Cookies are My Spirit Animal?

So I had both rewarding and confusing set of orders this past month…

First up was the rewarding, something called Rookie Cookie at my new job where new hires bring a batch of cookies to the workplace as a kind of introduction.  Not only was this a time for me to show people what I do outside of work, but it was also a time to present a face to go along with all those emails I had been sending.

This was probably the first time an order had been all me from start to finish.  This was a design I had been wanting to execute for quite some time and I was so happy with the results.  I was totally tempted to keep them as half colored.    IMG_0038IMG_0044IMG_0036

I decided to go ahead with my sparkly plan and do the other sides.  The black and white cookies were made to stand out as they were gluten free!

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Along with these basic cookies I wanted to bring something with a bang, to showcase that I actually did something other than just flooding cookies.  So I decided to create the company logo with a location picture in the background…in cookie form.

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I also decided to take on a challenge of gradient/ombre baking (totally just made up that term) where a cookie is colored but starts out as white.  You can see from the picture above that it was a success!

Now let’s move on to the confusing.  Target themed and Spirit Animal themed baby showers.  Might be better to show it than talk about it.

Everything mixed up, all together

Everything mixed up, all together

Let’s start with the Target themed cookies.

Having Target be a theme was harder than I thought it would be, as in what does one present as an image to represent Target besides….well, a target.  I decided on Spot the dog, a basic target (with M monogram) and a shopping cart.  As a set, though they were simple, I think the designs were super effective.

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Next order was spirit animal themed cookies.  Unicorns, fish, eagles, bees, Care Bears and monogramed cookies? All animals were decided by the client and they were all so much fun to make.

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Here are some close ups.

IT'S GLITTERY

IT’S GLITTERY

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I’ve decided cookies are my spirit animal.

– Alexis

Two Weddings, a Baseball Game and a Beehive

Weddings are hard.

 I always knew that making a wedding cake would be difficult but never really understood why they cost so much…until I was asked to make cookies for two weddings.  Both weddings had great designs which I loved creating but I really didn’t realize how long everything would take and the amount of sleep I would get, or lack of sleep I should say.  In the end, it was obviously all worth it and seeing the brides faces when I showed them the cookies made the all nighters worthwhile.

Let’s look at the first wedding order of 100 “double happiness” cookies.  Never before have I seen a larger sea of red!

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Then for the actual double happiness symbol, the bride decided on gold, which was both very traditional and super fun.  Each cookie was decorated using a stencil method of transfer so the design could be somewhat consistent and then hand painted gold with luster dust.

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The second wedding order went a very different route.  Much more muted color palette,  more personalized, a bit more modern but of course still a little bling-y.

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The bride pretty much gave me free range in terms of design, but wanted the color scheme to match that of the wedding.  So I kept the lovely purples and pinks, and added a bit of silver and gold.

One down, 159 to go

One down, 159 to go

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As the title suggests, besides these two wedding orders I also had a baseball themed order for a birthday. Baseball cookies and red/white/blue cupcakes.  Though this was a fairly simple order, I totally stressed myself out because of the baseball cookies.  Should I make them somewhat roughed up and dirty or keep them perfectly white??!??!?! I ultimately decided to add a little roughness to them, which I think was a good choice.

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The cupcakes were easy but adorable.  The best kind of combo.

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And finally, the last order I had was a personal one for my best friend who was moving away from San Francisco * crying silently *.

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My theme, if you can call it that, was Everything Will Bee Okay.  Get it….GET IT?!??!

– Alexis

Custom Cookies Galore

About a month ago I had a couple of custom cookie orders come in.  And not just custom like, a name, but custom in the sense that one order included the mix of bicycles, wine glasses, and legal scales OH MY!

On that note, why don’t we get right into that jumble of an order.  This was for a person who worked in the Legal and Compliance department of my job (legal scales), someone was a well know wine connoisseur (wine glasses), and who was about to take a trip to Amsterdam to participate in a bike race (bicycles).  So really, it all makes sense…kind of.

Everything all together!

