decorating ideas

Stamped Winter Sugar Cookies

Take your sugar cookies to the next level by using these super cute cookie stamps by Core Kitchen!  With a little effort, time and the right tools, you can create these Stamped Winter Sugar Cookies that are not only delicious, but almost too cute to eat!


Over the holidays, Core Home surprised me with a gift of cookie stamps from their Core  Kitchen line.  I have been making sugar cookies for years with cookie cutters, but I’d never thought to use cookie stamps.  Maybe it’s because I’d never seen stamps as cute as these from Core!


I was immediately inspired to bake up a batch of cookies and get to decorating!  It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out exactly how to use these stamps.  I chose to use the winter themed pack first.  The set included a bamboo stamp with three silicone templates including a snowman, snowflake and winter hat.  So adorbs, right!? And those snowflakes…. can we say FROZEN cookies!? Seriously… how perfect would those be for a Frozen themed party?!  The instructions on the packaging were a little ambiguous so I wasn’t quite sure how to start.  But, after some practice I mastered it and my turned out so cute!


The biggest take-away I got from my practice was to stamp the dough before cutting out the shapes.  At first, I was cutting the dough with the round cutter then stamping, but I found that pressing the stamp into the dough after cutting created a distorted shape because of the pressure from the stamp.  Then, I decided to press the stamp into the dough just after I rolled it out to 1/8″ or so.  The dough had less space to move and distort because it was still in one big piece. Cutting the circles after stamping created perfectly round cookies every time!

I had no plan when it came to decorating these cookies.  I basically took each stamp shape, the supplies I had in my baking closet and went with it.  I did decide that the less colors I need to make would be easier, so I stuck to the white and blue theme for all of them.  And, instead of having to pipe eyes, nose and buttons on the snowman, I used the sprinkles I had in my baking cabinet.


When you use these stamps to make your cookies, I’d suggest doing the same as far as your approach to decorating is concerned.  You don’t have to make yours exactly like mine… yet use your imagination and the tools you have at your disposal guide you to the perfect design.

At the end of this process, I just stared at the cookies.  I could not believe I had made them.  The process was simple, not as difficult as I expected and so much fun!  I was truly impressed with how easy the Core Kitchen Cookie Stamps made creating stunning cookies!


Needless to say, I asked Core to send me more stamps.  So you can count on seeing more of these types of cookies over the next year!  I can’t wait to get them and start using them!

As of today, writing this post, these cookie stamps can be found only at JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores.  JoAnn does have three of eight collections available online for sale, so you can get started with those!  But check out all the designs below… aren’t they awesome!?!?


Core Kitchen has set up a website for their Cookie Stamps, but have not yet made them available for sale online.  I have been in contact with them and they hope to get an online store up and running soon!

Happy Baking!

Winter Sugar Cookies

Winter Sugar Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Core Bamboo Cookie Stamps
  • 3 1/8" round cutter


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt

For Decorating

  • blue & black gel food coloring
  • Disposable piping bags
  • Wilton piping tips #2/3/4 and #16/17
  • Orange jimmies
  • Blue nonpareils
  • Blue and white sugar crystals
  • Large black sugar pearls



  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar and mix on high 2 minutes until combined.
  3. One at a time add the eggs and mix until combined. Turn mixer to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the almond extract.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In two parts, add the flour to the wet mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure you've incorporated everything and mix again if necessary.
  5. Chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.
  6. On a floured surface, turn out the dough, sprinkle flour over the top and knead a few times until the dough is smooth.
  7. Roll the dough to 1/8" thickness. Press the cookie stamp into the dough to make an impression. Use the round cutter to cut a circle around the impression. Place the cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been used. You may want to keep the dough chilled between batches to keep it from getting too soft.
  8. Bake cookies for 5-7 minutes or until the edges and bottoms just being to brown. Do not over bake! Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet 2-3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together the butter and shortening.
  2. Add the sugar and mix until combined. The mixture will be thick at this point.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, the extract and salt and beat until completely combined for about 2 minutes. You'll want a consistency that's thin enough to pipe through a very small piping tip. Add up to 1/4 cup more heavy cream to get this consistency.
  4. Remove 1/4 cup of frosting and tint it black. Divide the remaining frosting in half and tint one half blue. Leave the remaining frosting white.

