A “Cookie Monster” Birthday

So much preparation for a little birthday party! The past week has been a blur of icing, frosting, flour, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

At the time that I picked the theme for his party, Ben was into two things. Cookies and Cookie Monster. So I decided to go with “Cookies and Monsters”.

My sister in law, Wendi, made the invitations. At the time, these were the colors I was going with, but as the party evolved, the colors changed. As it turned out, Wendi made a LOT more than just the invitations.

We had the party at My Little Adventures. It is a local kid’s gym that also offers many classes for kids up to age six. We were so happy with the party itself. They really went above and beyond to make the birthday boy, his sister, and every single guest feel special.

Isn’t the shirt cute? Wendi made that, too. I had actually ordered a shirt from an Etsy store back in January, and at the last minute (meaning last Tuesday) I got a email saying she couldn’t complete the order. Oh well, Wendi saved the day and I LOVED it! Here’s the back:

Now, I’ll bet you’d like to see the treats?

Here’s a close up of the cake:

And here’s an even better shot:

The inside was polka dot, but it was cut up and handed out before I could get a good picture.

Can you see the polka dots? I got the idea from this post that I found via Pinterest. I baked up some blue, green, orange, and yellow cake pops in Wendi’s Baby Cake Cake Pop machine (there’s Wendi, saving the day again!) and baked them into   the cake. I used Sweetapolita’s chocolate cake recipe and got so many compliments on it. It’s definitely my new go to chocolate cake recipe! I topped it off with some cake pop eye balls like this cake, also found via Pinterest.

To make things a little less messy for the two-year-olds, I made some monster cupcakes.

So, I’m not kidding. I said before I have been having computer issues, and my lap top just decided to freeze me out of my photos. So I will have to let the computer rest for a little bit and hope I can get in there later to share the cookies and party favors.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake (Part 2)

Hi! I promised I would be back with the rest of the recipe, and here I am!

The only problem is -I spent the day at the beach with my husband, my almost 5 year old and my 15 month old. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. The best part was finding out about “wrist band Wednesdays”. Every Wednesday, from 1-4, you can purchase a wristband for 20$ and get unlimited rides. Usually the ride tickets are $1.00 a piece, and of course the rides range from 1-5 tickets each. It was such a treat to be able to say to Ellie, “Sure! Go on the Scrambler a few more times!” Even better, was when she met a new friend, so we didn’t have to go on the rides with her! When 4:00 rolled around it was easy to lure her away from the rides with the promise that we could go dip our toes in the ocean. This turned in to a full out spontaneous soak in the water fully dressed. Who knew that a baby, who screamed in mortal terror when faced with the man who makes balloon animals, would L-O-V-E the ocean and everything about the ocean and the sand. I just couldn’t resist the cuteness. Fortunately, I had had the forsight to pack the kids bathing suits into the car. So after their impromptu swim, we were able to change them into their bathing suits while we let their clothes dry.

Yes, the problem is that I am now exhausted, a little sunburned, and fully jacked up on Johnson’s Popcorn, and when I am this tired, I tend to ramble. So, I will finally get on with the rest of the recipe. (You can find the first part here…)

My base cookie dough is from “The New Basic’s Cookbook”. I have been using this recipe for as long as I can remember baking cookies. Over time I have tweaked it a bit to make it my own. For this recipe, however, I went strait from the book.

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 6 packed TBSP light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • chocolate chips (I usually use Ghirardelli’s 60% dark chocolate, but for this, I used Nestle’s mini chips)
  1. Cream butter and both sugars in  the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
  2. Add egg and vanilla, and continue to beat until mixed
  3. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture until incorporated.
  5. Add chocolate chips

From here, press a tablespoon of dough into the prepared cupcake pans. If you wanted to make the cookies, you could scoop the dough (I use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop) onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.

The cupcake recipe I used is adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I suggest you buy the July issue while it is on the stands. There are a TON of great ideas, including the inspiration for these cupcakes. I adjusted things a little to make 2 dozen cupcakes as opposed to 3 dozen.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks softened butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 c sugar and 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. Whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Cream together butter and both sugars in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  4. Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture.
  5. Scoop about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of cupcake mixture into the baking cups over the cookie dough.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes (That time is according to Martha, it actually took mine closer to 25 minutes. When in doubt press the top of a cupcake lightly with your fingertip. If the cake holds it’s shape, it is ready. If it sinks, bake for another minute, then check again.)

The frosting is adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • milk to reach desired consistency, about 2 tablespoons
  1. Cream shortening and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
  2. Mix in confectioner’s sugar.
  3. Add salt and flour
  4. Add milk until you have the consistency you want
And that’s it! Once the cupcakes are baked, allow to cool completely and top with frosting (you can pipe it on however you would like, I tried to pile it high, but knew I wouldn’t have enough frosting. If you like a lot of frosting, you may need to adjust your amounts. The original recipe actually calls for more, but I didn’t have enough shortening, so I worked with what I had.)
I hope I didn’t ramble too much, especially since I am coming down from my caramel popcorn high, and I am just realizing the true depths of my exhaustion.
I hope you try these, please let me know if you do!
Night!!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake

I am very new to this blogging thing. I know the two biggest rules: One- be yourself and write about what makes you happy (or miserable if that’s the type of blog you write) and, two- always give credit to your sources!!

