Thursday, September 22, 2011

Smores, Smores, and more Smores!

I dont know about you?  But nothing gets me more excited about fall then the gentle smell of fire wafting in the air around dusk, people gathered around a roaring fire, and the crisp air gently blowing on your back.  Snuggling closer to the fire,  trying to work your marshmallow magic of making the perfect Smore, by not burning the Marshmallow.
Unless your me of course, i'll be honest, I either spend way too much time trying to get my marshmallow just right, when all the sudden the little bugger slides off the stick and into the fire waisting five minutes of my precious time. Then after getting over the annoyance of such a wasted effort I stick another marshmallow on the already sticky pole, shove the guy in the fire, watch him envelope in flames and TAH DAH!!! My marshmallow is crispy on the outside, soft in the inside with a light black crust all around it! I call it pure perfection!
So with these thoughts in mind I thought I would do a blog post dedicated to SMORES!!! I already did a cupcake post earlier this year, with large cupcakes that taste AMAZING!  This time around I did mini Smore cupcakes, which are just too cute to even eat and the recipe for them are posted HERE!

This time I decided to add on some special Smore ideas that you can give away as a gift, or just have it for your table scape, or take it to your next Smore party and basically blow everyone away with how creative and amazing you are!  Either way, its a fun new twist to Smores that make the evening a little more exciting.  Then at the end, I'll include a couple pictures of a Smore party my friend and I threw together, the full party will be posted on her blog once she gets back from South Africa HERE!
Coco Glam- Chocolate Graham Cracker, Coconut Marshmallow, Dark Chocolate

Carmel Apple Pie-Cinnamon Graham Cracker, Flat Marshmallow, Apple, Rolos
Island Passion- Chocolate Graham Cracker, Coconut Marshmallow, Almond Joy
Pink Clouds- Chocolate Graham Cracker, White Flat marshmallow, Raspberry Ghriadelli Square
Winter Breeze- Chocolate Graham Cracker, Chocolate/White Chocolate Marshmallow, Peppermint Mint Pattii
Ebony & Ivory- Chocolate Graham Cracker, Chocolate/White Chocolate Marshmallow, Dark Chocolate
Caramellow Over You-Chocolate Graham Cracker, Flat Marshmallow, Caramellow
Stick-it-2-Me- Chocolate Graham Cracker, Chocolate/White chocolate Marshmallow, Peanut Butter Cup
Pearly White- Cinnamon Graham Cracker, White Flat, Pear, White Chocolate
Orange Divine- Orange Cookie- Chocolate white Chocolate Marshmallow, Dark Chocolate

So question is how did I make them?  Well I went to the store and found all different kinds of candy bars, marshmallows, and cookies.  Then I took mason jars for canning, put each variety in, then I used paper grocery bags from the store (I just asked for them at check out.) I then cut out a large round circle, stuck them on with double stick tape, used twine and a ribbon tied around the jars, and put on a tag.  Its easy, cheap, and budget friendly and turns out totally cute!
Here is some pictures of our Smore party.  I made the sign using letters on printed paper.  Then I cut out each one to a square.  I used a tea bag soaked in water, then used a cloth and lightly dipped it in the tea, and spread it on each paper, letting it dry over night so it was tea stained.  The next day, I burned the endges, stuck them on the back of left over grocery bags that I crinkled up in my hands, and taped them on using double stick tape.  I then threaded the sign using left over twine from the jars and hung them up against a plastic back ground.
For the table I used cheap baskets to display the different marshmallows, candies, and graham crackers, with burlap inside each one.  Then I used mason jars of all sizes with little tags and paper straws for there drinking cups.  Each jar had a label explaining which milk was in it. We ended up having this party inside because of rain, and baking the Smores on Broil HI in the oven for a few seconds. We ate Smore pizza made by Tracy and the recipe will be on here blog, Mini Smore cupcakes, variety of different Smores and different milks. It was a fun party and low budget, and only took an afternoon to create! To view the full party click HERE to get to Tracys Blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blue Raspberry Italian Soda Recipe

This drink is really easy to do, first you need some Blue Raspberry Drink Mix, a bottle of sprite or seltzer water, heavy cream, and whip cream to top it with.   If you want to garnish it you can use a fresh raspberry or blue sugar like I did in this picture.

First fill your glass 1/4 of the way full with Blue Raspberry syrup.  I would give a measurement but since everyone is using a different glass, its pretty pointless.  Next, add sprite or seltzer water until its a 1/4 of the way full from the top.  Then add a couple tablespoons of heavy cream.  Mix together and top with fresh whip cream.  You can do this with any italian soda flavor just make a sample first and taste it to make sure you dont need more flavoring or not.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blue Raspberry Italian Soda Party!

