Monday, September 27, 2010

Raiders Cupcakes

I had an order a couple weekends ago for some Raiders football cupcakes. It was a lot of fun to make the little jerseys and helmets and all :) I had to have my husband help me out with these because I don't follow football at all, and I needed someone to tell me who was worthy of being on a fondant jersey. Luckily, even though he's a Niners fan, he agreed to lend me his expertise ;)

I made eight jerseys:
Aren't they cute? I need to find some teensy block number cookie cutters, because I had to cut these out by hand and it wasn't always easy! But I was quite pleased with the result.
Then I made some little helmets. For being made out of gumpaste, I think they look pretty darn good ;) You can't really tell in the picture, but they're even shiny silver! Gotta love luster dust.
Here's everything together...see my little football?
Finally, boxed up and ready to go!

The cupcakes were half vanilla, half chocolate, and all were filled with ganache and topped with vanilla buttercream. Yum!

Coming soon: pumpkin and caramel apple cupcakes! I'm hoping to make these early next week, but I actually have a large cookie order for next weekend, so they may have to wait for the week after. In any case, sugar cookies and Halloween cupcakes are coming your way soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Great American Dine Out

We interrupt normally scheduled programming for this announcement...

If I told you you could help to fight childhood hunger in America by going out to dinner, would you? I would! And we can!

This coming week, September 19-25, is the Great American Dine Out, put on by Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. All you have to do to help is find a participating restaurant and eat out during Sept 19-25! Easy-peasy! Click here to see some of the ways the funds raised during the Dine Out will help.

This event is all across the nation! Unfortunately, thus far the only restaurants in my little valley area here that are participating are Chevy's, Elephant Bar, and Boston Market, all in Modesto. But hey, at least those are good restaurants :) There are a few places in Fresno and Stockton as well, but all in all, a very poor showing from the central valley. Ah well.

Click here to find a participating restaurant near you! Then, eat out as much as you can from September 19-25!

Finally, please check out Cupcake Rehab! She's got some great, great info about the Great American Dine Out and hunger in America in this post (plus some awesome pics of her homegrown vegetables). And browse around the rest of her site to see some mouth-watering cupcakes!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yummy-Nummy-Scrummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mmmm, who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? I've always been happy with the recipe you find on the back of the Nestle chocolate chips bag, but when I saw these big, thick, yummy-looking cookies on How To Eat A Cupcake, I had to try them! Here is a link to the recipe I (mostly) followed, and here is my very, very slightly modified version:

Preheat oven to 375.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs, straight from fridge
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 c chocolate chips
Mix together butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Add eggs one at a time, and vanilla, and beat on low speed until combined.
Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop great big gobs of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Like 3-4 tbsp.
Bake until edges are slightly brown and the tops are lightly golden. The original recipe says this will take 15-20 mins. My cookies took 11-12 mins, and I know they weren't smaller because she got 21 and I got 18. The point is, keep an eye on your cookies!

As you can see, if you read the original recipe, my only changes were to use dark brown sugar plus regular granulated sugar instead of light brown (which I only did because we didn't have any light brown sugar), to add a half-teaspoon of vanilla, and to leave out the walnuts. Just not my thing.
I loooooove pictures of stacked-up cookies. I don't know why. Just love them :)
Anyway, apparently these cookies are copy-cats of Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookies. I've never heard of Levain before, but it's in New York and apparently has quite a following. If these cookies are decent copy-cats, and if the rest of their goodies are just as scrumptious, I can certainly see why! These cookies are so tasty and, in my opinion, just the perfect chocolate chip cookie consistency. They aren't cakey, or too gooey, or too crispy. Just right. Mmmmmm.
All that's missing from this picture is a tall, cold glass of milk :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Day at the (Cupcake) Beach

Just a quick post to show off some pictures here! ;)

I made these cupcakes for a 50th birthday last weekend. The lady who ordered them was throwing a surprise party for her sister. The sister wanted to go to the beach, but of course ended up with a party instead, so I was asked to make beach-themed cupcakes. I've only recently started working with gumpaste (it's sort of like edible modeling clay--similar to fondant, but stiffer), so I was quite pleased with with way these turned out :)

We've got a nice beach umbrella and some towels, and of course a picnic basket for a yummy lunch!
Every girl needs her accessories! I was asked to make some high heels and a handbag as well as the beach cupcakes. I wasn't sure at first how to make high heels that would be cohesive with the rest of my beachy cupcakes, but I decided on some nice espadrilles :) I added in a sun hat as well, and I actually ended up liking that the most out of all the accessories.
Then we have some sand dollars, a starfish, a crab, and a sand castle! Everything is out of proportion, but really, does anyone mind? I don't think so.
When everything was done, the sand castle was my absolute favorite piece. So here's a little extra picture of it :)
The others (like my mom and aunt) who were around all seemed to love the crab, so here's a bonus pic of him as well. He was actually fairly quick and easy, and turned out so well!
Here is everything together in the box, ready to be delivered! Happy birthday Jeanette, and I hope you loved your cupcakes!

Coming up next week: Raiders football cupcakes!