Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shipping Cookies

Shipping cookies in the mail is a tricky business. Not all cookies hold up, and if they don't end up at their final destination broken then can end up spoiled. But if done right they will get there exactly  as you intended.

My boyfriend is in the navy and I like to send him boxes of cookies to boost morale and ya know to remind him he pretty much has the most amazing girlfriend ever.  :)

I have shipped cookies, muffins, and brownies. They take anywhere from two to three weeks to get to him but he says they always show up intact and delicious. So I think its safe to say my technique works.

When shipping cookies you need to keep in mind where they will be going. Keep the temperature in mind, and what day of the week it is. Try to ship your cookies at the beginning of the week. The last thing you want is your yummy box of cookies sitting on a shipping dock or warehouse over the weekend. Also make sure you get to the post office before their final pickup that day. You can usually find that info online or you can call.

You want to ship sturdy cookies. I have found that sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, muffins and brownies ship well. You don't want to ship anything chocolate covered or that has icing. Most likely it will melt or spoil before it gets to its destination. If you have the luxury of being able to overnight it to your destination then by all means go for it! But unfortunately for me their is no one willing to overnight something to the middle of the ocean...


USPS Flat Rate Shipping Box (I like the medium size)
Shipping Tape
2 Ziploc Plastic Airtight Containers
Bubble Wrap (I prefer the smaller bubbles)
Glad Press and Seal
Customs Form if shipping to FPO/APO

You can use the medium or large USPS Boxes. These are free and you can even order online. You can also schedule a pick up from your home. I usually just get several from the post office and drop them off myself at the post office.

When packing your cookies pack two together at a time back to back to keep from breaking. I used Glad Press and Seal and cut it to size to wrap the cookies in. It's better than plastic wrap because it creates a better seal.

Then I put the cookies inside the ziploc container. You want to pack your cookies snugly so that they don't move around during shipment. I used the bubble wrap to put a padding between the cookies and the top of the container and any extra room inside the container.

I like the ziploc containers the best because I can fit two inside the medium sized box with a little extra room for a dvd or other little creation. I have tried several different brand of containers but I like the ziploc ones because they fit the best and are inexpensive.

Once you put all your contents in the box you want to make sure that everything is snug so that it wont shift too much during shipment. The best way to test this is to shake the box and see how much movement there is.

It is advised that you put a notecard inside the box with return and recipient address along with a manifest of the contents of your box incase the box is damaged during shipment. I have never felt a need to do this but it sounds like a good idea. And You could get creative with it and make it more for your recipient.

To check out shipping restrictions on a certain FPO/APO you can check by zip code here.
To order USPS Flat Rate Boxes click here.
For tips on shipping to FPO/APO from the USPS click here.

Felt Monsters

I have a tendency to get bored during the summer. And when I get bored I start making things out of whatever I can find.

I have been on a creative streak lately. I've been feeling like painting and sewing and glueing things together. This past weekend I started a painting and made a monster out of felt.

I recently discovered a blog called I Could Make That. I am in awe of this bloggers creativity. I wish I could always be that creative but mine comes and goes in spurts. When I saw this cute little felt monster on her blog I just had to make one.

I think I will name him and ship him off to keep my boyfriend company on his many adventures with out me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I miss the days when I would sit down for eight hours straight and draw until 3 in the morning. Recently I have taken up painting instead.

I've found that art is a lot more fun when you aren't pressed for time or trying to fufill a school assignment.

I used to be obsessed with realism until I was forced to take a design class in college. I actually loved it. Abstract and minimalist art has been a huge interest for me since then.

Painting on bottles 

When i'm upset I tend to bake or paint. I kinda mixed it up here.

I painted this as a Christmas gift for my best friend. I like to keep things simple now.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

S'more Cookies

I saw this cookies online and thought they looked like pure magic. I love s'mores. Everyone loves s'mores. But I was never a huge graham cracker fan. I did make s'mores once with the keebler shortbread cookies striped with chocolate. That was a genius idea!

But now I have found the perfect solution. S'mores in cookie form!

My first attempt at this recipe was a botched job. They turned out more like lace cookies. Still delicious but ugly and not what I was looking for. They were spreaders. I tried to chill the dough but it barely helped. So I tried again the next morning. I ended up adding about a half cup of extra flour and cutting the butter down.

