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Hanging Mug Sugar Cookies

A few months ago I was walking through Clapham Junction – an area just south of London that I don’t really frequent that often. It’s a pretty area lined with cutesy shops and funky eateries. It’s also where I found the cutest little cookie cutters.  You see, I was walking along when all of a sudden I noticed a pink store.  Yes, a PINK store!  How could I not take notice of a pink store?!?  It wasn’t just any pink store either.  It was one of Jaime Oliver’s Recipease stores.  Recipease isn’t just any old store – it’s a cooking school, a kitchen store, a cafe and a prepared food store all in one.  How did I not know about these before??? Note to self – I must go back and take a cookery lesson there.  The pasta making ones sound like great fun! 

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I had a little wander around the store which sold loads of cool things like freshly baked bread,  food storage containers with pastel flip lids, kitchen gadgets and the cutest little cookie cutters. Cookies cutters which I just had to have!  

These weren’t just any cookie cutters – they were hanging cookie cutters!  Don’t laugh.  I’m easily excitable when I find cool new kitchen “thingys”.

The cookie cutters are sold in a set of 6, although 2 of the cutters are a pair.  There’s a heart, a star, a circle, a little bird and a pair of angel wings.   And they’re all designed to hang on the side of your coffee mug or tea cup.  

I’ve never been one to fall into the English habit drinking a cup of tea, alongside a biscuit (cookie) but lately I’ve found myself wanting to enjoy just a tiny treat with my afternoon coffee.  These little cookies are the perfect solution.  Simply make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and hang one (or two!) of these fun little cookies on the side of your mug, pop yourself in your favourite chair, put your feet up, relax and enjoy!

You definitely don’t have to go crazy and decorate them like I did, but I saw a fun opportunity and I took it!  I used royal icing to flood all of my cookies, and then I did something a bit different to each of them.  I shook some opalescent edible glitter on one pair of angel wings while the royal icing was still wet, and I used a silvery pearl lustre dust on the second pair once the icing was dry.  I kept the birds fairly basic and just added some yellow beaks and drew on black eyes with a food marker.  I used gold lustre dust on the star and I pink lustre dust on the hearts and circles, and tried out a new royal icing painting technique that I’d been wanting to try for ages now.  

The painting technique is so simple and just involves piping a curved line of royal icing on your cookie, and then taking a dry paint brush and dragging the royal icing inwards.  Although I thought my first try turned out ok, I wasn’t entirely happy with my painted cookies as I think my icing consistency was a bit off.  Coincidentally the weekend after I made these cookies I saw this same painting technique being demonstrated at the Cake International Show, so I picked up some tips there.  I will definitely be making some more of these pretty painted cookies that I’ll share with you soon.  I think my pink one matches the flowers on my mug!

I used Peggy Porschen’s sugar cookie recipe which is a favourite of mine.  Her dough holds it’s shape and doesn’t spread while cooking, plus it tastes great too.  You can get the recipe for the sugar cookie dough along with Peggy’s royal icing recipe and all my cookie decorating tips and tricks  here

Do You Think Julia Child Baked Cupcakes?

A few weeks ago we went on holiday to the United States, and one of the cities we visited was the nation’s capital – Washington DC.  We did the typical touristy things.  A few of the sights we saw included the White House, the Washington & Lincoln Monuments, and a few of the museums.  But the thing I was most looking forward to seeing was Julia Child’s kitchen.  For those of you not familiar with Julia Child, she was a cooking legend.  Julia was American, but moved to Paris with her husband in the late 1940’s where she fell in love with French cuisine.  To help pass the time, she enrolled herself in the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school where, I guess you could say – she mastered the art of french cooking.  Julia moved back to the US in the 1960’s, and also released her first book by the name of “Mastering The Art Of French Cooking” which quickly became a best seller, and is still an essential in any cookbook collection. 

I’ve got a few of Julia’s book’s, and every single thing I’ve made from them has been absolutely delicious.  Julia inspired millions with her cooking, but one of the things that really intrigued me about her was that she had a gadget for everything.  Seriously, I mean everything!!  She had gadgets galore, and gadgets for even the most obscure things you could think of.  So obscure, I can’t even remember what they were!  Like Julia, I’m also obsessed with kitchen gadgets, but sadly my collection has a long way to go before it can even compare to Julia’s.  I think maybe the oddest thing in my collection is a butter curler, which really isn’t that odd at all.

When Julia Child passed away in 2004 she donated her entire kitchen and it’s contents to the Smithsonian Institution who carefully reinstalled her it exactly how it appeared in her own home into a permanent exhibit in the American History Museum.

Below are a few pictures of Julia’s kitchen, which had custom made cabinets that were specially made for her because she was over 6 feet tall.

A small selection of her kitchen gadgets

The next day we went off in search of cupcakes, and ventured into the Georgetown area of Washington DC where a Sprinkles Cupcakes had opened only a few days before.   We also had to check out the infamous Georgetown Cupcakes, which has it’s own reality show on TLC in North America (we don’t get the show here in the UK).  I had been warned previously be several people that the cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes weren’t that good, but I had to see for myself.  The shop opened at 10:00am, but when we walked passed it at 9:45am I was absolutely amazed at how long the line up was, and it wasn’t even a weekend!  We went and stood in line around 10:00, and lucky for us it moved quite quickly.  We were even warned by a man in line behind us that the cupcakes we were about to purchase weren’t very good, and that the best ones in DC were actually from a shop down the road called Baked and Wired (we never did make it there though).

Since I’d be warned that the cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes weren’t that good I only got two, just to see what people were talking about.  I ended up getting a vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing (aka a “Vanilla Birthday”) and a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing (aka a Chocolate PB Chip).  So what did I think?  The vanilla cake itself was slightly dry, and the vanilla icing on top was super sweet and almost gritty in texture – very strange.    The chocolate peanut butter cupcake was a better, and I actually quite liked it. It was very sweet, but the peanut butter icing was really nice, but very peanut buttery!  I much preferred the cupcakes we got from Sprinkles.

Cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes

Cupcakes from Sprinkles

If you do visit Washington DC I’d definitely recommend paying a visit to the American History Museum just to see Julia’s kitchen. Then, head into Georgetown and go on your own cupcake tour.  And if anyone has tried the so called “Best Cupcakes in DC” from Baked and Wired, please let me know if I really did in fact miss out on something amazing.