Monday, October 27, 2008

Something New For You and Me



I get some weird comments and e-mails related to this blog. I got a rant once from an anorexic who was angry about the story I'd posted. Um, sorry, but this is a food blog. Not much of a surprise to get recipes and food stories. I got a request to put a link to someone's blog and when I checked out their blog it was dedicated to nail art. Entirely in Japanese. Well, that really doesn't have much to do with my English speaking readers who want recipes, so, no. And I recently got a request to review a website on my blog. They offered to pay me, whether I gave it a positive review or not. It was a furniture site. Hello, this is a food blog!

Therefore, it's with a bit of trepidation that I open up mail from someone I don't know. But my fears were totally unjustified when I opened an email titled Strauss' Confetti Cakes for Kids. It was an offer to try out the new book by the same title. Hmmm, free cookbook? Letmethink- YES!



I'd seen this book before on Amazon, but hadn't put it into my shopping cart because, and let's be honest about this, I'm not a cake decorator. I marvel at the amazing cakes I see on other talented baker's blogs, but I'm lucky if the frosting goes onto my cakes evenly and doesn't rip holes in the cake. Sprinkles on top is about the upper limit of my decorating ability.

When my copy of Confetti Cakes for Kids arrived in the mail I dropped everything else and sat down to thumb through the book. I was surprised. It does have a variety of showstopping projects - cakes, cupcakes, and cookies - but it also had very basic information so even a novice like me could use the book.



I decided to try out a simple recipe and see what my untalented hands could do. I used the recipe for sugar cookies. The difference in this recipe was not the ingredients, but the instructions. Lots of chilling. Make the dough. Chill. Roll the dough. Chill. Cut out the cookies and then put the whole pan in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. This certainly helped the cookies keep nice, crisp shapes.

Then there was the icing. I have only used royal icing before for gluing together gingerbread houses. The book shows step by step how to make an icing fence on the perimeter to keep the icing in place, then flood the inside of the fence with icing. Aha, so that's the magic trick to keep the icing from dripping off the cookie! I think my icing was too stiff, but with a bit more practice, I think I could have some fun with this.

I made up half the dough to take pictures with, then turned my kids loose on the other half and they had a blast cutting, baking, decorating, and then, of course, eating!

I know they're not showstoppers, but this is the prettiest my decorated cookies have ever looked.

And if you're way beyond basic iced cookies and want a bit more of a challenge, take 4 minutes to watch the author, Elisa Strauss, create a spectacular cake.



Now for the really exciting bit - Anna, the kind and gracious lady who sent me the book, offered me 5 copies to give away! Woo hoo! Free cookbooks for you, too! This offer is limited to the United States and Canada. Leave a comment (not anonymously, please) saying that you'd like a book, and you'll be entered. You have until November 1st to leave a comment and I'll anounce the winners next Monday.

81 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Ugh, I get SOOOOO many ridiculous comments that I have to reject from appearing on my blog (thank goodness for the comment moderation feature on Blogger!!), so I understand your pain; but hooray for HELPFUL, EXCITING comments!! That book sounds FABULOUS!! :0)

Chavi said...

Another wonderful book featured. Been seeing alot of those around lately. I'd personally love a copy to brush up on my own decorating skills!

Ed and Kelly said...

My cakes always taste good and look AWFUL! I'd love a copy!

Kelly

Sarah said...

Your cookies look wonderful! I need to learn how to decorate like that!

Sarah said...
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sarah said...

i love the way your cookies turned out. the kids and i look forward to making iced cookies each christmas but it seems this book may have the secret as to why ours never look like that! LOL...
thanks for your posting all these goodies even though you have to dredge through the nonscence.

Jennywenny said...

Very pretty, I would absolutely love a copy of the book, it looks totally adorable! Thanks for the offer

Shari said...

I'd love a book. I have a 1-year-old, so many birthday cakes are in my future!

Melinda said...

Well... living in England sure sucks.

I don't get asked for anything strange or not, because I am a pleb blogger. See? You are too good!
That dog cake was sweet. She made it look rather simple. Was the head made out of Styrofoam?

I like your sugar cookies. I want to do some nice snowflake shaped ones this year.

Jinxy said...

Your cookies look great.

Maria said...

There are some weird comments out there:) The cookies look wonderful and thanks for the giveaway! Looks like a fun book. I want to win:)

KeanaLee said...

I'd love a book, baby is turning 1 in January! I could make a glorious cake~

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What was that you said? A free cookbook? . . . YES! Does it maybe come with an additional bookcase?
Lynn the cookies are really overthetop perfect!

You really have to wonder where some folks get their logic genes ;)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...
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Brianne said...

Wow, the cake in the video is amazing. I'm a very novice cake baker/decorator so this sounds like a good book to learn with. Thanks for the opportunity!

JohannaB said...

I love your cookies.

I used to collect cookbooks but then we had a flood so I'm starting over. (used to live in New Orleans) I would love to win a copy of this book.

