Are you planning on dyeing some Easter Eggs this year? I’ve found several sites that show how you can use natural ingredients as dyes for your eggs–fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices like blueberries, oranges, red and yellow onions, paprika, and much more! I … Continue reading
I had to make a quick trip to the mall and ended up staying longer than I intended because I was admiring some pretty Spring and Easter tableware and decor at two of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma! Teal, light and bright greens, and nature-inspired neutrals seem to be big color themes for the spring season. These happen to be some of my favorite colors–no wonder I was so drawn to the store displays! :) (Photos shown in this post are from Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma)
At Pottery Barn, I loved all the teal in the table settings displayed right by the front entrance. The tableware looked great with the natural color and texture of woven place mats, along with some burlap and twine accents–so springy and outdoorsy! The inside store display I saw looked very much like the set-up in the photo above, featured on the Pottery Barn website.
And I thought these bunny cupcake stands were sweet–they also work great for mini pies and tarts or cookies!
I also liked these nature-inspired basket fillers…
…perfect for creating your own woodland baskets!
The teal-green-neutral combination also looked great in other home accessories…
…like this brightly-patterned pillow.
I thought this embroidered butterfly pillow had a great spring feel, too.
And I loved all the glassware in spring colors, especially the teal!
…and they have a new Botanical Citrus Collection which looks very springy.
You can always find fun baking accessories there, like this Buttercup Cakelet Pan. How cute is that?
And I saw these cookies later on their website–some great Easter cookie decorating inspiration!
Do you have Spring Fever like I do? Have you found any inspiring Easter and Spring decorating, entertaining, or gift ideas out there?
I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.
OREOs are always a treat, and these cookie ball truffles are a great way to enjoy them over the holidays! So now that the Christmas season is in full swing, I thought this would be the perfect time to make them. They’re easy to make and all you need are a few ingredients–OREO cookies, cream cheese, and chocolate–plus an extra ingredient I added! I decided I’d make these cookie balls a little extra chocolatey by adding in some mini chocolate chips (you need to use the mini chips–the regular size would be much too big)! And I used both semi-sweet and white baking chocolate to coat them for a little variety. I topped these yummy treats with different kinds of Christmas sprinkles, coconut, and crushed candy canes. Chopped nuts would also be a great topping.
You can make these cookie ball truffles without the mini chocolate chips if you prefer; you’ll get about 48 if you make them that way. If you make them with the mini chocolate chips like I did, you’ll get at least 70 truffles, maybe a little more, so you may want to have an extra 4-ounce package of baking chocolate on hand in case you need more chocolate coating. I had just enough chocolate to coat all of mine with the 4 packages, but it never hurts to have a little extra on hand. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per bar of baking chocolate–I mixed the coconut oil into the chocolate after it was all melted–it made the chocolate a little thinner and easier to dip the cookie balls in.
I also found it was easiest to dip these cookie ball truffles into the chocolate by using a regular spoon, turning each one over in the melted chocolate with the spoon until it was all coated. Then I immediately put it on a parchment-lined pan, using the spoon to drop it on. After dipping about 5 cookie balls, I adding toppings before the chocolate started setting–the toppings adhere much better when the chocolate coating is still very melty.
So that’s all there is to it! And I thought it would be fun to arrange these cookie balls in a tree shape–a great way to serve them at a holiday party or get-together!
OREO HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BALLS by NancyCreative, slightly adapted from the original OREO Cookie Ball recipe
Makes about 70 cookie ball truffles
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (this is an addition to the original recipe)
- 4 to 5 (4-ounce) packages semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted (I used 2 packages of semi-sweet and 2 packages of white chocolate, melting the different chocolates separately; I also mixed in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per 4-ounce melted chocolate baking bar after the chocolate was all melted, for easier dipping–if you don’t do this, your melted chocolate will be thicker, and you may need a 5th 4-ounce bar to have enough chocolate coating)
- Assorted toppings to sprinkle on the chocolate-coated truffles: Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes, coconut, nuts
Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended. Shape into 70 (1-inch) balls. Place in a shallow 10 x 15″ pan lined with parchment paper and freeze for 10 minutes.
