Monday, December 28, 2009

Tis the Season for

Cupcakes! At least in this house it is. For Christmas this year, I made 3 dozen cupcakes to take over to my husband's Uncle's house. I had 1 dozen Christmas lights cupcakes, 1 dozen medallion cupcakes and 1 dozen cranberry upside down cupcakes. I will admit, the first two cupcakes where the same flavor, chocolate with vanilla frosting, just decorated different. Also, I don't have my usual pictures of the cupcakes. In all the Christmas madness, I forgot to snap away here at home, so pictures were not taken until we were at the party. To be more concise, until I was in the food line and my husband was waiting to get his dinner. So thank you to my husband Jeff who took the pictures for me, so I could share them with you.

First up we have the Cranberry Upside Down Cupcakes. I use to make these all the time (in bigger form) at the catering company I worked at. We would take extra cranberries, glaze them and then but them on top, which I had planned to do but unfortunately, I ran out of cranberries. I decided to add some tangerine zest to the batter this time around, and I think it added a nice touch.

For Christmas, my sister got me the Hello Cupcake book. In it, I found the recipe to make these Christmas light cupcakes. I had planned to make all the cupcakes look like the lights, but after doing a dozen of them, I realized my time was running short (naps were almost over), so I stopped at that dozen.

I made red, yellow, blue and green lights. Some of the party goers thought they looked like turtles.

So here is what I whipped up for the second dozen of Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. I took a disk of fondant, and using another gift from my sister, I embossed the design on the disk. Then I painted them with red metallic edible dust and some edible pearls. I really like these guys for just coming up with them on the fly.

And here are the cupcakes in yet another Christmas gift (this time from my aunt and uncle). I love this carrier. It holds 2 dozen cupcakes and when not in use, it is collapsible. If you plan to make and take a lot of cupcakes places in the new year, I highly recommend getting one.

Hope everyone had a good Christmas, and that you are enjoying your gifts as much as I have been. Next week, how a cupcake started New Years.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sweet Treats

Tis the season to have lots of goodies in your house right? Well, I did, but they just weren't mine to keep. This year I had a record breaking 39 dozen cookies ordered, made and shipped to varies places in the US. This was great for my little business, but not so great for the cookie status here at the house. For this holiday season and blog, I had thoughts of doing a 12 days of Christmas cookie segment on here, with some of the cookies having ingredients that match their day. But then visions of sugar plums started fighting with those crazy lords a leapin', and before I knew it, it was only a few days before Christmas. Oh well, maybe next year.

I did however manage to pull it all together and make some cookies for my family. Of course once again my thoughts were bigger then my actions, and I made far less kinds of cookies then I had planned, but I am happy with the ones I made. So here you are, a small but tasty collection of Christmas cookies (with recipes).

What yummy treats will this box hold... (corny I know, it's early and the Pepsi hasn't fully kicked in yet)

First up, my Mom's Almond Tea cookies. These are my favorite cookies and I look forward to them every year. You will need a cookie press for these guys.

Almond Tea Cookies:

1 cup salted butter (trust me, do not use the unsalted kind)
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract
maraschino cherries, cut and quartered

Preheat oven to 450

Combine you dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Add flour mix in small batches. Add almond extract, and the batter is ready to go.

Put batter into cookie pressed with flower shaped cookie disk. Press cookies out onto a ungreased cookie sheet. Top with a quarter of cherry.

Bake for 4-6 minutes (depending on your oven) or until cookies are lightly browned.

You can eat these cookies right away, but they are best if they sit at least one day. The almond extract really stands out if they have that extra time.

Next we have some Gingerbread men ready to face the cold weather. I'm not the biggest fan of gingerbread, but I do like decorating them, and really liked making these guys.

Gingerbread Cookies:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg until light and fluffy. Add flour mix in small batches, and mix until blended. Use the dough immediately or wrap up and refrigerate dough for a week.

If using right away, roll dough between two pieces of wax paper until about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out gingerbread men and place 1 inch apart on a greased cookie tray. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until firm but not dark.

Allow cookies to fully cool before you frost them. Now frost with your favorite icing recipe (I like to use royal icing) and decorate to you heart's content.

A few tips...even if you are not going to use the dough right away, roll it out between the sheets of wax paper so it's ready to go when you do want it. This way you don't have to have to dough come to room temperature again to roll it our once you have refrigerated it. Also, if you line your baking sheets with parchment paper, you won't have to grease the cookie sheets (a little cleaner this way) If you use royal icing to frost your cookies, allow the icing to dry 8 hours so if you draw on the cookies with food coloring makers (like I did), the markers won't be breaking through the icing.

And last, but certainly not least, Peanut Butter Blossoms. I made my version with what has to be the easiest and the tastiest peanut butter cookies recipe. Three ingredients, that all it takes to make the cookies. Thanks again Nicole for posting this recipe on Facebook!

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie:
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
1/3 c sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients together. Scoop out into balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned. Once out of the oven, top each cookie with a Hershey Kiss and let cool.

