Saturday, August 8, 2009

Party Treats

Have you ever wanted a custom look to a party, special event or wedding you were throwing but knew you couldn't afford the custom price tag? Been to those pricey gourmet stores and seen little truffles and bags of candies at outrageous prices? What if I told you that you could make these cute little cupcake truffles (as seen with packaging) for less than $1.00 a piece? The bucket full of candy popcorn? About $2.10 per bag. Not bad for edible treats in this day and age. In fact, assuming you have a few basic kitchen tools and some of the usual suspects (butter, sugar, vanilla) on hand, there really isn't much you can't turn out of your own kitchen for less than those fancy shops charge.

The cupcake truffles are a variation of the cake-pops we made for June's Graduation BBQ and again the idea comes from Bakerella's blog. Using the same candy mold that made the base for the grad cap, two flavors of cake (left over cupcakes from the gator cake made for the same party), about a cup of cream cheese frosting, two flavors of candy melts (Merkins is my favorite) and the leftover sprinkles from the cake-pops we turned out these little cuties in no time at all. In fact, the only frustrating part was the heat and humidity the week these needed to be made. Just like last time we used the freezer to our advantage!

The candied popcorn idea came from one of my favorite blogs Saucy's Sprinkles! It's candied popcorn flavored with Kool-Aid! In this case we used pink lemonade and black cherry. It's colored with the same Wilton gels you use to tint frosting and friends it's good. I mean crazy good. I mean crack-like addictive good! It's sweet and buttery and "omnomnom" is the only thing you really hear when people get their hands on it. A candy thermometer is a must for this because unlike other kinds of candied popcorn this does not get baked to set the coating! Here's a few tips if you decide to try your hand at candied popcorn:

* 1/2 cup kernels = 12 cups popped corn
* have a partner when you make this, 2 sets of hands are infinitely better than 1
* butter/otherwise grease the pan you are going to mix the coating with the popcorn in and the mixing utensils for easier cleanup
* don't try to make this when it's humid
* a lidded bowl or other food-safe container is perfect for mixing two flavors together and breaking up any large chunks of popcorn that stick together


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