Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

These cupcakes aren't that exciting & I have no idea what I made them for. But ever since I made Martha Stewart's Oreo Cheesecake cupcakes, Drew has been obsessed with trying to come up with all these candy/cupcake combinations to try. Most of them sound good in theory, but wouldn't really work. So to give him what he wanted, we made these easy Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cupcakes.
Make the chocolate cupcake recipe of your choice. Stick a Reese's PB cup at the bottom of each cupcake wrapper. These were the miniature size Reese's. I had wanted the next size up, but that's what you get when you send your husband to the store. And since I didn't have to go, I decided these were perfect :)
Pour the batter on top of the Reese's, then bake at normal temperature/time. I made a new chocolate frosting for these but I can't find the link to the recipe. It was really good!

I keep forgetting to use this stand when I take my pictures! Drew took me to a pottery painting place in College Station for my birthday. I made a cookie platter for Christmas & he made this little cupcake stand for me. It is Awesome!! I need to get a better picture of the rest of it. The stand itself is pink with white polka dots & the bottom & top both have a Drew drawn cupcake on them. I loved it!! And it's perfect for displaying cupcakes!
Thanks Love!

Hi Hat Cupcakes

Drew asked me to make cupcakes for him to take to school. I like to use the teachers at NISD as guinea pigs so I began my Pinterest search for a fun new cupcake idea. Success! I found this Pin for Hi Hat Cupcakes. The original post is from Martha Stewart. Hi Hat cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes, with a marshmallow icing, dipped in chocolate, like a DQ dip cone. I've never made a marshmallow icing so I was a little worried about getting the consistency right and really worried about then dipping it into melted chocolate. I wasn't real sure this was going to work!
I followed Martha's recipe for the cupcakes, they were easy. I then got to working on the iffy part, the marshmallow icing. After you mix the ingredients together, you have to beat it with a hand held mixer over boiling water until stiff peaks form. According to Martha,12 minutes, mine took closer to 20. I can't stand still that long, so I enlisted my helpful husband. He looks like he knows what he's doing right? :)
After the frosting thickens, transfer it to a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe the icing into a spiral on the cupcakes as high as you'd like. Or in my case, until you run out!  
 Some of my spirals got a little wonky, but they were fun :)
Stick the cupcakes into the freezer while you melt the chocolate coating.
The key to the chocolate coating not melting the frosting is to wait until the chocolate has cooled before you try to dip them. Also make sure your chocolate is in a bowl that's deep enough to accommodate the entire spiral so that it doesn't get flattened in the process.
I think these are so cool! The teachers loved them! Drew was supposed to take a picture of one after it had been cut in half, but he forgot :(. O well, we'll just have to make them again to see what the inside looks like!
Great idea Martha, thanks!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Heart in a cupcake re-do!

The weekend before Valentine's Day we were headed down south to my parent's house and I wanted to take my niece & nephew a little something. It was the perfect chance to get my heart in a cupcake fail corrected! This time, I took my time (and step by step pictures) and it worked! I also decided to use my newly learned rose piping skills on these cupcakes as well. Very happy with how they turned out!

After you mix the batter, separate 1/3 of it out, color it & bake in a square baking pan until just firm. Wait until the cake is fully cooled. You can stick it in the fridge or freezer to expedite this. After it is cooled, use a small cookie cutter of your choice to cut out the cake that will be the centers of your cupcakes. Since it's Valentine's Day, I of course chose pink hearts.
I tried to cut out as many hearts as possible.
 Here are all of my hearts ready to go into the cupcakes!
Place a dollop of batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Then place a heart in each, piping batter around the heart until the liner is 2/3 full.  
 IMPORTANT- make sure all your hearts are facing the same direction! And that you remember which direction that was!
Here's what they look like right out of the oven. I have no idea why the hearts floated to the top. I followed the tutorial & hers didn't seem to. Maybe my hearts are too thick or my dollop at the bottom was too much.
When icing- remember to keep all the cupcakes facing in the same direction as they were in the pan so you know which way the heart is facing! If you don't, see my last post & the blobs they will look like when you cut them!! All that hard work for nothing....
Anyway, I used the rose piping technique from the cake post on these cupcakes. Using a 1M tip, start in the middle & swirl around to the outside. Easy Peasy.
 I added some white sugar sprinkles and the shiny finishing glaze. Aren't they pretty!! :)
 This is the first one we cut in to for my grandmother. I did it!! There's a heart!! In hindsight, I probably should have done the icing a different color, maybe red. With the heart sticking out the top of the cupcake, the top of the heart gets a little bit lost in the icing. O well, at this point I'm just excited you can actually see a heart!
 And here's my niece Jolie with her cupcake. You can really see the heart in this one :)
And yes, she loved them! Spoiled girl, she thinks every time Aunt Kelly comes to see her cupcakes are coming as well. What can I say? If she asks, they probably always will!

