Dainty Petits Fours

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One of the cute treats I made for my Afternoon Tea Party this weekend was a batch of cute petits fours. They are a little labor intensive, but I cut some corners to make them a little easier than some petits fours can be.

They’re made out of pre-made poundcake that you can find in the freezer section of your grocery store, strawberry jam, and melted canned frosting. If you want them to be a little decorated, use sprinkles, frosting or candy confetti. I also made some petits fours with chocolate frosting, but they were eaten before I could get a picture of them!

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Dainty Petits Fours

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen loaf of pre-made poundcake
  • 1 can of vanilla frosting and/or 1 can of chocolate frosting
  • Candies, frosting, or sprinkles for decor
  • Fruit jam or jelly for filling

Instructions

  1. Defrost the poundcake and then trim off the dark edges all the way around the cake. Don't trim off too much cake though.
  2. Cut the cake into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. With a 1-1.5 inch square cookie cutter, cut slices into squares. You should be able to get two squares per slice.
  4. Spread jam on one square and sandwich it with another square. Repeat until you've used all the cake pieces.
  5. Take a jellyroll pan or a pan with a raised edge lined with foil or waxed paper and place a cookie rack in it.
  6. Melt the frosting in a bowl for 10-15 seconds. If the frosting is thin enough, move onto the next instruction, otherwise, heat for a few more seconds until the frosting is nice and runny.
  7. Put the cake sandwiches on the rack and drizzle melted frosting over them until they are fully covered on all visible sides.
  8. Before the frosting sets up, place your decor candy or sprinkles on top of each petit four.
  9. Place the pan in the fridge until the frosting has set completely.
  10. Serve petits fours in mini cupcake wrappers for clean handling.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2014/07/dainty-petits-fours/

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Stars, Flags, and Firecrackers! It’s a 4th of July Dessert Round Up

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titleimage_2Fourth of July is this week and if you’re in the United States, you probably have a party or BBQ to attend. Still not sure what you’re going to bring to your potluck? Check out these deliciously patriotic sweets I’ve selected from around the Internet.

STARS

1. Red, White, and Blue Fudge Stars from Hungry Happenings

These layered stars, made from white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and food coloring, give a bright pop to any party table.

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2.  Red Velvet Brownie Star Stacks from I Should Be Mopping the Floor

If brownies are more your style, try these stacked red velvet brownie stars with cool whip and blue berries.

red velvet brownies from cake mix

 

3. Red, White, and Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars from Brown Eyed Baker

I love these because they remind me of the jello desserts of the 1960s.

stained-glass-jello-singlestar

 

STRIPES

4. Red, White, and Blue Raspberry Candy Bars from Cherry Tea Cakes

These candy bars are a great surprise for your friends! From the outside they look normal, but one bite reveals the red, white, and blue stripes inside. I always love surprise inside treats.

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5. Jello Pudding Pops from Number 2 Pencil

If you have access to a freezer, these pudding pops are great for a hot summer day.

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6. Triple Berry Frozen Smoothies from In Katrina’s Kitchen

Made from a combination of yogurt, fruit, and honey, these delicious smoothies are a perfect cool down on 4th of July.

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FLAGS

7. 4th of July Flag Cake from Secret Life of a Chef’s Wife

Here’s another version of the surprise inside treat. This cake is baked with several colored layers and combined to form a flag when cut into. Can you imagine what your friends will say when they see the inside?

Fourth_of_July_Cake-2

 

FIRECRACKERS

8. Firecracker Sugar Cookies from Mom Dot

To the unfamiliar, these look like your everyday sugar cookies with candy sugar and sprinkles on top. What they don’t know is these will pop and crackle in your mouth when you eat them! How you ask? The secret ingredient is Pop Rocks!

popcookie

 

9. Twizzler Firecracker Cupcakes from Tastes Of Lizzy T

To keep with the firecracker theme, here are some cute cupcakes that look like little firecrackers exploding.

Twizzler-Firecracker-Cupcakes-are-so-fun-for-a-July-4th-party

 

If you aren’t planning a red, white, and blue dish for your party but still want it to look festive, decorate it with flag picks!  To make your own, download my free American flag pick printable by clicking on the picture below:

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Have a fun and safe Independence Day!

 

***All photos were used with permission
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Post-Valentine’s Day Wrap-up

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These Chocolate Stout Donuts from Bakers Royale are super awesome. These ones that I made were a surprise for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, so I didn’t post them up before the holiday, but I’d definitely suggest them for any occasion.

IMG_5557They’re made with Guinness Extra Stout and I subbed almond milk for the milk and water in the recipe. They turned out super delicious. The frosting tastes exactly like donut shop frosting.

