Tuesday, June 26, 2012

4th of July Cupcakes!

We are smack in the middle of our "15 Days of Red, White and Blue" series, and I just couldn't wait any longer to post some really festive 4th of July cupcakes! I mean, what's a celebration without cupcakes? These cupcakes are not only perfect for the 4th of July, but they would fit right into an Olympic Celebration!!
4th of July Cupcakes
 Cupcakes
1 box Duncan Hines White Cake Mix
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Americolor Holiday Red
Americolor Royal Blue

Antonia74 Frosting
6 oz warm Water
5 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
2.25 pounds Confectioners Sugar

Marshmallow Fondant
1 cup of Mini Marshmallows
1 tablespoons Water
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup Confectioners Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place the cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil and eggs
in a mixing bowl. Mix for 1 minute on low, then turn the 
speed to medium and mix for 2 additional minutes.
This recipe is from the Cake Doctor, white cake mix.
Divide your batter into thirds. I used three bowls, and tried
to distribute it evenly. Take the first bowl, and drop a few drops 
of Holiday Red into the batter. Stir until it is combined and
you are happy with the color.
Take your second bowl, and mix in a few drops of the 
Royal Blue. Mix well.
Use a small scoop or a tablespoon to place 1 scoop
of each color in your cupcake papers.
 Bake until done, about 20-25 minutes.
Let cool.

Let's make frosting!
I have used this frosting recipe a lot. I just love it!
It is called Antonia74 Royal Icing. I found it several years
ago on the cakecentral.com recipe page. It was developed by Antonia74.
Thank you Antonia!
In a mixing bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue 
powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy
and thickened, about 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 more seconds.
Pour in all the confectioners sugar at one time.
Using your paddle attachment, and on the lowest speed,
mix slowly for a full 10 minutes.
You will not need all the icing this recipe makes for the
cupcakes. Scoop some into a bowl for the red, 
some for the blue, and then the white. Using a Wilton
#2A tip decorate the cupcakes with the icing like above.
As you can see,
I tried 3 different ways to put the icing on the cupcakes.
The middle one was my favorite, so I made
 the rest of the cupcakes just like it.

Let's make fondant!
Place the marshmallows in a 1 cup measuring cup 
and push down to pack them in.
Microwave for 20 seconds. Just long enough for
them to soften and puff up. Stir with a spoon
until well combined. It should look soupy at this point. 
Add the sugar and mix until it is not sticky. 
Now take it out of the bowl and knead
with your hands. Knead for about 5-7 minutes. 
You only need a small amount for these cupcake
toppers. Pull three equal size pieces from your
piece of fondant. Flatten each piece out. 
Use gloves if you have them. Curve the flattened
piece a little, and drop a few drops of holiday red onto the small
fondant piece. Kneed the fondant piece until it is the color you want.
Do it again with the royal blue color. 
Once you have colored the fondant, 
take a small piece off of each color.
Place then together like above.
Start to knead the three colors together.
You want to create a piece of fondant that shows all the
colors clearly. Over kneading will make the 
colors meld together too much.
Once you have the colors looking pretty, 
roll the fondant with a rolling pun.
Cut out the letters USA from your piece of fondant.
The letters at the top were cut first.
Each time you knead the colors together,
they get a little more distorted.
They still look great, just darker.
Place the letters on top of the cupcake.
Happy 4th of July!

Thanks for joining me today!

We are starting the party early for the 4th!
Here's where we are linking up:
Cupcake Tuesday





Holiday Bark!

