Monday, January 19, 2015

A peek inside my pantry

Pantry

I finally organized my pantry and I’m super excited about it. If you follow me on instagram, you may remember the photo below that I posted several weeks ago.

Before

This is my out-of-control pantry, but it barely has any food in it. It’s 95% dedicated to baking and decorating supplies and it’s looked a lot like this since I moved in about a year and a half ago. I’ve just never taken the time to focus on organizing it.

Pantry Clutter

Cookie cutter chaos, overflowing bins, baking cups everywhere. A ton of space, but somehow no place to put anything… let alone find anything when I need it.

But now that’s changed because I recently partnered with Target to use some of their storage solutions to spruce up my space. It was a perfect opportunity to work with them since I’ve been using their plastic bins for years to stack and store my stuff.

But now… oh my gosh. I’m so excited about this space.

Want to see the after?

Pantry After

Aaaaaaaahhh! I LOVE it! My friend Julie came over and helped with the final arranging and now I keep walking in and staring at everything with my heart all fluttery. I think I could even sleep in here … especially now that I can find the floor.

If you want to take a closer look, I’ve included lots of pictures and links to the Target products below in case you like any of the items I used. (And if you have any storage solution ideas you want to share, I’m all ears.)

Let’s start with that bar cart in the back. I bought it from Target a while ago to put supplies on when I work on a project and I can’t wait to finally use it again.

Canvas Bins

For the new items, I went shopping in the store and online. I found these fabric bins to organize things like regular and mini baking cups, cake boards and more.

Pom Poms

I added pom poms to the ring pulls to decorate the fronts.

Y-Weave Bin

These cute y-weave baskets came in super handy to store things like my candy molds…

Y-Weave Bin

Colorful straws …

Cookie Cutter Sets

… and my collection of cookie cutter tins. I love the pattern.

Organizers

For individual cookie cutters, I found these 3-Drawer Organizers to store them in and I added washi tape to the fronts to give them a little color.

Cookie Cutter Storage

Each drawer is organized by theme. Easter, Christmas, Halloween, hearts, animals and sweets. What I love about these is that I can easily remove the individual drawers to carry.

Cake Pop Stands

Here are some of my cake pop and cupcake stands now all stacked up. YAY!

Paper Straws

I used these utensil holders to put pretty paper straws on display.

Chevron Bin

I love this chevron bath basket for my candy wafers. It makes it easy to grab the color I need. It’s actually a baby item, but I couldn’t resist the design.

Bowls

I only have a handful of props to organize … thank goodness.

Wire Baskets

These tall wire baskets came in handy for yarn and paper filler.

Cake Pops by Bakerella

And I finally found a place to put my Cake Pops books and kit on permanent display.

Cake Pop Sticks

These easy-to-access glass containers keep my lollipop sticks cozy.

Luster dust

Here’s another three-drawer organizer that I decorated with more washi tape. I’m using it for luster dust, plus powdered and gel food coloring and candy flavoring.

Pantry

The four small bins in the upper right hold small items like miniature spoons. You can write on the pink fronts with a dry erase marker but I decided to leave them blank. I also used the medium size bins to hold ribbon and treat bags and twist ties.

Carry Tote

I found this small tote basket great to carry bottles in. It’s holding colored cocoa butters for now.

Magazine Holders

I was going to print out labels for these magazine holders, but instead I just used bright green washi tape to cover the cardboard insert for a little pop of color.

Egg Cartons

Egg cartons and ice cream containers. I bought the egg cartons a while ago to package mini cupcakes in. Now that I can see them, maybe I’ll finally use them.

Glitter

Here’s a small kitchen organizer I’m using to hold glitter. I liked the size of it and the bottom was teal. So basically I had to get it.

Glass Jars

I wish I had more of these glass jars. Love them!

Mini Marshmallow Bits

P.S. I think I’m set on mini marshmallow bits. : )

Candy Storage

These are some of the thirteen storage bins that I already had. They are filled with all kinds of candy that I keep for reference. At one time they were organized by pastel and primary colors. But the contents kept growing. I guess going through these will be my next project.

Sprinkle Storage

If you are wondering where my sprinkles are, they hang out upside down in two of my kitchen drawers so I can see them all at a glance. They used to be in several plastic bins this way, but I love having them handy in the kitchen.

Pantry

Here’s a last view of the main wall from the left…

Pantry

and the right!

Bake

Thanks for peeking inside my pantry. And now that I’m all organized, it’s time to bake!

This post is a collaboration with Target.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paddington Cake Pops

Paddington Cake Pops

Paddington arrives in theaters Friday, January 16th and I made these sweet little pops to celebrate the movie from the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (Harry Potter). Paddington brings the comic misadventures of everyone’s favorite Peruvian bear to life on the big screen as he travels to the city in search of a home, meets the Brown family who offer him a temporary haven and then catches the eye of a museum taxidermist played by Nicole Kidman.

