Sugar Swings! Serve Some

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Game of Thrones Dark & White Chocolate Wine Truffles


Game of Thrones is back people! Season 6 starts tonite at 9 PM EST! WOOOO!!!!

It feels like for ages that we've been waiting for this new season to come back around.  If you don't watch, sorry but it's totally addicting.  The show is based on George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice book series and the HBO series has now caught up to the last book and George is nowhere near finished the next book installment.   SO this season starts all new territory for everyone.  There is controversy of course.  Book readers are all sorts of annoyed that the HBO show runners are taking some liberties with the book plot.  I've read the books and love them too, but there is no way they can fit all the detail and intricacies into the series easily so I'm actually fine with the HBO version as well.  
More than anything I want to find out what happens next! I'm giddy with excitement for tonite.  And to welcome the season back I made some chocolate truffles.  

Not just ordinary chocolate truffles - truffles made with wine.  Wine is a common theme in Game of Thrones.  Pretty much everyone drinks wine.  It's grown everywhere and you have plethora of choices from sweet Arbor Gold to the dry and sour Dornish reds.  House Tyrell's motto is "Growing Strong" as they like their sweet and spicy Hippocras or find your favorite bold reds from Volantis or lush reds and white from Lys.  

Whatever your preference there is something for you in Westeros.


So of course I had to make something with wine.  And truffles seemed a perfect fit.  Decadent and something only the Game of Thrones elite would be eating.  


I tried 2 versions.  One with dark chocolate and wine and coated in cocoa powder.


And another with white chocolate + wine 


Then coated in powdered freeze dried raspberry and blueberries


Both very decadent but when we taste tested with some friends the overall consensus was that the white chocolate and wine truffles would most definitely win the Iron Throne! 


Now go get ready for the GoT Season 6 premiere tonite!


Dedicated to Prince - another iconic artist taken way too soon





print recipe

Wine Truffles
Ingredients
  • 260 grams (each)  dark chocolate (70% cocoa) and white chocolate
  • 240 mL red wine
  • 120 mL heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • cocoa powder (enough to roll truffles in)
  • freeze dried raspberry/blueberry (enough for rolling truffles in)
Instructions
1. Finely chop each type of chocolate into separate bowls.2. Combine wine and cream in sauce pan and bring to boil. 3. Add 1/2 to dark chocolate and 1/2 to white chocolate.  
4. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each bowl and mix until smooth.
5. Let set 1 hour or refrigerate 15 minutes.6.  Scoop into teaspoon sized balls and roll dark chocolate truffles in cocoa and white chocolate truffles in freeze dried fruits (crush up the fruit into powder).7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: about 30

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hydrangea Sugar Cookie Cake


Since this Mother's Day we'll be flying back from Orlando, I figured I'd make myself a pretty treat ahead of time.  It's a perfect little treat for Mother's Day or any day actually.  


A sugar cookie cake with homemade vanilla buttercream - the buttercream is tinted shades of blue, purple, and white then piped like hydrangea flowers.  Glory from Glorious Treats made hydrangea cupcakes way back in 2010 - and I tried them back then here.  The same technique is used for this cookie cake by using a large closed star tip (like Wilton 2D) to pipe on the flowers.  You really can't mess it up.  


Mix the colors into one piping bag.  Then pipe away.  

Hydrangeas are one of my all time favorite flavors but I can grow them 1) because I have the worst green thumb and 2) we have deer that think they taste like cupcakes ;)


So this decorated cookie cake was the perfect way to get my hydrangea fix in.  Plus it's very simple but so dang pretty!  Sprinkle on some pearl sugar balls and you're done.


Well except for eating a slice or 2 (or more if it's for Mother's Day!)


Have a great week! And thanks for swinging by!!

PS if you snapchat, I'm trying to figure that out and sharing some fun stuff over there too like my most recent baking fail #chouxpastryisnotmyfriend

@sugarswings



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bucket of Gems Brownie Cupcakes


The cupcake kick continues! My 3rd cupcake post in a row.

This time some "buckets" filled with "dirt" and "gem stones" aka chocolate brownie cupcakes, chocolate icing with crushed chocolate cookies and pieces of rock candy.

I love the colors that rock candy comes in.  The rainbow of colors is so pretty and they always have reminded me of fancy jewels.


I also like baking cupcakes in candy cups.  They are so sturdy and you can totally decorate them with markers because they are lined inside.  For these "buckets" I just colored them in with brown and black sharpie markers to look like little buckets.


I filled these with a box brownie batter and baked according to box directions.  You don't even need a cupcake tin since the cups are so study they stand up even with the batter added.


Add some chocolate frosting (use your favorite homemade recipe or a can frosting works great - and saves time too!)


Sprinkle on some crushed chocolate wafer cookies to look like dirt.  

Crushing cookies is actually a nice after work stress reliever too :)


Break apart the rock candy into small and larger pieces and add them to the top of your dirt piles.  If you can't find rock candy you can also just use other colorful hard candies broken into pieces.  You could do all one color per cupcake or mix and match like below.  Personally I like the rainbow colors together.  