For cookie balls, dip each ball into melted chocolate. Place in single layer in your lined 10 x 15″ pan (I dipped about 5 at a time, then sprinkled them, so the toppings would stick well before the chocolate started setting). You may need to use an extra lined pan, since you’ll need to leave more space between the chocolate coated cookie balls while they’re setting.
After dipping and topping all the cookie balls with your choice of sprinkles or toppings, refrigerate them on your lined pan or pans for 1 hour or until firm.
I partnered with Yummly and OREO on this post, but the opinions expressed here are entirely my own–I’m a longtime Oreo fan! :)
Do you like Oreos too? Have you made these cookie balls and do you have a special way of making them?
Linked to Christmas Cookie Swap at Katherine’s Corner.
Did you know that October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month? I had no idea until I saw it mentioned somewhere on the net. That got me thinking about making some popcorn balls! I found this recipe at About.com that sounded good. I decided to try it with peanuts added in, since they had tasted so good in the Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix I had made a several weeks ago. Yum! These popcorn balls are very easy to make, so this is a great recipe to start out with if you’ve never made popcorn balls before. It’s a great treat for kids and adults–who wouldn’t like munching on a fun popcorn ball like this?
CANDY CORN-PEANUT POPCORN BALLS with MARSHMALLOW COATING by NancyCreative, adapted from About.com
Makes 12 to 14 popcorn balls
- 12 cups plain or light butter popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups candy corn
- 2/3 cup dry roasted peanuts (or you can use salted cocktail peanuts)
- 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter
- 4 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spraying the lining with nonstick cooking spray.
In a very large bowl, mix together the popped popcorn, candy corn, and peanuts; set aside.
In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the marshmallows and microwave an additional 90 seconds to melt them and stir, blending them with the butter (the marshmallows may not look melted, but they will liquefy when you stir them). After blending butter and marshmallows well, then add vanilla and salt, and stir until everthing is well-mixed.
Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn-candy corn-peanut mixture, and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to sit for a minute so the hot marshmallow mixture can cool slightly. Note: if some of the candy corn and peanuts are collecting at the bottom of the bowl, you can work those in as you’re forming the popcorn balls.
Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray and scoop up a handful of popcorn. Press it firmly between your hands, forming a ball shape. It’s kind of like making a firmly-packed snowball! Make sure your popcorn balls are all compact; loosely formed popcorn balls fall apart easily. If the balls aren’t sticking together, allow the mixture to cool for another minute; they should hold together better then.
Place popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet and allow them to firm up at room temperature. Store popcorn balls in an airtight container in a cool, dry room.
These popcorn balls would be great any time of year–just leave out the candy corn and add some extra peanuts to the mix! Have you ever made any popcorn balls?
Here’s a fun fall cupcake decorating idea–Owl Cupcakes! There are several different ways you can make owl cupcakes, and you may have already seen other ideas for these on different sites. I thought this idea from Recipe Snobs was one of the cutest and easiest–all you need are cupcakes, Oreos, and M&M’s!
Make sure you generously frost your cupcakes, because the frosting is what holds your Oreo “eyes” and “ears” in place, as you press the cookie halves into the top of the cupcake. Hope you have fun making these!
OWL CUPCAKES adapted from Recipe Snobs
Makes 12 cupcakes
- 12 chocolate cupcakes generously frosted with chocolate frosting (make your favorite recipe or try these yummy Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting–that’s what I used!)
- 24 Oreo cookies (regular or Double-Stuff Oreos–I’ve used both; since I really like the cream filling, I prefer the Double-Stuff)
- 36 M&M candies (I like using blue, green, brown, or red for the eyes, and orange for the nose)
Split the Oreo cookies in half crosswise, so the cream is all on one half and the other half is plain (the directions on Recipe Snobs say you can microwave 5 cookies at a time for 3-5 seconds to help keep the cream side solid; I didn’t try this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re having problems splitting the Oreos. Also, you can use a frosting spatula or knife to help split the cookies. And you may need to use a small knife to scrape off small crumbs from the cream filling side or to smooth down the filling after splitting the cookies).