I was given an amazing opportunity to do a Birthday party for a dear friend Terry!  She asked me to make her some cupcakes and drinks in a modern soda shoppe theme, like my pervious party found HERE.  As I was walking through the isles of the grocery store, I came across the cute vintage gum and thought that it would be a fun color scheme, since its all the rage these days! Then as I was walking down the isle I saw the Blue Raspberry syrup and thought ITALIAN SODAS!!!
I decided to use the same recipe for the peach melba cupcakes for a raspberry bottom that you can find here, and make a butter cream frosting instead, dye it blue and add a raspberry on top.  Then for people who might not like Raspberry, I did my favorite Vanilla cupcake found here, but instead of Vanilla bean paste, I just used 1 more teaspoon of vanilla.  I tried to get the frosting color to turn the right red, but in the end it ended up being the light pink of the ballon.  Oh well, they turned out super cute, and delicious!
I used bright candies in the color scheme to match the colors for the candy jar.  I used some die cut out cupcakes to fill with berry candy just to give an added little punch to the table.  Then I placed the gum in mini parfait glasses with modern flowers attached to the top that I found at a craft store.

For the Italian sodas I used club soda bottles wrapped in fabric with a flower to make them fit into the color scheme,  Blue Raspberry syrup and heavy cream to stir in, and then topped it off with whip cream.  I'll post the recipe later.

All in all it the party turned out beautiful, it was enjoyable to do, and I was glad I was given the opportunity to do it from Terry!  Happy Birthday Terry!!!

Rachels Butter Cream Frosting

What you need:
- 1 Cup Butter
- 1 1/2 T of Madagascar Vanilla
- Pinch of Salt
- 4 T Heavy Cream
- 4 Cups Powder Sugar

In a mixer add room temperature butter to mixer and blend until smooth.  Wipe down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla until mixed with butter.  Add salt and 2 cups of powder sugar blending on low just enough to incorporate the butter.  Next, add 2 T. of Heavy cream and blend IF its having a hard time incorporating, if not, add the rest of the powdered sugar and all the Heavy Cream.  This sounds crazy I know, and its also why its tricky.  Let the frosting come together and then put the mixer on high and whip it until it becomes nice and fluffy. The trick is you dont want to over mix it because otherwise it because hard and gross or curdles.  I like to swipe my finger in and check the consistency to see how spreadable it is.  If it feels like a hard butter you have whipped it too much, think of it as a fluffy buttery texture.  It should be a nice fluffy frosting thats easy to pipe and spread, and not hard.  If its too hard, try adding some milk and powder sugar and see if you can soften it up a bit.  This is only for frosting cakes/cupcakes.  If you are using it for a decorative frosting, use milk or water instead.  I've been making frostings since I was 18 and have played with this recipe a lot.  I found that the Cream adds this amazing flavor and consistency to the frosting.  Hope it works out!

Italian Soda Recipe found HERE!

I'll be linking this on TABLESCAPE THURSDAYS HERE!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peach Melba Cupcakes

Anyone who knows me knows I adore raspberries and peaches, its probably one of my favorite fruit combinations in a smoothie, on top of ice cream, cereal, or whatever I can possibly think of.  So when I was thinking about what to do with this left over White Chocolate Swiss Meringue frosting, and a bundle of peaches, and immediately thought PEACH MELBA.
I decided to google a recipe and make a raspberry cupcake with the left over frosting and fresh peaches on top. The first recipe turned out really good and moist but the raspberry flavor wasn't very intense using frozen raspberries.  So the second time I tried I used fresh raspberries and they were amazing! So here is the tweaked recipe.
Peach Melba Cupcakes
1 ½ C. Butter at room temperature
1 ½ C. Sugar
2 Eggs room temperature
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 pkg of fresh rasberries
2 ½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
3 ½ C.  cake flour
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
Mix butter and sugar together until it becomes creamy.  Add eggs one at a time and make sure they are well incorporated.  Next add vanilla and mix well.  In a seperate bowl take fresh raspberries and smash them with a fork and add them to batter.  You can also blend them in a blender, but I enjoyed the fresh chucks of berries in the cupcakes, but its up to you! Sift flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.  Next measure out your liquids in a bowl and set aside. Add one cup of flour and mix in, then ½ cup of liquid and mix in, follow until all dry  ingredients and liquid ingredients are mixed.  Next place in cupcake pans and bake at 375 degree for 18-20 minutes.

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1 c (199 g) sugar
5 egg whites
18 tbls (256 g) unsalted butter, softened slightly and sliced
1/4 c white chocolate, melted and cooled
Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it's completely smooth, it's done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. The buttercream may turn into a soupy curdled mess, but I assure you it will be ok; just beat it for a few minutes longer. It'll come together! When the buttercream has reached the ideal consistency, add the melted and cooled white chocolate carefully. Try not to get any on the walls of the bowl as it will cool and harden there. 
Frosting recipe off of Whisk Kids, you can find the recipe here!
Coming soon Blue Raspberry Cupcakes and Blue Raspberry Party!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lemon Cookies with Lavender Glaze

Who doesn't love lemons!  Because if you dont this is defiantly not a recipe for you, but if you do I highly suggest trying this out.  I love sugar cookies,  so for years now I have been hashing out this recipe trying to perfect it, and I think I finally got it!

