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cupcakes

Mini Brownie Sundaes

Mini Brownie Sundaes via @DomesticFits

This is another one of my "it’s not a recipe" recipes. Because it’s not, it’s assembly instructions on how to assemble these cute little party desserts.

I made these for the Forth, a huge hit with with the under 5 set, and small enough to be the perfect size for little fingers.

The only thing I would do differently next time is nix the cupcake wrapper. It was too difficult to try and disrobe the mini brownies when they are piled high with ice cream and toppings.

Mini Brownie Sundaes via @DomesticFits

I used my favorite brownie batter, and next time will just liberally spray the mini muffin tins instead of using the cupcake papers. If you want to buy them, most "brownie bites" come sans cupcake wrappers, so you’ll be all set. If you want to make them from scratch, skip the wrappers, use a brownie batter not a cupcake batter (you want to avoid the domed top and hope for a concave one), and let them cool completely before topping with ice cream.

Mini Brownie Sundaes via @DomesticFits

If you have the freezer space, you can make up trays of these in advance and just pull them out when the moment strikes. I used an amazing grilled peach ice cream that I’ll be posting later in the week, but for a classic flavor combo, good ol' vanilla works just fine.

Mini Brownie Sundaes via @DomesticFits

Chocolate Stout and Dulce de Leche Ice Box Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

    For the Crust:
  • 12 graham cracker rectangles
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • For the Chocolate Stout Layer:
  • 1/3 cup stout
  • 1 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (8 wt ounces)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • For the Dulce de Leche Layer:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbs powdered sugar
  • ½ cup Dulce de Leche
  • Additional Dulce de Leche for serving, if desired.

Directions

  1. In a food processor add the graham crackers and brown sugar, process until reduced to fine crumbs.
  2. While the food processor is running, add the melted butter, process until combined.
  3. Add crust to a 9 inch spring form pan. Using a heavy, flat bottom glass, press very well into the sides and bottom of the pan (starting with the sides), make sure to press very well until the crust is very compacted into the sides and bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the chocolate chips to a small bowl. Heat the stout until very hot (about 170 degrees), pour stout over the chocolate chips, stir until well combined and creamy. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 ½ cups heavy cream and ¼ cup powdered sugar, beat on high until soft peaks form. While the mixer is running, slowly drizzle the cooled chocolate mixture into the mixer. Once it has all been added, turn off the mixer and gently stir until all of the cream and chocolate has been combined an no white streaks or dark chocolate streaks remain. Pour into the crust. Place in the freezer while you work on the Dulce de Leche layer.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Beat on high until soft peaks form. While the mixer is running, slowly drizzle the Dulce de Leche into the mixer. Once it has all been added, turn off the mixer and gently stir until all of the Dulce de Leche and whipped cream have been combined.
  7. Add the Dulce de Leche cream on top of the chocolate layer, smooth into an even layer.
  8. Freeze until set, about 1 hour. Remove from freezer 10 minute prior to serving and allow to warm slightly before cutting. To remove from pan, run a sharp knife under very hot water, then run the knife between the crust and the side of the spring form pan to release.
  9. Heat remaining Dulce de Leche and drizzle over slices prior to serving.
https://domesticfits.com/mini-ice-cream-sundaes/

 

Mini Brownie Sundaes via @DomesticFits

Food Craft: Spring Flower Pot Mini Muffins

I like to play with my food. For some reason, it makes me less hungry.

When I got these little suckers from a vendor at work, I had no interest in eating them. But I did want to play with them. Maybe it’s a commentary on how much food we waste in America, or maybe it’s just because candy is pretty, Food Crafts are huge source of entertainment in my world. Although there are many cupcake toppers featured on websites across the land, I’m not a fan of inedible garnishes. Even if I don’t plan to eat it, it seems like you just didn’t try hard enough.

Sure you can print out a pretty flower decal from your home computer, or make a rose out of paper, or a fancy embelishment with ribbons and buttons, but if you can’t eat it what the heck is it doing on my plate?

No one glues plastic googly eyes to a pot roast. Or puts a wizzard hat on a chicken sandwich. Why are completely random acts of craftiness allowed on baked goods?