I love recipes that remind me of summertime. These s'more cookies were incredible coming out of the oven. They really tasted like a fresh s'more, charred black marshmallow excluded.

I had to cut the butter down and up the flour to get my cookies to the right consistency. 
I also omitted the hershey bars on top (they would have melted and made a huge mess) because I was shipping these. Instead I used chocolate chunks to get that s'more feel.

You can find this recipe here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

One of my favorite tv shows is Drinking Made Easy. Its a show about three friends that visit different cities in the US and explore the local drinking culture. As a girl with many guy friends and a fascination with unique drinks and restaurants, this show makes me laugh. The guys try to out drink each other and beat each other at food challenges in the city they are filming in.

They explore bars that have unique drinks, eating challenges or cool locations such as behind center field at Fenway or a speak easy you enter through a hotdog stand. One of their food challenges in Chicago inspired me to make a homemade deep dish pizza. I have also been looking for an excuse to make homemade pizza dough.

Chicago style deep dish pizza starts off with the crust. Its really important you knead the dough correctly.  When kneading dough you want to stretch the fibers in the dough but be careful not to tear the dough. Tearing it will cause the dough to be tough. Kneading your dough the right way will cause your dough to be light, fluffy and delicious. If you have a deep baking pan great, but I made do with a spring form pan. It worked perfectly.

Chicago style deep dish is made with the sauce on top. Among all the recipes I read, the general consensus was you MUST start with the cheese. I used a block of mozzarella and sliced it. Using pre-grated cheese will work too but I once read somewhere that the cheese is treated with something so that it will keep better but it doesn't allow the cheese to melt as well as block cheese.

For the pizza filling

1 can tomatoes with garlic and onion added
1 can gourmet pizza sauce
1 8oz block of mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni, other various toppings (I just used canadian bacon)
1 8 or 9 inch springform pan

I prepared the pizza dough as directed but I cut the recipe in half and had plenty of dough for my 9 inch springform pan.

After I got my dough in the pan I started with the mozzarella cheese I sliced it with a cheese slicer then added a package of canadian bacon. For the sauce I combined a can of gourmet pizza sauce I got at Target and a can of tomatoes for texture. Then I sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked until it was ooey gooey goodness.

After you take your pizza out of the oven let it sit for about ten minutes so the filling has time to set. If you slice it too soon it will become a mess. Still tastes amazing but a mess. Also keep in mind if you are using a dark springform pan you want to lower the baking temperature about 50 degrees or you will burn your crust. Unless of course you're into that sort of thing.

You can find the pizza dough recipe here.
To check out Drinking Made Easy click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

These cupcakes seemed almost too good to be true when I found them. Margaritas and cupcakes, two of the things I love together at last!

I used the Margarita Cupcake recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. I have tried several recipes from her blog and while her results look delicious I have never had a successful venture using a recipe from her blog. This was completely different.

I did however use a slightly modified icing recipe because I personally don't care for the taste of buttercream.

This recipe also contains tequila in the cupcakes, on top of the cupcakes and in the frosting. :) 
This cupcakes was a little denser than what I was used to but was still delicious. The tequila is however, optional but it does make the Margarita Cupcakes well more Margarita-y.

I wish I had a zester to get some really good lime zests to garnish with but all I had to work with was a hand grater. I also used sugar crystals to decorate with instead of salt as the recipe calls for.  I used a 1M star tip to frost the cupcakes with. 

The cupcake and frosting recipe can be found here. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas Baking: Day 7 Pretzel Bark

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love baked for me.....

Pretzel Bark

Amid all of the richness of Holiday desserts it's nice to see some white chocolate. 

This recipe calls for three ingredients, it's quick and the results are amazing.

I've tried making this recipe with chocolate bark and found the result was not quite as good. I think with a little vanilla bark mixed in the taste would be just right. 

Vanilla Bark

1 pkg vanilla bark
2 cups salted peanuts
3 cups skinny pretzels broken into pieces

Microwave vanilla bark in large bowl for 1 minute intervals until it stirs smooth.

Add in peanuts and pretzels and evenly coat with vanilla bark.

Spoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Spread evenly and allow to cool. Once cool break into pieces.