Sugar Swings! Serve Some

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Let's Play Ball - Filled Red, White & Blue Baseball Cupcakes!


Holy crow I haven't posted or baked in a LONG time! 

And you know what? That's OK.  Totally OK! 

For the longest time I was putting pressure on myself to post at least weekly.  For anyone that follows along, you know that I have 3 kiddos (10 year old twins and now a 13 year old - A TEENAGER holy cow!) and I work out of the house full time.  This blog and baking/creating edible treats has always been an outlet for me.  A way to relieve stress and do something that was just for me and unrelated to my day job.  That said it was becoming more of another "to do" on my ever growing to do list.  

Just more of my type A personality showing its ridiculous head in the form of "Michelle you know you haven't posted anything really unique in forever so you must be losing the creativeness that people always compliment you on so you know get on with it even though you have kids that want to spend time with you and but they don't know about the ins and outs of the world yet which is a mess and really scary right now so you better model perfect human behavior and empathy but also you have a day job that actually pays you money and health benefits and you have a new boss so you better show what you can do at work and maybe start volunteering at a soup kitchen because you know your life is good and you should be giving back but your tired and over scheduled already but that's no excuse and you also need to spend some 1:1 quality time with you husband of 20+ years because you're both always tired and only complain or talk about schedules and kids and stuff keeps breaking down in the house oh and your daughter has a heart transplant and even though she's perfect and doing great is she going to have a normal life and will she have side effects from the plethora of meds she takes everyday and you spend $600 at Costco every 2 weeks but that's cool because at least you only have to physically buy toilet paper every 3 months" and then after thinking that or very similar everyday for a year your tell yourself to take a moment to breath (really BREATH) and to stop anything that doesn't have to get done and that's OK.  

It's totally OK.

SO.....I did!  And guess what?? Life went on.  I didn't make or bake anything ALL summer.  No stress on myself for not posting or baking and it was nice and actually a relief.  

Now work is still stressful and the kids are back in school (also a stressful) but now I miss the baking/creating.  So that means it must be time to go back! And I did tonite!

In all transparency these filled baseball cupcakes are from the June.  (LOLZ) And that's OK!


I made them for my kiddo's end of little league season in June.  I knew I wanted to do baseball cupcakes but with a little something extra inside.

Take out the center of your fav baked cupcake and then fill with buttercream.


I used red, white, and blue tinted vanilla buttercream to layer inside the homemade vanilla cupcakes.  Add first color with a squirt of buttercream and follow with the other colors layered on top of each other.


Totally optional as the baseball stitches work just as well on their own.


But the layered filling is very fun for 4th of July or for your favorite baseball fan.

We're huge Yankee fans here and they're doing pretty well this season so we're hoping for October baseball this year! Might need to make these fun filled cupcakes again!


So what did you do this summer?!! Are you ready for all that is pumpkin spice? I am!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Game of Thrones - Lyanna Stark Blue Winter Rose Cupcakes & Shade of the Evening Tea


Winter is coming back July 16th peeps! Meaning the Season 7 start of Game of Thrones - the long running HBO series based on the Songs of Fire and Ice books by George R.R. Martin.  

So in anticipation - more Game of Thrones cupcakes!


And I think you really have to be a book and series fan to get these.  They are support for Team Stark aka The Starks of Winterfell - the original family and cast from the beginning that have been separated since the first season.  They can never fully get back together since some have already been killed off the show.  That's just how the books go and you can't get attached to any one character - we all learned that early on! BUT I am still routing for the Starks!

House Stark clockwise - Catelyn and Ned Stark (mom and dad), Jon Snow (a "bastard of Ned's), Robb Stark (oldest), Rickon (youngest), Bran Stark, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark

These cupcakes are actually for Ned's sister Lyanna Stark who died mysteriously earlier before the books and series even start but we get clues to what's happened and why along the way via flashbacks.  Not to give any spoilers but we know she plays a big part for one of the kids which they seemed to reveal at the end of Season 6.  