I love making character cake pops and Paddingtion is such a charming little bear. I had the most fun interpreting him in cake pop form for the movie. I gave him his signature red hat and a hint of a blue collar from his duffle coat to carry out the look.

And, here’s how you can make him, too!

Cake crumbs

Follow my basic cake pop instructions to get started.

Once you’ve crumbled your cake, mixed it with frosting and rolled the mixture into cake balls, you can reshape them into little bear heads for dipping.

Shaping Cake Pops

To shape them into a head for Paddington, his forehead should be taller to accommodate the height of his hat and his nose should protrude in front. You can shape by hand, but I also find it helpful to use a lollipop stick to aid in shaping. Try rolling the stick on the front to flatten the forehead. You can also use it to make indentions for the eyes and nose as reference.

Dipping Paddington

When you are ready to dip, insert the lollipop stick into a chilled and shaped cake ball. Then insert into melted light brown candy coating. (Note: To make light brown coating, melt and mix white candy wafers along with chocolate candy wafers in the microwave. Start small with the chocolate until you get shade you want. I also like to add some orange candy wafers to warm up the color, but it’s not necessary.)

Dip the cake pop and tap off any excess. Then, before the coating sets, attach two black sugar pearls in position for eyes.

After all the cake pops are dipped, lighten up the brown coating again by adding more white candy wafers. Use a toothpick dipped in the melted coating to draw on the front of the face for the snout. Before the coating sets, attach a black coated sunflower seed for the nose and let dry completely. (Note: Most of the seeds in the package are pointed on one end, but I will sift through them to find ones that appear rounded on both sides.

Decorating Paddington

For Paddington’s hat, dip his head at an angle into melted red candy wafers so the coating curves around his forehead and around his head.
Remove and let dry completely.

When dry, use a toothpick dipped in coating to draw a floppy brim. Do this in a couple of stages. Draw in the coating, let it set to dry and then add more coating on top to make it thicker.

When dry use a toothpick dipped in melted blue candy wafers to draw on the coat’s collar on the bottom of the pop. Let the first layer dry and then apply more coating to make the collar thicker.

When dry, draw on a sweet side smile with a black edible ink writing pen.

Paddington Cake Pops

Ta-da! … Little Paddingtons!

Paddington

These are actually pretty easy to decorate. You just need:

  • candy wafers – chocolate, vanilla, red, blue, orange (optional)
  • black sugar pearls
  • black sunflower seeds
  • black edible ink pen
  • toothpicks
  • and treat tags too.

Paddington Tags

Download the Paddington Tags pdf that I made and you can dress him up with his famous label from the story that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you.”

Paddington Cake Pops

Oh my gosh, he’s such a cutie!!

Check out the #PaddingtonMovie in theaters this Friday!

This post sponsored by The Weinstein Company, but obviously I love making character cake pops. Hope you love these too. Enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pop Stars for $800

Something crazy happened yesterday. I started getting comments and tweets from people and friends that I was a question on Jeopardy. And I was like what?! No. That can’t be. I mean somebody must be mixed up. But, then last night I saw it… and oh my gosh! I was totally a clue on Jeopardy. Crazy!!! Below is a clip I posted on Instagram, but I thought I’d share here too because it’s so surreal.

A video posted by @bakerella on

I love that John got the answer right… without hesitation… and then went on to win the show. YAY! I also love that John’s wife saw her husband on my instagram post and commented. Full circle I tell ya. Congrats on winning John… you’re the pop star!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Candy Jewel Pops

Candy Jewel Pops

I shape cake pops all the time by hand, but you can also use some candy molds to help you make them. So, today I thought I’d show you a fun way to use the Gems Mold from my product line with Make’n Mold that came out last year. I love how cute and perfect they turn out.

Bakerella for Make'n Mold

The flexible silicone mold makes six different shapes.

Bakerella Wafers

I went with three of my bright candy wafer colors to make these.

Candy Pops

I love the Sunny Yellow, but they look really great in just plain white, too.

You can make solid candy pops by simply filling the molds completely with melted candy wafers and inserting a lollipop stick after the coating starts to set a little.

Cake Pop Jewels

To prepare the molds for cake pops, fill each cavity with melted candy coating.

Then turn the entire mold upside down and let the excess coating fall back out onto a wax paper-covered baking sheet. You may need to gently shake it a little to help it fall.

This is an easy way to make sure that the entire inside of the mold gets coated. And when the excess coating on the wax paper starts to set, you can remove it to reheat.

Let dry completely or place the mold in the refrigerator to help set quickly.

