Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! Here are the cupcakes I made for my sister Jenn's Memorial Day party.
I really wanted to try a new technique of melting candy to form unique toppers.
I used this Duncan Hines mix that the lovely Summer and Sara got my for my birthday this year. I was glad I finally got to use it. :)
It's a smaller box, making 12 cupcakes instead of 28. It also calls for two egg whites instead of just eggs. This keeps the cupcakes really white instead of getting that yellowish color. To separate the egg yolk from the egg whites, I just crack the egg in the middle and transfer the egg from one half of the shell to the other until only the yolk remains.
Once it's just the yolk you can throw the whole thing away. I've heard that you can also use your hands and just pull the egg whites away, however I think I'm too clumsy and I would probably break the yolk and end up getting it in the batter, so I stick to my method.
I used typical white liners to go with my red white and blue theme.
See how the batter is more whiteish than a typical yellow or tan? Gotta love funfetti!
I wanted to use my new cupcake tree and for some odd reason it holds 13 cupcakes, so I couldn't bake just one whole pan.
I didn't think just one cupcake would bake well by itself so I stole one from the full pan to keep it company.
And here are my decorating supplies. Vanilla icing, my new tupperware pipping gadget that my mom bought me, red and white sanding sugar, food color edible markers, decorator's piping gel, blue and red food coloring, red sprinkles, and canned vanilla frosting that I got in a clearance Easter kit.
So to decorate the cupcakes I wanted to do something special, and I finally decided to do red white and blue stars, since it seemed very American. But not just any old stars, mind you, I had to do something crazy. So I decided to melt down these suckers and red hots to make candy stars to go on top of my cupcakes.
So I read in my Hello, Cupcake book that you can melt down pieces of broken candy (they suggested jolly ranchers) and melt them in an over at 350 degrees for 4-5 minutes and then basically cut out star shapes in the hardening sheet of melted candy.
I decided that the smaller star would work best. Unfortunately I only had one...
So I unwrapped the suckers and began to attempt to break them into piece with a hammer. This proved to be way too hard however, so I ended up trying to pull out the sticks and cut the sucker into pieces with a sharp knife. Sometimes it worked, some of them were stubborn and the sticks broke. :( If you have a hammer and can place the suckers in a bag and break them into pieces it might work out better.
So them I just placed the pieces onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place the bigger pieces near the outer edges so that they don't melt first and burn.
Place the pan in the oven and let them bake for about five minutes.
It will start to melt and bubble...
Once it becomes a smooth sheet of sugar, take it out of the oven.
And spray your cookie cutter with lots and lots of cooking spray!
I took the foil off of the tray so that it would quickly cool and and then placed the cookie cutter into the hardening candy. (Can you see the star in the bottom right corner?)
I used a knife and as the candy hardened I kept outlining the star and drawing a specific space around the star so that it would break cleanly.
 And then carefully peel the candy away from the foil where your star will be.
 And using the edge of the knife very carefully break away the candy pieces from around the star.
 It's very easy to break off the points (such as the star on the right), but save the broken pieces! I used a lot of pieces that were half broken (with the top three points in tact and bottom two broken off) and once they were stuck into the frosting you couldn't tell.
 And there you have your star!
For the red cinnamon candies, I notched them with the knife by sawing them in half and then broke the candies in half and then into fourths and placed them in a circle on the foil.
 And here's the melted candy. I continued melting and cutting out the stars and carefully breaking the pieces. Then I remelted the broken candy pieces and continued making stars until I had enough.
 So here are all of my stars and the cupcakes! See how some are broken? You won't notice really once it's pushed into the frosting.
 To get some blue and red coloring in the icing, I put some food coloring into the white frosting. I tried using blue sparkle decorators gel, but it didn't show up at all. On the right is my new piping Tupperware tool that my mom bought. It's a squeeze bottle with a piping tip on it, it worked out really pretty well. I liked it.
 In between scoops of the white frosting I would add some blue and red food coloring to keep a nice colored swirl in the frosting. It may seem like a lot of food coloring but the white frosting passes through the opening and gets a nice tint of color.
 See how you don't even see the color now?
It will come out stripped and look really nice as it swirls.
 The only problem is when you start to pipe the frosting, you never know what will come out. So this one seems a bit too red, but as I kept going it started looking really pretty.
 The first couple were a bit....special.
 But they got progressively better until they had nice red and blue swirled frosting.
 Good enough for a family cookout, right?
And now you just add the star, placing it right into the top of the frosting.
 Here is the gorgeous cupcake tree that my Big Sister in Kappa Delta got me for my birthday. :)
 And I just started placing them in it, alternating red and blue stars as they spiraled down.
 Here are all of the cupcakes.
 And here's the tree all full!
 Finally to add some "bling" I sprinkled some white sugar crystals on the tops of the cupcakes to make them sparkle in the light a little bit.
 I hid the messed up ones on the bottom tier so no one would notice!
 Some of the sugar crystals may stick to the stars, but that's okay.
 Happy Memorial Day! Thank you everyone in our wonderful military who has either served, is serving, or plans to someday serve. Thank you so much for all that you do. God bless!

No comments:

Post a Comment