Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To fondant...or not to fondant....

My daughter's birthday is coming, like I mentioned before, and I have been testing out fondants and icing recipes to figure out which is the best one.  Because my little girlie only turns one once...and her first taste of yummy sweetness has to be FABULOUS!!!

I have never used fondant before and was pretty nervous about it.  I found several webs sites that instruct you on how to make and use fondant, but the one I liked the most is  The writer doesn't talk down to you and I found the information VERY helpful.   The recipe for buttercream frosting is OUTSTANDING!  I think I am going to use it EVERY time I need frosting.  I have had a life long relationship with cream cheese frosting, but I think I can now say...creamcheese frosting has its place.  **

The recipe for fondant on the whatscookingamerica site is a marshmallow based recipe.  Someone had told me about this kind of recipe in the past, but I thought they were up in the night about adding marshmallows to frosting!  They weren't. :)  While I LOVED the texture of this recipe...which made it very easy to use...the taste was WAY sugary!  I even had Alex take it into work for his co-workers to taste and get their honest opinions.  They agreed on the sugary front.  They also weren't so keen on the texture.

But look how cute and professional the cake turned out!  However, notice the right side where I tried to fold the fondant into itself.  The whatscookingamerica web site suggested using Crisco to smooth the folds, but it didn't work too well.

The second recipe I tried out was from  I was skeptical about this recipe because the reviews either loved it, or hated it.  I think this recipe is really the lesser of the two evils...the evils being the laymans fondant. :)  The consistency reminded me of play dough.  It wasn't as easy to work with and tore easily...but the TASTE WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD!  It was PERFECTLY complimentary to the buttercream frosting I got from  And when it comes to cooking...yeah, it is cool if it looks nice, but if it isn't yummy?  Why bother eating it. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strawberry Salsa

Summer is the BEST time of year for fruit.  *Sigh*  I wish summer could last all year!  I wanted to take advantage of the FABULOUS fruit by making a strawberry salsa.  I first you think...'Strawberry Salsa?  Onions, jalapenos, and STRAWBERRYS?  BARF!'  I'm not trying to ruin the strawberries, but enhance their yumminess in new dish. :)  This is almost the exact same recipe I use for straight up pico de gallo, but with strawberries instead of tomatoes. 

I PROMISE....this recipe ROCKS!!!

Strawberry Salsa:
Pint of Strawberries
1/3 Red Onion
1 Jalapeno
1/3 cup Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Dice strawberies, red onion, jalapeno and cilantro into a bowl. 

Add salt and pepper, olive oil and balamic vinegar.  Let marinate for at least an hour before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips.

This would actually be GREAT over salad greens.  I added some avocado to the salsa when I thought about the salad angle.  Very tasty!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ladybug ATTACK!

That's right!  Our home has been overrun with ladybugs!  Ladybug cupcakes, that is.  My daughter's first birthday is right around the corner and I have been testing out several recipes for her birthday cake.  Since we are inviting all of her pint-sized buddies over for a birthday party, I thought I would try out some miniature desserts. 

A girlfriend of mine made these cupcakes for my baby shower when I was pregnant with Kate.  She found the recipe on  Those folks at are pretty clever when it comes to ULTRA CUTE cakes and cupcakes. 

Because the decoracting of these babies is rather labor intensive, the recipe calls for store bought cake mix, frosting and cookies.  I suppose if you wanted to go over the top, you could make the cake and frosting from scratch...however, I don't suggest it.  The novelty of these cupcakes is what makes them YUMMY!

Ladybug Cupcakes:
•1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
•Green food coloring
•12 unfrosted cupcakes baked in green paper liners*
•½ cup green decorating sugar
•12 green gumdrops
•3 Tbsp granulated white sugar
•Red food coloring
•½ cup red decorating sugar
•12 Mallomars
•½ can (1 cup) chocolate frosting
•24 brown M&M's Minis
•1 Tbsp chocolate sprinkles
*Green paper liners can be purchased at

What you'll need:
•A rolling pin or a heavy bottle
•Kitchen shears or scissors
•1 resealable sandwich-size plastic bag (Ziploc)

For the leaf cupcakes:
1.Tint 1 cup of the vanilla frosting green with the green food coloring.
2.Spread the green frosting evenly on top of the cupcakes.
3.Place the green decorating sugar into a small bowl. Roll the edge of each cupcake in the green sugar to coat.
4.Using a rolling pin or a clean, heavy bottle, roll out the green gumdrops in the granulated white sugar to flatten. Using kitchen shears or clean scissors, cut each flattened gumdropinto 2 leaves. Arrange the leaves on one edge of a cupcake. Repeat with the remaining gumdrops and cupcakes.

For the ladybugs:
1.Tint 1 cup of the vanilla frosting with the red food coloring.
2.Spoon the red sugar into a small bowl.
3.Cover each Mallomar with red frosting. Roll each frosted Mallomar in red sugar to coat completely.
4.Place one sugar-coated Mallomar on each leaf cupcake.

For the decoration:
1.Spoon the chocolate frosting into a resealable plastic bag and snip a small corner of the bag. Pipe a line of chocolate frosting down the center of the red cookie; pipe an oval onto the front of the red cookie for the ladybug's head.
2.Place 2 brown M&M's Minis on either side of the chocolate line; stick 2 chocolate sprinkles upright into the ladybug's frosting head.
3.Continue with the remaining cupcakes.

This recipe was so labor intensive that I omitted the rolling out of the gumdrops...SERIOUSLY!  I found some sour patch candies that cut them into the shape of leaves...that was insanely time consuming for 24 cupcakes.  I also used Oreo Cakesters instead of Mallomars.  I am not way too keen on Marshmallow unless it is on a s'more. :)  I 86'ed the sugary sprinkles too because I wanted to keep the expense to a minimum...I'm so cheap. 

I took the cupcakes to a Memorial Day BBQ and they were a HIT!  YEAH!!!!