And paper flag banners on a cake? weird. Why not put a pile of mail on there, or decorative globe? What’s next, filling my plate with bedazzled paper mache vegetables?

Here is my entry for completely edible cupcake garnish, other than the stick, of course.

 

Spring Flower Pot Mini Muffins

Supplies:

12 chocolate mini muffins

12 small suckers (dum dum sized)

18 standard size marshmallows

3 microwave save bowls

1/4 cup white chocolate

1 pair scissors

1/2 cup chocolate chops

1/2 cup chocolate graham crackers (or chocolate Teddy Grahams)

Cut the marshmallows into four to five slices. There are going to be a few that just don’t look right, so cut more than you need. They will curl up a bit, but just push them flat.

There will most likely be one end that is a bit more rounded and one that is a bit pointier.

Cut off a very small amount of the pointed end, about 1/8 of an inch.

Place the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on high for 20 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Don’t over heat or it will seize. Using a butter knife or a spoon, smear a small on the marshmallow petal where you just made the cut.

Press the chocolate side against the sucker, at the base, nearest the stick. 

Repeat for all pedals. You’ll want to put about 5 petals on each flower which will require a bit of overlapping of the pedals. 

Lay flat until the chocolate glue dries. 

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. 

In a food processor, process the graham crackers until nothing is left but crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a bowl. 

One at a time, take the mini muffin and submerge the top in the melted chocolate until completely coated. 

Before the chocolate cools and dries, roll the melted chocolate muffin top around in the graham cracker crumbs. 

Once all the chocolate has dried, plant your candy marshmallow flower in your little mini muffin pot. 

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Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

If you read my How To Make Stuffed Cupcakes post, these pictures probably look familiar to you. I had so many people ask for that recipe (OK, one. One person asked, but still…) that I decided to post my recipe for Boston Cream Pie cupcakes.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

For the Cupcake:

2 cups of flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick of butter

1/2 cups of sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tbs vanilla extract

4 egg whites

3/4 cup of whole milk

1/4 cup of oil

For the Filling:

 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs, plus one extra yolk

2 tbs flour

2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Ganache Frosting:

2 cups dark chocolate chunks

1 cup cream

1 tsp espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter (softened!) and sugar and cream until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. In another bowl, add the milk and oil.

A bit at a time, add the egg whites to the butter and beat on high until well combined and fluffy. With mixer on medium, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture, alternating between the two until everything is just combined (don’t over beat).

Add the batter to the cupcake papers until about 2/3 filled.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.

Allow to cool.

While those are baking, make the pastry cream. You’re gonna love this stuff. I hope that this is what you will make from now on to fill your cakes with, instead of frosting. SO delicious, and pretty easy to make.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring the cream to a slight simmer, removing from heat when bubbles start to form around the edges. You don’t want to boil you cream, just heat it.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and yolk, and flour until well combined and slightly frothy.

While continuing to whisk the egg mixture, add the cream about 1 tbs at a time. This is called tempering and basically, it’s a way to avoid turning your pastry cream into scrambled eggs. Once your have added about half the cream a tbs at a time, pour the rest in slowly and whisk until well combined.

Return the pastry cream to the stove and stir over medium/high heat until it comes to a rapid simmer. Continue to whisk until thickened, between 5 and 10 minutes. The cream should leave a track when you drag the whisk through it.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. This needs to cool before putting into a piping bag. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it to the surface of the cream. This will avoid that gross skin that used to grow on top of the homemade pudding your grandma used to make when it sat in the fridge too long.

You may, or may not remember my How To Make Stuffed Cupcakes post, but you use the same method of filling as I used for those.

Take a small paring knife and remove a chunk of the center of the cupcake. Make sure you leave an ample amount of the wall and sides of the cupcake intact or the filling will run all over the place.

Once the cream has cooled, spoon into a piping bag. Pipe the pastry cream into the middle of the cupcakes.

Next, make the ganache. Ganache is really easy to make, and a fantastic alternative to frosting. This can also be used as a fabulous cake filling.