This is Day 6 of our "15 Days of Red, White, and Blue! Today we made a simple holiday bark. We used red, white, and blue M and M's, tiny twist pretzels, holiday marshmallow stars, and sprinkles. We did make this bark just slightly different, however. We made the bark 3 layers with each layer a different color! Very festive!
Red, White and Blue Holiday Bark
2-3 packages Almond Bark
Red, white and blue M and M's
Tiny twist Pretzels
Red, white and blue marshmallow stars
Sprinkles
Americolor Holiday Red
Americolor Royal Blue
Set up a double boiler, and melt 6 whole pieces
of Almond Bark.
Layer your pan with parchment paper. I used
a 12 1/2" X 9 1/2" pan.
Once the bark is melted, tint the bark with 
a couple drops of royal blue, more or less, 
depending on your desired finished color.
Spread it our over the pan and refrigerate
for 15 minutes.
Melt 6 more pieces of bark, and tint the melted bark with
the holiday red. I had a problem with the bark
getting a little thick this time, so I added a 
tablespoon of solid vegetable oil and it was nice and smooth.
Pull your pan out of the fridge, and cover the blue layer 
with the red melted bark. Put back in the fridge for 
another 15 minutes.
Melt 6 more pieces of bark, and leave it white.
Cover the red and blue bark with a white layer.
Place your pretzels, marshmallow stars, M and M's,
and sprinkles on the white layer.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
After they are refrigerated, pull the bark from the pan 
by lifting the parchment paper out. 
Start cracking or cutting  the bark pieces.
I think the layers look fun and festive!
Although, I could have done a better job of
making them level! :)
I think bark is always a great little extra for a 
party or get together. It is really the chameleon
of the candy world! It is appropriate at just about
any event, it lends itself to the event because you can 
change it's color to match event colors and the
ingredients you top it with are only 
limited by imagination!

Thanks for joining me today! 

We are partying at the following fun events:
Tutorial Tuesday 

Monday, June 25, 2012

American Pie!

Around here, no picnic or holiday celebration is complete without a pie! When you think about it, there are a lot of different types of pie to choose from. You can go traditional with mile high apple pie with a crust topping, you could pick a lemon meringue pie with just a bottom crust, or what about a refrigerator type pie, made with jello and cool whip, or even a Boston Cream Pie! :) The list can go on for quite some time!
Well, no matter what type of pie you make, I am sure it will be devoured by the lucky recipients. So, here's an American Pie, baked to please, for the 4th of July!
Blueberry and Cherry American Pie!
Cherries
4 cups washed and pitted Fresh Cherries
1-1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 tablespoon Corn Starch
1/8 tablespoon Almond Extract

Blueberries
2 cups washed Blueberries
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoon Corn Starch

Pie Crust
1 1/3 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted Butter, cut into bits
Put all of your ingredients together, and then
toss into a food processor. If you don't have a
food processor available, you can use a fork.
Begin by mixing everything together with the fork,
incorporating the butter, and letting it become dough.
If you are using the food processor,
 pulse until mix comes together.
 To test it, put some on your
fingers and pinch. You want it to stick together. If it does not come
together, add small amounts of water and then pulse until it
does come together. Put your dough into a round ball,
and then divide in half.
Wrap each half in plastic wrap and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Wash ....
 and pit your cherries.
Place your cherries in a pot over low heat. Cover the pot.
Keep checking the pot for the cherry juice to release into the pot.
It may take 5-10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and corn starch.
Once the cherries have released their juice, take the pot off
of the heat. Mix the sugar and corn starch mix into the cherries.
Add your almond extract.
Return the pot to the stove and cook on low until it thickens,
stirring often. Once it thickens, remove pot from the
heat and allow it to cool.
Make the blueberry filling the same way as you made the
cherry filling. The amount of ingredients are different, and
you don't add almond extract, but the technique is the same.
Roll out 1 piece of  dough between 2 pieces of
parchment paper.
Transfer that piece to your pie plate.
Trim around the dough with a paring knife.
Make the dough even with the top edge of your pan.
Roll your second ball of dough out
between parchment paper.This is your top piece.
Fill your pie pan with the cherry filling all around the edge.
Place blueberry topping in the center.
Fill both toppings to the top of your pie pan.

