‘Twas was the night before christmas, when all through the apartment, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse! Yeah right! In a house with a baby it is never quiet, and EVERYTHING is ALWAYS stirring, jiji. But seriously, it was the week before Ana Maria’s Baptism and I had already stocked up on about a million and one utensils and pre-made necessary baking/decorating supplies. All I had left was to bake/prep! It should have been a swift and easy couple of days… but being a novice at this, unknowingly… I made a few Really BAD choices and ended up paying for it in the end.
On a side note: the main reason for this blog, besides bringing a little order to the wonderful chaos that is being a stay at home mom/juggler, is to bring light and help all the aspiring bakers and novice cookie decorators out there. Therefore, I will try to be as descriptive, without being a bore, as possible. And hope that you too will learn from my adventures in cookie making.
Back to the baptism…Soooo, I made a few bad choices. And mostly they were, due to inexperience and thinking/trusting, that all these pre made/prepackaged decorating supplies were actually the real deal, and not just a scam. Well, they are not all the best options (in my opinion). With that I would like to say, my opinion is just that, the opinion of a simple stay at home mom, learning to bake, so don’t quote me on anything I say. These products may actually be fantastic for others, but for me, in my particular set of circumstances, they spelled disaster. I would like to clarify that I live in Puerto Rico, a tropical Island in the caribbean. It was July, hot yet a bit humid… so anything that could go wrong… did. considering I do not have any sort of pastry or baking training, I didn’t have the skills/knowledge to really fix or deal with any of my baking mishaps!
Well in the best interest of the learning experience… these are the pre made supplies I bought…
There I was super pumped and ready to make the most fantastic religious cookies EVER, and adorable mini cupcakes, and succulent brownies, AND delicious cupcakes… Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah… and decorate everything and not to mention leave time to somewhat make myself presentable.
And the marathon began! I took the task to make most of the brownie/cupcake decorations before hand (48 hours to be exact). I made some cut outs in fondant for the brownies and cupcakes, the buttercream was mixed and coloured in pink, and I assembled about 100 little pink boxes to put the mini cupcakes in.
About 24 hours before the actual event, I set out to conquer the baking world! I started with the cookies (Cookie Recipe from Martha Stewart). I made the dough, smooth sailing thanks to a hand held mixer Dad gave us to help in our baking adventure (If interested in which I use, stay tuned to an upcoming post on utensils, soon to come). I put the dough in the fridge to rest and proceeded to make the cupcakes (Cupcake Recipe from Add A Pinch). I decided early on that I would be making two batches of the cupcake batter, which was great because I just doubled the recipe. Note to the wise… If you are making double of any recipe and you still have mom amnesia ( I know all mommies out there know what I’m talking about), write down exactly what the final measure of the ingredients are… don’t rely on your mommy memory… more on that in a later post.
Half way through the day and I felt like I was really ahead of schedule… that is until my sweet adorable little Ana Maria decided she was tired of playing in the kitchen and wanted some mommy time. So I headed to the baby room and was there a good 3-4 hours. Of coarse I used this time to obsess over what I had to do, and research some more cookie designs. Truth be told I had most of the baking done, but sooooooo much decorating to do still, and Baby Ana Maria didn’t seem to want to let me do any of my “work”. Thankfully Super Daddy came to the rescue! He played with our little one for a WHILE, and I finished the mini cupcakes, brownies (box ones) and even had time to bake the cookies! WoooHoooo! Thank God for DADDY!
Once again feeling on top of the world! Then all of a sudden it dawned on me, I hadn’t made anything for dinner, the kitchen was a war zone, and it was 9 o clock!! But, once again Dad came to our aid, and went to get some pizza, while I tidied up the kitchen and baby Ana Maria played with my kitchen utensils (a few extras I have for her to play with, none with sharp edges, of coarse).
