Sunday, December 21, 2014

Woodland Christmas Gnome Cupcakes with Edible Moss


So this whole month I've been thinking Christmas is on Friday - hubby points out yesterday that the 25th is on THURSDAY! Ahhhh, I lost an entire day, what was I thinking?? Well let the mad rush of pre-christmas activity begin.  I was hoping to get a couple treats in before the big day, but I think this will be the last one I get to.

But it's gnomes AND more specifically Christmas gnomes all in white on top of mounds of edible moss!


I made candy gnomes awhile back (which was the start of all my little people creations). 


So when I saw this post on making edible moss by It's the Life I knew more woodsy gnomes had to be done.  Making the moss is so easy.  All you need is graham crackers and some green food coloring.  Mix it up and dip the frosted cupcakes in.  Edible Moss! 


The process for making candy gnomes can be found below but I've also explained it here.


I used all white this time to make them a little more whimsical for Christmas and added holly sprinkles.  The other additions are these neat Chococones - I think they are supposed to be pine cones but I think they look like little trees.  They are tiny and taste like a little biscuit dipped in chocolate.  Delish.  (Be aware the package does say they could contain a trace amount of tree nuts, so don't use them if you have nut allergies).  The company also make cute mushrooms too (used in my first gnome post).


I also added some tiny chocolate rabbits that I had laying around (Don't ask me why I have tiny rabbits laying around!)


Add more moss as needed, the messier the better.



To make Candy Gnomes (makes about 6)
  • Hershey Chocolate Bells (I used peppermint bark flavored but they make a few different kinds now - pick your fav flavor)
  • Bugles chips
  • 4 cups of white vanilla candy melting wafers plus + 2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening; 1/2 cup of candy melts for adding detail.  If you want to make your gnomes other colors, you'll need those color candy melts as well.
  • Holly mix sprinkles (or you could substitute other types of red/green sprinkles)
  • Black edible food writer
Directions:
  1. Melt candy wafers in the microwave with shortening (will allow dipping to be smoother) in a mug/dish tall enough to dip Bugles.
  2. Pick Bugles that have a nice gnome hat shape and insert a skewer into bottom and dip into the melted candy.  The skewer allows you to hold the Bugle without getting your hands messy.  Coat entire Bugle (not inside) and then allow to harden on parchment.
  3. Unwrap Hershey Bells and dip the round part first into candy melt (this will be the head/face).  The candy should not be too hot as that will melt the chocolate.  Allow candy to harden.
  4. Once hardened, hold bell by the round side (that you just dipped) and dip the flat part bottom into the candy melt.  This will be the bottom part of the gnome.  Again the candy should not be too hot or you could melt the chocolate bell.  Allow candy to harden on parchment.
  5. Add about 1/2 cup of the candy melt to a zip lock bag.  Melt in microwave until smooth.  Snip and end of the bag and "pipe" on some gnome "hair".  While it's still wet attach your white gnome hat (the dipped Bugle).  Add more hair as needed to fill in any gaps.  
  6. Pipe on beard and tiny nose.
  7. With food writer add a black belt around waist and tiny eyes.
  8. Attach holly sprinkles with more candy melt.
To make Edible Moss
  • 8 graham crackers
  • 1-2 drops of green food gel
Directions:
  1. Crush up graham crackers in a large baggie
  2. Add food gel to bag and mix well (that's it!)
Decorate as you wish with the gnomes and little chocolates.  I'm loving the way they came out!

Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!  Thank you for always stopping by, reading, sharing and leaving such sweet comments over the year! Very much appreciated.  


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Star Wars Gingerbread Christmas Cookies


Christmas is next week!!! And I still have quite a bit of shopping to do - definitely getting our monies worth out of Amazon Prime's 2 Day shipping this year.

I've had so many thoughts and ideas on making holiday and christmas goodies this year alas time is not on my side.  But I did make some time for more gingerbread cookies.  So here is a little mash-up of Star Wars and Christmas for you all.  


I bought the William Sonoma Star Wars cookie cutters ages ago when they were on sale and never actually made cookies with them until now.  To save some time I used store bought refrigerated gingerbread cookie dough.  Roll out the dough and stamp out the Yoda, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper and Boba Fett heads.


