Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge

Pumpkin Fudge.
Yeah....sounds weird.
I figured I would give it a try though since it was different and I wanted to make something fun for a work party. (I also made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread just in case)
For some reason I imagined it tasting like a pumpkin smells....don't ask.
Well, it didn't taste like a pumpkin smells at all! I was pleasantly surprised!
The texture was amazing and the taste was much like pumpkin pie but in fudge form!

It was a success!
The only thing I would change for next time would be the amount of spice in the recipe.
My favorite fudge is still maple. Mmmmmmm......maple. (Recipe coming soon)
Here is the recipe for this rich festive fall treat!
Print Recipe

Pumpkin Fudge 

Yields: 3 pounds
3 cups sugar
¾ cup salted butter, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk
½ cup 100% pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (original recipe called for 1 tsp)
12 ounces (1 bag) white morsels
7 ounces (1 jar) marshmellow fluff/crème
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Line a pan with parchment paper. Using a 9 inch pan will give you about an inch thickness.
Stir the first 6 ingredients together in a 3 qt saucepan and heat on medium-high stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 234 degrees (or soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients quickly. Stir until well blended and uniform. Pour into the prepared pan. For a decorative top, melt some white morsels and lightly drizzle over the top of the hot fudge in the pan. Allow to cool for a couple hours or overnight until solid.  Cover with plastic wrap after about an hour.
Once solid, cut into squares. Enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Party Like a Rock Star!

Who doesn't love to Party Like a Rock Star?!

...I mean in the slushy punch/make your own music videos kind of way.

Yeah Baby! Rock on, right?! 

Well, we lived it up on Saturday!

My niece's 8 year old birthday party was rockin'!

We had an on-set makeup and hair studio

with professional make-up artists 

(mom, grandma and aunt)

and some super wild karaoke! and a photo shoot!


The girls were split into 2 groups and a music video dual commenced.


Here the girls are watching their videos 

We topped it off with desserts fit for a rockstar, presents and a party favor CD! ... Phew!

I made a custom CD that featured the 2 songs the girls made music videos to in addition to about 20 other popular songs! Paired with Rock Candy and tied with a Rock Star bow, this favor turned out perfect! 

The girls had so much fun giggling and rockin' out. Many of them said this was the best birthday party they have been to! Success!! 

I am glad to have been a part of it.

So if you are looking for the perfect birthday party for your wee one. You should consider a Rock Star Party if they are into music and that kind of fun....honestly, this would also be way fun for a crazy adult party! Let loose!

So! Onto the fun...

Q: What kind of treats do Rock Stars eat?
A: Anything hot pink of course!

The theme colors were Black and Pink. Classic!

I absolutely had to incorporate zebra because nothing screams "Rock Star!" more. The best dessert for that would be cookies...

And so they were.

These cookies are not difficult to make but they do take some time because there are multiple steps involved.

I tried out a new sugar cookie recipe and I do like it better. I am still on the search though. Here is the recipe for this one. It is very tasty! I couldn't stop eating the dough! It was embarassing. I dare you to try it.

Rolled Sugar Cookie Dough
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
23.5 oz (5 cups) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until combined and uniform. Form into a big flat rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on a floured/sugared surface to 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut into stars and circles with cookie cutters. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet. These should not spread much at all. Bake for 6-8 minutes or just until the edges barely start to brown. Do not overcook. This type of cookie is better soft than crunchy I think. Let cool completely before icing.

TIPS: When I "flour" my surface, I actually like to use part flour and part powdered sugar so the cookie has less of a flour taste and more of a yummy sweet cookie taste. If your cookie cutters tend to stick to the dough, first dip it in flour. Also flour your rolling pin of needed. I use a non-stick rolling pin but sometimes (depending on the dough) find myself needing to flour it also as well as putting some flour on top of the dough before I roll. 

When you press down on your cookie cutter, very gently wiggle it a little to separate it from the rest of the cookie dough. Wiggling too much may deform your shape so don't do that. With this cookie recipe at the right thickness it actually sticks in the cookie cutter. Nice! Then you can gently push it out at the edges and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheets. If the dough does not come up with the cutter then use a thin metal spatula to slowly lift up the cookie just at the edge.

