State Cookies + Archie Griffin

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Sometimes, you just feel like making cookies from scratch. And you have cookie cutters to represent the states you live in. And so you make state-shaped cookies from scratch.

What?

I tried a new recipe – the hubs didn’t love it, but I did! Whenever you are rolling out dough and using cookie cutters, you need to make sure you are using a recipe that won’t rise or puff up at all, because that would jeopardize your shapes. They are already going to look a little wonky – don’t make it worse!

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I used this VERY simple recipe from Nestle. I ended up drizzling chocolate on them to make them a little extra sweet, but you could also ice them as they show on their website.

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OKAY BUT THEN our department of about 50 people were planning our “Celebrate Archie” day, as Archie prepares for a job transition, which included an Archie “trivia” game with our staff…

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And then an ice cream social, with these adorable balloons…IMG_7834 IMG_7838

And I thought, I SHOULD MAKE OHIO COOKIES! So I made these…some Vanilla Almond cookies with a football cookie cutter, and some of the afore mentioned chocolate chip cookies shaped like Ohio, and with a little extra chocolate love. Also I made a LOT more than six, but I forgot to take a photo, and this is what was left near the end…

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I think he liked them! I’ll miss seeing this face around the building everyday…IMG_7841

Weekend in Review

This was one of those weekends that managed to strike JUST the right balance of fun, productivity, and relaxation. They are rare, but OH how I love them.

Pre-weekend, I presented at a small conference on Friday here in Columbus. Lots of schools from across the state were represented, and we ended the day in a “networking” happy hour. A great start to the weekend, if you ask me.

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Friday night included a nice dinner out to celebrate the end of a crazy week, followed by TV and early bed time. Yep, I’m a dork but IT WAS AWESOME.

I got up early Saturday, knocked out a 3.5 mile run (a big deal for me), as I’m training to do a 10K in early May. The hubs and I went to breakfast, I finally used a groupon to Krema and got a ton of nut butters, and a few other miscellaneous errands. Then I did a bunch of random reorganizing and throwing away of old crafty things and home decorations. Downsize, downsize, downsize.

There might have been a nap, and then some basketball watching with friends. A healthy dinner at home, red crinkle cookies, and an Ohio State loss in basketball, but NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in wrestling. Holla!

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Sunday brought CBS Sunday Morning, coffee, church, lunch, groceries…and since it’s basically spring, I freshened up our living room a little with some new green/grey/blue/yellow potpourri and candles. You like? What did you do this weekend?

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Snowflake Cookies

T-7 days until Christmas! Allow me to re-share some of the prettiest cookies I’ve made! And received some of the best compliments for. If royal icing wasn’t such a process, I’d totally be doing things like this more often…

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In the past, I’ve made myself a “creative agenda” on weekends where I have downtime. It usually consists of projects that I’ve been wanting to try, but are totally not important in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes, when I would do this, I would end up not enjoying the activity I had so looked forward to doing, because it would suddenly feel more like a “to do list” instead of a “just for fun” activity.

Well, on Sunday afternoon, I had a sudden urge to do some holiday baking, so I did. And I have to say it was a lot more fun than when I spend time checking creativity off my to do list. And I’d say the result was pretty fun! Not to mention, I had some lucky coworkers on Monday morning.

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{Sorry for the office iPhone photo…}

I’ve tried a few sugar cookie recipes over the…

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Sad Day in Vandyville

If you follow college football, then you know that Vanderbilt is really hurting from the departure of James Franklin. Not only did he drag it out over several days, but when he left, 1) he didn’t address the fans, other than a quick line in his Penn State press conference, 2) he took almost all of his staff with him, and 3) he took literally all of our recruits away. They have all decommitted. Insane.

The weekend before, we won the BBVA Compass Bowl. I even made these anchor and star cookies!

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After that, we were all very hopeful that the rumors would be false and Franklin would stay put. But it didn’t happen, and now the excitement that Vandy was finally starting to have about its football team has been shot down. Sad, sad day.

Thanks for letting me vent a bit. Hope y’all have a great week!

Snowflake Cookies

In the past, I’ve made myself a “creative agenda” on weekends where I have downtime. It usually consists of projects that I’ve been wanting to try, but are totally not important in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes, when I would do this, I would end up not enjoying the activity I had so looked forward to doing, because it would suddenly feel more like a “to do list” instead of a “just for fun” activity.

Well, on Sunday afternoon, I had a sudden urge to do some holiday baking, so I did. And I have to say it was a lot more fun than when I spend time checking creativity off my to do list. And I’d say the result was pretty fun! Not to mention, I had some lucky coworkers on Monday morning.

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{Sorry for the office iPhone photo…}

I’ve tried a few sugar cookie recipes over the years, and I have a few that I regularly go to. The one I used this week comes from Tidy Mom’s Halloween Cookie post. I cut the recipe in half and made 16 large cookies. They are Vanilla Almond Butter Cookies, and are similar to my other go-to recipe from Bake at 350. I used the same Royal Icing recipe as last time, also from Bake at 350.

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People make royal icing sound so difficult, but it’s actually incredibly easy. The hardest part is taking the time to actually decorate the cookies. And I don’t have a very steady hand, so it will definitely take some practice…

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I very highly recommend rolling out your dough between two sheets of wax paper. It’s MUCH easier and less messy than throwing flour all over your kitchen.cookies4

I have a full set of Christmas Cookie Cutters from Crate & Barrel, but it doesn’t look like they have that particular set anymore. I love these huge cutters though!cookies6

I use a pastry bag with a very little whole in it to outline the cookies. I know I probably need tips for my bags, but whatever. A hole works! cookies7

Then, I thinned out the rest of my icing with a couple of tablespoons of water – just until they are the consistency of syrup. Then I use those cheap little plastic squeeze bottles you see in the picture. They were like, $2 at Michaels. You “flood” the cookies and spread the icing around a little with a toothpick.cookies8

Once the icing hardened, I used some of the original icing in piping bags to make the designs. Like I said, not the steadiest hand…but it will come with time, I hope!cookies9cookies11

State Cookies + Royal Icing

Happy Friday! For our housewarming party (now almost two weeks ago!) I decided to have a little fun and try something new. I have had these great WI and TN cookie cutters since our summer trip to Wisconsin, and felt like there could be no better time to use them than for a housewarming in Ohio. cookies1

I used the Vanilla Almond Cookie recipe, Royal Icing recipe, and Royal Icing tutorials from Bake at 350. It was surprisingly easy to do, and I think it was a fun addition to the party!

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I also opted for leaving the icing plain white, since it was my first go with royal icing. I figured, why waste food coloring gel on an experiment, right?cookes

But I really enjoyed doing it and hope to get creative with some future royal icing cookies soon…Have a great weekend!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Senior year of college, our suite-mate Sam made THE most killer peanut butter blossom cookies (Sam, give a shout out if you’re reading this). She was kind enough to share her recipe with us, and from time to time I love to pull out this classic cookie favorite. Please enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. margarine (I used butter and they turned out just fine)
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
Hershey’s kisses* (I recommend dark chocolate)

*The recipe calls for 48, but when I made them I ended up with about 28 cookies. I suppose it depends on how big you make them!

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together (except hershey’s kisses) until your dough is combined and smooth. Scoop the dough into rounded spoonfuls and roll the ball in some regular sugar. Place the sugar-coated dough balls on your cookie sheets a few inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Right when they come out of the oven, push one hershey’s kiss into the middle of each cookie. Move to cooling rack and let cool completely.

ENJOY!!