One of the things the books go into more detail about is her love of and association with blue winter roses that grow only in the North so I wanted to make my version of them - in cupcake form of course!

The pale blue color is all natural and comes from dried butterfly pea flowers.  Steep them in some milk and you get a really pretty pastel blue color.  (This is my fav way to tint stuff blue these days!)


My go to method for piping roses or flowers are with some Russian piping tips I got awhile back.  To add a little contrasting color - grey - which also happens to be the go to color of House Stark - add some to the middle of the blue icing. 


Wrap the icing up in some plastic wrap, cut the end off, then insert into a piping bag with the tip and pipe to get some 2 toned easy roses.


If you steep the dried flowers in some water for awhile you also get some neat darker blue/aqua tea which I thought would be cool to go along with the blue rose cupcakes.  

Actually in the books they talk about a drink called Shade of the Evening - which is said to be very blue and if you drink enough can give magical powers.  It's often drunk by warlocks and said to turn their lips blue.  I love these books and the detail within!


The frosting color came out very light to almost gray which seemed perfect for the Winterfell clan since their sigil is a grey direwolf (basically giant wolves) and works well since they are from the North which is cold and wintery most of the time.


Oh and the cupcake flavor is lemon which is one of Sansa Stark's favorite flavs since she apparently loves lemon cakes.  Don't judge that I know so much minutia about GoT - I've read the books a bunch of times since we are still waiting for the next book - Winds of Winter, waiting since 2011! 
(Come of George!)


One of the catch phrases of the Stark's is that "Winter is coming" meaning that a very long and cold winter like no other is around the corner.  They've been saying it since Season 1, but it looks like in Season 7 they are right and Winter - and the anticipated clash of Winter and Fire may finally be happening - at least that's what I hope!

And speaking of fire and ice - I added a little "fire" inside some of the Lyanna Stark winter themed cupcakes.  The HBO show has bypassed the book now and last season they did some revealing about Jon Snow's real parents.  Again don't want to spoil anything but let's just say the Starks of the North are very wintery and another prominent family - House Targaryen - are more hot and fiery.  One of the main characters Daenerys Targaryen is marching back to Westeros with her dragons.  Her brother Rhaegar died before the books start (like Lyanna) and there *might* be something about he and Lyanna that gets revealed this season so I thought these cupcakes kinda summed that up.


Or you can just go with the plain lemon cupcake - either way these are Game of Throny and fun!


And Winter is almost here! Only 7 more sleeps - I can't wait!

Winter is Here

Anyway, if you don't watch or haven't read the books this is all probably meaningless to you - but I hope you at least like the cupcakes! I used a different frosting - a flour frosting which was so light and fluffy and a homemade lemon cupcake.  I think all the Stark's would approve!

Are you as excited for the return of GoT as me? If yes leave me a comment with your fav GoT clan or character! There's so many to choose from!


Game of Thrones - Blue Rose Cupcakes 

Ingredients

Flour Frosting adapted from Serious Eats
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup butter softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Black food colorant (optional)
Lemon Cupcakes adapted from Life, Love and Sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup  milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • Mix of red/orange/yellow candy coated sunflower seeds and sprinkles for inside cupcakes (optional)
Instructions

Frosting:
  1. Steep milk and dried flowers over low heat until milk is tinted light blue.  Remove from heat and remove flowers.
  2. In a new sauce pan, whisk together flour and sugar. Whisk in tinted milk. Place saucepan over low heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously, then cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pour the pudding onto a clean heatproof plate or shallow container. Immediately cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly against the mixture's surface.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle, or in a mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until smooth and fluffy and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the cooled flour mixture one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and salt and beat until frosting looks thick, smooth, and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove about 3/4 cup and tint with drop of black food color to get gray color.
  5. Spread blue icing 1/2 inch thick into rectangle shape on plastic wrap.  Spread a line of gray icing down center.  Wrap up icing into a log and snip the end off.  Insert into piping bag with the Russian flower piping tip.  Pipe flowers onto cupcakes.  Here is a great video tutorial.
Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F 
  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. 
  3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, lemon extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until combined.
  5. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. 
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Once cooled remove some of the middle of the cupcakes and fill with red/orange/yellow candies (optional).
  8. Pipe roses with blue/gray frosting.
Other Game of Thrones Treats you may like if you're obsessed like me!

