Thursday, April 22, 2010

KNK in the Kitchen...

Ok...so I really didn't HAUL my KNK up to the Kitchen!  But I popped back and forth between my KNK machine and my kitchen quite a bit!

I wanted to see how sugar cookies would cut on the KNK!  I cut some on the new Cricut Cake machine...and they cut decent, but because of how that machine is built, I couldn't get as thick as I wanted for the cookie dough.....and besides, I wanted to see if that new Cricut Cake blade worked on the KNK.

So...here is what I did!

FIRST...I dug out a KNK mat that didn't have much usage on it, and I cleaned it off with goo-gone, then hot soap and water.  Then, I also cleaned off my KNK, including underneath the blade carriage (as much as I could reach, my rollers, my flatbeds, etc....I used some good clorox to do this!  I wanted to make sure it was as clean as possible.

Then, back up in my kitchen,  I made a non spreading sugar cookie dough, the name of the cookies are Never Fail Sugar Cookie...it was an easy recipe to do, and can be found online.

With that made, I rolled the cookie dough out onto my clean KNK Mat.  (I didn't use any shortening on the mat, as there is enough butter in the cookies that you don't need the shortening to make it stick.)  Once you start rolling, you'll get to a point where you can't pick up and move the dough...just keep rolling....as it started rolling off the mat, I would trim it off, and use that excess in spots on the ends, until it was squared up pretty good.


I do recommend some flour on your roller and on the dough when it starts to get sticky....once it was all rolled out, I took a knife, and trimmed it down.  You want it so that it is about 1/4" or more inside each roller...so on my KNK mat, that is from about the 2nd square in from the right, and then in one square from the left (see picture) and this assumes you have put your rollers on your KNK to the furthest reach point on the grit rollers.  (if you have 3 or more rollers, move the others out of the way, so you are just using 2 rollers)

Here is a picture of the dough, trimmed up on the mat.  (Also, I have a 24" machine, so my grit rollers might be further apart than your machine, make sure you check your mat on your grit rollers, so you can see just how large you can roll your dough!

Once you have it all rolled out, I recommend that you take your blade, and check the blade length.  You can see in the picture here, I am using the Cricut Cake Blade to check for blade depth, as I had hoped to use that blade in  my machine.....



With the dough just thick enough, I recommend 5-10 minutes in the freezer...enough to stiffen the dough, but not too much that it's no longer pliable without breaking.

While the dough was freezing, I took my already colored fondant, and rolled it out on a pastry mat.  You could also roll this out on another KNK Mat, but I only took the time to clean off one!  You want to make sure you rolly our fondant pretty thin, as it's for decoration not taste..so you don't want a thick chunk of it!

After I rolled the fondant, I then just left it out on the counter.  When working with fondant prior, I know that if I leave it out to "air" dry a little, it's a bit like clay, and can be easier to cut.

So, by now, my cookie dough mat was cooled enough to be able to put through the cutter.  I took it down...and then tried mightily to insert the Cricut Cake Blade Holder into my machine...I couldn't get it to work...because of the two notches on the side of the blade holder and depth...no matter how I put it, the blade would either sit too high or too low.  (BTW, the Cricut Cake Blade holder will NOT work in the older versions of the Cricut machines, only in the Cake machine.  I don't remember the blade holder having those notches on it when we were at CHA in January, so it might be a new adjustment...but i'm thinking I just didn't notice)

So...since the blade holder didn't work, I decided to just try the blade in the MAXX blade holder.  It fit fine...and the Cake blade has a wide angle to the blade, so I thought it's depth might work better...so I kept it in there.

Once thing to note, I would HIGHLY recommend that if you decide to use that blade in the KNK Maxx bladeholder, that you consider purchasing a separate one.  As the dough did gunk up in there a little bit (especially as it got softer for the later cuts).

With my blade in place, and my cookie dough mat in place...I set the speed to 200 and the pressure to 45.


I then opened one of my files of beach images (which you can find on your KNK Design CD that you received for free with your machine, they are ones I donated and can be found under the folder named "Xtra Files for your Paper Crafting Fun."

I sized them to be around 3" or more...the seahorse I made a bit bigger....

Then, I used the inline feature to create the "fondant" cut line, and I went in 0.04 for the inline.

I then select all the cookie outlines, and sent them through the cutter.