And not to leave her little brother Cade out, I made my first ever blanket thanks to this Pinterest post.
 It has minky fabric on one side & a really cool kind of western print on the other. It was soo soft! My husband wants one for his recliner. I'm thinking it will have to be much bigger than the one I made for Cade!
Love him!!
And since it went over so well, I decided to make one to send to our cousin's month old little boy West.

All in all, Valentine's Day was a success!! Drew & I decided to do something different and had an at home date night for ours. It was almost a disaster due to my favorite Italian restaurant not doing take-out that night, but Carino's, cupcakes & my handsome husband saved the night!
Hope yours was good as well!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Valentine's Day goodies

Happy Valentine's Day! (in May) I didn't decorate too much for Valentine's Day. Maybe I was a little burned out from Christmas. Well, whatever. I did make a new deco mesh wreath for our front door. The red/pink color combo was a little hard since we have a red front door, but I think it turned out lovely :)

I might not have felt crafty, but I was ready to get back to baking! I had seen some really cool new things on Pinterest that I wanted to try. My friend Kinsey came over & we had a Saturday morning bake date. I am a tad ambitious, so I had five different pins I planned to get done. Sadly, we only got to four & one was a FAIL due to me trying to do too many things at once!!
After seeing this Pin, I knew I had to figure out how to do this rose cake! I loved it! The tutorial said it would be really easy. I didn't believe it, but it really was! You use a large star, 1M tip & just do swirls, but backwards. You start in the middle where you want your flower to be & swirl out & around. Super easy!

Here's a shot of the cake in progress. We were really shocked how well this was working!
Instead of doing the swoops in the empty places between the roses like the tutorial, we went with the little stars blobs.
We then went back & added edible sugar pearls. If it looks a little shiny, it's because we used an edible sparkly glaze. I think the whole combination makes it an even softer & more romantic look. Isn't it pretty? :)
Our next decorating attempt was ruffles, as seen in this Pin. The tutorial says to use tip 104, holding the narrow side of the tip towards the cake & the wider side towards yourself. You then just pipe in vertical columns working back & forth. It was really easy, but our cake wasn't tall enough to really get it going.  
Since we were having so much fun with the roses, we decided to finish the ruffle cake off with roses on the top. And yes, our ruffles look a little fat. I think the icing had gotten a little warm at this point so they weren't as crisp as they would have normally been.
Here's a better look at the whole cake. Cute, but not amazing.

Next up was this super cute & easy red velvet cupcake design I found pinned by Martha Stewart. This was probably the easiest of the day, but still a very pretty cupcake. Start by baking red velvet cupcakes. Since we were just playing this day, these were made from a box. After they have cooled completely, cut off the tops of the cupcakes with a serrated blade. Punch a heart shaped hole out of the cupcake tops with a small cookie cutter. Then spread a thin layer of icing on the cupcake before replacing the tops. Fill the heart with more frosting & then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Like I said, pretty easy & super cute!

Our last pinterest decorating attempt of the day is where my failure occurred. See that Pink blob inside the cupcake that's been cut in the half? "What's that?", you ask. Well, it's supposed to be a heart. But it's not. Because I wasn't paying attention. Here's how to do these correctly: Make your cake batter. Separate 1/3 of it into another bowl & add desired food coloring. Pour the 1/3 batter into a greased square baking pan. Bake only until it is firm enough to cut into, not the fully allotted bake time. Stick in freezer to quicken cooling. When the cake has cooled, use a heart (or whatever shape) cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the colored cake. Put a dollop of the remaining 2/3 cake batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Then stand the hearts up vertically in the liner, filing around the heart with remaining batter. Make sure all your hearts are facing the same direction in the pans. Bake cupcakes as directed. And here's the part I screwed up- when removing the baked cupcakes from the tins, make sure you remember which way the heart is facing & line them up in the same order on your cooling rack. If you don't you will not know which way the heart faces, which results in not being able to see an actually heart when you cut the cupcake in two. You just see a pink blob.(above picture) Is it possibly the side of the heart? Regardless, it's not something you can fix after you've made this mistake. You can cut into as many as you like (we tried 4), but at that point it's just dumb luck if you happen to cut it right. We did not.  

We were tired of all the pink, so we went with purple & blue swirls to top our failed heart cupcakes. Pretty colors, but maybe more Mardi Gras.
The one we didn't get to, was this brownie, strawberry cake & vanilla icing Pin.
Pinned Image
Doesn't it look pretty & Valentiney? Next year I guess!

Kinsey took half of everything home- thank goodness! And the rest I sent with Drew to school. He gave the cake to his teaching partner Mrs. Bruton, who had just celebrated a birthday. It worked out well!
We had a great day but after we finished I was crashing off my sugar high & didn't want to bake for a while. Or at least until the next week!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Amanda!

