In my last couple posts I’ve mentioned a big Luau party my family has the pleasure of attending every year. For almost 10 years we have enjoyed friendship with a family that is not only kind, generous, and talented… but they know how to throw an amazing party!
The decorations and elaborate preparations that go into the Lange Luau are always stunning! This year, Shelly (the party hostess), added a new showstopper… an amazing fruit display with a tall pineapple ‘tree’, adorned by the most adorable fruit monkeys! Shelly saw a tree like this on a recent cruise and took a photo. Then she got to work and re-created it just for her party guests to enjoy!
To assemble this beautiful display, Shelly enlisted her handy hubby (Steve) to make a metal base, with a thin metal pole to skewer the pineapples onto. This was the main support structure. Alternatively, a wooden dowel, secured into a base would work as a support too. The pineapple “tower” will be quite heavy. Make sure the base is nice and wide. The base could also be clamped to the table for added support.
Once the pineapples were stacked (skewered onto the pole), then the work of attaching the pineapple tops (the tree “leaves”), as well as the kiwi “coconuts” began. All of the fruit and tops were secured with bamboo skewers.
For the monkeys, Shelly assembled the head (made of an orange, orange slice ears, lemon mouth, radish slice and 1/2 of a grape for eyes), and used bamboo skewers to attach it to the body (a papaya). Then, with some help from friends, the monkey’s body is held in place on the tree trunk, while bananas were added as arms and legs.
One of the monkey’s got a few girly upgrades… eyelashes and lipstick (drawn with a marker), raffia “hair”, and a little flower lei.
As a little bonus to the fun fruit centerpiece, Shelly is allowing me to share a few images of her gorgeous yard. For more photos of this incredible yard, you can see my 2010 Luau Party post.
The yearly Luau party is held a hill side back yard, which is divided into layers with several beautiful decks and patios. The yard has been designed, landscaped and built into the showpiece it is today by the homeowners, Steve and Shelly. Every square inch of the limited space has been beautifully though out and put to use.
Now, who’s ready for a Luau?
Last week I shared how to make pretty fondant flowers, and promised to show how to use them soon. Well, here I am, as promised!
This past weekend my family and I enjoy attending a big luau party at a friends house. We have enjoyed friendship with the host family about 10 years, and most every one of those years they’ve hosted a huge, beautiful luau party. For the past several years I have had the pleasure of making special desserts for the party.
Two years ago I took the time to photograph the whole set-up, here is the Lange Luau 2010 (along with some photos of the incredible yard the party is held in).
This year, I didn’t photograph everything together, but I have broken the desserts into several different posts, to show you each special dessert.
Of course decorated cookies need to be included! Since I have made cookies for this party for several years, I try to come up with some slightly new designs each year. I have several designs to share (some will be in future posts), but today I’ll start with my favorites! In fact, these may be some of my favorite cookies ever!
Would you like to make some pretty Luau Cookies?
First, you’ll need a batch of cookies made with my Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Next, prepare a batch of royal icing (here’s my Royal Icing Recipe).
I’ll use the following terms to describe the icing consistency for each step…
Thick/piping consistency- This icing stays in place when piped, and does not settle into a pool. This is a bit thicker than the consistency of traditional toothpaste.
Medium consistency- This is just thick enough to stay in place when piped, but thin enough to settle into a pool after a few seconds. When mixing this icing, draw a line with a spoon through the bowl of icing, and the line should heal (disappear) in 12-15 seconds. This is about the consistency of shampoo.
Thin/Flood consistency- Slightly thinner than medium consistency. This is good for filling in large cookies quickly.
Let’s get started!
1. Outline your cookie (I used a scalloped circle) with green icing (in either a thick or medium consistency), using a #2 or #1.5 tip. Allow outline to set up (15 minutes or more), then fill in/flood the cookie with white medium (or flood) consistency icing.
2.-6. Once the cookie is filled in, immediately, draw simple leaf shapes using green, medium consistency icing (using a #2 or #1.5 tip).
Quickly, continue below…
1. Working quickly, while the icing is still wet, use a toothpick to draw from the inside of each leaf, out toward the tip, creating a little point at the top of each leaf shape.
2.- 4. Now, drag your toothpick in the opposite direction (from the outside of the leaf, toward the inside), around the edges of the leaf, creating jagged edges.
5. Throughout the process, use a slightly damp cloth or paper towel to wipe off your toothpick between each drag on the cookie.
Quickly, continue below…
1.-2. Continue, while the icing is still wet…. Dip your toothpick into an area with green icing, then use that icing to add a thin green “vein” up the center of the leaf.