This icing recipe I love and will not be searching for another one. 

It is from Sweet Dani B.

Royal Icing by Sweet Dani B
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
1 lb powdered sugar
Food coloring (water-based)

Using a handmixer, beat together the meringue powder and the water until you see good trails where the whisk has been. Slowly beat in sugar until well blended and you see trails again. This icing will probably be pretty stiff. Take some out (like 1/4 of it) to use for the pink finishing borders. 

Thin the icing with a small amount of water until it is the right consistency. We will not be adding any food coloring since we want white to be our base icing flood color.

Note: The key to royal icing is to get it the right consistency so that it will smooth out on the cookie but not spill all over the sides. To test your mixture, make some trails from the mixer and then give the bowl a jiggle and see if the trails settle. They should settle slowly after light jiggling. If not, then it is going to be too thick for flooding. Continue to mix in water if needed. If you have put so much water in that it no longer makes trails that stay then you might need to thicken it up with some powdered sugar.

There are actually many different ways of making these cute cookies. Some people use a stiffer icing for the borders and a very thin icing for flooding. It does depend on the cookie and the design I am going for but I generally like to border and flood with the same icing just because it is easy. So it can't be too stiff or it won't flood well and it can't be too thin or it won't make good borders. It has to be just right. When I am doing details on top of the flooding then I like to use a slightly stiffer icing so the details will hold its shape.

I also highly recommend getting some icing bottles that are made for icing. The hole on the tip is a good size but I do use some basic squeeze bottles too. Honestly, it will all work as long as you have the right consistency of icing. I should do a video on that.....but for now...

Check out Sweet Dani B HERE

Squeeze bottles are usually found at any craft stores as well as superstores like Walmart or Smith's in the kitchen utensil or cake decorating section.

Here are the steps to making decorated sugar cookies. Before you do it on the cookies, it might be beneficial to try it on a plate to get used to the pressure needed to produce the right flow. 

Step #1: Create your border.

After you have cooled cookies ready to decorate and icing in a squeeze bottle ready to pipe begin by drawing the outline of the shape you wish to "flood" with icing. This will be the base of your cookie design.

Do this by touching the beginning of the icing trail to the cookie and as you continue to squeeze lift the tip of the bottle about an inch or two off the cookie and continue your line. Lifting the bottle up off of the cookie will allow the lines to be a lot smoother. Try it! Connect the end of the icing trail to the beginning and make sure the line is solid and there are no breaks in icing.

Step #2: Flood the cookie with icing

Start on one side and squeeze the icing back and forth a few times. Use the tip of the bottle to smooth the icing out a bit so that you can't see cookie inbetween the icing lines in that area. Continue with a few more lines of icing and blend again. Continue doing this until the cookie is completely covered. When done you should see no "holes" in the icing. Pick up the cookie and give it a very gentle shake. This will even out the icing across the cookie

If you do all this and notice that the surface seems a bit uneven still, you can remedy this by adding more icing next time. I would not try to fix this cookie because the new icing may not settle properly with the old icing. Just move me. You won't even notice when you are done with all the cookies.

HINT: If you are planning on putting an edible paper on top, it is not necessary to get the icing completely smooth so don't fret if yours isn't. A little lumpiness will not even show.

Step #3: Place your edible zebra paper on the cookie.

Cut out your edible paper into the shape that will fit right onto your cookie. 

Trick: Use your cookie cutter as your stencil! 

The shape and size is perfect!

You can purchase edible paper at a craft store or even at walmart now for about $3.99 a sheet. Each sheet yielded 11 cookie zebra patterns (creatively placed).

Make sure you peel off the plastic backing from the paper or your cookies may be less than pleasant tasting. Carefully place the paper onto the cookie. Very lightly smooth your finger over the top of the paper to make sure all of it is touching the icing so it can stick. 

Step #4: Make the Finishing Icing Border

The pink finishing icing border you see in the picture above is the same royal icing recipe, however, I took some icing out and set it aside before I thinned it out for flooding. It needs to be just stiff enough to hold its shape. If you need to thicken some royal icing you can add powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency. 

