Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School Cake Pops!

 With a nod to my new "baking" hero (the quotes are because these really aren't baked), Bakerella, I attempted my first ever batch of cake pops to celebrate the first day of school.  I love how they came out and will definitely have to make them again! 
 The above recipe describes what I did, based mostly on the one by  She's amazing, and her photos made me want to try one of each of her designs (I'm totally taken in by really good photos of things).  I made a few changes in the coating, however, because out here in the sticks I have to rely on Walmart for my supplies and they only had candy melts in red, white, and brown.  I totally lucked out with the red but I wanted to do some in apple green color so I had to come up with my own.  Enter white Almond Bark -- I had to laugh at the brand I found, called Pilgrim's Pantry....did the pilgrims really have much need for candy coating, what with all the seasickness and colony-building?  Anyway, I looked all over the web for instructions on how to effectively tint almond bark....I'd heard before that you can't use water-based food coloring drops because water "breaks" the candy coating like it does chocolate....but all I found was more people railing against water-based food coloring.  Holding fast to the anthem, "There must be a better way!", I tried it anyway.  Turns out, if you melt the bark, add a few drops of food coloring, add Crisco one tablespoon at a time, and stir A LOT, the bark will return to dipping consistancy and actually still tastes pretty good.    I got the green apple color by using one drop of blue with 6 drops of neon green (it's like a perfect Shrek color -- I also used it last year for the alien cupcakes at Josiah's 3rd b'day). 

Love 'em!  I'll have to try different ones for the kids' b'days from time to time.  I'm thinkin' a Cake Pop party is in order, of every kind, please!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Josiah turned 4!

So, our little man turned 4! Once I got over the fact that he's been with us for four years already. . . has it REALLY been that long?!?! . . . I got to work planning his party. His favorite movie right now is Gnomeo & Juliet so that's what he wanted for his party. But I don't think the movie did very well overall because there was no merchandise to be found -- no figurines, no plush, no decorations, nothing! -- so we had to make up our own. For the invites I found an image online of one of the official movie posters and added my own text, then printed them as 4x6 photos.
We had the Reds Vs. the Blues just like the movie, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Featherstone (the flamingos): The cupcakes were red and blue gnomes "hiding" in the grass:
I took sugar cones and coated them with melted Candy Melts, then sunk them into the frosting "grass" on top of chocolate cupcakes. The Travelocity Roaming Gnome made an appearance (found him at Target along with the fantastic mushrooms which I painted) as well as the stuffed crocheted version I made years ago. He (the crocheted one) lives in the center console of my car and has been photographed all over CA, WY, NM, CO, NV, UT, OR and even went with my parents and aunt & uncle to Hawaii two years ago . . . I have a whole scrapbook devoted to his excursions! The treats on the Red side were strawberries, dark chocolate Hershey candies (3 shades of red), cupcakes with Strawberry Fields ice cream and Coke and red Hawaiian Punch. The treats on the Blue side were blueberries, York peppermint candies (blue & white), cupcakes with Birthday Bash ice cream (confetti ice cream with blue frosting ribbons throughout) and Pepsi and blue Hawaiian Punch.We had our own version of "Nanette the Frog" -- my mom's vintage cookie jar. That thing is older than I am and has been repainted several times but I love it! My dad would happily let it live at my house permanently but Mom wanted it back.He had to eat the frosting first:After the presents . . . the kid made out like a BANDIT, I tell you . . . and the treats, we all went back outside to launch the Gnome Paratroopers!The paratroopers were a huge hit!
And finally, we ended the night with Gnome tattoos. Those little guys were the HARDEST thing to remove -- they said "temporary" but 5 days and that many showers later I finally had to take the nail polish remover to mine and he still didn't budge.
Josiah said he loved his party and had a ton of fun with all his friends and family. I was glad to hear it, because I had a blast! Love that little guy!