Guest Post: All hail the Queen of Bows!

Arty: I've known this gorgeous and talented blonde for several years now.  The thing I love about her work is that sometimes I don't know it's hers, and I mean that as a huge compliment.  If it has incredible bows, it would clue me in, (because she is flipping' famous for her signature bows! and for good reason), but when it was revealed that her entry into the CookieCon sugar show several years ago was that sea turtle... I was shocked!  That's not Delorse!  But that is the rad thing about Delorse... it IS Delorse.  Delorse is so many things from elegant to humorous, or whimsical and cute, she is a master of royal icing and she always creates beautiful work that has such range.  She is the sweetest and a great friend. Meet Delorse Sword:

Delorse and her daughter, Megan

Delorse and her daughter, Megan

Hi cookie friends! I'm Delorse Sword from Sword's Sugars and I'm so excited to have been  invited to spend a few minutes here on Arty's awesome blog to talk cookie and give you a little glimpse into my cookie world.

See that cute, laughing girl in the picture above? That's my daughter Megan. She hates that picture, but I insanely love it.  She makes me laugh every single day and she's the reason I began my cookie journey.  She's my "mini me" and my biggest fan.  She pushes me, listens to me, laughs at me, and when I tell her I 'can't do that on a cookie', she tell me to figure. it. out.

I decorated my first set of cookies with royal icing in October of 2012 for a Mom's Weekend event with Megan's sorority.  I wanted to make something I could take to the first night's activity.  As Megan and I were searching the web for all things Chi Omega, we ran across a picture of some cute owl cookies.  I thought, 'Hey, I think I might be able to make something like that', and the rest, a they say, is history.  Little did I know then that those little red and yellow owls would lead me to an amazing cookie community full of amazing people like you!

One of Delorse's more recent owls

One of Delorse's more recent owls

I spent the next year researching the art of cooking decorating by reading cookie blogs and books, watching video tutorials, joining and interacting in FB cookie groups, building a supply cabinet (or two, or three!), and teaching myself how to ‘cookie’. I practiced what I was learning on cookies for the girls in the sorority, and their enthusiasm about the platters of cookies I made for a couple of their events made me want to perfect my skill and opened a door to a creative outlet that I didn’t realize I needed or wanted at that time in my life. And then another great thing happened. I learned about this thing called Cookie Con. What?! A convention centered around decorating cookies - is that even a thing?! Oh, it is, and I went to my first one in March of 2014! It was a fantastic experience and only furthered my interest in the cookie world and all the wonderful people in it.    

A cookie featuring one of Delorse's famous bows!

A cookie featuring one of Delorse's famous bows!

Fast forward, and that’s exactly how I feel my cookie journey has progressed, to today and I'm still amazed at where that little owl cookie has led me.  I enjoy designing and creating cookies for my family and friends and sharing those creations with all of you. I’m inspired daily by all of your work and hope that a little of what I do, inspires you back.  I will be forever grateful for people like Arty who has willingly shared her art and her love of cookies and has encouraged me to develop my own.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of cookies/cookie sets and yes a lot of them are bows! You  KNOW I love them!!!  

If you’ve made it this far in my ramblings, thanks for reading and looking.  I’ll see you on the Facebook (as my mom calls it) and the gram and if you ever need my help or have a question about anything I post, PLEASE feel free to contact me.  I’d love it!

From my home to yours

I made some REALLY good pancakes for my family last Fall and decided I need to share these recipes with you! Now is the time of year when we can get our hands on fresh cranberries, so grab some and make these!

Seriously, they were so delicious!

Seriously, they were so delicious!

Orange Cranberry Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup

For the syrup:

1 bag cranberries, rinsed (reserve 1/2 C for pancakes)

1 C white sugar

1 C orange juice

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch of cloves

1/4 C maple syrup

1. Bring all ingredients (except maple syrup) to a boil in a saucepan. Cook until cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes).

