Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Santa's Very Best Helper

Thanks to Eric's quick and wonderful woodworking skills, my entire family was able to surprise mom this Christmas with a beautiful entertainment center and a new flat screen TV.

He's been oh-so-busy the last three weeks building this 3-piece, custom cabinet and side shelves. They're made out of oak with a reddish/chestnut finish. And they match perfectly with the living room tables and buffet cabinet he built for my parents 15+ years ago. 

To say that mom was surprised would be an understatement. She was absolutely thrilled. And now she can watch Days of our Lives, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Shocker basketball in 46-inch HD! 

Thanks, Eric. You really are Santa's (and Sandra's) very best helper.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Giant Christmas Sugar Cookies

Shhhhh.... don't tell anyone, but I kinda cheated on my Christmas sugar cookies this year. Instead of making 100's of individual rolled & cutout shapes, I baked large sheets of cookies, put them on big, 18"x25" trays and covered them with copious amounts of buttercream icing. (Sorta like a sheet cake, I guess.) On the top, I piped MERRY CHRISTMAS in more frosting and added a cardstock cutout of Santa making a snow angel in the corner. Then I dusted powdered sugar over the whole thing. I'm going to put a knife beside the trays, and let everyone cut off as much or as little as they want.

I must be getting old. Or lazy. Or both. For the last couple of years, I've been devising ways of simplifying my Christmas cookies. Don't get me wrong, I love being the designated sugar cookie baker for our families. But when you have to travel hundreds of miles in a small car and need to make enough to feed 50+ people... you gotta get creative to keep your sanity. 

I'm pleased with how these turned out. And I was especially happy to cut my baking and decorating time in half. I ended up making 4 giant trays of cookies. Tomorrow we'll pack them in our "sleigh" and travel west to share them with family.

Here's hoping your holidays are sweet!

Here's a few photos of the baked cookie sheets and the first layer of buttercream icing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winter Wonderland Dessert

Attention edible artists, kitchen crafters and fun food folks – have I got a project for you!

First, search your cabinets and cupboards for various cone shapes. Next, drizzle melted chocolate candy wafers over the cones to create an entire forest of fabulous, colorful trees. And finally, artfully arrange the trees to decorate a winter wonderland dessert.

I used a giant bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream covered in whipped cream to make my festive, edible centerpiece. But you could easily build the display on a white frosted cake or individual cupcakes. And look for unusual or unexpected containers too! This bowl is actually the top of a vintage kitchen scale that I found at World Market.

You can find my complete tutorial and easy, step-by-step photos at Handmade Charlotte. Check out some of my other edible art ideas too, while you're there.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Celebration of Polar Bear Cookies

Did you know that a group of polar bears is called a "celebration?" (Seriously. I'm not makin' this up.)

I can't think of a better word to describe these cute, little polar bear cookies either. They just make me want to celebrate the season. They'd be a great treat to bring to any holiday gathering or cookie exchange.

And there's an even better reason to celebrate: they're NO-BAKE! No kidding.

For my easy recipe and instructions, check out Handmade Charlotte


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