Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Thanksgiving means turkey and cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and best of all - PIE! Not to forget all the things that are happy and wonderful in the world! 

And here are those little letters appearing as ginger cookies again. 

Happy Thanksgiving from The Ginger Cookie

- posted by Momsu

Saturday, November 15, 2014


With the Holidays coming up it's time to start at least "thinking" about decorating cookies. 

There are all sorts of varieties of cookies to decorate but the best icing to use to decorate them is Royal Icing. 

In the beginning (about thirty-five years ago - more or less) when I started using Royal Icing - every recipe in books and magazines that I saw called for raw egg whites. Three egg whites to a pound of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and a teaspoon of vanilla and beat it until stiff. It worked just fine. And then people became afraid of raw egg whites and started using meringue powder or powdered egg whites. I realize once in a great while it’s possible for someone to get very sick from eating raw eggs. I've never heard of this happening to anyone I know - thank goodness! I think the other best reason to use meringue powder is that the icing will keep for weeks instead of merely days! My first experience with meringue powder was less than satisfactory. I just didn't like it. For one thing it was powdery after it dried. Now I think I was beating it too much. The other thing was the brand I was using - the popular craft store brand. My favorite brand now is CK - available by mail order and worth the wait If you can't find it locally. By mistake I once ordered CK Royal Icing "Mix" which has sugar already in it. It was so easy and also very good. If you just need a small amount of icing in an emergency it’s perfect - add water and beat. That’s it - it’s done!

There are lots of ways to mix up the meringue powder but the most successful way I've found is the method from Bridget at Bake at 350. ( It works very well.

Royal Icing

1/2 cup meringue powder
1 scant cup water
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Flavor with vanilla or other extract if desired. 

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the meringue powder and water until foamy and combined.

Sift in the powdered sugar, add the corn syrup, and mix on low spreed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula, Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for five minutes. 

Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. 

Note: Be careful not to over-beat the icing or it might become flaky when applied to the cookie. Keep a close eye on the glossy sheen; over-beating will cause it to go dull. 

Color it with paste food color so not to thin it unintentionally - I like Americolor (find lots of colors online). Thin with a little water to flood. 

There's a LOT of online help if you get into trouble. Cookie decorators are wonderfully generous with their time. Thank you Bridget for your wonderful book titled DECORATING COOKIES and a really good Royal Icing recipe. 

- posted by Momsu 

Thursday, October 30, 2014


I've found the perfect way to quickly decorate those cookies stored in the freezer that didn't get decorated and it's been so long that you probably wouldn't want to eat them. 

Take a photo of the cookie you want to decorate, load it into your computer and decorate it in Photoshop or one of the draw programs. I like MS Publisher. Virtual cookie decorating?  

I made skull cookies and drew the design for them last fall but they didn't get decorated. I started on the cookies but I didn't seem to be getting my lines fine enough and my hand wasn't steady enough. I thought about using edible marking pens but that wasn't the look I wanted. I put them in the freezer and they are still there! Then I though since they wouldn't be eaten I'd use fine point Sharpies to decorate them. But in the end I wound up doing it on the computer where I had done the original design. I've scanned a cookie cutter and colored it cookie color on the computer and then decorated it but I haven't done it on the photo of an actual cookie before. It sure makes mistakes easy to correct!

My skull cutter started out as a big circle that I already had since I hadn't found one in a shape I liked. It was pretty easy to bend it into the shape of a skull. I used this technique to make the "holes" in the skull. 

- posted by Momsu

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Nina made ghosts and pumpkins again this year but now they have noses - snuffle! Fun variation Nina!

And she gave great personality to a candy corn - with a nose! Have you ever had candy corn with peanuts? It is so good! It's the sweet and salty sensation! 

- posted by Momsu

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Sometimes the smallest detail can change everything in a cookie. I love Nina's happy ghost with googly eyes.

Here's Nina's ghost with a dots for eyes and a happy little pumpkin
 and my ghost with a spider and a "BOO!"

Little jacks with an attitude - comedy and tragedy

An x-ray of the gingerbread man for a skeleton? Not an original idea but this is my version and here's my big Nut Tree pumpkin again. 
And my first attempt at a mummy man - I want to try that again.

For more Halloween cookies click on the HALLOWEEN page at the top of this post.

- posted by Momsu

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Kids are so smart today they know the alphabet every-which-way 

and even mixed up! I'll bet they know what letter comes next without having to recite it! I don't.

Does this remind you of an eye chart? I've worn glasses since 4th grade and I still haven't memorized it. 