Put the chocolate in a heat safe bowl, sprinkle with espresso powder. You can omit the espresso powder, but the coffee flavor doesn’t come through with such a small amount. Coffee brightens the flavor of chocolate, that’s why so many chocolate cake recipes call for it. Heat the cream (microwave or stove, either is fine) until hot and steamy but NOT boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir.

For a while, you are gonna stir and stir, and it will just look like chunky chocolate milk.

Don’t worry, it’ll all work out. Just keep stirring until it’s smooth and creamy.

Dip your cupcakes in the warm ganache, swirl a bit.

You can also spread it on with a spoon or pipe it on with a piping bag.


How To: Make Stuffed Cupcakes

If you are a cupcake person, learning to stuff them is just an essential skill. Really, ESSENTIAL. Slight exaggerations aside, stuffing cupcakes brings them to the next level, adding another flavor, another texture and another dimension.

I’m going to highlight three common cupcake stuffin' techniques today, each one  has advantages and it will largely depend on what you are stuffing with to decide which one to go with.

The first method is to stuff pre-cooking. This only works with a filling that can be baked. I use this a lot to stuff cupcakes with cheesecake. Yep, cheesecake stuffed cupcakes.

First, you will need your two components, the cupcake batter and the filling batter (like cheesecake, or cookie dough). These can be the same flavor of different flavors. For my Key LIme Pie cupcakes, I used a white cake batter and a key lime cheesecake batter.

First, fill your cupcakes only half way full

Using a spoon, make a well in the middle but pushing the batter up onto the sides of the cupcake papers.

Fill the well with about 1 tbs of the cream cheese mixture.

Bake until the cupcake batter is done, the cheesecake filling will cook at about the same rate. You want to make sure not to over cook your cupcake batter. 

The second method is to bake the cupcakes and fill them later. Once your cupcakes have baked and cooled, you can create a hole in the middle in two ways.

The first way is to use a paring knife to remove a cone shaped section of the middle of the cupcake.

Don’t remove the bottom of the cupcake.

The second method of stuffing pre-cooked cupcakes if to smash a hole in the middle with the handle of a wooden spoon.

This does create a denseness at the bottom of the cupcake, but that can work to your advantage if you are using a particularly moist filling, like jam.

Use a piping bag to fill the hole that you have created in your cupcake. If you don’t have a piping bag, you should get one, but in the mean time use a Ziplock bag with a bit of the bottom corner cut off.

Then, just frost as usual. I used chocolate ganache to frost these, but this also makes for a great filling.

Enjoy!

Do you have a How To that you want to see? Email it tome at jackie@domesticfits.com or leave it on my Facebook wall at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Domestic-Fits/230654216968376

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes and An Auction for a Grieving Family

These cupcakes are now for sale to the highest bidder, 4 dozen of them. You pick the beer (or no beer is fine too) and I will deliver them anywhere within Los Angeles County, or you can pick them up. Why? Because, you see, there is this woman, a brave food writer, a mom, who is now a grieving widow.

Do I know her? No, just through her posts and writings. But I know her girls, in a way. I was one of her girls once. I was once a little girl, who’s dad died suddenly. I was a girl with a grieving mom who couldn’t get out of bed. I was a girl who’s big sister taught her to make cereal on the kitchen floor because we wanted mom to sleep, because she didn’t do that too often anymore. I was a girl who didn’t go to the father daughter dance. I was a girl who walked down the isle on her wedding day alone. But Jen, if you read this, I want you to know that I am also a girl who is OK, I grew up to be happy, married a good man, have a little girl of my own and so did that sister who taught me to make breakfast early in the morning on a linoleum floor. Your girls will be OK too. They will cry, they will laugh, they will grieve and they will be OK.

Me and Daddy:

The last thing you should have to worry about when the love of your life dies, when you are parenting grieving children, is money. Here is a bit about what Jen and her family are facing right now, financially:

Written by her friend Shauna:

“As you can imagine, Jennie is overwhelmed not only by her grief, and the sudden responsibility of raising two children by herself, but she is also struggling with this financially. She just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns too much money each year. The health insurance for her and her kids runs out in December and she just learned that the total she will have to pay [for health insurance] will be even more than her mortgage. It’s possible she’ll have to pay off the entire mortgage in one lump sum because the apartment was in his name alone.

