New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

New York Times CCC

This past weekend was just lovely. I drove down to New Orleans to celebrate Mother’s Day with my family. It was so nice to catch up with all of my siblings, as well as treating my mom to a nice lunch out (even though at ages 21-30, we’re still pretty silly in public haha!). One of the things I appreciate about my family is that while we’re all pretty busy and don’t see each other very often, it seems like we just pick up where we left off. We talked about old home videos, past holidays, and just caught up with each other in general.

It makes me appreciate everything about my family. We have our quirks, but I feel so lucky to have the family that I have. We’re all so supportive of each other, and oh man, did I appreciate my family like crazy last year! I remember calling my family just after the lightning strike/fire happened. I had reached my low point, because the “what ifs” were eating at me. There wasn’t anything they could do to undo the damage, but to have people there to vent to/cry to…it’s what I needed.

While I’m pretty happy right now (Thank you, new awesome job…funny how a new day job can boost your mood!), I felt 10x happier after seeing everyone. Sure, we may have gotten a few stares from laughing too loud in the restaurant, but who really cares? I feel like we need to do this more often, but with 3 busy siblings and my parents who seem busier now vs. when I was a kid, I’m afraid it probably won’t happen again for a few months now (maybe for Father’s Day…hint hint family?).

Chocolate chip cookies remind me a lot of my family. My mom used to bake cookies like crazy when we were kids, although she’d sneak in oatmeal chocolate chip cookies any chance she could get. :-P Also, the Pillsbury cookie dough rolls? I’m pretty sure we ate more raw dough from those than actual baked cookies (I know…not safe because of eggs/salmonella risk…don’t judge me). Since today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I thought it would be fitting to finally make the infamous New York Times cookies. It was SO difficult to just let the dough sit in the fridge for 48 hours, but it was definitely worth it. I mean…3.5 oz. of dough for each cookie….you really can’t go wrong. If you want to impress someone, try this recipe. They had the perfect crunchy texture on the outside and were wonderfully chewy on the inside.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: New York Times

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tbsp. (8.5 oz.) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8.5 oz.) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate (disks or roughly chopped)
  • Sea salt (for sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set the dry ingredients aside for later use.
  2. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl down, and add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing for about a minute after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined (about 5-10 seconds). Mix in the chocolate by hand, to avoid breaking the chocolate.
  3. Place the cookie dough in a container, and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 24-48 hours before baking (I waited 48 hours).
  4. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  5. Weigh out 3.5 oz. of cookie dough (this isn’t a typo…they’ll be pretty large), and form it into a ball. Space out 6 balls of dough on the baking sheet, and sprinkle the tops of each cookie lightly with the sea salt. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until they’re golden brown but still soft. Allow the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then place the cookies on the cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the rest of the dough until all cookies are finished baking. Enjoy!

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies & A Giveaway

pbchocchipcookies

One of the hardest things about the holidays is facing the scale. I’ve been watching those numbers creep higher and higher, and well….it’s sort of depressing. Usually I can catch myself, and just go back to hardcore dieting. However, training for this half marathon has turned me into a crazy, hungry person. I’m hungry for junk food, too. It’s a real struggle, especially with all of the holiday baking that has been going on in our house!

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to review a copy of Southern Living’s The Slim Down South Cookbook. I was definitely intrigued, because I feel like this book (just based on the title alone) totally gets me. Living in Louisiana, most dishes aren’t the healthiest. While I was hardcore calorie counting, I would have one cheat meal a week to enjoy those comforting southern dishes that I missed. With this book, I’m super excited to try lightened up versions of my favorites. No cheat day necessary!

Some of the recipes that stuck out to me are baked cheese grits, buttermilk biscuits, bourbon balls, and baked smokin’ mac & cheese…I mean…seriously? Every recipe (there’s 120 of them) also has the nutritional information below it, and the book is full of tips/tricks for slimming down. There’s also a whole chapter dedicated to healthier eating, and there’s even a 14 day eating plan, featuring recipes throughout the book.