To Decorate

  1. Fill piping bags attached with the #2, #3 or #4 small round Wilton piping tip (I used all three, but what you're comfortable with will be what you should use) with the black and blue buttercream. Reserve a small amount of white and put the remaining in a bag with the small round tip. Put the reserved white in a bag fitted with the #16/17 small star/flower tip.
  2. SNOWFLAKES: Fill in the main snowflake with blue buttercream using the small round tip. Sprinkle the blue with blue sugar crystals. Using the white buttercream and the small star tip, pipe the outter edge impressions with a star. Sprinkle the white with white sugar crystals.
  3. SNOWMEN: Using the white frosting, fill in the head and body of the snowman. Be careful not to pipe over the eyes and nose or where the hat will be. Sprinkle white sugar crystals over the white. Use the black and pipe on the hat. Finally, use the blue and pipe the scarf then sprinkle blue sugar crystals on the scarf. Use the blue nonparallels as eyes, orange jimmies as the nose and large black sugar pearls as the buttons. You may need to "glue" these pieces on with a bit of frosting.
  4. BUNDLE UP: Fill in the winter hat with blue frosting. Sprinkle with blue sugar crystals. Using the white frosting with the star tip, pipe on the three balls on the base of the hat and the large ball on top. Sprinkle the white with white sugar crystals. Using the white frosting and the smallest tip you have, pipe frosting into the "Bundle Up" and sprinkle with white sugar crystals.
  5. Allow the cookies to sit for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight) before stacking for storage. Store in a plastic bakery box with a lid for up to 3 days.


{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

Toy Story Alien Cupcakes

Add excitement and fun to your next Toy Story themed party with these Alien Cupcakes!  By using my simple decorating techniques to make these Toy Story Alien Cupcakes, your guests will “be eternally grateful” for your effort!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

Today is Matty’s 2nd birthday! I can’t believe that 2 years of his life have already come and gone.   It just seems like yesterday that I was celebrating his first birthday with these Sesame Street cupcakes!

Two weekends ago, we celebrated his birthday with a huge joint party with his little friend, Lena.  Lena and Matty are just two weeks apart so it was a treat to be able to celebrate their birthdays together this year! The theme of the party was Toy Story!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

For the Toy Story party, I made a variety of fun, themed desserts including these super cute Alien Cupcakes! I had seen a variety of different ways to make these Alien cupcakes all over the internet, but since I’m in Germany I knew my supplies would be limited.

For the ears and antennae, I used green gummies.  Luckily, Germans love their gummies so I was able to find those easily out on the economy.  I used green gummy rope for the antennae and cut flat rectangle gummies into triangles for the ears.

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

The eyes are made from Wilton candy eyes.  If you can’t find these in your local craft store, you could just pipe white dollops of frosting and add a touch of black for the pupils.  Or maybe you could find white candies to use.  The mouth is made with a tube of black decorating gel.  Easy peasy!

One of the best things about making a cupcake like this is that when YOU make them at home, they don’t have to be exactly like mine.  Use what supplies you have at your disposal.  Use what your grocery store carries.  Improvise.   It’s not about taking exactly what I did and recreating it, it’s about making the cupcakes your own with the supplies you have!

