Tuesday, September 25, 2012

harry potter butterbeer cupcakes....!


....so although i've always been a fan of HP, it wasn't until we took a trip to orlando and visited the WWoHP that i think i really kinda started being into it....if you are a fan you should definitely make the trip as it's pretty darn cool....and i'm not really a potterhead, but i am reading the books and every time one of the movies comes on, i just have to watch, no matter how many times i've seen it!....and i was this close to buying a robe at WWoHP, you know because at the time having a gryffindor robe seemed like a really great idea (but the 100+ bucks price tag deterred me--no wonder ron couldn't afford new robes every year!) and i'm hoping the kiddos get into the books as well....my oldest is 8 and started the books, but he hasn't really gotten into into yet....(there's still time though!)


and when we were there last feb, we got butterbeer of course!


so these cupcakes are my take on butterbeer (which in general is like drinking butterscotch soda with a nice creamy/foamy topping!)... the cupcakes are magnolia's vanilla cupcake recipe (i finally figured out how to make homemade cupcakes made with butter so the cupcakes bake up nicely!) and they are filled with sticky toffee sauce (i got as a gift, but you can make your own as well) and topped with butterscotch buttercream.....


...filled using the cone method where you cut out a cone shape from the top of the cupcake, spoon in some of the toffee sauce (which is thick so it works great as a filling---i used it for these cupcakes too)....then replace the cone--minus the tip of the cone...


the butterscotch buttercream is my go to buttercream recipe that i love, it uses butter and vegetable shortening so not overly buttery....to that add about 1/4 cup of the butterscotch chips (melt them in microwave for about 45 seconds with 1 tablespoon of milk), mix up well with buttercream....

for the toppers, i went with the same method as i've done before with the uncle sam and leprechaun cupcakes...vanilla tootsie roll head, hershey kiss body, dipped in candy melt, and detail also done with candy melt...they take some time, but for me i find it relaxing and so far they've always come out pretty cute!

ron's scarf is made with vanilla tootsie roll too--nuke it for only a couple seconds at a time in the microwave until you can roll it out....cut out a long scarf shape then add griffyndor colors with edible food marker....


...the sorting hat is a bugle corn chip!...just coated with chocolate until i got the look i was going for....and add to a disk of chocolate for the brim...


....dumbledore and "he-who-must-not-be-named" aka the dark lord aka "you-know-who" aka tom riddle aka VOLDEMORT (ha, you said it!)


...ron and hermione....


...severus snape and draco malfoy...


...the sorting hat and hagrid (since hagrid is bigger than the rest, his body is 2 hershey's kisses one on top of the other!)....


...and harry potter...


...a couple pics of my crew at WWoHP....walking around hogsmeade (see honeydukes on the left??)


...and you know how most kids want to be a gryffindor?...not mine he'd choose slytherin....(not sure if i should be worried about that or not!)


....and you get a bunch of homemade butterbeer cupcakes topped with a bunch of little harry potter dudes...and since most of them are witches, i think it fits right in with the coming halloween season! ps if you like butterscotch, you have to make these, as this flavor combo with the toffee filling was really really really good! (i have some butterscotch buttercream left over so i NEED to make something else with it, it's that yum)


..i really had a lot of fun with these, so hope you enjoy them whether or not you're a harry potter fan ...have a super awesome week!

oh and don't forget about Online BlogCon this month...it's taking place October 22-24, 2012.  No airfare needed and registration is only $15.  Since i still feel i'm a relative newbie at this blogging thing, this is a great chance to "meet" a lot of great speakers, network and maybe win some prizes and giveaways too....pop on over to learn more!



Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"healthy" carrot and zucchini cake bites...!


...so i'm calling these healthy because they have veggies in them!....and they are made from this carrot and zucchini bar recipe from six sister's stuff, which is a healthier recipe when you compare it to others (everything is all relative right??)....AND it's a cake bite (i refuse to call them balls) in the sense it's a bite of cake but without the frosting added to the cake mix or the shape dipped in chocolate/candy wafers as a coating....and yeah i know some would say this is not really a cake bite then a la bakeralla...which is why i'm saying it's a "healthier" version....that's all!