RecipeGirl said...

You are great at cookies :) What a fun cookbook, and yes... I'd like one. (and my birthday is next week hint, hint!) Just kiddin'. I know you need to be fair with your random stuff :)

Elina said...

I'd love to enter the "raffle." Your cookies look delicious! :D

hien said...

yes, i would like a copy!

Sarah said...

I love your blog and I'd love a new cookbook!
Sarah in Utah

vkochis said...

Thanks so much for offering this giveaway. I have an almost two year old, and it was with her birth that I found myself really interested in all things cooking and baking. I am gearing up for her second birthday cake and really looking forward (with some trepidation) to creating a fun cake for her. What I'm looking forward to the most, though, is teaching her how to bake and cook as she grows older. Even if I don't win the book, I'll have to invest in it simply because it would be such a great resource in the years to come.

Eric said...

In for a book :)

SarahBaylessPhotography said...

Ooooo oh oh pick me *Waves hand frantically* Me me! In the back here!!! *notice me!!!*

I want a book very much. I want to make pretty cakes, and become better in the kitchen in any area.

SarahBaylessPhotography said...
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Kelly E. said...

I would love a chance at that book. I've always wanted to try making a "fancy" cake LOL.

marci said...

Um, new dessert cookbook? For pretty cakes? Yes please!

mommalilone said...

My daughter loves to help cook and bake... maybe if I had a book to help show us how.

Chelsea said...

I have admired this book several times now. I would love it!

abigail @ Piece of Cake said...

count me in too! and your star cookies look pretty darn good, how did they taste?

carol said...

Oh please count me in, Lynn! Your cookies look wonderful! I can't frost cakes to save my life-stressed out big time when I had to make and frost a cannoli cake the other day...geesh..
That puppy cake is something else....what talent!!!!!

Racheal said...

Your cookies look fantastic! Mine always look like a 1st grader did the decorating even when I am the only one in the kitchen. lol I would love to be entered to win this cookbook, it looks awesome and I soooo want to make a cookie or cake that looks like a grown up made it.

Aimée said...

Hey, I've got a long road ahead of kids birthday cakes to create. I need this book! Help me! :)
Lynn, your cookies ARE show stoppers. You're going to have fun this Christmas, aren't you?

cookienurse said...

I love the look of your cookies and I would love to learn how to do the same thing!! Thanks!

Bunny Trails said...

For someone who can't bake, your cookie look AMAZING!! From what I've read, you sound like an amazing baker! I am so glad I found your blog! The cookbook sounds terrific. I might have to get me one either way. Thanks for the great recipe. I will be trying it with more "natural" ingredients and wheat free flour. Who-boy, wish me luck!

Merav said...

Oh I'd love a book!

Your cookies look beautiful!!!

Becca said...

Ooo cakes! I am not so much a cake baker either. My only one was a 'batman' cake and it was only an oval cake with the batman symbol. Those cakes looks awesome! rebecca342 at gmail.com

makingmanymemories said...

I'd LOVE a book! Your cookies looked so amazing I wanted to grab them right off the computer screen! Susanne in Canada.. at stuf4les@telus.net

Tara said...

Hi Lynn! Your cookies look gorgeous! I'm a bake-a-holic, so count me in for the draw...love your blog by the way! :)

Anne said...

The cookies are simply beautiful :)

Peabody said...

I keep getting someone who wants me to review lawn mowers. They bug me about every 3 months or so. So odd what people want you to do eh?
Yes, free cookbooks are always good. Though even some of those offers I turn down because they aren't anything I would use.

Laurel said...

Decorating is definitely my downfall. I love cookies - and would love to make them look like someone older than a two year old iced them. Would love a book!

Love your website too -

lgroff@tbc.edu

thecoffeesnob said...

You did such a great job with those cookies!

LyB said...

Your cookies look great! I've never been really good at cake and cookie decorating but with the kids I've had to at least try! That sounds like a fun book. Free cookbook, let me think... YES! ;)

Mary said...

I have to tell you I get some weird emails, but that you got an angry email from an anorexic made me laugh out loud!

I'd love to get a free copy of this cookbook. My sugar cookies all look like crap and I want to learn how to do them like yours!

Grace said...

of course you got an angry email from an anorexic. they're bound to always be angry since they're surely always hungry!
meanwhile, your cookies did stop the show for me--i'm impressed. and hungry. but not angry. or anorexic. :)

Bellini Valli said...

WOW! That is one amazing cake!!!I'd love to have a copy of a new cookbook to learn new techniques or admittedly any skills...considering I have no cake decorating skills at the moment at all:D

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I'm not eligible for the giveaway, but I had to tell you to give yourself some credit - these cookies are insanely pretty!

Lindsay Brandt said...

I would be greatful for a chance to win this beautiful book. I love a new recipe challange especially if the end result is as adorable as I imagine those in the book to be.

