Monday, October 31, 2011

The Witches' Ball Halloween Party ~ Orange Cupcakes, Spiderweb Peanut Butter Cookies, Oreos and The Best Witch's Brew Slush

Happy Halloween!
Let me tell you that Halloween is probably the funnest time of year to make desserts! There is so much inspiration all around! You can make so many different types of fun treats...So I did. :)
I had two events to make goodies for and I had a blast!

This first post is of my own little family party.
The Witches' Ball

I picked up a few new Halloween decorations (since I really haven't done any REAL Halloween celebrating since I started college....9 years ago) and had so much fun getting inspired!
I found a fabulous spiderweb dessert stand and orange "Spooky" sign. Throw that together with a black tablecloth, a few candelabra's, some candles and orange food and...Voila!
A Witches' Ball fit for the finest!

Devil's Food cupcakes with bright orange frosting and black jimmies are the perfect treat to be featured on my new spiderweb cupcake stand!

The orange frosting was so vibrant against the dark cake, it was the perfect compliment to the black and orange theme colors. I went semi-homemade with these. I used Betty Crocker's Devil's Food Cake mix (delicious!) for the cupcakes and Pillsbury Buttercream frosting that I whipped up in my stand mixer and added food coloring. Easy Peasey. A few black jimmies purchased at Orson Gygis was the perfect contrast to the orange. They were absolutely tasty and super cute!

Next on the table was spiderweb cookies! I have to say that this was in my top 2 favorite treats for this Halloween. They were so fun and festive and amazingly easy to do considering I also went semi-homemade with these. I purchased some peanut butter fudge cookies from the store and then just melted some guittard vanilla a'peels (also from Orson Gygis) in a ziplock, snipped a small hole in the end and decorated like a spiderweb!

Spiderweb Cookies displayed on my ghost plate!

Who doesn't love peanut butter!
I have been wanting to do some 'tied' cookies for a while now and really just never found the right occasion where it would fit but, alas, the time has come! ...and it was amazingly adorable
 I picked up some orange oreos and some orange and white twine (Orson Gygis) and went to town. That's it!

So simple but oh so desirable.

I also served some appetizers and entrees including swamp sludge (guacamole) with black and orange chips found at my local grocery store, a cheesy chicken pasta dish that looked like brains and little smokies because they are always delicious!

The Table
What Witches' Ball would be complete without an authentic Witch's Brew?!'re right.
Especially the slushy kind! Mmmmm! I searched for the best slushy recipe out on the web and I think I found it. Recipe Below! It was the best punch I have tasted.
A word of caution though...Dry Ice makes it slush even more so I would recommend putting the dry ice in after it is all mixed and slushed up thoroughly. (or else it might turn the whole bowl into a big tasty ice ball :) Hehe. )

Dry Ice IS a necessity at any Halloween Party.
I also made some mummy juice boxes for the wee ones! They turned out cool! You can use white electrical tape or white duct tape and get some adhesive oogley eyes from a craft store. I found mine at Target for $1.99 for 100! Score! (...anyone need some oogley eyes?) ;P
Don't forget not to tape over the straw or the hole...both essentials to juice box pleasure.

Here is the formal invitation to The Witches' Ball. I think it turned out pretty cute.

This is a picture of me and the hubby! :) He dressed up for ME!
Me and my hubby, Bencula.
That's me.

Witch's Brew
Amazingly delicious and slushy!

2 1/2 cups white sugar
6 cups water
6 oz strawberry flavored gelatin mix
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice (I used peach mango pineapple) 
2/3 cup lemon juice ( I didn't have enough so I used more of the others)
1 quart orange juice
2 (2 liter) bottles Sprite or such (I needed four 2-Liter bottles because I put the Dry Ice in before the slush melted and everything turned into a big slushy ice ball!) :)


  1. Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture into 2 separate containers (I used 2 gallon ziplocks) and freeze.
  2. Combine the contents of 1 container with 1 bottle of the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy (THEN ADD THE DRY ICE). Repeat with remaining portions as needed.
  3. Keep in mind dry ice will slushy up your drink even more!
Original Recipe:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby Blessing Dessert Bar ~ Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cake Pops, Designer Flower Sugar Cookies and Vanilla Dipped Rice Krispies

A sweet little baby was blessed today and nothing goes better with sweet babies than sweet treats. Mama asked for a cute girly flare for the desserts with flowers and fun colors. We decided on Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cake Pops, Flower Sugar Cookies and Vanilla Dipped Rice Krispie Treats.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cake Pops
Everything went so well for the event. The luncheon was delicious and the desserts were delectible! They were a huge hit. The Red Velvet Cake Pops won the hearts ( of this crowd.

Designer Sugar Cookies take some time to make (along with patience and a steady hand) but they are sooo cute that it is completely worth it! You'll find details on how to make them below!

Flower Sugar Cookies

The Red Velvet Cake Pops went fast! These are one of my most requested flavors...and for good reason! Recipe is below!

Vanilla Dipped Rice Krispie Treats... a dessert bar must! So simple and so good.

