Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Little Princess

I love "girly" girls. Many of my friends have very girly daughters and I never get tired of playing dress up with them or pretending that their baby dolls are real. So when a friend asked me to make fabulous princess cookies for her very girly niece, I was inspired! Instead of the Disney route, we went with a classic princess theme, complete with the token shoe, castle, crown, horse, frog and of course a princess complete with the birthday girl's hair color (and of course a preppy strand of pearls.) Add in some bright colors, glitter and sprinkles and I think the theme was complete. See the cookies in the top left corner? The simple "4" cookie surrounded by sprinkles. It's one of my favorites. The least amount of work in the bunch, but a fun standout nonetheless.

Here's hoping that this little princess loved them.

Thank you Elisa!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes

When a friend told me about Birthday Cake Oreos, I was intrigued. That intrigue turned into a full on hunt for the limited edition Oreos made in honor of the cookie's 100th birthday. Once I finally found them, I had to resist the urge to hoard every bag in the grocery store (flashback to Lilly Pulitzer Animal Crackers!) My original intent was to make truffles out of them, but after eating more Birthday Cake Oreos than I care to admit (think the delicious taste of Funfetti in the middle) I decided to bake them into cupcakes for friends in an effort to get them out of my reach.

I've made variations of Oreo cupcakes before. My husband chose mint for his birthday and I brought vanilla cupcakes with chopped Oreos in the batter to a friend's dinner party. There are plenty of possibilities to choose from! This week I decided on a chocolate cupcake with Oreo buttercream although I know a "Funfetti" vanilla cake would be great too. If you have time to make the cupcakes from scratch, go for it! Otherwise feel free to doctor a cake mix as I did this time. (No one will judge - trust me. Especially when they see this surprise Oreo at the bottom of their cupcake.)

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes

For the Cupcake:
1 box chocolate cake mix of your choice
1 stick melted unsalted butter
Replace the water on the box with milk
Add one extra egg than indicated on box
24 (or as many cupcakes as you're making) Oreos, bottom half and cream
For the Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons light cream (I had that on hand - using milk is fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt
The chocolate tops of Oreos from the cupcake bottoms, crumbled finely (I threw in 2 extra whole Oreos as well)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with wrappers. Slice the top chocolate portion of Oreos off and put the other chocolate half down in the wrapper with the cream filling facing up (see photo above.) Mix cake mix, melted butter, milk and eggs. Blend for two minutes at medium speed until fluffy. Scoop batter into the cupcake pan, filling each tin 2/3 full. Bake according to package directions. Allow to cool.

To make the frosting: Crush remaining Oreos finely. Combine butter, confectioners sugar, cream, vanilla and salt together. Blend on medium high for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl once. Add Oreo crumbs and blend until combined. Frost cupcakes as desired. (With frosting, be flexible. If it is not the consistency you would, you can always add more liquid or confectioners sugar to make it thinner or thicker respectively.)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stripes, Dots & Chevron...Oh My!

My friend Kelly is one of the most receptive friends I have to receiving photos of my cookies and writing back notes of encouragement. We developed a "Top Five" system and put the cookies we like the most into that category. These cookies were most definitely "Top Five" for me. They were for a baby shower whose invitations donned stripes, dots and chevron focusing on the colors pink and green. Could that be any more up my alley?! Going along with my thought that sometimes the simplest cookies are the prettiest, I loved the look of these.

Thank you as always Anna! I hope you ladies had a wonderful time at the shower.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Here Comes the BRIDE - Bridal Shower

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful bridal shower in honor of a very deserving bride. Sadly I forgot to bring my camera and had to rely on my phone for photos. So the photography may be lackluster, but the event will certainly shine through.

Of course I walked into the party wearing the EXACT Lilly pattern the guest of honor chose to wear. Ever gracious, she was thrilled by that!

The hostesses put together an elegant white dessert table. I could write an entire post (maybe I will) about the delicious desserts they created. From cake to cookies to candy and more, everything was delicious. I literally had to force myself to walk away from that table.

No detail was spared. They had champagne poured over blueberries, a "blessing tree" for us to share a sentiment with the bride and groom and perfect handmade white decorations. It was such a thoughtful, sophisticated theme and I was impressed as always by my friends' creativity.

The game we played was equally creative. Instead of the typical "questions" game, they took it to the next level by interviewing both the bride and groom. Statements from both were written on a gameboard and we were able to circle the silhouette of who we thought said what.

And of course I was happy to provide the cookie favors. The hostesses only requests were "white" and "glitter" so I went with just that and also incorporated the bride's future monogram.

It was such a fun time with sorority sisters and friends who I do not get to spend enough time with. Thank you Corri, Tiffany and "Sister Linda" for a wonderful afternoon.

And Kara - you know I could not be happier for you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

King Cake Cupcakes

Admittedly, I do not have much experience with King Cake. I made one for a Super Bowl party a few years ago when the Saints were playing but that is as far as King Cake and I go back.