Game of Thrones Dragon Egg Energy Balls

Game of Thrones food


Game of Thrones food


Game of Thrones food


Game of Thrones food


Game of Thrones food


Friday, June 2, 2017

Rainbow Frosted Mini Donuts - vegan, raw, natural colors & no refined sugars


Happy National Doughnut Day! 

Get out there and get your freebie OR make your own! 

And I know you're thinking - no sugar - what the what??!! That cannot be a real doughnut.  But these are definitely sweet - just no refined sugars and you can feel less guilty for eating a bunch.


AND my obsession with natural colorants continues as these have no artificial colors or flavors added.


The base is all raw (Don't think like raw meat, but not baked) made from dates, coconut, pumpkin seeds, and coconut oil.


And the donut "glaze" is made from cashews, coconut oil, and a little maple syrup for sweetness.


The colors come from some of my favs these days for naturally coloring sweets:


And sprinkle them with fun and good stuff like edible dried lavender, freeze dried strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, unsweetened coconut, candied ginger, nuts, turmeric, hibiscus powders - pretty much whatever you have you can add on top.


I love a pretty frosted doughnut and these mini healthy versions are perfect for my night time sweet tooth! 


Healthy eating and exercising was my 2017 new years resolution - not a diet but a real change in lifestyle and eating habits.  I still indulge and enjoy myself just in moderation - especially as I try to set an example for my 3 kiddos.  It seems today more than ever every one of us has to be accountable for their own actions and set an example for the next generations - you can't assume leaders or other role models will make the right choices.  

Thank you for swinging by and do something nice for someone today!

Rainbow Frosted Mini Raw Doughnuts

Ingredients and Instructions:

Doughnuts

1 cup mejool dates
1/4 flaked unsweetened coconut
1/8 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 teaspoons of coconut oil 
  1. Add ingredients to food processor and pulse until all is chopped into very small pieces and pasty.
  2. Scoop about 2 tablespoonfuls and add to mini donut pan (or shape into mini donuts)
  3. Refrigerate 15 minutes then remove from pan.
Frosting

2 cups raw cashews (soak over night in water)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Add cashews to high speed blender and blend until mixture is thick and creamy and no large pieces (you may need to use a spatula to move cashews around until all are blended well).
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixture resembles icing.   
  3. Add mixture to smaller bowls and tint with natural colorants (about 1 teaspoon of powder for each cup of frosting - or more depending on how dark you want the color - the color does darken a bit as they set) like carrot powder, turmeric powder, freeze dried raspberry, freeze dried blueberry, matcha, hibiscus powder, blue spirulina powder, or beet powder.  
  4. Sprinkle frosted "donuts" with edible dried lavender, freeze dried strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, unsweetened coconut, candied ginger, nuts, turmeric, hibiscus powders.
Prep time: 60 minutes Yield: about 20-24 doughnuts.  Stores 1-2 days at room temperature (or 2 weeks refrigerated - you can also freeze them to last longer)

If you want some regular donut recipes and treats - you may also like these!














Sunday, May 21, 2017

Disney Tsum Tsum Pretzel Snacks


Since I love all things cute and tiny - I am a huge fan of Tsum Tsums!

