Guest Post: Kim's Confections in the house!

Kim Knemeyer is a Las Vegas cookier who has graced me with her presence on several occasions. On one of those occasions, she brought me the most delicious cinnamon swirl bread. So, because I am sometimes a genius, I asked her to write a blog post about bread baking! So no more loafing around this summer, let's bake bread!

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Hello my fellow cookiers and hopefully bread bakers too!

You may know me from Facebook as Kim Huston Knemeyer or by my cookie name, Kim’s Confections.  I was so excited when asked to do a blog post about bread!  Not only do I love eating bread, I really enjoy making it.  I’m one of those weirdos who eats something and thinks “Hmmm, I wonder if I could duplicate that.”  I love the challenge of bread because there are so many types ranging from the very simple to the very technical.  And because I like to share my love of baking bread, I also occasionally teach a beginner bread baking class in my home.

Was I a natural at bread baking?  No!  My first attempt was a whole-wheat loaf and let me tell you, it made a better door stop than sandwich.  But that didn’t stop me, because I love a challenge.  I immediately did an online search which led me to the King Arthur Flour website. It really opened my eyes!  Years before, I had received the catalog and perused its amazing products, but I didn’t realize they also hosted this amazing community of bakers who were more than willing to help with any baking issue (kinda sounds like another wonderful community we know and love).  The bakers were amazing, and taught me about the science of baking bread.  Think about all of the forms bread takes throughout the world. When you realize that most start with flour, water, salt and yeast, it boggles the mind!

Now, do you have to get up at the crack of dawn and toil over your bread all day kneading and shaping?  No, you don’t.  There is a bread for every type of baker.  I’m lucky because I run my cookie business from home, so my bread baking can take any form I’m in the mood for.  But if you aren’t in my position, there are recipes and tools to help with that.  How many of you have owned a bread machine?  How many of you have baked a few loaves and then never used it again?  What if I told you I never bake in my bread machine?  Crazy, huh?  Don’t get me wrong, I love mine so much, I got it a sibling! I am the proud owner of two Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machines (fondly known as the Cadillac of bread machines).  But I never bake in them.  I use my machines on the dough cycle for mixing and doing the first rise.  I then take out the dough, shape it, let it do its final rise and then bake it in my oven.  I like doing most breads this way because it easily allows me to schedule my bread baking around the other things I have to do.  I know that in that 1 hour and 50-minute time period, the ingredients will be slightly warmed, mixed, punched down and risen in a perfect environment.  I also know that simple rolls and basic loaves, can be completed in about 3 hours.  

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is the one I used for my first successful loaf. It’s also the recipe I teach in my classes.  Although created initially as a burger bun recipe, it adapts to many forms such as rolls, hot dog buns, bread loaves and cinnamon swirl bread.  I know I spoke of my bread machines, but you can also do this recipe by hand or in a mixer (preferably using a bread hook).  This recipe created quite a buzz when first posted to King Arthur Flour’s baking community and soon became a favorite.  It’s soft, slightly sweet and very forgiving!  You can also customize it by adding spices.  My favorite is adding some herbs de Provence when making rolls.  Just a hint of flavor, but not too overwhelming.  I hope my post has inspired you to make a loaf or rolls soon.  Now excuse me, I have a roll that needs a slathering of butter and orange blossom honey!

You can find me at kimsconfectionslv on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Happy baking!

Kim

Ellen's Famous white bread

Ingredients:

1 cup water

2 tbsp. butter, softened   

1 egg

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour    

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2-3 tsp. instant yeast

 

Ellen's Hawaiian Bread

 Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. butter, softened

3 cups flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. instant potato flakes

1 tsp. salt

pinch of ginger

3 tsp. yeast

 Bread Machine Method: Place wet ingredients in bucket first.  Next, place flours, sugars and other ingredients next, except for salt and yeast.  Then place salt off to one side and yeast in an indentation in the center.  Select dough cycle and then run.  

Mixer Method: Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl except for salt.  Combine with paddle attachment.  Add salt and combine.  Add remaining ingredients and combine until dough starts to leave the side of the bowl.  Switch to dough hook and knead for around 6 minutes on low-medium, scraping the dough to the center of the bowl once.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, and cover the container.  Place in a semi-warm spot away from drafts and allow to rise to double it’s size, about an hour.  

