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Easter: Bunny Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing

Every major holiday my mother would make the softest, melt in your mouth sugar cookies topped with buttercream icing in pastel colors (even at Christmas our Santas lean a bit pink). It was always a labor intensive process that was always finished in the late evening. If done right, all the hard work is worth it! Like my mother, I typically stick to buttercream for sugar cookies largely because you almost always have the ingredients on hand, it isn’t fussy, and it tastes delicious!

Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com

This year I thought it would be appropriate to break out the unused bunny cookie cutters residing in my cabinet, make my mother’s sugar cookie recipe and top them with royal icing.  I thought that the royal icing would give the cookies more of a professional bakery look. When I was finished icing I placed the cookies in white treat boxes. When I took them over to my in-laws house on Easter everyone thought I had just picked them up at the bakery. On the one hand that made me happy, but on the other sort of stole my thunder.

Ingredients:
{Sugar Cookies}

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Instructions:
{Sugar Cookies}

  • Mix confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oven to 375ºF.
  • Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. To prevent dough from sticking to cutter dip cutter into flour before cutting dough into desired shapes. Place on Silpat  covered cookie sheet.
  • Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
  • Note: Baking the cookies a day ahead of time will help break up the process! Simply store the cookies in an air tight container until you are ready to begin icing.

 

Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com

 

Ingredients:
{Royal Icing}

  • 3 Tbs meringue powder
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 8-10 Tbs warm water

Instructions:
{Royal Icing}

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder. Add the water and beat on medium to high until very glossy and stiff peaks form (about 7 minutes). You want to make sure you have frosting that is of the proper consistency, so if it is a bit too thin you can always a bit more confectioners’ sugar, or if it is too thick, add another tablespoon of water.
  • It is helpful to do a bit of strategic planning here based on your shapes & desired colors By developing a decorating plan of action you can use your time efficiently. Prepare squeeze bottles or pastry bags with icing in the colors and consistency you will need to create your desired end result.
  • I cut all of my cookies using a bunny cutter, and planned to make white bunnies with pink inner ears and a brown eyes/nose/mouth.  I filled one Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottle with a thicker white frosting for outlining. I then added a bit more water to the icing mixture, took a small amount out placed in a small bowl and mixed some brown gel in for my detail frosting.  Back to my larger batch of frosting I added another tablespoon of water to get the frosting to a thinner flooding consistency. I split the batch 70-30 and mixed in a hint of red gel into the smaller portion. I then filled two more Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottles with my white flooding icing and my pink flooding icing.Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com
  • Using my outline squeeze bottle I outlined all my shapes with white. I followed by flooding the entire cookie with white save for the inner ear portion. I then flooded the inner ears with pink. By the time I was done with my last cookie the flooded icing was nice and hard, so the cookies were prime for layering. I added two white dots as cheeks to my bunnies with my white flooding icing. I followed with eyes, nose, and mouth with my dark frosting. Once the icing is dry the cookies have a hard, smooth finish. I placed the cookies in treat boxes separated by parchment paper.

Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com

In addition to baking bunny cookies, we dyed some Easter eggs using masking tape, stickers, and a white crayon.  My little man doesn’t eat (or need) much sugar, so I made sure the Easter Bunny filled his basket with toddler friendly treats. The mission was to create a fun toddler friendly Easter basket.

DIY Carrots: Cheddar Bunnies |www.platinumblondelife.com

Pastry bags were filled with cheddar bunnies and tied off with green ribbon to look like carrots.

Toddler Friendly Easter Egg Treats | www.platinumblondelife.com

Instead of candy, the plastic eggs were filled with mini treat bags filled with bunny grahams and taped off with printed masking tape.

Anatomy of an Easter Basket | www.platinumblondelife.comThe basket had a coloring book, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a kite, bunny ears, a bath toy, bath color tabs, animal crackers, a stuffed dinosaur, and a golden egg with a few dollars for his piggy bank.
Toddler Friendly Easter Basket| www.platinumblondelife.com

 

DSC_2973Little man was very happy with his loot, and LOVED his treats, I think just as much as any kid loves candy.  We had a very happy Easter, he was a fan of the bunny cookies, and we ran through our bubble arsenal almost immediately!

squareeaster.jpg

Chalkboard, Kraft Paper, & Washi Gift Wrap Ideas

I love when gifts are presented in a beautiful, unique, or creative way. It doesn’t matter if the gift is for Christmas, a birthday, or another event, I like to put a bit of effort into making my gifts look pretty. Last year was Quentin’s first Christmas, so even though he was only a couple of weeks old, I made sure Santa wrapped all of his gifts in brown kraft paper, tied them in red satin ribbon and then hand stamped his name on each gift (I use Cavallini & Co Alphabet Stamps).
Hand Stamped Gift

First Christmas Gifts

This year I switched it up a bit when I found this adorable washi tape that said “No Peeking” & “Do Not Open Until Christmas”. The washi tape looked fantastic on the neutral kraft paper, but also helped solve a problem I had last year in that I found that using kraft paper tends to eat up more of my scotch tape than typical gift wrap.

