Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DIY Cupcake Stands

I can too be one of those crafty girls.  You know, those girls with paint all over their cut off jeans and plaid shirts with messy, sexy I'm too busy being an artist to brush my hair looks to them? 

Well okay, I learned that I am not one of those crafty girls but I can certainly pretend with some degree of success.  I'm also good at spray painting my legs.  And gloves.  And the patio floor.  (At least not the dogs?)

I saw this picture on pinterest and tracked it down to be sourced from this site.  I got super excited and envisioned gorgeous pink cupcake stands all over the place and had no choice but to convince myself that I was capable of doing this on my own.  I then spent the next 3.5 weeks going to Michael's, Jo-Ann and Beverely's find the parts I needed.  Oh and Home Depot. lol.  In my head this project was going to take like one day to put together, and 15 minutes to execute.  In actuality? Not so much.  I spent 2 days spray painting things and making messes.  I think I shall stick to using my creativity for cupcakes, not crafts.

Here's some pictures and a quick run down of how my process went.

You will need:

1. Wood glue.  I bought Elmer's wood glue at Joann for about $3.00.

2. Spray paint you can use on wood.  I bought three cans of Rust-Oleum spray paint, at $3.87 each.  I only ended up using two of the three cans though.  Might make more... or return if I can find the receipt. I really love the pink I used; "berry pink".

3. Packs of Lara's Crafts 3 inch wooden candlesticks.  They come in packs of 4.  I bought 5 packs at 2.99 each.  These were a pain in the butt to find.  None at Michael's or Jo-Ann.  I was about to order them online before I found them at Beverley's.  Well one pack, then I had to wait 3 weeks to get the other 4 packs in.  You see why this took so long?

4. Wooden circles and/or squares.  ($0.39 each)  Around 3 inches in diameter.  All the stores I had them, just not in stock.  So I ended up ordering circles at Michael's and picking up squares at Jo-Anne's.  The original tutorial called for cirles, but I wanted to mix it up so I did the squares as well.  I contemplated hearts too! But they were too small to work with.  Sad face.  But tip for those of you wishing to replicate this project; try buying at Jo-Ann's based only on the STICKER they put on them.   The one at Michael's take FOREVER to peel off.  

(It's also helpful to gather paper bags (newspaper sticks too easy) and plastic gloves so you don't get your fingers all spray painty.  In a related note, my camera might be spray painty.... lol.  Oops.)

First step is to take off those stupid stickers.  Make sure the surface had no stickyness to it and it is clean.  Since we will be gluing the candle stick to the center of the circles/squares, you might want to measure and mark it off with a sharpie like I did.

Then, just rim the top of the candle with your wood glue and place it upside down in the center. 

Press into place and repeat.  Repeat over and over again.  Leave to dry overnight.

It's helpful if you have a poodle underneath a bed to watch over this process.  But not necessary.

I did the white ones first, and learned some lessons along the way, so I am showing you the pink ones' progress. Also pink is much prettier and shows up on camera better.

In a well ventilated area, turn stand upside down and spray the sides of the candle stick and bottom.  Turn in a circle to try and coat evenly with a thin layer of paint.  Let dry for a few minutes and repeat.

 Let dry for a full hour and turn them over and repeat steps with the top of the stand.  Let dry overnight.  

If you missed any spots, go over with spray paint again and wait another 24 hours.  If you did a good job then they're ready for cupcakes!

They are far from perfect.  Haha.  I don't think I am a good spray painter... The pink ones more than the white ones have some areas where the spray paint went on a little bubbly.  =/  Maybe I should have primed them first.. or even painted them by hand. 

But they work!  And per unit were pretty cheap to make. And now I have a whole army of these little guys!  In hot pink AND in white.

I am going to use them for the first time in a week and a half.  (Nope, have not used them yet which is why the pictures do not feature a real cupcake haha.) Super excited about that, I think the little cupcake stands will look adorable!

'Till then!


Monday, July 2, 2012

"You Fancy, Huh?" Truffles

I never knew truffles were so easy to make.  But I googled "what to do with left over ganache" and I learned that they are so easy, everyone should just have a treasure trove of truffles at their daily dipsosal.  But then America would get squishier and we don't want that.  So for now we are not going to let people in on the secret.  We'll keep the truffles, and sadly- the squishyness, to ourselves.

My last baking adventure, Chocolate Covered Orange Madelines, combined with a lack of good sense on my part resulted in a huge bowl of ganache, nothing to dip it in and no time to find dippable things.  My google query solved my problem though, since I needed to pop the ganache in the fridge and let it chill.  I was free to go on with my day and deal with it the next day. Hoorah!

Literally all you must do is make your ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 30 1/2 tablespoon sized truffles.

6 oz heavy cream
6 oz good quality dark cocoa chocolate
2 tablespoons butter

1. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in sauce pan.
2. Pour over chopped chocolate (or chips) in a heat proof bowl and whisk until smooth.

Let cool.  Cover, and put in fridge for two hours or overnight.

Now you just scoop it out.  Originally I was all, I'll do it with a cookie scoop.  Nuh uh.  You need something smaller.  I used a measuring spoon.  I belive it was 1/2 tablespoon size.  The ganache is set, but still entirely pliable.  Scoop out a chunk.

Next you roll it around at your finger tips in order to make it a ball.  Or as close to a ball as possible because as soon as it hits your skin, the chocoalte will start to melt to work fast.  It doesn't look too pretty.  But it will be.   Once it's in a ball you are ready to cover it in something!

I literally opened up my baking cabinet and pulled out whatever I could find that sounded good.  I ended up with four toppings. Almonds.  (Because I ALWAYS have almonds.)  Graham crackers.  Cocoa powder. Powdered Sugar.  But the possibilities are almost endless!

Just roll the little chocoalte ball in the topping. 

You can place on wax paper until you're done, or immediately put them inside a mini cupcake liner.

And you're done.  HOW EASY WAS THAT? Seriously.

Almond Truffle

Cocoa Powder Truffle

I loved the almond (big surprise) and cocoa powdered ones best.  

The graham cracker ones were good too.  But I don't think I will repeat with the powdered sugar since the chocolate ganache absorbed it quickly and left the surface all crinkly.  Still tasted good though! Just a stickler for the aesthetics

Powdered Sugar Truffle

Graham Cracker Truffle

Eaten best when slightly chilled, since they get melty if in heat. You can keep these in your fridge for a few weeks. 

My best friend swung by the day I made them and ate some. And by some I mean I gave him 8 and he ate 4 all in immediate succession and his signficant other had to pull the plate away so that they would have any left. Haha.

I was busy this weekend by the way.  Being all DIY,  arts and craftsy.  I am almost done.  You'll have to come back next week for that though  :)