Wonderful Gifting Books

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One of my goals in life is to become a cookie decorator, I just love looking at the amazing designs and ideas that cookie creators come up with! 100 Best Decorated Cookies is jam packed with fantastic cookie making tips, recipes and more. And if you think you can only decorate plain sugar cookies, there’s also gluten free, maple, whole wheat and other delicious sounding varieties. She uses a classic royal icing for all of the cookies, but also includes a vegan alternative.

100 Best Decorated Cookies has tons of photos, so there’s no guessing how to make anything, it’s clearly shown. One thing I really liked, is how the cookies are very accessible, there aren’t any weird or super “unique” ideas, they are all cute and would work perfect for holidays or birthdays. There are many tips, literally on every other page, that I read with great interest, as I think those are the things that can really make or break the cookies. I’ve already made the Christmas tree cookies since it’s the holiday season and with her instructions they ended up being my best ever! I can’t wait to try more and keep improving my techniques.

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I started taking cake decorating classes when I was twelve and I really enjoyed it! I always seek out books to learn more about it and Sensational Buttercream Decorating is filled with so much helpful information, from delicious cake recipes to make from scratch to piping tips to coloring frosting and lots more! About half of the large, lay-flat book is dedicated to techniques for decorating cakes and cupcakes and the last half is filled with gorgeous ideas of how to put those skills into action.

The decorating ranges from simply beautiful, like the bamboo cake to the jaw-dropping stunning art deco cake. I’m practicing making the English garden cake with its sides dripping with gorgeous flowers. I hope to master that soon and try it out on a real cake! I also tried out the sprinkle cake, but on a mini size one, since you have to pick it up with your hands and press the sprinkles into the side of the cake. I used pastel sprinkles and it turned out so cute! I really want to try the honey bee cake and the amazing sunflower cake! Love this amazing book and I’m sure I’ll refer to Sensational Buttercream Decorating over and over again.

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I enjoyed looking through the pictorial menu in Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds, which is focused on napkin ideas that would work well for different styles of themed parties. It includes what type of napkins that work well with folding as well as how to embellish them. I wanted to dig right in and start trying out some ideas right away, so I started with the first one in the book, which looks just like a paper airplane! It took me a couple of tries, but was very simple to make and I also loved the rainbow stripe napkin they used for it. The steps are clearly defined, each step with its own photo.

I also learned a nice way to fold a napkin to line the inside of a basket. I was never sure how to do that before! One of my favorite ideas was the rosebud, which they added a paper stem and leaves to make it look extra cute. I’m looking forward to using lots of these suggestions from Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds for dressing up my dinners and parties.

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