Monday, January 30, 2012


Mickey Mouse cookies have been in high demand lately!  Who doesn't love Mickey Mouse?? 

There's so many garbage cartoons on TV these's really refreshing to know that Mickey is still well-loved by so many kids.  Mia sure loves Mickey's clubhouse!  But that Toodles-thing-guy-animal(whatever it is) is super annoying...couldn't they just put the Mousekatools in a normal tool box or something?  And am I the only parent who sometimes can't guess which tool their supposed to use for a certain dilemma?  I'm always like "oh they definitely need the mystery mousekatool here"....but NO!  They always find a way to save that mystery tool til the end.  Smart little buggers.

And really...whose kid doesn't love the hot-dog dance?  Seriously funny stuff to watch Mia (and Rob) dance along with that song.  Fun times :)

Happy Monday everyone!  Have a great week!  I've got a big weekend ahead and some really fun cookies to make for someone VERY VERY special.  Stay tuned....

Thanks for reading!  -Katie

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love Love Love....Chocolate

It seems that every year I grow to love Valentine's Day more and more.  So to all of you young readers who dislike this holiday....give it time.  I think you'll grow to love it, too.

In the cookie world Valentine's Day is like a free pass to mix pretty shades of pink and red and just go crazy with decorating!  There's no way that you can mess up a cookie because all mistakes can be covered in sprinkles and no one will judge you!  More is more when it comes to Valentine's Day cookies...and that makes me happy.

I don't know if there's anything more classic than the the pairing of Valentine's Day and Chocolate.  Whoever thought of this perfect match is a true hero in my eyes.  Was is St. Valentine?  Hmmm....I vaguely remember learning about the history of St. Valentine during my 8 years at St. Valentine school....and yes, chocolate was mentioned I'm pretty sure.  I'm lying.  But I like to believe that it's true...because if they say it at church then it's like a free pass to eat a lot of chocolate...right?

chocolate dough is so pretty!
and scalloped edged cutters are my absolute fave!
When I thought about creating Valentine's Day cookies I just HAD to make some chocolate cookies to ice and photograph.  I have a recipe for chocolate cut-out cookies but they always come out really crispy(which I don't love).  So...I spent my Saturday afternoon adjusting my standard cookie recipe and turning it into a chocolate sugar cookie!  I managed to get the flavor realllllly good and the cookie baked up beautifully with  slightly crispy edges and a yummy soft texture.  The only thing I wasn't thrilled with is the color of the baked cookie.  It just wasn't dark I'll keep working on that by making more adjustments next time.

Gotta love the pink and red combination!

I had so much fun decorating these cookies.  The icing colors looked so pretty against the chocolate cookie!  And look at how pretty they look on a dish with some Betsy Ann Chocolates?  I know what you're thinking....and yes, I usually do have chocolate in my house at all times.  And cookies, too.  It's bad news for any attempt at a diet.  But I never have a hard time finding a babysitter due to the snacks that I it all works out.

So there's good news and bad news about Valentine's Day cookies.  The good news?  They're pretty and taste great, and who wouldn't love to get cookies for Valentine's Day?

The bad news?  My order openings on my schedule are very limited.  Don't forget that I work for a chocolate store full-time....the BEST chocolate store we're very very VERY busy the week of Valentine's Day.  Needless to say, the time that I can dedicate to cookies that week is very limited.  So if you're interested in ordering please contact me asap and I will let you know if I can do it!  Thanks for reading XO, Katie


Non-Pariel favorite sprinkles EVER

these cupcake candy dishes were a 2011 Valentine's gift from Rob...awwwww


Monday, January 16, 2012

You could hear a pin drop...

Rob was out of town for work for 5 days.  5 DAYS!  While he was in Atlanta going out to dinner every night and sleeping in one of those overly-comfortable hotel beds (I'm actually more jealous about the comfy hotel bed then the restaurants) I was at home doing double-parent duty.  No seriously, Rob works really long tough days when he has to go out of town...but my days were really long, too!  And I didn't have a hotel staff to pick up my bath towels and make my bed. 

I'm not the cook in the after working all day, picking Mia up at school, getting home at 5:30 and then having to make dinner is like the worst thing EVER for me.  I seriously hate to cook.  Before we had Mia and Rob would go out of town for work I would live off of cereal and maybe an occasional grilled cheese if I wasn't too lazy to turn the stove on.  I'm not exaggerating.  At all.  I hate to cook.  I think it stems from my lack of interest in food in general.  I'd just rather have dessert! 

some proof that my child did, in fact, eat this weekend.
It kinda looks like she liked my cooking??
So I managed to make tacos, ziti, chicken something-or-other that I just threw in a casserole dish and baked, and on the last night...grilled cheese!  LOL.  "Best mom ever award", I know.  After dinner came clean-up time.  Rob doesn't mind hand-washing dishes....I am a professional dishwasher loader...I can seriously fit anything in there.  The other morning I caught myself daydreaming about taking apart Mia's highchair and putting all of the pieces in the dishwasher.  I bet I could do it.  Anyway, I think I ran the dishwasher 8 times in 5 days and I didn't hand-wash a single thing.  It was awesome. 