Since I’m all about cookies lately, I decided to make these flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies out of the cookbook first. I was skeptical, because I’ve never made a peanut butter cookie without flour. However, these cookies were fantastic. and at 137 calories a cookie (vs. well over 200), it’s not a bad indulgence at all!

slimdownsouth

The generous folks at Southern Living/YC Media are offering a giveaway for a copy of The Slim Down South Cookbook to one lucky reader!

[Read more...]

Christmas Cookies & A Giveaway!

handmadeholidays

It’s now socially acceptable to decorate with all of the Christmas things! I just felt like stating that to you guys. :-P

Since it’s now officially the holiday season, I think I’m going to ask a certain husband who isn’t afraid of heights to go in the attic and grab all of the Christmas decor. ::fingers crossed:: I seriously can’t take 3 steps on a ladder without taking deep breaths and telling myself “I think I can…I think I can…”.

I just love making cookies for the holidays. I bake so many for gifts, since it’s always a winner with coworkers and neighbors. I learned a great trick when it comes to baking in bulk for the holidays…make your dough in advance to freeze and then bake them all later. It makes things a lot easier when you’re making dozens of cookies at once. :-)

What also makes things easier while baking is knowing that your favorite recipes will always come out the same when using quality ingredients. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that good, quality ingredients really do make a difference in your baking. For example, I used to grab store brand flour, and the results of my baking weren’t always consistent. I really thought it was me making a mistake in the recipe, but when I switched to a bag of King Arthur Flour, my favorite recipes come out the same way every time. I will admit that King Arthur Flour is slightly pricier than store brands, but to me, it’s worth it to use a brand that has such high quality standards when it comes to flour. You don’t have to order their flour online only either…they carry their flour at so many stores now (I recently saw their flour at Walmart for $3.95/bag!). Also, I’ve seen quite a few of their baking products, like espresso powder (which is so hard for me to find anywhere else…is it just me?) and specialty extracts, at Sur La Table. :-)

cookies3

[Read more...]

Holiday Spritz Cookies & A Giveaway!

bakingbook2

I am in hog heaven lately. It’s no surprise to you guys that Christmas is a holiday that I just adore, and with the holidays, there is always baking. Lots and lots of baking. I know I mentioned last week that I had to special order 28 blocks of cream cheese…well, when the butter goes on sale, I’m pretty sure I’m going to need 15 boxes. I’m not even kidding. I just love holiday baking, and truly enjoy sharing those treats with the ones that I care about.

America’s Test Kitchen recently came out with their newest book: The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book, and sent me a complimentary copy to review. I just adore America’s Test Kitchen. I subscribe to both Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country, as well as frequently cook from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. So when they asked me if I’d like to review this book, I didn’t even have to think about it. I actually had this book on my holiday wish list when I first read about the book in this post (which is what encouraged me to bake those scrumptious sticky buns in the first place). :-) When I received it in the mail, I had my post-its in hand ready to mark the recipes that I wanted to make right away.

The book contains 15 different chapters, with 450 recipes total. The book also has a comprehensive section called baking basics, explaining pretty much anything you ever needed to know about basic baking ingredients and tools, as well as tips to become a better baker in the kitchen.

bakingbook1

It’s also beautifully illustrated. I’m usually a sucker for color photos when it comes to food photography, but the black and white photography just draws you in. Also, in true Cook’s Illustrated fashion, there are step-by-step illustrations for some of the more complicated recipes. I appreciate this, because while you don’t necessarily always need step-by-step photos, there are some recipes where you just need an illustration or two to guide you along the way. There’s also notes in the beginning of every recipe, explaining what the recipe is and how certain ingredients in the recipe work to make this recipe just perfect.

As I was skimming through the book, these holiday spritz cookies caught my eye. Really, it was the word “holiday”. ;-) I’ve attempted to make spritz cookies before, and sadly, the dough ended up being too thick to use in the cookie press. I haven’t attempted spritz cookies since, and that was a few years ago. While I own a cookie press, I wanted to try it with another method that they recommended: a star tip and a piping bag. Genius….