Everything all together!

dscookies2 dscookies3 dscookies4It’s hard to tell, but the champagne actually had a little sparkle to it, and was probably my favorite cookie of the bunch.

Next up was a custom country club order for a golf tournament/fund raiser.  I used a number of different techniques to complete this order, which made it both challenging and super fun to experiment with.

The set, all together.

The set, all together.

The “CCC” cookies, I was able to use the stencil technique, which made the Cs very consistent and I loved the overall crisp look.

golfcookies9The same technique was used for the tree cookies, but a double stencil was used.

golfcookies7The golf balls used a standard “wet on wet” technique where different color icings are piped directly onto each other.  I loved how easy this was and how effective this technique worked to create a golf ball.

golfcookies11And lastly we have the golf green cookies.  These were by far the most fun, and most experimental of the bunch.  I had seen this technique of dying graham crackers green on Semi Sweet and absolutely fell in love with it.

golfcookies1 golfcookies3I also used some golden sanding sugar for the sand.  I loved the overall look and can’t wait to use the technique again!

Absolutely love doing these random mixes of cookies.  Here is a sneak peak at the upcoming wedding bunches!

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– Alexis

June Birthday Madness AGAIN

I always seem to forget how crazy Junes are.

Last year I remember making a lot of cakes and cookies and everything, but this year it completely blindsided me. Let’s try and make three cakes and a cookie order in 4 days, WHAT WAS I THINKING.  Well, I was thinking these are some of my favorite and I want to make them awesome yummy things.

First up was my boyfriend’s birthday cake.  Over the past couple of months we decided to watch the entire series of Breaking Bad together and became obsessed.  So, I decided a Breaking Bad themed cake was only appropriate for the occasion, complete with the theme music playing while we ate it.  For those of you who have never watched the show, this is going to be a really confusing sight…

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For those of you who HAVE watched the show, you’ll recognized both the unfortunate looking plane/pool bear with it’s crazy eye and the bag of “meth” (it’s blue candy, cool your jets).

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And of course, the inside had to be a blue swirl.

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Next was cake for a best friend’s birthday.  Each year I’ve tried to top myself with her cakes, and this year I decided to try a tiered cake.  Though the design turned out simpler than I had planned (due to timing), I really loved the overall look and taste of this cake.

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I tried to re-create a kind of nature theme with “dirt”, “sand”, and “grass”, all topped with a peachy pink rose. I used crushed oreos for the dirt effect and crushed graham crackers for both the sand and grass layers, the grass was simply dyed with green food coloring.  AND the best part of this cake, the inside, was a surprise s’mores cake, complete with chocolate cake, graham cracker crumble, and toasted marshmallow frosting!

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Top View

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Cake Middle

Next I had a birthday order for a very loyal client.  Her son was having a football themed 8th birthday, and guess who just happened to have bought football sprinkles!  I was seriously shocked at how great my random sprinkle purchase worked out.  She ordered a chocolate cake and football themed cookies.

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LOOK AT THOSE SPRINKLES (little footballs and helmets)

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And lastly, I had a simple basketball cookie order for a new client.  Her son was having a basket ball themed birthday.

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I was having a hard time trying to decide what icing/decorating technique I was going to use for the basketball texture.  I ultimately decided on good old dots, hundreds and hundreds of dots, but I also realized that I really enjoy the look of a monochrome cookie.  And because of that, I think in the future you’ll see some all-one-color cookie design experiments coming out of my crazy kitchen, of course once I get the time to play around…

SO here is a close up of ALL THE DOTS

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Birthdays are always fun, and cookies/cake make them that much more special.

– Alexis

When It Rains It Pours…Baby Showers

Did you know there is a new kind of baby shower called a sprinkle?  Because I sure didn’t.

But it’s definitely something I learned from this last order.  Apparently a sprinkle is a party for someone that has already had a baby and this is their second time around.  So instead of being showered with baby gifts, now they are just being sprinkled with things other than the baby necessities?  I’m still slightly hazy on the meaning, but in any case, this first order was for a baby sprinkle and included, you guessed it, a lot of edible sprinkles!

