Sugar Cookies + Royal Icing = Awesome!

I have long admired the many food bloggers who make amazing decorated sugar cookies. The kind that look like they came from one of those Cookies By Design places... only better. So when I offered to help plan a baby shower for one of my close friends I thought to myself, "what better take home than a decorated cookie?!" I figured, if all of these other women can do it, surely I can too. So I began my mission... to figure out how to make fabulous decorated sugar cookies that I wouldn't be embarrassed to give people at the shower. I searched blogs for cookie recipes and helpful tips. I learned a whole lot about royal icing... and the joys of lining and flooding (who knew?!). In particular, these blogs were helpful and inspiring:

Amanda at
I am Baker (absolutely stunning decorating, great recipe for chewy cookies)
Bridget at Bake at 350 (adorable blog, great decorating ideas and tips!)
Susan at
She's Becoming Doughmesstic (an all-around great blog with lots of inspiration)

So after much reading and several trips to JoAnn's for supplies, it was time to get to work! I decided to make some Christmas cookies to start. I needed practice! I stuck to the typical Christmas colors: red, green, and white. I practiced my lining (which was WAY harder than I thought it would be!). I practiced flooding (with a spoon no less...hadn't found a squeeze bottle yet). I practiced writing (which I ended up being much better at than I thought!).
Overall it was lots of fun! The cookies turned out delicious (I'll post the recipe at some point) and it gave me some confidence about taking on the shower cookies!

I think Frosty was my favorite of the day. But wait til you see the shower cookies!

TWD: Low & Lush Chocolate Cheesecake

The title of this post should be TWD: Back in Action! I was excited to see January's recipes posted on TWD this week... but it made me realize I missed all of December! I have to admit... the December recipes didn't thrill me. I wasn't jumping at the chance to make the Rosy Pear and Pistachio Tart or a pecan pie. But then I saw that the last December recipe (and the last pick for 2009) was this chocolate cheesecake. The one recipe this month that made me say "ooh, I can't wait to make that!" Lucky for me I had all the ingredients already in the kitchen.
I only made 1/3 of the recipe. Mr. LITK and I have eaten more than our fair share of rich food and sweets this holiday season... the last thing we need is a whole cheesecake in the fridge! Luckily it was easy to cut in thirds. I also used 1/3 less fat cream cheese. I put the cheesecake in two ramekins and cooked them for about 23 minutes. I ended up with two adorable mini cheesecakes - perfect! Since I didn't start until I got home from work, they certainly didn't chill for 8 hours. But the cheesecake was still rich, creamy, and delicious. Definitely a recipe I'd make again! Thanks to The Tea Lady for a great way to end the year!

TWD Rewind: All-in-One Holiday Bundt

So I've been on a bit of a baking hiatus... at least when it comes to baking along with TWD and MSC. It seems like it was just Thanksgiving and the next thing I knew... this week is January 1st! I love the holidays, but I hate how quickly they fly by. Every year it feels like there is less and less time to savor them. To soak in the Christmas lights, the music, the holiday parties, the time with family. I think I listened to the one Christmas cd I had in my car a grand total of 5 times. And I love holiday music! Buying a condo and moving didn't help with the whole time-flying-by-at-the-speed-of-light problem. We moved in a little over three weeks ago and we're still surrounded by boxes! And we need a dresser for heaven's sake... I can't tell you how sick I am of digging through a box for underwear and socks every morning!

But I digress. What seems like eons ago, I made this delicious bundt for Thanksgiving. When Dorie says "all-in-one" she really means it... this cake has all your favorite holiday flavors. Pumpkin, cranberries, pecans, and a blend of yummy spices. The cake stayed really moist and the flavors blended together very well. Yum! Thanks to Britin of The Nitty Britty for a festive pick!


Same Lawyer, New Kitchen!

So I have missed several TWD posts.... I DID make the All-in-One Holiday Bundt for Thanksgiving (it was quite delicious) but haven't gotten around to posting about it.

The reason I've been MIA is because the LITK family has moved! We closed on a condo last week (after a very long and stressful process... which is a whole other story) and moved into our first home on Saturday! There are still lots of boxes to unpack, but we love it and are super excited to be homeowners!

Unfortunately that means all of my cookbooks have been in a box for weeks. I was thinking about baking up some sables for this week's TWD but yesterday we discovered that our gas had been turned off (that's right... the gas company discontinued our service instead of just transferring it into our name!). That means no oven and thus no baking until further notice. Unfortunately the gas company won't be out to start our service until Friday (which also means we have no heat or hot water until then!) but I've got lots of baking planned for this weekend. And I'll post about the delicious bundt cake too... it would be great for holiday parties or Christmas get togethers.