Jayden's Sugar Cookie Flower Garden

Red Velvet Cake Pops

This recipe is many people’s favorite red velvet cake recipe. It is so delicious and moist and the cream cheese frosting is just perfect. Try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Red Velvet Cake:
10 oz cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red no-taste food coloring
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz Cream Cheese (2 packages), softened
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8-10 oz (2 ½ cups) powdered sugar
pinch of fine salt

Cake Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with liners (or grease any other baking vessel with Pam or the like).
Mix together cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl (and with disposable gloves on) mash together the food coloring and cocoa until it forms a smooth paste. Be careful! It stains!
In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until just light and fluffy. Do not overbeat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then add the vanilla and food coloring/cocoa paste. Add one third of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix on low until well blended, then add half the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour and then the rest of the buttermilk finishing off with the last of the flour, mixing well after each addition until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

In a small cup, mix together the vinegar and baking soda and watch your science experiment fizz. Pour this into the bowl and give it one last mixing for good measure. Batter should be pretty thick.

Use a small ice cream scoop to portion the batter into the cups (about 1 tablespoon for minis). Fill cups about ½ full. These rise a lot here in the elevated mountains of Utah! Place the tins in the preheated oven and bake for approx 15-20 minutes for regular cupcakes, 8 minutes for minis and 30 minutes for a 9 x 13 glass pan. Once cupcakes pass the toothpick or spring test they are done!

Allow to cool completely. 

I listed my recipe for cream cheese frosting (above) if you want to make cupcakes or cake but I actually use storebought Pillsbury (or Duncan Hines) cream cheese frosting (NOT whipped) when I am making cake pops because it is wonderfully sticky!

Follow the directions I have previously described to make cake pops using any color of vanilla or chocolate wafer you please!

Frosting Directions:

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix on low to medium (just so it doesn’t turn into a snow storm in your kitchen). Add the salt and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired sweetness/flavor of your frosting. Add less if you don’t like it too sweet or if you just like to taste that cream cheese tang! You may also add more sugar if you like your frostings on the sweet side but the more you add, the less you will taste the cream cheese. Beat on medium for another 2 or 3 minutes. This helps make the frosting a little bit lighter (not a ton though) as well as decrease the sweetness by a touch.
Use immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerating, allow frosting to come to room temperature and then rewhip in a mixer.

Designer Flower Sugar Cookies

Yields: 24-36 large cookies

Sugar Cookies:

1 1/3 cups shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp milk

2 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

18 oz flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the shortening and sugar until well blended then add the milk, vanilla eggs and blend again. Add the rest of the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Refrigerate for a couple of hours if able (at least 1 hr) or preferably overnight. Spread flour over a clean surface and flour a rolling pin. I actually like to use part flour and part powdered sugar so the cookies taste sweet rather than floury. Roll out the dough to about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Flour a cookie cutter. Press down firmly and wiggle to loosen from the counter. The key to getting pretty shapes that aren't deformed after you transfer them to the cookie sheet is to make sure your counter is heavily floured and nonstick. You can use parchment paper if you want but I find it difficult to roll on without everything moving everywhere. Place the dough shape onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes depending on size and thickness of cookie. Do not wait for the cookie to brown. If your cookie is starting to brown take it out! These cookies can be frozen in airtight containers for a few months.
Royal Icing by Sweet Dani B
Yields 2.5 cups
 1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water (plus more if needed)
1 lb powdered sugar
squeeze bottles
food coloring gel (water-based)
Using the thick whisks on a handmixer, beat together the meringue powder and water until you see good trails where the whisk has been. Slowly beat in the sugar until well blended and you see trails again. If the mixture is too thick add water until it is smooth and the trails created with the whisk melt together after a little shake. (This takes some practice to get the right consistency) Split into different bowls and color as needed for design. Pour into squeeze bottles. I have found that the ones specifically for dessert decorating work the best (the hole is just the right size).
For writing, add more powdered sugar until the correct consistency is achieved (so it doesn't run) and use a small writing tip.
To decorate your cookies you might want to practice on a plate first to feel how much pressure you need to exert to get a nice consistent line of icing.
Start by creating the border to the design on your cookie. Go as far to the edge of the cookie you can without it going down the side. This makes for really pretty cookies. Once you start your line lift up the tip of the bottle about 1 to 1.5 inches off the cookie and guide your line with smooth movements. Raising the tip off of the cookie this much will give you smooth lines rather than jagged ones! Try both and you will see the difference! When you are coming back around to where you started let off the pressure and bring the tip down to the cookie again and connect the lines. Now start filling inside the border with the icing starting on one side and moving to the other end slowly. Squueze a little bit out and then use the tip to blend it with the border. Continue pressing a little icing out and then blending it with the icing that is already on the cookie. It is pretty easy. Once you have covered the whole cookie, pick it up and give it a little shake to even and settle the icing. This step really helps. Let this dry (at least 3-5 hours which really depends on your humidity and environmental factors. We are pretty arid here in Utah and I have to let it dry at least 3 hrs) and then you can continue decorating with other details such as pretty borders. I just outlined the cookies (or the pedals for the tulips) with the same color icing and then poured sanding sugar on it and dusted off the extra sugar with a soft small paintbrush. (NOTE: Your first layer of icing MUST be dry or else the sugar crystals will stick to the entire cookie wherever there is wet or even tacky icing).
To add the pearls I just used some tweezers and dipped a pearl in some icing and then placed it on the cookie.
Storage: If you are going to use these the next day then don't even worry about covering but if you want you can put them in an airtight container in a cool place to keep them longer. They will last about 3-5 days I would say.