Mickey Mouse Pops!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of helping a friend make these pops for her son’s second birthday. We had so much fun hanging out, but the actual pop making experience was challenging.  It was definitely a learning experience for both of us, but I’m glad we jumped in with both feet.  I think the finished pops were really cute!

One major change we made from the source of this recipe is that we used Oreo truffles as the base instead of cake balls.  We much prefer the taste of Oreo truffles over the cake ones, even though they are very rich and decadent.  I do think the cake balls generate a smoother ball, but again, the taste is more important in my opinion.  Also the Oreo balls are a little heavier than the cake ones, so that made dipping them difficult, but we managed.  I think the keys are to have really runny chocolate (but not too hot.  See step 11 about adding shortening to thin it out.) and to dip as fast as possible.

Please excuse my fuzzy photos, they were taken with my phone rather than a camera.  If you’re friends with me on facebook, you can see a couple more pictures there.  Also, I’m super excited that this counts as the first thing to check off from my 30×30 list.  Score!

Mickey Pops

Source:  Bakerella

You’ll need:

  • 1 box cake mix (bake as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)*
  • 1 16 oz can of ready-made frosting*
  • Wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • White bark coating {we omitted}
  • Black candy color {we omitted}
  • Chocolate candy melts
  • Round cookie cutter
  • Paper lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam block

*One cake makes about 48 cake pops. If you don’t need that many, then cut the cake in quarters and freeze any cake sections for another day. You’ll need at least one ounce of candy coating for each generic Mickey Mouse cake pop you plan on dipping and more for any extra decorating.

*If you substitute Oreo balls for the cake balls, you obviously won’t need any cake or frosting.  You will need one package of Oreo cookies and one package of cream cheese.   Crush the Oreos in a food processor, then add the cream cheese and pulse until combined.  Pick up at step 3 below.

Instructions:

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into a large bowl.

2. With a large spoon, mix thoroughly with about 3/4 of the can of frosting. You won’t need the rest.

3. Roll mixture into quarter size cake balls and place on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Step 3

4. Place balls in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up. Then transfer to the refrigerator to keep chilled and avoid freezing.

5. Prepare the ears. Use round chocolate candy melts and with a round cutter, cut off a small portion of each candy melt. Set the ears aside. Step 5
6. Melt white candy coating (we just used chocolate) in a heat-proof plastic bowl so that the coating is at least four inches deep for easier dipping. Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals on low, stirring in between. Repeat until melted and smooth. Step 6

7. Add several drops of black candy color (that does not contain water) into the white candy coating and stir until combined. Add color until you achieve the desired shade. {We skipped this}

8. Remove a couple of cake balls from the refrigerator at a time to work with.

9. Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted coating and insert into the cake ball. Then, grab two candy melt ears and dip the cut side into the melted candy coating. Attach the ears to the top/side of the cake pop and the coating will set like glue. Step 9

10. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

11. When dry, carefully dip the entire cake pop with ears attached into the bowl of melted candy coating. Dip and remove in one motion without stirring. Make sure the entire cake ball is covered. Using a deep bowl is helpful here. If your coating is too thick, you can add a few drops of vegetable oil or shortening to help thin it and make it easier to work with.

12. Remove and allow any excess coating to fall off the pop and back into the bowl.

13. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

14. When dry, wrap in small treat bags and tie with a decorative ribbon.

Note: You can use dark chocolate candy coating instead of tinting white coating black. Then, you can use the same glueing technique to attach the ears right on the surface.

You can also attach other items like Junior Mints or separated miniature Oreo Cookies to the surface of the cake pop right after dipping and before the coating sets.

Game Day Grub

I hear there’s a big game tomorrow…a football game, maybe?  I’m not really sure.  Professional sports aren’t really on my radar.  But I’ve heard a few comments here and there about the super bowl so that must be it.  😉   Just don’t ask me who’s playing!

Anyway, I thought you might want some last minute snack ideas.  So, here’s a round-up of a few things that I think might go well with watching a football game.  I hope your team wins!

Main Dish:

Traditional Chili or White Chili Make sure you have cornbread or biscuits on the side and all the fixings to go on top – crackers, cheese, sour cream, fritos, scallions, etc…

Appetizers:


Pizza Puffs

Enchilada Roll-ups

Pigs in a Blanket and Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Bites

Snacks and Dips:

Jalapenos would be the star of the game day for us.

