Friday, December 20, 2013

Cute Melted Snowman Cookies!!

    Sometimes I feel like the holidays are one big Bake-a-thon.  Between parties, dinners, cookie swaps, and gifts for friends and families, I sometimes feel like I never leave the kitchen.  But as time consuming and expensive as cooking and baking can be, it is truly a labor of love....and if you spend enough time on Pinterest, you can find lots of fun and creative new ideas to try....which brings me to this blog post!
   Last year during one of my lengthy pinning sessions, I stumbled across these adorable sugar cookies that looked like melted snowmen!  Now, being the connoisseur of sugar cookies that I am, I thought the idea was fantastic!!  I mean, in what other cookie design are you allowed to sloppily squirt on icing in a free form and messy manner and it still looks cute?!  I decided I had to try them one day.  So, in my usual pinning fashion, my poor little snowman cookie pin sat untouched for a whole year until a few weeks ago when our school decided to have a cookie swap. 
   Now, there are several different melted snowman cookie designs floating around out there.  Some of them use a white gumball or malt ball for the head, and some use a marshmallow.  Some use red hots for buttons, some use M&M's, and some use sprinkles.  I used whatever I could find the fastest while running down the aisles of Publix on my way home to bake, because I stayed too late at school and knew I'd never get done with the cookies if I didn't hurry up and get started!  I have to say, though, this cookie design had quite the freeing effect on my mild and undiagnosed baking OCD. Usually I'm freaking out if a pearl sprinkle isn't lined up right or if I can't get the cake frosting to spread smooth, so it was kind of awesome to get to make cookies not perfect....on purpose!
    So, here is the step by step for super duper cutie patootie melted snowman cookies!!

   - Sugar cookies (baked and cooled)
   - 1 bag large marshmallows
   -  1 bag mini M&M's
   - powdered sugar
   - black food coloring
   - orange food coloring

Step 1  - Make your favorite sugar cookie recipe.   Use a round cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Step 2 - Make a batch of royal icing  and pipe free form edges on each cookie using a piping bag and large round piping tip.  The larger the hole in the tip, the bigger the border of icing, and the less likely your fill icing will run over the edges of your cookie.

  Don't have a good sugar cookie recipe or don't know how to make royal icing?  
See my previous blog post on this HERE.

Step 3 - After all the cookies have border icing, take the remaining icing (minus 1/2 cup which will be used for piping later) and add water to it.  Whisk the water into the icing with a fork, spoon, or whisk.  It will start out really chunky, but keep whisking until it is a thick liquid, much like that of melted chocolate.  This will be your fill icing.

Step 4 - Pour the fill icing into a squeeze bottle.  I used a big squeeze bottle because I was making two batches of cookies, but a normal small squeeze bottle will suffice for a single batch.  Squirt each cookie with fill icing starting next to the border, and working your way to the middle of the cookie.  The fill icing should naturally "fill" in the gaps, so don't put too much.  Let it spread out on its own before you add more.  Too much fill icing = overflowing cookies and really big mess!

Step 5 - Set a large marshmallow in the wet fill icing at one end of each cookie.  This will be your little snowman's head.


Step 6 - While the icing is still wet, place 3 mini M&M's in random places on each cookie to mimic buttons spilling down a melted  snowman.

Step 7 -  Take the 1/2 cup border icing that was set aside earlier and use food coloring to dye MOST of it black (save a little bit to dye orange for the carrot noses).  Using another piping bag and tip, pipe eyes and faces onto the marshmallows.  I like happy snowmen, but expressions can vary, of course.  Excited snowmen?  Frustrated snowmen?  Melancholy snowmen? Oh, the possibilities..... :)

 Step 8 - Now here's where the little personalities of each snowmen show up! You'd think it be the facial features.... but what made the snowmen seem real for me was their cute little stick arms.  Pipe stick arms in different shapes and in various places on each snowmen. 

Step 9 - Now, use the little bit of icing left over to dye orange for the carrot noses.  

Ta-da!!!  Cutie patootie snowmen cookies!! Love Love Love!!

    Contrary to what I had expected, these cookies bagged beautifully!  I was worried about the marshmallow sticking out and not being able to tie the bag closed or it looking awkward, but it proved not to be an issue at all.  These little cuties were the perfect cookie swap treat!

Happy Baking!!!!!
       - Beth

Sunday, December 8, 2013

FROZEN Hot Cocoa - Recipe #2

  There is just something about a cup of hot cocoa that brings about an almost unrivaled sense of
happiness, warmth, and feelgoodness (yes, I made that word up.)  And the most important part about it, of course, is that it's chocolate.  It's a warm, delicious, drink made out of can you go wrong??!  Well, all these years I've anxiously awaited cold weather for the sole reason that it brings the joy of the holidays and deliciousness of hot beverages like apple cider and hot cocoa (because I certainly don't like being cold)....that is, until I was introduced to FROZEN hot cocoa! heard correctly.  Frozen hot cocoa!!  Now there's no need for cold weather to enjoy your favorite feel-good beverage!  You can enjoy it anytime, even in the summer.  Or, if you live in the insanely odd weather state of South Carolina, like I do, you can enjoy it on those few hot days in December when it decides to go from 40 degrees to 80 degrees in a 24 hour period.  Ridiculous, I know.  SC weather is a little cray-cray, but I diverge.
    Now....the first thing I thought about when I first saw a recipe for frozen hot cocoa was, "'s like a hot chocolate milkshake!"  And I love me a good chocolate milkshake....especially one from Rush's (for all you out of towners, that's a local burger and shake joint in SC).  So the thought of combining the cool, creamy, smoothness of a milkshake and the rich, warmfuzziness of hot cocoa.....what more could you ask for?  Over the last week or so, I've experimented with a couple of different recipes for frozen hot cocoa, and they were either too thick where you can't pour it out out of the blender, or too thin and runny (not cool), so I came up with my own recipe.  This sweet concoction is pretty much my guilty pleasure at least a couple times a week's so delicious!!!  My hubby likes it, and I just tried my recipe out on my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and my 5 year old nephew tonight, and they all approved!



        2 cups milk
        3 or 4 packets of hot cocoa (I love the Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation)
        4 cups of ice
        5 Tbsp sugar

        Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until ice is crushed and consistency is smooth.  Pour
        into glasses and serve cold with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired.    Serves 4-6.

  NOTE:  Make sure your blender is adept at crushing ice.  If not, you will have ice chunks...not cool.... and it totally takes away from the creaminess factor.  I used my Ninja Blender that my mamma in law got me for Christmas two years ago, and it works great for crushing ice!  Thanks Mrs. Patsy! :)

        So, here's a recap....

 If I don't blog again before the holidays, which is totally probable, Merry Christmas friends!
        - Beth