Summer – Part 1… Sailboats

Candy Sailboat

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Has summer just begun … or is it just about over? I feel like summer just began, but wait … Target has eliminated the patio furniture and brought in school supplies and Michael’s has started stocking Halloween stuff … the weather is telling me … Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Review

St. Patrick's Day Marshmallow Cupcakes

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Since St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away … here is a quick little review of some ideas …   Faux Cupcakes … a no-bake treat. Gold at the End of the Rainbow Cupcakes … sorry it’s not … Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Recap

This is just a reminder that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  Are you ready?  If not … don’t panic … I thought that I would do a little recap of a few quick Valentine’s Day ideas.

Treats for the young and old …

  Edible Cupcake Box

    Valentine Bug Cupcakes

  Conversation Marshmallow Pops

  Strawberry Heart Marshmallows

    Valentine Sno-Caps

  Red Velvet Bottom Cupcakes

A few ideas that can be made in a big batch, divided up and packaged for individual treats …

Chocolate Caramel Salty Peanut Bark

  Chocolate Peanut Popcorn

I would like to say “THANK YOU” to everyone who voted for me in the Celebrations Cupcake Crown contest!

Last minute cute and colorful ideas …

These are my favorite cute ideas that are pretty quick and easy … you know the clock is ticking!

Do you work well under pressure … or are you done with everything and relaxing?  I you are relaxing … I am envious!

My theory is … if I am still working … you should be working too!  Is that related to “misery loves company”?

Anyway … the purpose of this post is to remind you that if you make just a few colorful items and place them on a platter with anything else … it just pops!

Edible Snow Globes

Snowman Hat Pops

Marshmallow Snowmen Pops

Cupcakes are fast if you use a cake mix and ready-made icing …

Snowmen Cupcakes

The Perfect Man (or men)     

Peppermint S’mores 

Peppermint Pops 

I am a last-minute person … every now and then I think I’m ahead of schedule … then I realize that I’m not :(   So … I do what I can and make plans for next year to get more done :)

I look forward to your comments … I read all of them!

Quick to Make Gift Ideas

spiced pecans

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Here is little “roundup” of quick and easy gifts to make … or use for a dessert table! Clear bags and pretty ribbons make wrapping a cinch :) Spiced pecans Candy coated popcorn (just substitute holiday M&M’s or similar candy … Continue reading

No-Bake Peanut Butter Butterscotch Crisp Cookies

I found this recipe last week on Brown Eyed Baker.  I thought that I had everything in my pantry to make them … well, I had to make a slight change because I didn’t have enough peanuts.  But the good news is … this is a very versatile recipe.  Make changes to fit your needs … the original recipe from Smuckers called for chow mein noodles … but Rice Krispies are in this version.  I may use some Cheerios in my next batch!

I did store these in the fridge because of the heat.  Here is my slightly adapted recipe …

No-Bake Peanut Butter Butterscotch Crisp Cookies

1 3/4 cups peanut butter (creamy, chunky or a combo)

1 – 12 oz. package butterscotch chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts

3 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1.  Line two baking sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper, set aside.

2.  In a medium-large saucepan combine the peanut butter, butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth.

3.  Stir in the peanuts and Rice Krispies cereal.  Drop mounds onto the lined baking sheets.  Chill until set (freezer 5 minutes or refrigerator about 30 minutes).  Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

 Remember to enter my Cupcake Bracelet Giveaway.  The deadline is Thursday, September 8, midnight!

 

Peaches ‘n Vanilla Cream Pie

Every summer, I need find it necessary like to make peach pie.  Sometimes it is a cooked pie, sometimes it’s a fresh peach pie … sometimes a rolled pie crust, sometimes not.  This is my first pie of the summer.  I took my normal fresh peach pie recipe and made an addition … vanilla cream made with vanilla bean paste!  The thing that I love about using the vanilla bean paste (besides the flavor) is the appearance of the little brown flecks … is seems so special and decadent!