One quick tip...before you bake your cookies, try to scoop all the batter out and then count to see how many you have. Then you can unwrap all the Hershey kisses and have then ready to go once your cookies come out of the oven.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A 1st for Sweet Natalie.

Last week I worked on making the cake and smash cake for my friend Aimee's daughter Natalie. Aimee had picked a cupcake theme for the party and showed me the decorations she had ordered. After looking at them, I had my idea for the cake and smash cupcake. And Aimee made it very easy on me by letting me make what ever shape cake I wanted and allowing me free reign in the decorating. Her only request was chocolate, and chocolate it was.

Dark chocolate cake with a chocolate fudge filling cover in a light pink buttercream.

First step, pink strips.

Next I added a touch of purple.

And then finished the sides with the white fondant strips.

Then for some more color, and to hide the end of the strips, I put pink, purple and yellow dots for a border.

I got a oversized muffin tin as an early Christmas gift, and was very exciterd to get to use it right away. I put extra buttercream on top, to make sure I had enough of a top for the fondant to sit on and look like the cupcake from the decorations.

Some more dots for sprinkles and topped with a fondant cherry.

Happy 1st Birthday Natalie!

Natalie has two little friends who also have their birthdays around this time, so Aimee asked if I could make them each a cupcake to go along with Natalie's smash cake. I hope all the little girls enjoyed their cupcakes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gingy and Frosty

So here we go, into the crazy baking month of December. Sorry I really had no good post for you last week. With trying to get things ready for a very early Christmas, a school field trip, and the usual level of craziness here, I just couldn't get any pictures up of the cupcakes I made for a friend who just had a baby. Yep, I have another version of the baby face to show you. This time they are on cupcakes, not cookies. These little cuties where made for my birthday buddy Drina and her new little guy Emery. Congrats again Drina, Carl, and Alec on the newest member of your family.

Sleeping babies are just the cutiest in real life and in cupcakes.

Last week we drove out East for my Mom's side of the family's Christmas party. We hadn't been to the party since 2004 when I was pregnant with Samantha. And since I am basically required by law to bring desserts to any party I attend, I made some cupcakes.

I decided that I would make two toppers for the cupcakes, and of course they had to have a Christmas time theme. So off to my favorite cake supply store I went, to get a small snowman and gingerbreadman cookie cutter. Below, you will find step by step (well pretty much, as I did forget a picture of one of the gingerbreadman step) of how I made Frosty and Gingy.

12 little snowmen ready to go.

Topped with the traditional black top hat.

Red scarfs to keep Frosty warm.

2 pieces of coal (well fondant at least) for his eyes.

And a carrot nose. Frosty is ready to go.

Now on to Gingy.

White strips by his arms and legs.

And here's where I miss some pictures, like his eyes and his three little buttons. Sorry about that, crazy week and all you know. Anyhoo, here is the final product...

Gingy and Frosty on icy blue fondant disc. Gingy was a chocolate cupcake with chocolate peanut butter frosting and Frosty was a chocolate cupcake with apricot frosting. Both were a big hit.

And since no one responded to my question last week, I'm posting it again that we are in the last month of the year, I have been thinking about the new year and what I'm going to make to post on here. So my question to you is what would you like to see? Is there anything out there that you always wanted to try, but are afraid to or don't know how to make it? Post a comment and I will try (the best that I can) to make what you ask for. I will try to do something once a month in the coming new year that you all suggest. I think this can be fun, and it's always great to read all your comments (the cookie giveaway was a blast). So have fun, get creative and I'll see what we can come up with together for the new year .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Quickie

Today is going to be a quick post, because I really don't have anything to show you all. I have been busy making stuff, but I have this rule that I don't post what I have been working on, if the person I have been making something for hasn't seen it yet. I think it's only fair that they be the first to see their cupcakes (cookies, cakes, etc) especially if it's a order they placed with me. Now I do have something I should be able to post tomorrow afternoon, if I can find the time with the mad dash that will be going on here today and tomorrow. You see, tomorrow night we head out East to celebrate Christmas with my family. And even though I've been crazy busy with decorating the house, celebrating Thanksgiving, getting a new tooth, and trying to get everything together for this trip, I have been working on special cupcakes to take with. I will post them next Tuesday as everyone I made them for, will have seen them. And I have a special treat for a friend that I will be seeing tomorrow, and that's what I can post tomorrow after I get back for Samantha's class field trip (yep, have that this week too...I'm telling you crazy week for us here at the Mommaerts' house).

I do have a question for you that we are in the last month of the year, I have been thinking about the new year and what I'm going to make to post on here. So my question to you is what would you like to see? Is there anything out there that you always wanted to try, but are afraid to or don't know how to make it? Post a comment and I will try (the best that I can) to make what you ask for. I will try to do something once a month in the coming new year that you all suggest. I think this can be fun, and it's always great to read all your comments (the cookie giveaway was a blast). So have fun, get creative and I'll see what we can come up with together for the new year.

Also, I want to say thank you for those that have voted for me in the Iron Cupcake Earth Challenge. There is still time to vote if you haven't and want to. Just go to and vote for A Baker's Remix. I believe you can vote once a day for three days. Voting is open until December 4th.