Sugar Swings! Serve Some: August 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cute Star Wars Cupcakes - Cupcake Couture Blog Party "Back to School"

More fun from Carrie over at Bella Cupcake Couture! This time it's up to us - with a lot of help from some super creative kiddos - to come up with a design on plain cupcake wrappers for this Back to School Blog Party! And as with every Cupcake Couture Party, there is a neat giveaway prize pack, see the details below!

So here's what came in the mail:

How fun are these straws??
My kids love to draw and create, I mean LOVE.  And they are good at it, especially my newly turned 9 year old, Jack.  A way better artist then me.  So this was a simple request, draw something, and anything you like on the cupcake wrappers.  What did he pick? Duh, Star Wars of course.  It was a no brainer for him.  I've mentioned it a million times before but we have major Star Wars freaks living here.  He's also way into the Origami Yoda book series, and just got him for his birthday the new book, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett and Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling, which gives all kinds of ideas for folding Star Wars characters and making cute doodle characters as well.

And of course light sabers were required.  These were just made from cutting the straws into thirds and adding a little black tape around the bottoms. Attach the festive sabers with some more tape.

Here is what Jack has to say about them:

"It was pretty easy to make the doodles all I had to do was trace a quarter! Also my most favorite Star Wars character  is Yoda! I like Yoda because he is the Jedi Grand Master and taught Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi. My All-Time favorite cupcake flavor lemon!!!!!!! I love to fold origami and paper airplanes.  Hope you like the cupcakes!"

Here are the characters drawn on Bella Cupcake Couture wrappers up close:

Can't go wrong with Luke, Leia, and Yoda
Love Obi-Wan's stubble!
Is it possible to make the Emperor look cute? Yes!
A trio of bad guys
And you get some really fun and easy Star Wars cupcakes!

Please pop over and see what my virtual friends created for the Back to School Blog Party too!

The Decorated Cookie

Thank you Jack for helping me with this project.  Love you lots.
And now onto the Prize Pack!

Thanks to our amazing Prize Pack sponsors for their generous donations!  Please, visit their websites to see more of their fabulous products! 
Bella Cupcake Couture
The Smart Baker
India Tree
Mesa de Vida
Pretty Party Details
Lucks Food Decorating Company
To enter to WIN this Prize Pack, simply fill out the entry form below. Contest opens August 27, 2013 at 7am PST and closes September 2, 2013 at Midngight PST.  One winner will be chosen and announced within 48 hours of the contest ending. Winner will be contacted via email by and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.  If they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.  This contest is open to residents worldwide.

THANKS Carrie for hosting this and pulling all of it together.  Jack and I really had had a blast with this one! Happy Back to School everyone!  We are off to Canada to have some nature time before school.  "See" everyone in a week!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Candied Cherries on a Stick

So it's almost the end of summer and the start of fall.  I say it every year but I'm not ready for summer to be over!!  But I figure it's ok to post a treat that bridges them both.  Candy apples always pop up around Fall and Halloween time, in all kinds of flavors and neat decorations.  And since I love everything mini, I thought I'd try some candy cherries.  Since cherries kinda look like little apples, I thought they'd be cute and look like little tiny candied apples.  

These are made with the same old candy apple making mix you can find in most food stores.  

Add a mini stick.  I used cake pop sticks and cut to the size I wanted.  I left the pit in the cherries because I didn't want the juice leaking out.

 Just follow the directions on the mix to make the candy coating.  Clean the cherries and dry well to allow the candy to adhere better without sliding off the cherries.  That was an issue when the candy was to fluid.  I found if I let it sit a little and was thicker, that allowed the coating to stay on better.

Once you dip the cherries, immediately dip in some fun sprinkles.  Totally optional but it helped make them a little fall like for the upcoming season.  Then let harden.

One note on these.  The hot candy coating can burst the skin of the cherries.  So as they sat to harden, some had leaking issues.  Also, the cherry to candy coating ratio is pretty high since they are small, so these are pretty sweet and the candy is a bit much to chomp through.  That and the pits you need to spit out make these a big mess (in my opinion!).  I might try to take the pits out next time to see if that helps.

But I think they do look like little mini candy apples! So I kinda got the look I was going for. 

And decorated for the upcoming fall/halloween season, they would look cute set out for a party.  Just warn your guests that they are sweet and messy!

Thanks for swinging by, and have a great weekend! My oldest turned 9 this week so the big par-tay is tomorrow.  I'll be up to my elbows in icing later tonite! Fun!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summertime Fudge - Made with Sherbet Oreos

So is there a difference between winter fudge and summer fudge? Probably not, but when I saw sherbet flavored Oreos, I knew they had to go into something summery, and fudge seemed like a no brainer.  I love going into fudge shops at the beach and seeing all sorts of flavors available, and since a little goes a long way, you can try a bunch of flavors.  Or, just make your own!  

Squares of fudge always make me smile, but then I thought they could be dressed up a little more.  So you also get some fudge and graham cracker ice cream cones.

I don't know which I like better!

These are those cookies that started the whole thing.  Ice Cream sherbet (or Shure, Bert!) flavored Oreos (Look they are pink and green inside, my favs!)

