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Fall 2009

In This Issue
Feature: Cookie Stenciling Made Simple
Favorites: Designer Stencils
Fanfare: Cookie Swap Tour and On the Tube

Welcome to the first issue of Sugar Buzz, my quarterly newsletter. While Recipes for a Sweet Life (both the name of my website and my party and prop styling business) focuses on broad prescriptions for living beautifully (think party ideas, entertaining tips, and gift-giving notions), Sugar Buzz will explore the sugary terrain of my life's other passion - baking and decorating. In upcoming issues, you'll see sure-fire recipes, leads to my favorite baking products and supplies, and other hints for making no-fail sweets.
As for this issue, I'm teasing you with cookies! (After all, October is National Cookie Month. And then, of course, there's that new cookie book I've been promoting . . .) I've included a how-to for my book tour's single biggest show-stopper - a stenciled jack o' lantern cookie. You'll also find stencil sources and a link to my Halloween tabletop design primer.
If online instruction isn't enough, I hope you'll join me on my Cookie Swap book tour. I've got a wide range of decorating and baking classes lined up from here (my home base of St. Louis) to Maine and California. The holiday baking season is fast approaching, and, as all good bakers know, it's never too soon to turn up the heat in the kitchen!
Live life sweetly,
Feature: Cookie Stenciling Made Simple
Jack o' Lantern Cookies   
(2-2 1/2 dozen 4-inch pumpkins) 
Pumpkin1. Mix about 4 1/2 cups Royal  Icing (Beat  together 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, 5 pasteurized egg whites, 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar until very thick and white.) Thin with about 3-4 Tbsp. water until the icing smoothly coats the top of a "test" sugar cookie.
 Portion out about 1/2 cup icing and tint it black with soft gel food coloring. Cover the surface flush with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Tint the remaining icing orange.
Smoothly coat the tops of 2-2 1/2 dozen 4-inch pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies with the orange icing by dabbing the icing on with the handle-end of a small craft paint brush. Let the icing dry overnight.
Bring the black icing to room temperature. Hold a jack o' lantern stencil firmly atop an iced cookie and spread a thin layer of black icing over the stencil with an offset spatula. Lift the stencil carefully and repeat with the remaining cookies.
Embellish the pumpkins with brown fondant stems and green leaves and vines. For fondant leaf- and vine-making tips, check out Cookie Swap.
Favorites: Designer Stencils
The best Internet source I've found for stencils of every kind, including the ones used to make my pumpkins, above.   
 A Spooktacular Scape
For an extra special  Halloween treat, check out 
 my tricks for tablescapes on my site Recipes for
 A Sweet Life.
Cookie Swap Tour in Full Swing!
I've been on the road for about two and a half months now (phew!), and I've met tons of kindred baking spirits. The fun continues through mid-December with cookie decorating and baking demos, cookie swap talks, and more! Here's a preview:
10-19: Dish It Up!, Seattle, WA
10-20: Bayview School of Cooking, Olympia, WA
10-21: Bayview School of Cooking, Olympia, WA 
10-22: Inner Chapters, Seattle, WA
10-22: Sizzleworks, Bellevue, WA
10-23: Sur la Table, Kirkland, WA

More events
On the Tube 
Cookie Swap and I have had some wonderful TV coverage despite my bad hair and makeup days! (Please, viewers, have mercy on this weary traveler!)Samples of my 4 to 7 minutes of fame: 
Quick Links
Buy Cookie Swap
Follow Me on Twitter
Chat with Me on Mixing Bowl
Buzz Me
Thanks for reading the first issue of Sugar Buzz!  I'm always looking for ways to sweeten the lives of my readers, so if you have recommendations for future Sugar Buzz articles or content, I'd love to hear them! 
Also, send a photo of your best jack o' lantern cookie by November 15, and I'll choose a winner to get a free Cookie Swap!

Sugar Buzz, the newsletter of
c/o Julia M. Usher

Celebrate October - National Cookie Month!
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