...bake up the bars as per the recipe...and let cool.....because of all the zucchini and carrots....it's also a very moist cake (which is key here)....so no need to even add any frosting to the mix....just squish it up and shape...i added some cake to an ice cube mold....i get mine from dollar stores during the different holiday seasons for super cheap....just make sure you get it filled well and then push down so you fill in any air pockets and to get the design on the cake bite (you could also just roll into bites or form these into shapes as well) and if you really wanted you could add the icing and frosting too...i'm sure it would be tasty with some cream cheese icing added in but i was going for kinda healthy--at least healthier!


...the trick with these.....FREEZE them for a bit so you can pop them out of the mold and keep the shape...also did some flower shapes with another metal pan i have....definitely freeze the pan once you add the cake since you have to pop these out using a knife which can nick some of the shape....


...they popped out of the silicone mold very easily....add some pretzel stick pieces as stems for the pumpkins....and i melted some green and chocolate candy wafers to add the rest of the pumpkin detail....(thought some needed a jack o'lantern face!)

...and see they do have some candy melt topping...so in essence it kinda fits the criteria for cake bite!


....and you get some really yummy and "healthier"cake bites to welcome in the fall weather!..they were really moist and kinda like a mini carrot cake

....i'm not totally sure if they would hold up to making cake pops---they might but i didn't try them... would definitely make sure they were frozen over nite if i was going to dip them in chocolate or wafers like regular cake pops....


anyhoo, hope you like them and are getting ready for the fall weather in the US that's coming! it really is one of my favorite times of the year....

thanks for stopping by and hope to see you at  Online BlogCon this month...what is that you ask? Online BlogCon is a 3-day online blog conference taking place October 22-24, 2012.  No airfare needed and registration is only $15.  Since i still feel i'm a relative newbie at this blogging thing, this is a great chance to "meet" a lot of great speakers, network and maybe win some prizes and giveaways too....pop on over to learn more!



Sunday, September 16, 2012

chocolate cupcakes with sweetarts frosting....!


...so have you seen these teeny cupcakes over on pinterest?? they've been on my to do list for ages and the last time the kids begged for a mc'd's happy meal, i swiped extras of their ketchup cups....

...and ta-da...instant mini cupcakes! plus i had seen this cake from easybaked awhile back and thought it was such a neat idea....so decided to mash them up....mini cupcakes with sweetarts buttercream.....


and i made some regular sized ones too since we were going to visit the girls who draw my daughter's blood work every so often (they are total pros and always get a good vein the first poke...so they deserve some homemade cupcakes)


the buttercream is made with these...sweetarts or sweeTARTS (not sure of the proper way to write it but you get the idea)...they are hard candies which are kinda sweet and tart (hence the name!)


....and if your house is like mine....these candies always end up being the last to be picked in the candy bag and seem to always be around way past halloween into christmas and by valentine's day something needs to be done with them...

...earlier in the year i had some leftover vanilla buttercream so decided to crush up some of the leftover sweetarts and add it the the frosting...i added about 5-6 packs of the candies to about 3 cups of buttercream


mix up well...and then i froze it, well because i didn't have a need for it then....and forgot about it until like a week ago!...turns out freezing buttercream for like 7 months is totally fine and the icing was as yummy as it was the day it was made!


...the chocolate cupcake recipe is this super simple and totally yummy recipe from i am baker (btw-she is awesome, every time she takes time to like or comment on one of my instagram pics i get all giddy!)


...ice (or is it frost?) as you like with the sweetarts buttercream...which is kinda tangy and the candy gives it a neat texture thing going on



...and you get some boob cupcakes! kidding! (i topped with some candy coated chocolates and colorful nonpareils but don't they make the cupcakes look a bit like boobs??!)....anyhoo the cake is super moist and yummy (NOTE: the batter is really runny but i promise it bakes up great!) topped with some really tasty sweetart buttercream....hope the girls like them!

make yourself some mini and regular sized cupcakes just to celebrate this great fall weather on the east coast.....thanks for stopping by and have an omgawesome week!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

homemade candy corn pretzels


....so since all the halloween candy is in stores already....i think it's safe to post some fall and halloween stuff these days! (even if it's still 80 degrees here in jersey, which i'm still loving!)...and although i'm not a huge fan of the flavor of candy corn (neither are the kiddos), i still love the colors...there's something about tri-colored stuff (also a big fan of neapolitan!)....last year i did some candy corn striped madeleines....and this year i thought i'd try some fun pretzels!


