Friday, December 23, 2011

Max, the Grinch's Dog - is that his name?

No really, most people forget that the dog's name in the Grinch is Max. May be it is because I am a little silly, but I can't forget that kind of important information.

Anyway, ::
♪♪Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! ♪♪

For my Family, the eve is the most important day of the year. I am super excited! And now that our school's Christmas Concert is over, I can finally take a deep breath and enjoy it.

I was supposed to post these cookies up a few days ago, but found that I had NO time. I had a lot of those kinds of plans. So, here is the final cookie. Only two pictures of the process, but by now, you should be able to understand how I did it:

I may not have time to post over the Holiday season (But I have more cookies to post), so I am wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, Hanukkah or just the best for the season.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sleigh Riding Max

Well, apparently SANTA exists here in Fort Fabulous! A little fairy dropped a gift at my door to reveal a brand new PlayBook! HURRAH! An E-reader Has I! Totally having a blast playing with it and almost forgot to update today. Sorry!

This scene comes from Max riding on the back of the Grinch's sleigh. I love this scene, poor Max, just wants to go for a ride, like all puppies do!

Anyway, fewer pictures on this one, sorry! Even less for the last post tomorrow.

For this one, I followed the same technique.

Again, outline using the foodcolour (mixed with white), then dark line (with foodcolour - I am not sure if the food doodlers are the best quality, but you could try them), then fill in the detail.

Okay, that's enough for today! I am going back to play with my new toy!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Cindy Loo Hoo w Wreath Painted Tutorial

Breaking down the cookies now! This is tutorial Number THREE!

For tutorials Number One and Two, just click on the numbers.

Let us continue, shall we?
The last Cindy Loo Hoo cookie was sort of sad. I didn't want to leave her looking like that, so I had to make one of her happy after Christmas comes back. So, I decided to do a cookie with her holding the Christmas Wreath.

I start by using a 'pale peach' foodcolour (mix a small bit of pink, yellow brown, and quite a bit of white). I use this for her face shape, just to give me an idea of where everything will go in the end.

Next, I ink in the black lines. In the below picture, I forgot to stop, and I had actually drawn in her hair. You can choose to do that before or after the black. I caution you to make sure each colour is dry before continuing: it will take about 3 minutes for the 'paint' to dry.

It really helps to have a good reference picture!

Next, after the black is all dry, I start to add in the colours. I dabbed on the green to give the illusion of a fluffy wreath (thicker paints will help with shading.

Finally, I add in shines and small details.

I took these pictures while the cookies were still wet. As they dry, the food color gets more glossy and less shiny. Sorry about the bad photo conditions.

I had my students vote on which cookie they liked the most. They all liked MAX best. I'm going to save that one for last. I have two more days to cover.

Until Tomorrow!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cindy Loo Hoo Cookie, Painted Tutorial

Hey All!
One week to go! For today's cookie tutorial, I planned to post up the Cindy step-by-step. The original picture has Cindy Loo holding a tree ornament and looking sadly at the Grinch. I love the look in her eye, it is so sad and she look so cute. I just want to HUG her.

Before I start, Trish from Sweetology101 asked a good question about what I use to paint on cookies. Simply put, a very fine-tipped paintbrush. The one below is the one I use, and it is OLD! I got it from Walmart, but truthfully, I need to invest in one from a craft store, since it will probably hold together better than this one. Either way, this one is great, if not a little weather-beaten. Hope that helps.

Now, on to Cindy Loo.

I started by combining some colours into a light peach: Lots of White, red, yellow and a touch of brown. I used that to paint the face in the background. Then, using a bright yellow, I painted in the hair. In this picture, you can see the between stages; I've put in the yellow hair, and the face colour, and I'm just beginning to line the black around the head. I had a picture taken before this, but it did not turn out well.

There, now I've got the face, hair and body all outlined.

Now I start adding in the details. Again, using a thicker colour, or a darker shade, you can shade around the edges to simulate shadows. For the Eyes, I used a blue mixed with white to thicken, this way, you can cover over any colours underneath.

Final Details, and DONE!

Below, you can see the difference in using the white to thicken the paint colour. In the Grinch's face, I used just green food colour; you can see that the colours are not as pronounced or cartoonish. After making that particular cookie, I realized that I needed the white, so I switched my tactic. White is important, but not essential.

Hope you all enjoy this last week. Hope it passes quickly. Until Tomorrow!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Grinch - Painted Cookie Tutorial

Hey All! Coming down to the crunch! Christmas is here soon!