However when I offered to bring dessert to a Mardi Gras themed dinner with my girlfriends, of course there was nothing more appropriate than King Cake. While they traditionally use yeast and have more of a coffee cake texture, I decided to go the cupcake direction while trying to mimmick the overall flavor complete with the filling (my favorite part!) These were a hit last night so I wanted to share the recipe in case you are feeling festive and want to join in the celebration!

King Cake Cupcakes

For the cupcake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
Replace amount of water indicated on box with milk
Add 1 additional egg to the amount of eggs the box calls for
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the filling:
8 oz. Nuefchatel cheese, softened (may use cream cheese if preferred)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon*
For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners sugar
A few tablespoons milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice of one lemon*

*May omit lemon and replace with cinnamon in the filling if preferred.


Preheat oven to temperature indicated on cake mix box. Combine cake mix with melted butter, milk, eggs and cinnamon. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins, about 3/4 full. Bake as indicated on box. Allow to cool.

Once cooled, take a knife and cut a small cone shape out of the center of each cupcake. Blend the neufchatel, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest on medium until fluffy. Fill a pastry or Ziploc bag with the mixture. Snip the end of the bag off and fill the cupcakes.

To make the glaze, combine confectioners sugar with vanilla and lemon juice. Drizzle in milk until you achieve desired consistency. (I did not want mine too thin and would compare its consistency to that of maple syrup.) Spoon the mixture over each cupcake. Decorate as desired.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Lately I have been making a LOT of baby shower cookies, particularly for little boys. A baby girl seems to be a rarity in our circle of friends which can only be affirmed as I look back through cookie photos that I haven't written about yet.

I make an effort not to repeat cookies and am overwhelmed with ideas running through my head, but many times people like what they have already seen. Onesies are my number one request so I try to sneak in a tweak here and there. In this first batch, baby boy's dad loves to play rugby prompting the request of a few rugby balls. I added those, ducks, John Johns and bibs to my traditional bottles and onesies for a unique touch.

For this baby boy's "Sip and See" I added in some monogram cookies to make the batch feel more customized.

And finally for the baptism of one of the sweetest little boys I know, his mom and I decided on personalized favors for guests to leave with.

Thank you Gray, Mary & Katy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Original 90210...in Cookies

Can you imagine being in high school and pulling into the parking space next to Steve's Corvette fitted with this license plate?

And settling in to first period with a Brandon-and-Andrea-approved copy of The Blaze?

Maybe after school we'd head over for a slice of pie at The Peach Pit...

And of course we would rally for our good friend Donna.

To make sure she graduated from here:

Once we ensured that everyone in the gang graduated, we could all go to college together and join Alpha or KEG respectively.

Did you figure out where I am yet?

That's right! I'm here...

("Dananana Dananana Chh Chh" - my attempt at getting the theme song in your head.)

It's funny. I was not allowed to watch Beverly Hills 90210 for the first few years it came out. Yet I can remember their high school newspaper's name and not the one from my own alma mater. I specifically remember my roommates and I gathering around our TV in college in my first off-campus apartment watching the episodes weekly. (If only I could show you the TV we had. It was decades old at THAT time.) We cried at the final episode and wondered how we would fill the void. Little did we know that we would be okay considering the fact that there are reruns on EVERY day.

Enter a friend (ironically from my high school) who asked for cookies honoring her 90210-loving sister's birthday. A little rusty on my Beverly Hills trivia, I contacted that most loyal follower of the show I know who quickly gave me some great ideas to get going with.

There is nothing like a little nostalgia to make everyone happy.

Thank you Kim...and also to the ladies who provided inspiration!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have always loved Valentine's Day. Growing up my mom would make us a fun dinner to celebrate. She decorated and had a little surprise waiting for us at our place at the table. It was always special so I guess my husband has her to blame for it being a favorite holiday of mine. ;) As I got older, it meant waiting to see if you received a rose from a "secret admirer" in high school while college brought going out with my sorority sister to protest or celebrate depending on the year. And it ALWAYS has meant sending Valentines for me. I didn't outgrow doing that once the little mailboxes were no longer on my school desk. Luckily these days I do have a Valentine to be thankful for but even if you don't it is a good day to just celebrate the ones you care about.

So whether you are a fan of it or not, I wish you a very happy Valentine's Day!


PS - Wishing my future SIL a very HAPPY Birthday! We are all so happy to have you in our family.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Today is my 30th birthday...again. ;) Funny how that happens! I turned thirty in the middle of a blizzard and thankfully will be enjoying much nicer weather today. We have no big plans and I am perfectly happy with that. In honor of my special day I thought I would share a delicious recipe with you, my dedicated readers who I truly appreciate.

A friend of mine celebrated her own birthday a few days ago and I wanted to bake something fun for her. She loves chocolate and also cookies, so an idea came to mind. I took the filling from the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes I had made previously and added it to my great aunt's "No Fail Chocolate Cupcake" recipe. Topped off with chocolate buttercream and a star was born! This is a decadent cupcake and not for the bashful but with the leftovers soliciting several enthusiastic emails from the coworkers I shared them with, I knew they were "blog worthy."