Jalapeno Hummus

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Hot Pizza Dip {favorite!}

Oh, I almost forgot Salsa!  Can’t have a football game without the chips and salsa.

And while we are at it, we can’t forget the beer either.  Here’s a Beer Cheese Dip!

For the sweeter side of things, here’s a Cookie Dough Dip!

Dessert:

Keeping it simple, here are a few bar recipes that you can’t go wrong with:

Peanut Butter Fingers

Oreo Bars

Chewy Brownies

And last but not least, you gotta have drinks!

I recommend Rum Slushies!

Enjoy and have fun!

Eggnog Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It is a tradition for Tim’s family to drink eggnog at Christmas dinner, so I went ahead and concluded that they must like eggnog in a dessert as well so I decided to make these cupcakes for our get together with them.  And I was right!  Everyone really enjoyed them.

These cupcakes were fantastic – very moist and dense.  Although for me, the real star was the cream cheese frosting.  I’m not a huge fan of drinking eggnog, so I found the frosting to be the best part.  But there certainly wasn’t anything wrong with the cupcake itself.  The eggnog taste wasn’t overpowering at all.  I’ll definitely make these again next year!  Heck, I might even make them again for New Year’s!

My changes include – increasing the cinnamon and nutmeg used in the batter from a 1/4 tsp each to a full teaspoon each.  I also increased the amount of frosting because I really swirl it on heavy with Wilton’s 1M star tip.  I also added some eggnog to the frosting to help it reach the consistency I wanted and I figured a little extra eggnog flavor couldn’t hurt!  I sprinkled each frosted cupcake with ground nutmeg for decoration.

Eggnog Cupcakes

Source:  Life’s Ambrosia

Makes 12

You will need:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
  • additional nutmeg for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan and set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, using a hand held mixer cream together oil and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix until combined. Beat in eggnog. Gradually add in remaining flour, beat just until combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with cupcake mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs on it.
  6. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the cupcake pan. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with maple cream cheese frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

You will need:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons butter {one stick}, softened
  • 2 tablespoons eggnog
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2- 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar – approximate
  1. Using a stand mixer on medium speed cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Beat in maple syrup.
  3. Gradually add in powdered sugar and beat until it becomes a thick spreadable mixture.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of eggnog until desired consistency is reached.

Thanksgiving 2010 Recap

Oops, I better get this recap out before Christmas!

I was very happy to be able to host Thanksgiving again this year.  We had a total of seven people including T and me, my parents, and grandparents.  Since our formal china is an heirloom from Tim’s family, he really enjoys hosting an occasion where it is suitable to use it.  And I just love using our other fancy serving items that were wedding gifts which we seldom use.

Again this year, our guest arrived around noon and we ate around 1:00.

Here’s what I posted last year and it was a nice reference for this year too.

This year’s menu:

various appetizers – cheese, crackers, sausage, brie en croute, grapes, etc

roasted turkey

mashed potatoes

gravy

stuffing

apple salad

cranberry sauce

green bean casserole

rolls with honey butter

dessert – apple pie, pumpkin pie, custard pie, cinnamon ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, angel food cake and strawberries.

drinks – water, coffee, hot cider, wine, etc…  I had eggnog but totally forgot to serve it.  Curses!

Just for future reference, this is roughly how I managed my time and preparation in the days leading up to Thanksgiving this year:

Saturday & Sunday – grocery shop, de-clutter and clean the house/furniture, begin to locate & wash special serving dishes & utensils, roasting pan, etc.  Make brine and store in fridge.

Monday evening after work – make homemade cinnamon ice cream base, prepare pie dough and refrigerate it, make compound butters and refrigerate, and make cheese spread appetizer.

Tuesday evening – make cornbread, churn ice cream.

Wednesday all day (I was off work) – cube & dry bread for stuffing, make 3 pies, chop vegetables for stuffing and aromatics for the bird’s cavity, brine turkey, clean the house some more, and set up the table.

Thursday – in the morning drain the brine, rinse, fill the bird’s business end with aromatics, spread on herb butter, roast turkey; finish setting the table; make hot cider (big crock-pot); make mashed potatoes and keep warm in medium-sized crock pot; set out appetizers; set out butter so it’s soft when needed.