Cake Pop Jewels

Now that you have an outer shell, press cake pop mixture into the coated cavity leaving enough room on top for more melted coating to seal and also touch and attach to the coating already on the inside of the cavity.

Before the coating starts to set, insert a cake pop stick straight in.

Place the mold back in the refrigerator to set again.

To remove pops, gently separate the lip of the mold from the candy and then carefully push the shape out of the mold from the bottom.

Keep in mind that if you shake out too much coating in the beginning, leaving a thin shell, that the pop may break when removing.

Coated Sunflower Seeds

You can also use the same technique to fill the mold with small candy like these coated sunflower seeds.

Surprise Inside Jewels

Just let your recipients know there’s something fun to expect inside… and maybe give them a bowl ; ), so when they bite in they don’t make a mess.

Jewel Candies

I probably wouldn’t make these into pops though. Just serve them as standalone surprise inside candies.

Enjoy!

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Below are the Bakerella for Make’n Mold products used in this post if you want to give them a go.

You can find them in stores at A.C. Moore Crafts.

And, if there’s not a location in your area, you can also order online from Make’n Mold at the links below.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Snow Cute Sugar Cookie Squirrels

Squirrel Sugar Cookies

Snowy sweet squirrels. Hmmmm… or chipmunks maybe? No, I’m sticking with squirrels. Brown fluffy, furry squirrels with big beautiful tails.

Squirrel Cookie Cutter

I found this cute cutter last Christmas at Williams-Sonoma and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make cookies that would stand up to showcase that tall tail. And it only took me a year to get around to trying them out. I’m quick like that. I couldn’t find this exact cutter on their site anymore (boo) but here is a google image search of some other cutter examples if you want to try making some similar.

Cookie Stand

To make the cookie stand, I cut out circles from the dough that were wider than the base of the squirrel’s foot. Then I used a knife to cut a thin rectangular shape in the center. Once the shape is cut, remove the center piece and place the dough circle and squirrel shapes on a cookie sheet to bake.

(I used this sugar cookie and royal icing recipe. Just swap out 1/2 cup of the flour for 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa to make chocolate sugar cookies.)

Standing sugar cookie

YAY! It works. Ok… this is where I started to go nuts and get really excited picturing a snowy mound for him to stand on.

Note: once the circles come out of the oven, use a knife or narrow spatula to recut the opening as the cookie will spread some during baking. But while it’s warm, you can easily remove any excess to make sure the squirrels feet will fit. And if the opening is a little bit bigger, that’s great too.

Piping Sugar Squirrels

I wanted to add a few details to make him a little more interesting so I drew on the cookie with a black edible ink pen to use as a piping guide.

Now, I usually start getting really anxious right before I start piping because I think I’m going to mess up all of my cookies. Especially when I’m working with shapes like circles or squares or hearts – shapes that are supposed to be more symmetrical. But this shape, even though it looks more involved was actually easier for me because the piped lines could be a bit more forgiving than say a perfectly piped circle. Either that, or I’m finally starting to get a little better at piping.

Outline the bodies first with royal icing and then add a few drops of water to make the icing more fluid so you can easily fill the shape. I usually pipe with a decorator bag fitted with a #2 tip and then I use a small squeeze bottle to fill the inside with flood consistency icing.

PipingSugar Squirrels

It’s helpful to let things dry in between stages. With the second color (brown mixed with white and a little bit of yellow) pipe and fill the face and tummy.

Right after filling the face with royal icing, add a black coated sunflower seed and a black sugar pearl for an easy eye and nose.

Pipe and fill the rest of the tail with a darker shade of brown.

When the bodies are dry, pipe on a colorful scarf to keep your little squirrels warm and cozy.

Squirrel Sugar Cookies

I don’t have a step photo of this, but before assembling, add the final details by piping white royal icing for the mouth, ears and a dotted eye. You can also attach a jumbo snowflake sprinkle for him to hold by using more of the icing as glue.

Sugar Squirrels

To decorate the bases, pipe and fill the circles with white royal icing and attach a few jumbo snowflake sprinkles so they stand up. Then sprinkle with white sanding sugar while the icing is still wet.

Let the bases and squirrels dry completely before assembling.

Sugar Cookie Squirrels

To assemble, fill the opening with royal icing and place the squirrel in position to dry and set in place.
Scratch that! I cheated a little and just filled the center with melted white chocolate. It dries much faster. : ) Sprinkle a little more sanding sugar if necessary to cover any white chocolate that might overflow.

And, now, I’m thinking I should have piped a little fallen snow on the tops of their tails. Next time, maybe.

Squirrel Sugar Cookies

These were super fun and so cute … I mean snow cute to make!

Hope you enjoy them and have a safe, sweet and Happy New Year!

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