These are my latest creation. I figured I should try something a little different, since I have very little time. While making a batch of cookies for a friends, I made 5 round cookies and decided to paint them rather than pipe them. Here's what I did:

Painting cookies is super easy. Many people would have heard of "Food Doodle" food grade markers. I like them, but they are nowhere as nice as the colours you can get out of the gel food colours (Specifically Americolor). To Paint on cookies, all you need is a good work surface, a pre-flooded cookie (Royal Icing that has hardened to create a canvas surface on the cookie), water, food gels (best is Americolor because the bottles are easier than Wilton's pots), and a very fine-tipped paintbrush.

You can put a small amount of gel-colour on a plate or on a pallet, it is up to you. I use a little bit of water to dilute the 'paint' and make it easier to draw with, but be careful, too much water will be hard to work with. If you put too much water, you also run the risk of it eating through the sugar in the flood. That means that you'll get a small hole in the cookie where the sugar was. That is not something that you can fix easily.

For today, I'm going to show you the Grinch cookie. Each day I'll post a new cookie with a quick look at how it came together.

Start by painting the green background. This may require a picture or a very good eye for what you want to do. Be creative! I used darker shades on the edges (thicker, undiluted paint colours) to map out the parts I will black/outline.

Next, I clean off my brush, then paint in the details/outlines. This part, again, takes some creativity.
To get the best colour, I like to mix the colour of paint with a white base of foodcolour. Again, Ameicolour white is essential to get good colours. You don't need it, but you will find that it will give a clearer look to the painting.
Mistakes can be fixed by dipping the paintbrush in water (pure water) and dabbing at the area. You can paint over it again with the green if you wish. I used a picture as a reference, but, again, you don't have to. If you are doing a different picture or just playing around, that's great!

(Otherwise you may smear it with a top colour)

Now, I add in the other colours. For this, again, using white is great. As you can see, I added SOME white into the hat, it gives a little contrast. If you paint out of the lines, whatever. You can use the water trick and dab it away, or leave it like I did!

Finally, I touch up and adjust; using a little white, I add some shines in the lips and face. This gives a little more depth to the cookie and makes the painting pop.

And there you have it! Not too shabby. Painting on cookies is a nice way to make a simple cookie, and it takes less time to get a detailed product. Often, when I'm piping a cookie, I have to wait a day to see the project through to the end. This cookie took about 10 minutes to finish. Obviously you'll not want to make 100 of them, but for a quick dozen, or for a fun way to pass the time (maybe with kids) painting on cookies is great!

See you tomorrow with a Cindy-Loo Hoo cookie.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spicy Orange Gingerbread Cookies (Recipe)

I love the colours of Christmas! They are the best! Rich greens, reds, and silvers are a wonderful addition to any home.
Along with all those rich colours are the rich smells: Cookies freshly baked, Turkey piping hot, delicious sweet yams or fresh soups. It is a wonderful season indeed.

As promised, I am sharing yet another recipe from my yearly Christmas Box. These cookies are a staple in any home in the festive season: Gingerbread. Be it in cookie or in house form, I love the smell they give, and how sweet they are!

This recipe is one I've used forever. It is a rich, orange, spicy gingerbread that is quite unlike any other I've ever had. It also hold up to its shape. You can see above my snowflakes kept their shape, which is key for making houses etc.

Orange Spicy Gingerbread

1/2 c margerine
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c molasses (I use fancy type, but whatever works)
1 egg yolk (Save the white for the icing)
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp grated orange zest


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put parchment on the cookie sheet.

1. Combine margerine and sugar, add in molasses, zest and egg yolk. Set aside.

2. Combine dry ingredients (Spices, flour, and salt).

3. Incorporate slowly the dry mix into the wet. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed.

4. Take mixture, and chill for at least one hour (or overnight). Remove from fridge and roll half the dough on a lightly flowered surface. Use cutters to cut shapes and bake for 8-10 minutes until firm. Remove from oven and cool. Do the same for the second half of the mix.

Yield: 30 cookies?


The above photo is super Photoshopped so that you can see the detail. The problem with my camera is that it is horrid in low light (a constant problem in my small apartment).

I hope you give the recipe a shot! If you do, tell me what you think.
Until then!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

A very Sweet Christmas (With Recipes)

Happy Christmas all!

I can finally take a breather, all my Christmas baking is finally complete. Three days of solid baking made me so very sleepy, but the responses are always worth it.

What did I bake? From Left to Right:

1. (Not pictured) Caramel Butter Bars
2. Spicy Gingerbread
3. Chocolate Crinkles
4. Snickerdoodles
5. Baileys Cake Balls
6. Turtles
7. Peppermint Patties
9. Scottish Shortbread
10. (Not Pictured - see below) Gluten Free fudge Cookies

Over the next couple of days I'd like to get my recipes up so you can enjoy them. Please be patient with me for the time being. I'll try to get one up every couple of days.

