Sugar Swings! Serve Some: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Heart Shaped Baseballs & Pretzel Bats

Yay, it's that time again.  Baseball Season! Woooooo!

After the the non-stop snowy winter we just had, I'm so looking forward to some spring-time baseball.  MLB of course, but this year 2 of my kiddos are also starting little league and T-ball for their first seasons, which means we will probably be out at the ball fields a lot this spring.  

And this past February, one of the kidlets got this valentine:

So stinkin' cute, right? I tucked it away knowing I had to try to re-create it in edible form.  

Start with some heart shaped chocolate candies.  I used York Peppermint Patties, but you can use other heart shaped chocolates if you don't like peppermint.  I stocked up on some after Valentine's Day!

Dip them in white chocolate or vanilla candy melting wafers.  Once the candy hardens, add the detail on with more red candy wafers.  I add some to a zip lock bag and microwave briefly for a few seconds at a time until you can snip an end of the baggie and "pipe" on the detail.  

The bats are pretzel rods, broken in half and a little chocolate added on the end and more detail done with an edible food writer.  And yeah, I know they look more like little plungers versus bats, but just humor me for the rest of the post.  Tanks!

Oh and if you're a New York Yankees fan you know this is Derek Jeter's last season.  I know there are as many Yankee haters out there as fans, but come on The Captain is retiring this year after spending his entire professional career as a Yankee.  So. Impressive.  He's been a phenomenal player over the years and a great sports role model too.  Rare in the era of sports scandals year after year.  So I made some Yankee hearts in celebration! Here's hoping he was has an awesome last season.  Let's Go Yankees! Clap clap - clap clap clap.

Ok, I'll stop the gushing over Jeter now.  

Even if you're not a baseball fan, I think these little baseball hearts are still fun.  A perfect way to show the love for baseball season.  I'm also keeping them in mind for next year's Valentine's Day! 

PS You might like these other candies made out of peppermint patties

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ballerina Peeps Treats

It's Marshmallow Peeps season again! The traditional bunnies and chicks are my favs.  If you read the blog, you know I have a special place in my heart for Peeps.  You can see more Peeps treats from over the years here.

This year I made some little Ballerinas, all fancied up for their first performance.  

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Coconut Covered Cake Bite Bunnies

Well it's finally Spring! I love Winter and all but since it seemed like one long snowstorm on the East Coast, it's nice to finally say goodbye to it - I mean hopefully we're done with snow, but you can never say never, especially after the season we just had.  Actually we still have small mounds of snow in the yard!

And although I've yet to notice any spring flowers pushing up, I have seen one or 2 rabbits and some robins hopping around which I'm taking as a sign of warmer weather coming.

The rabbits really inspired this treat.  Cake bite bunnies (I'm still not comfortable calling them cake balls, that just sounds weird!).  They are made using the normal cake bite process:
  • Crumble some already baked cake or cupcakes (I used chocolate)
  • Add icing until you can get the mix to stick together.  

  • Shape the mixture (about 1-2 tablespoonfuls of the mix) into the bunny bodies
  • Freeze the pre-formed shapes (you don't have to do this step, but I find dipping goes much easier if the mix is cold/frozen)
  • Dip in some melted white chocolate or vanilla candy wafers to coat
  • While still wet, sprinkle on some sweetened coconut flakes
  • Using more melted candy, pipe some rabbit ears and sprinkle on coconut before it's hardened

  • Once the ears are set, attach to the bunny with more melted candy
  • Attach a small pink sprinkle as the nose

You could add eyes, but I kinda like them without, like the fur is covering their little faces.  You can also make some small ones too as baby bunnies, which would up the cute factor by like x1000.

Happy Spring to you! We've had a couple of sunny 60 degree days as teasers, so I can't wait for the warm weather to come back and stay for good - or at least a long time.  Bring on the flip flops!

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Friday, March 14, 2014

Green Beer Bread

So Saint Patrick's Day is this Monday! Woo! I pretty much love anything green, even green food which is really weird since green food can = green mold which = pretty gross.  But let's pretend green mold does not exist for the purposes of this post.  

I think my love of green stuff started when I was little and the local supermarket had green sandwich bread around St. Patrick's Day time.  Does anyone else remember that? Loaves of pre-sliced green bread like white wonder bread but green?? I can't find any pictures of it so I'm starting to think I imagined the entire thing.

Anyway, St. Patrick's Day is all about green stuff (obvi) so green food is a must as well as green drinks! So I figured I'd throw them both together in some green beer bread. 

Green beer in a Green Lantern glass seemed appropriate
Start with your favorite beer.   And just like when you cook with wine, use a decent-good beverage if you want a good final product.  Hubby always has some excellent beers on hand so I snagged one.   Nugget Nectar, an IPA from TRÖEGScraft brewery based out of PA (great beers and great artwork on their labels!)

For recipes, I went to my friend Google, and found this one for 5 ingredient beer bread by Half Baked Harvest.  So simple and it looked really tasty.  In place of the brown sugar, I substituted 1/2 cup of regular granulated sugar.  I also added a little green food color to the beer before adding it to the mixture (see pic above).

Add the green beer to your dry ingredients and mix.  But don't over mix. The dough will be a little sticky.  Add to a pan (I also added some green non-pareil sprinkles just because I could) and bake at 350 degrees for about 40-50 minutes.  

