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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Disney Princess Cupcakes


I've been meaning to post these cupcakes I made for Caitlin's 4th birthday back in October. Disney Princesses are still a big thing in our house. We met almost all of the princesses at Disney World back in March and this year for her birthday, we got a group together and went to Disney on Ice and saw most of them there again! Before the show, we went out for pizza and had these for dessert. The girls loved them!

I saw them on Pinterest and like most other projects I tend to love and choose, they do take a bit of time. But, the technique is easy enough for anyone and look how cute they are! First, I started out by finding images of the princesses. You can do the same through Google.  Then, I sized each princess proportionately to fit on top of the cupcakes and printed them on cardstock. They ended up being about 3 inches high and 1.5-2 inches wide depending on the princess.  Feel free to contact me if you need help with this part. I bet I can save you some time. :)

**UPDATE**  I've had a lot of requests for image help. I've since made toppers for Elsa, Anna, Tiana, and Mulan that I can also give you. (not pictured since I didn't originally include them and Frozen was not out at the time.)

I made the toppers about a week in advance. I did 2 dozen cupcakes and the finished all of the cutting while catching up on DVR. I taped the topper to a flat toothpick and kept them in a Ziploc bag until it was time to bake and decorate.



Sources: Erica's Sweet ToothWith Sprinkles on Top

Ingredients:
  • 2 dozen cupcakes (any flavor you love. I used Funfetti.)
  • 1 batch vanilla buttercream (or any frosting you love)
  • Large petal tip (I used Wilton #104)
  • 1 piping bag to use as a holder + 1 piping bag for each color (explained below)
  • Food coloring
  • Princess pictures
  • flat toothpicks or lollipop sticks
Directions:

Bake the cupcakes according to the directions and let cool. Use coordinating cupcake liners if you want to do that.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, make the buttercream. Now let's decorate! I tried to make the decorating as easy as possible without having to wash the tip in between each color and without having 8 different bowls of color.  Here's how I did it:

Start by putting the petal tip in a piping bag with a coupler. This is your holding bag. Now, get a second piping bag and cut the tip off.  This will be the bag you load with the first color. Every time you switch to a new color, you'll get a new piping bag, fill it with the new color, cut the tip out, and slip it inside the holding bag. Then, just squeeze a bit until the old color comes out and the new color is solid.

Scoop some buttercream into a dish.  I made 3 cupcakes of each of the 8 princesses, so scoop enough to finish all of the cupcakes for one princess, plus some extra. It's better to have too much than not enough. And it won't go to waste (you'll see!).

Starting with the lightest color (yellow for Snow White's dress) tint the buttercream and mix until the color is even. Load your (second) piping bag with the yellow, slide it into the holding bag and practice the petals a few times on a plate or piece of parchment. You can scrape your practice petals back into the bowl to be used when you're done. Pipe the first layer of petals, the bottom layer of the dress around the outside of the top of the cupcake.  Then, do a second layer, slightly smaller on top of the first. Continue on like this, adding a scoop of white buttercream to the same bowl and slightly changing the color as your go.  Like this:

1 - Snow White - tinted with Wilton Lemon.  (described above)
2 - Belle - add a touch of Sunflower or Orange
3 - Ariel  - add a tiny bit of Sky Blue
4 - Jasmine (do your daughters call her Jazz Man like mine does?) - add a bit more Sky Blue
5 - Merida- add quite a bit more Sky Blue
6 - Aurora - Wash the bowl or get a new bowl :(  Tint with Pink.
7 - Rapunzel -  Buy Violet!  I thought I had some, but didn't and it was already around midnight, so I had to figure something out. After getting every shade of gray from trying to add red/blue, I ended up using quite a bit of liquid purple I found (McCormick) and it came out fine.
8 - Cinderella - new bowl, cornflower blue with a touch of Sky Blue.

Stick the toppers in and admire your work :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Best Frosted Sugar Cookies




I know we just finished the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, but I have one more treat to share for this Christmas season. They look familiar don't they?  You know what I'm talking about. You've seen them in the grocery store. Frosted Lofthouse Cookies.

This might be the first year ever that we didn't make Christmas cut-outs. I just wasn't into another mess and another cookie.  But then I saw these. And you know Santa would need a treat to get him through the night, right?  I had to try them and so glad we made Santa a batch!  They are soft and buttery and you can change up the frosting & sprinkles to match your occasion.

