Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sugar Cookies w/ Royal Frosting

This is a great recipe! I tweaked it a little for the liking of my family.

Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t. almond extract
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~24 cookies. THE ORIGINAL RECIPE SAID THAT IT MADE 40 COOKIES, BUT I BARELY GOT 24 OUT OF THE BATCH. I guess it depends on the size of the cookie cutters.

Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder (You can buy this at Michaels)
5 tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing. This is the consistency that you will use to pipe around the outside of your cookie. You may need to add water to make a little thinner, but ADD A LITTLE AT A TIME (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Separate the icing into containers to tint frosting. Using a pastry bag (or in my case, a Ziploc baggy with a corner snipped to fit piping tools), pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.

After you have piped all of the cookies, thin out the remaining frosting by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the frosting has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.

Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.

**I use gel food coloring because I think it makes brighter colors, but liquid food coloring can also be used!

Source: www.annie-eats.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Molly is 2 months old (well almost three)!

I can't believe that Molly is already two and a half months old! It feels like she has always been a part of our family. She is loved so much by her sisters (mom and dad, too). She has been a pretty easy baby, but has been getting a little more fussy lately (hopefully this just a phase). She is very alert and loves "standing" while you hold her. She is smiling a lot and looks around to find out where the noise is coming from, and trust me, there is always NOISE in our house.
Here are her stats from her 2 month checkup:
Weight - 13 lbs 7 oz
Height - 23 1/4 inches
The nurse didn't write it down, but I think she is about 95% for each category! This wasn't very surprising see that Layne and Abby were both way off the charts for each when they were little (and still are off the charts).
Here are pictures to show how much she has changed in one month!

Molly - 1 month

Molly - 2 months (I couldn't find the dolls clothes)

Molly and Abby
Layne and Molly

She loves the exersaucer!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Swagbucks! I love it!

So, I posted about Swagbucks a while ago, but I just wanted to tell you how much I love it! For those of you that don't know what Swagbucks is you can read about it here.
This is a great way to buy Christmas presents. I've been buying Amazon gift cards and plan on buying the something for the girls from there this year. The gift card options are endless! This is the best and cheapest way to buy gifts for people (or yourself) because you aren't spending a dime, yet you can earn these awesome gift cards! You can now get cash from Swagbucks by buying a PayPal gift card and they will put $5 in your PayPal account.
A great way to build up points is to have people sign up using your code. I am amazed at how fast the points add up after just doing a few searches a day. The points add up even faster if your friends use Swagbucks too!