And more than anything, Mikey wanted Jennie to continue living her dream of being a food writer. And he wanted to make sure his kids were taken care of well. That’s why he worked as hard as he did."

Here is a link to Jen Perillo’s website and a bit about her story:

http://www.injennieskitchen.com/

How can you help?

  1. Bid on these cupcakes (leave your bid in the comment section, starts at $40)
  2. view the other auction items on the BWOB site:http://www.bloggerswoborders.org/2011/08/project-summary-a-fund-for-jennie/
  3. Click on the BWOB badge on my home page (right side) and just give a few bucks
Cupcake auction rules:
  • Claim your prize wtihin 6 months
  • Give 1 week advanced notice for order
  • Enjoy your warm fuzzy feeling that goes along with charitable giving
  • Auction ends September 5th at high noon
  • Perfect for an upcoming party!
On to my original post about these cupcakes:

I love beer. I love cupcakes. It’s only natural that I put these too together. If you don’t like beer, this recipe can be made without and I have to say that brown sugar buttercream is amazing. SO amazing that I even called my sister to tell her about how much I love it and how I want to make a huge vat of it and swim around in it. If you want to make this without the beer, just use 1/2 cup of really hot water, add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved, then follow the rest of the recipe.

Chocolate Cake with Beer Brown Sugar Buttercream

For the Cupcakes:

1 stick of butter

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 coffee

1/2 cup oil

For the Frosting:

1 cup of ale or blonde style beer

1 cup of brown sugar

3 sticks of butter softened

1 tsp salt

2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar, and cream until combine. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each egg. Add the vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. in another bowl, combine the milk, coffee and the oil. With the mixer on low, add the dry and wet ingredients a bit at a time alternating between the two.  Line muffin tins with cupcake papers and fill each one with about 3/4 of the way full (about 1/4 a cup of batter).

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, put the beer in a sauce pan over high heat and allow to boil until reduced by half. I used a Firestone Pale Ale, microbrews are great for this recipe but IPA’s may be too hoppy and "light/lite" beers won’t have enough flavor. While the beer is still very hot, add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature. Again, for the non beer version, just add the brown sugar to 1/2 cup of super hot water and stir until dissolved. Microwave it if you need to.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, salt and powdered sugar until combined. Add the beer/sugar mixture and mix slowly until mostly combined, then turn the mixer on high and then whip until the frosting is fluffy and well combined.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

I prefer these at room temperature, but they are still pretty great chilled.

Junior Mint Cupcakes

 

 

I have a confession to make. I really don’t like mint. I respect mint as a flavor and agree with the idea of it…but I don’t love it. There was on ordeal a few years ago when I was in Middle Atlas, Morocco that will always be refereed to as the Moroccan Mint Experience. Overall, I would classify this episode in the "good experience" category, but either way, I have a hard time eating mint ever since. Mr. Fits, however, is a huge fan. And although I don’t prefer mint, I still really loved these cupcakes.

How cute are those cupcake papers? I got them at Bake it Pretty. I love baking cupcakes in something other than standard cupcake papers, makes them feel special.

Junior Mint Cupcakes

Chocolate cake:

2 2/3 cup flour

1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/4 cup of brewed coffee, cooled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 sticks of unsalted butter

2 1/2 cups of sugar

1 tsp vanila extract

2 eggs

Mint Buttercream:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp natural mint extract

Chocolate Sauce:

1 cup dark chocolate chunks

2/3 cup heavy cream

Garnish with Junior Mints if desired.

Preheat the oven to 350. in a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift to combined. in another bowl, add the buttermilk, coffee and oil. In a stand mixer, add the butter and cream until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and while the mixer is on high, slowly add the sugar and cream until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time. With the mixer on medium speed, alternating between the wet and dry ingredients, add each a bit at a time until all three are well combined in the stand mixer. If you are using the cute brown floret baking cups, just place them on a baking sheet, they don’t need to go in a muffin tin. If you are using standard cupcake papers, just line them in the muffin tin as normal. Fill standard cupcake papers 2/3 of the way full and cute floret papers only 1/2 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20-25 minutes.

