S’mores Pops

If you love all the flavors of s’mores but are short on time, this is a quick and easy treat to satisfy your craving.  I thought I was quite clever when I thought of this idea last summer… but apparently lots of other people thought of it long before that!  The earliest post I can find is from the delicious blog Gimme Some Oven.

All you need is…

large marshmallows

chocolate (I like to use Ghirardelli)

graham crackers, crushed (but not too fine)

lollipop sticks (I used 6″ sticks- these are available at craft stores)

Directions-

Add sticks to the marshmallows, by holding a marshmallow on the counter (or cutting board) and pressing the stick down into the marshmallow.  Then, melt the chocolate in a large mug or glass measuring cup, in the microwave at 50% power, in 30 second intervals, stirring between intervals.  Dip marshmallows (on sticks) into the chocolate, allow excess to drip off, then hold over a bowl and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.  Place sticks in a mug or container so then can dry upright.  In warm weather, place pops (in mug) in the refrigerator or freezer for 5-10 minutes for the chocolate to set.  Once chocolate has set, store pops in an airtight container (in a cool location) for up to 3 days.

Prop note-  I photographed my s’mores pops in some of my beautiful glassybaby glass vessels (usually used as candle holders).  The colors are burnt sugar, caramel, and dune.

Love s’mores?  Try these other delicious recipes…

Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

S’mores Graham Cracker Cookies

Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes {Recipe}

What could be a more perfect cupcake flavor for summer than s’mores?  I first gave this recipe combo a try several years ago, and have since made them several times.  They are always such a hit for summer parties!  A delicious chocolate cupcake (using my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe) is paired with light and fluffy mashmallowy frosting and topped with the traditional elements of s’mores… graham crackers and chocolate.

Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
3/4 cup boiling water

Directions-
1.  Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
4.  Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
5.  Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
6.  Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.
7.  Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Recipe source- Adjusted slightly from Hersheys.

Marshmallow Frosting

2 (large) egg whites

1 cup sugar

6 Tablespoons water

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions-

1.  In a large heatproof bowl (the metal bowl of your electric mixer), combine the egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt.

2.  Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat mixture, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160*F), about 3 minutes.

3.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes.

4.  In a small bowl, microwave 1 cup mini marshmallows 30 seconds to 1 minute, until puffed, and starting to melt.

5.  Add marshmallows to mixture in electric mixer, reduce speed to low and add vanilla.  Continue beating (on low) until the marshmallows are melted and frosting is completely smooth (about 3-4 minutes).  Use frosting right away.

Recipe source- Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski.

Assembly-

Frost cooled Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow frosting.  I used a large french tip.  If desired, use a kitchen torch to brown the frosting.  Top frosted cupcakes with a piece of Hersheys chocolate, and a piece of graham cracker.

*Note- The graham cracker gets a bit soft from the frosting.  If it’s important to you that it be nice and crisp, I would try baking the graham crackers (in a single layer on a baking sheet) about 5 minutes in a 325*F oven to dry them out a bit.  I’ve never done this, but I will try it next time I make these.

As delicious as these cupcakes are, I just might have a few more s’mores themed recipes coming your way this week, so feel free to stock up on marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate!

Oh the delicious flavors of summer!

For the love of cake stands…

Gorgeous Cake Stand Collection (with links to sources) - via GloriousTreats.com

Oh Cake Stands how I love thee…

I can’t quite pinpoint the day I feel in love with beautiful cake stands… I imagine it’s pretty closely tied to me falling in love with pretty cakes and cupcakes!

I have a feeling many of you share the same love, so I thought I’d share some eye-candy today…

My gorgeous little collection of cake stands!  (My husband might take issue with the words “little collection”)

OK, so I may have a bit of a cake stand problem….

And what a beautiful problem it is!

Incredible Collection of Cake Stands!! - via GloriousTreats.com

And to be fair, there are actually a few (or a dozen) that I didn’t pull out.  But come on… how can I say no to any of these… it would be like choosing a favorite child (OK, maybe I’m being slightly dramatic!)

