Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

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What in life is better than a really good chocolate chip cookie? a really good chocolate chip cookie on top of a CUPCAKE. Yum. And who better to personify that than the Cookie Monster.

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FYI - surprisingly difficult to get the right shade of blue in buttercream icing. Thanks to the lovely Trina for her magical stirring skills, or I'm not sure we ever would have made it.

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Cookie Time's cookie bites are the perfect size for these - but beware, they're very moreish and once the bag is open.... it's hard to stop :) (Luckily I only made 12 cupcakes! Or some of them may have been cookie-less, and that's just wrong)

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My family got to these ones pretty quick, but I think Elmo may be next - and he is ALL mine!!

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xx




Monday, July 19, 2010

The most magical place on Earth!

One year ago today, I started working at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida - Quite possibly six of the best months of my life! With lots of fantastic new experiences, adventures and friends. To celebrate my anniversary in true Disney/Bakerella style, I decided to try the Mickey and Minnie Silhouette pops.

Lucky for me, I had this cute little bag of goodness just waiting in the cupboard for the absolute perfect time to come out.

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This was a present from one of my gorgeous Disney friends Joan, so I could take a little bit of the magic home.

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Add in some white chocolate buttons cut to fit, some paintstakingly delicate melted-chocolate-gluing

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And these gorgeous little red heart candies I randomly found in spotlight (and which are actually just called red heart candies... so who knows what they actually are!)

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And voila! Gorgeous, delicious, magical, Mickey and Minnie chocolate-chip-brownie pops

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Not that I'm biased, but Minnie is definitely my favourite of the two, and reminds me of these two gorgeous special girls, and one of my first adventures in the Magic Kingdom! <3

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Important note for the road - these brownies are FANTASTIC, and full of surprise chocolate bits. That's brownie, chocolate bits, white chocolate ears, red candy hearts, dark chocolate... I don't see these lasting in my house very long!

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xx

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy (late) 4th of July!

Despite the fact that it is now July 12th, I promise I did in fact throw a 4th of July party ON the 4th of July - have just been too busy to upload since. Much to Trinas dismay, since she's probably waiting to upload photos to her blog too :).

That aside, decided that celebrating the 4th of July in America for the last two years was far too much fun to simply skip because I'm in the wrong country, so I introduced it to New Zealand! The biggest problem I found was the lack of summer - a 4th of July party is largely based around a good old BBQ (or cook-out, if you're of the American breed) and some silly outside games and swimming. We improvised with a heater, a scavenger hunt, and some silly hats.
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Inspired in part by
Amy Atlas and her dessert tables, I based the party around a heavily themed table and food, and mandatory colour-themed outfits.
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Bakerella's cake pops/bites were lots of fun for this one - I used chocolate cake for original cake bites, and covered in chocolate, blue and red fondant stars, and little American flags on toothpicks.
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Since I didn't already have enough flags (can you ever really have enough flags on the 4th of July?) , I played around with some fondant flags and put them on top of cookie-dough brownies - YUM. Not sure anything inspires more American pride than brownies, let's be honest. Though I'm not sure I'm likely to rediscover the inspiration to sort through multi-coloured star sprinkles anytime in the near future...
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Now to my FAVOURITE part of the event - the PLANNING. Thanks heaps and heaps to Brandi at Tweedle Dee Designs for her free printables collection! I used the straw-flags and the water-bottle labels, which I used to decorate the cups holding straws, party blowers and multi-coloured cutlery. I realised on the day not long before everyone arrived that my table was very much without a centre-piece, but luckily we had a giant blue vase which I filled with large size flags! Flags, flags, flags and more flags.

Thank you to the family for manning the kitchen, Michelle and Steve for their giant icing-flag brownies, Steph for her epic 4th of July themed Scavenger hunt, Jayne for her inspired colour-themed drinks, Mattly for actually showing up, and Nicole for her ridiculously more-ish red dip! Just wait until Thanksgiving rolls along...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dine Like a Star at Café Polo: Movie Making and Magic in Miramar | Wellington on a Plate.

Quick update for today - looking at some of the upcoming events for the Wellington on a Plate festival - EPIC!! Friends - add these to your wishlists, I'm roping you all in :D

Food AND movies? Yes please! Dine Like a Star at Café Polo: Movie Making and Magic in Miramar | Wellington on a Plate.

