Valentine’s Day Sno-Caps

Do you remember Sno-Caps or Nonpareils … you know, those chocolate discs that are covered with little white balls?

Well … you can make your own … any shape you want!

This is what you will need …

  • Nonpareils … or
  • Sanding Sugar … or
  • Crystal Sugar
  • Melted chocolate or candy melts
  • Leftover Candy Canes … I’ll explain later

My philosophy is … use what you have … or what you can find.  This is what I had in my cupboard …

Melt the chocolate and put it in a squeeze bottle or pastry bag or even a ziptop bag (a quart size works well).  I like squeeze bottles that I can put different size decorating tips on them.  I used a red Candy Decorating Pen, white chocolate with a #3 tip, dark chocolate with a #4 tip and pink chocolate with a #10 tip.

I do not make my chocolate shapes and add sprinkles on top because … the chocolate sometimes hardens too quickly … and I usually end up with sprinkles all over the kitchen.  So this is what I do … just squeeze the chocolate on the sprinkles in the shape you want …don’t worry about perfection … we will call them “artistic” …

These sizes are the small ones that I used on the cupcakes above.  Let the candy firm up … then remove them …

Here is another idea … make larger ones for individual treats …

This is where the candy canes come in …

Or how about the two tone heart …

  First step

  Second step

  Third step

These are all so easy peasy … I hope you find it fun!

F.Y.I.  I really took the easy way out this time.  The cupcakes are made from a mix and frosted with whipped cream … straight out of the squirty can!  :)

Up next … on Friday … a little giveaway

I ♥ all of your comments!

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Clocks and Top Hats for New Year’s

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Today is December 28, 2011 … in a few short days it will be 2012 … time is just flying by!

Can you tell that I recycle?  I am not talking about cans and bottles … but crafty ideas.  Yes, I know … another marshmallow hat and I used the same concept from the snow globes to make clocks.   Hey, don’t judge me … I just do simple stuff.  OK, I promise … no more marshmallow hats … at least for a while;)

This is what you will need …

  • White Fudge Oreo cookies (or dip your Oreos)
  • Large Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Wafer Cookies (Famous from Nabisco)
  • Small Chocolate Covered Peppermint Patties (York)
  • White Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Edible Sparkly Stuff (such as Disco Dust or sugar crystals)
  • Lollipop sticks

First, let me show you Disco Dust … I have used it before .. it is available at cake supply stores (or online) in many colors.  It truly reminds me of craft glitter.  Using a dry brush, dip it in the dust and then tap the brush … it goes a long way … but it isn’t exactly cheap … so I catch the leftover on a paper napkin to save every bit I can.

To get started on the hats … put a stick in a marshmallow … dip it in melted dark chocolate and place it on wax paper … pop in the fridge to harden up …

Now dip the chocolate covered marshmallow in melted white chocolate and sprinkle some sugar on it (I used silver sanding sugar and white crystal sugar) to give it a little sparkle.  Then place it on a chocolate wafer cookie.  Several people have asked me where to find these chocolate cookies … I get them at my grocery store on the cookie aisle but some times they are with the ice cream cones.  If you can’t find them … how about making a puddle of dark chocolate on wax paper about 2-1/4″ … or dip a “sugar” cookie in chocolate?

To make the clocks … use an edible marker to draw on the white Oreo … and a paring knife to trim any uneven edges …

I used a squeeze bottle to draw a rim of white chocolate on the edge of the clock face and add gold Disco Dust … and don’t forget to do this on a paper napkin so you can save the excess Disco Dust …

When the chocolate has hardened, use a clean brush to remove the excess glitter and save it …

Put a little melted white chocolate on the small peppermint patty … place a clock face on it … and hold it for a minute …

Here are some more easy peasy cupcake ideas …

Just put the cookie clock face on a frosted cupcake!

Or better yet … put the whole clock on a cupcake!

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day?  Are you staying home with family … or going to a “fancy schmancy”  party?

Whatever you are doing … these little treats will fit the bill!  I hope you have a happy and safe holiday!

I ♥ your comments :)

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Marshmallows

 

Remember the Pumpkin Spice Mallows that I bought at Wal-mart some time ago?  Here are few thoughts on how to use them …

  • Quick and edible cupcake toppers!
  • How about putting them on a stick and using them to stir hot cocoa?  (oops, forgot the cocoa in the cup)!
  • I want to try them on sweet potato casserole!
  • Or make Rice Krispie Treats with them!

I can truly say that my obsession with marshmallows may be getting out of control.  Look what I found …

  Peppermint Mallows came from Win-Co Foods … Gingerbread Mallows came from Wal-mart.

  Jumbo SwirlMallows (chocolate & vanilla) came from Wal-mart … SwirlMallows (caramel & vanilla) came from Win-Co Foods.

I plan on sharing my sources … I hope it helps you … and I’m sure there are other sources too.  I have been reading all the entries and comments on the giveaway and it has helped trigger my memory too.  I forgot that I bought two professional grade cake pans at the Goodwill for about $2.00 each, and they still had the price tag from a local cake decorating store for about $15.00 each.  A few years ago, I was making my niece’s wedding cake in Johnson City, Tennessee … and didn’t bring enough supplies with me.  I found a local party store that carried supplies … and I was very grateful.

Here are a few more local supply stores in Southern California that I visit …

The next project … Pilgrim Hats :)

Comments are always appreciated …

Only 3 days left until Halloween!