I’m thinking there may be a few of you out there with my same “problem”… anyone??

To answer the questions I get (on other blog posts) as to where to buy a specific stand…

I always try to link to the sources of my supplies when I post something new.  If I do not include any information on the “props” in a photo, it’s usually because I’ve had the item for quite a while, and so it would be pointless to mention where I found it.

So, I’ll add a few specific links here, and also lots of general sources…

The set of three white square stands (shown stacked) was from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy’s.  I don’t see them on-line anymore, but Macy’s does have some other pretty stands.

The silver cake stand with crystal accents, purchased from Home Goods, similar available from Amazon.

The tiny little cream/white individual cupcake stands I bought from a little store in Capitola, California, but they are available on-line from Shop Sweet Lulu.

The round blue stands (two shown stacked) and round light pink stands (shown stacked) are from Mosser Glass and are often available on Amazon, as well as from Shop Sweet Lulu.

Most of the rest of mine are from e-Bay, Home Goods, Marshalls & TJ Maxx

Other places to check if you’re looking to expand your collection are Target, Crate and Barrel, Hobby Lobby, and Sweet and Saucy Supply.

Oh, and to answer one more potential question, “where do you keep them all?”.  I recently had my handy hubby transform our hall coat closet into a cake stand closet… What?  You all have a “cake stand closet” don’t you? =)

Happy Sunshine Cookies {Cookie Decorating}

Don’t these sunny cookies just make you smile?  =)

I recently made these happy cookies as gifts for my daughter’s Vacation Bible School teachers.  As one of the teacher’s myself, I know that VBS week is fun, but also exhausting!  I thought these smiling cookies might help get the week off to a nice start.

For these cute cookies all you need is…

A batch of dough using my Sugar Cookie Recipe.

And a batch of Royal Icing.

For this design I used a sunflower shaped cookie cutter.

I prepared just two bags of icing… one medium consistency yellow, and one outline (medium/stiff) consistency orange.  I used a #2 tip for the yellow and a PME #1.5 for the orange (closest substitute would be a #2).

~ How to decorate Smiling Sunshine cookies ~

1.  Draw a circle outline in orange.

2.  Fill in the orange circle with yellow.

3.  Add both yellow and orange lines around the circle.

4.  Allow the cookie to dry completely, (about 8 hours) then add the smile with a black edible marker (Please be patient and wait for the cookie to be fully dry, or the marker will poke holes in your icing)

Package these fun cookies and share them with someone who needs a smile!

In keeping with the cheerful theme, I used a colorful assortment of twine from The Twinery around clear boxes (available from Garnish).

Happy Decorating and Packaging!

Delicious Chocolate Mousse {Recipe}

A while back I posted Almost Too Easy Chocolate Mousse, which is simply a store mix, dressed up.  I’ve been feeling guilty for never posting a “real” chocolate mousse recipe, although most of you seemed grateful for the quickie version!  So if you’re feeling extra domestic, then here is a “real” chocolate mousse that is light (in texture), delicious and still quite easy.  This dessert can be made several hours in advance, and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Chocolate Mousse-

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream, or half and half

~plus~

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

A few chocolate cookies, crushed (optional)

Directions:

* Beat eggs with an electric mixer on high about 3 minutes.  Gradually beat in sugar.

* Heat 1 cup whipping cream in a saucepan, over medium heat, just until hot.

* Gradually stir about half of the hot cream into the egg mixture.  Then add egg/cream mixture to the saucepan.  Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil).

* Remove from heat and add chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

* When chocolate mixture has chilled, beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer.  Beat on high until stiff.  Fold chocolate mixture into whipping cream.  Pipe or spoon mixture into cups.

* Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.  Top with crushed chocolate cookie crumbs, if desired.

Makes 8 (moderate sized) servings.

Recipe source:  Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook (1996).

Enjoy!