Spring Cupcake Bouquet…

 cupcake bouquet

 I love wandering through the craftstore aisles this time of year.  Up here in Minnesota, winters can seem to drag on forever but after Valentine’s Day all the spring craft items come out and they seem to put a spring back in one’s step!

The other day during one of my craft aisle wanderings, I came across these floral-shaped baking cups…

wilton baking cups

I fell in love with all the ruffles…

wilton baking cups

I thought these would work great for a cupcake bouquet, along with a few artificial flowers tucked in here and there…

cupcake bouquet

 Wouldn’t this bouquet be perfect for Easter as the centerpiece for a brunch table? Or maybe as a gift for mom on Mother’s Day or well, any other special occasion where sweets and flowers go hand in hand?…  

To get started, you will first need to find a container and with all the Easter baskets in the stores right now, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something cute, pastel and perfect :)

I found this one with little pink embroidered flowers. Soooo cute….

easter basket

 
Next, prepare the container…

Cut green floral foam so that it fits snugly inside. You can hot glue it to the inside of the container, if you wish, so that it doesn’t shift on you while assembling the bouquet…

Then, prepare the cake batter (from the recipe of your choice) for the cupcakes…

making cake batter beaters

Then, if you look at the baking cups, you will notice a sort of “line” on the inside…

baking cupsPour the batter into the cups up to this line…

cupcake flowers

cupcake flowersPlace the baking cups on a cookie sheet and bake according to your recipe’s directions and then let them cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling down, prepare the skewers. Take large gumdrops…

large white gumdrops (You can usually find these in a drugstore in the candy aisle) and slide them down about 1 inch from the skewer’s tip…

Take a piece of cardboard and cut out circles slightly smaller than the diameter of the bottom of the baking cups. Poke a hole through the centers of the cardboard discs…

cupcake bouquet

Slide them over the tip of the skewers so that they rest on the surface of the gumdrops…

cupcake bouquet

When the cupcakes have completely cooled, take a small stick pin and pierce the bottom of the baking cups in the center to make a small hole. Remove the pin.

cupcake bouquet

** Be sure that your cupcakes have thoroughly cooled. The baking cups will be much firmer and easier to work with when the cupcakes are cold…

Take one of the prepared skewers and stick it into the baking cup’s bottom, into the hole you made with the pin…

cupcake bouquet

Take a decorator’s bag fitted with a star tip and begin piping on little stars to create a center for your cupcake flower…

cupcake bouquet

Then sprinkle yellow nonpareils over the top…

cupcake bouquet

 

cupcake bouquet

Stick the completed cupcake flowers into a brick of green floral foam until you are ready to assemble your bouquet.

Add the first cupcake flower to the container and trim it to its desired length using a sharp wire cutter. Add the filler of your choice. ( I used silk flowers and a little sheer green cloth ribbon as my filler…)

Keep alternating adding cupcake flowers and filler until your bouquet is finished!

***********

A couple of months ago, I found these cute little garden-themed stickers at the craft store…

garden stickers

 I knew they would come in handy someday and yeah, today was the day!

I took a small white gumdrop and trimmed it down with a scissors. I slid it onto the tip of a skewer…

cupcake bouquet

And then peeled off one of those cute little dragonfly stickers and stuck it onto the gumdrop!…

garden stickersWhen inserted next to the cupcake flowers, he appeared to be hovering over the bouquet! Cute!… :)

dragonfly sticker

My passion is turning sweets into arrangements that appear like real floral bouquets. If you would like to see more ideas for floral-themed edible bouquets, check out my other site at Floralcookiebouquets.com  where I feature floral cookie E-tutorials.

Right now Floralcookiebouquets.com is  all about spring floral cookie bouquets! (Please click on the highlighted words for more information…)

Daffodil cookies…

daffodil cookies

 

white daffodil cookies

easter cookiesPrim rose cookies…

prim rose cookies

Peony cookies…

peony cookies

and many other floral cookies! You can check them out at Floralcookiebouquets.com

 See you there! :)

Caramel Pecan french toast

snowflakes

Snowflakes… Up here in Minnesota, we have usually seen quite a few of these by now! But this year, it is still fairly green outside. So if you are yearning to see more of these little sparkling beauties, why not make a Snowflake Cookie bouquet?

To make it, just use the technique found in my DVD and instead of using floral-shaped cutters to make flowers, use snowflake cutters to make snowflakes!

snowflakes

 

snowflakes

Are you like me and already wondering what to serve Christmas morning for breakfast? I love serving french toast but I can’t say I enjoy standing at the stove frying it while all the festivities are going on or dealing with all the mess, if there are guests in the house.