Once they were cut, I ran the whole mat back up and put it back in the freezer...because my lesson learned when trying this on the Cricut Cake was that the cookie dough is MUCH easier to remove when it is cold, then you can sort of peal away the negative parts and put it in a ziplock to re-roll later...and that leaves you with a clean cut image on your mat...and because it's chilled, it's easier to get off the mat and onto your baking sheet!

After a couple minutes back in the freezer, I removed the cookies from the mat, and placed them on the baking pan...and popped them in the oven.

I then wiped off the mat a little, and then spread a little bit of shortening on the mat. It was to help keep my fondant in place. I then placed my fondant on the mat (it's a little air dry at this point...making it easier to cut!) I then took it, and cut it at the same speed and pressure as before.


Peeled it all off easily.....

The color of the fondant is a teal green...so this last picture is the right color...not sure why when it was on the machine it got so green looking :)

Take the remaining fondant, and pop it in a baggie, as you can keep reusing it...just kneed it up again and it will get its moisture back!

So...with the fondant cut, my cookies were ready to come out of the oven....I took them out...let them cool...and then used some ready made frosting I had here in the pantry. Topped with the fondant.



And there yuu go!!!  You now have some cookies!!

RECOMMENDATIONS:
1.  Get a few cutting mats to use.  Even when I was doing this on the Cricut Cake, I could easily see how much easier it was to roll the items directly on the cutting mat!  I would get at least 4 cuting mats for this...as you can have 3 of them for the cookies...rolling 3 out, and switching them back and forth between cutter and freezer....it would save you lots of time!
2.  I could make MUCH thicker cookies on my KNK!  And the bonus was, I could roll it on my big mat, and cut more out of there at one time.  I cut 6 out for this  project...but could have fit more in there, if I had taken the time to do it!  Since I was experimenting, it wasn't about how many 3"-4" cookies I could fit in my dough area, but more on if it could be done!
3.  PATIENCE!!  If at first you don't succeed...try again!  It's important to not give up!  The first couple times on the Cricut Cake, I couldn't get a successful cut.  On my KNK, I did good right out of the gate...but I had already learned from mistakes on the other cutter!
4.  DON'T roll the dough on parchment first...just roll directly onto your cutting mat!  It's MUCH easier to roll directly onto the cut mat, because it's too soft to easily transfer from parchment to cut mat...and I even tried putting my rolled dough in freezer first....I just found the second time around when doing it on the KNK, it was easier and much quicker to roll directly on the mat!  (Hence the reason for more cutting mats!)
5.  Only cut a few at a time, if they seem to catch a little, take your blade out, clean it off, then cut some more!  As the dough softens it will gunk up quicker in the blade...so make sure you are "ready" to cut before you take the dough to be cut!  I had my image all ready and into the cut screen before I even brought my cookie dough mat to the machine.
6.  To begin with, use ready made fondant.  I bought a package of the Rolled Fondant by Wilton.  I know it's not the best tasting (though my kids love it!) but it is the right consistency...so it will give you a good feel for what your home made fondant consistency should be!


Hope this helps!!  Have fun....I know my kids loved the cookies I made last night...and I think they will be happy to have more to pack in their lunches tomorrow!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April RAK Card is finished on soon to be in the mail!

Hey, how about that, I was able to get the RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) card for April done, and it will be going in the mail!  Not bad for a procrastinator....I'm done and the month ain't even over!  (READ MORE ABOUT THE MONTHLY RAK hosted by Shirley Clark at Paperthreads.  It's a great feeling making a card for someone special each month!)

Actually, it was easy to do...because I had the image all colored and ready to go from the print and cut class I gave online on Tuesday night!  So really it was just a matter of putting the image on a card base!



RECIPE FOR CARD:

PAPERS:  Detail Blending for digi stamp base, coordinations paper (yellow), Stampin Up! (orange), Georgia Pacific for card base.
 
INKS:  HP Pigment Ink Printer, Copics, Memento Ink (Potters Clay) for distressing orange paper.

DIECUTS:  Freddie Fairy Cut file by Shirley Clark Designs

STAMPS:  Freddie Fairy Digi Stamp by Shirley Clark Designs

ADHESIVE:  Tombow Mono Adhesive, pop dots

MISC:   Ribbon from Hobby Lobby, Sanding Block, sticker from stash, Dots and Argyle embossing folders.

TECHNIQUES: Print and Cut for Digi Stamp

 Hope you enjoy!  And hopefully Rhoda will enjoy her card when she gets it next week!





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