Sunday, April 08, 2012

Spring is in the air!

Spring is finally in the air, and in my kitchen! As much as I enjoyed many of the winter-themed treats I made in the last few months (my favourite being the penguin cake), it's nice to bake something light (I don't mean calorie-wise), fresh and pretty. 

These spring-themed cookies and cupcakes were for a bake sale at work. Now, when I decide to make something, I rarely take the most simple route. When making a fair quantity of baked goods for such things as bake sales, it makes most sense to focus on one type of treat. My problem is that I like variety. This does not pertain only to sweets. It permeates my love of food, shoes, purses, you name it. 

It has been quite some time since I've done decorated sugar cookies. Decorated cookies were kind of my starting point for my love of baking and decorating. Several years ago, I made cookie bouquets as the favours for my sister's bridal shower. It was not without its challenges. I remember taking the cookies out of the oven and the parchment paper slipped off of the pan. The cookies fell to the bottom of the oven, the paper hit the element and caught fire and while putting the fire out, my family's labradoodle took the opportunity to lick the side of the cake that I had been writing a celebratory message on.

I am happy to say that I only had one cookie casualty with these ones. In the past I've used the Wilton roll-out cookie recipe. The flavour is nice and you don't need to refrigerate the dough. The cookies do turn out less sturdy than regular sugar cookies though, and since I was transporting and packaging these cookies for a bake sale, I decided that a traditional sugar cookie recipe would be better. I used the Martha Stewart sugar cookie recipe. I found the dough was easy to work with. I rolled my cookies out 1/4" thick rather than 1/8" in because I think the thicker cookies look nicer when decorated. I used royal icing to outline and flood the cookies. 

For the cupcakes, I did four designs using various colours of frosting: a robin's egg nest filled with mini eggs, a chocolate-frosting covered vanilla cupcake with a fondant ladybug, a pink vanilla 'rose' (i.e. backwards swirl) topped with a fondant bumblebee, and a yellow vanilla zinnia. It has been at least a year or two since I've piped flowers. I originally wanted to pipe roses but I had made my frosting too soft for distinguished petals, so I made the zinnia's instead. The frosting was still too soft for these but the petals are smaller with less weight so I thought they still turned out alright. 

Happy spring everyone!

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