Mint Buttercream

In a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Your butter needs to be softened, cold butter won’t work. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar until all combined (you can add less if you prefer a less sweet frosting). Then add the milk and the extract and beat until well combined.

Chocolate sauce

Place the chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Heat the cream until hot and steam, but not boiling (microwave is fine but you can also heat on the stove) and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir for about 3 minutes or until well combined. If you have never made ganache or chocolate sauce you may get a bit concerned about half way through. It is completely normal for your sauce to look like chunky chocolate milk for the first few minutes, just keep stirring and it’ll all work out.

Once your cupcakes are cool, pipe the buttercream on, top with a spoon full of the chocolate sauce then a Junior Mint, if you’d like.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

I’ve had a thing for citrus lately. I can’t stop thinking of all the yummy food that can be made with lemons and limes. Maybe its my way of sending good vibes to the lime tree that I planted three years ago that has produced all of 2 limes it’s entire life. I admit that even though I grew up on some what of a farm (old tractor from my parents farm as quasi proof)

I have managed to kill nearly everything I have ever planted. Although, I am holding out hope for my little lime tree.

Ingredients:

Cake batter:

2 cups of flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick of butter

1/2 cups of sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tbs vanilla extract

4 egg whites

3/4 cup of whole milk

1/4 cup of oil

Crust:

3 1/2 cups of lemon shortbread cookies

1 tbs brown sugar

6 tbs melted butter

Filling:

8 oz of softened cream cheese

1/4 cup of sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 tbs lime zest

1/4 cup of lime juice

Lime Buttercream:

4 sticks of butter

3 cups of powdered sugar

1 tbs lime zest

1/3 cup of lime juice

1/2 cup of milk

Preheat oven to 350.

You’ll need a lot of limes for this recipe, I used about 12, but it all depends on size. Start with the crust. Put the shortbread cookies and the brown sugar in a food processor and process until nothin is left but crumbs.

tart-lemon-cookiesAdd the melted butter and pulse until it looks like wet sand.

line muffin pan (this recipe should make 24) with cupcake papers. Add 1/2 tbs of the crust to the bottom of the papers and pack well. Save the left over crust to sprinkle on top of the finished cupcakes.

klc-crust-in-papersMake the cake batter. I have been playing with my vanilla cake recipe for years and this might be the winner. I’ve always used a combo of whites and yolks, but because I wanted it really light I just used whites and it turned out beautifully.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter (softened!) and sugar and cream until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. In another bowl, add the milk and oil.

A bit at a time, add the egg whites to the butter and beat on high until well combined and fluffy. With mixer on medium, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture, alternating between the two until everything is just combined (don’t over beat).

Add the batter to the cupcake papers until about 1/2 filled.

klc-batter-in-tinsMake the cheesecake filling.

In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and the sugar until well combined. Add the egg, lime juice, and lime zest and beat until combined. And please, please, please use real limes and not that stuff that comes in a bottle or a plastic squeezey lime.

Back to the batter in the cupcake papers. Using a spoon, make a well in the middle but pushing the batter up onto the sides of the cupcake papers, try not to disturb the crust but if you expose it, its fine.

klc-batter-wellFill the well with about 1 tbs of the cream cheese mixture.

klc-poBake the cupcakes for about 35 minutes or until the cake part is springy and slightly golden brown, the filling will still be jiggly.

klc-ooWhile that’s baking, make the frosting. I have to say that although these cupcakes turned out amazing (I would even go as far as to say top 5 I’ve ever made) my only complaint was that there wasn’t a huge differentiation between the filling and the frosting. I’ve used this method to fill cupcakes with cheesecake before and I really like it. I always top my cheesecake filled cupcakes with a whipped cream frosting and I’m not sure why I went to butter cream. Next time I make these I’ll make a lime whipped cream (2 cups of heavy cream, 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 tsp lime zest in a stand mixer on high for 3 minutes). Here is the butter cream steps, feel free to use whichever frosting you like. Both are super yummy.

In a stand mixer (that stand mixer got quite a work out today, unlike myself) add the softened butter and beat to make sure all the lumps are out. You HAVE to use soften, borderline warm, butter or your frosting will have the consistency of ground beef. Add the sugar and cream.

klc-batter-in-kaThen add the lime juice, zest and milk then beat until well combined.

