Tag Archives: cookies

Weekday Round-Up: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Have you missed me? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed this. I’ve missed crafting, photographing, blogging, and posting. But as I mentioned earlier, my time has been invested in settling into my new virtual kitchen. And boy oh boy, is she ever cookin’! I have been baking up a storm these past few weeks. I don’t know if it is because I know that school is starting again soon so I want to get all of my “bucketlist” baking items checked off, or if it is simply because I am feeling flavourfully inspired. Regardless, my Kitchen Aid has been mixing, my oven has been baking, and I have certainly been eating!

I usually do Weekend Round-Ups, but this is a special occasion. I wanted to share a few (okay, so there are a lot of them) photos that give you a better idea of where the heck I’ve been these past few weeks.

From custom sugar cookies to experimental cupcake flavours, peanut butter brownie cups and classic chocolate chip cookies, the baking has failed to cease. I have two words for you: sugar coma. And that, my friends, is where Carmen Sandiego (or in this case, Amber Wideman) has been.

Today, I have aspirations to finally get my sewing machine set up! When that happens, the sewing will resume along with the crafting, knitting, card-making, and re-fashioning. I hope you are all appreciating these last few bursts of summer. Many blessings!

Looking to make some of these treats? You can access the recipes for White-Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, Chocolate Chai Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip CookiesChunky Monkey Cupcakes, and sugar cookies.

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Diary of a Cookie Cutter

Have you ever moved? You spend hours upon hours packing up boxes, organizing all of your belongings into appropriate categories, and gathering friends and family to help with the heavy lifting. Eventually you reach your new home, only to find it completely empty with the huge task of settling in looming above your head. Where do you start? Will you ever feel settled again?  These are a few of the questions that you ask yourself as you prepare to unpack.

Although I have only moved houses once in my lifetime, I have recently asked myself these unsettling questions. As you may or may not know, I am an aspiring baker. Recently, I have been spending a lot of time creatively exploring my future in the art of baking. From brainstorm journals to e-courses, research to daydreaming, I have been striving to develop a business. I’ve been taking custom baking orders for a couple of years now, but now that my work is getting “out-there”, I am looking for new ways that I can create a brand for my products that is appealing to my future customers. One aspect of this is developing a social media experience that is simple and easily accessible.

The move I’ve made involved relocating from one virtual kitchen to another. I have been operating a blog through Tumblr called Diary of a Cookie Cutter that chronicles some of my adventures in baking. Tumblr worked really well for my needs in the past, but now that I am passing out the web address as my main form of contact for potential customers, I needed a system that was more organized and easy to navigate. Since I have been hosting this blog on WordPress for nearly eight months now, I decided that my other blog needed to make the move.

Needless to say, I have been spending oodles of time trying to settle into my new kitchen. It’s hard to transfer a couple of year’s worth of baking posts to a new place, so I have decided to leave the majority of them at their old home and have created a link to the new blog.

So I am starting to settle into my new blog. The essentials have been unpacked and the rest will come slowly but surely. I’ve developed a Gallery that features various albums of some of my baked goods. I’ve also created a very specific Contact page that contains all the information needed for customers to contact me. I have even created a Recipe Archive (similar to this site) and a more baking-specific About page.

I’ve already created three posts at my new home. “The Story of a Cookie-aholic” gives an overview of my purpose for re-locating as well as gives a little background information about my love for baking. “The Top Five Tastes of Summer” counts down my five favourite summer bakes so far. And finally, “Go Bananas: Chunky Monkey Cupcakes” is my very first recipe post and is littered with numerous photos of some tasty banana cupcakes. I’m excited to share even more and more as I explore flavour combinations and test lots of recipes.

If you are interested in the baking-aspect of A SMILE EACH DAY, I suggest that you hop on over to The Diary of a Cookie Cutter. It contains even more posts about delicious and tempting treats.

So once again, I just want to say thank you. I appreciate your patience as I get my belongings unpacked. I hope that you are all finding lots of smiles each and every day!

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Turn Up the Oven: Top Three Favourite Summer Bakes (so far)!

I’m just finishing up my last few days working at a camp and for some reason I find myself constantly thinking about baking. I decided I was going to take a little sabbatical from the blogsphere while I was up here, but I couldn’t resist the satisfaction of typing away at my computer, editing photos, and hitting the Publish button. Although I’m not creating any new projects, I did have a few photos stored up on my camera from the past few months that I wanted to share. So I have compiled this list of my Top Three Favourite Summer Bakes (so far).

Strawberries scream summer. They are a delicious summer berry that can be used in a variety of baked goods. Remember how I shared my recipe for Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Loaf? I also pureed them with some mango and banana to make homemade popsicles. They are very refreshing on hot summer days and the bright red colour that they add makes any food look delicious.

I made these vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream and a marshmallow fondant flower decal for a birthday. They were light and delicious yet were packed with sweetness. I used homemade strawberry jam to bring the flavour to the buttercream instead of raw strawberries. I loved the flecks of red in the frosting, highlighting the presence of the strawberry. I only got to taste-test one so I’ll have to make them again to put them to the true test (…if I must).

Two words: ice cream. Ice cream cones are the epitome of summer treats. After all, they don’t sing “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” for no reason. But in my opinion (which may be a bit biased), a good cookie always beats ice cream. So why not combine the two?