Use another Santa cookie cutter to cut out Santa hats from the dough and then just attached them to the tops of the character heads.  Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.  


Once cooled, use some Wilton Color Mist (kinda like spray paint for food) to tint the Santa hats red and green.


Then just decorate by filling in the lines/face detail with some melted candy melt (or royal icing could be used too).  Thick royal icing was used for the Santa hat accents topped with some white non-pareils and holly mix sprinkles.



And you have some relatively simple Christmas cookies for your favorite Star Wars groupies.  We happen to have quite a few in this family!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays to you all!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Disney's Frozen Characters as Gingerbread Men


It's that time of year again, that time of year when I make gingerbread cookies. And not just any old gingerbread, gingerbread men in my favorite characters.  I've done them before a few times and it's just so fun to do.  Here are some of my past cookie experiments.  




And my first attempt in a blog post a long long (LONG!) time ago of Star Wars Clone Troopers and C3PO which started my slight obsession with making fun characters all gingerbreaded up.


This year was Frozen because 1) My 7 year old now asks me to call her Queen Elsa 2) We must Frozen ALL THE THINGS and 3) I love Frozen as much as my 7 year old (shhhh, don't tell anyone)


I love how they all came out especially Elsa, Olaf, and Anna!


 See the more including a tutorial here over SheKnows!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rainbow Gingerbread Men Sandwich Cookies


Christmas is only 24 days away! Time to get myself into the holiday spirit.  


Do you ever freeze extra dough for goodies and forget about it? I seem to do that a lot so when I was cleaning out the freezer the other day I came across some rainbow cookie dough.


I thought it would make some fun gingerbread men - kinda Candyland like.


I also found some frozen vanilla buttercream with rainbow non-pareils mixed in which made a great filling for the cookies.  (Did you know you can freeze frosting? Just thaw it and it's good to go.)


Add some Skittle candies as buttons and melted white chocolate for face/details and you're done.  These little guys are definitely putting me in the festive holiday spirit!


Rainbow gingerbread men have to make you smile, right??


And did I mention it's only 24 days to Christmas?? Time to get decorating, baking, and shopping! The kids have had their Santa lists ready for weeks now.  Thanks for stopping by and Happy Monday!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Hash Brown Waffles


Are you still in your food coma from Thanksgiving?? Or maybe you've been Black Friday shopping all day?? Well I hope you are able to relax and enjoy a bit this long holiday weekend (in the US anyway, outside the US - Happy Friday!).  


And if you have any leftover sweet potato, pumpkin, and/or cranberries, maybe you can make these fun waffles for a yummy brunch this weekend.


More savory than sweet, they are kinda like Thanksgiving day in waffle form!

Check out the full recipe and more over at SheKnows!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Candy Turkey Toppers for Thanksgiving


Guys!!! Thanksgiving is this week! How the heck did that happen? I keep thinking I have like 2 more weeks to prep.  More like 3 days, THREE DAYS! 

And for some reason I keep trying to make turkeys for Turkey Day.  I still can't quite get over the cute versus creepy turkey look.  But I think I know what the problemo is - real turkeys are freakin' scary!! 

I mean look at them:


(((Shivers))) It's almost impossible to make THAT look cute! 


But I did attempt turkeys again this year with candy - lots and lots of candy.


I found some fun malt balls at Whole Foods and thought they would make a good turkey body.  They also had solid color candy corn that I used for the tail feathers.  A sixlet and candy coated sunflower seed made the head and beak.  A single red sprinkle made a great turkey gobbler thing.  All candy "glued" together with melted chocolate (or you can use melted candy wafers).  To allow the turkeys to stand with out rolling round, attach to a square pretzel base.  


And you have all the makings for an evil army of turkeys for whatever your purposes are!


If you forgo the evil turkey world takeover plan, you can always just use them as fun toppers.  I added them to cupcakes (duh) and little pumpkin spice pudding cups.

  
Now that I look closely at real turkey photos, these candy ones are like 1000X cuter.  


I have to remember life is all about perspective.  


Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I'm truly so thankful for everything I have.  Life is indeed good.

