Archive | August, 2010

Size Matters

31 Aug

You probably noticed my cupcakes are offered in two primary sizes – jumbo and mini.  Yes, the cupcake craze is in full force, but most places focus on the “standard” size cupcake.  While the standard cupcake has it’s place, I think the jumbo and mini sizes offer an even greater range of possibilities.

For me, the jumbo cupcake is perfect for small and medium size dinner parties or gatherings.  They are great for sharing (I’m huge fan of family style meals for dinner parties – it’s an easy ice-breaker) and allow guests to try more than one flavor.  At approximately one and a half times the size of a standard cupcake, they have a few more bites than the regular cupcake but a few less than a full piece of cake.  And, if we are all honest with ourselves, we always want a few bites of that second cupcake…

As for the mini, it is great for large gatherings such as open houses, holiday get-togethers, office parties, bridal and baby showers etc.  You can offer guests a wide range of flavors and, since each is only two or three bites, everyone can feel free to taste without the guilt.  I have found women (and my Granddad, if I’m being honest) in particular enjoy minis.  They don’t count against the diet when they are little, right?

Don’t get me wrong, the standard cupcake definitely has it’s place and I do offer them for large orders.  I think they are great as an easy portion control at kids parties.  A bunch of mini cupcakes might create a kid backlash.  And standard cupcakes are easier for parties held at venues like bars and restaurants where sharing can be a challenge – splitting a jumbo in the middle of your favorite dive bar just doesn’t seem so appealing (don’t act like you don’t know the kind of establishment to which I am referring.)

For the most part, the jumbo or mini will work for all of your occasions.  And the best part, they come in all the flavors.  So be sure to think of Kristina’s Confections for your next event… start planning your flavor choices now!

Flavor Focus: Apple Spice

30 Aug

It’s hard to believe that Summer 2010 is nearly behind us.  I’m sorry if this comes as a shock to you, but it’s true.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

Today is August 30, which means September starts on Wednesday.  With September comes so many great things – new school year (read: new pens, blank notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils, ahhh those were the days), long-sleeve weather, football… and the return of Apple Spice with Caramel Swiss Buttercream!

I have to say, I love most cupcake flavors – I have a massive sweet tooth, which makes baking a necessary evil for me (and you my enablers).  Anyway, Apple Spice is seriously one of my favorites.  I would make it even if I didn’t have Kristina’s Confections.

Apple chunks are mixed into a delicate spice cake packed with the warm fall flavors we all love – cinnamon and nutmeg.  Everything is topped with a light and fluffy caramel Swiss buttercream and a caramel drizzle.  If this doesn’t get you excited for fall, nothing will!

Apple Spice is available from September through December.

Perfect pairing: family fun night, fall picnic, neighborhood block party, book club

That Was A Close One

27 Aug

There was nearly a disaster in the Kristina’s Confections kitchen yesterday (spoiler alert: all is now well).  My beloved KitchenAid Mixer had a malfunction…

I received my mixer almost five years ago as a Christmas gift and it is, without a doubt, in the top five gifts I have ever received (my first Cabbage Patch doll, my dollhouse, a pair of scrubs and my Tod’s purse round out the top five, in case you are wondering).  I wanted the mixer for years but didn’t have the space or, realistically, the need.  But it came at the right time and we’ve loved each other ever since.

Until yesterday, that is.

I was making sugar cookie dough to work on new designs when the the head of the mixer fell.  Okay, that sounds a bit more dramatic than what may have actually occurred, but the paddle was hitting the sides of the bowl and I knew something was definitely wrong.  I gave the mixer a look over and thought a screw was loose.  So off I went to find a flat head.  That wasn’t it.

Then I did a bit of research and it seems the peg that keeps the head set into the base of the bowl had jimmied out.  (I, in fact, don’t think this bolt has ever been fully in place on my mixer… but it was just recently that I started photographing the mixer, so I can’t be sure).

Small breakdown.  Pull myself together.