So when I decided to make a tea cookie, I thought to myself, why not tweak my favorite sugar cookie recipe and make it a lemon cookie?  It was a risk I know, but I like to be daring sometimes and guess what? It was a true SUCCESS!  I was so proud of myself, seriously we couldn't get enough of them.  Which in the end is probably a bad thing, but such is life...

So here is my Lemon Sugar recipe with the original explained down below. The lavender glaze was a very refreshing frosting that just gave the perfect hint of lavender to the sweet lemon cookie.   

Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 ½ c. Butter
2 C. Sugar
4 eggs
5 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
½ C. Sour Cream
2 t. Lemon extract
2 zest of fresh lemon
2 lemon juice

In a mixer cream butter and sugar together.  Then add eggs and mix well until batter gets kinda fluffy.  Next add ALL the lemon flavoring and sour cream and mix together.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix together and then add a little at a time until well incorporated.  
Chill for 1 hour. Then roll out into desired shapes and bake at 400 Degree 6-8 min. 

NOTE: this recipe makes a lot. so if your not cooking this for a crowd then half this recipe.  Also I know its super lemony but thats what I was going for, if your not a huge fan of lemon take out the lemon extract and use vanilla.  And lastly, this is my basic sugar recipe that I use for everything, so if want just a regular sugar recipe, add the vanilla instead, and i also add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg around the holidays.  

Lavender Lemon Glaze

1 Juice of lemon
1 zest of lemon
1 t. of Lemon extract.
2 T. of Lavender buds
3 cups of Powder Sugar
2 T. Whole Milk

In a bowl add all the ingredients and mix well.  You  might need to add a little more milk or powder sugar depending on how thick you want it.  I like it to be thick enough that when i put it on a cookie it doesn't drip down the sides.  So I make sure the glaze is not completely transparent.  

Here is a little tip to frosting a million sugar cookies with a glaze like this.  When the cookie has cooled, dip the cookie face first into your bowl of frosting and then gently swipe it off with your finger.  When your done it should be perfectly glazed with no drips down the side.

The lavender on to the top was just a typical buttercream frosting. I pipped a line down the center, and then added little dots for the lavender. 

If you would like to view the Lavender and Lemon Tea Party here is the link!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rose Petifores with Coconut Frosting

I found some Rose extract in the store a few months ago, and thought I would try it out one of these days on one of my tea parties.  This is my experience with it, on the first day, this cake is amazing!  It has this sweet hint of floral taste mixed with vanilla.  It's very moist and fluffy, and quite a tasty little treat to eat.  The next day, it tastes like your shoving a dozen roses in your mouth!  It was way too intense, and each day after it gets more and more intense.  Since I often make cakes or cupcakes the night before an event, freeze them, and then frost them the day of, I felt this was just too strong for me.  So if you ever make this recipe I highly suggest using 1/4 tsp of Rose extract, and an extra teaspoon of some good quality vanilla.  Whisk Kid did call for Rose water, and I did use Rose extract so that might have been the problem, who knows?  So here is the link to the recipe for the Rose Cupcakes right here!  Enjoy!

Rose Cupcakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c (156 g) flour
6 Tbls (85 g) butter, room temp
3/4 c (149 g) sugar
2 egg whites, room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp rose water
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 c (118 ml) half and half, microwaved for 20 seconds to warm slightly

Preheat oven to 350F (275 ml) and line a cupcake tin.

Sift together salt, baking powder and flour and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light. Add whites one at a time, beating well until each is fully incorporated. Add vanilla, rose water, and vanilla bean. Now add the 1/4 c of the milk, mix well, then sift in half of the flour mixture, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mixing just until combined. Add the remaining milk, then the remaining flour mixture, and spoon into liners. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Makes about 12 regular size cupcakes or 16 small souffle size cakes. Oh, and if you use the disposable souffle cups, make sure you cut a small slit in the rim of the cup so your guests will be able to easily remove them from the cakes. 

For the frosting I tried to use the White Chocolate Swiss Meringue, but it just wasn't being friendly enough to spread.  So I used my basic butter cream frosting with 1 tsp coconut extract and vanilla. You can find the recipe HERE! It turned out super tasty!  Then i used fresh unsweatned coconut for the sides, and I made fondant roses to adorn the top.  I'm pretty proud of myself too, I have never made fondant roses haha!  Dont worry though, the White Chocolate Swiss Meringue frosting comes into play on another cupcake next week on my Peach Melba!