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I also made my boyfriend a candy, bourbon, and bacon rose bouquet to go with the donuts. He really loved this, especially the bacon roses. I used these instructions to make them, but instead of drilling holes in the mini muffin tin to drain the bacon grease (no way I’m going to ruin a baking pan for these!), I put a cookie sheet over the top of the bacon in the muffin pan and drained the grease into a bowl periodically. If you like well-cooked bacon, I’d suggest baking them twice as long as those instructions say, and also turning them over about halfway through so that the bottoms of the bacon get cooked well too.

IMG_5568Mmmm…bourbon and bacon. If I make the bacon roses again, I’m going to dip them in chocolate next time!

I hope you had a fun Valentine’s Day with your loved ones.

 

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Cakes Under the Influence Kit Giveaway!

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IMG_5416_2Yesterday I shared my review of Cakes Under the Influence Entertainer Kit and my Old Fashioned Cocktail cupcakes. Now here’s the good news: Cakes Under the Influence is offering to giveaway a Two Under the Influence Baking Kit to one of my readers!

TUIKit

This kit is perfect for a romantic night between you and a loved one or for those times you just want a little something sweet but don’t want to make a huge batch of treats.

The kit comes with:

  • Your choice of 2 Martini molds, OR Margarita molds, OR Champagne molds
  • 2 Matching stemware serving dishes
  • Set of 24 matching paper baking cups
  • 2 food and oven safe silicone cupcake stands
  • 2 pouches of Hi-Proof Baking Mix for Two (1 vanilla and 1 cocoa)
  • Access to CUI Mobile App for recipes, recipe sharing and reviews

How to enter:

Enter this giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter widget below. The only mandatory entry is to leave your name and an email with which to contact you. All other entries are optional, but the more you complete, the better chance you have to win.

This giveaway is open to those who are 18+ and residents of the US only. For complete rules click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes Made with a Cakes Under the Influence Kit {Review}

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IMG_5401_3I love cocktails and cupcakes, so what could be more awesome than a cocktail cupcake?! NOTHING! Duh.

What’s even better is the baking supply company, Cakes Under the Influence, makes baking boozy cupcakes super easy with their easy-to-use kits. I got the chance to try out their nifty Entertainer Kit that has everything you’ll need (minus the alcohol) to make a set of cocktail cupcakes and display them. I wish I had had this kit last year when my boyfriend and I threw a ’60s themed cocktail party.

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My kit included:

  • 1 20″ x 15″ acrylic, dishwasher safe, serving tray that holds up to 12 snap on acrylic stemware
  • 12 food safe silicone cupcake stands (to be used with your own cupcake baking pan)
  • 12 Mini-Martini shaped aluminum molds (3 oz.)
  • 24 greaseproof mini-martini shaped paper baking liners
  • 12 martini shaped acrylic, dishwasher safe and reusable, serving cups
  • 12 acrylic bottoms that the serving cups snap into (these are usually sold separately from the kit)
  • 1 Vanilla Hi-Proof Baking Mix (also sold separately from the entertainer kit)

The kit was also supposed to come with access to the CUI Mobile app available on Apple and Android devices with access to CUI recipes and CUI Community features, but I couldn’t find the app in the Apple app store for my iPod Touch. I also don’t have any android devices, so I couldn’t use the app. Maybe others will have more luck.

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The silicone cupcake stands and aluminum molds worked just fine with my cupcake baking pan. You can use the paper liners with these molds or spray them with cooking spray and use them without paper liners. I decided to try both methods and found differing results. More on that later.

Here’s a quick animation from their website that visually shows how easy it is to use the kit:

The Cakes Under the Influence company encourages you to find new ways to use their product and to create new cocktail cupcake recipes to make with their cake mix. Since I received a package of cake mix with my review kit, I decided to come up with a cocktail recipe that I didn’t see available on their website.

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If you use their cake mix, all you have to do is add the ingredients of your favorite cocktail. It’s pretty darn easy. There are instructions on the back that you can follow, but I choose to modify the Manhattan Cocktail Cupcake Recipe from the CUI website to make Old Fashioned Cocktail cupcakes!

IMG_5418Here’s what you’ll need for the cupcakes:

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the cupcake batter:
  • 1 Family size package (13.7 oz) of Vanilla Hi-proof Baking Mix
  • 4 - 5 Tbsp. of club soda or water
  • 1/2 c. bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. cherry juice (either Rose's or the syrup from a maraschino cherry jar)
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • For the drizzle:
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. bourbon whiskey (or more to taste)
  • A splash of cherry juice
  • A splash of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 orange
  • 1 10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries
  • toothpicks