2. Remove cinnamon stick & crush cranberries to your liking.

3. Stir in maple syrup.

 

For the pancakes:

2 C pancake mix

2 eggs

1 TBSP oil

1 C milk

1/4 C orange juice

zest of 1 orange

1 tsp orange emulsion (optional)

1/2 C chopped cranberries

1. Mix eggs, oil, milk, orange juice, zest & emulsion.

2. Stir into pancake mix just until well blended.

3. Fold in chopped berries.

4. Drop batter by 1/4 C onto a hot griddle. Serve with Cranberry maple syrup.

 

Collaborative Cookie-ying

Pardon me for quoting from The A-Team (child of the 80's), but "I love it when a plan comes together!"  

My 11-year old son, Denver is full of helpful ideas. "You should buy this brand mom.  It is less per ounce." he says at the grocery store.  Or he will suggest, "We should get sushi and snuggle".  His clever ideas also include inspiration about cookies.  I was rolling out dough and he said, "What if we make cotton candy cookies using cotton candy sugar?" or "Can we put mini m&m's into the chocolate cookie dough?"  I am always up for cookie experiments so I immediately comply with his every cookie wish.  FYI: the cotton candy sugar didn't lend enough flavor but did result in a beautiful pink dough, and the m&m's were mmmmmazing! 

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So when he came up to me one day while I was decorating cookies and announced, "I have an idea for a cookie," I listened.  "You should make one of a fortune teller with a crystal ball.  You could cut out a part of it and put in... what is that stuff called?  That clear stuff?"  Me, "Isomalt?  Here's a piece of paper.  Draw what you have in mind."    

Denver quickly drew a rough sketch of what he was imagining and how I could create the illusion of the crystal ball.  He drew and explained and I sketched and clarified some details.  We walked into my office and picked out the right rectangle and a small circle cutter for the crystal ball.  I had a class to prepare for and cookies to decorate, but this was important... and I'm a procrastinator.

The Plan

The Plan

We got the cookie baked and microplaned and ready to decorate.  The background was originally going to be a galaxy design, but we soon discovered it competed with our turbaned soothsayer, who was the real star of the show and had to mute the colors by painting a layer of black food coloring over it.  Denver advised and complimented me through the process.  We made the big decisions together: hag or beauty? purples or blues? but I knew the part he was really looking forward to: the crystal ball!

With her tasseled throw and lacy tablecloth dry; her puffy sleeves and unruly hair painted, she was ready for her crystal ball!  Denver and I decided how much isomalt to melt and put it in the microwave, laughing like the mad scientists that we were.  "Mwah ha ha!"  I think we literally rubbed our hands with glee.  The microwave "dinged" and our laughter ramped up to maniacal.  We brought the clear lava carefully to our cookie and poured it into the circle cut out.  We filled it to the edge, creating a slight dome and we congratulated each other on how awesome we were.  We quickly added several tiny sparkly star sprinkles to the setting globe and had to give each other a stern talking to about not touching the isomalt until it was completely dry.  What self-respecting fortune teller had fingerprints on her crystal ball!?

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She was everything we dreamed!  Little did we know it was about to get even dreamier.  The next morning Mr. John saw our creation and said, "That is so cool!" and he mysteriously disappeared.  He returned with a nifty gadget that looked like a watch.  He placed it behind the cookie and that's when the magic happened.  Watch below to see it in action!

A collaboration with my favorite guys!  Who knew they were such cookie geniuses!?

Pumpkin Spice Popcorn? Yes please!

As most of you know, I adore all things pumpkin! This time of year my house is full of pumpkin flavored everything!  So naturally, I felt a need to incorporate my favorite flavor into one of my favorite snacks.  A few years ago I shared this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Popcorn on Instagram, but I thought it was high time I shared it here. So, for your movie-watching, cider-sipping enjoyment, here it is:

Arty's Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

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Directions:

1. Coat the inside of a roasting pan with nonstick spray. Pour popped popcorn into the pan.

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Stir until combined. 

