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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

{Frozen Cupcakes}

Today is the birthday of my friend. She's my incredible, amazing, awesome, geek twin.

Happy Birthday, Darla!!!

I wish I could be there to take you out to lunch and hang out, but a few thousand miles put a little kink in that plan. So... virtual cupcakes it is! Darla is having a Frozen themed birthday this year because she love, love, loves the movie. I knew right away what I was going to do. I was going to make Elsa cupcakes for her!

I knew the cupcakes needed to be a vanilla cake with a vanilla buttercream and they needed to be topped in "ice". First thing I thought of was disco dust. Disco dust, if you've never used it, is AMAZING. You won't be able to believe that it is edible. It's SO sparkly and looks just like a super fine craft glitter. Glitter on cake? I'm in!

Sadly, it does not photograph well. I really wish you could see how it sparkles. Go buy some today, ok?

This needed more than just a little sparkle. I considered white chocolate or fondant snowflakes, but... that wasn't right. Finally, I thought of some cupcakes I'd seen at Halloween. They were gory with broken glass and red sauce, but the idea would work here!

If you've seen the movie (or even the commercials), you've probably seen the ice Elsa creates. That's where this idea came from.

Shards of ice atop pillows of sparkly white buttercream.

I found these shiny "Elsa-ish" cupcake wrappers on Bake It Pretty.

Sugar Glass is just a hard candy, but... since you want this as clear as possible to look like ice, you have to go VERY SLOW. This sugar glass took me an hour. It still has a very light amber tint to it, but it's as good as I could do. If you cook too fast, the sugar will begin to caramelize and you will end up with a very amber glass. We don't want that for our ice! It's definitely not hard to make, it's just tedious and requires a lot of patience.

But............ isn't the effect worth it??

I think so!

However, if you want to make this easier, and I can't blame you if you do, try using purchased rock candy. The look will be different, but the effect will be similar!

A very happy birthday to you, my friend! May it be festive, fanciful, and Frozen.

Love ya!


Frozen Cupcakes
by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

Vanilla (white) cupcakes (any recipe/box mix will do)
Vanilla Buttercream
Disco Dust edible glitter
sugar glass

Sugar Glass
adapted from All Recipes

1 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 3/4 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix ingredients in a medium saucepan; SLOWLY bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), stirring often. Keep temperature on low to medium. Do not go over medium. It will thicken as the water evaporates. It will take a long time to reach 300 (up to an hour). When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a rimmed metal baking pan. Cool until completely hardened. Break as desired.

Monday, February 10, 2014

{Strawberries & Creme Parfaits}

I have ODPD.

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there, in fact, I know Darla at Bakingdom suffers from the same affliction. Right now though, people just don't get me.

Obsessive Disney Planning Disorder. I haven't googled yet, but I feel pretty certain it's a real thing. Bean and the Hubs are making fun of me because I watched my Disney Planning DVD. Again. I may have, perhaps, even ordered the new 2014 DVD (which is probably exactly the same). I've read numerous websites, made lists, crunched numbers, downloaded an app, and started a pin board on Pinterest. That doesn't sound THAT crazy for a quickly approaching vacation you say?  Well, um, ours is not for 7 months. Hey, I'm a planner, what can I say?

Seven months is a long time, you know. I have to distract myself, or I'll go crazy. So, I made these parfaits. They are quick and easy. You'll just need a little cooling time for the pudding, but other than that, these can be made in a matter of minutes.

This is a basic, homemade vanilla pudding with crushed strawberries and whipped cream. I topped these off with Pepperidge Farm Verona Strawberry cookies and a few red sprinkles. You can find the cute heart pick at Bake It Pretty.

These were a huge hit in my house. Even hubs said they were "pretty tasty" and he's not a big pudding kind of guy.

Well, I'd love to stick around and chat, but there's much more to read on Disney. I mean, Bean and I only spent ONE day there at Magic Kingdom (post). This trip we will be going to all four parks over four days, PLUS Universal Orlando and back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (post) including the new section of Diagon Alley! SO. MUCH. TO. PLAN.

 Between Darla and I, I feel we will have the best planned vacation ever. We can't wait!


Strawberries & Creme Parfaits
by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

Pudding: *
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt

Add 2 cups milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat. In another bowl, combine cornstarch with remaining milk. Add egg yolks and whisk together well. When milk/sugar mix comes to a full boil, remove saucepan from the heat. Stir in the cornstarch mix. Pudding will start to thicken. Return to the heat and cook for 1-2 minutes.

*you can also use pudding mix (instant OR cook)

For the Strawberry Puree:
 1 cup strawberries, fresh, or frozen that have been thawed
1 tablespoon sugar

Whipped Cream:**
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the cream and sugar together on high. When peaks start to form, stop, add the vanilla and then continue beating until stiff peaks form.

**You can also use Cool Whip for this recipe

To assemble

After pudding is totally cool, assemble in clear bowls/jars/etc.

Pudding, strawberries, whipped cream, pudding,  pipe whipped cream to top. If not serving right away, reserve the final whipped cream to just prior to eating. Top with sprinkles and a cookie, if desired.

*Pudding recipe lightly adapted from Taste of Home

Sunday, February 2, 2014

{Super Bowl Eats & Treats}

Hey, today is a HUGE event, did you know???? Millions of people waiting, with bated breath, to see....

Punxsutawney Phil! He came out of his hole and... saw his shadow! What? I'm pretty sure Groundhog Season just opened up. Be careful out there, Phil.

Ohhhhh... the other thing? Yeah, well, there's this little football game on today called "The Super Bowl". Ever hear of it? Yeah... me too, but I haven't sat down and watched a Super Bowl game since the Tim Krumrie broke his leg, in what has been dubbed the worst injury in Super Bowl history; when the Cincinnati Bengals went up against the San Fran 49ers. Uh, yeah, I was like 14 and that was 1988. So.

However, I know I'm in the minority here, so I put together a post of quick ideas for your Super Bowl Party.

I have many, many more ideas under my "Get togethers" section.

Pretzel Turtles
 Pretzel Turtles take about 10 minutes to make total. Sweet and salty. Perfect for football

Ranch Cheese Ball
A twist on regular ole cheeseball

The Big Cheesy Dip
cheese, meat, chips, c'mon, you KNOW that's a football snack

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks
easy to make & tasty too

Layered Drinks
how cool would this be in your team's colors?

Caramel Crunch Party Mix
add M&Ms in your team's colors instead of the Christmas colors pictured

Ham Sams
Bean's favorite sandwich. Fast, easy, and delicious.

Have a fun time! Go your team go!

Me? I'll be watching Sherlock, thanks :)



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