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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Here is a little tip:  When your little sister says she'll hold your candy...............she won't

So sharing with you today my Ding Dong Cupcakes that I am lugging into work for my co-workers to devour. Best way I know to keep to a diet, take it to work.

In hindsight, I probably should have just done a chocolate buttercream. I started running out of the Ganache so needed to apply it sparingly, and I think just a nice ganche layer with the buttercream would have worked better..alas hindsight is foresight and since I can't go back and it's way too late to start over, these will just have to do.
So for anyone who is interested here are the recipes I used.

Chocolate Cake - Warning this makes 36 cupcakes so if you don't want that many cut the recipe in half and just use 2 small eggs or you can use 2 10 inch cake pans (bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour)

3 ounces fine-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used Guittard, love this chocolate)
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process. I buy mine from King Arthur. They have a dbl dark chocolate and if you love chocolate this mix is divine)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F (If you have an oven thermometer this is a great way to check the temp, if not make sure the oven is well heated at least 15 - 20 minutes

Prep your pans either with liners or grease them.

Place chocolate in a small bowl and combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in Sugar

In another large mixing bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

You can either use a muffin scoop (king arthur) or just fill 2/3 way full and bake 18-22 minutes and when toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Marshmallow Frosting
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed (or whip by hand) until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat with hand mixer or transfer bowl to use a standing mixer until cooled, thick and white. Use frosting the day it is made. It will hold for 1-2 days later but it really starts to lose its oomph each day.

Chocolate Ganache
16 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), I used Guittard
1 C Whipping Cream

Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute; stir until smooth. Cool ganache to room temperature stirring often, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Beat mixture on medium-high speed until color becomes paler light and fluffy; 12 to 14 minutes

To assemble cupcakes, core center using apple corer or cupcake corer or even a knife to cut the center away (save the tops to put back on or eat them or make a mini trifle from them), fill with Marshmallow frosting, pipe or frost whipped Chocolate Ganache and garnish as you please. Alternatively you can cut the ganache recipe in half, and after it cools to room temp, dip the tops of the cupcakes in it, allow to cool and then frost with Marshmallow frosting. Either way is yummy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Finishing Day

Or rather it's a day that I find I am either finishing up projects or using some supply up. Right now to share with you are the Halloween Goodies that I have created and am taking to work along with my Ding Dong Cupcakes {if time is on my side I hope to post a picture and recipes.}

Here is what my bff co-worker goto gal pals are getting. I bought the bags last year or was it the year before at Michaels on Clearance for 10 cents. Who can resist that kind of deal. So I picked up four and figured I would do something with them. So here they are filled with a bag of ice gingerbread treats I bought from Williams Sonoma, an altered coffin box filled with Jelly Bellys and a Poprock Chocolate skull that I purchased from Dean and Deluca, some Apple scented hand cream and a potable scent (with cupcake frosting oil) skull from Bath and Body Works and lastly some Halloween tissues from JoAnns.

Then for the rest of my co-workers I plan on leaving beside my tray of cupcakes these goodies. A sack full of chocolate snack size candy, a basket of candied pecans and a bag of some Jelly Bellys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Out of the Blue

My daughter yesterday ended up having emergency gallbladder surgery. So me running home from work to take care of the grandbabies (not that I mind) but poor thing to have little ones running about while your trying to be on the mend. I hope to be able to take some time off from work to help and of course her hubby was able to take a few days off already.

Any hoo I was hoping to post a recipe and a photo of some cookies but alas that's hard to do with an active 18 month old and a cuddly 2 month. So here is a little card I did for a TGF challenge (use buttons and bows) that never got posted because I ran out of time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Weekend

Over the weekend a new pumpkin patch opened up near our area..and since we are pretty much a metropolitan area it's nice to get an old fashioned pumpkin patch on the outskirts (not too far from where I live). Took the grandbabies and had a pretty good time. They had a hay ride, pony rides, wheel barrows, sun flowers, petting zoo and neat little nook to take pictures of your little ones. So just wanted to share a couple of my favorite picts of my middle grandson. Oldest didn't want to go and youngest is only 2 months so not much into photo taking yet.

And here is a cute Halloween Card (probably my last) to share with you today. Using TGF and Echo Park.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Running behind

Well I have been busy trying to help my daughter move and donated a couple of Ikea dressers to her that my son had but he had painted them being a nice mom I stripped the old paint, sanded them down and repainted them so thus I am late posting. Any hoo here is a little card using some Echo Park Holiday pp as my mind starts thinking about Christmas cards for this week's take on The Greeting Farm sketch challenge. I think the Creeper Crew are by far my favorite of the TGF series.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to a KK Contest

So we are creeping closer to Halloween and I am already starting to think about Christmas, but this week's contest was creating a spooky card so here we get one more Halloween card. Not that this little witch is spooky but she sure is cute.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vampire Bites

I decided since this recipe for candied nuts was absolutely so yummy that I would bag some up and hand out to my co-workers on Halloween. The stamp sentiment is from Waltzing Mouse Stamps. I really love their stamps for gift giving. They are UK based so if you buy any you do have to pay for shipping overseas and of course it takes awhile to get them, but IMO worth it.