For Sandwich Loaf: Preheat oven to 350º.  Gently deflate dough and press into a rectangle.  Fold over top third if dough and press seam with heel of palms.  Fold over another third, press and repeat again.  Place dough in loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Bake for 20 minutes uncovered.  Bake for another 10 covered with foil to prevent over-browning.  Remove from oven and immediately remove from pan onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

For Cinnamon Swirl Loaf: Preheat oven to 350º.  Gently deflate dough and press into a large rectangle.  Combine cinnamon filling mix and water with a whisk until no lumps appear.  Spread over dough leaving a 1” border around edges.  Tightly roll dough and tuck under ends.  Place dough in loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray.  Cover with plastic wrap loosely and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately remove from pan onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool.

For Hamburger Buns: Preheat oven to 375º.  Depending on the size you want, divide dough into 10-12 pieces. Slap each piece into a bun shape. Usually 4 or 5 slaps will do it.  Place on greased cookie sheets or bun pans and cover loosely with plastic wrap; rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes till golden.  Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks.

For Dinner Rolls: Preheat oven to 375º.  Divide into 12 to 24 pieces (I do 16), depending on the size you like. Shape into balls and spray pan with nonstick spray.  For 12 rolls, place in a 8” x 8” square pan; for 16 rolls either 2 8” round cake pans or a 9” x 13” pan; and for 24 rolls in a 9” x 13” pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap let rise until doubled, from 30 to 45 minutes.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.  

 

Finding the perfect dress (cookie)!

Just in case you haven't heard, I have a new set of Mix & Match Dress cutters. I love them so much, and I'm so excited to see what all of you will do with them! I posted this video to Instagram, but thought I'd share it here too...so you can see just some of the possibilities!

Don't have the cutters yet? You can get yours here.

Guest Post: Meet Kris Colucci!

Today I want you to meet my friend Kris. I first met Kris at CookieCon and the last time I saw her... was at CookieCon 2017 with some fun encounters in between.  I was lucky enough to get a quick Kris fix in between CookieCons when we decorated cookies last Christmastime.  She makes outstanding cookies and I'm always impressed with her talent and her thoughtfulness.  Her business name reflects her style perfectly: "So Cute Cookies". Seriously, look at some of her cookies below and try not to say it:"SO CUTE!  I dare ya.  So here, without further ado, is Kris:

Hello! I'm Kris from So Cute Cookies. I was so flattered to be asked to write a guest post for Arty McGoo's blog. 

The power of a cookie is amazing. I love being a part of people's special events and bringing a smile to people through cookies. I enjoy delivering random acts of cookie kindness to people as I go about my day. Whether I bring treats to my favorite checker at the grocery, my husband's office staff, or my mom's nurses, the reaction is always the same! People get so excited over a cookie. 

I began my cookie journey when I took a cookie bouquet class with a friend at my local Michael's store in 2010. I had always been crafty: loved scrapbooking and stamping cards, so decorating cookies was another creative hobby that I thought would be fun in retirement. We used fondant in our class and I went online to find another type of icing that was more like frosting. I found the Karens Cookies blog and website and stumbled into a whole site full of recipes, tutorials, videos, and an online forum where I could talk with other people who shared my passion. I experimented with Royal Icing, Glaze, and Royal Glaze but ultimately fell in love with Karen's Meringue Powder Buttercream Icing. Over the years I've tweaked it to my liking using less shortening and more flavorings but this is basically how I still make my icing today for all my cookie orders. Https://karenscookieblog.com/category/recipes/. Meringue Powder Buttercream does not dry hard and crunchy. It has a more frosting like texture but it dries firm enough to stack and package once dried overnight. I realize most cookiers use Royal Icing but my family and customers love my icing so I will stick with it. 

In 2012 I went to a cookie retreat in Louisville, KY and it was so fun to meet and learn from other cookiers. I met so many people I still call my friends today. I have attended every CookieCon in Salt Lake City and have taken some fun classes along the way with Arty Mc Goo, Oh Sugar, and SweetTCakes.

I would define my cookie style as simple and cute. I avoid complicated orders and characters.  One of my favorite things to do is package cookies. I love wrapping gifts and showing up to the party with the prettiest package, so it's only natural that I love adding big bows and cute packaging to show off my cookies. I want my customers to have that WOW factor when they walk into an event bringing my cookies. 