I know good recipes and tutorials help, but it is great photography that catches the eye. I am working on this. I have a great camera as far as “point and shoot”, and I keep saying my next big purchase will be a really good digital camera with all sorts of cool lenses and a big book on photoshop for dummies. I am also doing extensive research on Pinterest, trying to find the best photography tutorials and DIY lighting and backdrops… but I keep getting distracted by all of the shiny things :)

What I am completely clueless about is follow-up. As in- how am I going to follow up this recipe? I have a couple of things in the works, and a couple of things floating around in my head. But NOTHING like Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes With Cookie Dough Frosting, Topped With A Chocolate Chip Roll-out Cookie Decorated To Look Like A Chocolate Chip Cookie!!!!!!!!!!

pour yourself a cold glass of milk and read on

Cupcake concept inspired by, and cupcake recipe by Martha Stewart. Frosting recipe adapted from  “The Girl Who Ate Everything“. The recipe for the cookie base is from “The New Basics Cookbook”. The cookie topper is my own recipe.

First, I will outline the steps involved, then I will give the recipe.

  1. Make the roll-out cookie dough, cut out with a circle cutter, and if you want, use a scalloped circle to add a bite. Bake, cool, decorate, and let dry. (I used light brown and piped dark brown “chips” using the wet-on-wet method -for an excellent how-to check out SweetSugarBelle.com.)
  2. Make the base dough. Line 24 standard cupcake/muffin tins with cupcake wrappers, and press about a tablespoon of cookie dough into the bottom of the cups.
  3. Make the cupcake batter, add two tablespoons of cupcake batter to the cups on top of the cookie dough. Bake.
  4. Make frosting.
  5. After cupcakes have baked and cooled, top with frosting and cookie.

Roll-out dough:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (I usually like Ghiradelli’s but I couldn’t find them this time, so I used Nestles)
  1. Cream butter and both sugars until smooth
  2. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth
  3. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth
  4. Fold in mini chips
  5. Chill for about an hour
  6. Roll out and cut shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 11 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Decorate with royal icing

(Oops… just realized that I forgot to mention to preheat oven then bake cookies at 350 degrees… sorry!)

Royal Icing (this is my version which, after much trial and error, I have found works best for me. It’s more of a cross between RI and glaze I think…):

  • 16 ounces confectioners sugar (I always weigh it)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (clear flavoring if I plan to keep my icing white, pure extract if I will be dying it anyway)
  • 1 overflowing teaspoon of light corn syrup
  1. Place sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment
  2. Add water and start beating on a very slow speed
  3. Add vanilla and corn syrup and increase speed to medium
  4. Beat for 2-3 minutes, stop and scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. Continue beating for another minute or two until soft peaks form. Transfer to a tupperware for storage.
  5. Spoon the amount you will be using into a small bowl and add gel or paste food coloring and water until you reach the color and consistency you need, let sit covered with a damp towel for several minutes  to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface so you can pop them with a spatula (or a plastic baby spoon which is what I use).

I realize that I don’t beat my icing to a stiff peak, like EVERYONE recommends. This is just the way I have found that gives me a shiny smooth cookie. I also get cratering a lot, maybe my consistency  is the reason? If you can offer any advice on that, please leave me a comment!

By cratering, I mean the little caved in areas in the caterpillar's small sections.

I just realized I am dangerously close to breaking another unspoken blogging rule. This post is getting way too long. So go ahead and make  your roll out cookie toppers. They will store nicely in an airtight container. I will be back later this week with the rest of the recipe.

Thanks for reading!

I shared this post with Hugs and Cookies XOXO

Peep Filled Chocolate Cupcakes (an experiment)

I saw these really cute chocolate covered tuxedo peeps on The Family Kitchen a while back and I REALLY wanted to make them to send into school with Ellie. I found a rainbow of bunny peeps at Walmart and bought two packs of each color. After a few, it was obvious that mine were not going to turn out as cute as the ones I saw online. Probably because I decided to put them on sticks, and didn’t wait for the white chocolate to harden completely before dipping them into the dark. I don’t have that kind of patience, and I ran out of white chocolate. Needless to say, I wound up with four packs of Peeps slowly going stale in the pantry.

This morning, I decided to save those Peeps from their hard, stale, fate. I am sure I saw peep filled cupcakes somewhere online, but no search brought them up so I made my own.

I started with a recipe for basic chocolate cupcakes (the one I usually use is from “Hello, Cupcake” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson). I cut the Peeps in half (ok, I beheaded the bunnies), and I wasn’t sure if they would turn out best if I placed the halves on top of the batter or buried them underneath. So I did both:

Bunnies on top.....

Bunnies underneath.

After baking:

The bunnies on top stayed on top, they just melted. The buried bunnies completely disintegrated.

A little empty inside, where a bunny once was.

So I topped those hollow cupcakes with a little fluff and popped them into the broiler for a few minutes.

The cupcakes on top are just topped with fluff and sprinkled with yellow sanding sugar, the ones in the middle are the bunny heads that melted on top, and the bottom cupcakes are topped with fluff and broiled.

"Peep-a-boo!"

(If anyone knows who did this originally… the post I may or may not have seen sometime in the last few weeks, please let me know so I can link back to the original. Thanks!)