Nice job with the old red plastic Wilton cutters, Nina. It's still my favorite set of letters.  

- posted by Momsu

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Stars and stripes, red and white and dots too. 

Nina made big and little cookies to send to friends and family for a summer's day surprise. Patriotic too!

- posted by Momsu

Sunday, August 3, 2014


When a little girl is invited to a Princess Party she must have the perfect gift. Nina made a big star cookie with sugar sparkle on a stick for the wand 

and little star cookies to go with it. Very cute, Nina! 

- posted by Momsu

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Nina and I decorated cookies again this summer. We had great plans, lots of ideas! We decided on a Southwest theme with about twelve cookie cutters which wound up being six - animals only. No cactus or cowboy boots and somberos. We were no farther than the iced shapes when time got short and the icing didn't behave. Oh NO! And so we decided to save all of our great ideas for another day. But what to do with all those boring iced ginger cookie animals? (The colors were great, Nina!) Maybe EYES? At one point I had made a lot of eyes out of leftover white and black royal icing and stashed them away thinking they might come in handy someday. So the eyes and an edible black pen did our decorating.

The Javelina is a wild pig. He is a very flat animal. 

I bought this cutter as a polar bear and that works too but he is also the shape of the Indian Spirit Bear. 

He is often shown with an arrow on him. Perhaps this is to depict the "spirit" of a bear who was shot with an arrow? I don't know. Nina did some research and found this: The heartline begins at the mouth where breath gives life and points to the soul, or spirit, where faith and inner strength preside. 

This Howling Coyote image became popular in the Southwest several years ago and for a while was everywhere. Some had a bandanna tied backwards around the neck.

The Rabbit is found in the desert too - a cousin of the white Easter bunny he is much scruffier in the wild. 

Our youngest decorator is four now and has been visiting art galleries. She is very fond of Picasso and I see an influence here. 

And we have the Armadillo who rolls himself into a tight ball when threatened. 

Nina decided this Turtle looked like a green ghost - even a dancing green ghost with eyes in the back of his head! I turned him on his side but it didn't help much. In truth I think the cutter is supposed to be a sea turtle but there are turtles in the desert as well and we didn't think to modify him. 

Was the desert sun at the top of this post decorated by our youngest artist - I think so. Great expression!

- posted by Momsu

Sunday, June 22, 2014


What if you want to make butterfly cookies and you don't have a butterfly cutter? Or you don't have the right size and shape?

Cut two hearts out of dough just the same. 

Cut the points off at an angle.  

Put them together and bake.

And you have a butterfly! 

Now decorate - that's the fun part! 

I discovered the shape of the heart and the angle of the cut can make a big difference in the look of the butterfly. 

Long hearts will make a very wide butterfly. 

Two wide hearts make a classic shape.

Short fat hearts will make a more compact one.

Butterflies come in all sizes and shapes - just like cookies!

- posted by Momsu

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Nina has sent me flower cookies for Mother's Day two years in a row. If that's the beginning of a tradition I LIKE IT!

And as always a pretty presentation. These are oatmeal cookies. I love them almost as much as I do ginger cookies. Not easy to roll out and cut into shapes but worth the effort. Thank you, Nina. 

- posted by Momsu

Friday, May 9, 2014


Jill volunteers at Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo, California. When they have a special event she makes cookies to help raise money for the animals. In December we posted the dog cookies she made for their open house.

Something new this year was Chihauhaus de Mayo. 

And here are her cookies for the event. She doesn't have a Chihuahua cookie cutter - yet. I'm quite sure she will have one by next year. She chose blue for her dog since it's the color of Wood's logo. 

Just the placement of the eyes and nose give the faces of these dogs a different expression. Good job Jill!

- posted by Momsu

Friday, April 25, 2014


Jill volunteered to help me decorate cookies again this Easter and I wanted to make mostly the same cookie shapes to decorate as last year - see last year's cookies. But - I wanted to try something a little different and handed over a bunch of carrots to Jill. Above is what she came up with! Voila! Looks like Southwest carrots - how fun!

I got as far as yellow polka dots - not very inspired as much as I love polka dots. 

Jill came up with a great looking top - Southwest again. 

We did eggs - of course 

and flowers. Jill did very graphic spirals - I like the dot. Again it has a southwest flavor. 

And finally I tried putting arms on my favorite bunny. He is now "holding" the flower!

Jill put a wreath of flowers around his neck. 

I haven't decorated cookies in months - it was really fun! And fun to do it with Jill!

- posted by Momsu