I can’t believe that October has come … and is almost gone!  All the other holidays will be here before we know it.  Time sure does fly when you are having fun!  I certainly have had fun sharing my ideas with you … and there are more to come :)

Here is a quick summary of Halloween …

   Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

   Eyeball Marshmallow Pops

   Textured Halloween Bark

   Witch Hat Cupcakes

   The Witch is Dead … Cupcakes

   The Bride of Frankenstein Pops

   Tangerine Jack-o-lanterns

   Black bottom cupcakes with spider webs

And for fall … this is what I have made so far …

   Peanut butter & chocolate acorns

   Candy corn popcorn

 

Now I am off to the kitchen …

 

 

Halloween Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black bottom cupcakes have been around forever.  They truly are oldies but goodies.  The best of two worlds … cake and cheesecake all rolled into one … yum!

I usually don’t make colored filling for these cupcakes … but it is Halloween after all!  And the spider webs could be used on any cupcake or by themselves.

I will give you the recipe and directions for making the spider webs.  So let’s get started …

Make the filling.  Mix the cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth …

Stir in the chocolate chips …

Stir in the orange food coloring (I use Americolor about 3 drops) …

 

Now make the chocolate cake.  Whisk together the dry ingredients … flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda …

Add the wet ingredients … water, oil, vinegar and vanilla … stir until smooth … 

Fill lined cupcake pans (1/3 full) …

Add the filling … (you could sprinkle some chopped nuts on top at this point) and bake …

 

While the cupcakes are baking, we can make the spider webs.  You will need …

  • Melted white chocolate or candy melts (about 8 ounces for 24 webs) in a squeeze bottle or pastry bag
  • Chocolate chips (24)
  • Black edible marker
  • Wax paper
  • A toothpick

I have a tendency to lose control over the size of things … so I drew 2-1/2″ circles on a sheet of paper as a guideline for the size of my spider webs …

I placed the paper on a cookie sheet and covered it with wax paper …

On top of the wax paper, make a small puddle (about the size of your thumbnail) of melted white chocolate and work the spiral out …

Using the toothpick, drag the white chocolate from the center to the outside rim …

Add a chocolate chip (spider body) to the center of the web …

Pop the webs into the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.   Then use the marker to give the spider some legs and lay the webs on to of the cooled cupcakes …

Black Bottom Cupcakes

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (light or regular) softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chopped nuts (optional)

1.  In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, egg and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and 1 cup sugar.  Stir in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

3.  Fill lined cupcake pans 1/3 full with chocolate mixture.  Spoon cheese mixture on top.  Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

4.  Bake at 350°F 30-35 minutes.  Do not overbake.   Makes 24 cupcakes.

I do recommend serving these cupcake after they are completely cooled.  I like to refrigerate them … but I like cold cheesecake.

I love comments …

Cupcakes with Candy Witch Hats

Soo many Halloween ideas … too little time!  That is my dilemma right now.  I do have ideas for fall also … and will post them shortly.

This little project is a quick and easy one.  Great for kids … or adults … to make.  The witch hats could be used alone … but I really like them on top of cupcakes … edible decor!

You will need …

  • Cupcakes
  • Icing colored orange
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Hershey Kisses – Special Dark
  • Candy melts – I used orange and purple

Set up a little assembly line to make the witch hats … it takes a while just to unwrap the mint patties and kisses …

Put a dab or dollop (very technical terms) of melted candy on the mint patty.  You can use a spoon … but a squeeze bottle would be a great option for kids …

Place the Kiss on the melted candy … a little will ooze out … creating a band.  Pop them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up the melted candy …


I used my favorite cupcake decorating tip … Wilton #1M … to frost the cupcakes.  Start on the outside rim and swirl your way to the center of the cupcake …

Put a hat on the cupcake … and you are done!

Do these fall in the “good for you” category?  They have dark chocolate … antioxidants … can we rationalize it?  If not, here is my find of the day …

I wish I could take credit for this quote … but I can’t … it came straight off a Denny’s menu!

Please feel free to leave a comment …

 
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Cast Party Wednesday

Cupcakes To Go

Today I am sharing some things that I learned while making these cupcakes that were used as wedding favors.   A few weeks ago I showed you the “Queen of Hearts” cookies that were for the bridal shower tea.  The wedding took place this past Saturday and I volunteered to make the cupcakes that the bride wanted as favors.

This past week was one of the hottest of the summer.  I was hot … and lazy … I relied on my old friend, Duncan Hines, once again.  I baked the cupcakes a few days ahead and froze them as usual.  Friday evening I made the icing … my decorator icing recipe  … you may want to check it out because I made a few slight changes.  Then I prepared the assembly line …

Since it was so hot and the wedding was outdoors … I had already planned to deliver the cupcakes in an ice chest to keep them cool until needed.

This is what I did … I baked the cupcakes in regular liners … then placed them in parchment paper cups (sometimes called tulip cups) … just to keep things neat …

I knew that if I iced the cupcake and then tried to put it in the “to go” box … I would surely have my fat fingers messing up the icing … or have smeared icing on the sides of the box.   So, I decided to put the icing on the cupcake after it was in the box …

I used Wilton tip #1M … started on the outside of the cupcake and swirled my way to the center …

And it worked!  I was so lazy, that I even bought ready-made icing flowers at the cake decorating store.  Maybe I should be embarrassed … but I’m not.

I closed up the boxes and refrigerated them overnight.  Saturday morning I tied the ribbons … put them in the ice chest … and drove them to the wedding.  Here is a pic of the first 20 …

I hope that these hints help you to make cupcakes to go!