For the eyes: Press two of the cream filling cookie halves, with sides almost touching, gently into the middle of a frosted cupcake (part of the cookie halves will extend beyond the cupcake). Press the M&M’s, with the M side down, into the cream filling on each cookie half (refer to my photos for where to place the M&M’s).
For the ears: Use the plain Oreo halves for the ears above the eyes (they kind of look like eyebrows, too!). Score the flat smooth cookie sides with a small sharp knife down the center so you get a clean break for your two ears. OR, if you want thinner ears like I made on these cupcakes, score the cookie half on each side not quite to the center; this will leave you with an extra center strip of cookie (which you can eat or discard–I ate mine! :) ). Score and break all your plain cookie halves.
Take two of the “ears” that you’ve made from the plain cookie halves and press them into the frosting right above the “eyes,” slightly slanted downward and almost meeting at the upper center of the cupcake (the bumpy side of the cookie should be showing from the front).
For the “beak,” press an orange M&M (on its side) in the lower center, right below where the cookie “eyes” meet on the cupcake.
There you have it! Enjoy eating these fun cupcakes!
What’s your favorite way of decorating cupcakes for fall?
I saw these fun fall treats on the Hershey’s site and they were so cute I just had to make them! They’re so easy, too…kids would have a lot of fun making these. Acorn Treats are great for fall parties, snacks, and fun food gifts…they’re perfect for any autumn get-together or celebration!
The Royal Icing acts as the “glue,” attaching the Kisses and peanut butter chips to the Mini Nilla Wafers. The icing is very easy to make (see directions below), but if you don’t want to make your own, you can use purchased icing that comes packaged in a container with a small tip. I’ve also seen other bloggers use creamy peanut butter as the “glue,” and you could even try Nutella. Whatever you use, you just need a small dab! I used the Royal Icing (see recipe below), and I was very happy with how that worked out.
You can use either milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or pumpkin-spice flavored Kisses–I decided it would be fun to have a variety, so I used all three! For the top part of the acorn, I used peanut butter chips on the “acorns” with milk and dark chocolate Kisses, and semi-sweet chocolate chips on the “acorns” with pumpkin-spice Kisses. You can also use butterscotch chips.
Have fun trying these out!
ACORN TREATS slightly adapted from Hershey’s
Makes 64 to 73 treats per bag of Hershey’s Kisses
- Royal Icing (see recipe below) or use purchased decorator icing that comes in a container with a small tip
- 1 (10 to 12-ounce) bag of Hershey’s Kisses-Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or Pumpkin Spice–or a combination of these flavors! (Depending on size, bags contain about 64 to 73 kisses).
- 1 (11-ounce) box Mini Nilla Wafers
- 1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips or 1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute butterscotch chips); or use a combination of flavors (you won’t need the whole bag, so if you already have part of a bag of chips left over from another recipe, that should be enough)
Prepare Royal Icing: Stir together 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon warm water (the original recipe says to also use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pasteurized dried egg whites (meringue powder), but I couldn’t find any, so I left it out–I used an extra Tablespoon of powdered sugar instead). Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer or mix by hand until spreadable. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to get desired consistency (I added an additional Tablespoon plus a teaspoon of water to get a stiff, spreadable icing). Transfer icing to pastry bag with desired tip. Cover icing and tip of pastry bag with damp paper towel to keep icing from drying out. Note: If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a toothpick to dab small amounts of the icing on the Kisses and chips. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup icing, which is plenty for what you’ll need.
To assemble treats: Place mini vanilla wafers on a tray or plate with flat side of cookie toward the top. Squeeze a small amount of icing onto the bottom of a Hershey’s Kiss. Immediately press candy bottom onto vanilla wafer cookie. Allow icing to set.
Place small dab of icing on bottom of peanut butter or semi-sweet chocolate chip. Immediately attach to top of cookie to finish acorn. Let icing set before serving.
That’s all there is to it! Super-easy!
Have you made any fun, easy treats to celebrate autumn this year?
Linked to Inspire Me Monday.