Some of the articles are missing because a lazy-bum decided to take a picture before they were boxed up. If you scroll down, you'll see the Gluten Free cookies.

Making gift-baking-boxes is the most wonderful thing, and the most stressful. I love baking delicious treats, but find that three days of baking straight is totally exhausting. Yesterday, I was practically a zombie (which those who know me will think is awesome) trying to get everything packaged and ready for delivery. Today, I played Santa with my wonderful Blue Recycle bag delivering boxes of treats to all my close friends. I believe that between the 25 small boxes and the two large, I baked somewhere between 20-30 dozen cookies. I kept telling myself that I was totally running low on baked goodies, and that I needed more. That was a joke! I have tones of leftovers.

The best part of baking this year was making something new. This recipe I found on Pinterest: Gluten-Free Chocolate Fudge Cookies (also pictured in the box are the Peppermint Patties, which are also gluten-free).

This is a recipe I just had to Share! Even though they are gluten free, they are more like Brownie Cookies, very chewy and sweet.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Originally posted from Chocolate and Carrots

3 c Powdered Sugar (Beware of additives in this! Cornstarch is okay)
2/3c dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/8 tsp salt
2 to 4 large egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla
1c chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and spray parchment with non-stick coating (this is necessary)

2. In a large bowl, mix powdered sugar and cocoa. Whisk in vanilla, salt and egg-whites, starting with just two, you can add more if necessary.
IMPORTANT: The batter should be just moist, and thick like brownie batter. It should not flow like water, but should be thick but a little runny. If it is not this way, add another egg white or two if necessary.

3. Add in chocolate Chips. Stir, and use a teaspoon to place batter on the cookie sheet. Space them well, as they spread.

Bake 9-12 minutes, remove and let cool completely. (Yield 30 cookies).

THESE ARE AMAZING. Seriously, you do not need to have a gluten problem to enjoy them.

Now, here's my favorite part. I promised a while back that I would post up a picture of my tree. It is finally done. I had to pick up some new bulbs and a few extra flowers to fill it in, but I finally feel comfortable showing it off.

Here's wishing you all the very best of the season. It may seem trivial, but it gives me great joy to know that this blog has people who read it; to me, the greatest gift is your patronage. Thank you all so much for making Domestic Sugar what it is.


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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Christmas Cookies and Flying in the North

Hey everyone. Around this time, people are super super busy getting ready for Christmas, and even I can lose track of time. Fear not, I have not negated my baking duties. Actually, this past weekend I took a trip down to Toronto, Ontario == THE BIG CITY == for some curriculum development (OH WHAT FUN). Anyway, since I was meeting a friend down there, I decided to bring down some Christmas baking. While the cookies are not super fancy, they were very beautiful.

I like the way the trees were done. I love the look of non-lined cookies. Sometimes, you can choose to do a flood icing that has a border to keep the icing in as it dries. I find that this is a stylistic feature. Some cookies really look great with this technique, other times I find that having no border at all is better. This look (the one above) uses a flood icing that is a little bit thicker than a normal flood, but not as thick as a border icing. The difference is that when you pipe or flood it, the Icing will settle in about 2 seconds (flowing outward) then will begin to dry immediately. It's a little more tricky to use, but the look, as I said, makes the difference.

To make the trees, I simply made a the top and middle layers of the trees, let them dry an hour, then added the second middle and bottom layers. It makes the tree look like it's fluffy and thick.

I bought these Christmas bulb cutters two years ago and have been too afraid to use it because they are so tiny. I enjoyed the fine-art piping! I think that it looks so elegant.

And Finally, these are my yearly tradition. These snowflakes look beautiful and are super easy to make. When I make my Christmas boxes (of baking), I find that the cookies are the part people love the most. Each cookie takes no time at all, and depending on the creativity, can be quite elegant. Since I made chocolate cookies this year, I thought I'd play with the colours a little.

Now, as I said before, I was in Toronto. I had a blast! There were so many things to look at that I found myself a little overwhelmed. I am like a fish or a raven: If it shines, I want to touch it. You can only imagine my glee at seeing the Eaton Center's gorgeous Christmas displays. In addition to sparkling snowflakes and bright lights, the mall was peppered with giant, 30 feet tall reindeer. It was super exciting to get photos!

And of course, they they had to have an amazing tree as well. The tree in the background (BEHIND MY BELOVED CHAPTERS STORE) was COVERED in Swarovski crystal snowflakes and gems. It was so stunning. Beside me is my friend Neil. He was busy arranging dinner plans... I was busy chasing shinies!