Cut a star out of the top pie dough.
Place the dough on top of the fillings
and brush melted butter over the dough.
Lightly sprinkle the dough with sugar.
Crimp the edges of your pie with a fork.
Bake your pie at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Remove your pie from the oven,
and top with whipped cream,
which we made when we made another pie!

Thanks for joining me today!

Stop by tomorrow for Day 6 of
15 Days of Red, White and Blue!

Follow us to the following parties:
Tutorial Tuesday
Patriotic Project Parade Linky Party

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Candy Shooting Stars!

On day 4 of our 15 Days of Red, White and Blue series we present Shooting Stars! These candies on a stick are perfect as party favors, centerpieces, or just as part of the party treats!
Shooting Stars
Star Candy Mold
White Candy Melts
Royal Blue Icing
Holiday Red Icing
Wilton Edible Silver Stars
Skinny Sticks
Melt your white candy melts.
I used a spoon to fill the stars, but you can also fill a
plastic bottle with the candy melt, and squeeze
the candy in. Spoon the candy into the center of the star.
Use a toothpick to fill in hard to get to places.
Pull the icing into the star with the toothpick.
Once the star is filled, gently shake the mold across the 
surface you are working on. Don't lift it up to shake it.
The candy melt will smooth out inside the mold.
Insert the skinny stick into the space designed for it.
I used the skinny stick because it is flat, not pointy
and it looks great too!
Spoon  just a tiny bit more candy melt over the stick
so it is covered. Shake very gently again.
Once all the mold is filled, you can let it set up in the fridge or
at room temperature.
Remove the stars from the mold.
Be gentle when removing your candy. They will pop
out easily.
The star mold I used is from Wilton.
Along with the mold for 4 stars on sticks, it included
2 smaller stars without a stick.
I used the smaller star to stack on top of this star
on a stick.
Then made some zig zag lines across the top in red.
Sprinkle some of the edible silver stars over the top.
Do this while the icing is wet.
Then let dry.
Decorate the other stars the same way.
Some red, some blue!
Celebrate!

Thanks for joining me today!
I hope you stop by tomorrow for Day 5 of
15 Days of Red, White and Blue!

I apologize for the poor pictures.
Just wait until I see that photographer!! :)

Here's where we are partying this week:
Tasty Tuesdays
Patriotic Project Parade Linky Party

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Marshmallow Wands

Nothing really says summer like marshmallows! Yes, they are available all year round, and we eat them no matter what the time of year. But summer seems to bring out the marshmallow lover in all of us! These simple Marshmallow Wands are an ode to the biggest holiday of the summer. With their sparkly sugars and their chocolate covered goodness they bring to mind warm summer nights, blinking fireflies, giggling with friends in the backyard under a blanket of stars, and wishing the summer would never end!
Marshmallow Wands
Marshmallows
White Candy Melts
Candy Sticks
Chocolate Candy Melt
Red Sugar
Blue Sugar
Red, White and Blue Icing
Red, White and Blue Sprinkles

To make the wand with one blue end and one red end
dip one end of the marshmallow into
the white candy melt. Go a little over the edge like in the pictures.
Immediately dip it into your bowl of blue sugar.
Dip the other end the same way, but use red sugar.
Let dry.
 Melt the white candy melt.
Dip the end of each stick into the candy melt,
and while it is still wet, stick the wet
end into the marshmallow.
This will help the marshmallow stay on the stick.

To make this wand with the stripes going around it,
dip the top into the candy melt and
the blue sugar. Then take an offset spatula, dip
it in to the candy melt, and immediately sprinkle with sugar.
Rotate red and blue all the way around.
To finish,  dip the stick into the white candy melt,
just like above.
To make the chocolate covered marshmallows,
insert the marshmallow onto the stick, and let dry.
Dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate melt.
Let it dry, and the decorate with icing.

Go have fun!

Thanks for joining me on my 3rd day of the
15 Days of Red, White and Blue!

I hope you stop by tomorrow. See you then!

We are partying over at these places:
Tasty Tuesdays
Patriotic Project Parade Linky Party