If you are looking for quick and easy recipes for holiday sweets, this is one you’ll want to try out! There are just 4 simple ingredients: white chocolate (or vanilla) baking chips, dark chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate) chips, creamy peanut butter, and coconut oil (or shortening). I like using coconut oil instead of shortening myself. Now I’m not much of a candy-maker, but these are so easy, anyone can make them! You don’t even have to decorate them–you can just pour the melted candy mixture into the mini baking cups and be done with it. But I decided to decorate mine and bought these Wilton supplies in the baking department of my local craft store. You can probably find these items or similar items in a store near you. Or, you can make your own icing and decorate with that–I bought my icing to save a little time. The important thing to remember with these is to keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve them…if they sit at room temperature for a length of time, they soften and are hard to eat! I’ll give you the Peanut Butter Chocolate Meltaway recipe first and then tell you a little more about how I decorated them…
HOLIDAY PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE MELTAWAYS by NancyCreative, adapted from Taste of Home
Makes about 4 dozen
- 1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate (or vanilla) baking chips
- 1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate chips (or you can substitute semi-sweet)
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or you can use shortening)
- 4 to 5 dozen miniature baking liners or candy cups (it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra!)
- assorted decorations, frosting, icing, etc. (optional)
Combine first four ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir. Then return to microwave and cook an additional 30 seconds on high; remove and stir until mixture is smooth.
Separate and arrange empty mini baking liners or candy cups on a clean 10×15″ jelly roll pan. Pour melted chocolate mixture into the mini liners, filling until almost full (if you have a microwaveable mixing bowl with a narrow lip or spout, you can pour the mixture right from that. I didn’t have a lip on my bowl, so I poured the melted chocolate mixture into my liquid glass measuring cup and then poured the mixture into the mini baking liners with that, refilling my measuring cup several times).
Place the sheet of filled mini liners into your refrigerator and chill until set. After they’re set (I let mine chill for about an hour), you can decorate them if you want. If you’re not eating these right away, keep stored in refrigerator until ready to serve.
TO DECORATE: You can make little star shapes with a tube of Wilton Decorating Icing, which is very quick and easy to do (make sure you get those plastic tips–sometimes they’re sold separately). Or do the same thing with your own frosting and decorating tools. You can also use small pre-made cookie decorations (I chose some candy canes)–just put some purchased or homemade icing on the back of the decorations (using purchased cookie icing makes this easy because the container has a small tip), then turn the little shape over and place on top of your Peanut Butter Meltaway (the icing works as a “glue” to stick the little shapes onto your candies).
So easy, cute, and festive! Do you have a favorite candy recipe you like to make at the holidays?
Here are a few yummy desserts I found over at MarthaStewart.com. All of these great photos are from Martha’s site, too. Some of these don’t involve any baking, so even if it’s really hot out you can still make some yummy no-bake treats! The Red, White, and Blue Berry Trifle (shown above), is one of the no-bake desserts, and it’s so fun and festive, even without the sparklers! (The sparklers shown are special cake sparklers, recommended for outdoor use only!)
I love these Flag Cupcakes, decorated in a simple and easy way with piped blue buttercream dots and red licorice stripes!
These Pretzel Sparklers are a lot of fun, too! All you do is melt 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate, then coat the top third of each pretzel rod with the chocolate, using a pastry brush. Cover with sprinkles, stand upright in a glass and refrigerate about 5 minutes, or until firm. You could also use white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate and add some edible glitter to make them more sparkly if you want.
Here’s another Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle…this one is made with cream cheese; the other trifle (the first photo in the post) is made with mascarpone cheese.
These Red, White, and Blue Parfaits look cool and refreshing with their red and white striped layers!
I like the idea of using raspberries and blueberries to decorate these Fouth of July Cupcakes…such a simple and easy idea, and so pretty!
These are just a few of many ideas at MarthaStewart.com…there are 30 fun and patriotic ideas for you to take a look at!
Wishing you a sweet Fourth of July! What kinds of treats will you be making for your celebration?