3. Pour the butter mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat.

4. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Devour. Make some more. Repeat.

 

I make my popcorn from raw kernels on the stovetop.  Old school.  It will work with whatever your favorite method of popping is, but I haven't made it using the bags of microwave popcorn. If you did, you would probably get the best results using the natural kind with less butter flavoring, but that is just a theory.  Whichever way you pop it, let me know how it goes!  If loving pumpkin spice is wrong, I don't want to be right.    

Guest Post: Sharing the Springerle Joy

Arty:  I thought I would introduce this fabulous woman you see below before she shows us the magic of springerle.  I met Patrice for the first time in September, a couple of days before CookieCon 2015.  We were at Georganne Bell's house having dinner with all the instructors and preparing for our pre-CookieCon classes the next morning.  She was having a fabulous time getting to know the other decorators, and enjoying the evening because she was uber prepared.  Not stressing or mixing or coloring icing... not like other people there (ahem, me).  That was my first impression of her.  This lady has got it together.  And now that I know her a little better?  This lady has got it together.  

Patrice is the awesome combination of friendly and warm AND detail oriented and knowledgeable and she generously shares with others.  She has such a passion for what she does and it is contagious.  Just try to read her story below and not fall in love with her and her stunning cookies! And if you want to know even more about this beautiful world of Springerle, visit her website.  

Patrice Romzick, owner of Springerle Joy

Patrice Romzick, owner of Springerle Joy

Springerle Molds – My Favorite Things

Lotus Heart - #5137

Lotus Heart - #5137

I got hooked on springerle molds in the late 90s when my brother-in-law brought home a Christmas mold from Frankenmuth, MI (Michigan’s Little Bavaria).

When I saw it, I loved the intricacy of the 3D art that I could hold in my hand. Best of all, I could make gorgeous cookies without having an artistic gene in my body. (And I don’t—those genes were given to my brother and sister!)

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But there was one other hurdle to overcome—the recipe. When I was growing up in Detroit, we had springerle cookies from a German bakery every year. They were in a word, terrible. They were hard and heavily anise-flavored to the point that they numbed my taste buds. They were the last cookies to be eaten on a cookie plate.

But I experimented and discovered that the dough could be deliciously flavored with almost anything (citrus, almond, spices). And the freshly made cookies were soft and chewy. They only became hard when they were not in air-tight containers.

Turkey - #3212

Turkey - #3212

Best of all, the classic recipe was simple—only four ingredients: eggs, powdered sugar, a flavoring, and cake flour.

So, my love affair with springerle molds began. I collected molds from all over the world. I baked cookies for everyone I knew. I even made Christmas tree ornaments and card decorations with my molds.

Boy Building Snowman - #1016

Boy Building Snowman - #1016

In 2009 while at a Springerle mold fair in Stuttgart, Germany, I met the owner of Änis-Paradies, a Swiss company with the largest collection of antique reproduction and present-day springerle molds in the world. We spoke in German about the heritage of the molds I was purchasing. After 15 minutes, he asked me: “Would you like to sell these molds in the US?” This was the start of a great adventure!

Snowflake Small - #1015

Snowflake Small - #1015

It’s been a delight sharing my love of this cookie tradition with customers. I teach classes regularly and learn so much from them. Some customers have German baking traditions and share their stories of how the springerle tradition has been passed down for over 100 years. Other students want to establish a tradition within their families as a way of sharing, giving a little bit of love with every cookie they make. Kids and grandkids can make these, so it can be a whole-family activity.
 

Star within a Star - #1691, Wreath with 4 Flowers - #2016, Leaf Wreath - #2013, Wreath with 6 Roses - #2015

Star within a Star - #1691, Wreath with 4 Flowers - #2016, Leaf Wreath - #2013, Wreath with 6 Roses - #2015

Our easy classic springerle recipe appears below. The cookies retain their design by drying the tops overnight before baking. For faster cookies, we offer other easy recipes on our website that do not require overnight drying—you set up the images by refrigerating the molded cookie for a ½ hour before baking. Either way, the cookies are beautiful and delicious.

