Strawberry Delight

IMG_1616

We are slowly getting settled into our new lives in the country. Things I have observed so far: it gets very dark and quiet at night, having family close by is wonderful (especially when you get sick and you have an infant to care for), I no longer have to pick up Athena’s excrement when we take her on walks because the roads are already sprinkled with horse dung, Athena is the happiest she has been ever, and we have wild turkeys in the woods behind us (that I mistook for Athena one Sunday afternoon).

It’s been a little over a week since we moved in and the reality of being back in the area we grew up in is gradually sinking in. Small town living means that I now usually recognize or run into someone I know every time I go out to run errands. It’s definitely a big change from the anonymity I grew accustomed to in Columbus. But it’s a good change. While living in a small town has its drawbacks, it also has its benefits. There are lots of friendly faces and people willing to help each other at a moment’s notice. The sense of community is strong. We are lucky to have some great folks in our lives.

Speaking of wonderful people, we had my in-laws over for dinner last weekend as a way to thank them for all the help they provided us. We made a simple dinner of barbecued chicken, red potatoes, mixed greens, and this dessert. Strawberry delight is my twist on a classic treat in this area, cherry delight. Traditionally made with cherry pie filling and cool whip, I swapped in a homemade fresh strawberry sauce and heavy whipping cream instead. The end result was a really tasty finish to a meal that was very well-received by our company. I am looking forward to many more family dinners in our new home.

Country living is going to suit us well.

IMG_1622

IMG_1812

 

Strawberry Delight

Yield: 12 Servings

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz heavy whipping cream

For the strawberry topping:

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions

1. Make the strawberry topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, water, and cornstarch. Set aside. Place the strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, gently mashing the berries with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes to a low boil. Add in the cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil again, and cook for 1 minute longer until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. Bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the graham crack crumbs, melted butter, salt, and sugar. Gently press the crumb mixture into a 9×13 pan with your fingers until evenly distributed. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

3. Make the filling: Place the whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Place whipped cream in a separate bowl. Add the cream cheese to the now empty bowl of the electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth. Add in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar until well-incorporated. Gently fold in the whipped cream until smooth (don’t over mix!).

4. Assemble: Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled crust and top with strawberry topping. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. This dessert keeps in the refrigerator for about 2 days.

Source: Adapted from a local cookbook; Strawberry topping adapted from Annie’s Eats 

 

The Best Baked Brown Rice

IMG_1472

My friends, do you find yourself leery when you see a recipe labeled “the best” or “the only recipe you’ll ever need for…”? I, too, become leery. Too many times I have ended up disappointed with the results and cried foul on the misleading label. However, I make an exception for this brown rice.

I’ve attempted a few different methods of making brown rice and I am always left wanting something more. That is, until the fine folks at Cooks Illustrated cracked the code. And it really is quite simple. If you can boil water and preheat an oven, you can make this scrumptious and healthy side dish.  Also- I like to double this recipe to have extra rice on hand for making fried rice or to have as leftovers the next day. It’s quite tasty reheated.

It feels good to be slowly getting back into the cooking scene. Our camera is usually smoking from all of the pictures I snap of this little ham ball. :)

IMG_1229

IMG_1207

Baked Brown Rice

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Spread rice in 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Place water and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling (letting it boil to long will cause evaporation and affect the ratio of water and rice), remove from heat and stir in salt. Carefully pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Place in the oven and bake rice for 1 hour, until tender.

3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel. Let the rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 additional minutes. Enjoy!

Note: If doubling the recipe ,use a 9×13 inch baking dish and keep the baking time the same.

Source: A Veggie Venture, originally from the magicians at Cook’s Illustrated

A Gender Reveal Cake

DSC_8561

A little over a month ago, I had the honor of making a gender reveal cake for a lovely fellow physical therapist and her husband. I was so excited. In case you haven’t heard of this type of cake before, the expecting couple has the ultrasound tech write down the gender of baby during the “big” ultrasound. The tech then puts the secret information into an envelope and the couple gives it to a baker, who then either bakes a pink or blue cake and/or fills the cake with pink or blue icing.

The beautiful momma-to-be requested a white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and a coconut garnish. I used my favorite white cake and buttercream recipe to make it all happen. I then tinted the icing that would fill the cake with the top secret dye color, which by the way ended up all over my hands. I had to scrub and scrub to clean everything off- for a few minutes I thought I’d need to wear gloves when I delivered the cake. Crisis averted. Whew!

DSC_8552

DSC_8563

It was so much fun doing this type of cake. The anticipation of the couple cutting in and finding out whether they would be having a son or daughter had me on edge.