A Mystery road trip with good food, wine and a comedy skit? You're clearly not reading properly if you miss this one Hollywood and Vine | Wellington on a Plate.

Everyone loves a good murder mystery night - add food and a gorgeous location, and I'm totally there - Boiling Point


This one may well be my favourite. I LOVE Butlers chocolate, and this event adds matched wines.... Oh my word.... Not even sure I can wait that long - Pleasure Palate


Pleasure Palate.

Website, website, website.

So I have a website, here on webs.com. It's been around for a little while, showcases some of my painting and art dilly dallying. I chose webs because it's free, and because it does all the work for me :) but now, some of my photos are missing because I need to upgrade! so my question for today is: Is it better to upgrade a site like webs.com for $99 a year, or purchase a domain name outright? Who knows! Where is the magical IT fairy to explain these things to me? If only there was a Bakerella version for website FAQs.Perhaps web-questions-cupcakes? I think there's a real unexplored niche market there.

On another note, my sister Trina has a blog you should go and read
here (and you can hit her up about why she doesn't update much!!). Hers is on wordpress, so there's a new debate - blogspot or wordpress? I decided to google, and interestingly enough a lot of people have asked that very same question! Best comparison I found was here (not that most of the pros and cons mean much to me!)

Now onto food, which is what we were obviously all waiting for :) These are a chocolate chip, cookie dough, brownies, triple chocolate.... everything you could hope for in a snack! I used triple chocolate (milk, dark and white chocolate chips, Oh my WORD!) brownies, and chocolate chip cookie mix, then plonked alternating dollop-fulls into a baking tray and voila! one of the most chocolatey magical brownies in the world.

You can stack them

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Make a brownie tower

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It pays to get a little bit closer..

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But let me warn you:

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Once you get this close, they'll all be gone!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Too many cake pops


I'm starting to get quite a collection of baking related photos. Funnily enough, since first discovering http://www.bakerella.com/, I sense that my family is sloooowly getting sick of eating cake pops - luckily I'm also in the mood for cupcakes, brownies, and party planning!

These are just a few examples of the cake pops (I should say cake bites - they originated as cake pops, but became pop-less BITES when I realised I haven't got the hang of getting the sticks to STAY in the cake) that I've made over the last couple of weeks. A lot of time was spent dramatically throwing away burnt chocolate, pulling my hair out re-reading Bakerella's recipes, and eating cake pop/bites that went terribly wrong - don't be mistaken, even if they look good in the photos, notice there's never more than 5 or 6! The rest already crashed and burned, and ended up in someones tummy (I can think of worse things though, cake is still cake whether it looks good or not! A rose is still a rose, and all that)

So first up, I decided to try an alternative to cake - inspiration came from a friend at work who has a healthy obsession with peanut butter. These are just crushed up vanilla wine biscuits (great if you need to vent! Nothing better than a big rolling pin and an innocent bag of biscuits) mixed with peanut butter instead of frosting. For future reference, use SMOOTH not crunchy - crunchy was all we had, and it made the mixing process a little frustrating.



Another experiment in flavour - I made lemon pudding one night, and decided on a whim to see what that would do. The lemon-white chocolate mix worked out, but unfortunately the lemon pudding was quite dense, and made these babies a LITTLE hard to eat for something so small and light-looking. Don't get me wrong - they've been well and truly demolished by now, but next time I'll go with a lighter fluffier recipe.

These ones were directly inspired by http://www.bakerella.com/hamm-and-potatoes/, who was directly inspired by Disney's http://family.go.com/disney/pkg-disney-character-fun/pkg-disney-pixar-toy-story/

Mine certainly didn't go as successfully - in America coloured chocolate melts must be readily available, but here I could only find baby pink or baby blue, neither of which was the colour I needed. So I made this colour myself from a mix of milk and white chocolate melts, and that ended up with the mix being really thick and difficult to dip in - unsure why. Either way, I got this one cute fellow and a whole lot of m&ms and tic tacs to fill the void.

Last but not least, this happy little bunch of original chocolate pop/bites.

Well, some of them are happy. One of them is so lax about life that he’s sound asleep. But one of them, one of them isn’t sure he likes where this is going….

I think he smells a rat. Almost looks like he might cry as he watches Trina approaching…

His worst fears have come to light!! There’s no escaping now……

And it’s over.

Not to worry – no cake bites were wasted in the making of this blog.