Cookies Advent Calendar

It took me about a week to make this edible advent calendar. I made it for my in-laws. It's a big calendar, measuring 20 inches wide and 30 inches tall. I used my biggest square cookie cutter for all the cookies, so the numbers wouldn't be tiny. I also submitted each cookie to Julia Usher's Christmas Countdown Challenge.

I had the poster on my dining table, and I couldn't get a good photo of it. I ended up standing on my dining table to take this picture, I was surprise my table didn't break. =]

I will be putting each cookie in individual cello bags and gluing the bags to the poster board. This way, the cookies are still edible.

Here are the 25 cookies, up close and personal.

To make the calendar, I used a white foam poster board. Glued on some decorative scrapbooking paper, and letters. It was pretty simple, so everyone can make one.

I have a huge dining table, and this cookie advent calendar project took up most of it. My husband wasn't happy. =] He is really happy it is done.

I packaged the cookies individually in their own bags, taped in to the poster. Now the calendar is hanging in my home. Ready to be eaten.

Google added some snow and twinkle animation to these two pictures for me. It's awesome!

Salted Caramel Popcorn

I love caramel popcorn. It's one of my favorite snacks. I've been on a diet lately, and my husband won't let me buy any at the grocery store. Little does he know, I would make them at home. I must admit, these are more delicious than the grocery stuff, and so easy to make!

I foresee the end to my diet. =[

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tps salt
1/4 tps baking soda
1/2 tps vanilla extract
10 cups popped popcorn

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Place all the popcorn in a large bowl. I popped two bags of light butter popcorn in the microwave.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Then stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir until the brown sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure everything is combined. Let boil for 4 minutes without stirring.

Remove from heat, add in baking soda, and vanilla extract. Being careful, the vanilla extract can sizzle.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn. Stir to coat evenly. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Mixing while it cools to break up the pieces. Enjoy. 

Store in air tight containers.

I can't stop eating these. I doubled the vanilla extract, so it smells and tastes extra delicious. So crunchy and sweet. Bake less if you want less crunch. Hide them from your kids or husband if you want to eat all of it. =]

Tutorial: Frankenstein and Skull Sugar Cookies

Halloween is coming! So, I will be showing you how to make a Frankenstein and Skull face cookie. They are both pretty easy, and don't use that much colors, so you should be able to make these really quickly. It only took me about 1 hour active time, and that includes the baking.

So first off by making your sugar cookie dough, and baking these shapes. They could be the same skull cutter. I had two cutters, but noticed the skull cutter could be made into a Frankenstein too.
This is the sugar cookie recipe I use and my favorite royal icing.


2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Royal Icing:
6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.25 lbs of powdered sugar
*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.
In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.
After the cookies have cooled, make the royal icing. You will need 3 colors only - Yay! You will need black, white, and a yellow-green.

Start off by piping Frankenstein's face shape. While the green is still wet, pipe a black scar across his forehead.

Allow that to set, I waited 30 minutes. Next, pipe his eyes. Pipe a white mound, and immediately pipe black, followed by white again. This is called wet-on-wet.

Wait 10 minutes, pipe the sides of his nose next. Wait another 10 minutes.

Pipe his actual nose now. Allow that to dry for 10 minutes or more.

Now pipe his eye brows and ears. Allow to dry for 30 minutes or more.

Pipe his hair and the nails on his neck. I piped in white, and painted in gray. But you can make gray icing - a 4th color. Allow to dry for 90 minutes or more.

Next, draw him a smile. Finish up his scar. Give him some eye brows. I used an edible pen to draw his brows, but you can also pipe black royal icing. And now he's done! Easy right?

Ok, now onto the skull. He was even easier!

First, thin some black icing, so you could paint onto the cookie with a brush. Allow 10 minutes to dry and pipe an outline of his face.

After the outline dries, about 1 hour for me, fill in his teeth.

Next, fill in his jaws. Allow to dry for 30 minutes.

Next fill is his face. Use a toothpick to push the icing into tight or small places. Then allow to dry for 90 minutes or more.

Finally, using the same green icing, give him some eyes. Use the wet on wet technique again. Optionally, you can have a small round cookie for an eye on the side. And now we're done! Easy!! =]

I hope you have fun with these shapes and designs!

Ghost Cake Pops

I found this cute Halloween themed cake pop mold at Michaels. I had to play with it and decided to make the ghost shapes.

The shapes came out just fine. They were actually quite easy to use. However, dipping them in chocolate was a different story. I had to double dip them, and even then I wasn't entirely happy - but I moved on.

I made a couple of different shapes. These ones are not dipped yet.

To make these cake will need to bake a cake.

Then crumble up the cake using your hands, or a food processor.

Then add your favorite frosting.

Just enough frosting to form a ball when rolled.

Then fill the mold.

Insert stick or remove.

If you need more help on making cake pops, I have an older post about cake pops here.
Or if you need cake pops tips and tricks, click here.

I will be playing with the other shapes this week. I'm happy the pumpkin will be easy to dip. =]

If you don't have or can't find this mold, even simple round balls can be made for Halloween or Fall. Like these cake pops I made with the leftover cake dough.

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