Oh and by the way…

here’s what I filled the cake with…

DSC_8514

It’s a GIRL! Congratulations you two. She will be one lucky baby.

Robert’s 27th Birthday Party

xDSC_8355

This past week, Robert officially joined the “late twenties” club. To celebrate we had a group of friends over for homemade pizza, final four basketball (still sad the Buckeyes weren’t there), and birthday cake. The menu was pretty simple and highlighted some of Robert’s favorite foods- pizza (with sriracha sauce and jalapenos), chips and salsa, caramelized onion dip, Jess’s German potato salad, chocolate chip cookies, and dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate buttercream frosting. I noticed that the parties we throw tend to encourage heartburn. Sorry, friends. I think a vegetable party is on the agenda for this summer.

DSC_8361

DSC_8368

DSC_8357

As usual, the company was the best part of the night; but I unfortunately got swept away in the fun (and wine) and didn’t get a chance to take many pictures. We are truly so thankful for the wonderful people we call our friends.  Our lives are enriched because of with whom we have the honor of sharing life’s experiences.

Jonah and Kate- lovebirds.

DSC_8382

Athena was in heaven with all of the loving Chelsea was giving her.  DSC_8381

Alex and Catie- two of the smartest people we know. Just look at them being so intelligent.

DSC_8384

And then there’s Greg. A father-to-be!

DSC_8385

Athena was exhausted from her late night of partying.

DSC_8393

**Sap-filled paragraph warning**

And, of course, I can’t go without mentioning the birthday boy himself. Robert and I have been married for over 5 years and together for more than a decade. There is no one I love or respect greater. Sure, we drive each other crazy sometimes. Like when he doesn’t make the bed or when I drive a freshly-washed and waxed car in the rain; but with each passing year, I grow to love him even more. He’s loyal, genuine, kind, and driven. While I can be riding high on an emotional roller coaster from day to day,  he is always calm and level-headed. I’m honored to call him my life’s companion. I just pray that he doesn’t wake up one of these days and realize he got the raw end of the deal. Happy birthday, Robert. I love you. Here’s to many more chocolate-filled years.

DSC_8340

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

DSC_8319

Last Friday night I was procrastinating and not cleaning our house before Robert’s parents arrived, so I decided to make some homemade Easter Peeps from a recipe I found on Pinterest. It was a gloriously fun time. I was singing my own made up songs (“Everybody Chunk Out Tonight,” sung to the tune of “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight,” is my current personal chart topper) and life was grand. Then I became a little impatient. Instead of letting the candy fluff cool, I decided to just keep things moving along and pipe it. It didn’t go well. My visions of beautiful, hand-crafted Peeps turned out looking like neon blobs of dog excrement in reality.

Nailed it. 

photo-1

So instead of putting peeps on the blog today, I made carrot cake whoopie pies. Fortunately, these cookies are a delightful spring treat. They’re chocked full of shredded carrots and a great spicy blend of cinnnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Because my Peeps were an utter failure, I am bringing these bad boys home for Easter instead. When one door closes, another opens.

DSC_8323

Happy Easter, everyone!

DSC_8329

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Printable Version

Yield: About 16 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For the filling

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Set aside 3 cookie sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

2. Place the butter and sugars in a bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, spices, soda, powder, and salt in a separate medium bowl. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn it back on at low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Carefully add the dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time,  and beat just until combined.  Lastly, add in the grated carrots and mix until just mixed.

3. Using a small 1.5 inch cookie scoop to place the batter evenly onto the cookie sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Use your fingers to lightly press down on the dough to ensure a smoother cookie. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies spring back when gently pressed. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to parchment paper to cool completely.

4. To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the milk and vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is well mixed.

5. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the flat side of one of the cookies. Place the flat side of another cookie on the icing and store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Source: Cookies- Tracey’s Culinary Adventures; Filling- Old Thyme Cookbook

Jack’s Funfetti 2nd Birthday Cake

DSC_8187

DSC_8200

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I got an early morning phone call from my sister telling me her water had broken and she was at the UVA hospital. She was 5 days overdue and we were all anxiously awaiting the baby’s arrival. After I hung up from the call, I was so excited I could barely sleep. It was going to take me 6 hours to get to Virginia and I contemplated just leaving then. Robert eventually convinced me to go back to sleep, but I only lasted until 5am. I made record-breaking time (whoops!) and rolled into Virginia before noon. Little did I know, Selby’s labor would go several more hours. We waited. And waited. And waited. And finally, the physicians made the decision to perform a C-section after Selby had been in labor for 24 hours and developed a low-grade fever. I was lucky enough to get to go into the operating room and see the whole procedure… errr- make that some of the procedure. I stayed behind the curtain after I saw just what was happening to my sister’s lower abdomen. My sister and Kevin designated me to be the one to shout out the gender; and, after a few long minutes, the doctors exclaimed “here’s your baby!” They pulled out little plump ball of pink, we heard loud baby cries, and I peeked around the corner to reveal, “IT’S A BOY!!!” Selby cried. Kevin cried. I cried. It was such an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. What a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day it was.