If you’ve seen the popular reality show Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel, you’re probably familiar with Travis Lofland, one of the adventurous crew members who travels the Bering Sea on an Alaskan King Crabbing boat. Lofland also has a passion for cooking and has recently come out with a new cookbook called CATCH!: Dangerous Tales and Manly Recipes from the Bering Sea. I received a review copy from the publisher and found quite a variety of recipes as I looked through the book. The book is divided into nine chapters that include recipes for soups, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts, and more. In addition to seafood recipes, there are also recipes that include beef, chicken, and veggies, so there’s quite a selection to choose from including…
- Rockin’ Red Pepper Crab Bisque with Cilantro Sour Cream
- Sure to impress Avocado Brie Melt
- Mango, Papaya, and Brie Quesadilla
- Grilled King Crab Pizza
- Blackened Fish Tacos
- Slap a Smile on Your Face Ahi Sandwich
- Captain’s Cornbread
- High Seas Stroganoff
- Reckless Red Salmon
- Slimy Limey Coconut Sundae
- Seafoam Peanut Butter Pie
This would be a great gift for Dads (Father’s Day is coming up!), or any other guys you know who love to cook.
I decided to try out a really tasty and very easy recipe, the Burrito in a Cup. You just can’t go wrong with something like this…it’s quick, doesn’t involve any cooking because you’re using leftovers, and extremely easy to put together. Keep this in mind for a simple summer meal!
BURRITO IN A CUP from CATCH!
Makes 6 servings
Travis: “This recipe came from Doug Stanley, a producer from the show and a former river guide in the Grand Canyon. He was telling me how he used to layer all the fixin’s for a burrito in paper cups so he wouldn’t have to deal with a tortilla with gloved hands…I tried it, and he was right.”
- 2 (15.5-ounce) cans of black beans
- leftover taco meat
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- In each of six paper cups, start with a layer of black beans.
- Next layer with meat, cheese, and salsa.
- Top with sour cream and a little more cheese for garnish.
Well, you can’t find a recipe much easier than that! The recipe says to make it in six paper cups, but I decided to be eco-friendly and make it in six 6-ounce canning jars which worked out great! I put 1/3 cup black beans in the bottom of each jar, then layered 1/4 cup taco meat (you could substitute chopped cooked chicken or chopped avocados for a veggie version), then 1/4 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, then 2 Tablespoons of salsa, and a dollop (about 1 Tablespoon) of sour cream. And then sprinkled a little more cheese on top. So yummy and easy!
I think cake pops are cute and fun, so I was looking forward to reviewing this new cookbook, 175 Best Babycakes® Cake Pops Recipes (softcover) by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss. Moore and Wyss are expert food consultants who develop recipes and test products like the Babycakes® Cake Pop Maker, which is designed to make cake pop-making quick and easy. The recipes in this book were especially created to be used with this cake pop maker, and there are all kinds of fun flavors you can make! The cake pops featured on the cover give you an idea of the many ways you can decorate cake pops. There are more ideas and some colorful photos inside to inspire you, too, along with helpful cake pop-making and decorating instructions. This book shows you how to do basic and not-so-basic things like coating the cake pops, decorating with sprinkles, adding decorative swirls and spirals, triple-dipping or marbleizing the pops, and making simple faces. Some of the yummy-sounding recipes include Caramel Cake Pops, Cream-Filled Chocolate Cake Pops, Chocolate Truffle Cake Pops, Root Beer Cake Pops, Almond Cream Cake Pops, and Classic Red Velvet Cake Pops.
The Babycakes® Cake Pop Maker not only makes cake pops–you can also bake doughnuts (or what many of us call donut holes), mini Ebelskivers, and cute little round biscuit and muffin bites! These would be great for brunch, showers, or parties. There are even recipes for savory nibbles you can serve as appetizers. So you can make lots of yummy things with this handy appliance!