3.-4. Again, dip your toothpick in an area with some green icing, then drag your toothpick to create a few flourishes, as desired.
5.-6. Add a few yellow dots (if desired), using yellow, medium consistency icing. Now, allow the cookie to dry.
1. Once the cookie is dry (2-8 hours), add 3-D leaves. I used a #352 Wilton tip. Feel free to use any leaf tip you prefer.
2.-3. Add a few leaves, using green, thick consistency icing.
4.-6. Add (dry) fondant flowers, as desired. Adding a few leaves in between, as needed.
Allow the cookie to dry fully before packaging (4-8 hours).
Here is the direct link to my post on How to Make Fondant Flowers, as I used here.
Feel free to use royal icing flowers (Sweet Sugar Belle has some nice tutorials HERE and HERE).
Or purchase pre-made gumpaste, fondant, or royal icing flowers.
Especially if you make your own fondant flowers (as I did), these cookies will be a bit time consuming. But a few extra detailed cookies in a collection with other, simpler designs can create a really beautiful display! Because of the 3-D flowers, these would need to be packaged gently (if at all) and thus, would not be ideal for shipping.
I’d be interested in your feedback on this set. Do you like me sharing more complex designs from time to time, or do you prefer simpler designs?
*Supply note- The large, scalloped oval cookie cutter I used for the “Aloha” cookie is from Copper Gifts. The scalloped circle cutter is from Cost Plus World Market (in store).
I’ve been working all week on some pretty desserts for a big luau party our friends host every year. I’ll have several beautiful and delicious projects to share from the luau, over the next week or so.
I’m incorporating colorful fondant flowers on the cookies and cupcakes for the party, so today I’ll share the basics of creating the flowers.
These flowers make great accents on cookies, cupcakes and cakes. The flowers can be made long in advance (up to a month or so), and stored tupperware type container. They are a nice item to have on hand to dress up any baking project.
Before getting started, you’ll want to read through my previous post, Fondant 101, which includes coloring and rolling out your fondant, as well as basic fondant tools.
Supplies for making fondant flowers-
There are numerous kinds and sizes of fondant cutters, tools and molds available at craft stores and on-line. As far as I know, the three cutters pictured above (the cutters I used the most often) are not sold (in-store) at most major craft stores.
1. This is a three piece set that includes a flower shaped cutter as well as a top and bottom mold/veiner. The set is a bit of an investment, but I think it’s a great set to have. Available from Global Sugar Art, similar from Country Kitchen Sweetart.
2. This is a plunger/cutter (by PME). This is the 7/8″ size. Available from Country Kitchen Sweetart, Global Sugar Art and Fondant Source.
3. This is a mini plunger/cutter (by PME). This is often sold in a set of three sizes. The size pictured above is the largest in the set, the 1/2″ size. Available from Country Kitchen Sweetart and Global Sugar Art.
*Note- I am not promoting any particular vendor, I just added links to make it easy on you.
How to make fondant flowers-
1. Roll out your fondant (any questions on coloring and rolling out fondant, or basic fondant tools, see my Fondant 101 post).
2.-3. Cut the fondant with your desired cutters.
4. Using a small spatula, gently lift a flower from your work surface.
5. To add shape and texture, place the flower in one side of your impression mold (shopping info at the top of this post).
6. Top with the other side of the impression mold, and press together gently. Use a bit of corn starch on both sides of the mold, as needed, to prevent the fondant from sticking to the mold.
7. Open up the mold.
8. Use a toothpick or boo-boo stick to gently remove the flower.
9. Place the finished flower on a lint free cloth, or paper plate to dry. I find the flowers usually keep their shape best if I place them on the plate upside down to dry. Allow to air dry several hours before moving. Once firm and dry, place in a tupperware type container (away from heat, humidity and direct sunlight) and store until ready to use (a month or so).
Use flowers to decorate cookies, cakes and cupcakes. (I’ll be sharing some examples soon!)
Looking for more small fondant projects?
Fondant Ribbon Roses (Glorious Treats)
Fondant Ladybugs (Glorious Treats)
Fondant Butterflies (Glorious Treats)
Fondant Graduation Caps (Glorious Treats)
Cake Journal has several wonderful tutorials for fondant/gumpaste flowers (and other shapes).
The Decorated Cookie has lots of mini fondant projects, from simple cupcake toppers to pumpkins and cute garden bugs.
Not too many years ago when someone said they had an “internet friend”, people might have pictured a hermit who posted a 20 year old photo of themself online in order to find someone to chat with.
Now… well, I hope things have changed because half of my friends are “internet friends!”
