Monday, October 24, 2016

Celebrate Everything!

Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller

I have a fun new book that I’m excited to tell you about today.

It’s called Celebrate Everything! Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life by my sweet friend Darcy Miller.

Darcy… if you don’t know her … is the smart, talented, creative force and Editor behind the Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. She loves celebrating life’s special moments in the most fantastic ways and her new book is like being right inside her party-planning mind with ideas, advice, tips, tricks and recipes.

Martha Stewart Weddings

The first time I learned about Darcy was the same year I started this blog. I had taken an introductory cake decorating class and the instructor recommended we take a look at the Martha Stewart Weddings magazine for inspiration. Well, I went right home and subscribed … I have to admit, it felt funny getting a bridal magazine each month when I wasn’t planning a wedding, but it was well worth it and full of inspiration. I skipped over all the pages of pretty dresses and went right to the wedding reception sections each month. The favor details, the cakes and desserts, the seating card ideas and creative ways to add spectacular touches … I loved all of it and quickly became a fan of hers.

Me and Darcy

Flash forward a few years and Darcy and I crossed paths on social media. I remember thinking OMG, Darcy Miller knows who I am. How can that be?! Then digital life became real when she invited me over to her beautiful home the last time I was in New York City. And she is just as sweet and wonderful in person as I had imagined. I have to say it was a giddy and surreal moment for me.

Okay, I’ll stop fan girling now so I can give you a little peek inside her book. Every time I look inside, I feel like I find something new. Here’s just some of what I love about it:

  • Overflowing with ideas and inspiration
  • Fun format with lots of lists
  • Party theme starter ideas
  • Decorating details
  • Party-planning basics
  • Tons of themes
  • Menu ideas and recipes, too
  • Plus… Resources! YAY!

That’s just a little, now let’s see a small sneak peek inside this party planning go-to guide.

Inside Celebrate Everything

Images photographed from Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller. Copyright © 2016 by Darcy Miller. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


Check out Celebrate Everything! today! It launches tomorrow October 25th.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Candy Corn Crawlers

Candy Corn Spider Cookies

I bought a bag of sea salt chocolate candy corn a couple of weeks ago because I thought the color might be fun for some kind of Halloween treat… but at the time I didn’t know what. Well after staring at the bag long enough I finally decided on spiders this past Sunday and made these creepy crawling chocolate cookies.

Sea Salt Chocolate Candy Corn

I love the look of this candy corn. The slight color variation in the brown and the white tips make awesome spider leg details.

Chocolate Cookie Ingredients

Okay let’s make some cookies. Grab flour, sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt and milk chocolate morsels.

Chocolate Cookie Dough

Once you have the cookie dough ready, scoop and roll into 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 inch balls.

Delish Chocolate Cookies

When baked, they are the cutest little 2-inch mounded cookies and soooooooo soooooooo good. I highly recommend eating a few while they are still warm…

And if you want to turn them into spiders, then follow the instructions below.

Making Spider Legs

First prepare the legs. Just dip the bottom of a candy corn in melted chocolate candy coating and then attach to the large side of another candy corn. Hold in place a few seconds and set down on wax paper to dry completely. You’ll need 16 pieces to make 8 spider legs for one cookie. But if you want to save a little time and go for 6-legged spiders I won’t tell.

Candy Corn Spider Legs

When you have all the legs you need ready to go, then dip the white end of the short part of the spider leg into more melted candy coating and very gently press into a cookie just enough to hold the leg in place while it dries. Don’t press so hard that you break the legs. Repeat for all 8 legs and let dry before moving.

Making Spider Cookies

Attach two white M&M’s candies in position for eyes with melted candy coating and let dry.

Candy Corn Spiders

Now spoon a small amount of the candy coating on top of the spider’s back. Use a toothpick if needed to coerce the coating around in a circle and make sure it touches the legs that are already attached. This will give them a little more support.

Before the chocolate dries, cover with Chocolate Crunch Sprinkles.

Making Spider Cookies

When dry, turn upside down and shake off any of the excess sprinkles.

Spider Cookies

Now all that’s left is dotting the eyes. Use a black edible-ink writing pen to draw on the M&M’s.

Cute and Creepy Spider Cookies

P.S. If you want simpler spiders that are a little sweeter than they are creepy, then just turn the candy corn pieces on their sides and attach to the cookies with melted candy coating. It also helps to break off a little bit of the tips so they aren’t as pointed where the candies meet the cookie.

