequence… His Mrs. was a big help in providing information on his favorites: carrot cake, chocolate cake, Kit Kats.

The back story was that I’d just left for lunch and someone needed help. So the boss came downstairs to offer his assistance, because he’s a generous fellow, only to see me yelling “SURPRIIIIISE!!” which I’m sure confused him because I was “out to lunch.” That is most likely the explanation as to why he looked like this:

There was a small speech letting him know just how important he is to us and how he is the piece of the puzzle that makes everything come together and work together. Once he came in and mingled with his wife, friends and colleagues, we all partook in an amazing array of potluck dishes and the guests promptly went for the dessert table:

In keeping with the theme, the birthday banner had puzzles on it, as did the puzzle-themed water bottles, and the cupcake toppers were handmade puzzle pieces topping one of his favorites, chocolate cupcakes:

I also couldn’t resist making jello cookies in the shape of puzzle pieces! They are basically sweet sugar cookies on the front end and then BLAM! tangy jello at the end! It was the first batch I made and they were awesome! I had a few that got a little broken in the baking process, but the hubby didn’t seem to mind “rescuing them.” Nor did my mom. I’m surprised that any made it to the party…

All in all, we had a great time…food, fun and laughs…and the boss managed to be surprised. His Mrs. said that no one’s ever been able to surprise him. Which he didn’t mind…he’s still munching on the Kit Kats that he’s stashed in one of his desk drawers and playing with the decision maker that we got for him…

Happy Birthday Al!!

Make It Awesome!