If you’re not familiar with the Babycakes® Cake Pop Maker, here’s what it looks like…
It bakes 12 cake pops at a time in just 4 to 6 minutes, so it would be especially great for using in the summer months–you wouldn’t have to use your oven and heat up the kitchen. I don’t have this cake pop maker myself yet, but looking at all these recipes and ideas makes me want to try it out! If I had a cake pop maker, I’d probably try the Chocolate Malt Cake Pops first. So I thought I’d share that recipe with you. If you don’t have a cake pop maker, you might be able to make cupcakes with this recipe…I don’t know that for sure, but I don’t see why you couldn’t!
CHOCOLATE MALT CAKE POPS from 175 Best Babycakes® Cake Pop Recipes
Makes 26 to 28 cake pops
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chocolate malted milk powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 3 ounces (90 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped chocolate malt candies
- Nonstick baking spray
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, chocolate malted milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Place semisweet chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes.
- Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and granulated sugar into melted chocolate mixture. Add egg and beat well. Add egg yolk and beat well. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture. Beat in sour cream, then another one-third of the flour mixture, then milk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture. Stir in chopped candies.
- Spray cake pop wells with nonstick baking spray. Fill each well with about 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) batter. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cake pops to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- If desired, attach sticks to cake pops.
TO DECORATE: Dip cake pops in melted chocolate candy melts, then immediately sprinkle with additional finely chopped chocolate malt candies. If not attaching sticks to cake pops, use the fork tool (or fork) to dip the cake pops, then place them on a wire rack over a sheet of foil or waxed paper to set.
Have you made cake pops before? What’s your favorite flavor?
I always find great ideas on Martha Stewart’s website and thought I’d share some really fun, yummy-looking decorating ideas I saw the other day (all photos are from marthastewart.com). These treats are perfect for Easter and all through the spring season. Maybe you’ll have a chance to try some of these ideas out this weekend!
From the top, right to left, there are cute Butterfly Cupcakes with pretzel wings, candy-coated chocolate heads, and licorice antennae; Lollipop Cupcakes with mounds of buttercream covered in sprinkles, taffy leaves, and lollipop flowers; Chrysanthemum Cupcakes with beautiful buttercream flowers; Coconut Nest Cupcakes with chocolate egg candies; and Spring Cupcakes decorated with flowers using jellied citrus slices for the petals. And I had to include these bunny-shaped sugar cookies…I thought they looked so cute with the ribbon tied around each bunny’s neck!
If you don’t have time to bake, here are a few fun ways you can package candy…
I just had to include this item too…it’s not edible, but it’s definitely eye candy and very pretty…
Delicate flower arrangements in eggshells…really sweet!
Hope these ideas have inspired you! What’s your favorite Easter or springtime treat?
You’ll find lots of wonderful baked goods at the Magnolia Bakery in New York City, but they are pretty famous for their cupcakes! :) This well-known bakery opened in 1996 in Greenwich Village and, according to their website, “It was envisioned as a cozy, old-fashioned shop where people could come for coffee and something sweet. With its vintage American desserts and decor, customers often remark that walking into the Bakery is like taking a step back in time.” They have about six locations now–none by where I live, unfortunately–so I admire their cupcakes from afar on their site (all photos shown in this post are from magnoliabakery.com). Their Vanilla Vanilla cupcake, “a buttery old-fashioned vanilla cupcake with a light crumb and vanilla buttercream,” is their most popular cupcake. I actually found the recipe for these on the web and made them this past Christmas–they were really good! In addition to their Vanilla Vanilla, other cupcakes included in Magnolia’s “classics” collection include these popular flavors…
- Vanilla Chocolate (vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream)
- Chocolate Chocolate (cupcakes with a smooth velvety texture and dark chocolate flavor, chocolate buttercream and assorted sprinkles)
- Chocolate Vanilla (chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream).
You just can’t beat classic chocolate and vanilla–and they’re decorated so cute with the sprinkles and edible flowers on top!
Magnolia Bakery also has a Baker’s Choice Specialty Cupcake Assortment…
…which includes red velvet, lemon, caramel, hummingbird, pumpkin, and pistachio cupcakes–yum!
Here are some other ways they decorate cupcakes for various occasions like birthdays, baby showers, holidays, and other special “themed” events…
Magnolia Bakery has special Easter cupcakes and other treats featured on their site now, too…you’ll have to visit magnoliabakery.com and check them out!