Don't they look like little piles of fancy gems?? 


Hope you had an awesome weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

print recipe
Bucket of Gems Brownie Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1 box mix chocolate cake or brownie
  • 1 can   chocolate frosting
  • 1 and 1/2 cups crushed chocolate cookies or wafers
  • assorted colors rock candy lollipops
  • 12-15 candy paper cups
Instructions
1. Mix cake/brownie mix according to box directions.2. Color candy paper cups with brown and black marker to resemble buckets.3. Add batter a little more than half way full and bake as directed.4. When cool, add chocolate frosting.5. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate cookie wafers as dirt.

6. Add pieces of rock candy as gems.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12-15

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mermaid Cupcakes & PEEPS Cookbook Giveaway


Do you guys love mermaids as much as I do? They rate very high up there like unicorns and rainbows for me. There's just something about those pretty and colorful tails.  

And since it's PEEPS season, how about making some mermaid bunny PEEPS??


PEEPS come in so many flavors these days so when I saw these orange creme flavored bunnies this year I didn't know what I would make with them BUT I knew they would come in handy. 


Green apple fruit strips worked out great for the tails.


Add some cute flowers detail and a little heart shaped sprinkle for the mouth.  The scales are made with light green candy wafers.


Or just make a bunch of mermaid tails and use them as cupcake toppers.  


OR make both!


My love of Marshmallow PEEPS is pretty obvious right? Well I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute to a new Peeps-a-licious Cookbook! 3 of my recipes are featured in the new cookbook for PEEPS lovers.  I'm so excited to be included in this fun recipe book!  The mermaids are not in the book (how to listed below) but there are some other really fun PEEPS treats.   Here's a sneak peak of the Harry Potter PEEPS Pops that are in the book!


And the super fun PEEPS AND COMPANY and Quarto Books are letting me give a couple of the cookbook out to some of my readers.  YAY!  


Enter to win below.


How to PEEPS Bunny Mermaids

Makes 10 mermaids
Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of PEEPS bunnies (this used orange creme flavored)
  • Green apple fruit strips
  • 1/2 cup light green, blue melting, and dark green candy wafers
  • 1/8 cup of green and pink melting candy wafers
  • 10 mini pretzels (as base)
  • Assorted sprinkles (mini red hearts for mouth, round for center of flowers)

Directions:

  1. Cut out piece of fruit strip to wrap around bunny body and long enough to make tail.  Wrap strip to get the right mermaid tail look.
  2. If making the tails (without bunny), 
  3. Melt dark green candy in quart size freezer bag in 10 second intervals until just melted.  Snip an end of the corner and pipe tail shape onto parchment paper.  Let harden 15 minutes (or in refrigerator for 5 minutes).
  4. Melt light green candy in quart size freezer bag in 10 second intervals until just melted.  Snip an end of the corner and pipe scales onto body and tails.
  5. Melt yellow and pink candy in separate quart size freezer bag in 10 second intervals until just melted.  Snip an end of the corner and pipe flower shape.  While still wet add a sprinkle to center.  Let harden 15 minutes.  
  6. Use some of the melted candy and attach flower to bunny as hair decoration and attach sprinkle heart as the mouth.
  7. Melt blue candy in quart size freezer bag in 10 second intervals until just melted.  Snip an end of the corner and pipe small mound onto pretzel.  Attach a bunny to each (allows bunny to stand up). Let harden 15 minutes.
  8. Add as cupcake toppers and/or insert tails into cupcakes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring Hyacinth Flower Cupcakes


Yay, it's spring, it's spring, its SPRING! 

I haven't made cupcakes in so long that now I think I'm on a cupcake binge.  Last week I posted some mini Easter basket cupcakes and for this week here are more spring cupcakes with these super cute hyacinth flower cupcakes.  

Hyacinths are another of my favorite bulb flowers that show up at the beginning of spring.  I love all the pastel colors they come in and those bunches of fragrant tiny flowers look so pretty!


So of course I had to try to make some.  These cupcakes are are a bit more like grape hyacinths but still pretty and very spring-y!


See more details on how to make these little hyacinth toppers here over at sheknows!


I'm always happy for the warm weather to return and see the trees come back to life and flowers blooming.  Now if I can just stop the deer from eating all the blossoms in the yard!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Easter to all that celebrate!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mini Easter Basket Spring Cupcakes



Hey All! Did you know Easter is this month? I just realized that a couple days ago.  It's March 27th so earlier this year instead of in April.  So it's a good thing I started thinking about Easter treats earlier than normal this year.  

Tiny things are my favorite.  I love anything tiny or mini - you know stuff that's usually normal size.  


And tiny Easter baskets with mini decorated eggs?! Heck yes!


One of my favorite candies that comes out in the Spring is Cadbury Mini Eggs.  Yummy chocolate covered with a sugar shell.  Totally delish.  This year I found them in all white eggs.  

