When a new blogger follows up her introductory post with a sweet that is color coordinated to her site’s theme then you most probably get the inkling that this is a very detail oriented person. Once you spend some time with Marian you will come to know that she is a stickler for ensuring the finishing touches are on everything and that her blog touches on everything that she enjoys. Sweetopia burst quietly but expansively onto the blogging scene raining down upon it, Facebook and YouTube creations of lustre dust, sparkling sugar and sprinkles that have captured the decorating imagination of thousands. Since 2009, Sweetopia has continually offered her legions of loyal and ever-growing list of followers with very carefully executed tutorials on everything from the ABC’s of cookie decorating to the art of mastering various decorating aids and tools. Her site is a must to visit for anyone wanting to learn all they can about confectionery art. Marian’s interests expand beyond cookie decorating however and her passions are diverse. She enjoys many interests and works hard to retain balance in her life while pursing them. This full time Culinary Arts Secondary School teacher loves to curl up with a good book as much as she loves to tear down wallpaper and make over a room. Marian’s gifts go beyond her amazing decorating skills as is evident in her interaction with her readers. She recently launched Sweet of the Week a regular feature that is a popular event drawing both participants and viewers/voters alike as it allow others to showcase their talents on this widely viewed site . Marian, not surprisingly, is much in demand to do guests posts and her exceptional talents have been featured on many other sights and magazine articles. She very generously loves to shine the spotlight on others and willingly contributes her expertise as a visiting professor at University of Cookie in addition to helping her readers find other bakers within their own area. I am honoured that she is here today, sharing her story and recipe with us. You can follow Marian on Twitter @sweetopia
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I’m not used to writing something that isn’t light-hearted and fun… Writing something which brings back memories that stir up painful feelings of loss.
There are many fond memories too of course, but when asked to remember someone who suffered from cancer, I remember my great Aunt Kathe; Tante Kathe to my brothers and I.
She was there from the beginning, when I was born, as a young child when she lived next door, and then when she was a frequent visitor or we were frequent drop-ins to her home as I grew up. She was family, a fixture in my life.
A woman who was strong, proud and resourceful. Kind, beautiful and sensitive.
My Tante Kathe also had a wonderful sense of humour. I’ll never forget finally finding out, that it was she who had dressed up and disguised herself in mom’s furry cap, as Hans Muff, with Santa Claus (Hans Muff is a whole other story I won’t go into here), and come to visit us on Christmas eve.
So seeing her in the hospital during her final days with us on earth, ravaged by the cancer she had so valiantly fought for years, was a heart-wrenching thing.
It’s in her memory, and in the hope that the pain she experienced will not continue to cause suffering in others, that I pledge my donation, and in her memory that I made these cookies.
Besides sharing here on Frosting for the Cause, in an effort to to help raise awareness about cancer, I am hosting a giveaway for two raspberry, Artisan Kitchen Aid Mixers. You can read more about it and enter the giveaway here.
If you’d like to help make a difference, and would like to make these for a fundraiser or gathering of your own, here are the instructions:
How to Make these Cookies:
To make these cookies, you’ll need:
Light Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
Yield: Approx. 25 cookies. (Depends on cookie size and shape).
- 1/2 cup light butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown splenda sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup golden syrup
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Slowly mix in egg and molasses.
- Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed
mixture and mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Between two sheets of parchment paper or on a floured surface, roll out your
dough to approximately 1/8-in. thickness.
- Cut with lightly floured cookie cutters and place about one inch apart on
baking sheets lined with parchment.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, or until edges are firm and the center is
no longer wet.
- Once cookies are cooled, have fun decorating cookies!
Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing Recipe
Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups
- 2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, or more to thicken icing
- 1 lemon, juiced
- food gel colors of your choice (I used black, white, red and pink)
For Decorating, You’ll Need:
- small fondant rolling pin
- raspberry disco dust
- PME pearl lustre spray
- piping bags, couplers, #’s 2 & 3 piping tips
- white sanding sugar
- gum paste and Jem strip cutter, 7mm (*Optional – can be cut by hand)
- #’s 7 and 10 piping tips and gumpaste colored grey (a touch of black gel
Gingerbread Girl Cookies
For the gingerbread girls, I outlined the cookie with a #3 piping tip, and sprinkled sanding sugar on top. Finish her off with a little heart piped with a #2 tip. I sprinkled one of them with raspberry disco dust, the others were made using pink icing.
Cancer Ribbon Cookies
The cancer ribbon cookies were decorated using a #2 piping tip. Pipe the outline and fill the border in right away. The consistency of icing is key here. For a video on finding the right consistency, click HERE.
Kitchen Aid Mixer Cookies
Step 1. Outline your kitchen aid mixer shape. Please excuse the darkness of the photo in #1 and #2 below; I used my Kopykake projector to outline, and turned out the lights to see the lines a bit better.
Step 2. Flood the mixer with your desired icing color.
Step 3. Sprinkle disco dust on the wet icing. When the icing is dry, gingerly shake off the excess disco dust, and use a paintbrush to gently wipe away the extra on the cookie.
Step 4. Flood the mixer bowl, and grey parts of the mixer.
Step 5. Roll out grey gum paste to about 2mm thick. Cut out circles with the openings of tip #’s 2, 7 and 10. Adhere these “buttons” to the mixer cookie with royal icing.
Step 6. Roll out white gum paste and punch out strips with your Jem cutter. Trim to the size of your kitchen aid mixer. Attach it across the top part of the mixer with small dabs of royal icing.
Step 7. Lightly spray the mixer bowl with PME lustre spray, covering any part you don’t want sprayed, with paper.
I hope you enjoy making these for your loved ones or for “Frosting for the Cause”. A heartfelt thank you to Paula, who is the mastermind behind this site, and who has worked diligently and tirelessly on spreading the word, to help cure cancer. It’s an honour to be here.