Dinner was delicious, and soon enough it came time to put the baby to sleep, which honestly is a task that takes about 2-3 hrs. Our baby is super smart and resourceful, but hates going to sleep. When that time comes she gets extra energetic and does about everything she can think of, then, after climbing, playing, dancing, singing, and a million and one other things, she falls dead asleep. As soon as she fell asleep, I left her with Dad and went to decorate! It was about 11, and nothing was decorated! But everything was ready to go! Since I had made the fondant decorations, and frosting before hand, I was pretty confident I was actually going to pull this off. I began by decorating the brownies, a little chocolate (store bought) frosting on top and the cut outs I had already made, and ready to go.
Now for the cookies! It was all downhill from here. I am not quite sure if it was because I was tired, or if it was just bad luck… but things took a turn for the worst.
Trusting and naive as I am, I hadn’t even thought to check the contents of the Cookie Icing (pictured previously). I followed the instructions on the bottle, and proceeded to decorate my wonderfully shaped cookies. I made some round cookies, some crosses, some tiny doves, and her name. As soon as I started to pour the white, I noticed something wrong. It was beige! Had I burnt it? Was it old? I checked the expiration date, and it was not past it’s usable date. I opened another bottle I bought, for just in case, and it was also beige! It was 1 am, there was nothing I could do now… so I covered the cookies that were supposed to be white and put it in my mind that I wanted them to be beige…
Next was the fun part! the pink details! I had the crosses ready with their beige base and the pink warm enough to use! But just as I suspected, this colour too was not what I thought it would be, NEON pink! My first cookie looked like a cookie out of a psychodelic trip. I immediately cleaned off the pink and took a break. Whenever I get overwhelmed I opt to take a break and regroup. So I made some coffee, ate a brownie, and tried to breath deep.
Don’t know if it was the kick I got from the coffee or the surge of chocolate running through my veins but I told myself, “Ana, you can do this! It is all going to work out! You are wonder woman, and you can accomplish anything! You went through 22 hours of labor and are still standing. If you withstood that, anything is possible!” I picked myself up, and made a decision, this is what we have and everything is going to look awesome. All of a sudden I had an idea! I had some white pink candy melts! I heated them up, put some in a piping bag, and off I went! But this too was an ugly pink colour… What to do! What to do!! I got it! Mix the extra white with the neon pink and hope for the best, and thank the heavens it actually came out to a nice and soft pink. Finally I decorated the cookies as best I could and vuala! cookies were done. I let them dry, and then put a quarter sized amount of candy melts in the back and stuck a stick on them, cookie pops ready!
Next I decided to make the cupcakes. I used a frosting bag and cut the tip until my cupcake frosting swirl came out the size I wanted it. About 3 cupcakes in, I realised my first cupcake was melting… And had no clue what to do. I found out online that frosting can be thickened with powdered sugar, so I did just that, but it didn’t seem to work. Eventually I did what any self respecting wannabe baker would do, I put them in the freezer! Little by little I frosted, decorated and put in the freezer all my cupcakes and mini cupcakes, until I was finished.
Finally I was done… for now. It was 4 am, and I needed to sleep. I ate a cupcake, yummmmm, and a glass of milk and took a shower and went to bed. Thankfully the little one slept through the night!
The next morning I woke up at 8, put the cookies and cupcakes in some baggies with a pink or white ribbon, and packaged up the mini cupcakes in the pink boxes.
Then we (Dad, baby Ana Maria, and Me) went to decorate, came back home, got ready and off to the Baptism!
In the end everything was beautiful, and soooo much fun! I have to say I felt like it was a complete success. And Ana Maria had a blast, which in the end, was the most important thing.
I didn’t take pictures of the process but here is a few places where you can learn to make baptism type the cookies if you are interested:
- Easy Decorated Crosses
- Dove Cookies by Royal Icing Diaries
- First Holy Communion Cross by Royal Icing Diaries
- Mosaic Cross Cookies by Simply Sweets by Honey Bee