The organizer had a light coral, dark blue, and dark green color scheme going on and I absolutely fell in love with it.  The order itself was somewhat discombobulated having a doughnut cake, strawberry cookies, mini doughnuts, and baby block cookies, but everything was brought together by the color scheme and coordinated sprinkles.

sprinkle3Doughnut cake, complete with a doughnutty middle layer mmmmmm

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Then the mini doughnuts to match said doughnut cake, however they are slightly different.  The doughnuts for the cake were typical fried doughnuts, but the minis to match were baked vanilla bean doughnuts.

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Then the strawberry cookies, decorated to look like chocolate covered strawberries.

sprinkle11sprinkle5And finally the baby block cookies, featuring a monogram H.

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For the next baby order, we had a traditional baby shower with a not-so-traditional theme, farm/cowboy for a baby girl with a cake to match the parent’s ideas for a name.

The order also included a bunch of yummy non-decorated cookies; browned butter walnut chocolate chip, mint chocolate, M&M.

cookies3 cookies2 cookies1All wrapped up and ready to go

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Then we had the decorated cookies, complete with the personalized parent cookies.

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and everything all together

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And then we had the cake, which was interesting because it was my pink chai cake with light blue frosting, creating confusion with the babies gender and then the parents are trying to decide on a name, so asked me to reflect that in the cake adding even more confusion!  But it’s a tasty cake, and that’s all that matters.

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And to top it off, why not add another order in here, a simple but extremely yummy peanut butter and chocolate pie.

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And now from posting this I’m craving a doughnut and chai cake….and pie……….

– Alexis

Easter Baskets!

Easter is all about the sweets.

To me, Easter means candy and finding candy in eggs, and then putting those eggs in baskets, which have more candy in them, and then chocolate bunnies and eggs and EVERYTHING CHOCOLATE.  It’s a good holiday.

This year a coworker and myself decided to collaborate and make Easter baskets for those who wanted to order them.  I provided the cookies, and she provided the immaculate eggs.  Seriously, these things are works of art.

eggs1 eggs3We offered pretty basic cookies in our baskets, rabbits, flowers, eggs, and a name cookie.

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I always like to look at how the cookies start out.  It’s funny, I always think the cookies aren’t going to turn out in the beginning and then it all works out in the end.

eastercookies8  eastercookies10 eastercookies9 eastercookies11eastercookies7And here were the finished baskets! eastercookies14

Besides the baskets, I also had a “name card” cookie order.  Here I wanted to make something basic enough so that the name could stand out, but also have enough Easter in them.  Bunnies and eggs are usually a good choice.

To begin with they really don’t look like too much…but it all made sense in the end.

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LOOK AT THAT CUTE RABBIT TAIL.

– Alexis

 

More Cookies

Cookies on top of cookies on top of cookies

There have been a lot of cookie orders lately.  Though cookie decorating was never something I had considered doing when I started this business, it has definitely become my most popular order.  And who can blame anyone, when these cookies are both pretty and tasty.

First order was more Hello Kitty!  This time around I had bought a proper Hello Kitty cookie cutter, which made things slightly easier, but also made it so that I was unable to control the size of the cookie.  Even though these were significantly smaller than my last batch of kitties, they still turned out great.

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Second order was for a dear friend.  I decided to make her favorite things in cookie form, which include her black cat, wine, Seattle, well cooked bacon, and her farm.

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This was my first time ever painting cookies, and it was really fun!  I found that it (obviously) resulted in a much different style/aesthetic.  Good to keep in mind that even though it’s the same medium of royal icing and cookie, that there is so much you can do with it!

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I really loved this technique, and I’m excited to use it for future baking projects!

– Alexis

Custom Cookie Catch-Up

Lot’s of cookie orders meant a much needed break.

February and March were BUSY.  First there was a super cute Hello Kitty order.  Hello Kitty is one of my favorite characters, but honestly, I was a little scared to make her in cookie form.  Characters in general are difficult because they’re recognizable and people can tell when something is off, and let’s just say Hello Kitty’s head proportions are way unusual…eyes in line with nose and no mouth and the biggest head ever!!?!?

