Uncle Sam Cookies

Doesn’t it seem, every year, in a blink of an eye it’s July 4th?! I decided to get ahead of the game this year. I spotted a few Uncle Sam items in the craft stores months ago and tucked that little bit of inspiration away for future cookies. See? It’s not such a bad thing they get the decor out WAY too early. While many scoff at this insane notion to stock shelves with holiday merchandise LONG before it’s appropriate, I am snapping pictures with my phone and making mental notes for cookies. It’s a sickness, this baking addiction.

Uncle Sam Cookies by Melissa Joy

I am feeling that in the cookie world, old Uncle Sam could be the new trend for the 4th of July holiday. Like sweet Mrs. Claus was this past Christmas, after this awesome creation by Sugared Hearts Bakery made the Facebook rounds. It inspired many of us cookie peeps to make a version of their own. Me included! But, we’re not talking Christmas in July here, we are talking actual JULY. Though I did use Santa cookie cutters to make Uncle Sam….so maybe we are…it’s a blurred line.

Uncle Sam Cookies by Melissa Joy

Here’s a little info on how I created my man, Uncle Sam. I created two versions, one with a few less steps than the other. Let’s start with the bigger guy!

Big Uncle Sam Cut Out How To

These are the cutters I used to get the desired shape I had in mind. Think big beard and tall hat, then dig through your cookie cutters for the right look.

Big Uncle Sam Cookie How To

Decorate as shown above. I let each section dry a bit before moving on to the next.

Uncle Sam Cookie by Melissa Joy Cookies

Add face and feature details. I added a few star sprinkles to make it extra festive.

Uncle Sam Cookie by Melissa Joy

Big Uncle Sam cookie finished, but he needs a buddy! Moving on to the little Sam then…

Small Uncle Sam Dough How To

This design was one I wanted to try based on the Santa Gnomes I made this past Christmas.

Small Uncle Sam How To

Again, I let the icing dry a bit before moving on to the next section.  Add a nose after these steps are done.

Uncle Sam How To by Melissa Joy Cookies

Let him sit overnight so he’s dry enough to add the hat decoration, using a food coloring marker. This specific brand of marker is made by Ateco, which has a wider tip than my usual favorite, the FooDoodler.

Uncle Sam Cookie by Melissa Joy Cookies

Little Uncle Sam cookie! Not sure which version I like better…but it’s like with your kids, you can’t play favorites.

Uncle Sam Cookies by Melissa Joy

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Looking for more Independence Day cookie ideas? Check out my bunting cookies, stars & stripes cookies, or cookies for the troops from the Melissa Joy archives.

 

This post linked to: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, The Cookie Puzzle

Summer Tic-Tac-Toe Cookies

HAGS! Or #HAGS. This was written in my 5th grade son’s yearbook, next to his friends’ signatures. What the heck is that? Hags?! All I could picture was a white-haired old lady with bumps on her nose. I figured I would have to inquire once I unloaded the backpacks full of papers, art supplies, and stray locker items.

summer mini cookies

That being said, summer vacation has arrived! We celebrate the start of our break with cookies. What else, when your mom is a baker? In keeping with my cookie Tic-Tac-Toe thing {I’ve made Halloween, FallHoliday, and Valentine’s Day versions), I joyously created this Summer Tic-Tac-Toe to kick it off!

summer tic tac toe cookies by melissa joy cookies

I do get a lot of questions about how I’ve made my cookie tic-tac-toe sets in the past, so thought I would briefly break down a few of the details.

Summer Tic Tac Toe Cookies by Melissa Joy

First, the board. I measure and hand cut the dough with a pastry cutter, 6 inches by 6 inches square. Yes, I use a ruler. My recipe does spread a bit after it’s baked, but I don’t mind. If you are very particular, you can use a microplane grater to make the sides nice and straight. Outline and flood the monster cookie and let it dry overnight. The next day it will be ready for the details.

For this set I wanted the background to resemble a picnic blanket, so decided to paint the pattern on with food coloring (Americolor Super Red) slightly watered down and applied with a food only paint brush.

Tic Tac Toe Cookie Board How-To

To make the sections of the board into nine equal spaces, I use my ruler and mark off the top, bottom and sides of the board at the 2 inch and 4 inch spots. Use a scribe tool or a food writer to do so. This will give you a guide when you line up your ruler again, point to point, to create the straight-ish, grid lines. (This photo was taken at the time of my Valentine board…sorry for the discrepancy in pictures!)

Marking the tic tac toe cookie board 2

In the past, I would have piped the dividing lines, but for this particular set the ants were marching with a slight squiggle. Most ants do. With this in mind, it seemed more appropriate to get out the FooDoodlers and draw them on. Best invention ever, those FooDoodlers.