Eat lots of yummy food and enjoy the good times.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Big Hero 6 - Baymax Vanilla Macarons


Did anyone go see the new Disney movie Big Hero 6 this weekend? With 3 kiddos (a 10 year old and 7 year old twins) this one was a no brainer.  Robots AND Heros? Yeah total no brainer.  And Disney definitely has their movie formula pretty down to a science.  Young kids that lose parents/parent figures early on and must persevere through the hardships to realize the true meaning of loving something and the goodness that triumphs over evil.  Yup, it works well so why mess with a good thing?!


The robot in the story is the lovable Baymax.  Baymax is a personal healthcare companion programmed to fix anyone in distress.  He's pretty much the most awesome robot ever and totally inspired me to make some Baymax macarons.  Is that weird that I automatically said, yes I'm going to make him in macaron form? 

Once you have your macaron mixture combined, pipe the characters onto parchment by tracing from a printout underneath the parchment paper
I've only made macarons one other time, and didn't even post about it.  I used the Italian method, and they came out ok.  Definitely far from perfect but at least they were recognizable as macarons!  I used the same method for these Baymax ones.  I'm not even going to try to post directions, but you can see a step by step How To over at Annie's Eats.  She posted a great tutorial here on how to make macarons using this Italian method.   My one suggestion (which everyone seems to agree on) is to measure all your ingredients with a scale.  It's pretty easy to do, so don't get worried that its a lot of extra trouble.

Just to give you and idea of how un-perfect mine were, check out the underside.  They should be flat not like this.  My trouble is knowing when they are done.  You don't want them to brown too much, but you need them done enough to not stick when trying to remove them.  Depending on your oven, you should bake them for about 8 minutes then check them every minute to see if they are done.  


I had some vanilla beans so thought it would be the perfect flavor for Baymax.  Add his accents with black and white melted candy wafers and some large black flat sprinkles for eyes.  


Even though Baymax is a robot, he's got a heart of gold.  He will make you cry.  


Chocolate buttercream seemed to fit well with his center.  


And Disney totally set this up for a sequel, if they want to go this route.  Overall I really enjoyed the movie and the kiddos gave it a big thumbs up.  Right there on par with Guardians of the Galaxy.  


For anyone looking for the recipe, please head over to Annie's Eats for her step by step tutorial.  I followed it pretty much exactly, except adding some vanilla bean seeds (scrapped from one vanilla bean pod) when she points out to add color/flavor.  Once the macaron mixture is ready to be piped, I traced it onto parchment on top of some Baymax templates that I printed out from Google (thanks Google!).  The chocolate buttercream, is store bought, to save some time.  You can use any type of flavoring for the centers since vanilla goes so well with pretty much anything.  

Did you see Big Hero 6 and if so what did you think???

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Minions (and Evil Minions) No Bake Cookies


I needed to take a break from all of the Halloween Right Into Thanksgiving and Christmas Season that we are in. I mean we go Trick or Treating, then bam - Christmas commercials and displays everywhere.  I love the holidays and all, but sometimes you gotta take a vacation from them.  


And we love love (love!) Minions here.  I've been meaning to make these Minions forever, like ever since I saw they made Mint Milano mini cookies.  Mint Milano cookies are so yum on their own, but then the geniuses over at Pepperidge Farms went and shrank 'em.  And of course I was all like "you had me at mini".

And if you're not familiar with Minions, where have you been?? J/K - they are the little yellow henchmen of Gru in the Despicable Me movies.  

For some of their best scenes, check out this YouTube compilation:



And for some reason - I'm not really sure why - I just happen to have yellow and violet Wilton Color Mist hanging around in my sprinkle cabinet.  What is Color Mist? Well it's basically like spray paint for food.  To make the color for these little minions, just spray some cookies yellow and some purple (for the evil minions).


All the rest of the detail is done with melted candy wafers and some royal icing eyes.   


They are fun on their own or super cute added as cupcake toppers too!


And you've got whole lotta' little Minions (and evil Minions) that are pretty quick to put together and so easy - especially since no baking is needed.  A super cute addition to a Minion party table!

Minions crack me and the kiddos up every time we re-watch one of the Despicable Me movies. Make a batch of them while you wait patiently for the Minions movie due out summer of 2015! Can't wait!