Dainty Dogwood Cupcakes

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Dainty Dogwood Cupcakes

Dainty Dogwood Cupcakes

One of my favorite trees is the Dogwood tree.  They have the most beautiful delicate blossoms and I love seeing them in bloom.  Even though the gorgeous blossoms will only last for so long, you can enjoy these dainty Dogwood cupcakes year round!  These little chocolate Dogwood blossoms are the perfect size for topping a cupcake, and floral decorations work for so many different occasions.  I think these would be lovely with white frosting for a rustic wedding cupcake tower.  As always I am a big fan of making chocolate decorations because they are tasty and can be made in advance, so on the days leading up to to your event all you have to worry about is perfecting your cupcake recipe and frosting.

Supplies

Supplies

Here are the supplies I used to make the Dogwood chocolates. The candy coatings shown are Wilton Vibrant Green candy melts, and Clasen Brite White confectionery coating.

Dogwood blossom centers

Dogwood blossom centers

I used a small squeeze bottle to fill in the centers of the blossoms.  Squeezit mold painter bottles are small squeeze bottles with very tiny tips.  I love these bottles for painting small details on a mold.  They are also great for writing with candy coating or chocolate.

Dainty Dogwood Blossom Centers

Dainty Dogwood Blossom Centers

Give the centers about 10 minutes to dry at room temperature before filling in the rest of the mold with white candy coating.  Depending on the temperature, the drying time may vary, but if you are in a hurry, you can always pop the molds in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the centers are set to the touch.

Filling the molds

Filling the molds

I use a regular squeeze bottle to fill the molds.  I also find that it really reduces bubbles if you keep your squeeze bottle upside down while you are working.  To do this, you need a small cup, like the baby cup I am using, to keep the squeeze bottle resting upside down.

Dogwood mold

Dogwood mold

Try not to overfill the molds.  In this case it is better to underfill the mold.  If you’re not sure how much chocolate to use, fill just one cavity of the mold and then tap out the bubbles to see where you’re at.

Tapping the molds

Tapping the molds

Tap the molds until air bubbles stop rising to the surface.  You can also take a look at the mold from the bottom to see if most of the visible air bubbles and pockets have been eliminated.

Dainty Dogwood Chocolates

Dainty Dogwood Chocolates

Here are the chocolates just out of the mold.

Orchid Luster Dust

Orchid Luster Dust

I had a few different shades of luster dust to try out.  This Orchid Pink is pretty, but wasn’t quite the right color.

Petal Dust

Petal Dust

This Wilton Ruby Red Pearl Dust was just right! I simple brushed it on with a dry coarse brush to accent the edges of the blossoms.

Dainty Dogwood Chocolates

Dainty Dogwood Chocolates

These little flowers remind me of Spring! I had some green luster and color dusts, but didn’t end up using them because the green was vibrant enough on its own.

Dainty Dogwood Blossom

Dainty Dogwood Blossom

Just a hint of peachy pink really makes these blossoms pop.

Dogwood Cupcakes

Dogwood Cupcakes

 


Teddy Bear Cookies

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Decorate-A-Teddy-Bear Cookies

Decorate-A-Teddy-Bear Cookies

Don’t be alarmed that these teddy bears don’t have any faces!  They are decorate-a-teddy-bear cookies, and are mean’t to be decorated with edible food pens.  Ever since I decided to throw my son a teddy bear picnic party, I have been crazy about teddy bears.  I thought these cookies would make a fun project for the kids to decorate at the party, and I really like that they can be made in advance and frozen. I made all of the teddy bear cookies in advance and froze them completely decorated.  At party time, it was a cinch to pull them out and let them thaw.  These cookies are guaranteed to bring a smile to your party guests, and even the parents will enjoy getting in on the decorating action!

Rolling the dough

Rolling the dough

Begin with a great sugar cookie recipe.  My Excellent Sugar Cookie recipe is the one I always rely on.