To be honest… that’s the most fun part for me!  Figuring out how I can take the inspiration I got from someone else’s creation and turn it into my own! I hope that these Alien Cupcakes can do that for you!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

Here’s more from the Toy Story Party:

And because it wouldn’t be a party if my friends didn’t get a little crazy… here’s Lena’s Mom, Mareile, being silly in her Alien shirt with the Alien cupcakes!!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |


Toy Story Alien Cupcakes

Toy Story Alien Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes



  • i am baker's recipe for The Perfect White Cake - CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE
  • Strawberry jam


  • Vanilla Buttercream - CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE
  • Green gel food coloring

Alien Head

  • Green gummy rope
  • Green flat gummy squares
  • Black decorating gel (in a tube)
  • Candy eyes (I used Wilton brand)



  1. Prepare the batter as i am baker describes in the recipe link above.
  2. Line cupcake pans with green liners and fill 2/3 with batter.
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Once the cupcakes have cooled, core the center of each cupcake out and fill with strawberry jam.


  1. Prepare the frosting as directed in the link above.
  2. Tint the frosting green using the gel food coloring.


  1. Frost the top of each cupcake with the green frosting making sure to create a flat surface on the top.
  2. Place three candy eyes in the center of the cupcake. Squeeze a circle or squiggly line of black decorating gel under the eyes for the mouth.
  3. Cut the square gummies into triangles and place one above the eyes on the edge of the cupcake. One triangle on each side for the ears.
  4. Cut a 1/2 in piece of gummy rope and place it in the top, center of the cupcake.


To make things even simpler, use store bought cake mix for the cupcakes and use pre-made frosting to decorate. Focus on the Alien head and decorating!

Please PIN this image to save these party ideas for later or to share with your friends! THANK YOU!

Toy Story Party Desserts & Decorating Ideas |

Toy Story Party: Sheriff Woody's Star Cookies |

Toy Story Cookies – Sheriff Woody’s Star & Jessie’s Hat

Creating a Toy Story themed birthday party doesn’t have to be difficult!  Just use the recipes and techniques described in this post to create  delicious, easy and crowd-pleasing Toy Story Cookies!

Toy Story Party: Sherriff Woody's Star Cookies & Jessie's Hat Cookies

One of the most fun things I made for Matty’s Toy Story themed birthday party were the cookies.  These Sheriff Woody Star cookies & Jessie’s Hat cookies really brought the theme of the party to life on the dessert table!

And they were so simple to make!

Toy Story Party: Sheriff Woody's Star Cookies |

They did, however, take a bit of time and planning to put together.   But, once I sat down to assemble them all, it was really quite easy!  My daughter, Emily, who is 14 actually decorated every single one of Sheriff Woody Star cookies!  If she can do it… you can too!

The cookies are made from my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I’ve shared on my blog over and over again… so I’m not going to post that recipe here.  But, you can find it here and here and here!

Toy Story Party: Jessie's Hat Cookies |

The kids at Matty’s 2nd birthday part absolutely LOVED these cookies… almost as much as they loved the cake and cupcakes!  The red hats were I think they’re favorite.  I think they were drawn to the bright red color.  I mean, if I were a preschooler or toddler, I would be too.

The Sheriff Woody’s Stars though… they were Matty’s favorite.

Toy Story Party: Sheriff Woody's Star Cookies |

In case you missed it… here’s the main post about the Toy Story Party.  There will be three more posts coming next week that will teach you how to make the S’mores Pops and Donut Push-Ups, the Alien cupcakes and the Checkerboard cake!  I’ll also be updating this post as well as the main post with all the links to these recipes and tutorials!

I really hope that my ideas and creations help to inspire you to create a Toy Story themed party for your little ones.   It’s really not as difficult as you may think to pull off a themed party like that that will truly WOW everyone in attendance!


Toy Story Cookies – Sheriff Woody

Yield: 5-6 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • Sugar Cookie Dough - Double THIS RECIPE
  • Buttercream - Double THIS RECIPE

Sheriff Woody's Star

  • 2 star shaped cookie cutters - 1 3in and 1 1in
  • Yellow sugar crystals/sprinkles
  • Yellow M&M candies
  • Buttercream

Jessie's Hat

  • 2 round cookie cutters - 1 3in and 1 1in
  • Red gel food coloring
  • Wilton #4 piping tip & disposable bag


  1. Prepare cookie dough as instructed in the link above.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll cookie dough 1/8in thick and cut out equal numbers of large/small stars and large small/circles. Place them on prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 5-6 minutes and remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Prepare buttercream as instructed in the link above.

