I'm co-hosting this week with This Gal Cooks for the Grow Your Blog Party. I'd love to get to know everyone and find some new people to follow. Please link up and get to know me! I'll return the follows that I get here on Pint Sized Baker! Leave a comment here letting me know that you followed me along with a link to your page in the comment.
Not sure how to leave a hyperlink in your comment? It's Easy! Use THIS template!
Good morning and welcome to the Grow Your Blog Blog Hop! This blog hop is all about networking and building your blog. Each week from Thursday through Sunday I will host the Grow Your Blog link party, along with a few co-hosts, in order to promote blog networking. Why is blog networking great for you? Simply put, it increases readership and traffic to your blog. How do you network? Visit. Comment. Invite. Communicate. These are key to growing your blog.
Comment to let them know that you stopped by and how you followed their blog (GFC, BlogLovin, etc)
Invite them to visit your blog (be sure to leave your blog web address - too many times have I seen bloggers comment and request a visit to their blog without leaving their blog web address)
Communicate with them about what you like on their blog. Let them know you are interested in their blog. USE THEIR NAME! A simple "I'm so and so stopping by. I followed you please follow me." just isn't going to interest someone into visiting your blog. Sure, you can request a visit to your blog or a follow along but engage in some type of conversation first.
Grab a button and promote the party! The more participants, the more bloggers to network with!
Now, I can bake a basic cake or cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not quite brave enough to make my own gingerbread house forms. I went through the web looking for something easy, without buying one of the pre-made house kits. When I came across another blog who made her Gingerbread house out of Graham Crackers, I knew I could do that... well... almost.
I saw the box of Honey Maid Gingerbread and picked it up! Now, I could have made the super large chalet style house, but with my 5 year old's attention span, I figured these little cabins would be the right size for her to make and design without loosing interest. Turns out, I was right.
I went to my grocery bulk food section and got a selection of chocolate candies, hard candies, gumdrops, nuts, chocolate chips, candy corns, marshmallows and who knows what else...
To construct the house, break the 4 rectangles into squares and, with a serrated knife, score one square diagonally to create two triangles. You should have two triangles and 7 squares.
Make your Royal Icing. Place ingredients into a mixer and combine until smooth. It will be thick! You do not want runny icing. This is the glue that will hold the house together. I divided mine into 3 disposable Wilton bags. No tip needed, just snip off the end.
Place one square on a paper plate and outline it with the icing. Place the East and West walls first. The icing will help to keep it up. If they are falling over, add more icing. Then add icing up the sides of those walls to attach the North and South walls. The four walls will help to hold each other up. Add a line of icing to the tops of the North and South walls and add the triangles to form the peak of the house. More icing to the tops of the triangles and the East and West walls and add the roof.
I'm sorry I did not take pictures of the process. I was helping two goofy girls make straight walls and roofs :)
I let the houses dry overnight. The directions on the box say to dry for 5 minutes, but I don't think that nearly long enough...
The next evening, we had a DECORATING PARTY! All the candy was put into cupcake trays and the girls each had their bag of Royal Icing.
I let the girls run wild with their imagination and was so tickled to see their creations.
I got in on the fun as well and made two houses.
I took my daughter's house and one of my houses and placed them on a cookie sheet. With the extra candy and icing, I created a little scene. I made fences, bushes, sidewalks, a lamppost and some trees!
For the Trees, I had some Ice Cream Cones, coated them in Royal Icing and then rolled it in shredded coconut. I added some candy coated sunflower seeds for decorations. I couldn't find my star candies (think someone ate them all) and used a Sixlet candy on top.
Oops! We had a little accident. This poor house fell off the table onto the floor.
All that broke was one wall. I could not believe it!
This icing totally kept this house together.
Have fun with this project! There is no wrong way to decorate a Gingerbread house and your only limitation is your imagination!
I didn't want to buy this kit (or one of the other kits), but I figured there would be a few Mom's who would pick up a kit and spend time baking with their kids, and those Mom's might like a few pointers about the Rudolph Cake Pop Kit.
First of all, I really didn't like the profile design. Yes, it's different, and that is what caught my attention; however, as I was making them, I just thought they looked stranger and stranger.
Here's what comes in the kit:
Gingerbread Cake Mix
Vanilla Frosting Powder
Cinnamon Candy Melts
Cake Pop Stand
20 Red Candies for Noses
Black Icing Pen
The instructions to make these cake pops are straight forward and easy to do. I baked my gingerbread cake and allowed it to cool. Then I made my frosting with the packet and supplied my own butter and powered sugar.
I may have rolled these a bit too thin. It was hard to judge, but they were thick enough for the stick to hold on to and not break it. I made 20 heads and then had some leftover cake pop batter.
I noticed that the noses and ears broke off easily as I was pushing the cake out of the cutter. Maybe if it was thicker it wouldn't do that?? I don't know. But, just wanted you to be aware of it.
With this kit, as well as the others that I have reviewed, there just isn't enough candy melts included.