Well, I guess the best way to sum up my trip is the below picture. How did I get from my small town to the big city... Well, flying in an airplane is very dangerous, so our school board proposed another means of transportation:

Nah, I'm just kidding! I flew on a big airplane. It was both fun and scary. In Fort, our airlines are amazing, but small. It was bad enough flying Porter air from T.O and having the crazy turbulence that kept our belts on the whole ride, it is quite another thing to take that same type of turbulence and fly in a plane that has 20 seats total. Luckily, my trip to chapters in T.O kept me busy; I love that I can read books! You don't know how much you miss them until you no longer have access to a good book store. :: swoon ::

Christmas Baking starts this weekend. I'm going to get ready now! WHOOHOO!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade Mint Patties 2011

I love this recipe. Yes, it has been described as delicious diabetes, but there is something magical about how they melt in your mouth, and how that delicious mint flavor is beautifully coloured! Honestly, of all the things I make at Christmas, this one has to be my weakness!


This year, I was asked to make these treats as a tutorial for our local newspaper. While the issue has yet to come out, I just could not stand but to post them up. Since the majority of my readers actually live outside of my small town, I figured a sneak-peak was in order. The newspaper found me through the blog some years back and did a little article on me. They saw the tutorial I made last year for this and decided to ask if I would not do one for them. Since my focus has been on photography, I am trying to make my shots a little more interesting. I also added more colour to my mints by adding a third layer (red, white and green).

Now, I had put up my tree on the weekend, but I've been dragging my heels on taking photos. I am missing some of my ornaments, and really want to wait until I have them up.

To me. the tree is the most exciting part of Chirtmas. Everyone has their traditions. For hubbie and I, the traditions for us are putting up the tree star together (me decorating because everyone knows that wives have some magical tree-decorating powers), taking a photo of me sleeping under the tree (It always happens after the tree goes up! I can't help myself, the ligthts are so twinkly), and having X-Mas Eve breakfast together (because The EVE is the best part of the season). SO far, we've hit two out of the three traditions... It did not take long before a lazy and sick wife found her way under a tree. Either way, I welcome the traditions. As I move through my life, I find myself making more and more of them. And the funny thing is that I look forward to the silly little things.

Looking back at my life, I find there are many things I wish I could change growing up. The truth is, looking at where I am now gives me perspective; I'm a lot further in my life than I thought. Seeing my tree, and looking at my house, I feel blessed to have come this far, especially knowing there were two times when I was not sure I'd make it. My treasured traditions will go on, and so will I. I guess at this time of the year, I am reflective. I apologize. I just really feel happy looking at my tree - which I will post!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lemon Shortbread Bar

I think I've made it known that I LOVE PIE!

That's why I decided to combine two of my favorite things, Cookies and PIE into one delicious bar. This elegant treat comes without the crust, and is has a wonderful texture. The end result is lemony heaven!

So, how does one make these delicious treats. Actually, it's very easy!

Lemon Shortbread Bars

For the Crust:
1/2 lb. salted butter room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
2 cups AP flour

Preheat oven to 325. Cream butter, sugar and powder sugar. Add vanilla and flour until smooth.

Press crust into a lightly greased 9X13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes (or until edges are brown).
Set to cool.


**if you want to use box, I hear that works too, make to directions and pour over crust.

Home-Made filling YAY!

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water
tablespoons cornstarch
large egg yolks
tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
cup fresh lemon juice
tablespoons unsalted butter

For filling, whisk sugar, water, and cornstarch in a pot. Whisk in egg yolks and salt and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
Increase heat to medium and, still whisking, cook filling until it begins to bubble just a touch - when it does, remove.
Remove and strain. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and dissolve in butter .
Pour mix into cooled shell, let cool before sticking it into the fridge to set (or it will crack).

This elegant bar holds its own on the table, and is quite delicious. No really, it is!
And it's simple too. I say this having made it two days ago before my cold set in. I am currently typing while having two nice kleenex balls shoved up my horribly red nose! Paints a nice picture doesn't it? But really, being sick is the worst. These, are the best!

I love the contrasting ideas of my sickness with these lovely photos. As a blogger, I feel that interesting photography is super important, but living inside a building with very little light (most of which is yellow light) makes photography very difficult. I am always looking for interesting ways to take photos (using whatever props I have). I have found that the best photos are taken at night when I can control the flash on my camera (rather than the indirect sunlight of an afternoon shoot on a north-east facing building). Do I use enough parenthesis (yes)?

Okay, when the typing is bad, it is time for bed. Night everyone. ENJOY!

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