I knew they would be perfect to decorate like little Easter eggs using edible food writers.


I have yet to dye actual hard boiled eggs with my kids.  Is that terrible or what?? In my defense, when they were little I just couldn't deal with the mess that it made.  My kids are only 2 years apart and with a set of twins it was just too much chaos for here for awhile! We did decorate eggs with stickers, markers or we did egg hunts with filled plastic eggs in the backyard.  We just never did the dunk and dye them part.  Plus they don't like hard boiled eggs so no one would ever eat them! Now since they are 11 and almost 9, I kinda think its too late to start that tradition. 

But I usually do find an activity for them to do so I got them to help decorate these little mini eggs this year and they loved it.  They got creative decorating and it was pretty quick - not to mention no mess ;)


The baskets are made using a plastic mold that was a frozen food tray.  It was the perfect size and shape for the basket part of an Easter basket.  The handles are made from pieces of licorice.


Super cute little Easter baskets.  Add them to cupcakes or your favorite sweet treat!


Thanks for stopping by! Can't wait for the Spring weather to come back and hang around for long long while!


How to Make Mini Easter Basket Cupcakes

Makes 12-15 Cupcakes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of cake mix
  • 1 can of frosting tinted green
  • 1/2 cup of melting candy wafers in various colors (for the basket)
  • Licorice in rainbow colors
  • Edible grass
  • Cadbury mini eggs in white
  • Edible food writers in various colors

Directions:

  1. For baskets: melt each color in microwave safe bowl in 25 second intervals.  Stir until melted.  Spread candy along sides and bottom of mold (as in picture).  Refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Once candy is hardened pop candy out of mold. 
  2. Cut lengths of licorice long enough to make a handle and reach each side of basket.  Use some leftover melted candy to attach as basket handle.  Hold in place until candy hardens. 
  3. Add some edible grass to basket.
  4. For eggs: decorate mini eggs with edible food writers in various designs (dots, stripes, hearts, etc)
  5. Prepare cupcakes as per the box directions.
  6. Pipe icing on with grass decorating tip onto cupcakes.
  7. Add basket on top of each cupcake.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bunny Ear Star Wars Cookies for Easter


After posting the #12DaysOfStarWars last year as a countdown for the new Star Wars - The Force Awakens movie, I said I'd be taking a Star Wars treat break.  Twelve days of all Star Wars treats was fun but a bit exhausting!  Well, a couple months break was all I could make it before thinking about another fun treat.  

With spring and Easter coming very soon I thought Darth Vader could use some bunny ears.  He and his Stormtroopers both could use some bunny ears.  Maybe that would lighten their moods.  

In fact I think everyone right now needs bunny years to lighten things up a little.  Wouldn't the next republican or democratic debate be much nicer if the candidates and moderators wore bunny years? I mean if Donald Trump wore bunny ears you definitely would know you shouldn't take him seriously, right??  I'll tweet that suggestion out and see who bites!  


But back to the cookies, they are homemade sugar cookies that would make super cute additions to your biggest Star Wars fan's Easter baskets!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Minnie & Mickey Whoopie Pies


I needed a break from all the holiday posts lately and also had a craving for some whoopie pies.  But instead of plain old boring ones I thought Minnie and Mickey ears would be fun.  I saw these whoopie pies awhile back that are Mickey and Minnie shaped but thought it would be neat to make 2 tone cakes for Mickey and to also use the batter to make little Minnie bows.  

Ever since going to Disney a couple of years back I got into all that is Minnie and Mickey - especially the ears.  They are so iconic for Disney!  

Sadly, my kiddos (11 year old tween and 9 year old twins) feel they are too "old" for Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  First this month they dropped the bomb that Dr. Seuss is too babyish for them and now they are also too old for Mickey.  

WHAT???!!!! 

I can't take it anymore.  Stop growing up so dang fast.  

As another example, I always make their birthday cakes every year.  The request from the 11 year old this year is for me to make a large single Cheeto puff cake.  No more "mom can you make me a fire truck" or "mom can you make me volcano or R2D2 or Iron Man or an Earth cake or even a Minecraft Creeper cake".  A CHEETO.  Come on!  So I refused and told him to come back in a week with a new proposal or to at least put a business case together for the Cheeto cake.  You know you have to teach them life lessons and all, and if you want a Cheeto cake - you need to sell the idea to everyone involved and get them on board.  If he comes back with a powerpoint slide deck with talking points you may see me posting a How To for a Cheeto cake!  


Whatever, I'm still going to make them cute Disney treats.  They can't stop me.  But if you also see more Minecraft, Terraria, Plants Vs Zombies, or You Tube inspired treats, you'll know why.  

So apparently these Mickey and Minnie whoopie pies are more for me than anyone else in this house- but that's fine too.  BUT if you are an AFOD (adult fan of Disney) or if your kiddos are still into Disney - make some today!

I shared the how to make these Mickey and Minnie whoopie pies here on sheknows!

Thanks for stopping by and have a sweet week!

Some other Mickey inspired treats you may like too: