Warm and Welcoming Fall Displays

Long before I even knew what a blog was, let alone had one, I spent time on a photo sharing site called Flickr.  I discovered a community of some of the most talented people… artists whose medium is sugar!  It was through Flickr that my baking skills really flourished.  I know that my skills as a baker have grown by leaps and bounds as a direct result of the inspiration and encouragement I found on Flickr! 
One of the most talented sugar artists I’ve ever seen is a cookie decorator named Maryann Rollins, or as we know her on Flickr, “Cookie Artisan“.  Take a look at her gorgeous cookies HERE.  If you don’t have time to see them all now, take some time soon to come back and really marvel at her incredible skills!  I have  marveled at and studied every photo she has posted over the last 2 years and I get excited ever time she posts a new one! 
Today I want to do a little show-and-tell of another side of this talented woman… her home decorating skills.  Maryann and her family love Halloween and have lots of fun together each year creating an array of beautiful Jack-o-lanterns.  Maryann has been gracious enough to let me share some of her beautiful outdoor displays.  The photo at the top of the post, and next three (below) are from a previous home on the east coast.  The bottom photo is from her current home, in Oklahoma.
Enjoy these gorgeous, welcoming displays….

Thank you Maryann
Happy fall decorating everyone!
(All images by Maryann Rollins- Do not use without permission)

Cupcake Liner Love {and a Giveway!}

Over the years I’ve developed quite a love for cupcake liners.  I’ve collected liners in a wide variety of sizes, colors and designs.  And although I still pick up new ones from time to time, I find I usually bake with the same ones over and over.  For “everyday” baking I usually use brown or white liners, but for special occasions I love to use colored ones.  I’ve tried several brands of liners… you know I bake a lot of cupcakes!   My favorite solid color liners are from Confectionery House.  The Confectionery House liners are the only colored liners I’ve found that really hold their color well after the cupcakes are baked… even with chocolate cupcakes.  Confectionery House liners add the perfect touch of color that can really dress up a cupcake display. 
Above are a few examples of the Confectionery House colored liners in action.
Top left- Easter Cupcakes.
Top right- Birthday cupcakes (pre-blog)
Bottom left- Luau Party cupcakes.
Bottom right- Rainbows and Race Cars Birthday cupcakes.
Ready to get your hands… or baking mitts… on some of these pretty liners?
Perfect, because Confectionery House is sponsoring an awesome giveaway just for Glorious Treats lovely readers! 
3 lucky readers will each win one pack of solid color liners AND…
 …one pack of fun polka-dot liners!
That’s over 350 liners total!!  That should keep you busy for a while!
But wait there’s more… One of the three winners will get a fun bonus… a $25.00 gift certificate to Confectionery House!  
It wont be hard to find some fun things to spend the gift certificate on, Confectionery House has an amazing selection of sprinkles, cookie cutters, baking pans, candy molds and baking tools. 
Ready to win some beautiful liners and a bit of shopping money too?
~ How to enter ~
For one entry- Head on over to Confectionery House and have a look at their gorgeous selection of cupcake liners, sprinkles, baking pans, cookie cutters, and baking supplies. Come back here and leave a comment telling me one of your favorite items from their site.

For a second entry- Sign up as a follower of Glorious Treats, and/or “like” Glorious Treats on Facebook (then leave a comment here telling me you are a follower and/or fan).
For a third entry- Pick any of these…
Add Glorious Treats to the blog links on your blog, add the Glorious Treats button to your blog, blog about this fun giveaway, or post on Facebook about the giveaway. (Include the link to your blog or Facebook page in your comment)
Leave a separate comment for each entry.
A maximum of three entries total per person.
Please make sure to include your e-mail address, so I can contact the winner.
This giveaway ends Tuesday, Oct. 26th 10:00 pm Pacific.
Winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be announced by Thursday, Oct. 28th.
The winner of the bonus $25.00 gift certificate will be chosen at random from the three winners.