What's a Tsum Tsum you ask? They are cute plush versions of your favorite Disney characters that can be stacked.  They were originally created for Disney Japan since Japan loves all that is cute and tiny as well - but the craze has caught on all over the world.  The name comes from a Japanese term for stack and you pronounce it "soom soom" 


Aren't they the cutest? I am trying to get my kids to collect but they are not as interested as I would have been at that age! My daughter also has this super cute Tsum Tsum t-shirt...


So I was inspired to make them in pretzel snack form!


They actually came together pretty quickly since the base is a square pretzel topped with discs of candy melt circles.  Details are added with other candies, sprinkles, more melted candy melt, and edible food writers.


You can mix and match your favorite characters.  They pretty much all come in Tsum Tsum form these days and not just plushies either - there are plastic or vinyl figures, games, and all kinds of other trinkets, clothes, and stuff plastered with Tsumy cuteness.


My favs are still Mickey and Minnie and Donald and Daisy


But Pooh and his friends come in a close 2nd!


Do you love Tsum Tsums? Which are your favs?? 

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Disney Tsum Tsum Pretzel Snacks
Ingredients
  • Pretzel squares
  • Various color candy melt wafers (plus extra for melting to attach to pretzel and adding details)
  • Various candy and sprinkles (m and m's, candy coated sunflower seeds, heart shaped sprinkles, various colors of non-pariels)
  • Black edible food marker
Instructions:
  1. Melt wafers in a microwave safe bowl and add to a freezer bag.  Snip an end and attach wafer to pretzel square.  Eeyore is made with purple disc and part cream colored disc.
  2. Use more melted candy in coordinated colors to attach other candy/sprinkles as the detail.  Follow pictures for directions.
  3. Add additional detail with edible food writers.
Prep time: 45 minutes Yield: about 24 pretzel snacks

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Lavender and Rose Sandwich Cookies


Sometimes you just have to make yourself some pretty cookies.  With Mother's Day coming up I whipped up some quick and easy rose and lavender sandwich cookies - just for me!

I work outside of the house full time and have 3 kiddos (a 12 almost 13 year old and 10 year old twins) so as with most moms - I rarely get to do stuff just for me.  As I get older, I'm finding that I need to make more time for that- to take more time to smell the roses - OR lavender!

Both are 2 of my favs so I decided to make some pretty sandwich cookies.


I had a little leftover sugar cookie dough so baked up a bunch of small round cookies.


Also had some leftover buttercream so flavored 1/2 with rose water and 1/2 with dried lavender.


Tint them with food gels to get rose and lavender colors (if you don't like dyes you can skip that step of course - or you can try natural colors like a little beet powder)


Add a dollop of flavored buttercream and top with another cookie!


See - pretty little sandwich cookies (which make me so happy!)


They would work great for Mother's Day or a baby shower too.  The hubby and I are getting away next weekend - we had this planned from awhile ago and I realized this week that I will be away from the kids on Mother's Day this year (insert sad crying emoji!).  You have to have some grown up alone time too right? But I'm trying not to feel too guilty for not seeing the kiddos this Sunday. Eating a bunch of these sandwich cookies may help me out of that feeling!

Sandwich Cookies with Lavender and Rose buttercream filling

Ingredients
  • 1/2  roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough (or use your favorite home made recipe)
  • 2 cups of buttercream icing
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water (add a little at a time until you get the rose flavor you like - it can get intense if you add too much)
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered dried lavender (add a little at a time until you get the rose flavor you like - it can get intense if you add too much)
  • rose and lavender colored food gel
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll dough into half in balls and place on baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 7 minutes or until edges of cookies are just golden.  Let cool.
  4. Separate buttercream into 2 bowls.  
  5. Add rose water and rose colored gel to one and mix well.
  6. Add lavender and lavender colored gel to the other and mix well.
  7. Add dollop of buttercream to one cookie then place another on top.  Press until buttercream just comes to edges of cookies. 
  8. Garnish with dried lavender or edible rose petals 
Prep time: 35 minutes Yield: about 20 sandwich cookies