Instructions

    For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine Vanilla Hi-Proof Baking Mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients.
  3. Mix for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Line molds with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. I like to use the baking spray that has oil and flour in it.
  5. Pour or spoon the batter into the molds.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  8. For the garnish:
  9. Cut the orange into wheels and then cut the wheels into quarters.
  10. Take a toothpick and add one cherry and one orange quarter to each.
  11. Place the garnish on top of the cupcake after you put the drizzle on it.
  12. For the drizzle:
  13. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with all liquid ingredients. If it is too thick, thin with more of the juices or a splash of milk. (Don't use too much milk or the citrus juice may curdle it.)
  14. Use the rest of the orange you used for garnish for the juice.
  15. Drizzle on the top of each cupcake.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2014/01/old-fashioned-cocktail-cupcakes-made-with-a-cakes-under-the-influence-kit-review/
When they’re done, they’ll look like this:

IMG_5402I tasted the batter before it was cooked, and it really did taste like an Old Fashioned. Once cooked, the strength of the flavor had subsided a little since some of the alcohol had cooked out, but I still picked up the taste of an Old Fashioned. The whiskey drizzle on the top really enhanced the cake’s taste too. The consistency of the cake was almost muffin-like and wasn’t too sweet which I liked.

IMG_5405The acrylic stemware snapped into the included serving tray easily and looked pretty fancy once they were all on there. If you use the bases instead of the tray, I found that the tops didn’t snap into them, but rather fit tightly. A couple didn’t fit as tightly, and fell apart when I picked them up.

Since I made some of the cupcakes in the liners and some without, I noticed they cooked differently. The cake in the liners was more perfectly round on top, and the ones without were flatter. The cakes themselves tasted the same, but that might be something to keep in mind if you want a specific look for these cupcakes.

IMG_5416Cakes Under the Influence has many different options so you can find the right product for your lifestyle. Don’t need a full Entertaining Kit? They have other kit options, including a 2-person package. Besides the mini martini molds and stemware, they also have margarita, champagne flutes, and shot glass shapes! If cupcakes aren’t your style, they offer large cake molds and cocktail cookie cutters as well.

These kits are great for adult parties or even a romantic night in. Like I mentioned before, I wish I had known about these when I had my cocktail party, because they would have been perfect! The best thing about this product is, except for the paper liners, it’s all reusable. Next time I throw a cocktail party, you better believe there’s going to be a set of Cake Under the Influence boozy cupcakes on the table.

Connect

Want to find out more about Cakes Under the Influence? Connect with them through any of the ways below:

Win!!

Click here to enter for a chance to win a Two Under the Influence Baking Kit from Cakes Under the Influence!

Tip Junkie Handmade Projects

*** I received this baking kit in return for an honest review of the product. All opinions are true and my own.*** 
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The Conclusion of 24 Days of Advent Calendar Fun: Days 19-24

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These last few days have been busy around here. So much going on for the holidays: baking, present wrapping, last minute present making, etc. With that, the advent calendar has been sort of on a back burner. I haven’t even been able to update the blog about it until now! Three of the days I gave my grandma chocolates, because we were too busy to do any extra activities. But we did get a few fun things done.

Since I’m covering six days in this post, I’ll skip Days 19, 21, and 22 because she only got chocolate those days and there isn’t much to say about it other than that.

Day 20

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On the 20th we made a cute Christmas paper garland kit that I found in the dollar section at Target. It came with stickers, little ornament shapes, and some string. Grandma helped me place the stickers on the ornaments and then I strung it up in our living room.

IMG_5195Day 23

Yesterday we worked on decorating some sugar cookies! I’ve always wanted to try royal icing for cookies but figured that it would be too complicated for my grandma to participate in, so I opted to frost the cookies with canned frosting and let her sprinkle things on them. I also decorated a few since that’s my favorite part of baking.

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I used a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix for this project to make things quick and simple. They turned out fairly good. I might have made them too thin though, because they are a little crunchier than I like. One thing I thought was interesting is how different each batch baked. The first batch was cooked on a pizza stone, and the dough didn’t change its shape much but took way longer to bake. I baked the second batch on a baking pan lined with a silicone mat and they expanded much more than the first cookies and were done at least 5-7 minutes sooner. Of the two, I think I liked the pizza stone cookies more since they still resembled their original shapes.

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I found that detailed decorating with frosting is not very easy, this is probably why people use different icings on cookies but I think our cookies turned out pretty cute.

IMG_5225Day 24

Today we are going to watch another Christmas themed movie as our final advent calendar activity. I chose Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this time. It’s a Christmas classic. I remember one time while watching this movie about 20 years ago, my family’s old grandfather clock that hadn’t worked in years, decided to let out one bong out of nowhere. It’s was really odd. That memory has always stuck with me. Maybe it was Santa letting me know he was on his way.

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I hope my grandma enjoys watching this with me today.

Well, that ends the 24 days of Advent Calendar Fun. I hope you had fun following us on our Christmas adventures this year, and maybe even tried some of the activities yourself. Have a great Christmas tomorrow!

If you’ve missed any of the previous days, here are the links:

You can find instructions for how to make this advent calendar at Holiday Crafts and Creations.

**The snowflakes in the title image are from www.obsidiandawn.com and www.graphicssoft.about.com**

 

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