When I am not busy baking treats my husband and I love to travel. Our 2 kids are grown and we try and vacation as often as possible. I have even combined my love of baking and traveling by visiting a few cookie friends in the UK, Greece, and Arizona.  Cookie friends are the best people! 

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook (So Cute Cookies) and my website. Www.socutecookies.com.          ~Kris

 

How I Lost My CookieCon Virginity: Volume 2

Hey everybody, it's Kim again. Why has it taken me so long to write this blog post? I don't honestly know. It could have been spring break, the 2 week illness that followed, the fact that my computer died, or my inherent laziness. Any one is probably a valid choice. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, losing my CookieCon virginity! (It really was everything they said it would be!)

So Thursday morning began VERY early with preparations for the McGoo U Sock Hop! We had a special pre-CookieCon social for all of the McGoo U subscribers, and it was a BLAST! Elvis (Mr. John in his sexy white jumpsuit) made a special appearance and serenaded the adoring crowd, we played a rousing game of "speed-friendshipping", had a decorator's challenge, and my son came and served as "bartender", mixing up our signature drinks! Everyone had a great time getting together and socializing before CookieCon officially began. I made a slide show so you can see how awesome it was!

 

After the party we took a few minutes to check out Cookie Town and the Sugar Show entries. Oh my gosh, it was AMAZING!  Cookie people are so clever and talented! Here's a little peek at Cookie Town: 

And here are just a few of the cookies that were entered into the Sugar Show! Aren't they so impressive? I couldn't get over it. I must have gone back into that room 10 times over the course of the weekend just to ooh and aah.

And then CookieCon OFFICIALLY began! People started arriving in droves, lined up to get their swag bags, traded pins & cookies, and the excitement level was through the roof! You know how people talk about "finding your tribe"? Well, that really happens at CookieCon. I don't know about you, but when I talk to my friends about royal icing consistency, where you can get Everclear, and the latest cookies I've seen on Instagram, their eyes glaze over. BUT NOT AT COOKIECON! At CookieCon, there are hundreds of other people who speak your language; and let's face it, it's nice to be understood.

Ooh, and then I got to go to First-timer orientation! That's where they divide all of the newbies into groups & give them the lay of the land. It was fun to meet a bunch of other CookieCon virgins, find out where they had traveled from, and have a someone with real experience tell you what to expect your first time!

Thursday night ended with an OUTSTANDING keynote speech by Katy Metoyer (Sugar Dayne). Her presentation was EVERYTHING: sweet, sassy, funny, touching, and incredibly open and honest. If you've seen the hashtag #mycookiefriendsarereal around the interwebs in the last few months, it's because of Katy's talk. Tears were shed, people were moved, and it ended in a standing ovation. Katy is a cookie goddess.

If that weren't enough, I then got to dine with some of my cookie idols. I was still wearing my sock hop outfit, so I got some pretty funny looks walking through Salt Lake City, but who cares when you're taking that walk with Arty McGoo, Lilaloa, Andy Kay, and the Hungry Hippopotamus? Not me!

 

My Mom, Arty McGoo.

By Bailey Adams:

I always hear teenagers my age saying, "OMG, my mom is soooooooo lame! She's so embarrassing, and she never does anything fun." Everytime I am faced with this obnoxious statement, I have no idea how to respond. I can't relate to the individual at all, because my mom is absolutely wonderful. Putting the word "lame" by "my mom" is something so unfathomable to me that when I was younger, I thought all moms where this cool. Being a bit older now, i realize that my mother, Elizabeth Kessinger Adams, is basically the raddest person on the face of our planet.  

I don't know if you guys have noticed, but my mom is flipping hilarious. I can't think of anyone else who makes me laugh harder than she does.  A few months ago, my siblings and I where on the couch with my mom. She decided she would see what this "Snapchat" thing was all about. she had downloaded it onto her phone around 7:30, and we were on the couch till 2:00am laughing hysterically at the ridiculous face swaps we made. We laughed till tears streamed down our faces and our stomachs hurt from laughing so much. Oh, and by the way, my mom's laugh is more contagious than a yawn. Once she gets going, there is no turning back. my mom and I are similar in many ways, and one of those similarities is that when we are tired, we get really hyper. When we go to Disneyland, we always try to stay till 12:00am. Nothing compares to that feeling at midnight as you stand there in the park, your tired sore feet are still damp from splash mountain 6 hours ago and your clothes smell like bubbles and churros, and you can't help but smile a delirious smile, and do some weird dance that has not yet been discovered in our universe. At least, thats what my mom and I do. We will do these weird dances and faces and it is hilarious. it could be 3:00am or 12:00pm and it will always be hysterical to me.

