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“My blog is a collection of tidbits about the things I love... sugar cookies, baking, great food, cute stuff, and life in Happy Valley. Check back often for updates!!”

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Vera Bradley GIVEAWAY!!

posted Monday Jul 18, 2011 at 05:10 PM by Anne Yorks — 75 comments

FLOUR BOX BAKERY UPDATE: The stork is visiting Flour Box Bakery this summer. As a result, I am not currently accepting new orders. My baking schedule is booked through the summer until my due date. I will continue to update my blog with my summer cookie projects. I hope you'll continue to follow my cookie adventures until I'm back to work! Thank you to all my wonderful customers - I look forward to baking for you when I return from my 'cookie-in-the-oven' leave!!

AND THE RANDOMLY SELECTED WINNER IS... Kris of FL, commenter #13!!

"Congrats! Already a fan on Facebook and a fan of your cookies! They are way too cute!"

Thanks to all that entered. I know it may seem as though some comments 'disappeared', but my blog only shows a certain amount of comments at a time. Don't worry, all 73 comments were published on the backend for me to read. Sorry if that caused any confusion!

Thanks again for reading!!


I am so excited to have reached 1000 'likers' on the Flour Box Bakery Facebook page. It's a small, but very fun milestone!

It's only be a year and a half that I've had a website and a facebook page for my cookies and in that short time I have connected with so many amazing customers and fellow cookiers. I have enjoyed these new friendships and look forward to many more in the future. I have found the cookie world to be a fun and friendly place. I just love all the sweet notes people email me, comments on the blog, and posts on my facebook page, 

And so, in appreciation of all the fun I have been having, I'm hosting a little giveaway.

One lucky winner will receive a beautiful Vera Bradley Hipster in the brand new pattern, Mocha Rouge. I searched high and low for a fantastically fun giveaway prize and after much thought I decided to go with something I myself would love to win. Isn't this pattern just gorgeous? And the hipster is a stylish and functional bag (I know because I have one in a different pattern).

You can enter the contest twice...here is how:

1. Like Flour Box Bakery on Facebook and post a comment below to let me know you did (if you are already a fan, post that in the comment area for your entry)

2. Follow @flourboxbakery on twitter and post a comment below letting me know you did so.  


That's it! It's that easy! 


The contest ends on Friday, July 22 at midnight EST. 

Winner will be selected randomly and posted on Saturday. I will also notify the winner by email.


I truly love making cookies! Thank you again to everyone for my cookie adventures so much fun!

Anne

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Vintage Bathing Beauty Birthday (part two)

posted Monday Jul 04, 2011 at 11:52 AM by Anne Yorks — 43 comments

FLOUR BOX BAKERY UPDATE: The stork is visiting Flour Box Bakery this summer. As a result, I am not currently accepting new orders. My baking schedule is booked through the summer until my due date. At this point I'll be updating my website so that it is clear that I'm taking time off.  I will continue to update my blog with my summer cookie projects. I hope you'll continue to follow my cookie adventures until I'm back to work! Thank you to all my wonderful customers - I look forward to baking for you when I return from my 'cookie-in-the-oven' leave!!

A few days ago, I shared the photos from a special birthday project I made for my mom. In case you missed it, here is a link to the the Vintage Bathing Beauty Birthday (part one) blog post.

Today's post will focus on the behind-the-scenes making of the cake and cookies!

I used my mom's favorite colors as the color scheme of the project.

Since I wanted a very specific cookie design, I had to make my own paper cookie stencil and hand-cut each of the bathing beauty cookies. 

I knew I needed a minimum number of cookies, but I made extras just in case of a mistake.


This project would have been a little more difficult if I didn't have a kopykake projector : ) I sketched my cookie design and then using the kopykake I piped my design on the cookie. Of course it would be impossible to do this without the kopykake, I just think the kopykake helps keep the  mess-ups to a minimum and keeps things consistent. 


I wanted a very sparkly bathing suit and cap, so I flooded the colored areas first and then generously covered it with disco dust.


Once those areas were dry, I went back and flooded the areas that did not have disco dust.


I added a few subtle details, but tried not to overdo it. I really thought the cookie design needed to be simple and uncluttered.


The seashell cookies were a little easier to make since I used cookie cutters. But I still used my kopyake for the 'Happy Birthday' cookies. 


I used the same icing colors as the bathing beauties. I flooded the background of the cookies and let them dry. Then I outlined the seashells.


I flooded them with white icing and added the disco dust. 


The cookies needed to dry again before I added the shell detail.


