Friday, April 27, 2012

What is a Sweet P?

Well, many would answer that a Sweet Pea is a flowering plant blah...blah...blah... but in MY house, "P" stands for our last name and therefore, Sweet P stands for my sweet husband, my sweet daughters, even my sweet puppy, and I guess they think I'm sweet, so I guess it stands for me, too!  So, collectively, Sweet P's Sweets would refer to the sweet things made for my family - get it?  I knew you would - you're so smart!

Anyway, it's no secret around my house that I love to bake.  I can cook, in fact my specialty is pork chops and applesauce (ain't that swell?) - I just don't love to cook like I love to bake.

It all began many, many years ago when my parents gave me my first Easy Bake Oven.  (Not really, but don't all "why I love to bake" stories start that way?)  Actually, a few years ago my daughters and I talked about how cool it would be to own a cupcake shop one day, so I decided that even though they were still a little young to open shop with me that it wasn't too early to start getting some recipes perfected.  Well, one search led to another & I came across Bakerella's cute Cupcake Pops, and before I knew it, "Dippin' Pops" was born!  I made lots and lots of cake pops - every day week, in fact, and I eventually lost sight of what I was supposed to be doing - making cupcakes.  So, back to testing & tweaking recipe after recipe, which made us all gain weight sick of cupcakes (gasp!).  My husband even had the nerve sweetly said to me one day, "Why don't you make a cookie?"  A COOKIE?  A COOKIE???  Sooo... I did.

First, let me say that I have made all the classics before, and was not going to present him with just any was going to be an awesome cookie - decorated with Royal Icing (sounded so regal and all at the time), made the traditional way, with raw egg whites.  They were pretty amazing great good for my first try and the family loved them! Until I found out that the icing could be hazardous to our health!  I didn't tell them that - instead I made sure nobody got violently ill searched around for a "safe" icing.  With meringue powder.  But it was too hard.  Then I found Karen's Cookies,where there was a recipe (and lots of "cookie-ing" tutorials!) for what I thought would be the answer - Meringue Powder Buttercream!  But it was (yummy) too soft.  And then I stumbled across Karen's forum where I met sooo many other "cookiers" (who I now consider my "Cookie Sisters") and I learned to revise revised recipes (no, that's not a typo, thank you very much!) until I came up with one that was just right!  I did the tweaking thing with my sugar cookie recipe, and many, many cookies later, I now make what my husband refers to as "the BEST COOKIE ON EARTH!"  And he has eaten a lot of cookies , so it must be true!  And he is my husband, so I kinda have an obligation to believe him, right?  (right?)

So, now I spend my days, and lots of nights and early mornings, making cookies.  Which makes me happy.  Because cookies make people happy.  And who doesn't deserve to be happy?

So, that, my friends, is a Sweet P.

          (Stop laughing - these are my very first (potentially hazardous-to-our-health) decorated cookies!  And I hadn't sat in on Glory's photo session yet!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sounds simple enough! Right...?

Mmmm... Cake, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, pie... Mix up some batter, spread it in some form of bakeware and out of the oven it comes, all hot & yummy!  Easy peasy, right?  Well... Anyone who bakes knows that they do it because they love it .  Not for the ease of it.  For the end result.  It takes more than butter, sugar, flour and 350° to bring it all home.  There's the love - lots and lots of love!  And a messy kitchen.  And a long line of taste testers waiting to sample anything they can get their paws hands on!  (Now, if they would only line up at the sink to clean up the mess...!)  Most of all, baked goods always seem to put a smile on anyone's face, and that is what it's all about.  I love all baking, but my passion is pretty, uniquely decorated sugar cookies - they are very, very time consuming: 
  • Shop for ingredients,
  • measure ingredients for the dough,
  • mix the dough,
  • chill the dough,
  • roll the dough,
  • choose your cutters, 
  • cut the dough,
  • bake & cool the cookies,
  • measure icing ingredients,
  • mix the icing,
  • plan your designs, 
  • mix the colors,
  • fill the bags,
  • ice the cookies,
  • detail the cookies,
  • wait...wait...wait for the cookies to dry, 
  • package the cookies,
  • clean, clean, clean up the mess,
  • and finally, enjoy!!!  
And that's in a perfect world - it doesn't include the many things that could go wrong anywhere along the line.  And at least one does, every time!  In the end, though,  it's all worth it - to put a smile on someone's face, and some yummy in their tummy. 

Start to finish ...from lovin'! 

Happy Baking!

(Please excuse some of my photography - I am still learning the art of photographing food!  Don't forget to add that to the list!)