So excited to have this baking beauty as a contributor on the blog! WOOT! I got to experience these amazing cookies and cupcakes over the holiday! So pretty and YUMMY!! Next up, some healthy baked treats to get us into the Livingholiisstyle – 14 Day Health Challenge I hope. Her baking looks and tastes so good – I can never say NO 😉
Hi Everyone. My name is Tiffany and I am a cookie fiend. Or a cupcake fiend. Whichever one strikes my fancy but usually both. From time to time I experiment with cheesecakes when I have more patience! I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with cooking and baking. Growing up with two other sisters, I was always the one hanging around the kitchen watching my mom cook and bake. I would sit around and play with my own little dough balls and taste all of her food before it was even ready! As I got older I would partake in Home Economics classes in high school and when everyone else was moving onto other extracurriculars I stuck with my baking and food studies classes. Now I bake in my free time when I’m not slaving away in the hospital as a nurse. My hobby centres around baking for big holidays because I love to experiment with different themed decorations. I’ve always been artistic and creative since childhood (despite my dad’s dearest wishes for me to become a genius mathematician doctor).
I will be sharing some of my baking creations through Jody’s blog! For this past Christmas, I made some sugar cookies and themed cupcakes. Every year I do a huge 2-3 day baking job (with help from my younger sister). Some years I’ve also made gingerbread cookies but it takes an extra half day for that. My favourite sugar cookie recipe comes from a blogger Sally’s Baking Addiction. She always produces amazing recipes and I’ve never once made anything from her site that wasn’t a hit! I followed the sugar cookie recipe exactly:
I decorated using her royal icing recipe and just played around with different colours and designs! The best thing about decorating is that it’s all up to the baker. You can do whatever you want.
I also made her amazing gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese icing:
These have the perfect consistency and the cupcake tops are completely flat when finished! (Which you want for decorating, otherwise they are muffins, not cupcakes). The cream cheese icing is tangy and not too sweet. I also made my own fondant icing using just two ingredients: melted marshmallows and icing sugar. I would recommend to NEVER do that again unless you plan on using all the fondant on making an elaborate cake. It was extremely messy and so much leftover fondant I ended up chucking out. Instead you can get a decent sized amount already made at Michael’s for around $5. I was just trying to save money, but the trouble was not worth the few extra dollars I saved.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks; 180g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (yields an outstanding flavor!)
- 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 6 to 8 Tablespoons room temperature water
- black, orange, and red food coloring (I love this food coloring kit)
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a snowman cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. I like to decorate cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the icing. So place the cooled cookies back on baking sheets.