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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 01/12/12

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SUGAR COOKIES THAT LOOK LIKE ICE CREAM!







   This comes from www.tradewindtiaras.blogspot.com . These look really cool and very yummy. Great for any party!

How to Make Sugar Cookies That Look Like Ice Cream



One of my favorite elements from our recent Neapolitan ice cream April Fool's Day party was the recipe for cookies that looked like scoops of ice cream.

Sugar cookies that look like ice cream cones!
Several years ago, there was an Etsy seller who sold cookies that looked like these (she was shut down for running an unlicensed kitchen, unfortunately, so you can't buy them from her any more). I fell in love with the pictures way back then, and it's been my goal to figure out how to make these adorable little things ever since.



I tried a number of different recipes, but it turns out that my favorite recipe for making cutout sugar cookies is the best one for this job, too. Here's the basic recipe.

No Fail Sugar Cookies (NFSC)

6 cups flour
3t baking powder
2 cups butter (why do you think they taste so good?)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 t salt

Now, when I make these cookies, I never end up adding all the flour as written in the recipe, or the dough gets too dry and crumbly. Very hard to work with. I live in Phoenix, though, where it's so dry that glasses of ice water don't sweat. I haven't used a coaster in years. I'm horribly out of practice, and if I come to your house, keep a close eye on me because I will forget to use a coaster and ruin your table. It's just not an issue in this dry, dry place. This arid environment also affects the water content in flour, and actually makes a notable difference in how much flour I need to use in recipes. So I'm going to try to describe the feel of the dough you want. Don't go on exact measurements here.

The basic technique is standard--cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, add dry ingredients. For these ice cream scoop cookies, here in Phoenix, the full six cups of flour as written in the recipe was perfect. The dough was almost too dry to squish together and hold its shape. That's the texture you're going for. It's miserable for doing actual cut-out cookies, but is just right for this purpose.

Once I had achieved that texture, I divided the dough into thirds. One third I left plain vanilla. The second third I added a box of strawberry Jello and some freeze dried strawberries and mixed it well in the mixer. The third third, I added about a half a cup of cocoa powder to the vanilla dough. If you don't have a stand mixer, don't try mixing the different flavors like this. The chocolate barely got incorporated completely, and it would have been a miserable mess trying to do this with a hand mixer. If you don't have a heavy duty stand mixer, make smaller batches of dough and incorporate the strawberry and chocolate flavors with the other dry ingredients.

If the dough gets too dry, and doesn't stick together, even when compressed with your fingers, never fear, just add a little bit of milk. I'm talking teaspoons at a time. Just enough for the dough to come together.
If you're only making one flavor of scoop, by all means, put all the ingredients in the mixer at once. No need to make vanilla dough and then augment with other flavors.

Shaping the dough was easy! I just used a very standard cookie scoop.


See how I kind of over-filled the scoop? I wanted that irregular edge at the bottom of the scoop. Very ice-creamy. I really packed the dough in tightly, too. That made a big difference in the finished product. I just scooped them all out and set them on a cookie sheet.


Now here's the really important part: freeze the cookie dough. The really great part about this is that you could do this part weeks ahead of time. You want the cookies to be completely frozen when you bake them. That's what helps them keep that perfect scooped shape until they're baked enough to hold the shape on their own.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the (still frozen!) cookies for 10-12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets.


I used a children's play dish set I found at Ikea to display the cookies at this party. The glasses from the set looked just like ice cream cones to my eye, and the little bowls and spoons were the perfect scale! You could certainly use a slightly larger scoop (adjust cooking time accordingly) and use real ice cream cones, too. I'd use a little melted chocolate to adhere the scoop to the cones, in that case.
Imagine the flavor possibilities! Vanilla with mini chocolate chips? Peanut butter ice cream with mini peanut butter cups? I know I'm going to have to try my very favorite ice cream flavor ever, Pralines and Cream. Does that mean I'm going to have to make a batch of pralines to crush up? Oh dear, I suppose it does! The sacrifices I'm willing to make for my art. ;-)

WHITTLESEA STAW BEAR FESTIVAL FROM GREAT BRITAIN!!!








Origins of the Straw Bear

    In Whittlesea, from when no one quite knows, it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a "Straw Bear". A newspaper of 1882 reports that ..."he was then taken around the town to entertain by his frantic and clumsy gestures, the good folk who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef".
    The bear was described as having great lengths of tightly twisted straw bands prepared and wound up the arms, legs and body of the man or boy who was unfortunate enough to have been chosen. Two sticks fastened to his shoulders met a point over his head and the straw wound around upon them to form a cone above the "Bear's" head. The face was quite covered and he could hardly see. A tail was provided and a strong chain fastened around the armpits. He was made to dance in front of houses and gifts of money or beer and food for later consumption was expected. It seems that he was considered important, as straw was carefully selected each year, from the best available, the harvesters saying, "That'll do for the Bear".
    The tradition fell into decline at the end of the 19th century, the last sighting being in 1909 as it appears that an over zealous police inspector had forbidden "Straw Bears" as a form of cadging.



