Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baked Cuteness

So last night found me on my big baking blitz of the holly jolly season. And it was much more tame than in years past... Only three cookie types, just two dirty bowls, one messy counter and a 30-minute cleanup session make this a record for small-scale baking blitzes, but that's OK with me. I did get to spend lots of time making sure that the presentation of the cookies was dazzling. This year, the baking part was just to get me to the cookie-plate making part. Above you'll see the finished project. Actually, you see an artsy-design-bloggish view of the cookie platter. I'm kinda proud of the platter part of the deal -- I took a piece of cardboard, wrapped it in fancy paper from my FAVORITE paper store in Dallas, Paper and Chocolate. Then I artfully arranged the cookies, wrapped the whole bundle in shrink-wrap paper and tied a green and red bow to the whole thing, with a nice little happy santa face ornament tucked in for flare. I've done this flat cardboard cookie tray thing before and here are my little tips in case anyone actually reads this wanting to know about crafts...

  • Use paper that's got a waxy sheen to it. Using a matted paper is really leaving yourself open to unsightly greasy spots. No one likes those. It just reminds you that cookies are fattening and when indulging in a cookie, it's nice to also indulge in the fantasy that it's calorie-free.
  • Use spray glue from the spray-paint-style can to attach the paper to the cardboard. It looks so much flatter and prettier that way.
  • Recognize that because you used shiny, slippery paper, the cookies are going to move around on the plate when you drive or walk to deliver the cookie plate. So plan on doing some gentle nudging of the cookies between your arrival time at your friend's house and the actual doorbell ringing moment.

And as that last tip went far beyond the realm of common sense, I'll stop there! I'm sharing a few more pictures of the baking process, mostly because I'm really thrilled that I got to wear my awesome apron that I bought in Los Angeles a month ago.

There's a shot of one of my peanut butter kisses cookies. Truth be told on this cookie -- it is messed up because it sadly took a tumble to the kitchen floor. It was thrown away and the night's only cookie casualty. I took the picture because I'm trying to learn how to take good close up shots of my little items. It's harder than it looks for me. For my years of working at newspapers around professional photographers (Andy Molloy comes to mind here), I didn't realize how hard it was to take good, interesting still life photos. Alas, this blog is giving me even more respect for how hard those photogs work!

I am thrilled anytime I get to dive into my bin full of baking supplies. The most popular cookie that I make, according to my cookie eaters, is one of the easiest cookies in the world to make. You can see it in this entry's top picture, the raspberry sugar cookie. Here's what you do... make sugar cookie mix or even use a tube of sugar cookie dough. Roll it out all flat on a counter or surface with a light dusting of flour on both sides of the cookie. Use a biscuit ring (a round cookie cutter) to make a bunch of circles -- make sure you do this in pairs. For every pair of rings, one should be a plain ring, and the other needs a cutout. I use hearts, stars, Christmas trees and angels as my cutouts of choice. Bake them according to instructions and as soon as they come out of the oven, spread jam over the flat cookies. Then put the cutout cookie on top, and people will rave about them tasting good, being pretty -- all that jazz, which is music to a cook/crafter's ears.

And, finally, I will mention a few notes of praise for the apron. I read the city guide for LA on the best design blog ever, Design Sponge, and attempted to lead myself on a walking tour of LA's hottest shops for design and all things cute. Well, apparently no one in LA walks anywhere. People stared at me as though I was from Mars, walking the streets of LA. It was a Saturday morning and apparently the cool LA design shops are intermixed with lots of Jewish Temples, so I wasn't alone in walking the streets, I was just the only person not wearing a yarmulke. Anyways, after walking all over, I found a heavenly store for Francophiles... It's called Maison Midi, and it's a section of the larger American Rag Company, on South La Brea Avenue. I wish I'd bought everything I saw, because it was all so wonderful. They even have a french cafe inside the boutique. Well, the one thing I did get was this apron, which is made out of an "antique" French tablecloth. I instantly feel the old world charm when I tie it on!

1 comment:

  1. c'est magnifique!

    I'm sorry if my incessant commenting is annoying. I just wanted to let you know that your blog is being read--and I'm sitting at work...bleh.