It’s All A-Buzz: World Malaria Day Cookies

Today is World Malaria Day!

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Malaria is a mosquito-borne parasitic disease.  Here in the US, we are fortunate to have eliminated malaria in the 1950s.  However, worldwide the World Health Organization estimates that there were 219 million cases of malaria resulting in 660,000 deaths in 2010.

To celebrate World Malaria Day, I created a batch of malaria-themed cookies to share with my favorite malariologists.  You don’t have a favorite malariaologist?  I understand — it’s hard to pick just one!  (I mean, I have my favorite.  But maybe you have problems with decision making.  You should work on that.)

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To create the three themed cookies, I used my trusty Kopykake projector.

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After creating all three cookie outlines in black, I went back to fill in the areas with colored royal icing.

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The cloud of insect repellent is opal sanding sugar.

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A bed net like this one can be a helpful way to keep mosquitoes away when asleep.  (Actually, not just like this one — an actual bed net.  A cookie will not deter mosquitoes.)

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The blood drop on the tip of this mosquito is a small red nonpareil.  Insect-repelling chemicals, mosquitoes, and blood — who could resist these cookies?!

The Royal Headshot: Queen Elizabeth II Silhouette Cookies

As I’m sure you know, 2013 is the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.  While 2012 was the Diamond Jubilee of her reign (i.e. 60 years on the throne), 2013 celebrates 60 years since her coronation.

(Confused?  Her father, King George VI, passed away on February 6, 1952 and she assumed the throne.  However, her official coronation was not held until June 2, 1953.  Mark your calendars, for Pete’s sake.)

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To continue my celebration from last year’s Jubilee festivities, I created silhouettes of Her Majesty based on the four portraits appearing on United Kingdom coinage since her ascension to the throne.

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The Queen’s first portrait, seen in its cookie-fied version in the top left of the above photo, first appeared on UK currency in 1953.  This image was unique because The Queen was not wearing a crown in this portrait, but rather a wreath.

The Maklouf portrait, next in line in the photo, debuted in the late 60s.  The young queen was wearing a crown in this portrait.  The Maklouf portrait remained on coinage until the late 1990s.

The Maklouf portrait was replaced by the first Rank-Broadley portrait, seen below resting on the saucer.  This image of The Queen, wearing the George IV State Diadem, showed her in her late 60s.

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The final portrait, also by Ian Rank-Broadley, was commissioned to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee.  Seen above as the top cookie on the white plate, stands as a testament to the milestone of 60 years on the throne.  If you’re still awake after all this numismatic yakking, you can learn more about the portraits from the Royal Mint.

These cookies were all created with the use of the Kopykake projector.  The beaded edge was made with alternating pink and white 3mm sugar pearls.

Since I am a lover of all-things-monarchy, you can expect at least a few more royalty-themed cookie projects from me this year.  And with a Royal Bun in the oven, you haven’t seen the last of my cookie-fied House of Windsor.

Cookie Love in the Time of Cholera: John Snow Decorated Cookies

Happy 200th birthday, John Snow!

Who?!

John Snow, the Father of Epidemiology!

What?!

Oy—I don’t have time for this.

OK, just for you, a short bit of history.  In 1854, there was a severe outbreak of cholera in the Soho district of London, England.  Dr. John Snow, an English physician, set out to determine the cause of the outbreak.  By tracking characteristics of the ill and their location, Dr. Snow determined that the cause of the cholera outbreak was a contaminated water pump on Broad Street.  Snow removed the handle form the Broad Street Pump and the outbreak subsided.  Want to know more?  Wiki it, yo.

To celebrate John Snow’s 200th birthday, I created a giant cookie map of Snow’s cholera map.  This puppy’s 12 inches long!

(That’s what she said!)

I indicated the location of the infamous pump with a purple candy star.

JohnSnow1_TMTreatsTo create this giant cookie, I used Lizy B’s giant cookie tutorial.  I started with 12 square cookies.

StackedSnow_TMTreatsI stuck ‘em together with thick royal icing to create a 12 x 9-inch rectangle.

ThreexFourJSnow_TMTreatsLooks messy, right?  I doesn’t matter—it all gets covered up!

After I outlined and filled the cookie with white royal icing, I used my Kopykake projector to trace the intersections of the streets.  I created the lines with black royal icing.

OutlinedJSnow_TMTreatsEach cholera case was created using a red jimmie sprinkle placed with craft tweezers.  So much cholera!

JohnSnow2_TMTreatsCelebrate John Snow, and hug your favorite epidemiologist today!