Straw bear 1906

Reviving the Tradition

    The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society, and for the first time in seventy years a "Straw Bear" was seen on the streets accompanied by his attendant keeper, musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Various public houses were visited around the town as convenient places for the "Bear" and dancers to perform in front of an audience...with much needed rest, drink and food as available.







    The Bear is constructed in a more practical way now, the straw being fixed to a suitable piece or clothing or suit, the head is supported on a metal frame on the shoulders. This allows the costume to be removable, which is essential, as the length of the parade route and the time taken, necessitates 2 people "driving the bear". The person wearing the costume is adding approximately 70 pound to his own weight.



Another picture of the early years



    The parade now contains over 250 dancers, musicians and performers from various part of the British Isles performing traditions "Molly", "Morris", "Clog" and "Sword" (traditional English folk songs), songs and dances. There is also American style "Appalachian" or a type of square dancing, street performances and Mummers plays. A decorated plough pulled by a local Morris side is now an established part of the parade.




    Recently the Straw Bear has made friend with a German Straw Bear from Walldurn, near Frankfurt, Germany, a town that celebrates its own Straw Bear Festival on the Monday before Shrove Tuesday the day before Lent, which is on a Wednesday.
Although the festivities begin earlier in the week, Saturday is the only day on which the "Bear" makes an appearance before the "Bear Burning" on Sunday. This leads the way open for a new bear to be created from the next seasons harvest.
   The 2012 festival is January  13th-15th.

DIY 3D EFFECT WITH HOT GLUE!






   This diy comes from www.makethebestofthings.blogspot.com .  Another really cool decoracting Idea.  Enjoy!


3 D effect with hot glue




I've been kicking this idea around in my head for awhile and I just decided to do it. How can I get a dimensional, 3 D image on a vase, jar, box or even a canvas? I considered cutting shapes out of foam and gluing them on, or gluing on store bought appliques or even jewelry charms. But all of those require a bit more effort or money and I knew there was a simpler way. So here's what I came up with.....






The standard thrift store cheap glass vase. The sticker on the bottom says fifty cents, so it was a bargain. Now for my design....





Aha! It's my "leaving the house and my hair is a mess" hat. I got the pretty applique for $1 and it makes it look less like my "bad hair day" hat and more like a stylish statement. That's what I tell myself, anyway. Lol! So, I love the look of the fleur de lis and went for it....





I drew a symmetrical design on paper, folded it up til it was positioned correctly and taped it in place on the inside....






...and filled in the shape with hot glue. I stayed inside the lines but was a bit messy filling it in. I knew I could trim the edges with a razor cutter if I wanted to, and the next part of my project would minimize the messy appearance of the glue. Trust me on this, the finished deal is awesome!





Crumple up about 1/2 sheet of tissue paper. You could use other types of paper but the tissue is the best for this technique. Tear it into pieces less than 3" x 3".





Now Mod Podge those babies on the outside of your vase, putting the MP on the vase only, since the tissue paper is fragile and tears very easily. Just lay the tissue gently on the shape and pat it with a fingertip. If your finger gets sticky, switch to another finger and continue patting gently. Once the paper is sticking pretty good take a small, soft brush and more MP and gently ease the paper into all the crevices of your design. Gently, ladies, gently. BUT, if you do end up tearing the tissue here and there, it's OKAY!! This technique is very forgiving of mess ups. Trust me on this.
Smooth the torn edges with your soft brush and cover any tears with small pieces of torn tissue. Once they are Mod Podged they will disappear. Then MP the edges of the paper down over the bottom and up over the lip for a smooth appearance. Let it dry thoroughly.




Now paint your project the background color. I chose Antique White by Plaid which is a bit of a buttermilk white. By the way, can you see the little smiley face guy with a mustache on the vase? Curvy eyebrows, curly mustache? Little goatee on his chin? Come on, tell me you see him! He looks a little French to me. I'm not kidding, there really is a smiling guy there. Lol! It's okay if you can't see him, I KNOW he's there. ; 0 )






Once the paint is dry on the smiling guy fleur de lis vase, take a soft brush and stroke just a bit of your accent color on there. I used black. You may want to use burnt umber or even a color to match your decor, like blue or even pink. Make sure your brush is almost dry, blot the paint out til it is barely there before brushing it on your project. It is better to have too little than too much, BUT, if you do get too much on there it is fixable. Trust me on this. Let the paint dry then fix your dark spots with the lighter color, let it dry and dry brush again with the darker color. Seal it with clear acrylic spray. See how the roughness of the hot glue and the texture of the tissue really give this a rustic, vintage feel? As my dad the engineer always said, "If you can't make it look perfect, then emphasize the imperfection."

This is the first time I tried this technique and I am jazzed at the way it came out! The hot glue tissue paper decoupage idea worked and it came out just as I hoped! Don't you love when that happens? I'm going to try it on different surfaces and see how it looks and I'm already thinking some kind of swirly damask design on another vase and maybe some dots and circles....!

WARNING-your vase or glassware will NOT be dishwasher safe. Also, do not submerge it in soapy water. Just dust it with a cloth. The inside is still safe to hold water since the technique is all on the outside, so your vase is fine to hold real flowers. Submerging the finished project will "lift" all your hard work right off.