Saturday, January 30, 2010


There's a family-owned bakery in my hometown that makes the most delicious smiley face cookies. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find one anywhere in my current town that tastes quite the same.

But thanks to a cookie recipe my sister Gretchen emailed me, and lots of googling to find just the right frosting recipes, I think I have finally succeeded in duplicating Liebermann's smiley face cookies (or at least as close as I can get at my house).

Obviously I need a little work with making the fudge smiles and eyes... but I intend to make these again and will get lots more practice.

Sweetheart Cookies
Source: Columbus Dispatch

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat well. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add alternately to the butter mixture with the milk.

Roll out the dough. Cut out. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges.

Glace Icing

1 lb powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
6 Tablespoons milk
6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon extract (I used half almond and half vanilla)

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth. Then stir in corn syrup and extract.

Fudge Frosting
Source: Betty

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a 2-qt saucepan, mix granulated sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in milk, butter, and the corn syrup. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla with spoon until smooth and spreadable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What I did on my winter break

I had the week off between Christmas and New Years, and it was wonderful. I didn't go anywhere or do anything special. I just did whatever I felt like around the house, and that included a lot of sewing.

This time, I worked on a quilt top. I used some fabric I had purchased as a charm pack, which is a packet of precut squares (I think they are 4-inch squares). This particular charm pack had a total of 72 squares, two of each fabric in the line.

The type of quilt I decided to do was a disappearing 9-patch. I took a few photos of the different stages of the quilt top, but if you want more information you can just google "disappearing 9-patch tutorial" and you can find a ton of great resources.

First you sew three rows of three squares together to make your 9-patch. I choose to use a plain white fabric as the center square of each patch. I've also seen versions where the same fabric is used for the middle square on each edge and that has a really cool effect. (I laid out the patches on a piece of white scrap fabric so they were easier to see... that's not part of the quilt though.)

Next you take a rotary cutter and cut through the center of your 9-patch in both directions, vertically and horizontally. This divides each 9-patch into 4 smaller pieces. Each of these 4 smaller blocks ends up with a corner of the center white square. After cutting I turned all the pieces so the white corner was pointing the same way, and laid them out again.

Then you take all of these smaller blocks and twist and turn them and arrange them however you choose. This photo was from when I was playing around with the layout. I changed it up a few times until I was sure I was happy with it.

This photo shows the final layout after all the blocks have been stitched together.

Though I'm done with the disappearing 9-patch, the quilt top isn't done yet. It is a pretty small square, so I want to frame it with something to make a larger top. I might end up using the same white fabric I used for the center squares. I liked it a little better than the white fabric it's lying on top of in the picture.

And of course then I will have to purchase fabric for the back of the quilt and make the binding strips. And then it will all be sandwiched with some batting and machine quilted before it becomes a real quilt. So it's still an unfinished project, but I was really happy to have this chunk to work on and finish during my break.