Color your icing to the desired shade using water-based food coloring. Fill your piping bag with icing using the saran wrap method. I have a tutorial coming out that will be a time and sanity saver for you. I used star tip #18. You can use any size of star tip that you want keeping in mind the proportions of the cookie size. This border is a simple shell border. You squeeze and pull up then pull down and release to create the tail. On top of that tail just repeat and create another shell. Continue all the way around until you have finished your border! Let dry.

You are done!

Look how cute they are!

For the cookies above I did not use the edible paper....obviously. I just flooded with white icing then used the pink icing with the same star tip to make the E and 8.


This is my new favorite thing I have created (I am sure someone else has done this too) and I absolutely know that I will be making it again.

I call them Rock Pops!

Cake pops covered in pop rocks. 

The kids flipped out for it and even the adults loved the moment of nostalgia.

I loved hearing the snaps of the pop rocks and random squeeks from the kids when a big one went off in their mouth....ok maybe that was me. 

The best part is that they are super easy and fast to do! 

(I just realized I have never posted my yellow cake recipe. I will do that asap in a separate post. )

Just sprinkle your cake pops with pop rocks after you dip them in the vanilla coating and while it is still wet. The pop rocks will pop in your mouth not in your coating...

Check out my previous post for directions on how to make star pops. You will want to use the cake pops that same day because the pop rocks will absorb moisture and become sticky overnight (and I live in a desert!)

The cake pops were stuck into a big trifle bowl of gumballs!

These were awesome!

What kind of party would this be without some 

"Drop it like it's Hot Pink Cupcakes"?

A sad one...that's what kind.

These little gems turned out so cute. I love the little carnation style pom on the top of these cupcakes! It is a new decorating favorite of mine.

Of course I had to use some zebra cupcake liners for the minis as well as sprinkle with some deep pink sugar crystals.

The contrast of the bright pink buttercream frosting with the dark chocolate fudge cupcake is just awesome. It always fancies things up a bit. Totally rock star.

Secret: I used a duncan hines chocolate fudge cake mix as well as store bought buttercream frosting for these... Shhh....don't tell. Sometimes that's just what we have to do and it all turns out great!

Isn't she so cute!

The birthday girl certainly got a birthday to remember!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Young Women Value Cakes

Who doesn't love Ruffle Cakes?!

Who doesn't love Ruffle Cakes in 8 different colors?!

I am a young women leader in my church and we made these cakes for an event. It was a joint effort, the girls provided and frosted the cakes and I did the ruffles.
Yes, hand cramps did take over but the show had to go on!

The 8 colors each represent a value we strive for.

Faith - White
Divine Nature - Blue
Individual Worth - Red
Knowledge - Green
Choice and Accountability - Orange
Good Works - Yellow
Integrity - Purple
Virtue - Gold

Had I not run out of time (surprise!).... I wanted to write the name of the value on top of the cake. That would have been a really cute personalized finishing touch. This worked out great though and everyone was so impressed with the girls and thought that it made such a nice touch for the event.

I have a previous post with a ruffle cake tutorial from Sweet and Saucy. Here it is again if you missed it.

It was a fun night. I love my girls! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Monster Mash Birthday Bash! ~ Halloween Monster Cake, Spiderweb Cookies, Pumpkin and Bat Sugar Cookies, Orange Devil's Food Cupcakes, Spiderweb Chocolate Cake, Mini Alien Cupcakes and Ghost Rice Krispie Pops!

Nicholas' 9th Birthday Bash was a MONSTER MASH!
We went all out for it and it was super easy to do with a theme like this. It was held at the Cottonwood Country Club outside and the weather was perfect! Great day for a Monster Mash. Enough about that....let's move on to the good part....goodie part.

The dessert de jour was the Monster Cake! I really love how it turned out.

I made it with devil's food cake and I layered and frosted the cake with bright green buttercream! I used four 8 inch round cakes for this monster. When I was only about a third done with the hair frosting I thought I had ruined it and it wasn't going to turn out but I kept going and, alas, it looks great! I used a hair/grass (233) tip to do the monster hair and dipped some cake pops in coordinating colors to make the eye balls. To make the mouth I melted some vanilla melts, colored it black and using a ziplock baggie drew a mouth on some parchment paper and let it dry (I also used this vanilla for the eye balls). Then I drew the tongue on top of the black mouth with red vanilla melts. Carefully peel it off. I stuck it on the cake when I set it up so it didn't slide down the face as I was driving. :)

I had no idea the eye ball cake pops would be so popular or I would have made more.
All the kids wanted one!