This past week,  we were so excited that my sister, brother-in-law, and Jack were able to drive up from Virginia and spend a few days with us to celebrate Jack’s 2nd birthday. In honor of this little firecracker turning into a full-blown toddler, I made homemade pizza and a funfetti cake  decorated in Buzz Lightyear colors (one of Jack’s favorites).

DSC_8222

I had an awful time making my normal swiss meringue buttercream frosting the day I was assembling the cake. After a few frustrating hours, I ended up “calling it,” as Kevin so aptly described, and made a regular buttercream that tasted and looked much better . Oh well. When the time came for the birthday boy to blow out his candles, he got a little shy and seemed to be hypnotized by the firery glow. His mom and dad helped him and then he was able to dive right into his cake. The cake was a tasty hit and I sent the leftovers home with the happy family.

DSC_8258

DSC_8262

DSC_8270

It’s amazing how much love I have for my little 2 year old nephew. I am looking forward to celebrating many more birthdays with my favorite lucky charm.

DSC_8175

Funfetti Cake

Printable version

Yield: Two 9-inch round cakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 4 egg whites from large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/3 cup multi-colored sprinkles

For the icing:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans.  In a small bowl mix the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla and almond extract. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl,  whisk together  the cake flour,  baking powder, and salt. Mix for 30 seconds or until well-combined.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low, alternately add in the flour mixture and 3/4 cup of buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides to ensure batter is evenly mixed. Gradually pour in the egg white mixture, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Mix for one more minute. Gently fold in the multi-colored sprinkles.

3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back after being gently pressed on.

4. Remove from the oven and place the pans on baking racks to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the pans over onto the rack. Flip the cake layers over and let them cool completely before icing.

5. Make the icing: in the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Carefully mix in the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add in the extracts and salt, followed by the milk or cream and mix until well-combined. Tint with desired food coloring and decorate away.*

*To decorate with the “cloud” method:

Frost the cake with a thing layer of icing. This is the crumb coat. Put the cake in the fridge and allow to chill for 20-30 minutes until the buttercream has hardened. Meanwhile, place icing in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I used a Wilton #12). Pipe large dots in a vertical row.

DSC_8186

Using a small cake spatula, carefully smear the dot to the right. Pipe more dots to overlap the smeared dot and repeat until the cake is covered.

DSC_8182

DSC_8176

Source: Cake-  Adapted from The Kitchn; Frosting- Lolly’s Sweet & Savory Treats

Zesty Quinoa Salad

DSC_8102

As glorious as it may be, meals can’t always revolve around meat and potatoes. In an effort to modify our eating habits, I’ve started experimenting with more “main dish” grains. So far my two favorites are farro and quinoa. Robert has been a little nervous about these vegetarian dishes, but he is starting to come around. As long as we have a safety net of meat in the fridge, he can usually keep his cool. He’s a good sport.

This particular dish highlights two of our favorite seasonings- chili powder and cumin- and it’s great served with cheese quesadillas or roasted vegetables on the side. I think it would also be a tasty filler for a burrito.

Other grains I have on my list of “to try” include: millet, bulgur, and barley. I lead an exhilarating life, I know. :)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Zesty Quinoa Salad

Printable version

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk olive oil, lime juice, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl.
  3. Combine quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and green onions together in a bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Stir in cilantro; season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Olive Oil Pizza Dough

DSC_8167

What food do you associate with weekends? For us, it’s pizza. We have our local favorites, but those versions aren’t always economically friendly. Especially after I spend like a drunken solider on my trips to Target. It’s kind of a budget buster.

Robert and I have been on a quest to make the ultimate homemade pizza for a few years now. We have a pizza stone, a pizza peel, and we use our homemade pizza sauce. What we’ve been missing is the right dough. I’ve tried a variety of recipes, but they’ve always fallen a little flat. Finally, we stumbled across this recipe and we are thrilled with our results.

The other important part of making a great homemade pizza is the temperature of the oven. The best temperature, in our experience, is 500 degrees. This allows the dough to bake quickly and get a nice chewy crust. I was a little weary of how our oven would do at such a high temperature, but it does just fine (and our house is not a pile of ashes).