Be sure to check out our free how-to videos for making the cookies.

Happy baking!

Rose in Oval - #2222, Lotus Heart - #5137

Rose in Oval - #2222, Lotus Heart - #5137

Classic Springerle Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 9 large eggs (USDA Grade A Large in the US) at room temperature

  • 2 lb powdered sugar

  • Flavoring options (choose only one edible flavoring oil from the following)

    • 1 tsp. Lorann™ anis oil -or-

    • 1 tsp. Lorann™ almond oil - or-

    • 2 tsp. any Lorann™ fruit flavoring oil (orange, lemon, raspberry...) -or-

    • 4 tsp. Lorann™ vanilla, vanilla butternut, bavarian cream, or cinnamon roll flavoring (these flavors tend to be light)

  • 2 lb cake flour

  • Parchment paper to line cookie sheets

 

Preparation: 

  1. Beat the eggs well until the mixture turns into an airy crème. (About 6 minutes using a KitchenAid™ 5qt. stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment.) Immediately, with the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar by ½ cups until all sugar is incorporated and mixture is fluffy. Add the flavoring oil while mixer is on low speed.

  2. Immediately switch to the flat paddle attachment and gradually beat in ¾ of the flour on low speed. For hand mixers, knead in the last quarter of the flour by hand or use the bread hook attachment. For stand mixers, beat in the last 1/4 of flour with the paddle attachment. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to two hours covered on the dough surface with plastic wrap, or cover the top of the bowl with a dish damp dish towel. You need to keep the dough covered to prevent drying on the surface.

    Note: In low humidity conditions, do not knead in all the flour. Reserve about a cup. Let the dough rest 30 minutes to two hours. During that time, the flour in the dough will continue to absorb the liquid. You may find that you don’t need to add the cup you reserved.

    In humid conditions, you may need to add more flour. If your dough droops quickly off the paddle attachment and is very shiny, you can add more flour (maybe a 1/2 cup) before resting. But when in doubt, let the dough rest 30 minutes first.

  3. After resting, if the dough is still saggy/droopy knead in more flour. You want it at a consistency that just holds its shape while still being form-able. It should have the softness of a firm pillow. You can knead in the flour during Step 4, one dough part at a time. 

  4. Divide the Springerle dough, which still will be sticky, into six parts. Cover the bowl with a damp towel to keep the dough parts moist. Take out one piece and knead in just enough flour so that it is slightly sticky. Roll out on a well-floured surface so that it is 8 mm thick using dough guides or about 3/8". Lightly dust the rolled dough with flour so that the dough feels like silk. Dust your Springerle mold with flour using a pastry brush. Now press the very finely dusted mold evenly into the dough until the mold cavity is filled, and remove. Cut out the molded dough with a suitable pastry cutter or a knife and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

  5. Next, dry only the top surface of the cookies at room temperature, either on your cookie sheets or on parchment. Do not dry them on a baking rack! You do not want to dry underside of the cookies--you need the bottom moist to develop a foot (rise) while baking. Drying time is typically 8-12 hours at room temperature, 24-36 hours for very humid conditions, thick or large diameter cookies. Never refrigerate the cookies while drying; you need room temperature to evaporate the moisture on the top of the cookies.

    To minimize sticking for your small- and medium-size cookies: five minutes before baking, turn the cookies over and dust the bottoms generously with flour. Then turn them back over with the design facing up and slide them around a little bit on your parchment. Do not do this with giant cookies--you risk breaking them.

  6. Bake the Springerle one baking sheet at a time at approx. 300ºF on the very bottom rack of the oven. Put like-sized cookies on the same sheet.

