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Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

18 Dec

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I’ve meant to post about these amazing little cupcakes for weeks now, however I have been too exhausted to make myself do so.  Two birthday parties back-to-back almost did me in!  I have never baked so much in my life and I am now on a baking strike until after the New Year.  (I “may” have gone through 8 pounds of confectioners sugar in one weekend.  Eek!)

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

For Jaden’s 10th Birthday, which was two weeks ago, she asked for Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes for her classroom celebration.  I instantly had horrific flashbacks of the last time I made these but resolved to improve upon the last experience.  Surely these cupcakes would not steal my sanity twice!

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

And they didn’t!  This time I decided to not over think it and to just bake the darn things already!

I filled each cake cone 2/3 way full with cake batter and then placed each cake cone in an opening of my muffin pan.  Mind you, you have to be VERY careful when placing them in the oven or they will tip over.  (…and you will curse and shout and tear out all of your hair when this happens.  Don’t worry, that’s normal.)  Once baked, I carefully set them out on a wire rack to cool.  While they cooked, I whipped up some buttercream icing and colored it in two not-too girly yet not too-boyish colors.  (Because Jaden does not like pink.)  Once colored, I filled up my piping bag which I fitted with my largest star tip and went to work.  Starting on the outside edge, I piped in a clock-wise motion as I worked my way toward the center.  And Viola!

Then came the hard part.  Figuring out how the heck I was going to transport these things to school without them falling over.  The last time I made these I constructed this complicated cardboard carrying system with custom cut holes soaked in my tears.  This time I shoved them all into an aluminum baking dish and willed them not to fall over.  Despite driving 0.02 miles an hour all the way to the school, about half of the fell over.  Thankfully the buttercream had developed a bit of a crust to it and thus they weren’t damaged too badly.  Ah well.

4thd Grade children aren’t looking for works of art, they just want to eat something sweet!  :]

Bottles & Rockets

5 Dec
Gingerbread Rocket

Gingerbread Rocket

This past Saturday was Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  For the very first time we had a proper party for him that included some friends from school.  I know, what kind of mother am I?  You’ve never thrown your son a birthday party?  Oh, I have.  It’s just never been one of those parties where you mail out invitations and agonize over RSVP’s.  It has always just been family in the past.

I have fretted over how to entertain a group of boys for weeks now.  What do boys like?  Heck if I know.  In the end I made some gingerbread cookies in rocket shapes and had my husband construct them for me.  (By the time it came to build the rockets, I was on the verge of a nervous break down.  I had this beautiful picture in my head of how I wanted them to look and when my first attempt at construction was a failure, I almost lost my mind.)  Mind you, I’d been cleaning and baking for two straight days up until this point and was utterly exhausted.

Jordan opted for boy-proof construction rather than something that was pretty but would fall apart as soon as someone touched it.  Thus the copious amounts of icing.  By the time the icing had dried, these rockets could have made a daring bid for the moon.  These things were solid.  And I’m glad that they were because the boys first instincts were to pick them up and zoom them around the room. Whew!

Decorated Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

I don’t know who was happier, Fisher or his rocket!  :]  If you’d like to make your own gingerbread cookie rockets, here is what you need:

  • Gingerbread Cookies, Baked to Desired Shapes
  • Sugar Cones
  • Gingerbread House Icing “glue” (Super sticky and thick Royal Icing)
  • Candy for Decoration

My not-so-specific-instructions:

For the pointed “nose cone” of the rockets I used sugar cones.  You’d think that these would be found near the ice cream aisle, but that was not the case.  I honestly thought that I’d never find them at the grocery store.  They were finally located next to the Peanut Butter & Jelly.  You know, the same aisle as Coffee.  Because that makes total sense.

Next, I measured base of the cone to find out how wide it was.  I planned on inverting the cone for the tip of my rocket and wanted to make sure that the gingerbread cookies I baked would correctly support the cone.

Finally, I mixed up some gingerbread cookie dough cut out rectangles and triangles.  I used three rectangular cookies per rocket to make the body of the rocket.  Thus the rocket ended up being three-sided.  I had originally planned on using four cookies per rocket to make up the body, but that did not allow for proper attachment when I can to the sugar cone.  I also used three triangles per rocket to make the directional fins at the base of the rocket.  It’s hard to tell in the picture because of all the icing, but the little triangular fins are there.

Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

Here’s a lovely sketch by yours truly to demonstrate how it all came together.

Diet Coke & Mentos

Once the rockets were decorated and all the left-over candy decorations had been eaten, the boys headed out into the back yard to set off some bottles of Diet Coke with the aid of mint-flavored Mentos.  It was a huge hit.  The boys begged to stand in the line of fire, but I couldn’t possibly be the mom who sent home boys soaked in soda after a birthday party.  I would be shunned for the rest of time for such a thing.  The boys were only temporarily disappointed.  ;]

The party was a hit and the boys only talked and sang about poop for 30 minutes of the two-hour party.  I say that’s the stamp of success.

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

30 Nov
Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  He has counted down to it pretty much since his 7th.  To celebrate, I made his favorite cupcakes to share with his class at school today:  Dirt & Worm Cupcakes.  They are super easy to make, taste great and are always a huge hit at school.

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

I used a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix, but you can use whatever chocolate cake mix you prefer.  Once they have completely cooled, I piped on some chocolate icing, rolled the tops of the cupcakes in crushed Oreo cookies and topped them each with a gummy worm.  Tah-dah!

Even though I used a box mix, I do highly recommend that you make your own chocolate icing.  It is always superior to canned icing that you find at the store and it is super simple to make.  This is my favorite chocolate icing recipe, one that I got from my mother:

Chocolate Icing Recipe:

  • 1/2 heaping cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened

Directions:

Cream together the butter and cocoa powder.  Next, mix in the vanilla extract and salt.  Add the sour cream and mix until combined.  Slowly work in the confectioners sugar.  Once combined, mix at medium speed for a few minutes until it is nice and smooth.  I use this time to rinse off utensils and tidy up around the kitchen.  (Confectioners sugar inevitably ends up everywhere when I use it.)

The icing is usually cool from the refrigerated sour cream, so I let it set for a minute or two to let it warm up.  Cold icing is hard to pipe with.  If you want to pipe on the icing, just grab a bag and a large, open tip.  It doesn’t really matter what tip you use as long as it is a large one.  You don’t even have to make it look pretty since you’re just going to roll the iced part of the cupcake in crushed Oreo cookies.  It’s a fool-proof decorating plan!

If you don’t have a piping bag or tips, just grab a spatula or even a butter knife.  Again, it doesn’t have to look pretty.  The crushed Oreo’s hide just about any icing misstep.

This recipe will make enough icing for 24 cupcakes, plus a few extra.  This recipe is also great on chocolate cake.  I usually mix up two batches when icing a two-layer, eight inch round cake.

Enjoy!

Valetine Cookies

17 Feb

Hey, if I can decorate a cake, surely I can decorate a cookie.

These were a huge hit with Jaden’s class for their Valentine’s Day Party.  I think I may have to take another stab at cookie decorating in the future.  Royal icing is much more finicky than butter cream, but I think we can come to some kind of understanding.