OH SNAP! Birthday Party

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Two friends with birthdays just days apart wanted to share a party with their group of friends. They had a common interest in photography and when kojo designs offered their printable set available for purchase as a donation for World Water Day, I knew it would be perfect for these teens with big hearts. The bright colors and vintage camera motifs made this a fun party to create.

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The banner and balloons set a festive mood.

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Sugar cookies decorated with fondant were inspired by the party decor. Fondant can be attached with piping gel or frosting. It is easy to use cookie cutters to cut the shapes  from the fondant. Graduated sets of round and square cutters were used here.

046More vintage camera cookies 

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Orange slices, red licorice and gummy candy all added to the color palette.

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Vintage cameras found at the antique mall became gifts for the birthday girls.

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Chocolate cameras were made with a mold.

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Cookies, all plated up.

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 I like to use colorful papers to line trays.

The menu was rounded out with fresh fruit, chips and hummus.

Vendors:

Printable Party Set – Kojo Designs

Plates and Napkins – Target

Confetti Paper - aarietta

Pennant Banner – Martha Stewart at Michaels

Leprechaun’s Gold Cupcake Tower

 054Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a charming cupcake tower. The cake on top is made with the giant cupcake pan and a 5 inch cake pan. Both are covered in fondant and the cake is imprinted with a wood grain impression mat to resemble a tree trunk. Icing grass is piped from a 233 pastry tip.026The cupcakes are decorated with a variety of  meringue mushrooms,  a pot of gold cake pop, and a gingerbread leprechaun cottage.061Premade gingerbread house kits are frequently on sale and I like to use the pieces for cupcakes.  I used the front piece on this cupcake and covered it with fondant imprinted with a brick embossing mat. The roof is made with an ivy plunger cutter.

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060The cake pop was just the right size for a pot of gold. I made a  skinny log of fondant and attached it to the top. The gold coins are sequins painted with lustre dust. The idea was inspired by Sweetopia’s pot of gold cookies.

027The do it yourself cupcake tower is quick and easy to make. I frequently can’t find the right color or dimensions for cupcake towers I am making.  This way I can customize the stand for each project.

028I bought the supplies at Michael’s.  I used a 7 and 11 inch wood clock face which have a centered predrilled hole already in them. A 3/8 inch dowel rod fits snugly in the hole. I cut the rod to 6 1/2 inches for this project, but you could cut it to any length.

012I secured the dowel rod with wood glue and painted the whole thing using Martha Stewart vanilla bean paint. I let it dry overnight before putting any weight on it. The cake on top was a few pounds but the dowel rod supported the weight. I felt like I was pushing it with the cake, but cupcakes it would easily support without any problem. You could seal the wood if you want, but I plan on repainting it for another time.

This is my test CAPTION

 

Close-up of house

 

Heart Healthy Chocolate Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins

1 cup Heart Smart Bisquick
1/2 cup Hungry Jack Complete Wheat Blends
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup semisweet miniature chocolate chips, plus one tablespoon
Preheat oven to 350. Line 3 mini muffin pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the chocolate chips and stir just until moistened. Mix in the 1/2 cup of chips until evenly distributed and reserve the 1 tablespoon for later.
Use a scoop to fill the prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes until tops spring back when pressed.
Cool in pan on wire rack for about 5 minutes.
Variation: Use 1 and 1/2 cups of Bisquick and omit the cocoa powder for Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Pastel Poinsettia Cupcakes

The Edible Artist Network featured my tutorial on making poinsettia cupcakes. You can see it and much more here. Here is another variation to try.
These poinsettia cupcakes have petals cut from gumpaste, but instead of imprinting with a veiner in the traditional way, they are stamped with Christmas sheet music. The petals are made for decoration and can be easily removed from the icing before eating. Follow the easy instructions below to make your own. 

A very small amount of cornstarch is dusted on the rubber stamp to keep it from sticking to the petal. The petals should be allowed to dry slightly before stamping so they can withstand the pressure.
Allow the petals to dry completely before brushing with petal dust. Then, use a handiwipe to brush off the color in between the stamped areas so it will stand out more.
To make the whole petal pink and shiny, brush with lustre dust.
When all of the petals are dusted and dry, pipe a mound of buttercream icing on the center of a cupcake. Three leaves are added first and then a bottom row of five petals. Next add a row of five smaller petals that tilt slightly inward. Finish the flower with 3 more petals and dragees.

Completed poinsettias, one with traditional petals and one with the stamped musical notes. If the flowers are to be used on a cake, the petals can be attached together with piping gel or gum glue and allowed to dry.

Hot Chocolate Bar

It has become a tradition for us to pile in the car, with mugs of hot chocolate napkins full of cookies, and head out to see the holiday lights. The spread has gotten a little more sophisticated over the years but the lights have not changed. We go to Santa’s Magical Kingdom and the tackiness has gotten worse if anything. But we still love it, after all it’s tradition.
I can not pass up an opportunity to get out my vintage collection of dishes and mugs.
 Candy Cane Cookies
Hot Chocolate Mix- this is the real deal made with nothing but chopped chocolate, milk and cream.
 Chewy Ginger Cookies
 Homemade Marshmallows
Master Hot Chocolate Recipe: Traditional Home Hot Chocolate Master Blend