My friend Amanda turned 30 this year on January 14th. Her sneaky husband Chris decided to have a surprise party for her & put me in charge of the cupcakes (surprise!). Unfortunately for me, he gave me no kind of ideas or direction to go with the decorating. Only strawberry & pink. Well, yea, duh. Hmm, she does have this (weird) obsession with donkeys, maybe...nope, not going to happen. Sorry Amanda! I did think about it for a second! Instead I started searching Pinterst for fun new decorating ideas that I hadn't tried yet. I found this Pin that used edible monograms as cupcake toppers. Love, but it needed a little bling.
Here's a close-up of the letters. They were very easy to do & look so pretty :). I heated white candy melts until they were liquid. Filled a piping bag with the melted candy, using a plain round tip, then traced each letter (multiples of each in case they break!) onto wax paper. After piping each letter, I covered the letter in pink sugar sprinkles. Then stick the wax paper into the fridge until the candy hardens. They peel up pretty easy from the wax paper after they are hard, only broke 1!

It's nice when something simple, looks so pretty & time consuming :)

I piped all of the cupcakes with a large star tip. They were strawberry cupcakes with butter cream icing. Amanda's favorite (& mine!!). Love this Instagram photo.
Here's a picture of some of my favorite people!! From L-R, the birthday girl Amanda, Jennifer, Mindy & Kristen! My friends are smokin' hott! :) 

Here's one with me in it. I'm 4th from left.
I can't believe I don't have a picture of just Amanda with the cupcakes! Next birthday I guess!
If you want to read all about the party from her perspective, make your way to her blog, The Parr Family Adventures!!
Happy Birthday Amanda!! Hope 30 is the best!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Selfs!!

I'm almost enjoying the fact that I am so far behind on this blog! It's letting me go down memory lane! And oh how I miss my Christmas decorations!! I worked hard & made ALOT of different things for the first time. Here are some pictures of our home & my creations :)    btw-this is not our tree. This picture was taken at Drew's school party, which was not an ugly sweater party. He just wanted to stand out.
I can't even explain how much I loved my tree this year! We used white lights & I made garlands for the first time. We are a hodge podge ornament kind of family so Drew & I pick out a few new ornaments every year. I also started a tradition last year, of making us each an ornament every year. The things I plan to improve on our tree next year are the topper & the tree skirt. I fell in love with this burlap ruffle tree skirt, but I just ran out of time. O well, it will be done next year!

Here's a close up of my two garlands. One is a cream burlap that got folded back & forth with thread run through it to hold it together. The red one is tulle that I ruffled on my sewing machine. I really love the contrast together! I got the idea here.

These are the ornaments I made last year. Pretty good for my first attempt! I spray painted clear glass balls, used marshmallows to paint the dots & cut our names out of vinyl with my cricut.
I got this sign for our yard at Canton. I think it is super cute! I plan to try & make them next year for our families!
Here is our AwEsOmE front door! This was the first piece of our all-out Christmas decorating to be completed. My mother-in-law Diana, is very crafty & made this garland for me, while we were sitting in the hotel in Canton. It is made out of burlap, deco mesh & ribbon. Luckily, she taught me how to do it as she was making it! I think it is gorgeous!! I have never had a garland around our entry before. This was the start to my Christmas decorating obsession! 
Here's a close up of the deco/burlap. I just love it! I had never used deco before either & discovered I could do soo many things with it!!
Like Christmas wreaths! I made this wreath for my friend Sandee. It is my favorite wreath I've made. I love that green & red sparkly ribbon.
 This one I made for Drew's school's Christmas party.
Once I started with the garlands & deco mesh, I had a problem stopping. This is inside our kitchen. I made this garland all by myself! It did have a hook in the middle where it draped, but I was having some problems with the hook staying stuck to the wall. I finally got it fixed, but didn't get a picture. I made those wreaths as well. Red & cream burlap, folded like the tree garland, threaded onto a hangar.
A close-up of my handy work :)
 Did I mention, I got a little obsessive with the Christmas decorating?! This is the door leading to our bedroom. My husband just laughed & shook his head. I eventually took it to my mom to hang in her house.
Like I said, the many uses of Deco Mesh. I saw this Pin for a deco mesh lighted Christmas tree & knew just who needed one, my three year old niece, Jolie. But of course, since she's related to me, it needed to be pink!! She loved having her own Christmas tree in her room!
 This is my nephew Cade in the shirt I made him. Isn't he precious?!
 And the outfit I made Jolie on Christmas day. Her tutu was getting a little crazy from all her antics, but she was adorable!
So, as you can see, we had a very colorful & festive Christmas at the Self house! Drew is pretty worried what next year will bring since I learned how to do so many new things in December. He is convinced we will be start decorating in October & have garlands around every door frame. He may be correct :)

Merry belated Christmas!!