Monday, January 31, 2011

conversation heart "cookie pops" and a birthday pie....!



.....does everyone spend way too much time in the valentines day candy aisle in every store you go into these days....or maybe that's just me....?!....there is a ton of neat stuff out there right now.....but i still think one of my favs are the conversation hearts....even though i don't really like the taste....they remind me of valentines back in the day....we always got them when we were little....so i have a soft spot in my heart for them....plus they come in all those pretty pastel colors and i pretty much like anything in rainbow colors (as i've gone on about before...!)......these were made from a combo of this......

....and is it just me too or does anyone else start start immediately thinking about what you can make from stuff that gets brought home from the food store...?...this is what happens when someone buys too many cookies and they don't get eaten fast enough...and you are stuck inside due to a snow storm.....tried an experiment to see what would happen if i tried the cake pop thing with cookies.....

....blended up the cookies (they happened to be m&m cookies)...then mixed with some chocolate frosting (store bought for this experiment)....until you get the consistency of play doh....

...then shape into whatever....in this case hearts for valentines day.....insert stick (attach with some candy melt)....freeze and then coat with candy and let dry.....and pipe with red royal icing into whatever conversation you like....!...(love how everyone who saw these said....wow those are really cool....and what's a Q T pie?.....and then 1/2 sec later....OHHHHH!)

...and since it was also my dad's birthday decided to make his favorite pie....coconut cream (could not find dream whip so just went with cool whip).....but needed a topper to go with it.....this is the same stuff as the hearts....just cake shaped....with a little white candy melt as "frosting".....and long sprinkles for "candles".....and more melted yellow candy melt for "flame"......


......and you have a "birthday cake cookie pop pie topper"....!...someone called me a genius for that idea....but i'm not so sure mensa would say this qualifies.....but hey i'll take it regardless.....!....


....ps as for the experiment....the cookie pops were pretty dense...and more like fudge with a little texture....and really sweet......but they looked pretty cute.....! happy one weekish before valentines day.....!









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Beauty and Bedlam

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

snow day brownie bars......!

frosted brownie bars
.....with so much snow in the northeast...the kiddos have had a bunch of delayed openings and school closings...and they've been trapped inside way too much....even an attempt at going outside to "play" in the cool snow....has been hit or miss....since getting on all the snow gear takes for days with a 6 year old and almost 4 year old twins....and by the time they do get outside....the snow is too deep for the littles to walk in....and it's like 2 degrees...and if the wind is blowing...forget it...and i like the snow and all...but only when i'm dressed for it and on a snowboard....!

...so after about 30 minutes of prep time and maybe 10 minutes outside....we head back in....and the first request is hot chocolate of course....or after so many trials of hot chocolate...and it being way to hot....we call it "lukewarm chocolate" now......

....the frosted brownie bars were made one of those days to go along with a nice cup of lukewarm chocolate....the kiddos love to help mix up the ingredients now...and it's fun when they spill the brownie mix all over the table...and get egg shells in the batter...and constantly ask to taste the batter even before it's all mixed up and tasty...(does the powder with un-mixed egg and oil really look appetizing to these kids...?)....anyway...had some frosting leftover so decided to frost them up.....well because everything is better with some buttercream....(maybe that should be my new motto...!)

....this was from a brownie mix....and baked in a square 8X8 pan......i don't frost in the pan....but turn it out and then frost....it's just easier to get an even and clean layer for me that way ....and then cut up into bars....or whatever shape you like.....around the holidays did this with frosted sugar cookie bars....and they turned out great......this time added some large and small rainbow non-pareils as well....with the red...they could be great for a valentine's day party...and not too "girlish"...as my 6 year old likes to tell me about treats that are too pink....!


....oh just got the call....there's another delayed school opening tomorrow.....so do kids in like minnesota go to school at all in the winter or do they just deal with snow as the norm?....or are we just snow wimps out here on the east coast.....??.....regardless....have a frosted brownie bar and a cup of lukewarm chocolate to ponder that last question....!

frosted brownie bars



....ok update....there was 17 inches of snow overnite and schools are closed today......need to come up with another activity to keep these kids busy.....

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

marbled heart topped cupcakes.....!

cupcakes with marbled hearts

....so these were totally made from leftovers that i had from this post....red velvet cupcakes...but the "red" from beet juice....and basically not so red.....(see below)....

....and the hearts are made from candy melts (i know i know....enough with the candy melts....but have i mentioned how much i love love love candy melts?....i totally wish someone would do a blog giveaway with all the colors in the rainbow of candy melts....i'd totally do whatever they wanted me to do....follow your blog....like you on FB.....like your sponsors...do your laundry....whatever and like 3 times over to enter that!.....or maybe i'll just wait for those michael's coupons to come out...!)

....anyway....i had melted too much and kinda hate wasting perfectly good candy---who does right?......so was playing around with the mold and mixing colors....and ended up with these cute little marbled hearts.....and if you have not used candy melts before....tap the molds hard to get out any air pockets.....and work fast because it hardens pretty fast....oh and for these add a toothpick to make little heart lollipops/heart picks....

...probably not really needed but had some white peppermint life savers around so used them as the base for inserting the heart picks.....the frosting is vanilla buttercream....but tinted pink with some of the beet juice (which was used as the coloring for the cupcakes)....it's such a pretty shade of pink....fits in nicely with valentine's day coming up...

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....and the cake is not really that deep red like normal red velvet cupcakes....but it's growing on me and i may try some beet powder next time to see if that works any better.....and since there's beet in these i pretend they are a little more healthy than the normal version....that works right?....

red velvet cupcake

....happy early valentine's day....!

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

happy heart day cake....!

heart cake

...nope didn't mean valentine's day.....happy heart day.....january 16th is a really special day around here....today is the 3rd anniversary of our daughter's new heart.....she had a transplant when she was 8 months old.....(and knock on wood....has been doing absolutely fantastic ever since)....spent the entire day as a family enjoying the day....and made her this heart cake....because it is such a special day....and actually it will work for valentine's day too....!

....found this red velvet cake recipe....and since i've been meaning to do less with the artificial colors....went with beet juice for the red coloring.....you mix about 4 ounces of beet juice with the cocoa powder.....it's not a really intense red....and with the cocoa it ended up coloring the cake like a cafe au lait color...hence the "red" velvet.....(i was so tempted to just add some red americolor.....but in the end wanted to see what the beet juice did....if anything....)


.....the cake is a 6 inch layer cake.....baked 3 layers....and once cooled cut each of the layers in half....so there were 6 layers iced with vanilla buttercream.....crumb coated first.....


.....then iced with a thicker layer....and used a spatula to make the side markings...amanda from i am baker gives a great tutorial on how to do this.....the hearts are made from what else...?....candy melts!....made from a heart mold in all the different colors.....before they were totally hardened....add a tooth pick (kinda like a heart lollipop) so you can insert them into the cake....the little hearts in the middle of the candy hearts are from a valentine's day sprinkle mix.....attached with some melted candy.....


...so you can see that it wasn't really a red velvet cake with the beet juice....next time i might try beet powder to see if that works any better for red coloring....if anyone has any other suggestions let me know....!

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....but it was pretty tasty regardless...and we just called it a chocolate cake and the kiddos had no problems with that....!.....also need to work on getting more even layers with a layer cake....all in all an awesomely awesome day....

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....and if you are not already....please please please consider becoming an organ donor....there are so many people on waiting lists and our little shmoopy would not be here had another's family not given such a special gift.....find out how...here....thanks so much!

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