So here is a picture of the treat bags. I used Jewelry bags because they have a nice zip loc edge which makes them a little more sturdy to work with when adding the tops which was just a spellbinder die folded in half and stapled together at the bottom. Add a office tag stamped with the Vampire Bites and a bat then tie on some gross grain ribbon. Went to together quick enough

Here is the yummy nut recipe. It calls for Pecans but I have also made it with Walnuts (Pecans are definitely sweeter of the two). And if you like a little kick in your candied nuts feel free to add some Cayenne Pepper (1/4-1/2 tsp) depending on how much kick you want). And this makes a lot..1 lb of nuts is a lot..(can not stress that enough) so you could either freeze what you don't use or cut the recipe in half (just use a small egg). Definitely add to your cake, cupcakes or ice cream sundaes or eat as is. Enjoy!

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Beat the egg white in a bowl until frothy; whisk 4 teaspoons water and the vanilla extract into the egg. Stir the sugar, cinnamon and salt into the egg mixture. Add the chopped pecans, stir to coat completely. Spread the pecans onto the baking sheet. Bake the pecans, stirring about every 20 minutes, until the coating forms a glaze, about 45 min. Allow to cool on the baking sheet

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Last One, I promise

Ok I promise no more or at least I hope of these Hexagon cards {at least for a little while}. I have some trick or treat goody bags to share and a recipe for some candied nuts that should be coming up in the next post. So until then just this is the last Hexagon and then it's back to normal stuff.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And the obsession continues

Ok another card using the hexagon die inserts and this time I have paired it with circles. I saw a comercial awhile ago and I can't remember it exactly but I think it was for a drug company and saw that they had mixed hexagons with dots and really liked the effect so that was my inspiration for this card, that and TGF had done a color challenge with these colors and I really liked them together. The stamp sentiment is from Stampin Up and it's actually an outline that I decided to color in to give it more of an impact.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hexagon Obsession

So ever since I bought the hexagon die from PapertyInk, I have been obsessed with using it as already displayed on a few cards. So taking it a step further I have gone beyond using just the dies but also the hexagon stamp and inserts the die creates. Here is one of those cards. Paper was also from PapertyInk.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One More Halloween Card

I bought this set of stuido G stamps and loved how it looked in the package so I kept that same display and used it for the overall design. Coordinated it with some yummy Echo Park pp, cut a border and embossed it with a spider web from Cuttlebug and added a bit of color with copics and finished it off with seam binding ribbon and some clear star stickers that were also colored with copics.

Friday, October 5, 2012

On the topic of Halloween

Just thought I would share another Halloween themed card. I love using the spellbinders shapes to make cards other than just a rectangle or square. And I used their sprial flower die to cut some felt to make the yummy flower. The silver linen paper I snagged at Joann's and thought it was a great touch for the leaves.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Remember These

My youngest son bought a set of these for me to alter and of course plan on giving them filled with some candy along with a goodie bag for my friends/co-workers. So this is what they looked like before I altered

And this is the after. Not totally perfect but eh still kind of cute and I am sure my friends will appreciate the gift. Used a mixture of Echo Park pp and the stickers were either Echo Park or K&Company and of course just some die cuts I have from various venders. I'll be sure and post the goody bags once complete. So far I have some hand lotions, cute skull Bath and Body Works portable fragrances, some mini iced cookies, and some Halloween Tissues. I also ordered from Dean and Deluca Chocolate Skulls. I plan on or at leasting hoping to fit these into the coffin surrounded by some candy corn or something.

Monday, October 1, 2012

One down, Two to go

Ok sorry I am late posting this, with my daughter's birthday yesterday I was still kind of hoping to have this project done and uploaded but alas time got the better of me. Any hoo here is the first heart that I finished for my daughter. I was biting my tongue yesterday whether to tease her with what I had done so far or wait until the final set were done or perhaps keep mum about the whole thing entirely and surprise her for Christmas. So far I have decided to stay mum at least for now and kind of on the Christmas gift part..I may just do that..depends on how much I can keep a tight lip and whether or not she visits the blog and sees the project.

She did love the cake I made yesterday and officially declared this her birthday cake request for all future was pretty yummy, those candied pecans really made it over the top.

Back to the project, so I tried to keep it on the simpler side since the pp had a lot of words in it. Funny I don't know how long I had that pp since I tend to see things and think "oh that's cute, I just know I'll use it on some boy page" (I have two full grown boys now) and here it is probably a good 5-8 years later, but at least I am using up my older product so it's all good.

I plan on keeping the blue theme across all 3 hearts but not all 3 the same and am kind of on the fence about that ribbon, wondering if it needs to be wider..any thoughts?