I’m super excited to share that I am now selling digital downloads of some of my most popular journal and planner pages! I’ve opened a new store front, the MyHeartisticLife […]
Category: Heartistic Life
I’m going to call this a “Great Find Friday” post. 😏 Actually, I really just want to shout this company, @pengems, from the rooftops because, Wow! What incredible pens! I’ve […]
I had a lot of fun practicing my (amateur) cookie decorating skills this week. February is my husband’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and our anniversary. Lots of reasons to celebrate with love-themed goodies!
I always make sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day and these Perfect Sugar Cookies with Red Hot Glaze are my sweetheart’s favorites. The cookies have a great balanced sweetness and wonderful texture – not too heavy, but strong enough to stand up to the glaze. And the icing starts with melted Red Hot candies – what’s not to love?!
I recently took a cookie decorating class from Markie of Honey & Heart Cookie Co. I’m no stranger to icing cookies and Markie gave us so much praise and encouragement that I felt totally comfortable trying her recipes for cookies and icing all by myself.
Markie is a master. I’m not even really an apprentice!
But my cookies were still delicious and I’ll keep practicing those techniques because it was super fun. I’ve also signed up for another class with Markie at The Art House in Gilbert, AZ. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend The Art House and the cookie decorating classes.
Perfect Sugar Cookies
- 1 C. butter softened
- 1 C. granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 4 Tbsp. milk
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
- 3 ½ C. all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, beat butter for 1 – 2 minutes until color lightens slightly.
- Add sugar and beat until creamy.
- Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined.
- At low speed on the mixer, add flour one half cup at a time just until combined after each addition. Repeat until dough comes together and sides of the mixing bowl are clean. You may not need to add all of the flour.
- Divide dough into two balls and roll each ball out between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper to about ½-inch and no thinner than ¼-inch. Place rolled dough still between parchment sheets on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F.
- Once chilled, remove one sheet of dough at a time from the fridge. Remove top layer of parchment or waxed paper, and cut dough with floured cookie cutters. Place cut cookies 2-inches apart on parchment-lined cookies sheets.
- Bake cookies in a 300ºF oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
- May add food coloring along with flour, if desired.
Cinnamon Pie Crust Cookies are one of my favorite “cookies”. A simple but amazingly addictive treat, Pie Crust Cookies are a great way to use up leftover pie crust dough. The pies themselves are mostly, “meh”, for me (I know how crazy that sounds to many of you), but pie crust! Now that can be turned into something delicious. Add a cup of hot cocoa or herbal tea and I’m a happy girl!
I’ve never been a huge fan of cooked fruit pies. While there is definitely a time and place for a great apple pie, most cooked fruit makes me kind of sad. So mushy.
Dreaming of Pie
I do enjoy making pies, though. Especially holiday pies. I love most cream pies and pecan pie is one of my all time favorites. When I was a little girl, I once told my Aunt Shirley I would not go to sleep until she made me a Chocolate Cream Pie. It was already past my bedtime but she did it! Aunts are the best.
But let’s get back to pie crust and these simple delights. While store-bought pie crust makes these delicious cinnamon cookies even easier, making the dough from scratch is easy and takes these cookies to the next level. I’ve included my favorite, simple pie crust recipe here, but feel free to use your tried-and-true recipe.
Making Pie Crust Cookies Your Own
These cookies are easily modified and adapted to suit your family’s palate. Once baked and cooled a bit, I sometimes drizzle a simple vanilla glaze on top. The icing adds that extra bit of yum. It’s also fun to use cookie cutters to cut the cookies into shapes before baking. I have a friend who, instead of cinnamon, dusts hers with a bit of sugar and cocoa and some mini chocolate chips. And, if you’re into cooked fruit, you can definitely sprinkle some diced fruit on top before baking. So many fun possibilities!
Do you guys make something like this? What’s your family’s version?
Pie Crust Cookies
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon or to taste
- 1 C all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar optional
- ⅓ C shortening, butter, or lard
- ½ Tbsp vinegar optional
- 2 – 4 Tbsp ice water
- ¼ C butter softened (not melted)
- Preheat oven to 400°. In a small bowl or jar with a shaker lid, mix together the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar, if using.
- Cut or pulse in ⅓ cup shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- If using, sprinkle mixture with vinegar and mix lightly or pulse once or twice. Continue with ice water in the same manner, 1 tablespoonful at a time, until dough is just moist enough to form a ball when lightly pressed together.
- Working the dough as little as possible, shape into a ball and flatten to ½-inch thickness, rounding and smoothing edges as you go.
- Place dough ball between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper and roll from center out toward edges until desired thickness is reached. Remove top sheet of parchment or waxed paper and move dough with bottom sheet of parchment to a cookie sheet or baking stone.
- Using a pastry brush, spread ¼ cup softened butter over prepared pie crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into roughly 2" x 3" rectangles. Separate slightly or leave cookies close together, as desired.
- Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before eating, but these are delicious warm!
A Walk Down Memory Lane
I love vintage ornaments. They have so many stories to tell! Recently I went with my mom and sister to Sweet Salvage in Phoenix and found so many lovely treasures! As usual, it’s hard to narrow my finds down to the best for me right now, but I had a specific goal in mind this year: I wanted to find a few vintage Christmas ornaments and a small silver tray to set on our TV console for the season.
When we temporarily moved from a large ranch-style home to a small condo earlier this year, in spite of our best intentions, all our holiday decorations ended up in the far back corner of the storage unit. Ain’t no one got time (or energy) to dig those out!
A Little Bit of Christmas Cheer
I figured a couple of little Christmas ornaments with lots of sparkle and charm, it could soften the blow of not having a Christmas tree. Or lights strung up. Or my Christmas village set out. Maybe that’s a stretch, really, but I have been determined to make the best of this challenging situation.
I ended up finding a handful of vintage Christmas ornaments and I love them! They make me so happy in all their sparkly, well-loved goodness. Some are truly vintage, some are replicas. But they go together well in the sweet little silver tray I found to group them in. It turned out to be a good plan with great results.
A Little Something Just for Me
I also found this sweet little mug. I make up a batch of Cinnamon Pie Crust Cookies to have with my hot cocoa and peppermint tea and it feels pretty festive. That tiny little ornament and simple typewriter font “joy”! I mean, in the end, buying the mug was just obvious, right? I leave it out on my kitchen counter near the sink and it adds a bit more of a holiday touch.
I’ll take what I can get.
My Grandma Eddie made all her grandkids crocheted blankets. I remember vividly the one she made when I was old enough to ask for specifics: It was white with lavender flowers and green leaves in granny squares.
She taught me the basics when I was a teenager, but I didn’t do much with it until I hit my mid-thirties. About that time I realized she was getting a bit frail and it dawned on me – Grandma Eddie may not always be with us. And what will the next generation do without crocheted blankets?
Getting Serious About Crochet
This is when I got serious and asked her to show me more. She taught me several basic stitches and how to weave in ends and such. I started practicing by making a great big green and oatmeal-colored blanket that would fit my queen-sized bed. Unfortunately, I was still a beginner and the edges of that blanket are as crooked as a mountain road! But Grandma told me it was wonderful and that I should be proud. Grandma Eddie was like that.
Time to Step Up
A few years later, one month after my first grandchild was born, Grandma Eddie passed away. I cannot adequately express the hole that has left. Grandma was tiny and kind and made every one of her kids and grandkids feel like they were the best thing ever. And she adored the babies. The last photo we have of Grandma is her holding my grandson, Gideon (who’s now 13), and she has the sweetest smile on her face.
But she had not been able to make him a blanket. So I took on my new duty as “Maker of the Afghan Blankets”. At first, they were very simple and single-colored. Over time, I’ve added more complexity and braved new patterns. This particular blanket is a fun pattern by the ladies at Daisy Farm Crafts and was made for my granddaughter, Ema, at the time of her baptism a couple of weeks ago. I like to think Grandma is smiling down, pleased that I’ve carried on this art of crochet.
From Grandma’s hands, to my hands, to Ema’s. Grandmas are such a treasure.
I had the incredible opportunity recently to use my artistic voice by creating a large-scale chalk art piece for the grand opening of our town’s new cemetery, Gilbert Memorial Park. I had not created a piece quite so large before and had a heckuva time “scaling it up” in my head. Even though my friend gave me the dimensions of 4′ x 6′, I somehow pictured a chalkboard about the size of my largest one at home – 2′ x 3′. Half the size. Half.
Panic Sets In
It wasn’t until later when my husband gently took me by the shoulders and said, “Babe, do you realize just how big that is?? That’s a full sheet of plywood,” that I let it fully sink in. But I’m happy to say that I didn’t panic or have an anxiety attack or go into a Baskin Robbins ice cream coma.
Until the next day.
Thinking It Through
After Garret talked me down from the precipice I realized… it’s just bigger. I’ve done all of this before. I’ve recreated logos. I’ve created pieces onsite. I know what tools I need. I know the process.
It’s just bigger.
I got this.
And I just methodically went through the process one piece at a time.
My Heartistic Life
Somewhere about the fifth hour of this six-hour project, Garret had gone to get us some lunch and the cemetery had quieted down from a morning flurry of visitors and inspections. I sat quietly, alone, working on the leaves of the beautiful tree artwork they use for their logo, and my heart went still and my head stopped swirling. I stopped, looked across the green lawn and listened to the nearby water feature trickling quietly.
And my heart knew.
I was exactly where I was supposed to be doing exactly what I was meant to do. This was my artistic voice. I was completely at peace. I felt confident and grateful and humble and emotional. I stopped and took a quick selfie of myself at peace. That’s the feeling I want to remember next time someone asks, “Do you do artwork?”