The fudge is simple, you'll need:

1 bag of white chocolate chips
3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk
About 10 crushed up Oreos (pick your favorite flavor, there are so many now!)

Microwave the chips and milk until just melted (it took less than 5 minutes).  Mix, then add the crushed Oreos (save a little for the top).

Pour into a 9X9 baking pan lined with foil.  Then add more crushed Oreos on top.  Let harden.  To speed you can pop into the freezer or fridge.  

Cut into squares and eat!

For the ice cream cones, cut triangle cone shapes out of graham crackers and ice cream mound shapes from the fudge.

Use melted chocolate and pipe the lines onto the cone.  While chocolate is still wet, add the fudge.  Attach a "cherry" aka jelly bean to the top with more melted chocolate.  

And you get some cutie patootie ice cream cone fudge.

What's your preference? Squares or Cones? 

Love love love Instagram!
This fudge is really sweet but isn't that what fudge is supposed to be? And if you freeze the fudge, you can have some summer fudge in winter! And as always, thanks for stopping by - only a couple more weeks of summer so enjoy it while you can!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Simple Make at Home Cronuts

So are you up to date on the new dessert craze aka the Cronut?? Invented by NYC Chef Dominique Ansel and the originals are only available in his NY Bakery for 5 bucks a pop!  If you haven't seen all the daytime TV personalities drooling over them or scoring one and eating a cronut live, it's basically a cross between a croissant and a doughnut.  All homemade daily, there are long lines and waits for them and apparently a black market where you can buy one on the street for $40! (only in NYC).  Find the low down from the bakery here.  There are lots of similar treats being produced by other bakeries around the world, some go by other names like "dossants" or "doissants" or or "croughnuts" or "cronots" since "cronut" is trademarked now (please don't sue me I am not making any money from your dessert!).  Even Dunkin' Donuts is getting in on the action aka NewYork Pie Donuts (well they are in South Korea anyway).

Although I work in NYC, I've yet to make it down to the bakery to try one, plus I don't have 2 hours to wait in line! So I attempted really quick make at home ones.  The goal seems to be big flakey buttery layers, a donut shape that's deep fried to crispy perfection then filled with a pastry cream, and topped off with a powdered sugary milk glaze.  At least that's what I think - and since I've not actually tried one, that's the goal I had in my head!

For these you will need:

For Cronut Base
1 package of crescent rolls
2 tablespoons of melted butter 
Canola oil for frying

For "Pastry Cream"
1 cup of vanilla pudding mixed with 2 tablespoons of Cool Whip topping

For Glaze:
3/4 cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2-3 teaspoons of water or lemon juice
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

Since I have zero experience making from scratch croissants, I cheated and opted for some good old crescent dough.  

Unroll the dough, ignoring the crescent shapes, and cut into squares (try to fix the pre-made perforations in the dough).  Stack them into 4 or 5 layers.  You can roll them a bit to make the layers thinner.  Brush each layer with melted butter before stacking.

Cut out your doughnut shape (I used the rim of a metal martini shaker!) and also cut out the middle hole (I used a large icing tip!).  From 1 roll of crescent rolls, I got 2 regular sized doughnuts,  1 smaller one, and some "cronut holes"!

Then fry in oil (never thought I'd type those words here as I never really "fry" in oil) 

 Until nice and golden brown (pretend that one in the upper left is "golden" brown!)

Make sure you check for doneness inside.  Ok here is where the recipes didn't work, they looked nice and golden brown, but were so not done and still dough-y inside.  I only fried them for about 1-2 minutes (way less for the holes) but if I left them in any longer they would have burned.  I blame my lack of frying skills and I'm sure the oil temp was not right.  

As a fix (because no one wants to bite into a half cooked cronut knock off), I baked them at 350 F for about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure to cover with aluminum foil so they don't brown anymore.

When "done" slice lengthwise and fill with pastry cream.  My pastry cream was 1 cup of vanilla pudding mixed with about 2 tablespoonfuls of Cool Whip (btw-my mock pastry cream was totally yum, I could have eaten that all by itself!)

Drizzle with glaze and top with your sprinkle of choice.  And don't forget the cronut holes!

And immediately eat!  

These were made easily with some pre-made dough (ok not the same thing as homemade croissant like dough in the real things but it's a good head start).  Others have tried this out as well, like here with home made from scratch dough, here with pre-made croissant dough and similarly here with pre-made crescent roll dough.  Even Pillsbury has a recipe on their site here!

And you get some kinda homemade "cronuts" without all the wait.  These were pretty buttery and dense, but the filling and glaze really make them pretty tasty.  You can see my layers were not quite as pretty and distinct as the professionals.  And i'm sure the real things are like a gagillion times better - most people seen eating them seem to be as close as you can get to food heaven, but if you are no where near downtown NYC or near a knock off bakery, you can at least *try* making some on your own!

PS I hear Dominique Ansel has invented yet another new treat the "Frozen Smore"- vanilla ice cream coated with chocolate crunchies then inserted into the middle of a homemade marshmallow square, freeze the entire thing, add a smoked stick, and torch the outside.  WHAT?! Yes, yes, and yes to the S'mozen (not sure if that's the real name but it sounds good).   Why can't I come up with the next frankenpastry??