Now that we’ve found our favorite dough, our biggest problem is resisting the urge to make pizza every night. Oy vey.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Olive Oil Pizza Dough

Printable Version

Yield: About 4 large pizzas worth of dough

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a large bowl or lidded (not airtight) plastic container.

2. Add in the flour without kneading. Stir with a large wooden spoon to incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients. Do not over stir!

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow the dough to rise for approximately 2 hours and up to 5 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

5. When you are ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven (and pizza stone if you have one) to 500 degrees. If the dough was in the refrigerator, it needs to rest until it reaches room temperature so the dough can be stretched easily. To do this, take a grapefruit-sized hunk of dough and gently cover it with flour. Place the hunk on parchment paper and  let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

DSC_8152

6. After the dough has rested, carefully stretch the dough out using both hands. If you’re feeling frisky, you can toss the dough in the air. Allow the dough to be a little thicker around the edge if you would like a more defined crust. Keep the dough on the parchment paper. Next, top the pizza with sauce and your desired toppings.

DSC_8155

DSC_8160

DSC_8164

7. Using a pizza peel or a cookie sheet, place the pizza (still on the parchment paper) directly on the pizza stone. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cheese is toasted brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and enjoy!

DSC_8168

Source: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

DSC_8148

My in-laws recently returned from a sunny vacation in Florida and with them, they brought back some delicious strawberries. Fresh berries in Ohio grocery stores are usually pretty tart and tasteless this time of year, and the Florida produce is just another reason to love this buckeye state we call home.

I’ve made this dessert a few times before (this time for dinner at a friends’ house) and it now ranks up towards the top of Robert’s favorites. If you’re looking for a way to jazz it up even more, you can add a drizzle of  hot fudge sauce for all the chocolate lovers in your life; or you can make the tart into tartlettes for individual treats. Any way you decide, you can’t go wrong.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

DSC_8143

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Printable version

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

For the crust

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the filling

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream

Topping

  • 16 ounce container of strawberries, sliced

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare the crust: Whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla. Set aside. Place the flour, salt, and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the butter cubes and pulse until mixture is crumbly and the size of peas. With the food processor running, slowly add the liquid mixture to the butter/flour mix until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and mold into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

2. Place the dough in the tart pan:  Take the dough out of the refrigerator.  Unwrap and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 13-inch round.  Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch tart pan.  Press the dough to the sides of the tart pan, removing the excess off the top as needed.  Put the tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

3.  Bake the crust: While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled dough/pan from the freezer and mold tin foil into the shell and over the edge of the tart pan. Place pie weights on top of the foil (I used dry beans). Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Take out of the oven and gently remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Allow to cool on a baking rack.

4. Make the filling: Place the cream cheese into a bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium high until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until well-comibined. Add in the vanilla and cream and mix 30 seconds longer.

5. Assemble the tart: Spoon the cream cheese filling into the cooled tart shell. Spread out evenly. Place strawberries in a circular pattern and serve within 2 hours of preparing for best results.

Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

DSC_8142

I adore Valentine’s Day. The colors, the excessive hearts, the candy. It’s all glorious. But I don’t just view this as a holiday for couples, I see it as a day to celebrate all of the people you love in your life (I know, I know- it sounds sickeningly cloying, but it’s really how I feel). I decided to celebrate by baking these cookies while listening to my eclectic Pandora radio stations. It was a good Saturday, folks.

I first eyed this marbling method with royal icing last year, and I’ve been waiting to try it ever since. I’ve had some practice with decorating sugar cookies (with my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipe), but I still have a lot to learn. What I have picked up so far is that it’s most important to plan ahead.  Most sugar cookie doughs require at least some chilling time and the royal icing is stable enough to be made a few days in advance. It’s also helpful to have all of the tools you need ready to go to make the process as efficient as possible.

Here’s what I like to use:

  • Disposable piping bags
  • Round piping tips
  • Good quality food coloring (I use Wilton or Americolor)
  • Plastic squeeze bottles (for flooding icing)
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic containers with lids (for icing storage)
  • Baking racks

And here is how I decorated the cookies:

1. Outline the cookies

DSC_8108

2. Thin the icing with water and flood

DSC_8110

DSC_8117

3. Pipe dots

DSC_8124

4. Drag a toothpick through the dots

DSC_8127

5. Allow cookies to dry completely and enjoy :)

DSC_8105

DSC_8140

Source: Decorating method vis Annie’s Eats