Here is a breakfast dish perfect for Christmas morning or any other morning!  Upside-down Caramel Pecan French toast!…

caramel french toast

This heavenly dish is wonderful to make because there is no frying required – except for the sausage and onion filling inside! It starts out with a caramel-y layer on the bottom, followed by a layer of Texas toast dipped in a cinnamon maple- flavored batter, then a layer of sausage and onion topped with more of the dipped-bread. It is baked and then the pan is flipped over and out comes this gooey caramel french toast…

 caramel french toastNo butter or syrup needed for this french toast! It sort of reminds me of a caramel cinnamon roll but savory-tasting with the sausage and onions inside. Oh, and did I mention,  your guests will drool when they see it laying there on the platter?…

pecan french toast

I hope you are all having a fun-filled holiday season! 

 Upside-down Caramel Pecan French Toast

Prepare a 13×9 inch cake pan by first spraying it with cooking spray. Take a sheet of parchment paper and press into the pan so that the bottom and sides are covered with the paper (spraying the pan first helps the parchment paper stick to the pan so that it doesn’t shift around). Then spray the paper lightly with the cooking spray. Set aside.

Sprinkle onto an ungreased cookie sheet:

      ¾ c chopped pecans

Toast them in a 400 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Watch them carefully as nuts can burn easily… 

Into a heavy saucepan put:

      1 ½ c brown sugar

      ¾ c butter

      1/3 c milk

Heat until sugar has completely melted and mixture is smooth after being whisked. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and then sprinkle with the toasted pecans. Let this layer cool completely…

 Meanwhile into a skillet place:

      1 lb. sage-flavored pork bulk sausage ( regular flavored sausage will work too)

      1  large onion, finely chopped

When the sausage has been browned and the onions are soft, remove from heat and empty the pan onto a layer of paper towels to absorb the grease.

Into a large mixing bowl whisk together:

      7 eggs

      1-1/2 c milk

      1 T flour

      1 t salt

      1 t vanilla

      1 t maple flavoring

      2 t cinnamon

      ¼ t nutmeg

      ½ t garlic powder

      2 t onion powder 

Whisk this together. Then dip into this, one by one until saturated:

      6 slices of Texas style bread ( thick sliced bread)

 Evenly place the 6 slices over the caramel and pecan layer. Evenly sprinkle the sausage mixture over this and then dip:

      6 more slices Texas style bread

into the batter and place over the sausage. Pour any remaining batter evenly over the bread and place into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until toast is done. Let the pan sit for about one minute then place a serving platter upside down onto the cake pan and quickly invert the setup. Be careful, the caramel is very hot! Slowly  peel off the parchment paper and serve. Makes 12 stuffed triangles! 

See you after Christmas when I am going to show you a fun bouquet idea using peppermint candy canes!

Happy Holidays to all of you and safe travels to those of you who will be on the road!

Baked Blackberry French Toast

lilacs

 I love lilacs, partly because they remind of my Grandma. She loved the color lavender…

lilacs

My mom once told me lilacs look best in blue mason jars. You know, I think she was right!  That beautiful blue color of the mason jar  is the perfect complimentary color to lavender…

 

blue mason jar

 

They had these tantalizing plump berries on sale at the market…

blackberries

blackberries

I picked up a couple of containers of those beautiful berries. My husband loves blackberries and I’ve been wanting to try something new for breakfast…

How does Baked Blackberry French Toast sound?…

baked blackberry french toast

lilac blossom

Baked Blackberry French Toast

Into a medium-sized heavy saucepan put:

      1/2 c butter

Melt over low heat, then add:

       1 c firmly packed brown sugar

      2 c milk

Heat until brown sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and let this cool down. Meanwhile, grease a 13×9 inch baking dish. Into this arrange:

      10 slices “day old” Texas toast ( cut into 4 triangles or cubed)

      2 c fresh blackberries

Into the cooled milk mixture add:

       4 eggs

      1 teas vanilla

      1/2 teas cardamon

      1 teas   cinnamon

      1/4 teas salt

Whisk well. Pour this carefully over the bread and berries. Take a spoon and push the pieces of bread down into the milk mixture so that all bread pieces are saturated with the milk… Let sit for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake for 1 hour or until top is deep golden brown and puffed. ( It will fall as it cools)  You may want to cover the top with some foil about 45 minutes into the baking time so that the top doesn’t become too dark…

Drizzle with the following luscious creamy brown sugar syrup:

Into a heavy medium-sized saucepan put:

      1  small ( 5oz.) can evaporated milk

      1/2 c butter

      3/4 c brown sugar

      1/8 teas salt

      1/2 c light corn syrup

Whisk together and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat  to low and keep warm until ready to serve. (You may have to whisk it again right before serving …)

Love is…blue!

