Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dancing Sun Cookies for Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

I was looking for a simple dessert that my daughter and I could whip up yesterday and serve at dinner to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  I love the "Miracle of the Sun" cake posted by Anne on the Catholic Cuisine blog, but I knew that I needed something even simpler since we would only have about 30-45 minutes to create our dessert. Instead, I opted to embellish some plain vanilla cookies to make our  "Dancing Sun" dessert. Best of all, the most time consuming part of this project was the 15 minutes it took for the icing to dry on the cookies!

We used the following items to create our cookies: Vanilla wafers, white frosting, food coloring pens in red, orange and yellow; and decorating sugars in red, orange and yellow. Food coloring pens are often available in the cake decorating aisle of grocery stores or hobby stores. 
I originally planned just to use the food coloring pens to decorate the plain, unfrosted cookies, but the food coloring did not show up very brightly on the cookies, as you can see in this photo:

So, I decided to frost the cookies and then apply the designs. However, my daughter begged to use the colored sugars too.  So we decided to experiment with various techniques using the frosting.  I drew swirly designs (with frosting) on some of the cookies, then sprinkled then with the colored sugars.  My daughter frosted the whole cookie, then added dashes of orange, red and yellow sprinkles.  This is what they looked like:

Finally, we covered some of the cookies with white frosting and then let the frosting dry.  After it dried, we used the food color markers to create a swirly design with a red marker, then filled in the outline with the yellow and orange markers.  It was quite simple to do and the results are actually prettier than I can capture with my camera.  These two photos will give you an idea of the finished cookie:

I still have decorating sugars left, so I'm thinking about creating something similar for Pentecost featuring a "Holy Spirit" flame design.  And I bet the red decorating sugars and food coloring marker will come in handy for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

Monday, May 9, 2011

First Communion Decorations and Favors

I searched "high and low" on the Internet for decoration and favor ideas for my daughter's First Communion.  Unfortunately, there isn't much out there!  I didn't want to go overboard, just add some little touches to make the day extra special for her, since this is the first time we have thrown a party for her. It is also her first party with her grandparents and godparents, since they live out of state and can't be here for her birthday or other special occasions.

First, for the color scheme:  I thought I could pick up a color scheme from the paper accessories. I knew that party stores often carry paper plates and cups printed with first communion themes.  However, I wasn't thrilled with the printed paper supplies at my local party store.  They were mostly white with silver crosses and gold chalices.  Those images didn't seem to reflect the joy of this special day, at least to me.  I decided to borrow two colors from the image on my daughter's first communion cake. (It is an image of a little girl standing in front of a stained glass window; you can see a photo of it here).  My daughter's favorite color is pink, so I borrowed pink and yellow from the cake image.

I didn't plan on doing favors, but my daughter saw bags of Jordan almonds at the party store several weeks ago and asked if we could try them sometime. So I purchased a couple of bags and pulled out all the white, pink and yellow almonds. She helped me pour them in little pink bags. We added a tag that said "Maria's First Communion" with the date of the big event.  (The tags duplicate the image found on her cake.)

I also made stickers of the image on the cake and attached them to plain pink and yellow paper cups.  I made yellow and pink paper napkin rings with the image on it, too.

We ate buffet style outside, so the tables were decorated with pink or yellow table cloths.  Of course, there were pink and yellow plastic spoons, forks and knives.

I wanted to add just a couple of small decorations inside near the buffet serving table.  Inspired by Lacey's "Alleluia" banner on her Catholic Icing blog, I created a paper banner that said "Happy First Communion."  It was very easy to do, yet the results looked elegant!  Simply print out the letters from the Martha Stewart website and cut them out.  I printed them on yellow card stock paper and then glued each letter to a larger circle of pink cardstock paper.  I punched two holes in each letter and then strung them to a length of narrow pink ribbon.  Here is the finished result:

I also made a little banner (with the image from my daughter's cake) to hang on our piano, which is also in the dining room where we served the buffet food:

I think any of these concepts could be adapted for any child's First Communion.  Basically, if you can obtain a .jpeg image of your cake top, you can use it to create stickers, banners, favor bags a variety of other party accessories.  If your cake decorator or party store can't provide a .jpeg image, you could take a photo of the finished cake and use that to embellish your decorations.

Another idea:  if you are taking photos of your First Communicant several days before the big day, you could pick out one of those photos and print it on sticker paper to make decorations, napkin rings, embellish paper products, etc. 

Just another alternative to the silver and gold cross and chalice themes usually found on pre-printed party supplies!

I'm sharing this idea on Lacey's First Friday Link-up.  Looking for more ways to celebrate First Communion or the Month of Mary?  Check out this link:

First Friday Link Up

First Communion Cake and Cookies

My daughter's First Communion went a week ago Saturday. Here she is, all decked out in her pretty white dress and veil:

I used the cookie cutters that I mentioned in this blog post to make these cookies. They turned out far better than I expected!  I saved time by using Pillsbury sugar cookie dough mix instead of making the dough from scratch. I also used Pillsbury canned icing and Wilton's decorator frosting in a tube.  

For her cake, I baked a small sheet cake and decorated it with an edible image I purchased on Ebay from Rebecca's Edible Cake Images. I also purchased some gum paste flowers from another Ebay vendor, Michele's Gifts for You.  I put the gum paste flowers in the corner of the cake. I decorated the borders of the cake with Wilton frosting tubes.  I am not a cake decorator but I received many compliments on the cake. The edible cake image and the gum paste flowers gave the cake a professional look.