Dough Thickness

Dough Thickness

You want to keep the dough thickness consistent.  I roll it about 1/4″ thick.  This makes for sturdy cookies that don’t break easily.

Teddy Bear Cookie Cutter

Teddy Bear Cookie Cutter

This is a Teddy Bear Comfort Grip Cutter from Wilton. It’s about 4″x 4″, just to give an idea of the size of these cookies.

Teddy Bear Cookies, unbaked

Teddy Bear Cookies, unbaked

I was able to fit eight cookies per sheet.  I baked them for about 12 minutes.

Teddy Bear Cookies, cooling

Teddy Bear Cookies, cooling

Once they are just slightly browned on the edges, they are done.

Making the royal icing

Making the royal icing

Now that the cookies are cooling, you can make your royal icing.  I love Bridget Edwards’ royal icing recipe.  I colored this icing with Americolor Warm Brown and Chocolate Brown gel pastes.

Piping Bag

Piping Bag

I use a #2 decorating tip to pipe the outline on the cookies.  I like to keep my piping bag closed securely using a clothes pin, and I like to keep it tip down in a pint glass with a wet paper towel at the bottom.  This keeps the tip from drying out while you’re working.

Outlining cookies

Outlining cookies

I like to outline all of my cookies before flooding any of them.  It makes it easier if you can get an assembly line going.

Flooding the cookies

Flooding the cookies

Once you are done with all of the outlining, it is time to make the flood icing.  To do this you will add water a few drops at a time to the royal icing (the icing you have already colored and used for piping).  You want to thin it to the point that when you drop a ribbon of the icing from a spoon it disappears into the icing after a few seconds.  Once it is the right consistency, transfer it into a squeeze bottle and use that to pipe the icing onto the cookies, working with about three cookies at a time.  If you squeeze the icing onto the cookie, and it runs out to the border, you have thinned it too much.  In my experience, icing that is thinned to much remains tacky and doesn’t fully dry.  It may also become grainy in appearance.  When you have the right flood icing consistency, you should use a toothpick to guide the icing to the borders of the outlined cookie until it is completely covered.

Wet icing

Wet icing

While the icing is drying, it will be very shiny.  The cookies should take four to six hours to dry.

Aqua royal icing

Aqua royal icing

I wanted to add some extra detail to the cookies since I wouldn’t be adding any faces, so I settled on bow ties for the boys and pearls with bows for the girls.  I used some of the uncolored royal icing I had leftover to make an aqua shade.  I piped the bows, pearls and bow ties using a #2 decorating tip.

Teddy Bear cookie with pearls

Teddy Bear cookie with pearls

For the girl teddy bears, I piped the pearls and bow directly onto the cookie.

Polka dot bow ties

Polka dot bow ties

For the boy teddy bears, I piped bow ties onto parchment paper.  I let them dry and then attached them to the boy teddy bear cookies using a small bit of royal icing.  I used the very tip of a toothpick to get the white polka dots onto the bow ties (do this while the icing is still wet).

Boy Teddy Bear Cookie

Boy Teddy Bear Cookie

I stored the finished cookies in Ziploc freezer bags stacked in a plastic storage container.

Cookies packaged for freezer

Cookies packaged for freezer

The key to defrosting the cookies is to remove the plastic container from the freezer, remove the lid, but DO NOT remove the cookies from the container or their individual freezer bags.  Just let them thaw at room temperature for about 4 hours.  You will notice that there may be condensation forming on the outside of the bags.  This is a good sign!  The cookies are thawing and the moisture is collecting on the outside of the bag rather than on the cookie itself.

Ready for decorating

Ready for decorating

Now you are ready to decorate the cookies.  Get all of your friends together and have a cookie decorating party.  There are a ton of edible pens on the market. I used a few different brands, and found that they all seem to work very well.

Girl Teddy Bear

Girl Teddy Bear

You can have a lot of fun getting creative with these cookies.  When the guests are ready to go, they can take home their treats, if they haven’t already eaten them!

Decorated Teddy Bear Cookies

Decorated Teddy Bear Cookies