I'm a cookie maker. It's what I do day after day, week after week. But, making cakes intimidates me. And for my mom, I really wanted to make the PERFECT birthday cake. She LOVES lemon, so I found a great recipe on foodnetwork.com from Paula Deen for a delicious three-layer lemon-filled cake. Click here for the complete recipe.  I must be really slow, because the recipe estimated that it takes 1hour and 10 minutes to make the cake. It took me about an afternoon (this included set up time, mixing.baking, cooling time, and clean up). I think you would have to be a wizard to get it ALL done in just an hour and 10 minutes!


I made the lemon curd filling first. I wanted to let it cool completely before assembling the cake.

I don't have a double broiler, so I improvised with a glass bowl over my saucepan. This is easy to do and I had leftovers for my English muffins all week. YUM!


Next I made the cake batter, baked the layers, and let them cool. I used a standard buttercream icing recipe instead of the recommended boiled icing. My mom loves buttercream!  I used blue, green and white food coloring to tint it seafoam green.

Assembling the layers made me a little nervous. The cake was a little delicate and crumbly.


I stacked the layers, putting the lemon curd between each one, and added the buttercream. I think I need a little practice making a smooth layer of buttercream. Practice makes perfect. I guess I need to make more cakes!


I piped royal icing on the back of the diver cookies and fixed two sticks to each cookie. The royal icing make a fantastic glue. 


I pressed each swimmer girl into the side of the cake. I didn't have a lot of leftover buttercream icing, so I did not add any icing to the backs of the cookies. I didn't have any problem with them slipping of sliding down, but a little extra icing 'glue' probably wouldn't have hurt either. Then I carefully inserted the divers into the top of the cake.


For the final touch, I piped a shell border around the swimmers. It was the perfect finishing touch since it looked a little like water waves.


And ta-da ... the project was finished!! 


Every time I do big baking project, I always learn something along the way. Here are a few lessons learned:

1. Make extra buttercream. I wished I would have doubled the recipe because I started to run out at the end. Boo. Never good. I didn't have time to make extra, so I just had to make do with what I had.

2. Smooth the edges of the cookies after hand-cutting. I didn't like the look of the jagged edges - they really became more noticeable after they were baked.

3. Attach the sticks to the cookies and let sit for several hours. I didn't allow enough time when placing the sticks on the back to when I was assembling the cake. Nothing broke, but it was definitely fragile.

4. Measure the sticks before assembling. I wished the third set of sticks would have been a little longer so that the third diver would have been popped up higher in the back.

5. Measure the estimated size of the cookies for the cake. I just guessed and it worked out ok, but I could have calculated it out a little better so that the cookies fit perfectly. 

6. No matter what things look like, they always taste good...so just relax and enjoy the process. 

Live and learn. Not bad for my first cake/cookie combo. : )

I hope you enjoyed the post! I have a few other special cookies projects to share...lots of special birthdays this summer!

Have a sweet weekend,

Anne





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Vintage Bathing Beauty Birthday (part one)

posted Monday Jul 04, 2011 at 10:59 AM by Anne Yorks — 8 comments

FLOUR BOX BAKERY UPDATE: The stork is visiting Flour Box Bakery this summer. As a result, I am not currently accepting new orders. My baking schedule is booked through the summer until my due date. At this point I'll be updating my website so that it is clear that I'm taking time off.  I will continue to update my blog with my summer cookie projects. I hope you'll continue to follow my cookie adventures until I'm back to work! Thank you to all my wonderful customers - I look forward to baking for you when I return from my 'cookie-in-the-oven' leave!!

There aren't enough words that can express how much I love my mom. She means everything to me. She is my role model, my friend, my neighbor (right next door!), and hero. She is the greatest mother and Nana. She is the rock of our family. She has an amazing sense of humor, a big loving heart, and a genuine giving nature. She is firm in her faith. She never ceases to put others before herself. She is known for saying "Count your blessings" and "Enjoy every minute of every day". 

This is my beautiful mom holding my little baby girl on the day she was born. (this is a favorite photo of mine)



This weekend, my mom celebrated her birthday and I wanted to make her an extra special birthday cake and collection of cookies. This is part one of the Vintage Bathing Beauty Birthday. I will post part two later this week and will show the making-of-the-cookies and the cake, a vanilla cake with lemon curd filling and buttercream icing. Mmmmmmmmm. The cake was delicious!  

 

During our recent beach vacation to Avalon, NJ, I stumbled across some cool vintage postcards at Fralinger's candy store in Stone Harbor.



Then I noticed these diving beauties in the window of a Stone Harbor gift shop.



Both of these images served as the basis of my design of the birthday cookies and cake. 