My cheater piping bag is just a large ziplock bag with a corner cut off. It makes frosting cupcakes really easy, they look amazing AND I don’t have to dig out my really piping bags or clean them later.

klc-piping-bagklc-pre-toppingSprinkle with the left over crust and enjoy.

My floating cupcake shot:

klc-finished-floatingklc-one-biteklc-one-bite-top

Tater Turns One!

 

 

Our little lady, with a nickname of Tater Tot, is an entire year old! We had a bash at our place to celebrate her, as well as to commemorate our first year as parents. I obsessed over the every detail, my poor husband had to put up with a house covered in red and aqua crafting supplies for months! I was happy with how things turned out and  although there is a list of things I wanted to do but didn’t have enough time for, it was a great day. Of all the party offerings, my two favorite were the Tater tot/French Fry Bar and the Candy Buffet.  Both were huge hits.

Tater Tot bar!! Of course our Tater needed Tater Tots at her birthday party, it was an obvious paring. I made a cone holder for those deep fried nuggets of goodness

tater-holderI bought 30 treat cones  at Shop Sweet Lulu (http://shopsweetlulu.bigcartel.com/product/12-polka-dot-party-cones)

and they went much quicker than I had expected (we needed double that amount) and ended up using plastic cups as portable potato vessels. I made 3 sauces, Chipotle Ketchup, Blue Cheese Sour Cream and Garlic Aioli. Although the Blue Cheese Sour Cream was my fave, the Chipotle Ketchup was the runaway hit.

tater-tot-barI also had a selection of mini sandwiches, Pulled Pork Sliders on mini Hawaiian Buns, Caprese BLT Sandwiches & Pork Free Caprese Sandwiches (both on sour dough), and a childhood favorite of most Americans: Mini PBJ on white bread (crust-less, of course). I Also made fruit skewers and served them stuck into a half of a watermelon, in a way the reminded me of a 1950′s Luau.

food-tabletater-tot-bar-signThe Candy Buffet turned out exactly how I wanted (rare, isn’t it!). I spent weeks searching for red or aqua candy, used clear glass pedestal bowls that I already had, and bought a yard of Micheal Miller fabric to match the scheme.

candy-buffetI also borrowed the wording for the sign from a wedding blog and changed it a bit to fit a birthday party. I can’t remember the exact blog to offer credit.

candy-signI baked a two tiered cake that did not go as planned (my one “mini disaster” of the day) as well as two dozen cupcakes with edible pinwheel cupcake toppers. I posted a DIY for the edible pinwheels last week. The cake looked “OK” from a distance, but was mess up close. Tater seemed to enjoy it and that’s what’s important.

cupcakesdesserts birthday-girl-cake3-2   birthday-girl-cake2-2_0Over the dessert tables I had a Happy Birthday banner that I made out of paper circles and chipboard letters, as well as a Month by Month banner that I made with photos that I took each month of Tater in a corresponding onesie. My sister is a party throwin’ genius and made those adorable onesies, using them as decorations at my baby shower. One for each month all the way up to one year. I used the One Year picture on a separate banner over the food table with a picture of myself and one of my husband at one year of age. It was a great contrast for my guests to be able to see which features she gets from each of us.

birthdat-banner_0happy-birthday-banner-1month-onsie-banner-2month-onsie-banner-2-2_0claire-1-monthI made 15 paper lanterns, and posted a detailed DIY a few weeks ago. They looked great hanging over the food and dessert tables

paper-lanters2paper-lanterns1I also made a dozen tissue paper Poms, enlisting the help of my good friend Kelly, who did a lovely job. I found a great DIY on the Martha Stewart site: http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to

I used 10 sheets of tissue each and was able to find 40 sheets for a dollar at the 99 Cent’s Only store, a very affordable, although time consuming, decoration project.

pomsI found some really great aqua and white polka dot table covers at Marshall’s for only $4 each

tablesI had two centerpieces on each table, one with a homemade pinwheel and red and aqua suckers, and one with chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows. I found some really cute sugar ladybugs at www.orientaltrading.com that I loved and used on the strawberries.

pinwheel-center-piece choc-strawI half way attempted a photo booth but didn’t have enough time to really bring it together.

photobooth-2The favors that I made were one of my favorite touches! I used standard clothes pins, 1.5 inch wood circles, scrapbook paper and round magnets to make personalized favor bag holders that also doubled as a fridge magnet for the “photo of the moment” for all those parents who still love a printed photo on their fridge. In the bags, that I also found at www.shopsweetlulu.com, I put age appropriate toys.

favorsI am hoping to post a DIY on those soon, very easy and super cute. I love a personalized touch! I did the math and I believe that each favor clip cost me about 35 cents each.

