LADY-BUGGED

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I have a confession. You know those cute little black-spotted friends that you used to catch in the schoolyard and try to raise as pets by keeping them in jars filled with grass clippings and poked with holes? You know–ladybugs? Well I just have to lay this out there before I share these photos: ladybugs lady-bug me. No, they don’t just bug me–I have a legitimate fear of ladybugs. A fear that often results in tears if said ladybug is within close proximity to me (an embarrassing, but true, fact).

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But I have another confession. Despite the fact that these cookies are ladybug themed, these are probably some of my favourite cookies I have ever done. They are far to cute to induce any sense of fear and are the perfect way to celebrate a first birthday. Regardless of whether the real thing lady-bugs you or not.

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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.

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

MARCH

It’s March already. Can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday that I was celebrating the new year and counting my blessings for 2013. It’s hard to believe that I am already over-my-head overwhelmed with final projects at school, enrolled in summer courses, and devoting the majority of my time to carving woodblocks for the series of relief prints I’m working on. Looking back over the past few months, it’s hard to believe that I have had any time at all to bake. But alas, I have. And am I ever glad that’s the case.

I’m so thankful to have baking to keep me sane amidst all of the stress, frustration, and dullness of the student life. I love looking back at the various little baking projects I have taken on. What a pleasure it is to do what it is that I do. What a pleasure, indeed.

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It was so fun making chocolate-cashew cupcakes. I ground the cashews into a fine powder and mixed them into the buttercream, making the most delicious, fluffy, and nutty buttercream of life. It was also a blast to “blast” into outer space for a couple of hours while I made these outer-space themed cookies. Perhaps my absolute favourite moment of these past few months took place on February 5th, when the love of my life asked me to marry him. And yes, I did photograph the ring in a plate of cookies! What did you expect? I also had the opportunity to expand my cake-baking experiences by making another baby-themed cake and a birthday cake for my beautiful grandmother. On my reading week, I decided to make little “proposal” gifts for my bridesmaids, complete with nail polish, inspiration images, and a specially packaged heart cookie. Finally, one of the biggest projects I took on was an order for custom wedding favour cookies. It was a big job, but it was such a wonderful and fun experience.

These photos only encapsulate a fraction of the baking I have done over the past couple of months. It is such a pleasure to be able to create little treats that can be shared and enjoyed with those around me. As school settles down for the semester and I have a little extra time to devote to browsing, testing, and eating, I can’t wait to see what little “treats” the next few months will hold.

Happy March, everybody. Enjoy all of the little “treats” that come your way!