Washi Tape Gift Wrap

Like the rest of the world, I am a bit chalkboard obsessed so I purchased a huge roll of black kraft paper (huge so I could wrap extra large gifts). For Quentin’s first birthday, the extra large roll was perfect for wrapping his basketball hoop (that is now residing in my dining room- Ha!). I took my trusty chalkboard markers and doodled away. For Christmas I used metallic sharpies in silver & gold and a red chalkboard marker to make my gifts look more festive. I free handed all my type and doodled away with Christmas greetings and even a quote from ‘Elf’ . This of course is a bit more time consuming, so I would recommend giving yourself some time. Don’t start doodling on Christmas Eve (like I did! haha).

ChalkboardWrappingPaper

Curious George Themed 1st Birthday Party

Quentin's Party
For my little man’s first birthday party I decided to take two things he loves: books and his plush Curious George, whom he constantly hugs, and allow them to inspire his big bash. With all the ideas out there on the interwebs (hello, pinterest) I knew I had no excuse for throwing a lame party!

First Birthday Invites

I started by designing the invitation in photoshop, utilizing PBS’s coloring book images of George. I simply colored the images I wanted in photoshop, resized them and placed them in my layout. To give the invite (and party) a bit of a modern flare, I created a chevron pattern in photoshop to utilize on each of the paper products I was going to create*. For another modern touch I added a QR code to the invitation, so guests could scan the code and instantly RSVP to “The Mom In The Yellow Hat.”  Once this invitation was done, it really set the bar for everything else.  I saved money by designing and printing the invitations myself, so I ordered red A7 envelopes from Paper Source, and used their envelope liner kit and a photo of Quentin reading with George to create photo liners.

 

In edition to the invites and the envelope liners, I created cupcake toppers, straw flags, and a Happy Birthday flag banner.  I repeated the fonts, colors, images and patterns to keep everything very cohesive. My circles for the cupcake toppers and flag banner were two inch in diameter. For the toppers I punched out using a 2 inch circle punch, then taped two circles over a 4-Inch Lollipop Stick

Happy Birthday Banner

I really loved the idea of having guests sign Quentin’s copy of ‘Curious George and The Birthday Surprise’ (He has this copy: A Treasury of Curious George)  Inspired by this sign, I created a chevron sign that said “When I’m older I’ll be curious about who was here to celebrate with me. Please sign my book & leave a note for me.”  and framed to place on the table next to the book.  In edition to the book and sign, I used Quentin’s own George related toys as centerpieces.

Book Sign Table

I covered all tables with a yellow table cloth. I decorated with paper fans and lanterns in yellow and red. I wrapped each yellow paper cup with black mini duct tape  and placed each on top of a yellow plate (for a yellow hat look). I wrapped yellow plastic utensils & striped straws (topped with straw flags, of course) with napkins and tied off with bakers string. I placed the utensils in a clear container purchased at the party store and used as a centerpiece on one of the tables.

Welcome

On our bar, I placed a framed copy of the invitation next to George wearing a Curious George party hat and a yellow framed chalkboard that I hand wrote a welcoming message on. In edition to more party hats, I made Curious George masks (attached to Wilton 6-Inch Sticks ), and printed coloring booklets for the kids using the templates available on PBS.

coloring books hats

I hung a poster featuring a photo collage (in the shape of the number one) of each of Quentin’s monthly photos. I also hung a large black foam board that I had handwritten Quentin’s “stats”. I had previously used that board as a photo prop for his one year photos.

Quentin's First Birthday Stats Chalkboard

For food, we had a local barbecue place cater (ribs, BBQ chicken, brisket, mac & cheese, baked beans, caesar salad, & pulled pork sandwiches). For drinks we served sparkling lemonade, sparkling blood orange soda, cans of san pellegrino in blood orange & limonata, soda, juice, and water. For dessert, we had peanut butter brownies (placed in chevron cupcake liners and topped with cupcake toppers), vanilla cupcakes with red liners and yellow buttercream & cupcake toppers, and of course a chocolate birthday cake in the shape of the man’s yellow hat with George peeking out from underneath created for us by Christina Rey of Sugar.

Quentin's First Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday Song

Quentin had a wonderful time opening and playing with his gifts. He even enjoyed a bit of cake. When our guests left, we gave them a magnet featuring some images from Quentin’s cake smash session.

Birthday Boy Opening His Gifts

thanks cake smash

*Note:  There are plenty of chevron patterns out there, but I opted to take a little bit extra time to create my own, thus I had complete control over color, width, angle, and spacing. Leave it to me to do it the hard way!

DIY Hand Painted Monogram Pumpkin: Halloween 2013

After years of NYC apartment living my husband and I moved to the ‘burbs just prior to the arrival of our little one. This is our first Halloween in our new home, so we took our little guy to the pumpkin patch to select pumpkins. He selected one nearly as big as him to be placed outside our front door. I sketched a monogram onto the pumpkin using a sharpie using the ‘S’ from this font and filled in with black acrylic paint. Once the paint was dry, I sprayed a gloss seal coat over the pumpkin. This was such a simple and easy way to get into the fall season, and will last well into November.

The Choice
Hand Painted Monogram Pumpkin

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