Foodbuzz 24×24: Boo-tiful Cookie Decorating

>If you ask me in November what my favorite holiday is, I’ll probably say Thanksgiving. Ask me again in December and I’ll probably say Christmas. And if you ask me right now, I’ll say Halloween. What can I say? I just like holidays and all of the festive things that go along with them. Right now black cats, ghosts, zombies, and sweet treats are putting me in the holiday spirit. So when Foodbuzz put out the call for fall-inspired ideas for this month’s 24×24*, a lightbulb went off.

*Each month Foodbuzz showcases 24 food bloggers as they host a meal in the same 24 hours and blog about it on the same day.

My idea was to host a cookie decorating party – for kids. The girls that I watch were each allowed to invite a few friends and as soon as the invitations were delivered we started the party planning.

Coming up with the menu was pretty fun. I had about a million ideas for fun gross variations of food. But at the end of the day I had to keep in mind my audience so I needed to keep it simple. Oh, and I am apparently no good at making deviled eggs, so at the last minute I had to give up my dreams of creepy eyeballs.

First up was the main course. Mummy calzones. Each one was filled with cheese and pepperoni and then finished with a green olive eye. Most of the girls didn’t eat the “eye” but they loved the rest of it!

Next up was the “Bone Crunch” or popcorn. Not homemade, but I knew the girls would like something simple to munch on while they worked their cookie magic.

Despite the fact that some of the girls were a little afraid of eating the brain, it was a big hit! Everyone that tried it loved the flavor and EVERYONE loved the way it looked. The “brain” is just a cheddar cheese and ranch cheese ball that I piped into the shape of a brain. *recipe to be shared on Halloween day!!

For dessert I made “Graveyard Cups”. Super simple but a pretty fun effect. Just yellow cupcakes, and frosting, with crushed Oreos for dirt and a Milano cookie for a tombstone.

To drink I once again kept it simple with a jazzed up lemonade. The night before I filled 2 rubber gloves with water and red food coloring, then I tied them up and put them in the freezer. Right before the party started I cut the glove away from the hand shaped ice and added it to the bowl of lemonade. Two things to note about this: First the red food coloring dyed the heck out of my hands as I was cutting away the glove. Maybe wearing gloves while cutting the glove would be a good idea. Second, I wanted a “mangled hand” effect so I froze it with some folds and that made the fingers weak. As soon as the glove was cut away the fingers fell off. Still fun though.

I set the mood with a black and purple spider theme and Halloween music playing in the background. I also made Halloween themed signs with each spooky food name (and what it really was below in parenthesis).

Finally, the main attraction! The cookies!!! I made 5 different shapes; cats, owls, ghosts, pumpkins and circles for spiderwebs/spiders. In another post I’ll be sharing how I planned and spread out the work, but for now how about some pictures of the girls working on their masterpieces? It’s fun to see how creative kids get. Purple pumpkin – of course! Pirate spider – you bet! Polka dotted cat – well yeah!

The masterpieces!

I asked each girl to pick their favorite creation and these are the winners!

The aftermath

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

How about another sweet Friday? Sounds good to me. Get the weekend started off right with these customizable Funfetti Cupcakes!

It’s football season and regardless of whether or not you enjoy watching football games, I think that most people can get down with festive and spirited tailgate/party food. We are Bengals fans (Who Dey!) so for our Sunday radio broadcast streaming (no NFL cable package for us, we have to stream to hear the game) I went with black and orange sprinkles. But the beauty of homemade Funfetti is that you can use any color sprinkles you like! If you’re a Chargers fan all you need are blue and yellow (gold) sprinkles. If you’re not a football fan, you can go for traditional rainbow sprinkles or celebrate the season and stick with my black and orange and call it Halloween. It’s totally up to you!

As for the cake part of the cupcake, it was nice and sturdy and not overly sweet. The tops domed nicely and the middle was moist and light. I did use jumbo liners so mine took forever and I think the outsides might have been a little overcooked, but they still tasted great. I tried something new with my frosting and I didn’t love it so I won’t be sharing that today, but I think the Fluffy Vanilla Frosting I have already posted would be perfect.

Now onto cupcake size. The cupcakes I made were giant. You see, a few weeks ago I needed cupcake liners and sent the boys to the grocery to pick up white liners. They followed my instructions to a T and brought back the stores only white liners – jumbo size. I don’t have a jumbo muffin tin but the box of liners said they would fit in a regular pan, so that’s what I did. They had a heck of a time baking so I highly recommend sticking with regular size cupcakes or even minis, just not jumbos. They still tasted great but like I said, the outside was just a little overcooked.

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
(Adapted from Simply Scratch)

4 whole egg whites
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted Butter, softened
1/3 cup Sprinkles, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk, and vanilla. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt, into the bowl of standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment*. Add the butter and half of the milk mixture and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then, with the mixer on slow speed, add the last half of the milk mixture. Mix on slow-medium speed just until combined. Scrape down sides one more time to make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Now add the sprinkles and gently fold into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each one just a tiny bit more than halfway. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool all the way before frosting. Finish each cupcake with a few more sprinkles.

Sit back, enjoy, and cheer on your favorite team!

* Most cakes can be made without a standing mixer by using a large mixing bowl and a hand held mixer, just be careful not to over mix.