I did take on some cookie orders for while Rob was gone...and that kinda scared me because by Mia's 7 pm bedtime I was exhausted!  I didn't really have time to plan out my baking/decorating i just managed to get things done when I had time.  I sat down to decorate on Thursday night around 8 pm and my house was silent. really silent.  The tv was off, I didn't have any music on, Mia was fast asleep and the monitor was absolutely quiet, and even Layla was nowhere to be seen.  She was probably on Rob's pillow crying herself to sleep because she goes into a deep depression when he leaves.  If it wasn't for Mia reminding me to feed the dog I'd probably totally forget because I barely see her when Rob's gone.

So back to the was weird!  I could hear a clock ticking all the way from my family room to the dining room.  I haven't heard a clock tick in a long time.  I could hear the hummmm of the refrigerator and the furnace kicking on and off.  There was no Sports Center "dun na na  dun na na", no elmo voice coming from some toy, no barking, or screaming....nothing!  You could probably hear a pin drop!  That saying is real!

I do tend to have trouble sleeping when Rob's gone.  I find myself staying up really late and that only makes it worse because the later you stay up the scarier your house gets.  The sliding glass door freaks me out because I can't see out of it at night and I convince myself that someone is standing there looking in.  So I watched some lifetime movies (not the scary ones where some creepy guy is staring at you through the sliding glass door, the happy ones like when a bunch of teenage girls have a pregnancy pact). And while I was watching I decided to do some Pinterest crafts!  I know so many of you are sick of hearing about Pinterest...but it's really amazing.  I have vowed to not only pin things...but really try to follow through on doing some of the things I've pinned.  Except the cooking pins....those are for Rob.

So I made some Valentine decor and it was really fun!  And easy!  This first heart wreath was made from cutting circles and circles....and more circles of felt and then pinning them into a 9 inch styrofoam wreath.  So simple...and when Mia saw it hanging on the door the next day she said "ooooo pretty!"  So that just about made my day :)

just hand hurt from cutting out all of those circles! I rewarded myself with some ice cream!
My original plan was to make this 12 inch wreath the same way to hang above my fireplace...but I just couldn't. cut. any. more. circles.  So I found some yarn and starting wrapping it around the foam wreath.  Then I went outside and broke some tiny branches off of my dogwood tree and then added three little artificial roses that I found in a random drawer in my living room.  I kind of really like the final product!  And I didn't even need pinterest for the idea. 

So those were my late-night projects and here were the cookies from last week...some Mickey cookies for a 1st birthday, some winter wonderland cookies for a 1st birthday, and some "Thank You" cookies for a friend that has been giving me hand-me-down clothes for Mia.

And maybe you noticed that my blog page has been Valentine-ified.  I am SO excited to work on Valentine cookies over the next few weeks.  I heart Valentine's day!  XO, Katie

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yoga, anyone?

Whew....last week was a fun one.  I baked, decorated, bagged, and tied ribbons on over 200 cookies...all in 36 hours! 

Whenever I get an email with a new cookie request my heart jumps a little bit and I get really nervous...especially if it's some type of design that I've never done before.  This particular email came in a few months ago....six months ago actually...and the project had been on my mind since then.  A friend had emailed and asked if I could re-create a local business' logo onto a cookie for their 1-year anniversary celebration.  I immediately looked up the business' facebook page to check out the logo and I thought "I can do this!"  So I emailed back and we made arrangements for 6 months down the road.

what a great logo, right??  I just love it!

Many orders came and went in that six months but no one else had asked me to do a this one kept creeping into my mind and I was really nervous about it!  I mean, I know how it is to be a small business and to really love your logo and see it all.the.time. so you just begin to see it differently than everyone else does.  Kind of like after you write a certain word over and over again and all of sudden it just looks....weird?  (For lack of a better word)  Not saying that mine or anyone else's logo looks weird...I'm backing myself into a corner here, never mind.