Tic Tac Toe Board by Melissa Joy Cookies

I did pipe the ants on with royal icing, because I wanted more of a 3D effect with the little guys, but you could just as easily draw them. Board complete!

summer tic-tac-toe cookie by melissa joy cookies

Let’s move on to the game pieces…

I had so many options with my ever growing collection of mini cookie cutters, but I settled on 5: an ice cream cone, popsicle, strawberry, watermelon, and sun. They seemed the most like the start of summer fun to me! I typically make six cookies of each design so there are enough to play the game with. Some details are done with the FooDoodlers and some with royal icing. It never hurts to make extra minis if you plan to snack as you participate.

Tic Tac Toe Cookie Game Pieces by Melissa Joy Cookies

The only shape I had to frankencookie (i.e. squishing two pieces of dough shapes together to get one desired shape) was the popsicle. I used a mini tombstone cookie cutter and the bottom of a mini Christmas bulb cutter. It was a bit tedious, but I only made 12 total. I could deal.

How-To make a popsicle cookie.j

Once the desired cookie game pieces are made and the board ready, it’s time to play! And then eat. A great way to commemorate the start of our summer break!

Tic Tac Toe Cookie for Summer by Melissa Joy Cookies

We are looking forward to no early morning schedules, al fresco dinners, and the prospects of road trips near and far. HAGS! Or as us old people say….Have A Great Summer! ;)

summer tic tac toe cookies by melissa joy cookies

Root Beer Float Cookies

Last week our school celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with treating the staff to something special in their break room. I volunteered to bring cookies for Root Beer Float day because I was dying to try out this idea…

Root Beer Float by Melissa Joy Cookies

The staff has received a healthy dose of my creations the past two years and I worry they will grow tired of “that cookie lady”. It seems I’m continually carrying a blue bakery box into school. I tell the teachers they are my Melissa Joy quality control for new designs. They must not mind too much yet because the cookies, regardless of style, seem to disappear rather quickly. These root beer float cookies were no exception. Here’s a brief low down on how it all got done…

Root Beer Floats for Teacher Appreciation by Melissa Joy

I had asked Jill of Custom Cookies by Jill where she had gotten her mug cutter and she sent it to me to borrow. Mind you, I have never met her, only admired and commented on her amazing work via the net. How awesome are cookie people?! Completely awesome! I was doubly thrilled I didn’t have to frankenstein the dough together to get a similar mug shape. Sixty cookies would be a LOT to do that way and I would end up very crabby.

root beer float mug how-to

I first started the cookies like this, with separate brown segments on the mug. I do like this version, but realized with letting the icing set between sections, it would take longer and I was short on time. I decided to do the rest in one solid section, vowing to use an food marker for details later, and that version looks like this.

root beer float cookie how-to

Regardless the way you choose, the next few steps remain the same.

paper straws for root beer cookies

Can I just say, I LOVE paper straws. The excuse to use them with a cookie is always a bonus. I cut the ones I purchased into 4 equal lengths.

root beer float cookie how-to

With a squirt of ivory icing, adhere the straw onto the cookie.

root beer float cookie how-to

With that same ivory icing, fill in your “ice cream”, leaving it sort of bumpy.

root beer float cookie how-to

Immediately add a sour cherry ball. Oh my, they are like the red jelly beans with a twist and may be a new favorite candy of mine. They also make the cutest cherry on top!

root beer float cookie how-to

Once the ice cream part sets up, it’s time to add the “froth”. With the ivory icing, go squiggly along the edge of the mug and ice cream. Add sanding sugar for sparkle and contrast.

Root Beer Float Cookie how-to

Let the whole cookie sit overnight if you make the drawn mug version. I used a brown FooDoodler to make the lines on mine. They are the best at making detailing a breeze.

Cherry Cookies by Melissa Joy Cookies

Because I had to create around 100 cookies for the staff, I decided to balance out the floats with a simple cherry cookie. These were made using a raindrop cutter and could not have been easier to add to the set!

Root Beer Float Cookies by Melissa Joy Cookies

Cookies completed and teachers appreciated! I am not ashamed to say that I love the way these root beer float cookies turned out. I am itching to make them again and thinking that a family picnic or a neighborhood BBQ would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Summertime is fast approaching and with these cookies, I’ll be ready!

 

This post linked to: Kitchen Fun with My 3 SonsTidy Mom & featured on the Cookie Connection Saturday Spotlight

Jelly Bean Jar Cookies

How can Easter be less than two weeks away and I’ve only made ONE new-to-me cookie design for it?! Yikes. Life has been busy.

Jelly Bean Jar Cookie by Melissa Joy

I made these for my monthly blog stint on the website Bake It Up a Notch. I am assuming you have a few jelly beans in your cupboard right now and perhaps dough in the fridge, in which case you should be able to squeeze in time to make these jelly bean jar cookies. It’s a simple design without a lot of steps. This is always a bonus when it’s a race against the calendar. The hardest part will be not eating all the jelly beans before they get on to the cookie.

jelly bean cookies by melissa joy

And speaking of jelly beans, here is a tiny tutorial on how I made them in cookie form:

Tiny Tutorial Jelly Bean Mini Cookies by Melissa Joy

Like I mention on the blog, minis are a great accent cookie to the big guys. For the complete tutorial, check out my post on Bake It Up a Notch by clicking here: Jelly Bean Jar Cookies.