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BUT as you can see everything turned out nicely.  Whenever I have a cookie order I always like to include a variety of shapes/colors/textures in the mix, and so this Hello Kitty order I wanted to include her bow, her face, a couple full size kitties, and add some sparkle where I could.

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One cookie in each set had a little sparkle to it, which I think adds a little extra something.

Next a Client ordered a baseball themed cookie basket.  Now I’ve never made a cookie basket before, and let me say I was so nervous about it.  Baking sticks in cookies + basket stuff + wrapping everything in cellophane = STRESS.  The final product was lovely though, and like the Hello Kitty cookies, I like to add a variety of textures/shapes/sizes to this mix.

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Here’s where we started

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And here’s where we ended up.

This was the largest and main attraction cookie of the basket, so a lot of planning went into it. The entire basket theme was the Orinda Baseball Association, complete with their four league logos.

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To round out the basket smaller general baseball cookies were added.  The entire basket was wrapped up and auctioned off at the OBA fund raiser event.

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baseball16The last, and breaking point, order was a designer themed birthday cake and cookies.  For this order, I decided to keep the cake simple, in the sense that I used royal icing transfers to decorate, and then had a simple white icing, but also wanted to match the cookies.  The cookies I wanted to make fancy but not too involved, and also wanted to convey both the written out name and the logo of each designer.  So yeah, this was a tough one to work out in my head, but royal icing transfers really did save the day.  By making all the logos ahead of time, it meant that not only was I able to decorate the cake in a jiff, but the basic cookies came together quickly while still looking super involved.  Are you lost? Let’s just look at some pictures.  Starting with the cookies…

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Like I said before, I wanted to get fancy with this order as well.  So I included six cookies with the written out designer name and reflecting the designers style.

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These took FOR-EV-ER, but they were so worth it.  I decided to use a technique that I had never done before called stenciling.  Basically, you’re using a stencil, in this case I used a packing tape covered 3×5 card and used an exacto knife to cut out designer names in this card, and then you place your stencil over the card and using a stiffer consistency royal icing smear this over the stencil and then lift! Easy enough, right?! Well, the Yves Saint Laurent stencil took me an hour to cut out….so, kinda?

Overall this order turned out great, but afterwards I decided on a much needed break from baking.  I’ve taken almost a month off now and it’s been glorious.  Not that I haven’t been baking.  I actually snuck these into my company’s St. Patrick’s Day bake-off and won.

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You can see how the painting gold on the left really makes everything pop.

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But besides that one instance, the non-baking has been going very well and my kitchen has never been cleaner.

– Alexis

(Late) Valentine’s Treats

Exactly 1 year ago on Valentine’s Day 2013, I decided to decorate my first ever cookies.

This year, I feel like a not-so-pro “pro” who’s still learning, still working, and always making stuff up as I go.  I decided to offer my regular (four) clients at work something of a Valentine’s Day special which included chocolate covered strawberry….cookies. Kind of a fun twist on a typical Valentine’s Day gift/treat.

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And of course then there were other Valentine’s orders including cookies made for my friends and boyfriend.  First there was a basketball themed Valentine cookie:

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Next there were some typical hearts (which I’m totally in love with):

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And then things got fun/weird….

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You can blame my boyfriend’s “favorite things” for the weird.

– Alexis

Baby Parties

Babies have parties, even before they are born, and I make cakes for them.

A couple weeks ago I had a couple baby shower parties ask for my baking assistance.  Which is just a fancy way of saying people ordered stuff.  Baby stuff.  The first client had given me an invitation to work off of.  There was a dark grey/light grey/dark blue/yellow color scheme with a chevron pattern.  I’d say it translated well to cookies and mini cakes.

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Next client ordered a Doughnut Cake and wanted it to be blue for the baby shower.  Even though I don’t do custom cakes anymore…I can do blue.  Let’s look at the evolution of the cake.

doughnutcake1 doughnutcake2 doughnutcake3 doughnutcake4So that was it for the baby shower orders.  Will be posting about Valentine’s Day shortly!

– Alexis