Tied Up in Celtic Knots: Celtic Knotwork Cookies

Is it March already?!  Time seems to be quickly passing me by!  With everything going on—work, other baking projects, life—I wasn’t sure I was going to have a chance to make St. Patrick’s Day cookies.  With the time crunch (we lost an entire hour this morning!), I didn’t think it was going to happen.  But what self-respecting baking blogger doesn’t feature at least one set of green goodies to celebrate SPD?

I am a baking blogger, and I work hard to honor those baking blogs who came before me.  I wasn’t going to let a minor non-Federal, near-completely commercial holiday pass me by with out featuring something!  So I cheated.

IMG_1466Aww yeah, check out these babies.  Hardly an ounce of creativity went into them.  But, I adore them!  In addition to their simplicity, they are a snap to make.  What’s my cheating secret?

ThreeStacked_TMTreatsStencils!  I’ve got a drawer-load of culinary stencils, mostly from DesignerStencils.com.  These are the Celtic knot stencils.  With a little practice, it is super-simple to stencil on cookies with royal icing.  A little spray color can be used, too, if you’re intimidated by the royal icing.

SpiralKnot_TMTreats I could give you a tutorial, but who has the time!  Actually, Julia Usher has everything you need to know on her website.  Why reinvent the wheel, ya know?

RoundKnot_TMTreatsAll right, I’ll throw you a bone.  If you try stenciling, I recommend a stiffer royal icing consistency that what you would probably use to pipe onto a cookie.  It should be able to peak, but not stay peaked.  If it’s too thick, it will peak when the stencil is lifted from the cookies.  You don’t want that.  If you make a mistake—and you will, sweet, baby leprechaun, you will—just scrape off the design and try again.  (If you’re like me, you can also just crush the marred cookies with your bare fist in a huff, but I don’t recommend.  Do as I say, not as I do, kiddos, OK?).  You can also use a fine-tipped tool like a boo-boo stick or a turkey lacer to clean up edges.

FourPartKnot_TMTreatsNow, you might be thinking.  But, he’s just a fraud!  A cheat!  A swindler!  He didn’t design these cookies.  This was practically a cut-and-paste job!  How can he sleep at night?  How can he have retain any shred of self-respect?  Oh, come on now.  Let’s not pretend I had self-respect before all this started.

How do I sleep at night?  Very well, sir.  Very well.

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On the Prowl: ThunderCats Decorated Cookies

Oh, the glorious days of youth!  Wasting away Saturday morning with bowl of artificially colored cereal and five solid hours of cartoons.  The life, right?  Well, I’m a big boy now, so those days have come to an end.  But gone is not forgotten.  With some cookie dough and royal icing, I can recreate the lost days of my childhood—

ThunderCats!

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Oh, I loved watching these big cats growing up.  I had a stockpile of action figures and a drawerful of superhero underwear to go with them.  Actually, I still have the action figures (but the underwear is long gone).

For those of you not in-the-know, ThunderCats were a group of cat-like superheros battling evil on Third Earth.  Lion-O, for whom red eye reduction has no effect, was the Lord of the ThunderCats and wielded the powerful Sword of Omens.

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Panthro was the panther-like team member with a gruff exterior and a heart of gold.  The Al Bundy of 80s cartoons.  Sort of.  Ish.

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Cheetara was the speedy cheetah-like time member who, for some reason, was able to find time to apply eyeshadow and lipstick.

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Snarf was the scaredy-cat sidekick and nursemaid of the orphaned Lion-O.  I’m not sure if Snarf was truly cat-like or not.  Maybe.

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ThunderCats, HOOOOO!  (No?  I guess you had to be there.)

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Of course, ThunderCats were on TV 20-some years ago.  Being cats and all, they are probably all at the big scratching post in the sky, right?  No.  Last year, some foolish TV executives brought them back in anime format to restart the series.  Blah.  They’ll never be another ThunderCats like my ThunderCats.

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Happy baking!

So Money: George Washington Cookies

In 1962 Marilyn Monroe, in one of her last public appearances, sang a sexy rendition of “Thanks for the Memories” for President John F. Kennedy on his birthday.  I can only imagine what Jackie Kennedy thought of the whole thing (I can’t imagine she was pleased).  Such a spectacle is surely a modern invention.  I cannot imagine Betsy Ross, America’s flag-stitching temptress of the time, rolling down a stocking and strutting around a bare pock-marked cankle while croaking out a few lines from “A Fox May Steal Your Hens, Sir” at George Washington’s birthday party.  Martha Washington surely would have feigned a bout of dysentery and insisted on going home.  (Old Martha was not much fun.)

