Friday, November 30, 2012

Peppermint Candy Tray and The Annual Gingerbread House

  So lets see, firstly I have a give away going on, and I would love for you to check it out and enter.  Here. Secondly, I am so happy that I know how to finally edit and do cool things with my pictures.  And by cool things, I mean crop out all the messy back ground that is my house, or at least most of it.  I also have a whole lot more storage in my on line album.  I am almost done, but it has been so neat, going from 99.98% full down to under 8%, I was emailing hubby every few hours telling him, "I'm down to 75%!" And so on, I think he was getting annoyed after the like 25th email, oh well.

  So all that to say I hopefully am going to be back to normal.  So I have a good deal of baking behind me, with pictures, that I can now edit.  So I will start with this one, one of our yearly traditions.  The gingerbread house.  This year I went for something different.  Usually we get the box kit with the pre built house and candy.  But I wanted to try making a candy tray and I also wanted to get candy I like, and the plan was for me to actually bake the cookies.  My sister got me the gingerbread house set last year, but it didn't happen.  So whatever, I got the pieces at the bakers warehouse. And the pre made icing, I did make the tray, so lets focus on that.

I really thought I had more than enough mints, but I was wrong.
I  have seen this tray on the Internet a few times, and the last time when I saw it on The Tip Garden I knew I could do it.  And by that I mean, I would try and if I failed like usual you would never even know as I can keep secrets.  So when I took Pork Chop to the bulk candy store I wanted just the red and white mints, but my store only had these ones.  They called them starlight mints.  I got a bunch of them and then thought I had so many my tray would be huge.  I was wrong, I had just enough actually.

This was enough to build the house with a large yard all around. 

  So to start you heat your oven to 350, then unwrap all your mints, if you have a man or a child that actually likes candy they might help you.  Pork Chop just gave me the look and said "no thank you."  So I unwrapped them while watching cartoons, we are not going to eat this thing so no big deal if there is a little sofa fluff in it.

  Once unwrapped you lay them side by side on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, from what I read wax paper will not work, so use parchment. Then set them up how you want your tray, I was trying to get very straight lines, but well, I did my best.  Then carefully set the tray in your preheated oven.  Try to not allow the candy to move or else your tray will not be straight.

  I went for 6 minutes as the other blog said after 8 minutes it was still not done.  But I know I have a very hot oven so we did 6 minutes and it was perfect. you want the candies to be melted together, but if they start to bubble and stuff it will burn and spread too much.  So once they are done, move the tray to a cooling rack and allow them to set back up.  It didn't take long at all, and I took pictures for face book and texted my girl friends to show them how awesome I was.  I am humble if nothing else.

It was so nice, the top was all shiny and the bottom was smooth but dull looking. It was not fragile really, it felt like a plate, but I bet if you drop it it would shatter. So don't drop it okay?

So while the tray was setting I got out all the stuff for our gingerbread house.  I had these two house kits that when I opened them turned out to be tiny little tent like houses, and Pork Chop was not having any of that.  So I had to jerry rig the bits together so I could get one big house.  This mean gluing bits together and letting them dry a bit then adding more bits and so on and so on.  As the bits were drying I put out all the candy for Pork Chop to work with.

This cost about $8 all together.
 He was adamant that we have gummie bears and the rest he was all "whatever" about.  So I got this and some ribbon candy and we were good.

I may have had some candy left over, which I may have eaten.  I said may have people.

So I set up Pork Chop and he got to work.  Firstly I would pipe on some icing and he started to stick stuff on. The roof fell off and he was all " Why didn't we get the boxed house, I hate this, next year we get the boxed one!"  And I told him to just stick the candy on and stop complaining.

At this point it was all looking like it would be okay, then I added the roof, and well then it was not as okay.

 So he did and he was fine, sneaking a gummie bear here and a chocolate there.  It all was going well.
He was all "I want to touch the candy tray" and I was all "don't you dare!"  And he did it anyway while I was taking the picture.

 He was talking non stop about how such and such was this and such and such was that.  I was really focused on the roof not falling off again since that would mean a  huge clean up.  And we all know how well cleaning happens here.
As I took this the roof fell over, and his face says it all. "Why aren't we using a box kit house!"
Look how cute his little arms are!

  And then because he is my child, and he is weird, he needed there to be a gummie bear war or battle as he called it, in the front yard.  This of course is basically him piling on as many bears as he could, and asking me to keep blobbing icing on.
Look out bear!!!
   He would make bomb sounds and "oh this poor bear he didn't even see it coming!" Comments.
 So as any good mom would do, I offered to cut a bear in half, because what gingerbread house is complete without a gummie bear that has been torn in half?
I may have caught Pork Chop stealing a few candies too.
Well you know how that goes right?  The best ideas, are sort of the worst. And now he keeps on saying "that's gotta hurt!"  If he ever catches on to the "that's what she said" trend I am will die, only because it will be awesome, sort of.

All done!
At the end Pork Chop told me this was the funnest house ever, so I think he may be quick to change his mind about things, sort of like his father.  Or me, either or.
The side of the house, with what looks like blobs of icing, but I bet he thinks it  is something else.

I think it turned out pretty good actually.
  Any way, it was all good, and Pork Chop was thrilled with the house.  Even though it was not from a box kit, and he proudly talks about it to everyone.  And by talks about it, he says "yeah" when I ask him if he told his friends all about his gingerbread house.

 Part of me thinks he may not be talking it up as much as he says.
And here is Pork Chop pointing out the poor bear who was torn in half, that screams "Happy Holidays!"  if you ask me.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Snow Man Cake Pops and a Give Away

Can you guess who finally figured out how to edit pictures?  

