Cookies Desserts Holidays / Birthdays Miscellaneous

painter’s palette cookies and Peach’s 8th birthday

birthday girl memories live forever ::::


In the recesses of a ziggurat, there lies an ancient Babylonian myth. There is a special room inside each of these staired pyramids, a room with the ability to hold a voice forever. Supposedly, the walls are so highly polished that a whisper can stay alive forever.


the dry canvas awaits

The artist Brian Andreas reviews this myth and argues that our modern age has this special room within the bandwidth and code of our computer networks. Our whispers and screams, are forever recorded and heard. We need no actual physical room or ziggurat: we have the dimensionless yet ever expanding Internet. Dare I say in our daily glaze and catatonia glued to iThingies that the Internet is more like an endless black hole engulfing us than an exciting new world much of the time.


paint dabs don’t need fancy piping: use a Q-tip

The ever-increasing world comes back to the singular and small. The lives of our children fill these seemingly little blips. It is not that we won’t worry about school safety, or what they have eaten that day, or if they are doing well in school, or if they have friends and like their siblings. What we forget are the simple words, seemingly unimportant ones, from each child’s mouth. We must go back and sit as parents in some special polished room with our children, listening to the whispers that will live forever.


putting on the paint brush tip with a #27 piping tip

I enter into that room of my memories every year around each of the kids’ birthdays. My first quiet talk, the first whispers, trawling behind a newborn’s cry, was Peach. I spent many hours in front of the large picture windows of our vintage condo in Chicago appreciating the light and warmth of my baby, whispering, a stark contrast to the windowless office, soul-draining and long work hours I experienced before Peach was born. My mind fuzzed from hours at work and sleep deprivation with a baby over winter, I was happy to burst into springtime that first year of Peach’s life. I remember one spring weekend when the air and sidewalk were filled with gossamer milkweed fluff. It was as though a cloud fell apart into little bits and scattered itself on land. Peach and I reached for some of the airborne fluff, smiling at the softness. I recall comparing the whispery texture to the soft buttery skin of my baby. We needed no words then, but I heard the whispers.


Though she be a strong-willed eight-year-old, skin tanned, legs long, smile toothy, Peach is still that marshmallow baby catching milkweed fluff, a visual forever in my mind. And these words are my everlasting whispers to her, caught in those gossamer memories, those memories that make her sweeter now.


I love you, Sweets. You are a great big sister and lovely daughter. I love seeing your art and creativity. Your talent will live forever. Happy Eighth Birthday! Here are your painter’s palette cookies to celebrate your painting birthday party.



There is no actual recipe today, other than redux. See below.

For the sugar cookie recipe, follow my confetti cookie recipe post (but leave out the food coloring).

For the royal icing recipe, check out my chima (laval) sugar cookie decorating post. The only change in the recipe is that I used a bit more meringue powder to help the paint dab look dry more stiffly.

For her birthday party this year, Peach requested one of our favorite family cakes, the light and fluffy, whipped cream covered pandan chiffon cake. There were two, in fact, as we expected to eat more than one slice easily. (This is the only cake with which I favor to do this, honestly.) After a construction-themed two-cake-making and cookie platter marathon for a friend (I have no idea if I’ll get around to posting those any time soon) and Grub’s birthday cupcakes with the Chima cookie toppers, the pandan chiffon cakes were a welcome departure from the focused work of royal icing and fondant.


One year ago: coconut cream puff birthday (for Peach’s seventh birthday)

Two years ago: black cocoa cookie-coffee-almond ice cream sandwichessalted pumpkin and pepita caramelsstrawberry cream cheese frosting (from Peach’s sixth birthday)

Three years ago: rainbow brown sugar cupcakes (for Peach’s fifth birthday),  apricot oatcakes

Four years ago: revelatory caramel cake (for Peach’s fourth birthday), lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting (also for Peach’s fourth birthday),  sgroppino al limone.

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story of a kitchen