I was so excited when these cookies actually piped out, and they baked up perfectly. These cookies put those holiday tin cookies to shame. They’re perfectly buttery, not too sweet, and are so simple to make! I ended up adding some sprinkles to some before baking as well, and that gave them some extra holiday flair. Of course, they’re delicious on their own, but sprinkles make everything more fun, right?

[Read more...]

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

pumpkinsnickerdoodle

Hey, did you guys know that it’s 68 days til Christmas? Yeah…I know, right? I found myself in a bit of a panic when I realized that I really haven’t started shopping yet, and that’s SO not like me. I usually have a closet full of gifts to wrap before Halloween even gets here. It’s just how I am. I’m the type of person who prefers to have a tree full of presents when the tree is ready to go up. I’m sure that makes me weird or something, considering most of my family is the exact opposite. I don’t know how my mom does it, but on Christmas Eve, she usually has a gift-wrapping fest and gets it all done. Me? I’m wrapping the evening of Thanksgiving. :-)

I tend to really get into the holidays. For me, I go for the “Merry, Not Scary” side of Halloween, thus the reason for the Halloween Pacman inflatable. No headless horseman/creepy skeletal/fiery inflatables here…I usually tend to veer towards pumpkins. I should clarify to say happy pumpkins….and Casper. I also get into the Halloween snacks. Is it just me or are Halloween Oreos for some reason 10x more addictive than regular oreos? Now, since the scientists have said that oreos are as addictive as cocaine. I guess that makes sense…I totally can’t have just 1 serving of oreos lol! Honestly, I probably could seriously sit down and eat half of a bag. :-P

Another cookie that’s pretty addictive are these pumpkin snickerdoodles. I seriously ate 3-4 of these right out of the oven. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside (from the coating) and perfectly chewy on the inside. The flavor is wonderful…even my pumpkin hating husband loved these!

By the way, this weekend I’ll make the quick drive to New Orleans for PMA Fresh Summit! I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming like crazy, so feel free to follow me on Twitter & on Instagram :-).

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Source: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • dash of ground allspice

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars, and beat them on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula, and then mix in the pumpkin puree. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula again, and then with the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just mixed. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In a small bowl, add sugar and spices for the cookie coating and mix well. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into a ball. Place the ball in the coating mixture, and roll to completely coat the dough. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the cookie dough, leaving 2-3 inches space between each cookie dough ball. Gently press the cookies down with your hands to flatten the dough slightly.
  3. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and baked all the way through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the rest of the dough, until all of the cookies are done. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Vanilla Frosting

chocolatechipbars

Life has been a little bit hectic lately. Between dealing with the whole lightning incident, work getting super busy and just trying to catch up on house work, I just needed to stop for a second and bake something. My husband and I have just been trying to find normal things to do to get our minds off everything. Baking and knitting are things that have been happening a lot for me. For a couple hours a day, I can just forget everything and have immediate results, whether it be a quick cowl or these bars.

This recipe was so quick to throw together. Cookie dough usually is quick, and the longest part is scooping cookies out and baking in batches. Well, with these bars, you just spread the whole thing in a jelly roll pan. Simple enough, right? This tastes just like a cookie cake, and the icing puts it over the top. I used a whipped vanilla buttercream that I blogged about before, and then went crazy on the sprinkles. (By the way, am I the only person who buys bulk sprinkles?) They were perfect–simple, classic and tasty.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Vanilla Frosting
Source: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 batch whipped vanilla frosting
  • rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, making sure that your oven rack is in the center. Line a 12×17 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside. Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment), beat the butter and granulated/brown sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add the eggs and vanilla. Mix everything until well-combined. Add in the flour mixture, and beat everything on low speed until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Dollop the dough on the baking sheet, and spread in an even layer with a spatula. If the dough gets sticky, have a bowl of hot water handy to dip/clean off the spatula.
  4. Bake the bars for about 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking, until the edges are brown and the top of the bars are golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely in the baking sheet.
  5. Make the whipped vanilla frosting, and once the bars are fully cooled, liberally frost the bars. Add sprinkles on top of the frosting and serve.