Also, I love your blog! The Pecan Pie Squares are totally gracing our table this Thanksgiving!

Jan said...

I'd absolutely love a copy of the book! the cookies look adorable!

Sara-Jayne said...

I would absolutely love a copy of the book! I love to bake and frequent your blog daily for inspiration :)

Jonathan & Gabriel said...

LOL, every time your status on facebook says you are posting a new blog post, I hurriedly come and check your blog.

Those cookies look so delicious, and I would love to be entered into the competion. Thanks for doing it! What fun!

**doffs her cap and vanishes**

elizabeth said...

how much fun is that. a great free book! I hope to get to marvel at the beautifully decorated cakes as well! :)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

lol, add me to the list of people with bizarro comments/emails. Oh, and not to mention some of the absolutely strange search terms that get people to my site...lol, all I can say is that those people must have been VERY disappointed! I didn't think my writing was that steamy, but hey, Google knows better than me, I guess.

As for the cookies, I think they look amazing! If yours aren't showstoppers, I'm not sure what mine should be called because dressing up cookies and cakes is always an absolute killer for me. So I'll throw my decoratively inept self into the giveaway...

Sarah said...

Those cookies look so pretty. I usually just let kids decorate them so I don't have to feel inferior about my own cookie decorating skills. :)

I don't need the cookbook! I mean, I sure wouldn't mind, but I'll leave the chance to others who would put it to better use. How fun!

Sonya said...

I would love to win this

Lunch Buckets said...

I'd love to have this book. And a cookie.

Diane Guest said...

My kids love decorating cookies and mine always end up pathetically looking like Jackson Pollack visited my house when he had a bad case of upset stomach.

These look faboooooo!

Joann said...

I am a novice too, but I would love to have a copy of the book. Thanks for the chance! Love your blog.

Jessica said...

I really like your blog...and of course I'd like the cookbook! My stuff always tastes good and looks kind of sad. The video is awesome, that woman in so talented.

Nancy said...

I love the beauty of your cookies! They really are simply stunning. I think what makes the big difference is how thick they are and how "crisp" and clean cut they are on the edges.

I love your site. You caught me with Peanut Butter Celebration Cake and I've been hovering around the site since. =) The cookbook looks really fun!

Nancy said...

Oh, yeah, I forgot to say, I'd love a book!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I don't have kids, so you don't have to include me in the give-away, but I just had to say that those are some of the prettiest pink star cookies ever!

Susan S said...

I haven't really done any cookie/cake decorating but it sounds fun! I'd love abook with instructions to start.

WendyJ said...

Wow---I'd love a copy. We could use it in our current cooking class.

Anne-Marie W said...

Another cookbook to add to my collection! Woo Hoo! Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration and recipes!

Amanda said...

Pick me!!! I would love a copy of confetti cakes for kids.

Carrie said...

Ooooh, I love cookbooks... and your blog!

Jodie said...

Count me in! I loved her first book!

dessertobsessed said...

yay free book! this book looks so fun!

Jacob & Angie said...

Count me in!! That video was crazy!!
Thanks for sharing.

Aly N. said...

I saw this book on Amazon too! My sad-looking cakes could definitely use some help!

Marsha H said...

I would love to have a copy of the cookbook. When I saw the cover of the book, I didn't realize it had recipes for sweets non-decorators like me could make. I would love to have instructions for cookies as beautiful as yours.

Anonymous said...

the cookies look delicious. there is just something about a "simply"
decorated sugar cookie that brings warmth and comfort to my soul. perhaps because it brings me back to my childhood where things seemed less complicated. (whether that is accurate or not is another matter).

jacquie

patio said...

Cookies that look that good? Of course I'd like the cookbook.

Kim in AZ said...

Please enter me in your cookbook contest. :) We have five little ones in this house so we make plenty of kid-friendly projects and cakes - and lots of sweet stuff with your blog's help! I'm just about ready to embark on a batch of killer crack fudge - but I know I have to get closer to the holidays or I'll end up with several batches!!! That recipe is amazing!!!!! :) Love your blog!!!

Brenda said...

I would love to have a copy of this book. I absolutely love to bake, especially for kids. Although I need more hours in the day with working at 2 jobs, I try to get some baking done for my youth group meetings. I think it would be great to see new ideas to share with my youth group. Thanks for your wonderful blogs. I've enjoyed reading each entry. - Brenda

Brenda said...

I would love to have a copy of this book. I absolutely love to bake, especially for kids. Although I need more hours in the day with working at 2 jobs, I try to get some baking done for my youth group meetings. I think it would be great to see new ideas to share with my youth group. Thanks for your wonderful blogs. I've enjoyed reading each entry. - Brenda

Deborah said...

I'm drooling over this book since I'm pregnant with my first - and my goal is to learn to do great cakes for her birthdays! And your cookies look absolutely perfect!

sandeestarlite said...

Oooh - would love a copy of the book!

Topher said...

Thanks for the opportunity!!

Anonymous said...
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