I made this pie to take to Rich and Gwen’s (very old long time and very good friends) house for dessert … after swimming and dinner.  Well, it was like a comedy act.  I was running behind schedule … as usual … I phoned and asked Rich if I could bring the pie, half made … he said “sure” … the message was conveyed to Gwen that I was bringing half of a pie.  No swimming took place … the Peanut Butter Addict left his trunks at home (sitting by the front door) and I haven’t been in a bathing suit in about 100 years or was it 100 pounds ago (but let’s not go there).  However, I finished making the pie at their house and tried to take photos for this post with a dead camera battery.   So, the photos are not great … but the pie sure tasted good.  It got a 4 thumbs up!

This is what you will need for the crust – graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter.  For the pie – peaches, sugar, cornstarch, cream cheese, vanilla bean paste and whipping cream

Make the crust … in the pie pan (why have another bowl to wash) combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar … then stir in the melted butter …

  

Press the crust against the sides and bottom of the pan using the back of a spoon (or your fingers) … put it in the fridge to chill …

  

Pour the whipped cream in a chilled bowl … add the sugar and vanilla bean paste … whip it until peaks form … can you see the little brown flecks?

  

Whip the softened cream cheese and sugar until well blended … then fold in 1 cup of the whipped cream … put the remaining whipped cream back in the fridge and save for garnish …

  

Spread the cream cheese mixture on the crust … and put it back in the fridge …

  

Now … peel, pit and slice the peaches for the pie and glaze … 4 cups for the pie … 3/4 cup for the glaze …

In a saucepan, mash-up the peaches for the glaze … add water … boil for 2 minutes …

  

If you want to be really fancy, strain the mixture at this point to remove the chunks of fruit … I didn’t do it … I don’t mind them … in fact I like them.

Mix cornstarch and sugar together and then stir into boiling mixture … cook until thickened … remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes …

  

Mix the glaze and sliced peaches … then spread in the pie pan … and chill for a few hours .. serve with remaining whipped cream …

Now here are the photos of the pieces of pie …

We were impatient … the pie should have chilled longer before cutting … but the flecks in the whipped cream look good!

The pie looks better, bad lighting and the heat did a number on the whipped cream!    Sorry!

Like I said, it may not be pretty … but it sure tasted good.

Peaches ‘n Vanilla Cream Pie

Pie                                                                    Crust

4-3/4 cups  sliced peaches (5-6 medium)        1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup sugar                                                     1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch                                  1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

3/4 cup water

4 oz. softened neufchatel/light cream cheese

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract may be substituted)

Make the crust – Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar.  Melt butter and combine with crumb mixture.  Press into a 9″ pie pan.

Make whipped cream – Using a chilled bowl whip cream, 1/4 sugar and vanilla bean paste until peaks form.  Store in the fridge.

Beat together softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until combined throughly.  Fold 1 cup of whipped cream to cream cheese mixture and spread in pie crust.  Store in the fridge.

Make glaze – In a small sauce pan mash 3/4 cup of peaches, add  water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes over medium heat.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar and corn starch, add to boiling mixture and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Mix glaze and remaining peach slices.  Pour into pie pan.  Chill for a few hours and serve with remaining whipped cream.     Makes 1 generous  9″ pie.

I ♥ comments … please leave one!

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Cake Pops? … No, April Fools! … COOKIE POPS – Peanut Butter & Chocolate!!!

Cake pops are a wonderful thing, but have you ever tried cookie pops?  These cookie pops are so simple … no baking required!  Yesterday I wanted to make something that didn’t requiring turning the oven on … it was over 90° here in southern California.  I decided to make cookie pops.  I had made similar ones in the past using cream cheese, but did not feel comfortable about leaving them out of the fridge … did I mention that it was over 90°? 

These cookie pops are made from cookies, therefore they are not as moist as a cake pop.  My husband, the peanut butter addict, thought that they were wonderful. 

You will need …

  Lollipop sticks, sprinkles (optional) and chocolate for dipping!

Crush, crumble or smash the Nutter Butters … use a resealable plastic bag and rolling-pin or a food processor (I need to buy a new one) … you want crumbles not powder … pour them in a large mixing bowl …

 

Mix in the whole can of icing …

 

Prep a cookie sheet with waxed paper or parchment and melt about 1/2 cup of the chocolate.  Roll the mixture into balls (3/4″ – 1″) … the mixture will be appear dry, but does firm up while you are working with it.  Use a lollipop stick to “drill” a hole about half way into the ball … then dip the stick into the melted chocolate and insert it into the ball … lay on cookie sheet.   

