CHOCOLATE MINT SANDWICH COOKIES

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Ever have those days that are so jammed-packed busy that you can hardly catch a breath? You know–the ones that turn into those kinds of weeks. And then months. And then as soon as you know it, the summer is pretty well half over and you’re looking back on the month of July with your jaw on the floor? No? Only me then.

Today I finally had a chance to do something fun. For once I didn’t have a to-do list a mile long or a fridge full of cookie dough screaming for my attention. So I filled my day with me time. And by me time I mean that I baked for me. Not for me to eat (although you can be sure that I will take full advantage of that opportunity), but for me to actually enjoy. For me to experiment. For me to try something new. The kind of baking that me loves.

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The endless possibilities for me baking can be overwhelming. There are pinterest boards, hardcover baking books, and a recipe box full of accumulated recipes that are dying to be attempted, so it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose. I usually spend more time trying to pick a recipe than actually baking. But these cookies were a no-brainer for today, especially since I’ve been eying them ever since I got my Butter Baked Goods book last Christmas. They are made of mint buttercream sandwiched between two crunchy-yet-chewy chocolate cookies. Their reputation speaks for itself, as they are ridiculously delicious. Trust me (I’ve already eaten two).

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I’m off to find more me activities to do. Starting with me eating some more of these.

A LESSON IN QUILTING (WITH COOKIES)

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Quilting is something I’ve dabbled in. I’ve realized it takes a lot of patience. I’ve also realized that patience is something I do not possess.

But quilting with cookies? That is something I can get on board with. These cookies weren’t hard to do. In fact, the hardest part was figuring out how to arrange them into a decent-looking little quilt to photograph. It was actually really hard. And looking at it now, I cringe because it isn’t very balanced and a legititmate-real-life-pro-quilter-extrordinare would probably ream me out for repeating patterns too close to each other or having too much of one colour in one section. But it’s cookies, so who really cares. This little cookie quilt will probably get ripped apart much quicker than it took to put it together anyways. At least in my house it would.

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I love when people ask me to make really personal cookies that reflect their personalities. I also love when people ask me to make cookies that involve fun little patterns and colours. But let’s be honest, I just love when people ask me to make cookies. Period. Any cookies.

Have a great weekend, friends!

TINY LITTLE TEDDY BEARS

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I don’t often take on cake orders. Mostly because I find that a lot of people have high expectations for cakes. I don’t blame them, as there are many talented bakers out there who set the cake bar way high by making miniature works of baked art. But in order to create those beautiful cakes, most of those bakers use fondant. In my personal experience, I find that fondant looks absolutely amazing but can sometimes sacrifice the quality of how the cake tastes. I strive to create baked goods that look homemade, that look delicious, and that are delicious, so I personally choose not to use fondant.

Moving on. On some occasions, I do take on cake orders. I love making custom toppers that are cute and fun. I love using fresh buttercream to cover the cakes. But most of all, I love thinking up new ways to decorate said cakes without fondant. Enter the tiny little teddy bears.

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This cake and cupcakes were created for a baby shower. As I riffled through my cookie cutter box, I found my collection of small (really small) cookie cutters. To be honest, I had my heart set on a tiny heart cutter (which surprisingly, I did not have), but instead found these miniature teddy bears. And as I tend to be quite obsessed with anything in miniature form, the rest is history.

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Both the cake and the cupcakes are a classic vanilla bean cake covered in vanilla buttercream. The cake was decorated with a simple ruffle technique and topped with a homemade “BABY BOY” topper.

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COOKIES AND CREAM CUPCAKES

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As a kid, my house-league baseball team was sponsored by a local burger joint. Whenever we won, they would serve us free ice cream after the game. Every single time, without fail, I would order a “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” cone. Ever since those days, cookies and cream has been a nostalgic taste of summer for me. Last week I had some leftover chocolate cupcakes from an order so I decided to transfer my childhood favourite flavor into cupcake form. They’re no ice cream, but the chocolate, the homemade cream filling, and the Oreo cookie buttercream definitely did the trick for satisfying my longing for the days-of-summer-past.

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Making the cream filling was new for me. I halfed this recipe for a cream filling for donuts and it made enough cream to fill 18 cupcakes. I even had some cream to spare (read: lick off my spoon in globs). It was so delicious and made the perfect filling for these chocolatey-cookie treats. For the frosting, I mixed Oreo cookie crumbs into a classic vanilla buttercream. I also licked the remaining icing off of the spoon. Zero regrets.

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These cupcakes sure did hit the spot this summer! They may not have been as cold as the ice cream version, but they were as equally as delicious. Now excuse me while I go get an ice cream cone (how could I not with all this ice cream talk?)

MID-SUMMER HAPPENINGS

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This has been a crazy summer! I have been knee-deep in baking orders for all kinds of occasions–bachelorette parties, birthdays, baby and bridal showers, anniversaries, and “just for fun” celebrations. The experience has been unbelievable, as I’ve baked over 1220 sugar cookies and 330 cupcakes within the past three months. These photos just brush the surface of the treats I’ve been cooking up around here!

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I hope you’re all enjoying your summer! I’m going to do my best with keeping things updated around here. In the meantime, be sure to check out my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/albertapearl