When turkey was done and resting covered in foil, bake the stuffing, heat up the green beans, and make gravy (thank you mom).  Then carve the bird (thank you grandma), warm up the rolls, fill drink glasses.  Etc…

Eat!

Overall, it was a great day and the food was delicious!  Thank you family!  I wish I took more pictures!

 

Ducky Cookies

The past few months have brought many new babies into my extended family so I had the opportunity to make a meal for two of the moms.  Along with the meals that I provided, I also took a treat in the form of cookies.  Who doesn’t love a cute cookie?

I was really excited for the chance to use royal icing again and to try to improve my decorating skills.  However, I’m still pretty new at it, so I stuck with one color.  I intended to add faces to the ducks, but they weren’t quite dry enough for the edible marker to work before I had to transport them.  Maybe next time.

I also wanted to do step-by-step instructions of how I made these, but my camera battery died.  And I also realized I have no business giving directions on something that I suck at.  Here’s what I did photograph though:

prepared work surface

cut out dough

baked and cooled cookies

decorated

I doubled this recipe for the sugar cookies.  But substituted lemon extract for the almond extract.  Honestly, I didn’t think the cookies were sweet enough so next time I’ll roll them out using powdered sugar instead of flour.  And I need to stop rolling the dough so thin!

And I used this recipe for the royal icing.

all packed up

I definitely encourage you to check out Bridget’s Blog called Bake at 350.  She is awesome at decorating cookies!!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Sometimes I’m torn about whether or not to post certain food pictures.  I personally like to see a picture with every recipe that I want to make, but some of my pictures are so bad that I think they detract from the food itself.  This is one of those instances where you probably won’t want to make this dish based on the picture, but it’s there anyway.  You’ll just have to trust me that it tastes good.

I’ll point out that this makes a ton of dip, but the kind person who I found this recipe from also has a use for the leftover dip.  I took advantage of that recipe too and its coming up in my next post.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

{source:  adapted from a blog that I couldn’t find again????}

dip:

3-5 slices of bacon, diced

5-6 fresh jalapenos, coarsely chopped {can use more or less to taste}

two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened {I don’t know why I bothered, but I used low-fat cream cheese.}

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup shredded cheese {Mexican blend was listed, but I just used cheddar}

two 4 oz. cans of chopped green chilies

1 clove of garlic, peeled

topping:

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese

1/2 stick {1/4 cup} butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 2 quart baking dish.

In a frying pan, saute bacon over medium heat until starting to brown.  Stir in the chopped jalapenos and continue to saute until bacon is fully cooked but not burnt, about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a food processor, add the rest of the dip ingredients and process until smooth.  Add the cooked bacon and jalapenos and pulse until incorporated, but not smooth.  Spread into the prepared dish.

Make the topping by combining the breadcrumbs and cheese in a bowl.  Pour melted butter over the top and mix well.  Sprinkle evenly over the dip and bake for about 25 minutes or until top is browned and dip is heated through and bubbles around the edges.

Serve hot with chips.

Deviled Eggs

I don’t remember when I made these and took the picture, probably around the holidays, but I’m just now getting around to posting it!

Since most deviled egg trays hold 12, you only need to cook 6 eggs but I like to make 3-4 extras in case some don’t come out of their shell nicely.  Making a few extras also allows for plenty of filling, so you can fill the eggs nice and full.  Just discard any unused hard cooked egg whites.

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

6 hard cooked eggs {or more}

1 tsp yellow mustard

1/4 cup mayo {or maybe slightly more}

1 scant tsp white vinegar

s & p to taste

paprika

Directions

Remove each cooled hard cooked egg from its shell and cut in half.  Carefully remove yolks and place them in a large bowl.  Stir in mayo, mustard, vinegar, and s & p.  Mash and combine with a fork.  Once the yolks are mashed, I like to switch to a whisk and beat until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings and add extra mayo depending on your preference.

Place the filling in a pastry bag fitted with with tip of your choice, or just use a sandwich bag with the tip snipped off.  Pipe mixture into egg white halves.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Chill until serving.

How I make hard boiled eggs:

Place eggs in a single layer in large saucepan making sure no eggs are cracked.  Add cold water to cover the eggs by about an inch.  Bring water to a boil.   Immediately, remove pan from heat and cover with the lid.  Let stand for 20 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Place in a large bowl full of ice and let sit until completely cooled.

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