A Sweet Week in San Francisco

I’m home tonight from a five day visit to San Francisco.  I’m a native Californian, so I’ve been to San Francisco several times before, but this trip was extra special!  The five days were spent shopping, eating, chatting, and then a bit more shopping and eating!  I shared this wonderful week with Sharnel of My life my loves, a beautiful friend whom I met (on the internet) several years ago through our mutual love of cupcakes and pretty things.  Although I’ve considered Sharnel a true friend (much more than just an internt acquaintance) for quite a while, we’ve never met in person.  Sharnel flew from her home in Australia this past week and we enjoyed a whirlwind tour of San Francisco.  I have LOTS of fun photos to share (that I’ll include in a few future posts), but I’ll start with a little overview…. 
Here is Sharnel (on the left) and I just hours after first meeting in person.  We enjoyed a lunch down on Fisherman’s Wharf.  Sharnel enjoyed the traditional sea side lunch, clam chowder in a fresh sourdough bread bowl. 
Throughout our visit we enjoyed the beautiful and unique architecture and scenery of San Francisco….
We also enjoyed a few sweets along the way…
And rounded out the sweets with a few other yummy foods…
We also did LOTS of fun shopping…
(Above) We enjoyed a stop at Paper Source after sharing a beautiful lunch with Becca of Birthday Girl, and Michelle of Cakewalk (more photos of our visit with these lovely ladies in a future post).
(Below)  One of the stops on our “must see” list included a gorgeous ribbon store… Sharnel and I went nuts in this store ohh-ing and ahh-ing.
That’s all from our trip for tonight.  I’ll be sharing more photos in future posts.  We found a few really special places I’ll look forward to sharing!  I had such a wonderful time with Sharnel, a beautiful person inside and out.  Not to mention, incredibly talented, kind, genuine and down right hysterical… this girl has an amazing sense of humor!  But I am also glad to be home… somehow my town feels more like “home” than ever, my husband looks cuter than ever (I wanted to say sexier than ever, can I say that?) and my children seem extra angelic. 
Home sweet home. 

Fall Treats…and off to San Francisco!

I have a full list of chores to complete before I head to bed tonight.   But then tomorrow, oh glorious tomorrow, I’m off for a long weekend of FUN!!  I’m heading to San Francisco to meet up with a wonderful friend… who I’ve never meet before!  I’ve been internet friends with Sharnel, of My Life My Loves for several years, but since we live on different continents (me in the U.S. and Sharnel in Australia), we’ve yet to meet in person.  Well, that will change tomorrow!  We have a full weekend planned, including lots of shopping, chatting, and eating!  And as if that wasn’t enough, we have plans to meet up with three other lovely bakers and/or bloggers. 
So I’ll leave you this week with a few baking projects… here are some of my fall favorites.  For the recipes, click on the title below each photo.

Snickerdoodles

Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Cupcakes

Happy Baking!

Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Icing

This is an easy and oh-so-delicious recipe that includes some of the most wonderful flavors of fall… pumpkin, cinnamon and maple.  I made these last weekend for a pot-luck and received tons of rave reviews!  These are soft, cake-like cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Icing

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (use slightly less if fresh ground)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened

2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

15 oz can of pumpkin (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins (optional, but delicious)

~Directions~

1.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.

2.  In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fully blended and slightly fluffy.  Mix in eggs and beat.  Add pumpkin, raisins and vanilla and continue to mix until well blended.

3. Add flour mixture, and mix until combined.

4.  Chill batter in fridge at least 15 minutes (this will help the cookies from spreading too much while baking).

5.  Scoop batter onto parchment lined, Silpat lined or lightly greased cookie sheets using a cookie scoop, or a large spoon.

6.  Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 375*F for about 12 minutes.  Cool a few moments on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.  Frost cookies with Maple icing (below) while still slightly warm.

Maple Icing

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (salted or unsalted)

2 cups confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple extract

~Directions~

While the cookies are baking, melt butter in a small sauce pan or in the microwave.  Mix melted butter with powdered sugar in a large bowl, using a whisk until well combined.  Add milk, and extracts.  Whisk until smooth.  Use a small knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing on top of cookies.  If you frost the cookies while they are still just slightly warm, the icing will dry with a nice smooth finish.

*Note- If you don’t have maple extract on hand, but want to makes these cookies with just the vanilla flavoring, they will still be good.  But the maple is really the secret ingredient in this, it adds such a wonderful flavor!

These cookies will keep quite well for at least 3 days, stored in an airtight container.

Recipe Source-  Final recipe by Glory Albin.  Inspiration from several different recipes, but most resembles a recipe from Martha Stewart (Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing).

Make these this season… then make a pot of coffee and invite me over.

Happy Baking!