Jelly Bean Jar Cookies by Melissa Joy

I’m hoping to get in at least a few egg and bunny cookies yet, but if not, I will be more than satisfied just sharing these. Happy Spring!

Easy Bird Nest Cookies for Spring

Spring Nest Cookies by Melissa Joy

It feels like an eternity since I’ve posted something new on the blog. The last few weeks have been a flurry of school obligations, home life, and Cookie Con. The latter being the most fun and most exhausting. I think I have finally recovered from talking cookies for 3 days straight, yet the loot I amassed from the trip still lies in a pile on my table. I’ll get to organizing it. Eventually.

Bird Nest Cookies by Melissa Joy Cookies

For now, I bring you the easiest bird nest cookies ever. Want to see how easy? I’ll show you…let’s begin! First we need a round cookie. One of my favorite cookie cutter shapes to use is this scalloped one, but a simple circle would work too. Bake and frost like so.

Bird Nest Cookies How To by Melissa Joy

After about 20 minutes, you’re ready for the next two steps.

Spring Bird Nest Cookie How To by Melissa Joy.jpg

I made my frosting a bit on the thicker side, so it would hold its shape once the sprinkles were added.

Now we can’t leave the nest empty! I go to my personal favorite this time of year…the Cadbury Mini Egg.

Spring bird nest cookie how to with Cadbury Mini Eggs by Melissa Joy

They are THE perfect colors, with those sweet little speckles, not to mention being super delicious and very addicting. Make sure to buy the big bag. Unless you have more self control than me. So finally…

Bird Nest Cookie with Cadbury Eggs by Melissa Joy.jpg

While the center frosting is still soft, squish a few chocolate eggs in the middle of the nest. That’s it. You’re done!

bird nest cookie place setting by melissa joy

Once the bird nest cookies were complete, I couldn’t help but think how charming they would be as place setting for an Easter or Mother’s Day table. A personal detail to make yearly occasions a little more special.

Nest Cookies with Cadbury Eggs by Melissa Joy Cookies.jpg

Spring is taking its sweet time arriving in my neck of the woods. By creating these easy nest cookies, it makes it seem like the grass is getting greener, my garden is on the verge of coming to life and I will soon be able to shed my down coat…someday soon. I hope.

 

This post linked to: Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

 

Embroidery Cookies and Photo Tips

Once a month I get to contribute to the website Bake It Up a Notch. It is a great source for bakers of all levels, filled with creative ideas to try, tips on how to improve sales, and ways make your business more efficient.

embroidery cookies for mom by melissa joy cookies.jpg

My latest post there gives a brief introduction to cookie photography, with simple tips for those who have never really thought about it. We’re not going for award winning pictures or anything, but some easy ways for your product look its best. It can be more than a quick snapshot before you head out the door!

embroidery cookies by melissa joy cookies.jpg

Want to see more? Check out my post here: Photography Tips for Beginner Cookie Decorators. If you have some tricks of your own, I’d love to hear about them and others may too. Add your advice in the comment section. Now get baking and start showing it off!

St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Pops

shamrock cookies by melissa joy.jpg

March is here! Finally! The winter may actually end now!!! I feel like time is a wastin’ for St. Patrick’s Day treats, so let’s get right to it.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 11.54.33 PM

Once I found these adorable paper straws in the dollar bin at Target, I knew what I had to do…

St. Patrick's Day Cookie Pops by Melissa Joy Cookies

That whole photo booth prop thing we all can’t get enough of, and don’t even get me started on mustaches. They are everywhere and on every thing. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, eh? I’m all about fun, easy cookies for kids (both big and small) so these seem to fit the bill.

st. patrick's day cookie how to

The hat and beard were made using these cookie cutters and a little creative trimming to get them just right. The mustache and bow tie shaped cutters I already owned, so no fuss there!

st. patrick's day hat how to

This is the base of the festive St. Patty’s Day hat. Leave each step of frosting to dry a bit before moving on to the next. Add the details of a buckle and clover when ready.

bow tie cookie how to

I did a similar step by step for the bow ties, to give the knot some definition.

St. Patrick's Day Cookies by Melissa Joy Cookies

I added a beard to the mix, and kept it simple by using only orange royal icing and sanding sugar. These would all be fine as they are, but who doesn’t love a cookie on a stick?

Cookie Pop How To by Melissa Joy Cookies

I had never worked with paper straws, so I took the method of “glueing” the stick to the cookie with royal icing from those decorators that have done it before. I did give the straws on the hats a bit of an angle, so it would have the proper placement when later used as a prop. Once fully dried, they were much sturdier than I thought they would be.

Bow Tie and Mustache Cookies by Melissa Joy Cookies.jpgSt. Patrick's Day Hat and Beard cookies by Melissa Joy.jpg

The kiddies are sure to have a blast with these, when everybody’s Irish on March 17th….

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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