I put three bathing beauties diving off the top of the cake. And then I added some synchronized swimmers on the side of the cake. 



I used lots of disco dust on the bathing beauties to give them extra sparkle.



My mom loves anything seashell, so I made her a special set of cookies using the same color scheme as the bathing beauties. Just a little extra treat for her to enjoy!



I can't wait to show you how I made this special project! Tune in later this week for a behind the scenes look at how I designed the cookies and made the birthday cake!

Have a sweet 4-day week!!

Anne

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Gnome Sweet Gnome

posted Monday Jun 27, 2011 at 08:41 AM by Anne Yorks — 5 comments

FLOUR BOX BAKERY UPDATE: The stork is visiting Flour Box Bakery this summer. As a result, I am not currently accepting new orders. My baking schedule is booked through the summer until my due date. At this point I'll be updating my website so that it is clear that I'm taking time off.  I will continue to update my blog with my summer cookie projects. I hope you'll continue to follow my cookie adventures until I'm back to work! Thank you to all my wonderful customers - I look forward to baking for you when I return from my 'cookie-in-the-oven' leave!!

Hello and welcome to any visitors coming from the Sweetopia Blog!! I'm happy you're here! Thanks for stopping by. This week I am honored to have my Peacock cookies are featured on the Sweetopia Sweet of the Week contest. Will you take a moment to vote? It's all just for fun - but if you like the Peacock cookies, please vote for me! Thank you!! Click here to vote!

If you first saw the peacock cookies on Sweetopia.com and would like to view a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it yourself!   Here is a link to the making of these cookies.


Gnome sweet Gnome

I'm just getting settled back in this week from a wonderful beach vacation in Avalon, NJ. We go every year and enjoy this beautiful beach town. Since I'm expecting, this year was a little quieter than most, but still just as enjoyable. Although, no matter how much fun we have on vacation, it's always so nice to come back home. There really is no place like home - especially if you're coming home to your gnome.


A few weeks ago, I had some extra dough and icing. I had ordered a gnome cookie cutter from Karenscookies.net just for fun. Gnomes are a funny inside joke between Toph and I. One of us is a fan and one of us is not. So I thought it would be cute to make Toph his own special collection of gnome cookies.


These little guys are so colorful. I love the little noses on each of their faces.


Ever wonder what your gnomes do while you're on vacation? They form a kick line in the garden and have a big party.


When making these cookies, I made the bodies first and then went back and added the facial hair and features...


The arms are also a second layer of icing...


My little girl liked the red-suit gnomes - she thought they looked like Santa. 

This week, I'm working on a super special project for one of the most important people I know - my mom!  I'm researching and sketching and sketching and researching. I will actually be attempting a cake too! I hope to share the results soon!

And finally, here are a few photos from our vacation. I'm looking and feeling nice and pregnant now that I'm in my 3rd trimester! 




Have a wonderful and sweet week!!

Anne





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Graduation and Summer Reading Lists

posted Monday Jun 20, 2011 at 08:10 AM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

Graduation season is always busy with both college and high school projects. I did several, including a few for Penn State. The only set I had time to take photos of are the following. They were a custom order that included cheerleaders in addition to the regular cookie set.

 

The friends that were graduating were two brunettes and one blonde. :)


Now that many of us are in summer vacation mode, are you building your summer reading list yet? I love to read when I have free time and recently asked for book suggestions on the Flour Box Facebook page. I just received a new Color NOOK as a gift and I'm looking to fill it up with lots of great book ideas! Anyone out there use the LendMe feature? I'm dying to try it out.

Here are the suggestions that were submitted on the Facebook page:
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (I just borrowed this from the library)
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (recommended by several people - just bought this from the B&N Nook store)
The Romantics by Galt Neiderhoffer
Books by mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark 
Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo (recommended by two people)
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabledon
Author Beverly Lewis (Amish Series)

Some books I have recently read and recommend are: 
A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez
Baking in Kigali by Gail Parkin
The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
Devil's Food Cake Murder by JoAnne Fluke
The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers
    A Voice in the Wind
    An Echo in the Darkness   
    As Sure as the Dawn
Heat Wave by Richard Castle (these are the books from the Castle TV show)
Naked Heat by Richard Castle (these are the books from the Castle TV show)
My Life in France by Julia Child
Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy (I would recommend anything by Maeve!) 

Has anyone read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series? I haven't checked it out, but it looks very interesting - feedback welcome!

So what are you reading this summer? Let me know! I'm always looking for new ideas. Please leave a comment below with your favorite book ideas.

Happy Reading!!

Anne




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