 

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

granolacookies

Ever since I came home from Food Blog Forum, I’ve been having an itch to register for another food blog conference. I don’t think I realized how amazing the food blogger community was until the conference. Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming…it felt like so many of us had been friends for the longest time. Just awesome. I’m seriously on pins and needles about where BlogHer Food will be next year…I think I’m ready to take the plunge. :-)

Another thing I really didn’t account for were the goodies. Oh man….I brought my checked luggage bag as a precaution for souvenir shopping, but seriously needed the whole suitcase for the bag o’ swag, along with the food from a local food exchange. So much stuff LOL. I still haven’t gotten through it all! In my bag was a container of granola, and since I don’t eat granola very often (I may sprinkle some in yogurt for crunch), I searched in hopes that someone has already invented cookies that would use up some of this granola.

Luckily, I came across this recipe, and the results were SO good. The flavor reminded me of an oatmeal raisin cookie, but it definitely had more to it, with the addition of dried cranberries, nuts (from the granola) and chocolate chips. I had to get these out of the house!

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk the ingredients together until well-mixed.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix until well-combined. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and add in the dry ingredients. Mix on low until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop each cookie two inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheets and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

reesescookies

My husband and I are huge fans of warehouse club shopping. The only one out here is Sam’s Club, but we’re getting a Costco soon, and I couldn’t be more excited to check that place out!

Even though there’s just two of us in the house, we buy a lot of staples there. To name a few, we like to buy cheap spices, baking ingredients, frozen fruits, meat (we use our FoodSaver religiously), dog treats and a lot of times, even clothes!

Clothes are a new thing, for sure. Before my weight loss journey began, I barely fit in the shirts they would sell there. It’s very odd to now go to Sam’s, and purchase jeans/shirts/cardigans from there. It all fits now! It’s awesome, because it’s dirt cheap and most of the time, they offer fairly classic pieces.

The nemesis of warehouse club shopping, however, are the impulse buys. Whew…can’t tell you how many times random things just hop in our cart! In fact, just recently, there was a bulk box of Reese’s mini cups (the already unwrapped kind) that somehow found its way in our cart. :-P

Since I had a plethora of Reese’s cups to now use up, I decided that cookies would be an awesome idea. I searched the Internet, and found these giant cookies. I was immediately smitten. These were so good…they have the classic chewy peanut butter cookie flavor with Reese’s all throughout. Can’t go wrong here, folks!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Source: Real Mom Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 32 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, quartered

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the bowl, and add the peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix until well-combined
    2. With the mixer on low, add in the baking soda, salt and flour. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese’s cups using a spatula.
    3. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. For me, 6 cookies fit on each sheet. Slightly flatten each scoop with your hand, and then bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes.
    4. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes, then place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

 

 

 

Chocolate Malted Milk Ball Cookies

whoppercookies

Do you ever smell something that just takes you back to a memory? I had a memory like that when I was making the batter for these cookies.

When I was a kid, one of my uncles used to own a snoball stand. In case you don’t know what New Orleans style snoballs are, you’re missing out they are basically ice, VERY finely shaved with flavored syrups added throughout. I know it doesn’t sound like anything special, but the ice is what makes it. Next time you’re in NOLA for the Spring/Summer, seek out a snoball. It’s worth it.

I remember going to my uncle’s snoball stand quite frequently, and just watching them work. Since they were close to so many refineries (lots of people working outside in the Louisiana heat), there was never a dull moment there. They were always busy. Since he also had a soft serve machine in his stand (to make stuffed snoballs), he would also offer malts and shakes. OMG…the banana shakes that he would make were just amazing. To this day, banana is my favorite flavor in a shake. However, when I tried the malt, I was ehh…it was the ONE THING I just didn’t like. Am I weird for not liking malts?

Ever since trying a malt as a kid, I’ve just steered clear of anything malt-y flavored. Malts, malted milk balls…if it has anything to do with a malt flavor, I’m out. After Halloween, I was sorting through our leftover candy and found a TON of malted milk ball packs in the bowl. I stashed them in the fridge, and forgot about them…until this month. I was looking through one of my cookbooks, and came across these cookies. Perfect.