  

Put the tray of cookie pops in the fridge for 1 hour or until totally chilled.  Prep a sucker stand (styrofoam) and chocolate for dipping … remove about 10 – 12 pops from fridge … start dipping making sure that you cover the entire ball all the way to the stick … tap off excess chocolate … add sprinkles (optional) and place in stand to dry!

 

 

NUTTER BUTTER COOKIE POPS

1 package of Nutter Butter cookies

1 16 oz. can vanilla frosting

1 pound of chocolate

Lollipop sticks

Sprinkles (optional)

Crumble cookies in resealable plastic bag (gallon size) and rolling-pin or use a food processor.  Pour cookie crumbled cookies into a large mixing bowl.   Add frosting and mix well.   Prep cookie sheet with waxed paper or parchment and melt 1/2 cup of chocolate.  Roll the cookie mixture into balls (3/4″ – 1″).  Use a lollipop stick to “drill” a hole about half way into the ball, then dip the stick into melted chocolate and insert into the hole.  Lay pop on cookie sheet and repeat until all mixture is used.  Place tray of pops in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until chilled.  Melt remainder of chocolate.  Remove 10 – 12 pops from the fridge and dip into melted chocolate, making sure that the entire pop is covered in chocolate.  Tap off excess chocolate, add sprinkles if desired and place pop in a lollipop stand or styrofoam to dry.     Makes 35 – 40 pops

St. Patrick’s Day Marshmallow Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday, March 17.  Here is an easy NO BAKE CUPCAKE that you can whip up very quickly.  First of all, have you seen these gigantic marshmallows?  I found them at Target and have become obsessed with them.  I have so many ideas for these wonderful marshmallows.  These are made by Kraft, but I’ve seen other brands.  There are even some that are flavored. This idea can be adapted to fit any occasion.  Make it even easier by using pre-made decorations.

This is what you will need to make the cupcakes and shamrocks…   Jumbo marshmallows, melted chocolate (see how to melt at top of page), cupcake papers, frosting (oops…forgot the photos), nonpareils or colored sanding sugar.  I am showing 3  sizes(miniature, large and jumbo) of marshmallows so that you can compare them.

 

Put the nonpareils or sugar in a shallow bowl/plate and pour the melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle.  Pipe the shamrocks right on the nonpareils (3 hearts and a stem).  Pop them in the freezer for few minutes.  You have made chocolate shamrocks!

 

Let’s make the “no-bake cupcakes”…

Melt the chocolate in a deep container.  Insert a sucker stick  (skewer or fork or whatever you have on hand) into the flat side of the marshmallow.  Submerge the marshmallow into the melted chocolate…

Tap off excess chocolate and place the marshmallow in a cupcake paper.  Use a spoon to help get the marshmallow off the stick and make sure that all of the marshmallow is covered by chocolate.  Pop them in the freezer for about 5 minutes or 15 minutes in the fridge.

It is time to add the frosting!  I have included a few icing recipes or use ready made.  Put your decorating tip (I used #1M or #2110) in your pastry bag and fill with frosting.  If you don’t have a bag or tip, use a Ziploc bag and snip a corner (about 1/4″) off.  Pipe a swirl on top (start on the outer edge and work toward the center).

Now decorate with sprinkles, shamrocks or both…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Here are some icing recipes that I use most frequently on cupcakes and cakes…

Super Easy Buttercream

In a mixing bowl combine 1 pound powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 5 tablespoon softened butter.  Beat until smooth (remember to scrape the bowl).

My Favorite Decorator Icing

1 cup butter*

1 pound powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder (optional, but helps give a light crust)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2-3 ounces heavy cream

In a large mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, meringue powder and 1/2 of the cream.  Add salt, flavorings and enough cream to make the consistency you desire.  Beat at medium speed until icing is fluffy.

*You may substitute vegetable shortening (Crisco) for part or all of the butter, but it will result in a different texture and taste.

Cream Cheese Icing  (softer consistency)

In a mixing bowl, combine 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese*, 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 pound powdered sugar.  Beat until creamy.

* You may substitute neufchâtel (light) cream cheese.