Sheriff Woody's Hat Assembly

  1. Completely cover the top of one small star cookie with buttercream. Press the cookie into a bowl of the yellow sugar crystals until completely covered.
  2. Spread a small amount of frosting onto the under side of the star cookie then press onto a large star cookie.
  3. Put a small dollop of frosting onto each corner/tip of the star and press a yellow M&M onto it.
  4. Allow the frosting to dry for several hours before stacking in an air tight container until ready to eat.

Jessie's Hat Assembly

  1. Prepare the piping bag with the Wilton #4 piping tip. Place 1 1/2 cups of buttercream into the bag and set aside.
  2. Using the red food gel coloring, color the remaining buttercream red. Allow the buttercream to set out for about 15 minutes so that the red color has time to soak into the frosting and really turn a dark red color.
  3. Frost the tops of the large round cookies with the red buttercream and set aside.
  4. Frost the tops of the small round cookies with buttercream.
  5. Piping a small amount of white frosting along the bottom edge of the small round cookie then gently press onto the top of the large frosting cookie, making sure it's centered.
  6. Pipe a small border around the edge of the red frosting on the large cookie and add hash marks to create the look of the stitching on Jessie's hat.
  7. Allow the frosting to set up on the cookies for several hours before stacking in an air tight container.


Cookies will last up to a week if stored in an air tight container.

PIN this image to share it with your friends or save it for later when you make your own Toy Story themed party!

Toy Story Party: Sheriff Woody's Star & Jessie's Hat Cookies |

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies |

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies

In need of an inexpensive, fun, delicious treat for Valentine’s Day?  Make these white chocolate dipped valentine fortune cookies… they will make your sweetheart want to kiss you!

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies |

This year I’ve decided that I wanted to create simple treats for Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t want to make anything too super elaborate, yet I wanted to show how easy it is to make delicious, fun treats without a lot of money, effort or skill.

These white chocolate dipped valentine fortune cookies accomplish just that!  With just a few ingredients, these cookies are incredibly easy to make!  You cookies don’t have to look like mine either… just use whatever Valentine sprinkles you already have in your pantry! You could even use milk or dark chocolate instead of white chocolate if you preferred!

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies |

I also found out something great about these cookies!  Matty loves them.  Yup, my toddler can’t get enough of the fortune cookies!  We don’t eat out Asian food that often and I don’t think I’ve ever bought them… so when we were given them at a restaurant in Berlin over Christmas, I was surprised to see how much Matty loved them.  He probably would have eaten 10 of them if I let him.  He loves them that much!

When I made these fortune cookie today, he ate two… okay, he had three.  And he loved every moment!

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies |

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to package these white chocolate dipped valentine fortune cookies in cellophane bags, tie them with curling ribbon and attach a love-themed fortune to them.  They should be pretty cute.  If I’m on top of things, I’ll take pictures and put together a tutorial for you.

But that’s only if I’m on top of things.  Haha

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies |

Have you started thinking about Valentine’s Day yet?

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen decorated cookies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 36 fortune cookies
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips (I used Hershey's)
  • Assorted Valentine sprinkles
  • Pink gel food coloring
  • Wilton piping tip #4 (or very small round)
  • Disposable piping bag
  • Wax paper