The whole table looked awesome with all the different ghoulish Halloween props.

Purple Red Vines and Snickerdoodles!

I made some more devil's food cupcakes with orange frosting they looked great on my spiderweb stand! Especially as a contrast to the black and purple table cloths.

I made a small cake for another little boy whose birthday was actually that day so there were birthdays all around! I used two 4 inch round cakes, devil's food cake and rich chocolate frosting! I used melted vanilla a'peels and a ziplock baggie to create the spiderwebs on the cake. I like it! It was a bit difficult to draw the spiderwebs onto the side of the cake. Next time I would probably try to freeze it so I could tip it more.

We didn't have a knife or serving utensil at the
time so I man-handled the cake and accidentally
ripped off a chunk of the bottom...oops!

These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies turned out just lovely. I love making these decorated sugar cookies because I love the detail you can add to them! Fun stuff. Instead of using royal icing for the stems and vines I used some green vanilla a'peels I had hiding in the cupboard.

This next one is one of my favorite desserts I made this Halloween! Mini Alien Cupcakes! I used a plain 1/2 inch round tip for the frosting and bought some edible oogley eyes from Orson Gygis for $1.99 for 50. They are so cool. The kids loved this one the MOST!

I was so sad that a few of them got smudged in transport. Most of them survived though! As someone at the party said, it just adds authenticity. :)

Can't have a dessert bar without dipped rice krispie pops and can't have a monster mash with out ghosts!
So why not kill two birds with one stone?
Presenting: Rice Krispie Ghost Pops!!

Dipped in Vanilla a'peels and used the black vanilla melt for the eyes.
Awww...aren't they so cute.

These Peanut Butter Fudge cookies turned out so cute for my party that I had to make some more for the Monster Mash! They looked great on a cake stand and were a big hit. (So easy too!)

And some Sugar Cookie Bats! (I happened to notice that these look just like the "batman" bat)

The wicked witch and her wicked treats


Lemonade with Dry Ice! Devilishly Delicious!

There were lots of games for the kids to keep busy with! The first was Halloween Trivia Bingo.

Nicholas calling out the Halloween Bingo

Great shot of the Birthday Boy

A great idea is to use Candy Corn as the bingo markers!

So, I ran the Night of the Running Dead 5k on October 15th and while there entered a video contest for one of the vendors, Catch Photo Booths, for a free 3 hour photo booth rental for an event. Well, I won! So we had Catch come to our Monster Mash! It was so perfect! They truely made the event memorable...besides the treats of course. ;D Rob was so great to work with and was very accomodating with our schedule. I highly recommend them if you are in the Davis County/Salt Lake area of Utah.  

He brought a whole table full of props to use in the photos. Even though everyone had costumes on, they were still using the props because they were so fun!

Inside the booth you get to take 4 photo shots and then you get the opportunity to record a 30 second message to whoever the event is for. Rob downloads it to a CD and you get to have these messages! Two 4-photo strips print out right there (in amazingly great quality!) and is personalized around the edges. (See below)

Dadcula (my dad)

The kids had a blast running around playing The Witch's Relay where they had to "ride" there broomstick while kicking a ball to the line of kids on the other side as fast as they could.
One of my favorite outfits was you can see he was trying not to stab people while switching brooms!

One of the traditions for Nicholas' birthday parties is a pinata. What kid doesn't love a Pinata! It was fun and scary (with all those kids swinging the bat) just like Halloween!

The Witch Help

Witch mom is lighting the candles.. haha. get it?

Everyone crowded around the table for the cake and desserts!

This cracked me up because I used to
do this when I was younger!
(Get the bottom of your foot in the picture)

After blowing out the candles, he was quite out of breath.

All the kids went for it after the candles were out!
The favorites?
Eye balls and aliens. Of course.

This cake was huge and awesome. See the green inside?

And would I really be any type of food blogger if I didn't do this....