 So this post is over a week past when I wanted to share it, but the photo hosting site for Google was telling me that I had no more room.  Well thanks to a wonderful blogger, Dorthy at Crazy for Crust, I have been downsizing my pictures so that I can have some room again.  I have done about 400, I have about 1000 more to go.  Sigh.  But it will be worth it to save me some money and I also figured out how to edit pictures so in reality it was a win win. Anyway back to my regular post.

 So you all know how much I love cake balls, and pops right?  I mean I did name this place after it.  But did you know how much I hate making them?  Okay not hate, and not really them.  I hate working with white or coloured candy melts.  So it's not really about the ball as much as it is about the coating.
This is what you could win, it looks way more impressive in real life, I promise!

Does that make sense?  Well never mind, I sort of don't understand it either.  Anyway.  I was checking out one of my favorite sites a few weeks back.  My Little Cupcake; they are some of the first cake pop molds that I tried.  I first got the cupcake shape and loved it, it reminds me of when I was little and would play with Play doh.   I would share that love with Pork Chop, but I hate the smell of the stuff now and hate how it gets all dry and flaky all over the place.  The only flaky stuff allowed in my house is pastry and cake crumbs.

I may or may have not talked Pork Chop into dusting while I baked, so he could play video games.  I took a picture so I could show Hubby how smart I was, and to prove that my child is not all about games.  He actually liked dusting, for about 2 minutes any way.

This is how many I got out of one 9x13 cake, give or take a few that I may have eaten while making them.

  So I noticed that the shop had a new little mold out.  And it was for a snow man.  Now I was almost not going to get it, but seriously it was not very costly and they are awesome to me. They shipped it to me without the box, to save me some shipping costs.  That is the only thing about living in Canada, shipping costs for us are crazy!  Anyway, I mentioned that I wanted one for me and I was going to buy another for you guys.  But then they were all, "nope we will send you one to give away"  I don't know, I mean really this is the nicest company.  They gave me molds to give away before.  And I am not a big blog by any means, just an itty bitty one, but they don't care they are super nice.

That single one in the middle, well his head fell off, and it may have been due to me not chilling them long enough.  I just wanted to be able to say "that snow man must have lost his mind!"  and.....never mind.

  So last week I got these molds and got all set to make some super cute snow men for you all.  Well really they were for Pork Chops hockey team, but you get the idea.

  Now firstly, I knew this would be crap because snow men are supposed to be white, and we all know how I feel about white candy melts.  I thought I had it figured out, you know now that I know how to turn the power on my microwave down.  But no, I still ended up with gloopy candy melts.  And I think I had about 40 snow men, but gave up trying after 20.

I have noting witty to say, just pretend I made some really funny comment about using Halloween sprinkles for Christmas, then laugh and move on.

  On the website they use mini Reese cups for hats, but because I have to do nut free, I opted for gum drops.  Or as they were called at the bulk store, spice drops.  I don't know, they were cute, but not really hat like.  Whatever, it worked.

See you can hardly tell its a pumpkin,

  So I started by making my cake ball mix with one full box mix and some chocolate icing.  I then shaped my cake pops with this mold.  Which really is super easy.  I then set them in the freezer to chill and attempted to get a nice smooth white candy melt going.  I gave up after about 30 minutes and just dipped them.  I managed to get almost 20 covered without too many issues.  The rest were ugly and I just took them to work. They didn't care, they still tasted good.
This looks sort of weird, but it's okay not all snow men have eyes in the wild.

 I used some Halloween pumpkin sprinkles to put the noses on, as I was way too lazy to dig through my sprinkle stash.  And I glued the hats on with some more melted candy melts.  Then I just drew on the eyes, mouths and buttons.  That was it. I was so fed up with the stupid candy melts.  So I sat there looking at them and I said to Pork Chop "do you still want to give them to your team?"  And he patted my arm and said "it's okay Mommy, THEY will think they look okay"  And  he patted my arm again and walked back to play with his toys.

Is it me or does he look sort of drunk, like he was having a party then just stuck a huge gum drop on his head?

  Yeah, I got told by an 8 year old.  So I bit the head off of one of the not decorated snow men, felt a little bit better and wrapped them up.

  Then I tried to make brownies and those sort of worked, but what ever.

I kind of wish now that I had made some with little yellow patches on the bottom, remember, never eat the yellow snow!

  So after all that here you go:

*Super Spectacular Give Away*

I know, I am dramatic.  The winner will receive one snow man cake pop mold. Supplied by the awesome My Little Cupcake
You can earn a few entries.

1) Become a follower or my blog and let me know in the comments, or if you already follow me, you are already awesome, so just let me know.  I will think new followers are awesome too, just so you know.

2)Visit My Little Cake Pop and let me know in the comments here what other mold you need to make your cake pop life complete.

3) Share my give away on your face book or blog or whatever, just leave me a comment letting me know how you shared.

4)And the easiest, just leave me a comment telling me how much you hate working with white candy melts, and if you actually love it, leave me a tip of some sort.  I am close to hurting someone over these things people!!!!

The contest will close on Wednesday December 5 at noon (Toronto time) as I want to try and get this to the winner before the holiday.  I will use to pick out the winner, and if you live in Canada I will have you answer a skill testing question.  This is open to Canada, the US and International readers too. Please leave me an email or some way to reach you, but I will announce the winner on Wednesday December 5 in the evening some time, and the winner will have 48 hours to get back to me or else I have to choose another winner.

Good Luck!
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