If you like making fun and creative treats, you’ll have to check out the new book Sugarlicious: 50 Cute and Clever Treats for Every Occasion (softcover). I’m excited to tell you that I have a copy of this book to give away, too! I’ll let you know how you can enter the drawing to win the book at the end of this post. But first, I’ll tell you a little more about Sugarlicious and share a cute recipe from it called Little Lamb Cake Balls.
Author and professional cookie decorator Meaghan Mountford (she also has a blog called The Decorated Cookie) includes 50 easy-to-follow recipes for any party or occasion in her book, which is also filled with colorful photos and illustrated step-by-step directions (all photos shown in this post are from Sugarlicious). Some of the fun treats you can make include Milkshake Cake Pops, Pink Princess Cupcakes, Sprinkle Marshmallow Pops, and these cute Barnyard Animal Snack Cakes…
There are some fun Easter treats I found in Sugarlicious, too–Bunny Cookie Pops and Easter Egg Painted Cookies…
And I thought these Little Lamb Cake Balls were perfect for Easter, too…
Here’s the recipe if you want to try them out!
LITTLE LAMB CAKE BALLS (from Sugarlicious)
Makes 48 to 60 cake balls
- Cake Balls*
- black edible writer
- Jordan almonds
- shredded coconut
- white candy melts**
- mini pretzel sticks
- wax paper
- Follow the recipe for cake balls (see below) to bake your cake, prepare your cake balls and chill.
- Make 2 black dots for eyes with the edible writer on the Jordan almonds and set aside.
- Pour coconut on a plate and set aside. Melt candy melts according to the instructions. For each lamb, break 2 pretzel sticks in half so each pretzel piece is about 1 3/4 inches long. Dip the ends of the 4 pretzel pieces in the melted candy melts; then insert them into the base of a chilled cake ball. For best results, return the cake ball to the freezer for 5 minutes to help set. Holding 2 of the pretzel legs, dip the cake ball in the melts and immediately roll in coconut. Stand the cake ball on the pretzel legs on a piece of wax paper.
- Use a dab of melted candy melts to adhere the Jordan almond head to the lamb. Let dry.
*To make cake balls, bake a 9×13″ sheet cake using the recipe from Sugarlicious on page 25, your favorite recipe, or a box of store-bought cake mix. Let the cake cool completely and crumble into a large bowl. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of buttercream frosting or use 3/4 of a container of store-bought frosting and mix well, pressing the cake and frosting together with the back of a spoon or, preferably, mixing them with your hands until you have a texture that is wet, smooth and able to be formed.
Between the palms of your hands, roll the mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them on a baking tray lined with wax paper. Freeze for fifteen minutes, no longer. Move the tray of cake balls to the refrigerator to keep them firm but not frozen. Work with a few cake balls at a time, while keeping the remainder in the fridge.
**For helpful tips and instructions on melting chocolate and candy melts, see the Techniques section in Sugarlicious on page 34).
NOTE: Store-bought cake mix will make about 48 cake pops; the recipe in Sugarlicious makes about 60; amounts for other recipes may vary.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED–Winner is Ann W, comment #13!
Here’s how you can enter to win a copy of Sugarlicious:
First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Easter treat.
Bonus entries: Leave an additional comment telling me you are a new Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest follower, or new subscriber. If you’re already subscribing or following, leave a comment telling me you’re already following and how. If you want to follow more than one way, you can leave a comment for each way you are following.
Be sure to leave all your comment entries on this post–the random drawing winner will be chosen only from the comments on this post!
The giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada. The giveaway will end on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at midnight (CST). Winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced the following evening.
Linked to Sweets for a Saturday.