A couple months ago, my sister came home from a trip with a new cookie cutter set in hand. Not only did the set contain an ice cream sundae cutter but it also had two different ice cream cone cutters. When I received a cookie order at the beginning of June, I jumped on the opportunity to make these little guys. I flooded them with a basic butter-based icing, adapting the colours and flavours. They are the perfect little treat for snacking on and the best part is that they don’t melt!

Fudgsicles, popsicles, creamsicles, oh my! I know I’ve shared these treats once before but they were so delicious that they definitely hold the number one spot on my summer treat list. As I mentioned in the previous post, creamsicles are one of my favourite treats. The combination of the orange and the creamy vanilla is incredible. It is so refreshing and satisfying.

I’ve baked up quite a few things so far this summer (even though I’ve taken the past three weeks off). I’ve felt more and more inspired by different summer flavours and I can’t wait to transform them into something tasty. Raspberries, coconut, and new cookie cutter shapes are all on my radar. I can’t wait to test some new recipes and share them.

To finish off, I am going to share some instagram photos of a few of the treats that didn’t quite make the list–they are still tasty none-the-less! Mini cupcakes, homemade popsicles, s’mores brownies, and more!

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A Family Classic: Butterscotch Squares

When you say “butterscotch“, I usually say “ew!”. I hate the flavour of butterscotch. I used to give my mom such a hard time because whenever Chipits were on sale, she would always stock up on the butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate ones. I hated that. I would scrounge the cupboards for chocolate chips and all I would find were bags and bags of disgusting butterscotch ones.

Although I always have (and probably always will) hated butterscotch, there is one recipe that I just can’t get enough of. The reason I even bothered mentioning my hate for butterscotch is so that you can take my word for it when I say that this recipe is truly delicious–butterscotch and all! My grandma used to make this recipe all the time, and as a result, my mom does too. Anytime squares or cookies are needed for any event, she is quick to volunteer (well, volunteer me or my sister) to make these guys.

The squares have a slightly crunchy bottom (it’s baked on it’s own first) and a gooey, sweet top. They contain coconut (honestly…what can taste bad when coconut is involved?) and of course butterscotch chips. They leave your fingers sticky but I’m not complaining–perfect for saving for later. Kidding (but not really).

In order to make these delicious treats, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup of coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend together the butter, powdered sugar, and flour. Pat down into a well greased 8″x8″ baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes. While the crust is baking, mix together the condensed milk, butterscotch chips, coconut, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the baked crust and return the pan to the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes. The squares will be done when they are golden brown and the middle appears to be set. This may require the edges to be quite browned. Remove from the oven and cool. Using a sharp knife, cut around the edges of the pan. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Now isn’t that easy? To serve them, my mom usually cuts off the crunchy browned edges (although these are the best to snack on) and serves only the gooey parts. These truly are delicious and I encourage you to try them. But be warned that once you taste one, there’s no going back! I hope your Monday is a little more bearable with some sweet treats in sight…even if they do involve butterscotch! Thanks for reading and let me know if you try them and like them (or try them and don’t). Either way, I’d love to hear from you!
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Top Five Friday: Sugar Cookie Edition

I know I haven’t been very active on my blog over the last week, but I can assure you that I have been a very busy girl. Although most of my time was spent doing mandatory things (like those pesky papers that never seem to end), I also spent some time doing a few baking orders. Four to be exact. It was a bit overwhelming, of course, but it was also time well spent. I have decided that in lieu of my many orders, I would end the work week (and start the weekend) with a top five list of my all time favourite sugar cookies that I have had the privilege of making.

Let’s count down, friends.

NUMBER FIVE

Black on white is one of my favourite combinations. From paisley designs to zebra print, black and white patterns get me every time! I experimented with some of the extra cookies that I had from an order and tried to use up some of the icing I had left. These mis-matched cookies are the result.

NUMBER FOUR

I decorated these little heart cookies only a month or two ago. They were the first cookies I did where I used a paintbrush to get the feathery finish. I absolutely adore flowers so I just had to test it out. I think my favourite part is the metallic “dusting powder”. They give these cookies the sheen that they need (I posted about the new techniques I tried not too long ago. CLICK HERE to read that post)!

NUMBER THREE

These cookies were done for a baby shower. They turned out “beary” cute. They were accompanied by some little tangerine coloured baby carriages. I personally loved the bears the most though!

NUMBER TWO

Last summer, my sister and I hosted a tea party for our grandmother. I made these cookies to go along with all of the sandwiches, crackers and cheese, fruits and veggies, and of course, tea. I love pastel, muted colours so I had fun doing these.

And finally…

NUMBER ONE

These are definitely my favourite cookies to date…there’s no doubt “a-boot” it! I created these cookies in celebration of the life of a young lady who passed away last summer. She loved country music and cowboy boots. I’m not a country girl myself, but I did enjoy creating these!

There you have it! If you haven’t already realized from reading my blog, I am a sugar cookie-enthusiast. I don’t always post about them on here, but if you are interested in some of my other baking creations, you can make your way over to my exclusively-baking blog DIARY OF A COOKIE CUTTER. I post pictures and recipes of the baked goods I have tested and tried.

Thanks for reading. As usual, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed weekend. And if you’re up for it, pull out your hand beaters and decorating bags. Nothing beats a good cookie!

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