Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of Bubble and Sweet 2012

Thanks everyone for joining me in a fabulous year of baking. I hope you had as much fun reading along as I did creating and sharing my baking journey throughout the year.

I have alot planned for 2013. Remember, you can follow this blog and receive free email updates by entering your details over in the top right hand corner.

For the final post I have compiled a best of Bubble and Sweet.

Best Cakes 2012:

This year ruffles ruled supreme in the big cake stakes. Colorful rainbows and ombre (gradient shades) decorations were just a taste of what was inside with surprising matching or contrasting hues.

Just in time for Halloween and a bit outside of the Bubble and Sweet box was the Monkey Brain cake with jello brain and raspberry sauce. It was gruesomely delicious.
1.How to eat a Tiara Ruffled Princess Cake (photo by Alyce and Colette)
2.Monkey Brain Cake with Jello Brain
3. Pastel Rainbow Ruffle cake
4. Sweet Birdie Ruffle Birdhouse

Other favorite cakes: 

Other favorite cakes included this streamlined ruffle and hand painted aqua wedding cake inspired by a vintage wedding dress with hand painting, a fun candy inspired Christmas cake with gluten free cranberry cake filling, and a fun Ant Picnic cake.
1. A Vintage dress inspired wedding cake
2. Lollipop and candy Christmas tree cake
3. Ant picnic in the park

Best Party Tables 2012:

Fun and fabulous party tables for 2012 included a dreamily pretty shabby chic pink and gold princess party with ruffles and bows, a rustic pie table with a fabulous paper pom backdrop by Ah-Tissue and a sweet as can be bird theme party table.

1. Shabby Chic Princess Party (Photography by Alyce and Colette)
2. Oh Sweet Mum Pie Table (Photography by Naomi V Photography)
3. Sophie's Sweet Birdie Birthday party

Best Cookies 2012:

Quirky ant cookies, a cute scary set of babushka halloween cookies, the sweetest teal, pink and white reindeer cookies and valentine inspired bird cookies were my favorite cookies for 2012.

1. Ant picnic in the park cookies
2. Babushka Munchy Mummy, Evil Ghost and Screaming Ghoul Cookies
3. Sweetest Thing Reindeer Cookies
4. Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking cookies

Best Cheesecakes 2012:

I love cheesecake and hopefully you can share in my love after some of the recipes on the blog this year. Pretty strawberries and cream cheesecake in a jar, photographed in my front garden, delicious mini nutella cheesecakes combining a few of my favorite things and decadent peanut butter and s'mores cheesecakes were among the recipes I shared. I had almost as much fun naming them as eating them. Almost.

1. Strawberry and Cream Cheesecakes in a Jar
2. These are a few of my favorite things Nutella Cheesecakes
3. Totally tastes better than thin - Smores cheesecake
4. If this is wrong I don't want to be right Chocolate Peanut Butter mini Cheesecake

Best Sweets on a Stick 2012 (includes best cake pops 2012)

Sweets on a Stick - it's the name of my book and something I think I do pretty well here at Bubble and Sweet. Macarons in divine hues decorated like lollipops and on top of cake pops were a couple of my favorites. A planter box of cake pops and cookies made using the instructions from my book in pastel hues for a party table was loved by all.

1. Lollipop Macarons
2.Macaron cake pops
3.Cute bird cake pops, flower cookies and cloud in the sky cookies (recipes from Sweets on a Stick)

4.Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow cakepops

Best small cakes 2012 (Includes Best Cupcakes 2012):

Did I go overboard with the mini macarons? - I don't think so. Who could resist the delicious chocolate hazelnut cakes topped with raspberries and mini gold macs or piped butter cream rose topped strawberry cake with delicate pink mini mac? Spiced pear cupcakes were a hit for those looking for something simple. High maintenance decorators preferred high heel shoe cupcakes.