So happy birthday to me and happy "cupcaking" to you. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

For the cupcakes:
-2 eggs
-1 cup Cocoa
-2 sticks butter softened
-3 cups flour
-*1 cup sour milk
-2 tsp. vanilla
-2 tsp. baking soda
-2 cup sugar
-1 cup hot water
* I put vinegar (1-2 tbs.) in milk to sour it

For the filling:
-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
-6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
-1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
-7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
-½ tsp. vanilla extract
-¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:
-8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
-6 cups confectioners' sugar
-2 sticks unsalted butter
-6 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Add ingredients in order into mixer. Beat for two minutes. Bake in muffin tins with paper wrappers for 20 min. (You do not need to fill the muffin tins more than 3/4 full as this batter rises nicely.) Yields about 24 cupcakes.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

For the frosting, put the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler set over but not touching simmering water in the bottom pan. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, the 6 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low. Add the chocolate and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.

If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

Sources: Cupcakes - Great Aunt Josie, Filling - Annie's Eats, Frosting - Williams Sonoma

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TUTORIAL: How to Make Personalized Mini Bunting

As promised, here is a quick tutorial on making miniature personalized bunting that can be used on cakes, desserts, or even in a plant. It is a fun way to personalize treats/gifts.

To make personalized bunting you will need:
-Embroidery floss
-Iron on letters (make sure they are smaller than the width of your ribbon)
-Glue (I ended up using hot glue and not the spray adhesive from the photo below)

First cut your ribbon into 3-4 inch strips. Fold them in half and trim the ends into your shape of choice.

Following the directions on the package, iron your letters onto the ribbon.

Cut a piece of embroidery floss long enough to accommodate all of your letters with about 3 inches extra on each end. Tie the first end around the skewer.

Attach each ribbon around the floss using the glue to secure the top/ends of the ribbon. Repeat with each letter.

Finally tie the other end of the ribbon to your second skewer.

If you don't want to personalize it, any scrapbook paper or fabric would do the trick.

Okay, time to frost a few cupcakes for a friend's birthday and then it's off to work. Have a great day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby Sprinkle & Doughnut Muffins

I just got home from a weekend away with some of my favorite sorority sisters. It's amazing to think that we all pledged together exactly thirteen years ago and have remained friends ever since. There was much to celebrate aside from a reunion this weekend. The main reason for our trip was to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of a very deserving friend. We have been on some wild (for us) Bachelorette parties in the past complete with trips to Vegas and the Bahamas, but this time around we found ourselves happiest in our pajamas chatting and sipping on a glass of wine. Perfection really!

One morning we surprised another friend with a little baby "sprinkle" to celebrate her second daughter's arrival later this spring. For my contributions, I stuck to a doughnut theme...heavy on the sprinkles.

I will do a tutorial on the personalized mini bunting soon and in the meantime would love to share the muffin recipe with you. Enjoy!

Doughnut Muffins

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar Plus or cinnamon sugar


1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
3) Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4) Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
5) Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
6) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
7) Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
8) Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).
9) Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
10) Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.

Source: King Arthur Flour

And of course I had to bring along a few "doughnut" cookies for us as well.

Nothing like a doughnut muffin and cookie with your coffee to start your day right!

Congratulations E - I cannot wait to meet your newest addition.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Angry Birds

Angry Birds. Sure, I had heard of it a while back. I didn't convert to an iPhone until over the summer though and did not download the game itself until I was on a long car trip back in November. Turns out I was not a pro at the game whatsoever. Later that very weekend I downloaded the game my friend's daughter saw it on my phone. She proudly proclaimed, "Oh! My brother (who is five) loves Angry Birds - he beat the whole game!" That cracked me up. Of course a five year old could beat a game I couldn't really even grasp the premise of. ;)

I know Angry Birds is quite popular right now. (If only I had thought of it!) A friend of mine made her son an amazing Angry Birds birthday cake over the summer and I knew it was only a matter of time until I made them in cookie form. Enter a friend who asked me to make them for her seven year old son's birthday party. I went with the three "birds" on his invitation and had a lot of fun making these, with my favorite part being the addition of the sky/clouds.

Thankfully it did not inspire me to try another hand at the game...I'll stick with Words with Friends.

Thank you Janelle!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


We celebrated a birthday in the Preppy Cookie family yesterday - our goldendoodle Millie turned three! She is a very loved girl so of course her birthday could not go unmentioned. Millie wore her annual grosgrain ribbon party hat and happily posed for her birthday photo.

My friend sent me a recipe for "pupcakes" a few months ago and I finally decided to give them a try with this celebration upon us. The ingredients are friendly for both human and pups, although somehow I think they appeal to the latter of the two. With a mini biscuit as a garnish, we were all set for a tasting!

And based on the birthday girl's reaction...

They received two paws up! (Haha I could not resist saying that.)

This was my first experience in canine baking although I know it was not my last as I have been dying to try my hand at "royal icing" dog biscuits. Stay tuned!

PS - After a quick google search, it looks like there are some fun canine baking recipes here. Oh the possibilities!