Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to make Cake Pops

I have made cake pops MANY times and have people asking me all the time how I make them so I decided to show you all. ENJOY!

First you need to bake any kind of cake mix in a 13x9 pan according to the directions.
Once the cake is completely cool you will crumble it into a large bowl leaving no big chunks or pieces.
Add about ¾ cup icing (recipe to follow but you can also use store bought from a can) and mix using your hands.
This gets very messy so remove rings and if you have long nails I would use plastic disposable gloves.
You want to add icing only until it can hold the cake together in a big ball.
Do not add too much (nothing over a cup) because then it gets very slimy and hard to roll into balls. 

Once it is all in a huge ball use a small cookie scoop to get the appropriate amount of cake for your ball.
 I usually fill the scoop and level it off so that they aren’t too big and you get more out of a batch.
Once you have the amount scooped put it into the palm of your hand and roll it into a ball.
Place the balls on cookies sheets lined with parchment paper.

When you have them all done place them uncovered into the refrigerator for SEVERAL hours.
I usually do it overnight. You want the ball to feel slightly stiff and dry.

Take your chocolate melts and melt the whole bag in a double broiler or in a glass bowl in the microwave (see package for details).
If you have white chocolate and would like to add coloring do so at this time.

Lollipop sticks that I used..
Once melted take balls out of frige and take your lollipop sticks and dip the end into the chocolate just enough to coat about ¾ of an inch, then push it through the top center of the ball.

Do all of the balls and once you are done you want to add about a half of a tablespoon of original Crisco shortening to the rest of the chocolate.
This will thin the chocolate enough to coat the balls without damaging their form.

Dip the balls into the chocolate at an angle.
 I usually tip the double broiler to the side to get the chocolate to be deep enough for the ball to sink into.
Roll the ball through the chocolate and as you come up dip just the top of the ball into the chocolate and turn over to dry.

Be sure to not have too much chocolate on them because they will drip everywhere and take too long to dry. You can either put them into Styrofoam, a pop holder or turn them upside down to sit on the top of the pop. Take a look at the stand my husband made me below also for drying the pops.

Once they are covered you can decorate them however you like.
They will need to sit to dry before packaging them or putting them into any wrappers or containers. You do not have to store them in the frige once done but they should be eaten within a few days from making them.

This is the cake pop stand that my husband made for me for drying the pops.
Really all it is is a piece of plastic that he bought at Home Depot.
He drilled holes in it just big enough for the lollipop sticks to fit into.
Then all I do is put it on top of my metal cooling racks that I have for baking.
I think I bought the racks at Target. They came in a package of 3. But after having a disaster of using a large piece of styrafoam and it getting heavy on one side and it dove off the counter with freshly made cake pops I realized I had to find a better way to cool them and this has been a life saver!!

Buttercream Frosting
This serving is WAY more than you will need for pops but if you want to use this for a cake or cupcakes this should work for one batch.

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7-8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cups milk

In a large bowl cream butter with electric mixer until creamy and fluffy. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

I found this recipe on Pinterest from the blog Chocolate Therapy and had to try it. I did not have a package of taco seasoning that it called for so I made my own, which was actually very simple. The tacos turned out amazing! Here is the original recipe below along with the recipe for making your own taco seasoning:

Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

1 envelope Taco Seasoning
6 pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 jar Salsa (16 oz)

Dump everything into a crock pot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork.

For tacos, serve the chicken with soft flour tortillas, lettuce, shredded cheese and sour cream. This is very versatile and can be used for enchiladas, nachos, tostadas, etc. Any leftover chicken can then be used for tortilla soup (make it the next day or freeze the chicken to use at a later time).
Taco Seasoning:
1 Tablespoon minced dried onions
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Stir all into a bowl. Makes the equivalent of a 1 1/4-ounce packet of taco seasoning.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kiddos update

Our little kiddos are growing SO fast! Hudson is now 6 MONTHS old.. Yes 6 months!! I cannot believe how fast the little guy has grown. Just yesterday he finally decided he liked to eat his rice cereal and opened his mouth when the spoon came to him. Then this morning he stayed sitting up on my lap all by himself. It's amazing how quick these new little developments come!
Hailey is now 2 and a quarter years old and is a talking machine! She says complete sentences, has full conversations with us and tells us what she wants and when she wants it.. Can be bossy at times but it is so cute to hear her talk and surprisingly for a 2 year old she has great manners too!
Yes this picture is her covered in markers.. Her Daddy gave her markers then turned his back and she went to town!

Easter Mantel

This year I have decided to start doing more decorations for holidays now that Hailey is getting older. Like I did with Valentine's Day I decided I would also make a few new decorations for Easter and added them to our mantel. I first made a "Happy Easter" banner using my silhouette machine.

Then I made a simple egg decoration using buttons. I got an old frame from the thrift store and painted it yellow, took the glass and other stuff out and cut a piece of white card stock paper to fit. I then drew a faint egg shape and began to fill it with buttons. I laid it all out first then went back and super glued all the buttons down! Easy, cheap and cute!

I also printed an Easter subway art picture from Eighteen 25 and put it into another old frame that I had purchased at the thrift store and repainted. It was also very easy and cheap to put together and it gave my mantel some fun color!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

S'mores Brownies

The most simple and most amazing S'mores brownies

1 box brownie mix (made as directed on box)
About 3 cups miniature marshmallows
About 3/4 of a package of Graham crackers
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 Tablespoon shortening or canola oil
Spray with nonstick cooking spray a 11x7 glass pan
Lay out the Graham crackers to line the bottom of the pan completely
Spread the prepared brownie mix over the crackers
Bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes less than what the brownie box says to cook. I cooked mine for 40 minutes
Check the brownie mix once they seem like they are almost done take them out and cover the top with the miniature marshmallows.
Place back in the oven for about 3-4 minutes to get the marshmallows poofy.
Meanwhile in a small sauce pan melt the chocolate chips with the shortening, add more shortening if needed until it is runny enough to drizzle over the brownies.
Once the brownies are out drizzle with chocolate and ENJOY!

Link Parties
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Uncommon Designs
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