1. Chocolate Hazelnut cakes with French Buttercream (Gluten Free)
2. High heel Shoe cupcakes - high maintenance decorating
3. Pink rose and macaron shabby chic petit fours
4. Spiced pear cupcakes with caramel cream cheese frosting

Best treats 2012 (misc)

Easy to make army of ghost Oreo truffles was the surprise hit of the year being the second most popular post on the whole blog. More mini macs topped other delicious treats including the fun mini pumpkin chiffon pies with pecan pie bites and the milk chocolate mousse pies (which would have to be one of my favorite pictures ever - thank you Naomi V Photography). Peppermint cookie fudge proved to be a fast, easy and delicious treat to share.
1. Army of Ghosts Oreo Truffles
2.Chocolate Cream Mousse Pie (sorry no recipe provided) (Photo by Naomi V Photography)
3. Pumpkin Chiffon Pies  (photo by Naomi V Photography)
4. Peppermint Cookie Fudge

Favorite new product 2012

My favorite new find during 2012 would have to be the edible jelly gems. I mostly used them in cookies but found that with not much work they could dress up anything turning simple marshmallows into a treat fit for a princess.

1. Elegant Ornament Cookies
2. Jewelled Marshmallows
3. How to eat a Tiara   (Photography by Alyce and Colette)
 4. Princess Cookies

Other highlights:

Cake pop and cookie demonstrations at the Bleeding Heart Cafe in Brisbane proved to be even more fun than I thought they would be. The best part was meeting people who read my blog on a regular basis. Another class is being planned for April 2013.

Recipes I created were included in Tickle the Imagination magazine, online and print version, and Peekaboo magazine. Many online newspapers and magazines linked back to my popular posts, and of course many blogger friends linked back to Bubble and Sweet as well.

The absolute best bit

...and the best part of 2012 from a Bubble and Sweet perspective was all the fabulous interaction on the blog, on instagram, on pintrest and on facebook. Truly I still get excited when I receive lovely feedback - it's what keeps me going.

Thank you everyone again for reading the blog and sharing my baking journey.

You helped make my year one of the best yet :)


Unless stated otherwise recipes, photos and posts by Linda Vandermeer author of Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid Friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go. You can pick it up at all good online book shops including these shops:

Or here at fishpond (Aus/NZ)

Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Elegant Jewelled Snowflake cookies

I made up a list and I checked it twice,

trying to work out who was naught and who was nice.

But seriously my nice list way waaay too long and I really had to cut it back.

In the end I sent out just a few of cookie packages to a couple of people on my nice list.

Well actually the people that I did a cookie swap with last year because I forgot to organise one this year.

It seems Noo from Dessert Menu Please had the same idea and the day after I posted out my treats I received a package with a cracker and inside the sweetest hand drawn little festive cookies :)

Follow random pictures of my life on instagram:

Above is a picture that I posted on my new instagram account. If your following me there you may have seen a few random photo's of my new creative/craft space and other random pictures of my life.

Anyhoo the cookies I sent out are an updated version of the elegant snowflake cookies I made a few years back but I added jelly gems.

Which by the way I am a bit smitten with at the moment.

Oooooohhhhhh Jelly Gems, so pretty..........

The actual cookie was a Christmas inspired cinnamon and cranberry sugar cookie. You can find my recipe in the free online Christmas edition of 'Tickle the Imagination' Magazine if you CLICK HERE.

The original decorating tutorial for the Winter Wonderland Snowflake cookies has a recipe for plain vanilla sugar cookies if your not keen on the Christmassy version. CLICK HERE for the original post and recipe. 

and thank you all so much for reading this year, it always brightens my day to receive comments or see my treats pinned.

From my family to yours wishing you safe and happy Holidays.

Linda V

Elegant Jewelled Snowflake Cookies

Sugar cookie dough
Snowflake cookie cutter (mine from Bisk-art)
Decorative stamp or embosser
White fondant#
Small plastic rolling pin
brush and water
Jelly Gems
2 round tip (mine was Wilton)
Royal Icing (I used queens royal icing mix from Woolworths - just add water)
Piping bag with small tip
edit update - I have a youtube video tutorial on how to make sugar cookie dough

#Fondant dries out pretty quickly so I work with a little fondant at a time covering one or two cookies. The remaining fondant I leave wrapped in a little cling wrap/ glad wrap until I need it.

Line a couple of trays with parchment paper.

Make up batch of sugar cookie dough, chill, roll out on workbench lightly dusted with flour and cut out snowflake cookies.

Pop the cookies onto the prepared trays and put in the freezer for around 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat over to160C (320 F) and then bake cookies for around 12 - 15 mins.