And now for picture overload of my helpers:








Our finished product:



Source: Seen on Beantown Baker, originally from Hostess with the Mostess

For the cookies:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400┬║.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl & set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until mixed well. Add the dry ingredients in slowly & mix well. Chill for at least an hour. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin & cut shapes with cookie cutters OR form dough balls and flatten into thick circles with your hands. (About 1/4 cup per ball)

Bake 8-10 mins or until just the edges of cookies start to turn a very, very light golden brown. Do not over-bake. For an extra-doughy consistency, remove the cookies before the edges start to brown.


For the Frosting:

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar (thicken to desired consistency)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)
Directions:
Whisk butter, vanilla, milk and egg yolk together. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If it gets too thick, add more milk in very small amounts, about 1 tsp at a time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 12)


I'm sure everyone has seen (and smelled) that cart of cinnamon nuts at the mall and local festivals. I don't know why, but I've never made them at home until now. I saw almonds on sale this week and grabbed a bag with this sweet snack in mind. It's so easy and your house will smell amazing as they roast in the oven. Be sure to stir every 20 minutes or it will start to stick together. Try it with almonds, pecans, walnuts, or whatever you like!

This is our last week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats and I've had fun trying new recipes along the way.   I hope you have gotten some great ideas for sweets to share with your family and friends. A big thank you to Brenda from Meal Planning Magic for organizing and setting everything up for us. As always, the other recipes will be linked at the bottom of this post.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Beat the egg white and water until frothy with a whisk in a medium bowl. Add the almonds, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugars, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Stir the nuts until they are well coated. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Roast the almonds for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

Allow to cool, then store in airtight containers.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 11)


My only contribution to Thanksgiving this year?  This cheesecake! It takes a bit of time to make, but so worth it. I had Caitlin unwrapping caramels while I made the crust. (she thought it was fun!)  We mixed up the batter, baked and let it refrigerate overnight.  The nice thing about this cheesecake is that you don't need to worry about it cracking. You're going to cover the it all up anyway! Mine didn't crack, but the edges did turn a little brown. 

There are a few small changes I plan to make the next time I bake this cheesecake.  First, I will cut the amount of butter in the crust. It was a sticky mess as I tried to press it into the pan. Also, be sure to place a pan under the cheesecake as it bakes.  Mine started dripping butter onto the bottom of the oven and smoked up the entire house! Second, the caramel was a little too thin and ran everywhere, so a little less milk might work better for that (or use homemade caramel).  And lastly, I drizzled chocolate syrup on top instead of melting the semisweet chocolate. Overall, it was pretty fantastic.  It certainly lives up to it's name! 

Be sure to visit Meal Planning Magic for all of the Blog Hop information and the links at the bottom of this post to see the other treats that everyone has made so far.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: Kraft Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 24  OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
  • 6 Tbsp.  butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 pkg.  (14 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • 1 cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans
  • 3 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1 Tbsp.  vanilla
  • 3  eggs
  • 2 oz.  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Directions:

Heat oven to 325°F.

Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.

Microwave caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.

Bake 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Microwave reserved caramel mixture 1 min.; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 10)




Have you had these?  
Let's just say we've done our fair share of sampling. This week I wanted to try and recreate them at home. I found this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction that sounded pretty close and it was! I left out the pecans, but would make them again and try it both ways.  I think this is the first time I've used cornstarch in a cookie, but I like the way these kept their shape from the oven and didn't flatten out as they cooled.  These are a must try! Tip - don't let the kids add the sea salt ;)

We're closing in on the end of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, but maybe you're just starting to think about your holiday baking. Be sure to look back over the previous weeks for some great baking ideas.  Check out all of the recipes shared this week at the end of this post and visit Brenda's blog, Meal Planning Magic, for the hop details.


12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
  • Sea salt
Directions:
Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix it into the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Drop 1 Tbsp balls of dough onto cookie sheet OR used a standard-sized cookie scoop. If the dough is too crumbly, use your hands to roll the balls of dough. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Do NOT cook them longer than 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for 3 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

Notes: Use cold dough for each batch (keep refrigerated between baking each batch). Do not drop dough onto warm cookie sheets; allow sheets to cool between batches.


 
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