Saturday, June 25, 2011

{Sugar Bee} Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies N' Cream Buttercream Frosting

Lately I have been wanting to try making cupcakes using two of my favorite treats, chocolate and Oreos! So along came my friend's birthday and I figured what a better time to attempt this creation than for her birthday! Thus I made my way into the kitchen and created chocolate cupcakes with a cookies n' cream buttercream frosting, garnished with mini chocolate covered Oreos.Turns out that this recipe is a definite thumbs up and they were all devoured. These cupcakes are sure to delight all who eat them! Not to mention how great they would look on a dessert table (particularly with my sock monkey printable collection)!

The chocolate cupcake recipe I used was from Martha Stewart's website, but any recipe will suffice.

Chocolate Cupcakes
(Yields a dozen cupcakes)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.

3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies N' Cream Buttercream Frosting
(Adapted from Wilton's buttercream icing recipe)
(Yields 3 cups of icing)
1/2 cup solid vegetable
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup finely ground Oreo cookies

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed (hint: cover your stand mixer with a kitchen towel). Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add water and beat at medium speed until fluffy. Finally add finely ground cookies and mix well. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Pipe icing onto cupcakes and garnish with a mini Oreo or mini chocolate covered Oreo. Then enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{Party Bee} Party Hat Tutorial

Party hats are so much fun and I happen to love seeing party hats on children, even if they may not share the same sentiment. But despite what they may think, they aren't going to kill them and they look adorable, not to mention they are so festive! To tell you the truth, party hats can be just as enjoyable when they are sitting on a table or next to a cake. There is just something about them that says, PARTY!

Of course when I do party hats, I just can't choose any generic party hat that can purchased at the store. It must coordinate with the party theme, and most likely the shirt of the birthday boy or girl! Thus, I thought my readers would enjoy learning how to create their own party hats to use at their child's next birthday party. All you have to do is follow the step by step tutorial!

Supplies Needed:
You will need a paper party hat, scissors, 1/4 fabric, an applique, hot glue gun, spray adhesive, pen/pencil, hem tape, 1 large pom pom, 2 packages of small to medium poms or other decorative elements such as rick rack or ribbon, etc.

Step 1:
Take apart the paper hat and lay flat on the wrong side of your fabric. Use your can of spray adhesive to help keep the hat flat. Then with a pen or pencil draw around the hat leaving about an inch from the edge of the paper. Cut the fabric along the line you made.

Step 2:
On the right side of the fabric, center your applique and iron it on.

Step 3:
 Now coat the right side of the paper hat with the spray adhesive and then adhere the fabric. Don't let the two flaps (where the elastic sits) glue to the fabric...keep the flaps open. Then let dry for a few minutes.

Step 4:
With the hot glue gun, turn the top and then the sides (in that order) of the fabric under and glue to the inside of the hat. Then take your scissors and cut little triangles out along the bottom of the hat.

Step 5:
Using the hot glue gun again, turn the bottom raw edge in towards the wrong side of the hat and glue the fabric. Then reattach the elastic to the flaps and secure in place.

Step 6:
Again using the hot glue gun, take the hem tape and adhere it over the raw edge of the fabric. This will help clean up the edges and make it look finished as well as help hold the elastic in place.

Step 7:
Now it is time to glue the sides together. Make a thin line of hot glue along one of the sides of the hat. Then take the other side and press firmly on top. You may need to hold together for a few seconds to ensure that they stay glued together. 

Step 8:
Now glue the large pom pom to the top of the hat. You want to make sure that it is not only glued on the tip of the hat but slightly around the sides.

Step 9:
Finally glue the small to medium pom poms around the bottom edge of the hat. Make sure to place them close to each other so that none of the fabric is visible from in between the poms. This step you can also use rick rack or any other decorative element you like.

Now you have a fun and festive party hat for your child's birthday party!!!

Happy crafting and party planning!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

{Healthy Bee} Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's be honest, chocolate chip cookies aren't exactly healthy by any means and I don't recommend eating them very often, but they are one of those homemade treats that are just too good to give up. So instead of depriving yourself of those almost nutrient deficient yummy sweets, try adding a little bit of zucchini! I know what you are thinking...zucchini? But don't let the addition of green veggies to your cookies steer you away from giving this recipe a try because they are so delicious!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes about 3 dozen)

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 TB vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture

1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.

This recipe along with many other delicious recipes can be found on the website Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It is also the title of the fantastic book; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life written by Barbara Kingsolver.  This book is a very good read and I absolutely recommend reading it and taking a look at the website and trying out a few other recipes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{Queen Bee} Pier 1 Imports Tasting Party Collection

I am so excited that I came across this new collection recently introduced by Pier 1 Imports (one of my favorite places to shop). It is called the Tasting Party Collection and I can't quite contain myself because it is absolutely adorable! Everything is miniature and is made in glass or white porcelain, which works so well with my dishware and serveware! It really took all of me not to buy the entire collection at once, but I was able to gain control over myself and started with just a few pieces. However, I am determined to own the entire collection!

What is even more fun, is that Pier 1 is offering recipes to go along with these cute pieces. You can find these recipes on their website or at their stores. I am so ready to try all of them! I feel a party coming on!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

{Busy Bee} Mom's Killer Cakes and Cookies

I know I have mentioned Mom's Killer Cakes and Cookies before, but I have to mention "Mom" again because she continues to blow me away with her amazing cakepops! I love to frequently browse her Etsy shop to see what new creations she has come up with for her clients and let me say that "Mom" is so killer! The love and detail that she puts into her cakpops is almost unreal. I can't get over how accurate some of her characters are...look at her Olivia and The Cat in the Hat cake pops, they are STUNNING! To give you an idea of the incredible talent of "Mom", I have chosen a handful of her cakepops to feature. Do they amaze you as much as they amaze me?
  What is even more awesome, is that if "Mom" doesn't have what you are looking for in her Etsy shop, you can order a custom design to fit your party theme. I am so excited to see what she comes up with next!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

{Busy Bee} Demi Blair Couture on Etsy

I was browsing one of my favorite sites (Etsy) one day and came across such a cute shop. It is called Demi Blair Couture and this site features ruffle rompers and fabric headbands for baby girls. Oh what fun are these little rompers. They come in a variety of colors and have headbands to match! I can't get over how adorable these are, especially if you like frilly and girly things for baby girls...and I of course do! I also couldn't help but notice how lovely the yellow romper and aqua blue mirror in the picture coordinate with my Mod Elephant Printable Party Collection! Demi Blair Couture is definitely a site worth checking out!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

{Sugar Bee} Crab and Lobster Cookies

The past two weeks I have been M.I.A. due to planning and preparing for my son's 1st birthday party. It was both exhausting and fun (pictures soon to come)! Part of my week was spent making dozens of cookies in the forms of "J's" and "1's", but the most fun I had was making lobster and crab cookies! I was definitely afraid that I wasn't going to be able to get the shade of red that I was going for, but by using the Americolor gel food coloring, I was able to decorate my cookies exactly how I envisioned! Next time you decorate cookies, cakes, or cupcakes try using Americolor food coloring. They also have a lot of different products to suit all of your decorating needs!

Happy Decorating!