Some of Taters adorable little friends who partied with us

emmi-2daniel-2london-1All in all, I had a great time and so did my little lady. She is an amazing little human and I am so lucky to be her mom, I hope that she will always know that. There are not enough parties to be able to express the celebration I feel in having her in my life.

Competitive baking

I have a strong resolve to actual WIN a recipe contest some day. I only enter the big ones, Cooking channels, big time cooking magazines, national competitions, I don’t bother with the little guys. Possibly a very flawed strategy, but if I win, I want to win big. This year, I was a finalist in the Scharffen Berger/Tootii Foodie/Food Network Magazine Cupcake Adventure contest. Not exactly a win, but I am working my way towards the top. Here is the link as proof of my upward climb:

http://www.chocolateadventurecontest.com/2010_Finalists.aspx

I know, I AM towards the bottom, but making the list made my week! Next, I’ll be attempting to "Make the List" for three other contest this year, more about that at a later time. For now, here is the recipe for my "I made the list" Cupcakes:

Churros Con Chocolate Picante Cupcakes

Churros:

1 Stick of butter

½ cup filtered water

½ cup whole milk

¼ tsp salt

1 tbs sugar

1 cup all purpose flower

2 tbs cinnamon

5 eggs

Butter flavored cooking spray

Metallic Cupcake Papers

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp chili powder

Chili Chocolate Mousse:

¾ cup butter

2 tbs chopped red chili peppers, seeds removed

6oz of a Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Bar, chopped

¼ cup coffee, brewed with Sumatra beans

¼ cup Chocolate liqueur

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cup sugar plus add. 2 tbs, divided

Spiced Whipped Cream:

1 tbs chopped red chili peppers, seeds removed

1 ½ cups heavy cream

¾ cup sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

2 tsp Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder

Make Churros:

Put the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a good quality saucepan, bring the butter, water, milk, salt, and sugar to a slow boil then turn heat to low. Add the flower and stir until combined. Move the flower mixture to a stand mixer and add cinnamon then each of the 5 eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined between each egg. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers (remove the paper liner and just use the metallic part), lightly pray each paper with the cooking spray. Drop two tbs of the dough into each cup. Mix the next 4 ingredients together in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp of the sugar mixture to the top of each dough filled cupcake paper. Bake until the top of the cupcakes have puffed completely, about 30-33 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Make the mousse:

Put the butter and the chili in a saucepan over medium low heat and heat until hot but not boiling, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes, then strain the butter removing the chilies and discarding them. Put the chocolate and the coffee in the top of a double boiler and heat until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the strained butter until well combined and then set aside. In a double boiler, beat the eggs yolks, chocolate liqueur and ¾ cups of sugar beat until the mixture is pale yellow and well combined. Remove from heat and continue to beat until thickened and cooled. Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly add the 2 tbs sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently and slowly fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using about ¼ of the egg whites at a time. Cover the mousse and chill for at least two hours.

While the mousse is setting, make the whipped cream. In a sauce pan, heat the chili and the cream until hot and steamy but not boiling. Stir over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Strain cream, removing and discarding the chili, and then chill in the refrigerator until completely cool, at least two hours. Combined the cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and coco powder in a bowl and beat on high until set, about 4 minutes. Set aside.   Gently spoon the mousse into a piping bag with a metal tip. Most of the cupcakes should have holes in the top, revealing a large cavity in the center of the cupcake (like a popover). If no holes appear, make a small slit in the center. Pipe in the mousse into the center of the cupcakes, filing the cavity, refill the piping bag as needed. Top cupcakes with the whipped cream.