Remove from oven when they just start to become golden and using the small end of the icing tip quickly remove a small hole from the center of each cookie.

Ooops - no photos of the cookies with holes in them. Just use your imagination :)

Knead fondant until pliable and roll out on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour and using the same snowflake cookie cutter cut out the snowflake shape. Make sure the cookie cutter is clean and dry before you start cutting.

Brush a tiny amount of water onto the cookie and then adhere the snowflake fondant cut out to the cookie, gently rolling on with a small rolling pin if required.

Take the #12 tip and press down to remove a round of fondant from the center of each cookie. I needed to poke it out with the end of my brush.

OK just imagine there is a hole in the middle - I didn't get a picture of one :)

Using a clean foodsafe stamp or embosser press into the middle of each cookie to make a pretty indentation.

Pipe a circle of royal icing around the edge of the round hold in the center of each cookie and place a jelly gem inside using the royal icing to glue it into place.

Pipe decorative dots on the cookie as desired.

Leave out until royal icing is set.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week.


Recipe, photo's and post by Linda Vandermeer author of Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid Friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go. You can pick it up at all good online book shops including these shops:

Or here at fishpond (Aus/NZ)

Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cranberry Christmas cake - Gluten free cooking

I have to be honest generally when I see a cake that is gluten free I mostly shudder. I'm not talking about macarons, or meringues or many of those treats that are meant to be made without the inclusion of flour.

I mean the modified versions of traditional cakes.

Sometimes they are done really well and sometimes..........well it's best not to talk about it.

This cranberry cake is from the first list in that it is meant to be made without the inclusion of flour like a traditional dense and moist flourless nut cake.

But with the exciting addition of cranberries and cinnamon.

The idea for this cake came to be after I was given a kilo of dried frozen cranberries and wondered what in heavens I would do with so many.

I was just about to start work on my lollipop and candy inspired Christmas Cake for this year and with the addition of a little red food color to match the bright exterior this new cake creation was perfect.

 (DIY tutorial on how to make this 3D cake here:  Lollipop and Candy Christmas Cake )

Shop the photo vendors
White plates and bowl from Ikea
Gold fork Christina Re (I picked mine up at DJ's)
Vintage pink tea cup set, cake server and tea strainer
Pink Tea Towel (vintage) Ulster and Weaver 

Sweets on a Stick

and if anyone is looking for last minute Christmas presents in Brisbane, the Bleeding Heart Cafe has copies of my book available right now for purchase. You can email inquiries to:

Flourless Cranberry cake
To make your cake red simply add 1/2tsp red gel food color to the mixture when adding vanilla, if required add more color until the desired shade is achieved.

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
3 cups water
1 stick cinnamon

175g (6 1/8 oz) almond meal (ground almonds)
50g (1 3/4 oz)hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
200g (7oz) sugar
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place cranberries, cinnamon stick and water into a pan, bring to a low simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour, remove from heat and allow to cool. Discard cinnamon stick, drain mixture through a sieve and reserve cranberry compote (you can reserve liquid to drink or as a drinks mixer if you like).

Preheat oven to 170C ( F) and grease and line a 20cm round baking tin. (I used a springform).

In a large mixing bowl combine almond meal, hazelnut meal, sugar and baking powder.

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries for about 30 seconds.

Add the eggs one at a time and vanilla processing after the addition of each egg. The mixture will be quite frothy and light.

Add the nut mixture and process until well combined. Use a spatula to scrape around the bottom of the bowl to ensure all mixture is combined.

Pour cake batter into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in tin and then turn out to cool on a wire rack.

Recipe, photo's and post by Linda Vandermeer author of Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid Friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go. You can pick it up at all good online book shops including these shops:

Or here at fishpond (Aus/NZ)

Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I love you more than Christmas kids lunch treats

Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind.

Live a little, love a lot.

Eat sugar sprinkles.

Sushi, fruit, yogurt and healthy sandwiches are great lunch box staples for the kids, but sometimes I like to sneak in a surprise treat like these Christmas sprinkle sandwiches# with a happy note.

When I was growing up we used to call this type of sugar sprinkle sandwich fairy bread and it was a party staple.