I always love to sit next to my mom, whether it be in the pews at church or strapped in by her side on a roller coaster, I always feel better sitting by my mom and having her by my side. Evidently, my siblings feel the same way. This has been a real conflict in our household recently. Back when Denver, my 11 year old brother, was a baby, my mom had three sides. Sage and I would sit next to her on either side, and Denver would be in her lap. well, Denver is now a growing young man of 90 pounds, and he can't quite sit on her lap like he used to. My siblings and I will often argue over who's "turn" it is to sit next to mom every Sunday. At Disneyland, we alternate the rides we go on so we can all sit next to her equally. Ridiculous? Sometimes it certainly is. My siblings and I, we are pretty good kids. I would say we are not too terrible a trio, but I know we are definitely a handful sometimes. My mom always shows an incredible amount of patience with us, whether we are pushing each other over to sit by her or arguing over trivial little things, she is always patient with us, not to mention her keeping a calm countenance as i learn how to operate our two-ton vehicle.

My mom is definitely a mom, but she's also my best friend. Sometimes I feel like a lot of people's relationships with their moms are either one or the other, a mom, or best friend. I think that's one of the reasons why my mom and i's relationship is so unique is because we have both. My mom is my confidant, and I tell her ligit everything. Everyday, since I was about 5, I come home from school and tell her everything that went on during the time I was out of her sight. I think it is both a blessing and a curse for my mom. A blessing because I am such a chatter box that I would never be able to hide anything from her, and a curse because I literally never shut up. Nevertheless, my mom always sits and attentively listens to every weird, pointless thing I have to say. Thats another one of my moms many talents: listening. She is an incredible listener. She also gives the best advice. Sometimes I have a hard time believing my mom has problems because she is so good at solving mine with me. :)   

Oh, did I ever mention that my mother, Elizabeth Adams, is a freakin superhero? Yeah, she has her alter ego, Arty McGoo, but she is also a Superhero. She possesses this special power known to man as Mothers Intuition. I don't know if I will ever be able to fully comprehend how she does it, but she can always tell when one of us kids is fibbing or hiding something. (of course, its never me...pfft. course not.) Not only is she able to tell when there is mischief about; she is also able to win every game we ever play as a family. I'm dead serious, I don know how she does it, but every time she beats us all by a mile. i know what your thinking, she cheated. Nope. I have already investigated the possibility numerous times and it is proven to be untrue. She does not cheat, but she always wins. We could be playing any game, and she will win, whether that game be Scrabble, Catan, Tetris, Blockus, it could be a flipping dice game; a game of chance, and she still wins. I'm telling you, its a special power she possesses. I hope it's hereditary...

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I will be 100% honest, it's sometimes hard to share her with her thousands of followers and Cookier pals when she leaves for cookie con, or to teach classes that are away from our home, or when she has to leave to film in Kansas City. It is definitely hard to share her with the world, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know my mom has blessed so many lives by doing what she does, and I know that she definitely has a very special light about her. I remember one time while my mom was gone on one of her many cookie-ing adventures, I happened to have a particularly rough day. I remember wanting to have my mom back home so I could talk with her and feel her hugs and ask her for advice and just to have my mom at home with me. I remember these words entered my head: "Why the crap does everyone have to love her so much?" I laughed out loud at my own selfishness, because who could blame them?! My mom is such an amazing person, how could I expect other people to ignore such a radiant and beautiful person? My mom is not perfect, but she is the closest person to perfect that I have ever witnessed in this life. My mother is the perfect example of the mother I strive to be in my future. She is the perfect example of a friend, a teacher, a peacemaker, a chef, a follower of Jesus Christ, and she is the perfect example of the person I want to become. I am so grateful that I was blessed with such an amazing woman I get to call my mom. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I will always love you. 