  1. Set out a large piece of wax paper on your counter.
  2. In a microwave safe glass bowl, melt the white chocolate. TIP: Microwave chocolate for 1 minute at 70% heat, stir and repeat. Then switch to microwaving for 30 seconds at 70% heat, stir and repeat until smooth.
  3. Dip 1/3-1/2 of one fortune cookie into the melted white chocolate. With the cookie in one hand, use the other hand to tap the cookie holding hand gently... this will help the extra chocolate drip off the cookie without breaking the cookie.
  4. Once the extra chocolate has fallen off, sprinkle the chocolate with Valentine sprinkles. Set on the wax paper until the chocolate has hardened. Repeat this with 2 dozen fortune cookies. NOTE: You may need to reheat the chocolate if it has become too firm to dip in.
  5. With the last dozen cookies, dunk each in chocolate then set aside to dry.
  6. Once the last dozen has hardened, reheat the remaining chocolate until smooth. Add pink gel coloring to the chocolate and mix until uniform in color.
  7. Spoon the melted chocolate into a disposable piping bag fitted with the very small round tip.
  8. Pipe mini hearts onto the white chocolate and allow to harden.
  9. Once all the chocolate has hardened, the fortune cookies are ready to eat!
  10. Store them in an air tight container or package them as gifts!
Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween |

Happy Halloween! {Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes}

Happy Halloween! With a few simple steps, you can create two different cakes decorated as a ghost or pumpkin for your next Halloween party!

Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween |

Today is the spookiest day of the year!!  Are you dressing up?  My 12 year old daughter is so indecisive… she has yet to pick out a costume or even attempt to put anything together.  I told her to wear her football jersey and be a football player – but of course she can’t find it in the jungle of a bedroom.  Ahhhh teenagers.  My almost 8 month old baby boy, however, he’s going as Link from The Legend of Zelda!  Last week before the snow came, we were able to take a few pictures of him in his costume.  This one is my favorite.  Isn’t he the cutest lil thing you ever did see?

Baby Link from Legend of Zelda Costume |

Middle School – it’s not the most fun place for a pre-teen or teenager to be.  So, as a Mom I try to make Emily the “cool girl” by baking awesome stuff and bringing it to school for holidays and special occasions.  This time, I made cakes for her Halloween Dance & Party.  During the party, they were to have a cake walk and I wanted one of Emily’s friends to go home with the coolest Halloween cake ever!

I found the inspiration for this first cake from Lemon Sugar.  She made an 8in round chocolate cake topped with ghosts a few weeks ago and I fell in love.  I used the ghosts as inspiration for one of the cupcakes I taught during my Spooktacular Treats Workshop.  Since I didn’t need a huge cake, I used 6in cake pans and made smaller cakes for the cake walk.  I think it turned out pretty awesome.  I wish I could have sliced it open for you because on the inside there was white cake and orange buttercream in the the middle!

Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween |

I used a basic vanilla cake recipe, filled the cupcake with colored vanilla buttercream and the outside is covered in dark chocolate buttercream.

The second cake is made with the same vanilla cake but this time the cake was tinted orange and I used a bright blue tinted buttercream for the filling.  The same dark chocolate buttercream is on the outside.  The orange pumpkin and dots are buttercream tinted orange.

To make the dots, I used a small round tip on my piping bag and just squeezed them onto the outside of the cake.  Using the same round tip, I drew the pumpkin onto the top.  The stem is made out of some extra meringue from the ghosts tinted green.  Pretty darn easy if you ask me… and such a great effect!

Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween |

I found out later that the cakes didn’t get used during the cake walk… the teacher who put the event together said they were put aside and the adults who volunteered ate them as a “thank you” from the school for helping.  I was disappointed that none of the kids got to see it and Emily didn’t get to be the “cool girl” at the dance.  I wanted the kids fighting over it during the cake walk.  All that work wasted.  I hope the adults enjoyed the cakes.  Emily didn’t even get a chance to see them completed.  Oh well.

Today, I’ll be making one final Candy Corn Cake for Halloween.  I have 3 bags of candy corn that need to get used so I’ll be making an ombre style candy corn cake!  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Hope everyone has an amazing Halloween!  Bake lots of goodies for your kids and remember to stay safe while Trick or Treating!