...these are really simple too...no boiling needed...i used the recipe here from musings from a stay at home mom (she gives some great step by step pics of the dough mixing too)....i tinted the dough to give it the candy corn colors (not the flavor of candy corn, but you could add some butter flavoring if you wanted as well)....tinting dough is tough---the easiest way would have been to add the color to the yeast liquid, but since i needed orange and yellow i did it after the dough was mixed (make yellow first, save some, then add some red to make orange)

1st batch i did orange before the yellow which took awhile by hand!
...add foil to a baking sheet and spray with non stick spray (you could prob use parchment as easily but that costs more so i use foil :) ....then add a little of each color one at a time to make the candy corn layer colors (it may be sticky at first, let the dough sit for a few minutes and you'll be able to move the dough with your fingers to shape it into the candy corn shape that looks best)


or you can skip the candy corn shapes and just go for more traditional pretzel shapes.....i experimented a little...


...once the shapes are formed, paint tops with an egg wash and sprinkle generously with some good salt (i used pink sea salt) an bake at 425 degrees for only about 10 minutes....take out when just starting to brown...

...i like this recipe because it lets the color show really well without turning really brown like some recipes....they came out of the oven all hot, soft and tasty (don't forget the salt!)....

and you get some fun homemade soft pretzels all dressed up for the soon to be here halloween season!


p.s. bake soon after you get the dough ready....i let it sit out on the counter for a few hours because we had to go out and i covered with plastic wrap.....both big mistakes---i couldn't get the plastic wrap off and pulled off all the top layers.....AND the dough had really deflated a bit and it was not a good scene....had to start all over again....oh well you bake and you learn! 

hope you like them and have an awesome week!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

mini marshmallow ice cream cones....!


..so summer can't be over just yet! is it really almost september? we didn't even get to the beach...! oh well, in a last ditch effort to keep the summer going, made some mini ice cream cone homemade marshmallows.....

do you remember these things? mini marshmallow ice cream cones?

i remember them from when i was little, my dad used to bring them home for us...the marshmallow was always kinda stale and chewy but i liked them anyway....


...and a few months ago, i won shauna sever's marshmallow madness! book (how cool is that? dozens of puffalicious recipes!) and making homemade marshmallows has been on the to do list all stinkin' summer...

                            

...AND when i saw these mini ice cream cone cups in the supermarket the other day, i kinda knew what had to be done...(they are tiny!)

                                                  

...i made the simple vanilla marshmallow recipe from the book....and believe me, i have been putting off making these for months because it seemed like some work, but they really are super simple once you have all the ingredients ready...there is some heating involved and you need a candy thermometer (actually i can't find mine and used a meat thermometer and it worked just fine)....basically you need sugar, gelatin packets, vanilla, water, and corn syrup (yeah i know it's so not in now...but it's not a lot and i don't use the stuff everyday so i think as with everything else in moderation, we're not drinking it like water around here)....


...once you get the marshmallow done (so it clings well to the kitchen aid mixer blade and it's thick enough to hold it's shape), paint the sides of a piping bag with your color of choice using a paintbrush just for food and food gels, then add the marshmallow to the bag....i was going for the look of swirled soft serve cones and used a wilton tip #2D


practice some swirls if needed and to get the color just right...(my swirls are definitely not perfect, but they kinda remind me of the old marshmallow cones)


...there is something about ice cream cones, right...(my most popular post of all time is the rainbow ice cream cone cake bites [thanks if you have shared, liked, or pinned them, and especially if you've credited them back to me!]) especially when they are in bright colors...! so ridiculously cute and so very summery...and tiny!


...and you end up with a bunch of mini marshmallow faux soft serve ice cream cones in a bunch of fun colors to celebrate the remaining days of the summer....

....i still think we need to try to get another month added to summer...maybe call it funtember and everyone is off from work....i'm going to see if i can add it in as some pork barrel legislation...i would totally vote for anyone running on that platform...


.....and these definitely remind me of those marshmallow cones from when i was little, except the fresh homemade marshmallow is like a gagillion times better than the old stale marshmallow that you get in the premade ones....(it was hard not eating the entire batch as they are THAT good!).....

....hope you like the mini cones, and thanks for stopping by!

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It