I greased the bolt, used a hammer and voila… disaster averted.  Phew!

We then spent the rest of the day working on some cookies and some icing together.  And we plan on spending the weekend together too.  Stay tuned to see what we create…

School’s In Session

26 Aug

My Godmother’s son started college on Monday.  It makes me feel old.  To all of them, I am old… but I’ve always been “the baby” to my mom’s friends, keeping me young.  Seeing the next round of kids start college negates this long standing idea.  Scary. (I’ve LONG been out of college, for those who are wondering!)

But, this is going to be fun.  See, Big Boy is now a Mountaineer.  I am a Wildcat.  Big East rivalry.

For his graduation party, I made West Virginia medallion cookies.

I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to remind him who reigns.  So I simply tucked in a few Villanova cookies among the WVU cookies.  It didn’t take him too long to notice…

I also made East Carolina medallions for another family member who is off to ECU (the pirate mascot was a bit much for me to throw together at the last minute!).

To all those who are starting school – old and young – good luck and enjoy the ride.

And stay tuned to see who wins this year’s Big East basketball bragging rights.  I think you know where I stand on this issue.

V for Villanova… V for Victory!!!

Custom Cuts: Thank You for Our Special Delivery!

25 Aug

After Jess had the little guy, she asked me to make cookies as a thank you for the labor and delivery nurses.  We decided on a mix of boy onesies and medallions in corresponding colors.

For the onesies, I mimicked the colors I used for the baby shower – blue, green, yellow and white.  I decided to limit the designs to the favorite four:

Charlie - after the beloved Charlie Brown... and my favorite little guy

Classic - stripes, in fact, do work for everyone

Just Like Dad - every little guy needs a suit like dad

Pop's Wagon - reminiscent of your dad's long forgotten station wagon

I love the vintage feel of the designs – reminds me of a time when life was a bit simpler!

And we couldn’t forget to actually say thank you:

These were actually my first custom cuts, so I look at them now and know how I could improve them a bit.  That said, I love the final product… and didn’t hear any cookie monster complaints!!!

It Is Easy Being Green

19 Aug

As promised, new sugar cookie designs from my Vermont cookie cutter finds!

The frogs were the ones I was most excited to design – obviously I didn’t wait too long to get to work on them!  I love how they turned out.  The green dots, the little grin and the beady eyes make them so cute.

Don’t they look like they are up to something?

As for the turtles, I was a little skeptical as they were drying (as I am most of the time).  This morning though, I was so excited.  I love the different variations.  The full shell designs have great texture and the polka dot guy is pretty darn cute.

Who wouldn’t love those little smiles?!?

Either design would be great for a little boy’s birthday party.  These would also be fun for spring and summer backyard gatherings.

As always, the cookies can be customized with names, numbers or phrases.

Speaking of… stay tuned for another turtle design.  All I’ll say is “Fear the turtle!”


Flavor Focus: Kissed by the Orange Sun

18 Aug

Grandma used to make an orange bundt cake that was a summertime family favorite.  For simplicity sake, she used a boxed cake (sorry Grandma, the secret’s out!), added orange juice in lieu of the water and baked.  For the frosting, she made a homemade orange buttercream that incorporated orange juice, orange rind and the other usual suspects – 10X sugar (as Grandma calls it) and butter.

As a nod to Grandma’s original creation, and as a way for the rest of us to enjoy this old favorite, I set out to make a cupcake version (from scratch, of course!).

My orange buttercream, the star of this cupcake, gets the fresh, sweet and tangy flavor from the fresh squeezed orange juice and the orange rind, just like Grandma’s.  Mine also has a bit of honey (surprise!), which not only adds a bit of natural sweetness, but also helps with the light and fluffy consistency.  This sits on top of my classic vanilla bean cupcake – the perfect pairing.

As one recent taster noted,  this could be eaten for breakfast.  Go ahead, no one’s going to tell!

Perfect Pairing: summer time cookout, pool party, girl’s luncheon, brunch treat

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