I whipped up the dough for these, and decided since I haven’t tried malted anything in at least 15 years, I’d try a cookie. I found that I’m still not a fan of malted anything…ah well! So, I brought them to my coworkers. Y’all…if you’re a lover of the malted milk balls, try these cookies. I had quite a few coworkers stop by my office asking for this recipe. They were apparently that good. :-)

Chocolate Malted Milk Ball Cookies
Source: Baking From My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup malted milk powder (regular or chocolate flavored)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups Whoppers (malted milk balls), coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Sift together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Reduce the speed on the mixer to low, and add in half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add in the milk, and then the remainder of the dry ingredients, mixing again, until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the Whoppers and chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop the dough with a tbsp. sized scoop onto the lined cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between the cookies. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, rotating the sheets in the oven halfway through the baking process. Do not overbake…these cookies will be puffy and set, but still slightly soft to the touch when done. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes after baking before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.
  5. Repeat until all of the dough is used, keeping in mind to allow the cookie sheets to fully cool between batches. Enjoy!

Quick(er) Royal Icing

Magically Royal Icing

Tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane en route to Orlando, Florida for my first Food Blog Forum. Last year, I stalked Twitter and Instagram the whole weekend of the conference, and it sounded like everyone had a fantastic time. You really can’t go wrong with food bloggers and Disney. :-) After reading blog recaps last year, I just knew that I had to go to the one this year. I was so happy to see the dates, because there were no conflicts. You see, this weekend is sandwiched between my husband’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. It was the perfect date to go without feeling insanely guilty for missing a personal holiday. :-)

I’m sort of obsessed with all things Disney. There’s videos of me from a family trip when I was 3 years old at Disney World. I could see that while I was petrified of the characters (my reaction was OMG…Mickey is HUGE?! WAHHH!!), while at the parades and on the rides, I was beaming. Absolutely BEAMING. Even at home, Disney was the best! I was obsessed with the animated movies, Sing Along Song tapes & the books. Also, for the first few years of my life, my Uncle Brian had a picture of the infamous “Epcot ball” (as we called it) in the living room. He would point to it, and ask us “What’s that?” We knew that if we said “Epcot”, it would be a tickle war. So, I quickly learned other words…simply calling it a ball, a circle…ANYTHING but EPCOT! LOL! It’s one of the few memories I have of my uncle. He went to Disney World multiple times a year and had a killer pin collection. Disney was his thing. Sadly, cancer took my uncle when I was 5 years old, so I always tear up a little when I see the “Epcot Ball”…even as an adult. (Whew…I’m wiping tears writing this post. This is supposed to be a happy post, right?)

Anyway, it just goes to show you that Disney will always have a special place in my heart. Always. And while being at Disney World this weekend is a definite perk, I’m really looking forward to meeting so many bloggers that I consider my friends. While I’ve never met many bloggers in real life, I feel like I have a great friendship with so many of you. So, I’m very excited to finally meet and talk to those who are attending.

I thought it would be fun to psych myself up for the weekend by decorating some sugar cookies with a cookie cutter from Disney World. While decorated sugar cookies are usually very time consuming, I saw this post which made me think otherwise. This royal icing (originally by Sweetopia) eliminates the need for using both an outline and flood icing. It’s all in one. The consistency reminds me of a super thick flood icing, so while you can’t pipe many details, you can do a good basic cookie with this recipe. It took me three hours to go from cookie dough to decorated cookies. Crazy, right? I think I’m going to use this from now on for when I make multiple decorated cookies (especially for the holiday season). I’m so glad I found this! Make sure you follow this recipe perfectly, though (note: when the hand whisk vs. when to use your mixer).

Quick(er) Royal Icing
Source: The Way to His Heart, originally from Sweetopia

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 5 tbsp. meringue powder
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 1/4 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a mixer, add the water and meringue powder. Hand whisk the mixture for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the cream of tartar, and hand whisk again for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar & extract, and mix with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer on low for 10 minutes.
  4. Optional: add gel food coloring to tint the icing to the color(s) of your liking.
  5. To decorate your cookies, add the icing to a squeeze bottle and pipe/fill the cookies with the icing. Allow the cookies to dry for a full 24 hours before serving.