 

 

 

 

CookieCon Part 3: How I lost my CookieCon virginity! Vol. 1

Could you tell by the title of this post that Arty is not the author? What gave it away? Was it the sassiness or the fact that Arty has "been around the block"...if you know what I mean? Well, friends, until last month I was a CookieCon virgin, but guess what? I lost my virginity...and it was EVEN BETTER than I expected! (I'd make an inappropriate comment here, but I'll let you insert your own...'cause I'm a giver like that.) And since you only lose your CookieCon virginity once, I thought I should document it. You know, so I don't forget how magical it was...and so other people can learn from my experience.

I was thrilled when Arty & Mr. John said they were taking me along to Salt Lake. The last time CookieCon was held, I wanted to attend, but I was a brand new cookier and my husband thought that flying to Utah, staying in a hotel & going to a conference for my new HOBBY was a little much.  But this time, since I was going for work, my main squeeze didn't bat an eyelash! Yay for having a rad cookie job! It's true that CookieCon didn't officially start until Thursday, but Arty was teaching pre-CookieCon classes, and we had a 12 hour drive, so we left home on Monday. We dropped off our kids at their respective schools, BARELY crammed everything into the car, and hit the road. A 12 hour drive may sound boring, but for the 3 of us it really isn't. We find ourselves pretty entertaining. Plus, we're pretty much brilliant when we're on a road trip, so let's just say we have some great stuff coming up at McGoo U that is a direct result of those 12 hours.

A screenshot from the live video we did from the road. The car was PACKED!

A screenshot from the live video we did from the road. The car was PACKED!

On Tuesday we did CookieCon prep all day. I won't bore you with the details about shopping at Wal-Mart and the Deseret Industries thrift store and unloading the car. I'm pretty sure can imagine how that went. Let's skip to the good stuff...Tuesday night! There was a prep party for all of the pre-CC teachers. It was awesome. I FINALLY met Lilaloa...in person...in her house...and she fed me dinner! I also met Stephanie (The Hungry Hippopotamus), the very delightful Patrice from Springerle Joy, Monica (Cookie Cowgirl), Leslie (4 Peas and a Dog) and Anne (Flourbox Bakery). The other Pre-CC teachers were also there, but I didn't get a chance to chat with them. But let me just say this: You know how you sit at your house and watch McGoo U on your laptop/TV/iPad/phone? And you feel like you know those cookie people, and you're sure you'd like them if you met them in person? Well, IT'S TRUE! YOU WOULD! They are all "As seen on TV", and I liked every single one of them...for real. 

Wednesday was crazy fun. Arty had 2 pre-CookieCon classes, and the first (Steampunk) started at 8 AM. Even though CookieCon hadn't officially started, the energy level was through the roof! Everyone was so excited to be there, and to meet people. I was VERY much looking forward to meeting Chris Taylor (Flour Sugar Butter). I think he's a sugar genius, and I knew I liked him based on his online presence. But his appearance on McGoo U sealed the deal for me (you've seen him in the "Hungry Games" skit, right?), and I was dying to meet him in the flesh. Well, it happened, and I was pretty much giddy.

Steampunk (top) & Fabulous 50's (bottom). Do we look like we were having fun? WE WERE!

Steampunk (top) & Fabulous 50's (bottom). Do we look like we were having fun? WE WERE!

The afternoon class (Fabulous 50's) was also full of great cookiers, many of whom are McGoo U subscribers, I knew who Ann Murad (Suburban Madmom) was because we had had a few interactions online. Truth be told, if I saw Ann in Target, I'd be intimidated. She has tattoos and piercings, and blue hair! She also happens to be one of the nicest humans I've met. I don't even know how many times I hugged her during CookieCon, but it was a lot. 

With Chris Taylor (Flour Sugar Butter). I need to step up my selfie game!

With Chris Taylor (Flour Sugar Butter). I need to step up my selfie game!

With Ann Murad (Suburban Madmom)

With Ann Murad (Suburban Madmom)

That day was a dream come true. I met a lot of other "friends" that I had never seen in real life.  I want to talk about every single one of them, but there simply isn't room here. (They know who they are.  I'm pretty sure they are going to have to be the subject of another post.) Needless to say, I loved Wednesday, and CookieCon hadn't even started!

Coming soon: Vol 2 - CookieCon Begins!