    Small cookies (2.5" dia.) can be done in 10-14 minutes at 300°F while larger cookies may take 14-20 minutes and are best baked at 285°F. Giant cookies (10-14 inches in diameter) will take 30-60 minutes and are baked at approx. 260°F.

    Cookies are done when the bottoms are a light golden brown. When baking these cookies for the first time, bake just a few on a baking sheet and check often to see how long your cookies take to finish. Everyone’s oven is different. We suggest you get yourself an oven thermometer if you don't have one.

See our free how-to-videos on YouTube that take you through every step of the recipe. 

You can also cut this recipe in half...this is shown in the videos.

If you have any questions using this recipe, feel free to write us at info@springerlejoy.com or call us at 412-977-5378.

“Just like everything else in life, the most important things are: time and love!”—Änis-Paradies

 

Hey everybody, Kim here. Patrice is SO nice she wanted to share the Springerle Joy with one of you! Look at the amazing gift pack she has graciously donated! If you'd like to win, see the instructions below. The giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday. Good luck!

Guest Post: The Cookie Cowgirl is serving up drinks....I mean cookies!

Arty here: Before we get to the good stuff, I thought I would start with a little about Monica.  The first time I saw her, she was wearing an apron with holsters that contained decorating bags of royal icing and wearing cowboy boots.  Like a cookie vigilante.  As you can imagine, it was love at first sight!  Monica is hilarious, kind-hearted, down to earth AND an incredible artist.  And a great mom and devoted wife, and is always thinking about others, and and and I could keep going on and on about how awesome she is, but I'll stop there.  I know why you came here. So without further ado, the one and only royal icing toting, cookie slinging, rootenest tootenest cookier in the Wild West:  The Cookie Cowgirl!!!!  

Monica and her absolutely adorable son, Burt

Monica and her absolutely adorable son, Burt

Hello fellow Mc Goobers, and...Aloha! For those that don’t know me, my name is Monica Holbert, aka the Cookie Cowgirl. I fell in love with making cookies about 5 years ago and never looked back. One of the things that I love about making cookies is how versatile they can be. Little bites of dough and icing that transform into anything the imagination can conjure.

We all make beautiful cookies, but then how do they taste? Doesn’t that question just send shivers down your spine, I mean they are cookies first, right? They should taste just as good as they look, otherwise what’s the point?

Why am I talking about flavors? It’s because I LOVE flavored cookies. I have probably done over fifty different flavored cookies since I started, but tiki cocktail flavors have got to be my favorite and that’s what I want to have a chat with y’all about.

My first try at making tiki cocktail flavored cookies was three years ago when my husband attended a tiki conference in Oregon and asked if I would make cookies that he could hand out to people to help break the ice and make some friends. We chose Mai Tai for our cookie flavor and I got to work on the recipe. It took me five batches of dough to get it right, one had too much lime, one not enough almond, one too much orange, you get the idea. Mixing a good cocktail is an art; the flavors are all very deliberate and must be balanced perfectly. But how do you achieve balance? Well, I can tell you it’s not with just extracts or emulsions. The key to my success is using fresh and natural ingredients whenever I can. When you are able to use different types of ingredients, not all the flavors hit you at once in that first bite. As you chew you taste the different zests or spices and it’s totally amazing.

Some of my favorite flavorings to add are:

Citrus Zests: Orange, lemon, lime, even grapefruit. A little goes a long way and the oils only get stronger in the cookies. Note: zest does not generally work well in icing (it can clog your piping bag), but you can add the same flavor juice or citrus extracts if you need an extra punch of flavor to go with the zest in your dough.

Frozen Juice Concentrate: Frozen concentrate makes a wonderful flavoring, just let it thaw… you can even add it to icing. You can use regular juice but the concentrate has more punch for the amount of liquid you’re adding.

Cocoa Powder: cocoa is a great compliment to many flavors and you can add just a little bit to mellow some flavors and add a great color to your dough.