I'm sure you don't need the instructions on how to make them but I'll share anyway :)

Take super fresh white bread. Spread with butter, sprinkle one half with sugar sprinkles (non-pariels), cut out a cute Christmas Tree shape on the other half and then press together firmly.

If you don't have green sprinkles don't worry, just use whatever you have handy.

Use a sharp knife to remove crusts (this is an essential step with fairy bread).

Write a note and slip it in the lunchbox with your sprinkly treat.

I used ejector Christmas Tree cutters which came in a set but you can just use regular mini tin cutters, it will work out just the same.

# If you just can't bring yourself to feed your kids sugar for lunch don't despair. Low fat cream cheese spread and sprouts will look awesomely fun too :)

Linda Vandermeer is the author of Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid Friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go. You can pick it up at all good online book shops including these shops:

Or here at fishpond (Aus/NZ)

Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elegant Ornament Cookies

Elegant Ornament Cookies with hand piped royal icing details and jelly jewels.

Yup instead of baking crushed candy into the holes I decided to use the soft jelly jewels for a little extra elegance.

Which by the way jelly gems are the only type of jewels in this household.

and that was the case even before someone kicked in our front door a few weeks back to rob us. Happily our monitored security and vigilant neighbors stepped up immediately and they were only in the house for a total of 1 minute before fleeing.

Otherwise with nothing else of value to steal they might have resorted to taking my jelly jewels in which case you would totally not be enjoying the pictures of these cookies.

Plus the amount of time I have spent on the phone to insurance, police and people re fixing the door has really eaten into my blogging time. So totally inconvenient - don't those thieves know I have cookies to bake and treats to make. 

Anyhoo back to cookies. I am a fan of white on white Christmas cookies. But I did decided to try out a pink and gold version. Except I was all out of luster dust so the hand painting didn't quite come out like I had hoped, but they were still super pretty. I think perhaps I should have used the edible glitter, it's on my list for next time :)

Edit update I have a youtube video tutorial on how to make the sugar cookie cut out dough up:

Shopping/Photo Details
Cookie Cutter - Fancy Flours
Gingham ribbon, cards and small rectangle tin (set) - Greengate - Originated Shop
Jelly Jewels - mine Culpitt from Party Animal Online
Large round Pink Tin - Just Plain Gorgeous (Balmoral QLD)

Elegant Ornament Cookie Instructions

Sugar Cookie Dough (I used the recipe from Sweets on a Stick any good recipe will do)
wooden rolling pin
Ornament Cookie Cutter
White ready roll fondant (I used Bakels)
brush and water
Royal Icing in a piping bag with small plain tip
Jelly Jewels
small rolling pin
Icing tip with large round tip #12

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and use ornament cutter to cut out shapes. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Chill for 1/2 an hour until firm then bake in preheated oven (160 C or 320 F) for around 15minutes or until golden.

Remove from oven and quickly using the #12 icing tip cut 3 holes into the cookies (look at pictures for examples). Allow cookies to cool for around 5 mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Knead the white fondant and using the small rolling pin roll out on a cornflour (cornstarch) dusted workbench until quite thin. Using the ornament cutter cut out shapes. Brush a small amount of water onto the cookies and then press the fondant on top of the cookie using the rolling pin and gently pressing into place. Use the # 12 tip to press out 3 holes in the fondant ensuring they are in the same spot as the holes in the cookie underneath.

Pipe the desired design onto the cookie with the royal icing and allow to set.

Finally pipe a little royal icing into each hole (I piped around the edge of each round) and press the jelly jewel into place.

Linda Vandermeer is the author of Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid Friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go. You can pick it up at all good online book shops including these shops:

Or here at fishpond (Aus/NZ)

Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!
Linked to:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweetest Thing Reindeer Cookies for Christmas

Oh my goodness these cookies are just the sweetest things.

I am totally in love with the pretty pastel colors and the flying reindeer shape.

I'm calling the colors white, dusky pink and teal.....'cause that's the titles on the food color bottles. But I think you can also call the 'teal', mint green or perhaps seafoam.

I'm not really sure, sometimes I get a bit confused with all those fancy names :)

What I do know is that they look even more adorable in real life and that the teal color with white and a pop of red looks amazing.

