Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brigadeiro - Brazilian Truffles

Brigadeiros, a favorite Brazilian confection, are a cross between and caramel and a truffle -similar to a chocolate caramel. They are made with sweetened condensed milk which is also the ingredient used in some recipes for dulce le leche, a delicious caramel sauce.

How did I come across this recipe? Here's the short story:

My son happened to choose Brazil for his project in the 6th grade World's Fair held at his school. My son's partner for the project happened to have a sister who happened to be dating a Brazilian boy who happened to give us the recipe for these delightful treats.

The boys passed them out at the World's Fair. The kids devoured them.

The end.

Four ingredients is all it takes to make these delicious little bites of chewy chocolate sweetness.

recipe from my son's friend's sister's boyfriend
makes about 50 small truffles

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, or chocolate powder like Nesquik (I used cocoa)
1 tablespoon butter
chocolate sprinkles, finely grated coconut or cocoa powder

Place condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture seems like it wants to form a ball and coming away from the sides of the pan and has the consistency of caramel, about 20 minutes or more.

Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool. The mixture will harden a bit.

Roll mixture into balls using buttered hands or a very small cookie scoop coated with cooking oil spray. Dip balls into sprinkles or coconut. Place the truffles in mini paper candy cups.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Flower Bouquet of Brownie Pops

The great thing about pops is that they can be made into an infinite number of things. Just go to Bakerella's page on Flickr and see the pops that people from all over the world have posted there. It's pretty amazing. I made these bouquets for the centerpieces for a Spring Garden Club Luncheon - decoration and dessert all in one!

To make this brownie pop bouquet you will need the following:

Basic brownie pops covered with any color sprinkles you desire
Tissue paper for the flower petals, cut into squares approximately 5" by 5"
Green floral tape for the stems
Terra cotta pots
styrofoam balls to fit inside the pots
green paper shred

All of these items are generally available in your craft store such as Michael's or JoAnn's

1. Fold the tissue paper squares as you would fold paper to make paper snowflakes.
2. Cut a scalloped edge or any pattern you desire on the edge opposite the point of your folded tissue paper
3. Unfold the tissue paper and insert your brownie pop through the center of two or more of the tissue paper flowers
4. Pinch together a little of the tissue paper around the base of the brownie pop, and start wrapping the floral tape around the pinched tissue paper, then start to wrap the floral tape diagonally down the remainder of the pop stick and tear it off when you reach the bottom
5. Place the styrofoam ball into the pot and cover with paper shred. Insert the pops into the styroam, arranging like a flower arrangement.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homemade Play-Dough Wraps

These lettuce wraps look good, don't they? They were expertly constructed by talented hands.

Kids of all ages love playdough. But don't fret if you don't have any on hand. The kids can make their own playdough and it can be ready in 10 minutes or less. Instant gratification for them, and hours of happy, creative kids for you.

Depending on their ages, the kids might need you to help vigorously stir the mixture over the stove. As soon as it can be handled, the kids can start to play with it. They love the feel of warm playdough in their hands.

Even though all the ingredients are edible, the dough should not be eaten.

So invite your best friend to stay overnight and in the morning you can make playdough in your pajamas! Life is good.

Homemade Play-Dough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup table salt
1 cup water
food coloring
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Stir all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until it becomes rubbery, about 2-3 minutes. It will be lumpy before it becomes rubbery. It can be used as soon as it is cool enough to handle (kids love warm playdough). Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

The cake: 10" Square four-layer Coconut Cake - 1 and 1/2 times the recipe from the Sky High Cookbook, garnished with raspberries, blueberries and sweetened flaked coconut

The Frosting: Double recipe Swiss Buttercream (2 pounds of butter) flavored with vanilla extract and a hint of almond extract (had some icing left over)

Icing tip: Wilton 2D (large closed-star tip) for borders, stars and stripes

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Displaying your Cupcakes

So you've made your cupcakes, now how do you display them ? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

This black and white display uses styrofoam cake forms for each base layer and smaller rectangular pieces in between for height (one pillar between the first and second tiers and three pillars between the second and third tiers). Each styrofoam piece is wrapped in white paper like you would wrap a gift, and then a ribbon is glued around the circumference of each tier. The pieces are glued together for stability. The numbers and letters were black felt outlined in white and were purchased at a local party supply store.

A classic and elegant display.

I made this black and red cupcake tower out of white cake boards and a large piece of white foam board. This tower holds a few more cupcakes than the tower above.

There may be a better way to construct this, but here's what I did. I cut the foam board with a ruler and utility knife (use a cutting mat for this) into 4-inch wide strips and cut two pieces for each tier 4" shorter than the tier they were to support. For example, the supports for the 10" tier would be cut into 6" by 4" wide strips. I cut a 2" slit at the halfway mark on each support piece and then fitted them together at right angles to make the supports. (For a more permanent display, the supports might be better if made out of plywood or something similar.)

The sizes of cake rounds I used were 8", 10", 12", 14", and 16". I used a glue gun to glue the supports to the cake boards and also to glue the ribbons around each tier. The wooden letters, numbers and 4 skewers were spray-painted red. I glued the numbers to the skewers with hot glue and pushed the skewers down into the top tier, securing with hot glue behind the top tier supports.

I hope these ideas will help you get started! Feel free to email me with any questions you might have.


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