Creepy Cute Candy Corn Crawlers

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate morsels

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter, both sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Stir in morsels.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes.
  • Press tops down gently if they are too mounded and let cool.

Makes about 36 2-inch cookies.

For decorating, you’ll need:
Sea Salt Chocolate Candy Corn*
Chocolate Candy Coating
Chocolate Crunch Sprinkles
White M&M’s candies
Black edible-ink writing pen

*I found the Sea Salt Chocolate Candy Corn made by Brach’s at Walgreen’s. The 15 oz bag had enough candies to make a dozen creepy crawling spiders or two dozen cute spiders.

Chocolate Spider Cookies


Monday, October 3, 2016



How franken’ cute are these little guys for Halloween?! … And so easy to make which is always awesome. I used a recipe from The I Heart Naptime Cookbook for Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s my food blogging friend, Jamielyn’s first cookbook full of quick and easy recipes perfect to pull off in an hour. Love that!

I Heart Naptime Cookbook

Sugar Cookie Bar Ingredients

Instead of the pretty in pink, party-worthy frosting and sprinkles in her book, I took a twist with the tops and turned them into Frankenstein faces. While these are super easy to make, the decorating will take you over the hour mark. But feel free to make them in any frosting and sprinkle color combination that you love. They’ll still be so cute.

Cookie Bar Steps

Making the sugar cookie bars is simple … whip up the dough, press into a baking pan, frost and sprinkle when baked and cooled. Cut into bars and done.


Or break out the extra candies and go full on Frankenstein.

Halloween decorations

For the faces, I used black jelly beans, black jimmies, and jumbo candy eyes.

Jelly Bean Hair

Place 5-6 jelly beans on top of square sugar cookie bar for Frank’s hair. Use a toothpick to position if necessary and when in place, gently press into frosting.

Making Mouths

Set the eyes in place and use black jimmies for mouths and eyebrows. Most of the time, there are some curved jimmies in the sprinkle bottle which totally makes a subtle little smirk.

Okay, but now we need some bolts to finish the look.

Making Frankensteins

My mini marshmallows worked great to press into the sides of the frosting. Perfect proportions and lightweight enough not to fall off the sides. Win!

Halloween Sugar Cookie Bars

Yep, the faces look much cuter with bolts in place.

Sugar Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
(amended slightly from the book)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

  • For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 15 X 10 X 1 jelly roll pan with nonstick spray. (Note: I used a 9 X 13 inch pan for thicker bars and greased and lined the pan with parchment paper to easily lift bigger bars out of the pan.)
  • In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter using a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the sugar mixture until combined. Lightly flour your hands and press dough evenly into baking pan with palms of your hands.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Don’t let tops brown or over bake.
  • For the Frosting: In a medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese using a mixer until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix until combined, smooth and creamy. Add any food coloring if desired and frost cooled sugar cookie bars. Top with sprinkles or cut into bars and then decorate into Frankenstein faces with black jelly beans and jimmies, jumbo candy eyes and mini marshmallows.

Recipe adapted slightly from The I Heart Naptime Cookbook by Jamielyn Nye, © 2016

Frankensquare Sugar Cookies



Monday, September 26, 2016

Cake Pops Halloween

October is right around the corner and Fall is finally here. That means it’s the start of the sweet and spooky treat season and one of my favorite times of the year to bake. So, if you’re new around here or didn’t see my Halloween book when it first came out, then here’s a little peek at Cake Pops Halloween and a fun way to help you trick out your treats.

Cake Pops Halloween Cover


Halloween Cake Pops

Inside you’ll find some very cute vampires, cute black cat candy buckets, creepy cauldrons, mini monsters and more. But, they’re not all spooky, some are simply fall-inspired like the awfully cute owls, caramel apples, sweet scarecrows, and candy corn cuties.

Candy Wafers

The idea for the book started out as an ebook only. I had so many Halloween designs already created that I asked my publisher, Chronicle Books if they would want to do an ebook since Halloween has such a short selling period. They jumped on board and I combined some of my favorites from the blog plus cool new designs so you can have and refer to the pops all in one place. But Chronicle is all around awesome and they also created a special print edition for me, offered exclusively from them. You won’t find this one in bookstores so if you want a copy then get one while you can. (Note: Unfortunately, Chronicle only ships in the US.)

Cake Pops Halloween Book

You can get the printed book here from Chronicle Books.

Or get the ebook on:

Apple iBookstore
Google Play

Cake Pops Tags

If you don’t need a book, that’s okay, too. I have some free printables you can use for cake pop tags, cupcake toppers or labels that you can download right here. The pdf contains 12 different tag designs in different colors plus… a few templates for projects from the book.