Anyhoo......before you all ask......the cookie cutter.

Lots of you may already have it which is great news. I picked it up in a bucket of 100 cutters from Aldi (discount supermarket) last year, for around 10 or 20 dollars for the whole lot.

In the US I have seen them sold as Faberware sets or maybe Roshco 100 piece plastic sets, Amazon has them listed kinda expensive (see below) although I noticed a used one for a good price. Or maybe try Ebay.

Like I said you might already have it or be lucky enough to find a set, but if not you could pick up a similar one by picking up a flying reindeer like the one from the below link.

Now I know the flying reindeers do not have the lovely looking fragile antlers and legs, but that might be a good thing for some. I use a pretty good cookie recipe (the one from my cook book Sweets on a Stick) and the dough was pretty chilled, but I still rolled each cookie out on a square of parchment paper to make it easier to pick  up and pop onto the oven tray. Plus I needed to gently ease/push out the antlers and legs. Not unachievable, or even that hard, but kinda time consuming and not so kid friendly.

 But they do look soooo sweet so for me totally worth it :)

I'm kinda into the whole color scheme at the moment so I seemed to have a stack of stuff sitting around ready for some photo's.

Photo stuff Vendor/Stockists:

Ribbon sets - Tilda (I bought mine @ Sewco Mt Gravatt)
Mint Green Sandy Cup - Greengate (I bought mine @ Originated Shop)
Silver Christmas baubles - Spotlight
Paisley card stock - Tilda (I bought mine @ Sewco Mr Gravatt)

Before I start the tutorial - just a quick reminder that if you don't want to miss out on any posts you can subscribe for free up in the top right corner of this blog by entering your email address. I have lots of Christmas cookies and treats coming up so you won't want to miss a single sweet thing (and facebook is mostly unreliable for updates these days).

Sweetest Thing Reindeer Cookies
If you don't like fondant covered cookies you can follow the general directions using royal icing instead, well y'know piping instead of rolling out and cutting. Y'all get the idea :)

Reindeer cookie cutter
cookie dough (I used the recipe from Sweets on a Stick stockist details below)
White ready roll fondant (I used Bakels)
food color (I used Americolor Teal, Americolor Ivory, Sugarflair dusky pink and red)
Royal Icing (I mixed up a little premix with water)
Edible glitter in pink and silver
Small rolling pin
cornflour / cornstarch
brush and water

Roll out the cookie dough onto parchment paper and cut out reindeer shapes. If you cutter has fragile thin pieces make sure the dough is quite chilled and ease each section out with the base of a knife, or some other flatish thin tool.

Chill in freezer for around 15 minutes and then bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until just golden, remove from oven and allow to cool on baking tray enough so they are firm and easy to move without breaking. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

Take a tablespoon of the fondant and color red. Divide the remaining fondant into 3 evenish amounts. Leave one section white, color one section pink and then the remaining teal using 2 parts teal to 1 part ivory to make a color similar to the one in the pictures. (to color fondant knead it well and then gradually work in drops of food color until the desired color is achieved.)

Dust the work bench, knead the white fondant until pliable and roll out until a couple of mm thin (1/16th ") making sure to pick it up and turn often so it does not stick to the bench. Cut out a reindeer shape with the cookie cutter (ensure the cutter has been washed and is completely dry).

Brush a small amount of water onto the cookie and then gently press the fondant onto the cookie using the rolling pin to gently press it into place.

Repeat for remaining cookies until a third of the cookies is covered with white fondant.

To make the spots on the back of the reindeer, pipe small dots of white royal icing with a #2 tip.For the teal spots (on some of the white deers) I just used small balls of teal fondant pressed into place (use a tiny amount of water to stick if necessary).

To make the glittery reindeer noses lay the fondant covered cookies on clean parchment paper, pipe a small dot of royal icing onto the noses and then before the royal icing dries sprinkle a small amount of edible glitter directly onto the wet royal icing.

The red reindeer noses are just small balls of red fondant pressed into place (use a tiny amount of water to stick if necessary)

Wrapping paper Greengate - frameTarget

Linda Vandermeer is a mum, blogger and author of Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid Friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go. You can pick it up at all good online book shops including these shops:

Or here at fishpond (Aus/NZ)

Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!
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