And not only do I have internet friends… so do my kids! (don’t freak out… keep reading)
My “internet friend” (and real life friend) Callye and I have spent many a late night chatting via video skype. Often, as we’re chatting, little people in her house (cute kids) run over to the computer and say “where’s your girls”. More than once, Callye and my conversation has been (sweetly) interrupted with one of her cute kids, who want to chat with my kids (or vice versa). So very quickly the skype conversation shifts from the world issues Callye and I were discussing (such as the pretty new cakes stands we just bought) to “I can roar like a dinosaur”, and “look at my Hello Kitty shirt”. It’s pretty fun to see our kids enjoy a technology that didn’t even exist when I was 6!
This week, Callye’s middle kiddo, Caleb, is turning 6. As much as we would have loved to share in the birthday celebration in person… the states of Arizona and New Mexico are in our way! But… since we are internet friends after all… we thought we could still celebrate over the computer!
Caleb loves dinosaurs, so I knew a treat in his honor needed to include dinos.
Here’s a simple birthday treat from my girls to their friend Caleb…
I prepared a long standing kid favorite “worms and dirt”, added chocolate rocks and some toy dinosaurs. Super simple, super yummy.
All you need to make these treats is….
Oreo cookies, crushed (put Oreos in a large plastic bag, and whack them with a rolling pin)
Gummy worms (if desired)
Chocolate rocks (I bought these at my local grocery store)
Prepare the chocolate pudding (as directed by the package).
Put a layer of crushed oreos in the bottom of your serving dishes. Add a layer of pudding.
Add another layer of crushed oreos, lay a gummy worm in the “dirt” if desired. Add more pudding. Top with crushed oreos.
Add a few chocolate rocks, and a dinosaur toy.
(Note- Technically the dinosaur toys may or may not be food safe. For good measure I rinsed them off in hot soapy water).
My girls and I were feeling a little sad that we were making a special dessert that Caleb would not really be able to eat… but then I remembered that his mommy is the most amazing cookie decorator around, so I knew he would have some very special treats of his own!
Check out the fun Dinosaur Cookies Caleb’s mommy, also know as Sweet Sugar Belle, made.
And another “internet friend” (and real friend) wanted to celebrate cross country with us, Lisa of the Bearfoot Baker made these special Dinosaur Cookies for Caleb.
Happy birthday sweet Caleb!
Cookie decorating is a hobby I thoroughly enjoy! But the activity of baking and decorating cookies can be quite time intensive. If I am going to spend several hours decorating special cookies, I think it’s worth a little extra time and investment to package them in a way that really shows them off! Some thoughtful packaging can turn a few small cookies into a really beautiful gift.
I often package cookies in cellophane bags, as I’ve shown HERE and HERE, but today I wanted to share a few other options. I’ve included links to each of the different elements I’ve used, and I hope these ideas will spark a few of your own as well!
(Above, left)- Mini cookies in an 8 oz. mason jar (I usually buy the jars at Wal-Mart, but there are several on-line sources, such as Kerr, The Jar Store, or Specialty Bottle). I used a cupcake liner (flatten slightly with my fingers first) on top of the jar lid, then screwed on the jar ring.
(middle)- Mini cookies in small red gable boxes (similar available from Kara’s Party Ideas), finished with paper ribbon from Paper Jacks, and a free printable label from Shindig Parties (as featured on Lil Luna).
(right)- Mini cookies in a small jar (from Wal-Mart), finished with bakers twine (from The Twinery).
(Above)- Cookies in cookie boxes from BRP Box Shop. I was happy to be included as a “cookie expert” to help advise BRP in designing boxes just for cookies. The end results are boxes that I think you’ll find lots of uses for! The box shown above is the 7″x 4 1/2 ” size, perfect for a small gift. Normally, I would put the cookies in small clear bags before arranging them in the box, but if the cookies are going to be enjoyed right away, then laying them directly in the box (on some crinkle paper) should be fine.
(Above, left & right)- Mini cookies in 8oz. mason jars (as described in an above photo).
(middle)- Mini cookies in a polka-dot favor box (from Shop Sweet Lulu).
(Above)- These cookies are from previous post, Smiling Sunshine Cookies, in a box (from Garnish), and Easy Snowball Cookies, in a jar (from Wal-Mart).
A couple of my cookie friends have some beautiful packaging ideas too…
I love these boxed Christmas Cookies from Cookie Artisan (the first “cookier” I saw using flat/stationary type boxes- brilliant!)
And these Apple Cookies in a Jar from Sweet Sugar Belle are just so cute!