 

Iris

 

 

 

Blue irises…these were so pretty, I got up one morning at the crack of dawn to get some photos for you…

Iris, spring flowers, blue flowerLooking at these beautiful flowers in the morning could help anyone’s day start off right…

iris, spring flowers,

iris

iris I was trying to think of the perfect recipe to give you that would stick to my “theme” of the color blue and early morning…

So how about a recipe for Blueberry Orange Coffecake? It makes a deliciously moist coffeecake but you know, I have also taken the batter and poured it into cupcake pans to make muffins in the morning! ( I double the topping recipe when I do this)

In any form and at any time, breakfast or maybe just for a snack, this recipe will make a yummy addition to your day! :)

Blueberry Orange Coffeecake

Sift into a large mixing bowl:

      2 cups flour

      1 cup sugar

      1 T baking powder

      1/2 teas baking soda

      1/2 teas salt

      1/2 teas cinnamon

Set aside. Then into a small mixing bowl place:

      2 eggs

Beat slightly then add:

       1 T orange flavored extract

      1/3 c freshly squeezed orange juice

       1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

      1 cup commercial sour cream

      1 teas grated orange peel

Mix well. Add to the above dry mixture and mix just until combined. Then stir in:

      1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed, drained blueberries

Pour batter into a sprayed 10 inch springform pan. Then sprinkle with the following topping:

Topping:

Into a small bowl place:

      1/4 cup flour

      1/4 cup sugar

      1/2 teas cinnamon

       3 T softened butter

Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over batter. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, cut around the edges then release it.  Let cool. 

 

Mini Lime Cheesecakes

lime cheesecake, cheesecakes, fresh fruit, fruit topped cheesecakes

I must have snow on my mind because I’m starting my blog again talking about snow! Does it seem like it has been a long winter? Wow, here in Minnesota we have broken records for snowfall this year. I love to watch it snow… I can hardly take my eyes off of it when it begins to fall. But now, here in Minnesota with snowfall breaking all records with 70 plus inches, I think I’ve seen enough of the beautiful serene white stuff! :)  

It’s funny because this year my husband has timed all the snowfalls just right so that he has had to shovel only once. Once in 70 inches!  Business trips, seminars and work have been there to help him escape all that shoveling! But that’s okay, if you had the chance to read one of my blogs around Christmas, I told how I gift-wrapped my scale and threw it under the Christmas tree for a gift to myself as a reminder of all the cookies consumed during the holidays ( as if my pants will let me forget, ha!) So all the driveway shoveling has been a blessing! 

With so much snow on my mind, it’s fun to think about things that are green! Since we won’t be seeing any green grass around here for a couple of months, I’ll set my mind on one of my other favorite green things – lime green cheesecake!

fresh fruit topped mini cheesecakes, mini cheesecakes, lime cheesecake

These little mini cheesecakes are so pretty for Spring, especially for Easter! Topped with different colors of fruit, it makes a beautiful presentation as well as a yummy one for just about any occasion!

They freeze beautifully too… Let them cool down, put them in an air tight container and then place them in the freezer. If you are taking the cupcake liners off before serving them,  place the cooled cupcakes in the refrigerator and then after they are cold,  peel off the  liners – doing it this way will make it much easier.

lime cheesecake, mini cheesecakes, lime, cheesecake

Mini Lime Cheesecakes

You will need:

      1 – 18.25 oz package of white or yellow cake mix

Measure out 1/2 cup of the dry mix and set aside. Place the rest of the cake mix into a large mixing bowl and then add:

      1 egg

      6 T very soft butter

Mix until crumbly. Place approximately 32 paper cupcake liners into cupcake pans and then spoon about 1 Tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each liner and lightly press down. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Then, place into a large mixing bowl:

      3 – 8 oz. packages of softened cream cheese

      1 can sweetened condensed milk

Beat this until creamy and then add:

      1/3 cup fresh lime juice

      1  1/2 T lime zest

      1 teas vanilla

      1/2 c of the dry cake mix

Beat until creamy and then add, one at a time and beating well after each one:

      3 eggs

Then if you wish, add:

      a couple drops of green food coloring

Mix well. Fill each cupcake liner with about 1 level ice cream scoop of the batter…being careful not to over fill them. Bake for about 25 minutes or until set. Do not overbake.  Let cool at room temperature then put in an airtight container and place  in the refrigerator to cool completely. Top with fresh fruit, mint sprigs and/or whipped cream. Enjoy!  

Gee, just heard our forecast for next week…Better get my shovel ready, we are in for another “big one”!