Jell-O: yes, JELL-O! It’s been in recipe books since the 50s and those girls knew how to a make a tasty cookie. A little goes a long way and it adds a very clean flavor without the added alcohol. There are even a bunch of all natural Jell-O flavors out now, so give them a shot.

Alcohol: So it doesn’t take much, but many rums, bourbons, even beers, have a truly unique flavor that you can only get from adding the real thing. Fair warning: alcohol can break down royal icing's ability to form peaks. While not everyone mixes their icing the same way, I usually mix mine to a soft peak and then use a 50/50 blend of alcohol and water to dilute my royal for flooding.

Spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Lavender, Cardamom, Allspice… powdered spices are the simplest and most universal way to add flavor without changing your dough consistency.

The thing to remember about extracts and emulsions is that the first ingredient in them is alcohol. Why does that make a difference? My experience is that you get what you put in when it comes to ingredients. Have you ever tried to taste an extract? It’s pretty disgusting. You are honestly not adding any more flavor, just extra alcohol. The nice thing about using non alcohol based ingredients is that you can taste what you put in right away, without waiting for the flavors to bake out. The bonus is how wonderfully inviting the dough looks too, all the little specks of zest or spice...it just adds a whole new level to the way your cookies look from the start. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that Mexican vanilla is absolutely amazing and everyone should have a bottle in their baking arsenal.

So this is a first for me, and something special just for you, I made this recipe just for you guys as an example of a typical cocktail cookie I would make… A Piña Colada flavored cookie. This recipe will probably make about 2-3 dozen cookies depending on the size of your cutter.

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Cookie Cowgirl’s Piña Colada Cookies:
1 Cup Butter (soft/room temperature)
1 Cup White sugar
1/4 Cup Frozen Pineapple Juice Concentrate
1/4 Cup Coconut Creme (I like Coco Lopez, this is NOT coconut milk)
2 large eggs
1T Pineapple flavored Jell-o
1/4 Cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I like the fine ones because they cut better)
1/2 tsp Salt
5-6 Cups All Purpose Flour (or all purpose gluten free flour)

• Cream butter & sugar together until light and fluffy.
• Add pineapple juice, coconut creme, and eggs one ingredient at a time until well blended.
• Add Jell-O, coconut flakes and salt one at a time until well mixed.
• Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well between cups, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and stays in one large ball in the middle (no dough on sides of bowl). Careful that you don’t over mix or add too much flour.
• Roll dough as desired and cut into shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 11 minutes, rotating trays half way through, until just starting to get golden brown on edges.

Icing:
I have no secret recipe for icing. Many here know I love my Sweet Hope Icing (recipe here) but you can use whatever icing recipe you already know and love. I usually make a big batch of icing and pull out small amounts to flavor instead of flavoring the whole batch. To do this you’ll mix your icing to semi-stiff consistency (soft peak). In a small bottle I mixed 1 T pineapple juice, 1 T coconut creme and 3 T coconut rum (like a Malibu or Parrot Bay)… the rum is totally optional, you can just add water instead. I use this mixture to thin out my icing for flood after I’ve colored it. You do not need to flavor every bit of icing, I usually just flavor my floods and leave my piping unflavored so I can use it for another order later ;)

The “trick” to being able to add all these ingredients is in YOUR dough. I always start with my standard cookie dough recipe and then adjust and sub out for the flavors I want. I know that I typically have about 1/2 cup of liquid I can add to my dough before it starts changing the recipe. What you don’t want to do is start adding a ton of extra extracts or alcohol because it will change the way your dough bakes, no more than 1/4 cup per batch is a good rule for me ;)

The stuff here is just my opinion by the way. I know a lot of you make wonderful cookies using stuff that I don’t typically use, I’ve tasted them; they are awesome. I also know a lot of people generally stick to one, maybe two, flavors of cookie. My hope is this will give you some ideas for the next time you’re feeling adventurous and you’ll add something new to something you already love.