The instructions tell you to melt your candy wafers in a tall glass. I melted mine in a large water glass and for the first 3 or 4 pops, I could dunk straight down and coat the it. However, the glass got too narrow and I could no longer dip that way. I transferred the candy to a smaller open bowl and then I had to dip one side at a time - see the photo above.
Decorating the face was also difficult.
The candy noses were heavy and a few fell off before the candy dried.
(I didn't like the red nose in profile. I thought it looked like he had a big nose ring .)
I had a difficult time decorating his features. I placed half the vanilla frosting into the supplied piping bag and added the ears, antlers, and mouth. The frosting isn't liquid, so the small hole I made just wan't doing what I needed it to do. I cut it a bit larger, but the frosting on the candy just didn't stick very well.
The black icing pen was also difficult to draw with. There was no way I could outline the eyes like in the picture on the box.
The lines were too thick and I think poor Rudolph looked like he had Rabies. Not good.
For some of the antlers, I used chocolate Jimmies instead. I thought they looked better.
So, as I was running out of candy after only 10 reindeer heads, I decided to try and save this cake pop disaster.
I rolled a few heads into a round shape, searched for some pretzels for antlers and made some reindeer of my own.
The only pretzels I had were Snaps, so I trimmed off the edges to make them more "antler" like. Regular pretzels work better. I dipped, then added the antlers and his nose. Once they were dry, I just used the black icing to draw on the eyes and smile.
Also, what is going on with the candy melts? See the discoloration and the "striping" on them? The candy was melted and all the same color, so I don't know why this happened. My guess would be that the candies were old and it's a separation issue.
I liked these little guys better.
One more *personal* complaint - I did not like the Gingerbread and Cinnamon combination. These pops were way too sweet for my sweet tooth!
These are the three kits that I found at my local Wal-Mart. All in the $8 range.
Honestly, I could not bring myself to buy the snowmen - where are their noses??
Review of the Rudolph Cake Pop Kit
- Easy Instructions
- Like the included stand
- More than enough cake and frosting
- Piping bag for adding details to the face
- Not enough Candy Melts for 20 pops
- Frosting used to decorate is difficult to apply
- Black Icing in pen is thick and would not outline
- No bags wrap cake pops
- Discoloration of the candy melts - looked odd.
Overall - This would be a fun project to use up some time over the holidays. Don't expect to get all 20 cake pops done unless you pick up an extra bag of chocolate candy melts. If the shaped heads are too much to handle, just roll balls and make your own reindeer with pretzel antlers. The kids will enjoy those just as much.
If you make these yourself, please let me know what you thought of the kit!
I just participated in the 2012 Online BlogCon and loved it! It was a Cake Walk! No pressure.
No muss - no fuss. Easy, peasy at home; all online, behind the safety of my computer screen.
On November 30th, I'm meeting a total stranger (Heather, who I "met" through the Online BlogCon) and we driving over 200 miles to Roanoke, Virginia to attend the Mixed Conference.
I'll be forced to talk to and interact with professional bloggers. There will be nowhere to hide. I'll have to act like an adult for three days and wear pretty clothes and fancy shoes. I haven't done anything like that for a few years...
One of the great sponsors of the Conference is OXO.
I love my OXO kitchen utensils; I've been using them for years! Something wonderful that OXO does, is run a Cookies for Kids Cancer program. The Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by two OXOnians (OXO employees) inspired by their 2-year old son’s battle with cancer. It provides inspiration, ideas and support for people everywhere to help fight pediatric cancer – through the simple concept of local bake sales.
OXO has asked those participating in the conference to bring some cookies and share them to help raise money for their program. So, how could I say no??
Since my Little Cup suggested these cookies, I thought they would be the perfect thing to bring for little girls with cancer. They are basic sugar cookies with a very basic design, but any little girl would know that these are the cookies made with love from Lalaloopsy's, Crumbs Sugar Cookie.
Can't go wrong!
Basic Sugar Cookies
by Pint Sized Baker
Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Ingredients (depends on size of cookies)
For the Cookies
1 1 /2 C Powdered Sugar
1 C Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
2 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
For the Royal Icing
1 pound of Powered Sugar
3 Tbls Meringue Powder
5 - 8 Tbls Water
1 tsp Extract - flavor your choice, Optional
Beat butter and sugar until smooth. (Cover your mixer with a damp towel to keep powder from covering your surrounding area.)
Add in vanilla and almond extract with the egg.
Combine dry ingredients and stir in.
Wrap up 1/3 of the batter in plastic wrap and refrigerate. 2 hours or overnight. Repeat with remaining dough. It can also be placed in the freezer to bake at a later time.
Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
Roll out 1 packet on a lightly floured surface or a silicon mat. Roll to 1/3 inch thickness and cut desired shapes. Place shapes on a cookie sheet lines with parchment or a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Bake for 7 - 10 minutes depending on the size. Remove from oven when edges are slightly browned.
Cool and decorate as desired.
For the Royal Icing
Combine all ingredients in a mixer at low speed. Once all the liquid is incorporated, increase speed until soft peaks form. Tint color desired and then transfer icing to piping bags fitted with coupler and tip.
Decorate Cookies. Allow to dry overnight.
Enjoy your pretty cookies with a cup of tea and your princess!