So usually the hardest part of making these cookies is the icing color mixing.  I'm sure I've complained about it in another post at some's just that the color mixing is the most time-consuming and sometimes frustrating part of the whole process.  Icing colors are much like interior paint.  The color deepens and changes as it dries so you never quite know what the final color will be until it's dry!  To get this aqua-teal color I mixed a few different greens and blues and it actually came out really pretty!  I thought it was really quite close the actual logo color so that made me happy.  And then I thought....this is going way too smoothly...the actual decorating is going to be the problem area here...I just know it.

Now when it comes to decorating, here is one of my super-top-secret hints.  Never practice by drawing what you envision on paper.  In the beginning of this business I used to draw out every design and practice practice practice what I was going to attempt on the cookie.  I quickly learned that (for me, at least) this was the WRONG thing to do.  Icing is a completely different medium than a pen or pencil and their is no way that you will get the same effects and details from icing that you can from ink.  I would drive myself almost crazy trying to match my cookie to my drawing and get really mad when I couldn't do it.  So my current rule is...just go!  Just grab the icing bag and start decorating.  I try not to think about it too much and that's when I get the best results!  Thinking back on some of the early orders where I scrutinized over every little detail and tried to get it as perfect as a picture makes me really mad.  It makes the cookie look over-worked and messy in my eyes.  I should have just found a better way to convert the design to an "icing-friendly" picture and went with that instead.  But...there's no going back!  I've learned from my mistakes...that's for sure!

Back to I just started on cookie numero uno and it went pretty well.  I had the yoga company's logo on my iphone screen so I would reference it every so often and then just keep decorating.  Apparently there is such a thing called a Kopy-Kake (or something along those lines) that projects an image onto a cookie or cake and then you can trace it.  Just so everyone is aware....I do not own this $300 piece of there was no tracing involved.  It seriously went so smoothly that I couldn't even believe it.  I had about 25 extra blank cookies on hand for what I thought would be all of my "mess-ups" and you know how many I used?  NONE.  I breezed through the order and just LOVED the final product.  I was so excited to give them to my customer and for her to give them to the yoga studio.  I was just imagining if someone created something like that with my logo on excited and truly touched I would be.  When you have a business with your own's just a really special thing :)

Make sure that you check out Stray Dog Yoga on facebook here: 

and many many many CONGRATULATIONS to them on 1 year of business...I wish you all the very best in the years to come!

And to Jen...thanks for the challenge!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Here we go!

Well I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a spectacular New Year! 

It's 2012 and my cookie business is a little over 7 months old.  That's so hard to believe!  My first major holiday season went pretty well.  I must admit that I was SO nervous about the Christmas cookie demand.  I had to say "no" to some order requests and that really broke my heart.  But I had told myself all along that I could only take on as much as I could handle.  My schedule at work is so crazy in December so I had even less time than usual to devote to baking.  Every minute of every day became quickly scheduled with things to do starting around December 10th.  I was waking up really early every morning and baking late into the nights after work.  I had a written schedule of what needed to be done each morning and evening.  Organization was definitely the key.  Checking off my list each AM and PM made me feel so accomplished.  I'd be going to bed at 2 AM and say "ROB!! I'm on schedule for today!" 

And on the 24th...once the last of the cookie orders had been delivered, picked up, mailed, etc. I actually had about an hour to decorate some cookies for my family.  It was the best hour of the whole season.  Somehow I was able to let go of all of the stress and really enjoy making some cookies for the people that I love the most. 

Christmas was just amazing this year.  Mia was just so much fun...I can't even begin to explain the magic that I saw through her eyes.  She was such a trooper going to party after party...I'm pretty sure that she ate about 2 dozen cookies and maybe 50-60 Ritz crackers over the span of 5 days and 7 or 8 holiday parties.  Oh...and she ate 5 pierogies on Christmas Eve.  She's definitely her father's daughter :)

I had to go back to work on the 26th and then it was back to baking on the 27th.  I still had some holiday cookie orders to complete and a birthday order, too.  And now here it is the new year...and this week is really busy for cookie orders!  I seriously hope that this week is a sign that 2012 is going to be a great year for cookies :)

Here are some pictures of a really fun order that I did the week after Christmas.  My customer gave me a list of her niece's and nephew's initials and asked that I make each of them a cookie to give to them with their Christmas gifts.  It gave me such a great idea that someday I can use letter cookies as gift tags for my kids!  (Note to self:  If I have any children in the future DO NOT give them a name that starts with M.  It would totally ruin this idea).

 I really had fun with the different patterns on each letter

LOVE the J

I think the K was my favorite in this group :)

I texted this to Rob and he thought that I made them for him.  LOL....oops!
Here are some other pictures of cookies from the season.  I didn't take pictures of 90% of the cookies that I made simply because I just forgot :(  But I do have some pictures so here ya go....

And for those of you who haven't seen Mia in's my little baker-in-training: