Monday, February 28, 2011

Bunnies for Craft Hope Project

Today I finally finished making all the bunnies for the Craft Hope project to make safe birthing kits for Haiti, hooray!  It's a good thing, too, since they asked for kits to be mailed by March 1st... I am planning to take the completed kits to the post office tomorrow, so I am getting in just under the wire.  As I mentioned in my last post about this project, I may have slightly overcommitted myself by deciding to make 12 kits, each of which needed a receiving blanket, tote bag, stuffed toy, and the various other supplies.  Luckily I had some nice friends help me out, especially with the supplies and the bunnies.

I used the wee wonderfuls free bunny pattern, and while I am loath to complain about a free pattern I will say this wasn't my favorite pattern ever.  Note to self: don't commit to making 12 of something in the future if you have never tried the pattern before.  I wasn't super thrilled with how some of the bunny faces turned out kind of pointy, although I did find that clipping the curves extensively helped, and I also found that the pattern circle for the bottom of the bunny was a bit larger than ideal so I cut them a bit smaller.  I was trying to sew these pretty fast so you may notice that not all of the ears point up or that there are other minor sewing errors... but I am sure the babies will love them nonetheless.  My friends were nice enough to help out with embroidering the faces (and I love how they each seem to have a different personality as a result), and with cutting out the pieces.  I used a variety of fabrics that I had in my stash (and honestly, older ones that I wanted to use up, not my favorites), but I think they turned out cute!

I ended up trying a few different approaches for the ears... one pair I sewed and turned inside out, which I liked the look of but should have added a seam allowance for and I didn't want to go back and recut all the pieces.  I made a number with zigzag edges as the pattern suggests and then also hand-sewed some with a buttonhole embroidery stitch (like the bunny on the left above).  I also used the overcasting stitch and foot on my machine for some which made it a bit easier to keep the stitching right at the edge and catch the raw edges well.

I bundled each bunny up in the ziploc bag with the other supplies (and actually, all the other blankets fit in the ziploc too, this one was just a bit bulkier), put them in their respective totes, and packed the box up to ship tomorrow.  I felt a little sorry for the bunnies getting all squished in the bags...

I am still planning to do a tutorial for the tote bags, it has just taken me a bit longer than I expected - it should be up this week.

I'd love to hear if you have a favorite knitting or sewing pattern for a stuffed toy (since it seems I haven't found a favorite yet).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trip to Atlanta

We went down to Atlanta to visit friends for the long weekend and had a great time, despite my losing my wallet right when we arrived.  Our friends made us delicious meals which we meant to photodocument to put up on the blog... but we were too busy relaxing and catching up.  They made us super delicious pizza with carmelized onions, yellow squash, mushrooms and a blend of special cheeses.  Another night they made homemade Indian cheese, paneer, for Palak Paneer and homemade samosas for a delicious Indian dinner.  I definitely need to try making paneer sometime, it sounds like it is similar to making mozzarella cheese (as I have done before) but you don't use any rennet and you basically just drain and press the curds.  Which also reminds me that I have been wanting to make mozzarella again soon, too.

I had never been to Atlanta before and our friends were kind enough to show us the sights.  We visited the MLK center which was very moving, I highly recommend it if you are visiting Atlanta.  We went to the Cyclorama, which is a ginormous painting/diorama depicting the civil war battle of Atlanta.  We also went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden which had a fantastic orchid display going on - which I did manage to take some pictures of (albiet with my iPhone, so they are not the best quality).  They had some really funky and weird orchids, and some which were really beautiful; here are some highlights, mostly of the weirder ones.

I like how this one sticks way out (and the flowers are cool too)

Check out the ruffles on these!

We thought these looked like spiders

They had tons of these - isn't the mottling cool?

Love the frilliness on this one!

We of course also fit in some time to explore local crafty spots... I did some fun browsing at the local craft coop/store the beehive, which is kind of like getting to visit a collection of cool Etsy shops in person.  I was also super excited to visit Whipstitch Fabrics and check out their beautiful fabrics in person, and we of course brought some home.  I have been checking out Kate Spain's new line, Central Park, on line and loved it even more in person, so I am very excited to get to make some fun projects with it!  I mostly got prints in the orange/yellow/green colorways but I also picked out a few favorite purple ones (not shown here) and some other fun things while we were there.

What fun places have you visited lately?  Do you make sure to visit craft stores when you travel too?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Giveaway winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a free copy of my new Yoga bag pattern and either materials to make a bag or a $25 credit to my shop.

There were 22 entries and the random number generator picked #8, Patti.
Patti said...
Congrats on your first pattern and thanks for the chance to win it or a voucher. Love Patti xxx
Congratulations Patti!  I am emailing you the pattern now and you can let me know if you prefer materials to make a bag or the shop credit.

If you didn't win, you can always get the pattern in my Etsy shop here! [update: and here in my Meylah shop with automatic download]

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baby Blankets for Craft Hope Project

I spent a good chunk of last weekend sewing baby blankets and tote bags for the Craft Hope project to make safe birthing kits for Haiti.  I had a few friends over the previous week to help me get going on the project, and we got all the supplies assembled into ziploc bags and cut out the pattern pieces and embroidered faces for stuffed rabbits from the Wee Wonderfuls pattern.  I had gotten a bunch of fabric to make the receiving blankets and tote bags earlier but hadn't gotten motivated to start the project, but after my friends helped me get the ball rolling (and I got all the supplies out), I was excited to keep going!

Originally I had planned to make 6 or 8 kits but after my mom sent me a flannel sheet to use for more blankets, in a fit of enthusiasm (and without entirely calculating how many blankets I could make with the fabric I had), I decided to make 12.  I ended up not having as much fabric as I thought but it forced me to dig into my stash and use up some things that I had been holding on to.  It was a good challenge for me to focus on getting the blankets made and trying out different techniques without worrying too much about whether I loved the fabrics for each one or whether it was sewn perfectly.

I made the most blankets using the same basic quick baby blanket technique that I used here.  Most of these blankets I used pillowcases for one or both sides, which worked really well - I just cut open the pillowcase at the top and one side seam (most were only sewn on one side anyways), and then used that rectangle as one side of the blanket.  For some I cut off the hem or ripped it out to get a larger piece of fabric, but one I even just left it on there an it made kind of a nice decorative border on one side of the blanket.  When I was using a larger piece of fabric as the other side I used the cut-open pillow-case as a guide to cut the other fabric to the same size.  I also had fun with the topstitching on the blankets, using a bunch of the decorative stitches on my machine which I think is a really cute touch!

I think my favorite blanket I made was this one with mitered corners - I almost wanted to keep it!  I had seen a few tutorials online for how to make an easy mitered blanket (here is one for instance) and I did something similar but really quick and dirty, just eyeballing it without measuring either piece of fabric or the miters.  I often sew pretty intuitively without a lot of measuring, and it was fun to really not worry about it and just see how it turned out.  I was excited that it worked so well and will definitely make this kind of blanket again (maybe with just a smidge more measuring).

I used the waffle knit fabric that I had bought to make two blankets - one using basically the same easy baby blanket technique as above and one just attaching bias binding around the edge.  I had never really sewn with knits before so it was good to try out.  The one with the lining worked out pretty well and didn't have any problems with the knit layer stretching out as a sewed which I had been concerned about.  The other one worked out OK too, although the binding edge is a bit stiff, partly because it is a 1" wide binding (which I had on hand).

I also used the interlock fabric I had bought to make a blanket with simple hemmed edges and using a decorative stitch.  I had some more issues with the fabric stretching on this one but I think it still turned out well in the end.

By then I was running low on fabric to make into blankets, so I made some quick pieced blankets out of fabric from my stash, mostly stuff that really isn't my taste anymore that I had been thinking of giving away.  Since they were looking for receiving blankets not quilts, these don't have any batting or quilting, so they really aren't quilts.

Its been a while since I have made a real quilt though and I have been spending a lot of time thinking about patterns for quilts I want to make but not actually making any lately.  So it was nice just to have a low stress, freeform piecing project to play around with and get my creative juices flowing a bit!

I love the look of wonky squares and this made me more motivated to do a quilt with some kind of improvisational/wonky squares pattern.

I also made all 12 tote bags using the fish sheet that I had bought and an easy french seams tote bag pattern I came up with.  I am planning to make a tutorial for it next week so come back and check it out!

Also did you see that I am having a giveaway?  It's open until this Wednesday (2/23) - check it out and enter here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yoga Mat Bag Sewing Pattern and Giveaway!

I am so excited to announce that the first Needle and Spatula sewing pattern is available for purchase!  To celebrate I'm having a giveaway - more info at the end of this post.

The pattern is for a zippered yoga mat bag with a handy pocket where you can stash your keys, id, phone, etc.

The bag is designed to fit a standard sized yoga mat and the zipper makes it super easy to take the bag out and put it back in.

With a webbing strap, the bag is comfortable to carry over your shoulder or across your body.

The pattern is sold as a printable PDF file, and includes computer-drawn printable pattern pieces and detailed step-by-step instructions/photo tutorial.  The pattern is available for purchase from my Etsy shop [update: and in my Meylah shop with automatic download].  I'm also selling finished bags in my shop if you want to buy one already made up!

I have been working on this for a while and am really so excited to have it up for sale so to celebrate I'm offering a GIVEAWAY!

I'm giving away a copy of the pattern and either:
  • The materials required to make the bag - in any of the three main fabrics pictured above (pocket fabric may vary) - including the zippers, webbing, and all the fabrics needed; OR
  • A $25 credit to my Etsy shop.
The winner of the giveaway can choose which of these options they prefer.  Feel free to enter even if you don't sew if you are interested in the shop credit!

PLUS, to keep the odds good, for every 100 entries (if there are that many), I will give away another free PDF pattern.

Each person can have up to two entries:
  • One for commenting on this post; and
  • Another for tweeting about this giveaway: RT one of my tweets or write your own with a cc to @NeedleNSpatula and a link back to this post - Example - Check out this giveaway from @NeedleNSpatula for a sewing pattern and materials or shop credit! OR posting on facebook about this giveaway (with an @Needle and Spatula - you will have to like my page first - and a link back to this post) - come back and comment and tell me that you tweeted/posted. [Updated - I found out this is against FB policy but will honor entries that already did this - sorry!]
This giveaway will be open until next Wednesday, February 23rd, and is open to international folks (although I will ask you to pay any additional shipping/customs charges for sending the materials if you win them).

If you don't have an email listed on your blogger profile, please be sure to include one in your comment -- feel free to substitute (at) for @ symbol etc if you like.

Thanks and good luck!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Meringues

I haven't blogged in a few days but it is mostly because I have been SO BUSY making stuff!  I spent most of the weekend sewing up baby blankets and tote bags for the craft hope charity project I am doing (originally mentioned here) and will be back to share more with you on that soon (lets just say I may have been a bit overambitious when I decided to make 12 kits...). 

Then I whipped up a really special Valentines day dinner for my sweetie, if I do say so myself (apologies for the crummy photo quality above - this was the best I got).  I adapted the delicious butternut squash and walnut lasagna that I made before into a filling for handmade ravioli and then made the bechamel sauce to go on top.  To adapt the lasagna to make the filling, I basically prepared the squash as described in the recipe, then ground the nuts in the food processor, and then added the squash/onion/garlic/herb mixture, the cheese, and an egg and processed a bit (leaving it somewhat chunky not totally pureed).  I also made braised leeks again for the side, which were yummy and a good complement to this dish - I plan to share that recipe some time too.

For dessert, I made homemade strawberry ice cream and heart shaped meringue nests like the one shown above, as well as a bunch of heart shaped meringue bites.  Somehow making meringues seemed like a totally normal thing to do since my mom always used to make them, but then I realized I had never made them myself and it seemed like it might not be so easy.  So I poked around in a number of my cookbooks and then forged ahead.  I found some recipes that called for more complicated ingredients but ended up going with an ultra-simple approach and it worked well.  I overbaked them a bit which mostly meant that they were still delicious and even more crumbly and delicate, but slightly brownish in color.  I was OK with that although it does make me want to make them again to see if I can hit it spot on. 

Sorry I don't have a picture of the ice cream, it was pretty good but not phenomenal, being made with frozen strawberries rather than fresh, in season ones.  This too I will have to try again [insert noises from husband in background pretending to be disappointed that there will be more of this in his future].  Also no pottery notes - we decided to eat off our nice china since it was a special occasion!  You can see the cute pink and red flowered tablecloth that I recently thrifted in the pic above which served perfectly.

  • 3 egg whites, carefully separated to ensure no yolk at all is present
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 250F and line baking sheets with either silicon baking mats or parchment paper (I used my fave silicon mats and they worked great).

Apparently if any oil gets into your meringues it really messes things up, so for starters make sure that your mixing bowl and mixer are extremely clean, and make sure you don't get any yolk in your egg whites.  I used a stand mixer but I am sure you could do this with a hand mixer and a bit more elbow grease.  With your mixer on the highest speed and using the whipping attachment, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  With the mixer still running at high speed, gradually add in the sugar.  Stop and scrape down the sides if needed, then continue whipping at high speed until the mixture glistens a bit.  I read that in a recipe and didn't think I would be able to tell when to stop but it really does get a bit shiny. 

To form meringues, you can just scoop the raw meringue onto the baking sheets by the spoonful, but you can get more elegant shapes if you pipe them.  I used a regular pastry bag and the largest tip that I had, I think a size 11 or 12, it was about 1/4" across.  You can also use one of the tips that looks like a star at the end, I just used a plain tip so that I could make the cute hearts in the first picture.  To get a thicker shape just hold your tip in one place while you squeeze out the meringue.  To make a nest, pipe a concentric shape (usually a circle, but I did a heart), and then pipe up a few layers at the outer edge to build a kind of wall.  You can play around and see what shapes you like.

Bake for 1.5-2 hours (I baked for 2 hours or maybe a bit longer) - you can check but pulling one out and eating it to see if they are done.  When they are done remove from oven and then remove from the sheet.  Warning, these are addictive!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Heart Sugar Cookies - Part 3

OK, I'm back with the third and final post about my valentines sugar cookies - if you missed them, Part 1 was the recipe and instructions for making the cookies, Part 2 was about icing basics and piped designs, and Part 3 (today) will be about how to make these cool marbled/swirly types of cookies.  I forget where I originally saw about making these types of cookies, but I have tried them before and really liked how they turned out.  A lot of the ideas for valentines cookies with this technique came from this post - and there are a lot more ideas there that I didn't try, so check it out if you like this kind of decoration.

I tried making three different basic designs with this technique - an overall marbled design, scattered hearts, and a heart border.  I had a hard time getting the scattered hearts to turn out well, I think because my icing was a bit too far on the runny side, but the other two sides turned out well.  For all of these designs, you basically just pipe the wet flood icing in a design - either dots or lines for the ones I did - on top of the still wet cookie icing, and then draw a toothpick through it to create the marbled/feathered look.

In addition to have the right consistency icing, I found that it helps a lot of there is enough contrast between the base icing color and the piped color.  The designs were harder to see on some of the light pink on white cookies that I made.

These heart border ones look really cute and aren't hard to make at all!  You just pipe evenly spaced dots around the border and then draw the toothpick through the middles all the way around the border.

Thanks for reading!  I am still planning to try out royal icing to compare to my normal icing recipe so I will report back on how that goes.  Are you making any special treats for valentines day?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Valentine Heart Sugar Cookies - Part 2

I'm back with part 2 of my valentines cookie-decorating posts - yesterday I shared my family recipe for sugar cookie dough and the steps to bake them.  Today I'm going to share decorating tips, although as I started writing this post I realized that it would really be too long for a single post, so I am going to cover most of it today and then wrap up tomorrow.  Today I'll focus on the basic icing technique and piped designs, and tomorrow will be about the cookies with the fun swirly/marbled designs.

The way we have usually iced cookies in my family is to make icing that is not too runny and spread it on with a small knife.  If you get it the right consistency, you can spread it so the edges look nice and it stays on the cookie without running all over the place, but it kind of smooths out and doesn't look like you just spread it on.  Then we usually make somewhat thicker icing in just white for piping.  This system works pretty well, but it doesn't allow you to do some of the fun designs that I made for these valentines cookies, especially the swirly designs.  So for these cookies I used the more complicated technique of piping an outline and then flooding it with runny icing from squeeze bottles to fill in the center.  Prudent Baby has a good overview of this technique here.

Unlike that tutorial, though, I didn't use royal icing - I used basically the same recipe I posted here, but about doubled so I would have enough to make 3 colors of icing, each in a thicker consistency for piping and a thinner consistency for flooding.  I actually have never made royal icing but my sense is that it is kind of like fondant - great looking but not so great tasting.  This icing isn't as fabulous for decorating (and I think I made my flood icing a bit too thin - aim to have it about the consistency of yogurt I think), but it is really quite tasty.  It also gets a kind of grainy look sometimes, especially when you use a lot of food coloring or thin it out a lot, it seems (you can see it in the top pictures showing the darker cookies).  In any case, I am a firm believer in the idea that sugar cookies should taste as good as they look so I will forgive this icing its faults.  In the interest of a fair comparison, however, I bought meringue powder today so that I can try out royal icing when I make the second half of this batch of cookies, so I will report back on how that goes.

The first step is to pipe the outlines of where you want to ice.  For most of the cookies, I just wanted to lay down a base layer of icing over the whole cookie in a single color, so I piped an outline close to the edge.  I also made some cookies where I wanted a solid heart in the center surrounded by uniced cookie, so I piped a smaller heart in those.  Then I also made some cookies (shown on the bottom left) where I piped an outer edge and an inner heart, so that I could flood with two different colors of icing.

The flooding is pretty simply, and you don't have to wait until the piping is totally dry, just until it has set up a bit and isn't likely to give way and let the icing out.   To flood the center, I covered about 1/2 to 2/3 of the area and then used the tip of the squeeze bottle to push it into all the uncovered spots.  If you wanted thicker icing you could certainly use more.

This shows how I made the cookies with two different flood colors.  It is pretty much the same technique but you do want to let the first flood layer dry a bit before you go back and add the second one, otherwise they could run into eachother (which mine did a bit, I didn't wait long enough).

I really liked how the lefthand cookie above looked so I left it as is, but you could go back once it sets up a bit and pipe a design on top.  The righthand cookie above was one with a heart in the center where I went back and piped on top once it had dried.

Most of the cookies that had a heart in the center I used to make these cookies that were intended to look like lace or doilies, with an intricate decorative border around them.  I only used white piping (this is with a #2 tip) but these would also be fun using a contrasting color for the piping.  You can see I tried out a couple different types of borders and I am sure you can think of more!  I like the polka dot heart center and I also tried crosshatching across the heart, which I thought looked a little too busy (not shown) but that is worth a try too.

These are some cookies that I left bare and then piped designs straight on the cookie.  This is another option if you want to do a fancy looking cookie but are offput by the idea of putting down a base layer of icing and then also piping a design - this would certainly be faster.  I think all of these designs would also look nice on an iced background too, and probably nicer.  FYI the red piping was done with a #4 tip which I think is larger than ideal but I couldn't find the second #3 tip I could have sworn I bought.

I had a lot of fun making the conversation hearts, I wish I had made more colors but the logistics of making two thicknesses of each color made that hard to do.  If you just want to make conversation hearts I would skip the pipe and flood method and just make one thickness of each color to spread on, so that you could do more colors.  I looked up conversation heart sayings online (see here and here) but ended up deciding to stick to some of the more traditional messages rather than getting into "text me" or any of that.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow if you want to learn how to make the swirly/marbled designs!

How about you - how do you ice your cookies - pipe and flood, spread it on, or another way?  And do you use royal icing or another recipe?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Site Updates!

This isn't as exciting as Valentine cookies or some of the other stuff that I have in the pipeline but I think that it's still important so I wanted to draw your attention to some of the changes I have made to the site.

There are some that are to improve the ease of use and to better interface with other platforms - I added buttons at the bottom of each post to make it easier to share via twitter, facebook, etc, and I have added buttons in the sidebar to make it easier to connect with me via email, twitter, ravelry, flickr and on my new Needle and Spatula Facebook page.  I'll be putting blog and shop updates on the Facebook page, including shop promotions, so check it out and "like" it if you want to get those updates!  I also added a new page on the blog, "Patterns for Sale"... I'm very excited to be sharing more on that soon.

The more serious update is that I added a policies/information page, partly because of hearing of creepy things happening to other bloggers (like this).  I found Dana's guidelines very helpful and wanted to document my policies too... I also found these two bizladies posts helpful, and Elizabeth Hartman's policies, if you are looking for more guidance/examples.  I love all the sharing, inspiration and collaboration that happens in the craft blogging community and I don't mean for these policies to be a damper on that - rather, as some of the examples out there demonstrate, I think it is a good practice for bloggers to get into to protect their rights and all of their hard work!  With that in mind, I have noted on the policies page that while generally permission is required to repost/republish any of my text, you are welcome to copy/reuse/adapt the policies if you find it helpful.  They certainly aren't perfect but if you also have been thinking you should write some policies maybe they will be a helpful starting point.

I plan to continue to tweak and refine the blog as time goes on, so you may see more changes around here which I may not always mention - but since these were a couple big ones I thought I would point them out.  I am still struggling a bit with comments in blogger - I currently often reply to comments via email but would like to find a solution to reply in the comments section that also sends something to the original commenter.  Does anyone know if something like that exists (for blogger)?  If you are a blogger, what are some changes/improvements you have made or hope to make to your blog?

Thanks everyone!

Valentine Heart Sugar Cookies - Part 1

While I seem to have been making a lot more gingerbread cookies lately (as seen here and here), iced sugar cookies are a long-time favorite in my family, both because of their delicious taste and because of the endless creative possibilities with the decorations.  My mom and I usually dedicate at least a day over the holidays to decorating cookies which is a nice way to get in the holiday spirit and chat while making treasures we will bring out for all the special occasions to ooh and aah over and then munch right up.  We spent the holidays with my in-laws this year so there were no sugar cookies at Christmas, so I decided to make a whole batch up for valentines day.  The decorating possibilities are nearly limitless, as you can see from the sneak peak above of the different cookies I made.

But you'll have to come back tomorrow to see more of the decorated cookies and get tips on how to make the different designs!  Today I am going to share all the steps to make the cookies, including mixing the cookie dough and cutting out and baking the cookies.  If you already have a favorite sugar cookie recipe you can of course use that, but while I may be biased, I really think that our family cookie recipe is the best.  The cookies are crispy, rich and flavorful, and they don't have any of that fluffy blandness you find in some sugar cookies.  I am not sure what the secret is, but I think it has something to do with making the cookies really thin... oh, and butter.  Lots of butter.

Sugar Cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium/large bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugar with a mixer or pastry blender.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully combined.  In a separate smaller bowl, mix together remaining (dry) ingredients, then add to the wet ingredients a bit at a time, mixing as you add.  The dough should be fairly sticky but should come together.  Scraping out bowl to get all the dough, wrap in plastic wrap (or put in a zip-top bag) and refrigerate at least 2 hours and ideally longer.

Preheat oven to 375F, and either grease cookie sheets lightly with butter or use a silicone baking mat (as I mentioned, I love our new silpat mats!).  Take the dough out of the fridge and break off about 1/3 to 1/4, then return the rest to the fridge.  Use a clean countertop area to roll out the dough, liberally sprinkling flour under the dough, on top of the dough and brushing the surface of the rolling pin with flour.  With gentle but firm and even strokes, carefully roll out the dough, adding more flour if it seems to be sticking to the countertop or the rolling pin.  I generally roll these out to be 1/16" to 1/8" thick, but just try to get them as thin as you can.  Cut out cookies using cookie cutters of your choice and gently lift onto cookie sheet using a spatula, making sure to space cookies 1/2" apart.

Bake the cookies for 6-10 minutes - exact time will depend on your oven and how thin the cookies are rolled out.  They should be just starting to brown slightly at the edges when they are done.  Take out of the oven and promptly remove from the cookie sheet to a counter or cooling rack to cool.  I have found on the silpat mat that they come off with no problem, if you are using a greased cookie sheet you may have to use the spatula a bit more to get them loose, and there is a risk that they make break especially if you have made cookies with delicate shapes, so try to be as gentle and careful as possible.  Let cool and then store in an airtight container.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the icing recipe and decorating tips!

What are your favorite valentines desserts?  Do you make sugar cookies in your family?
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