Oscar Party

For sugar cookie enthusiasts, acquiring a respectable set of cutters for all holidays and special occasions is a must. The smart, economic solution is to get creative with your shapes and find numerous outputs stemming from a single frame. That egg shape you used for Easter can suddenly become Spiderman’s head. Or that circular cutter with the petal edges morphs from flower to ballet dancer. Thanks to the genius of Sweet Sugarbelle , you can purchase a single shape shifter kit whose pieces yield endless possibilities. But this isn’t why we’re posting today… at least, not entirely.

It’s funny how big ideas can come from one small thing. For our most recent venture, everything started with a single cookie cutter, fitting for only one particular occasion– the Academy Awards, a.k.a. “Oscar Night.”

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Our friend Kerry, a fellow pop culture fan and gifted photographer owns this Oscar statuette cutter. With the ceremony taking place this past Sunday, it seemed a waste to bake a batch of these Oscar cookies without rounding up some good company to share them with. And, really, when else can you use this little guy? The wheels in our heads turned, and a whole party plan came into fruition–because good parties deserve more than just a tray of cookies! Here’s how it all turned out.

We put together personalized Hollywood Walk of Fame personalized coasters for all of our guests:

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Then, we baked the statuette cookies in mass quantities, dipping the bases in chocolate, and painting gold shimmer on the surfaces:

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To add variety and a touch of posh, we finished the sweet table with gold-dotted vanilla bean cupcakes, chocolate French macarons, champagne Jello shots, and some tuxedo-donning strawberries:

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With the sweets operations running smoothly, we also needed savory food (like pizza, popcorn, mini Oscars-in-a-blanket; get it?), Hollywood-worthy libations, and fun activities celebrity A-listers would want in on.

Enter: our fashion-forward friend Laura Melzer, whose bartending skills came in handy when sorting out our drink menu (check out her blog!). End result? Five signature cocktails that deserve an encore presentation.

– The Red Carpet (a nod to the classic Cosmopolitan)
– The Old Hollywood (an Old Fashioned w/a twist)
– The Black Tie (Guinness + chocolate icecream)
– The Oscar (a mod French 75)
– The Acceptance Speech (a Laura Melzer original, crafted with green tea-infused vodka)

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Kerry’s camera wizardry came in handy shooting snaps of our party (see all pics in this post), including setting up a green screen:

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It’s like we were on the red carpet!

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As for games, we customized a OSCAR-themed bingo board, a “Who Wore It” picture quiz, and an award predictions game involving a small money pool.

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In the end, a great time was had by all:

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What we learned: the best recipe for an unforgettable get-together is a fine mix of the many unique talents friends bring to the table.

 

 

 

 

 

Statement Pieces

Sending a message with food is nothing new. A heart-shaped cake can be a profession of love. A piping hot bowl of soup can say ‘welcome’ at the first waft of steaming broth. We were once asked to mass produce an edible invitation to a “cookie throw down” event–one guess as to what food item we used as our platform (because obviously).

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Whatever message you’re trying to convey–an apology spelled out in pepperoni atop a pizza, for instance– there’s something disarming about using a platform as comforting as food to do it.

When tensions surrounding the centuries-old debate concerning vaccinations peaked in the past week on social media, we felt compelled to chime in. Vaccines, after all, are a matter of life and death, and it’s Cilla’s job as a pediatrician to keep children healthy.  Not surprisingly, strangers hurling insults left a bad taste in our mouths. If social media exchanges have taught us anything, it’s to not feed the trolls. But with so much negativity, why not approach the conversation with some positive (and literal) food for thought? With that, we submit a simple PSA:

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Now that’s one smart cookie.

In case you’re interested, here are some links with scholarly studies that address common concerns about vaccinations and their administration:

For more information, please consult your physician (not some hokey website with too many capital letters. Please.).

Thanks for listening!

New Year, Old Favorites

Happy 2017, friends!

In the first week of the new year, we’ve already seen cool, crazy culinary feats taking the internets by storm. Magical unicorn desserts are having a moment, and the Sarmie Sisters want in. Of course we do.

While we aim for creativity and innovation with each new baking project, it’s the standby  classics that hold a special place in our hearts. Consider the chocolate chip cookie: a humble, no-frills treat that has never waned in popularity since its arrival on American plates in the 1930s (yes, we looked it up).

One of our first from-scratch endeavors as little girls in the Sarmie household was the Toll House recipe. Back then, as eight- and nine-year-olds, we didn’t have the fancy gadgets we rely on today–no KitchenAid stand mixers, cookie scoopers, piping bags, or the enviable collection of cookie cutters that drive our husbands crazy when scattered about in our cupboards. Hey, we need them to live! But we digress…

With just a couple of mixing bowls and spoons, sweet chocolate chip goodness can be achieved. Not unicorn magic, but magic nonetheless.

Peep our recipe!

Sarmie Sister Sweets Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients:

  •  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package dark chocolate chips (we use Ghirardelli)
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. Over the stove, heat butter in saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until it turns light brown. Turn off heat, let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugars and butter together.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing throughly after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Place bowl in fridge for 30 min to chill.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes (until edges of cookies are golden brown).
  7. Sprinkle with sea salt immediately.
  8. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to wire racks.
  9. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies are THE Christmas Cookies

Okay, okay– we admit it. We’re a small fish in a big pond of blogs authored by baking nuts like us who just want to spread a little sweetness in the world… and we’re really late to the party. But that didn’t stop us from finally pulling the trigger and joining the mix. So here we are. Welcome to Sarmie Sister Sweets’ inaugural blog post. Brace yourself.

Anyway…

Ahh, Christmas. ‘Tis the season of warm fuzzies, celebrating the nativity, and rapturously destroying the kitchen to prepare Instagram-worthy sweets for office cookie exchanges and family get-togethers. Pretty sure we can all agree that the quintessential piece of every Christmas cookie collection is the tried-and-true rolled sugar cookie. Pretty? Yes. Pain in the butt? Sometimes.

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Process-wise, this trusty standby won’t kill you. We’ve stood by a recipe we randomly found about 12 years ago in an old cookbook. Among pages of vintage recipes (think meats in ring molds or entrees masquerading as dessert items) sat the cookies we’ve made our own in the past decade.

With a few tweaks, like adding almond extract, shortening the bake time to retain a softer texture, and decorating with Betty Crocker cookie icing, you, too, can have the power.

Behold:

Sarmie Sisters’ Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Betty Crocker cookie icing, for decorating
  1. Cream butter and add sugar and vanilla gradually, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; add to creamed mixture in fourths, mixing until blended after each addition, Chill dough for at least an hour (or overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough 1/4-inch thick; cut into a variety of shapes with cutters. Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  4. Bake 5 – 7 minutes, or until the centers lose their sheen and a faint golden brown appears on the edges.
  5. Transfer baked cookies onto cooling racks; once at room temperature, get decorating!