You can download the free printables here.


Candy Eyes

And if you make any treats from the book, please tag them with #CakePopsHalloweenBook on Instagram so I can see your spooky sweets, too.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Storks Cake Pops

Storks Cake Pops

I made these cake pops for the movie STORKS!!! So much fun. I’m working with Warner Bros. Pictures to help promote the movie hitting theaters this Friday, September 23rd. I love getting the opportunity to work on projects for animated movies and this one looks really good. Plus, what’s sweeter than cake pops to deliver the word.

Storks Movie Poster

Find your flock this Friday. Check it out.

Or if you’d rather learn how to make some cute Storks Movie cake pops, then keep on reading.

Storks - Cake Balls

To get started, you will need to make some basic cake pops that you can shape and decorate.

Making Storks

To make Storks Cake Pops:

  • Follow my basic instructions for cake pops and then form into rounded thumbnail shapes. Dip shaped cake balls into melted white candy coating. Allow any excess coating to fall off back into the bowl and then let them dry completely before decorating.
  • When dry, shape beaks using orange fondant. You can buy small packages of pre-tinted fondant at craft stores. For the beaks to fit against the cake pop, the base needs to be curved to mimic the curve of the cake pop surface. Try using a clean cylinder to shape the beak (I used a sprinkle bottle) so you don’t damage your pops. Then place shaped beak on the pop to make sure you have the correct curve. To attach beaks, paint base with melted candy coating using a toothpick. Press center part of the beak onto cake pop and then attach white candy gems or m&m’s for eyes in position using more melted candy coating. Finally curve the sides of the beak around the eyes and gently press against pop to attach in position.
  • Let dry completely and then draw pupils on the candy eyes using a black edible ink pen. To finish the look, apply more melted candy coating over the eyes using a toothpick to make the brows. Using a clean toothpick, make a small dot of candy coating on the pupils of the eyes for a little sparkle. It really helps give them personality.


Oh my gosh … who knew storks could be so cute.

Now… who wants to make some babies!


So these are a little more work, but babies usually are. : )

  • Dip round cake balls into melted candy coating. You can melt and mix white coating with a few wafers of yellow and brown to make your desired flesh color.
  • After dipping, place two sugar candy eyes (these are smaller and flatter than M&M’s) in position on the center and bottom half of the front of the pop and let dry.
  • Draw big blue eyes with an edible ink writing pen. When the ink dries, draw on black pupils and eyelashes and place a dot of white candy coating on the pupils.
  • Dip a toothpick in melted coating and dot on noses.

Making Babies

Don’t worry about making mouths because these babies have tiny little pacifiers.

Attach pink confetti sprinkles to the pop using melted candy coating. Then attach a yellow sugar pearl to the confetti sprinkle.

Baby Decorating

Oh yeah, to make the hair and eyebrows, dip a toothpick in melted candy coating and use it to draw on the pop. The babies in the movie have bright colors for hair like pink, blue, yellow and purple. So, I used my party pink candy coating to make these after the main baby. As the coating thickens, you can make cute little strands of hair that stick up and stay in place.

Storks - Baby Cake Pops

See … so super cute.
For rosy cheeks, you can very lightly brush on pink powdered food color.

Storks Cake Pops

Soooo … right about here, I decided I need to add a little more joy.

Make that a bundle of joy.

Baby Bundles

  • To make little baby bundles, gently twist the baby’s head off the lollipop stick. (I know … that sounds terrible.) Once removed, you’ll use a new stick.
  • Okay, now take a cake ball and shape into a rounded bundle. Gently press and shape to mimic the bottom of the baby’s head. Then insert the stick into the shaped cake ball and go all the way through, leaving enough to insert back into the baby’s head.
  • Dip in melted white candy coating, allow any excess to fall off back into the bowl and attach the head before the coating dries. Now, you can leave them like this or add more melted white coating around the head to look like the baby is tied with a bow at the top. The bow was made with two white heart sprinkles.

Storks - Baby Bundle Cake Pops

This post is sponsored by Warner Bros. Pictures.

From the studio that delivered The LEGO Movie. STORKS, in theaters September 23! Storks deliver babies…or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for global internet giant Cornerstore. Junior, the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when he accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an adorable and wholly unauthorized baby girl. Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, race to make their first-ever baby drop – in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world. | Starring the voices of Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Katie Crown, Danny Trejo | Rated PG


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