Jane makes so many cute and fun treats! She made those Peas and Carrots Cupcakes I posted last spring, and she recently made these Oreo Snowman Truffles. Some Oreo Truffles I’ve seen are made with the golden Oreos, but these are made with the yummy chocolate originals…my favorite! Jane took the photo I’ve posted above, and she said these are really easy to make. If you’re making these for a special event, you can make them a few days in advance and store them in the refrigerator. You don’t have to decorate these truffles as snowmen–you can leave them plain or roll them in sugar, nuts, or sprinkles, but they sure are cute as snowmen! Here is Jane’s recipe and instructions on how she decorated them…
OREO SNOWMAN COOKIE TRUFFLES (makes 40)
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (18-ounce) package Oreo® Cookies, finely crushed
- 1 package White Almond Bark (for dipping the truffles)
- a few discs of orange-colored Wilton Candy Melts
Crush cookies in food processor until finely ground. Add softened cream cheese to the cookie crumbs and process until well-blended.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Shape into 40 (1-inch) balls and place on cookie sheet. Freeze 10 to 20 minutes.
While cookies are in the freezer, lay out a sheet of wax paper. Melt the orange candy melts. Place melted discs in a small Ziploc bag. Cut a very small corner off one end of the Ziploc bag and squeeze out 40 small “noses” onto the wax paper, taking care to make a pointed tip; let cool.
While these are cooling, melt the White Almond Bark. Then dip the oreo truffles in the melted bark and place in a single layer on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Let them slightly set, then decorate by poking eyes and mouths with a toothpick. Attach a nose to each truffle with a dollop of melted chocolate.
You can store these in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Have fun making this sweet winter treat! :)
If you’ve never melted bark or chocolate, or dipped cookie balls before, I found these tips over at Kraft in the Kraft Kitchen Tips section:
HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE: Place unwrapped chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
HOW TO EASILY DIP COOKIE TRUFFLES: To easily coat cookie truffles with the melted chocolate, add them, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffles in prepared pan; let stand until chocolate coating is firm.
Note: If any melted chocolate remains after all truffles are coated, store in tightly covered container at room temperature until you’re ready to use for another recipe.
Still trying to figure out how you’re going to decorate your Thanksgiving table? I found some clever ideas over at MarthaStewart.com (all photos shown are from Martha’s website). The nice thing is, most of these ideas involve using natural elements like leaves, nuts, gourds, fruit…things you probably already have on hand. And you can use decorative containers that you already have on hand, too.
The centerpiece shown above is a great example…this arrangement has kumquats, squashes, and a bell pepper in a ceramic compote. You can also use other orange-colored fruits and veggies like miniature-size pumpkins, persimmons, carrots, and oranges. If you have any pretty milk glass bowls or containers (I’ve found some great milk glass pieces at local flea markets that were very reasonably priced), those would also work beautifully in this type of arrangement. Or use glass containers, like a trifle bowl.
If you don’t have any pretty glass containers, you can always fill baskets with fruits and veggies for an attractive tabletop arrangement. I love the little basket favors on top of each place setting…they’re so cute and homey!
Pottery containers or other types of bowls would work, too, even if they don’t all match (wooden bowls would look really nice). Have fun mixing different shapes and sizes in your arrangement and fill the smaller containers with nuts. I never realized how elegant an arrangement of pears and nuts could be!
If you really want an elegant look, you might want to spray-paint miniature pumpkins, one for each place setting, and add a place card with each one.
I really liked this idea of using vivid fall leaves, clipped right from your own tree, and arranging them over a plate or charger. Then just add a clear glass plate on top of the leaves. You couldn’t buy plates any nicer than that!
And if you have a sweet gum tree, here’s a great use for those pesky, prickly spurs! What a great idea to use them as unique place cards!
The idea of using a pear (or apple) as a place card is very clever, too!
Create an elegant, feathery napkin holder by tying some ribbon around a napkin and sliding a pretty feather between the napkin and ribbon, or cut a slit through the ribbon in the front center, and slide the feather through the slit.
And one more idea…an easy-to-make napkin ring using ribbon and beads! Just cut a ribbon 18 to 22 inches long, trimming the ends diagonally. Wrap the ribbon around a napkin and thread both ends of the ribbon through a bead in front. Pull on the ribbon ends to tighten around the rolled napkin.
Hope this post gives you some ideas to add a touch of natural beauty to your Thanksgiving table!