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Well, hopefully old Prez Washington did have a little fun while he was in office.  He is certainly revered as a America’s Founding Father.  In fact, we have a day without mail to celebrate his birthday!  In America, there is no higher honor.  To be told, “this man was born today, he is now dead, and you may sleep in because of it” is the best way to earn the respect of modern Americans like myself.  Of course, the beauty and reverence of the day has tarnished.  Everyone calls it Presidents Day now even though it is officially George Washington’s birthday.  Not me, George—I will keep the watchfires of your memory alive!  In the spirit of keeping it All About The Washingtons, I created cookies resembling US quarters.  It’s my own edible tribute to America’s First President. IMG_1444_TMTThese are four-inch cookies piped entirely with white royal icing (and the help of my trusty Kopykake projector).  After the design was complete, I sprayed a layer of edible silver spray evenly over the cookie and let dry.  I love the shine!

IMG_1448_TMTHappy Birthday, Mr. Washington!  Sleep in—you’ve earned it.

Have a Heart: Ombre Heart-Shaped Cookies

Valentine’s Day, blah, blah, love, blah, hearts, blah, blah, blah.

And some cookies.

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I’ll be honest—I like to include at least a bit of snark in my posts, but it’s hard to be snarky about VD when you’re not single.  (When I say VD, I mean Valentine’s Day, not venereal disease.  It’s super-easy to be snarky when you have a mysterious rash or so I’ve heard.)  So, minimal snark for now.  Maybe I’ll work up to it in a few weeks.

For Valentine’s Day heart cookies, I busted out the ombre sugar technique featured in a few previous posts.  Using four different colors of sanding sugar (red, white, light pink, and bright pink), I used eight different shades of colors by mixing colors together in various ratios.  For a tutorial, see my original ombre sugar post.

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To help create the concentric circles, I used a circle template.  I did not end up using all of the pink shades on these cookies due to lack of space.

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When I was finished with all the sugars, I dump them all into a jar together.  Usually, the sugars go into one jar of mixed confetti-style sugars.  For this project, since all of these sugars were similarly colored, I put them into one jar of Valentine’s Day-themed sugar.  Hopefully I’ll put it to good use soon.

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Happy baking!

Thirty-Five Simple Words: White House Cookies

January 20 is typically the day when a US President is inaugurated at the start of a four-year term.  Because today is a Sunday, the inauguration ceremony will be held tomorrow.  In honor of the ceremony, I created a White House cookie.

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The cookie shows the South Portico of the White House and was created using the Kopykake projector.  The scalloped rectangle cutter and display easels can be found at CopperGifts.com.

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It’s a three-day weekend, and I’m going back to bed!  Enjoy your weekend!

Happy Baking!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Betty! Betty White Cookies

Betty White is 91 years old today!  Happy Birthday, Ms. White!

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What more can be said about the grand dame of the American sitcom?  She played the relentlessly perky Happy Homemaker on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and stole my heart as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.  If you need to know anything about me, then know this—

The Golden Girls is THE BEST SHOW EVER MADE.  EVER.  EVER.

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For such a special lady, I created a special cookie.  The cookie is a hearty 6-inch round cut with a stainless steel cake ring.  The image was created with assistance from my Kopykake projector.

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For the “91″ oval, I used a 3-inch oval cutter.  The cookie was flooded with a pale pink.  While still wet, I added a spiral of white royal icing and dragged a toothpick through to create the pattern.  After the flooding was dry, I piped on the numbers in white royal icing and let dry.

After the icing was completely dry, I brushed the numbers with scripting gel (though piping gel or even corn syrup would work, too).  Immediately after the gel was applied, I applied raspberry disco dust.  I brushed off the remaining disco dust with a dry brush.  Tada!

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Happy Birthday, again, Ms. White!  You hold a special place in my heart, and I wish you a banner year.

(EVER!)

Some Enchanted Eating: Colorful Gingerbread Houses

I have always been a little skittish about gingerbread houses when the Christmas came around.

I’ve always wanted to build one.  I have a half dozen books on the subject.  I certainly have ideas, but by the time December came around, it just seemed too intimidating to add one more holiday-associated frustration.  Gingerbread houses are structures, and they need to have straight lines and proper support.  One weak or inadvertently curved cookie or klutzy move decorating-associated spasm (from which I am prone to suffer) and all of the work would be for naught.  Sure, I could buy a pre-baked ready-to-assemble gingerbread house kit at the craft store, but then I’ll never learn, will I?

But this year was the year.  I did it—really!  What cinched it for me was stumbling upon a cookie cutter that cut out all the pieces for a gingerbread house.  In four punches of the cutter, I had enough shapes to make two houses plus extra parts to account for my clumsiness spasms.  Paul joined in, too, and we each made a gingerbread house.

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Check out more pictures, below.

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