Ta-da, green beer bread

Add a little pat of butter and you're all set.  

If you've never had beer bread before, it's something you have to try.  The alcohol will cook off during the baking process and the baked bread comes out really nice - moist and slightly sweet (but not super sweet).  A nice little treat to bring to a party 1) because it's really tasty and can be eaten alone or as a side with food and 2) it's super fast to throw together.  

And I know not everyone will look at this and go "Yum, that green hunk of bread looks mighty appetizing, give me the entire loaf!", but if you are weird like me and love all green foods, you might.   Or maybe you just like seeing all the fun green stuff on St Paddy's day, either way I hope you like it! 

Thanks as always for stopping by and have an excellent St. Patrick's Day monday!  If you happen to remember green sliced bread from years ago, please leave me a note so I know I'm not imagining things from my childhood!

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rainbow Inside Shamrock Cookies

So I made some chocolate covered "shamrock" cookies for St. Patty's Day.  And sorry, I know I just did rainbow cupcakes tinted with all natural colors last week, but I can't help it.  There is just something about having multi colored anything that makes me smile and forces me to make more and more rainbow treats.

And rainbows inside the cookies - heck yes!! 

Surprisingly, I don't actually have a shamrock shaped cookie cutter.  But I figured hearts would work work ok for this.

To speed this up I started these with a boxed sugar cookie mix.  
  1. Divide into separate cookie dough balls (as many colors as you want in your rainbow)
  2. Tint with your fav food gel colors
  3. Roll each color out to about 1/8 inch thickness and stack one on top of each other
  4. Cut slices off and then roll that into about the size of your cookie cutter (too big or too small and you won't see some of the colors of your dough)
  5. Bake - these are mini cookies (only about 1 inch in size) so they baked only about 5 minutes @ 350 degrees
  6. Once cookies are cooled, dip into good dark chocolate 
  7. Decorate or drizzle with your favorite sprinkles or go for multi color candy melt drizzles

The little mini rainbow cookies are super cute on their own, and would have worked just fine this way, but I wanted to try for the rainbow surprise inside look.

I did make a few larger cookies to, so you can see the rainbows even better! 

Arrange 4 of each heart together and you get your "shamrock" cookies! OK they are really 4-Leaf Clovers, but you get the point!

Do you love rainbows too? What's your favorite rainbow treat to make or eat? And it's finally warming up in the northeast (woohoo!!) so it's time for some spring treats soon!  Thanks so much for coming by, have an awesome awesome (awesome) week! 

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rainbow Cupcakes - All Natural Colors

Most of you know that I don't need an excuse to make rainbow filled treats (I mean I have a rainbow page there's been so many) but I do love how all the rainbow stuff starts showing up with St. Patty's day around the corner.

And I have done rainbow cupcakes before - super bright and colorful made with the typical food gels and colorings to make them.  But since I made those awhile ago, I've also been experimenting with getting colors from natural food colorants, like in this Halloween Bundt Cake, in these Blueberry and Strawberry Striped Krispie Treats, these Whoopie Pies, and these 4th of July Madeleines.

The colors for these rainbow cupcakes are made from this stuff:  

Freeze dried cranberries, freeze fried blueberries, carrot puree (yep baby food!), baby spinach, egg yolk, and crispy mandarin orange slices.  I think for most of these ingredients, you'd say ok, yep I get that.  Most are fruit and carrot is in carrot cake.  But spinach in a cupcake? Yes, and you know what it doesn't taste like spinach at all once you add it to the cake mix.  Really, it doesn't taste spinachy at all.

Start with your favorite white cake recipe or even faster, use a boxed mix.  Mix up as directed but add about 1/4 less liquid.  Separate evenly into 5 bowls as your white canvas!

For the colors:

Yellow: add 2 egg yolks to a bowl with the cake batter

Pink: add 2 Tbl crushed freeze dried cranberries (I put them in a mortar and pestle and go to town to pulverize as much as possible

Orange: add 1 Tbl of carrot puree plus 2 Tbl of crushed mandarin orange pieces

Blue/Violet: add 2 Tbl crushed freeze dried blueberries

Green: food process 1 cup of spinach leaves with about 1 Tbl milk.  Add about 2 Tbl of the puree to the batter

That's pretty much it! Then just add a little of each color to your cupcake liners.  I went with plain white so you can see the color through them.  There will be tiny little pieces of the fruit/veggie but that didn't really bother me, and didn't affect the taste or texture at all.  

Then bake them up as usual.  

Don't they look like funky muffins this way? They would be so fun served just this way on their own. 

But I had to add some homemade vanilla buttercream of course.  And I pretty much love the contrast between the rainbow colors and the whiteness of the frosting.

I think these are one of my fav cupcakes now.  Both the look and taste.  They still taste pretty much taste like a white cake, but with a little bit of flavor that you just can't put your finger on.  My kids didn't even ask about the colorings, just thought cool, rainbow cupcakes!

And although I have found you can't get super bright colors from some of the natural colorants, they are still pretty cool colors and fun!

Am I right??

Make some for St. Patty's Day (or whenever really!). Thanks for stopping by, I am hoping the weather people are wrong and I won't wake up to 6 inches of snow tomorrow.  I love winter and all, but really enough is enough! Come on Spring!  Have a great week!

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It