Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

The Boy With The Bread

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Hunger Games opens at midnight tonight, staring the girl on fire and the boy with the bread. So we thought we’d try our hand at boozing up some bread. In that effort, we called to mind a dessert created by Molyvos in New York. It’s watermelon and feta cheese drizzled with honey and crumbled granola. So our thought was how to turn this into some sort of baked good. Cue 21 & ‘Upcakes’ Feta Beer Bread.

We started by mixing two of our favorite biscuit recipes a la Pinterest – 7-Up and Red Lobster biscuits (check our Inspiration and Yumm boards on Pinterest for these recipes). Arriving at 2 cups of Bisquick, 4 oz feta cheese, and 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Then we started playing mixologist in the kitchen figuring out which beer would pair perfectly with the feta. After a few options, we decided on Honey Brown lager. Somehow when you try a bite of feta cheese and wash it down with a sip of Honey Brown, the tastes meld into this one surprisingly new taste, which isn’t that exactly what you want from a recipe? So we added in 1/2 cup of the Honey Brown to the Bisquick mix.

We coated the pan with melted butter to make sure it didn’t stick while baking, then dropped in the cut biscuits to the dish. Baked them at 450F for 12-14 minutes, put a wash of melted butter on top, then popped them back in the oven at 350F for another 5-10 minutes until they were done and golden brown.

Now comes the experimentation factor. We tried it 3 different ways: plain, a honey glaze, and a watermelon honey glaze. You can choose which of the 3 you’d like or you can try all 3, completely your call. The honey glaze we made by just heating honey up in the microwave for a few seconds to make it brush-able onto the biscuits. Then the watermelon honey glaze was made the same way just add in a half-shot of Midori melon liquor.

We let people try each of the three and let them be the judge, so far the honey glaze is the favorite, then the watermelon-honey came in second. So if you’re feeling adventurous and wanting to roll with Panem’s favorite baker, go ahead and give the Feta Beer Biscuits a chance and let us know what you think.

In the meantime, we’ve designed a Hunger Games shirt for the baker in your family. Now we’re off to the midnight showing – Happy Hunger Games!

 

Feta Biscuits Recipe
2 Cups Bisquick
4 oz Feta Cheese Crumbles
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1/4 Cup Heated Honey
.5 oz Midori Melon Liquor

Preheat the oven to 450F. Coat the pan with melted butter, then mix remaining ingredients. Drop biscuits into the dish and bake for 12-14 minutes. Then put a butter wash over the biscuits, turn the oven down to 350F and continue baking for 5-10 minutes. Top with the glaze of your choice – honey or watermelon-honey.




May The Odds Be Ever In Your *Cupcake* Favor

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Last night was the LA premier of The Hunger Games and it marked only 12 days until the opening of the movie next Friday. The Hunger Games phenomenon has seemingly sweeped the nation off it’s feet. Now whether your love for the series is real or not real, ours here at 21 & ‘Upcakes is quite real and no illusion of the tracker jackers.So in honor of the upcoming release, we’ve come up with a printable and step-by-step instructions for creating your own mockingjay pin cupcake topper. Perfect for you and your fellow tributes for the start of the 74th Annual Hunger Games.

First you’ll need the following:
- Yellow or White rolled fondant (available at your local Joanne’s or Michaels)
- Black food write marker (normally comes in a variety pack)
- Red and Yellow food spray paint
- X-acto knife or similar tool

Open the fondant roll out according to box directions. Once it’s rolled out to desired thickness (about an 1/8″), spray with yellow spray paint with an even coat. Then using the red spray paint about 5″ above the fondant, spray a light dusting level over the yellow fondant. Set aside to let the paint dry.

 

 

In the meantime, printout the PDF from here onto preferably thicker printer paper (thinner paper doesn’t tend to hold up as well). There are two options on the sheet, a simplified edges version and a detailed wing version. Either will work, it just depends on your level of determination at the time. Using an X-acto knife, very carefully cut along the solid lines of the printout.

Once the paint is dry on the fondant, place the stencil cutout onto the fondant. Using the dull end of a pen or paintbrush, lightly follow along the dotted lines making a slight impression onto the fondant. This will give the fondant some depth with shadows and highlights.

Then, using the food marker, fill in the blank spaces around the stencil. Be careful not to let the stencil move as you color in the blank space. Once everything is drawn on, remove the stencil and fill in any missed spots. If the paint wasn’t completely dry before putting the stencil dawn, there could be some water spots on the fondant. If this happens, you can spray some more of the yellow paint on top and smudge it with your fingers if needed.

 

Cut around the stencil to the desired size. We used a glass from Ikea that worked perfectly. Let the fondant dry completely (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) before placing as topper on your cupcakes. And there you have it, a mockingjay fitted for Panem’s favorite baker, Peeta Mellark. Be sure to check out our Flaming Dr. Pepper cupcake, pairs well as the cupcake on fire. And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can try carving the same design out of fondant using the template for the 3D look to.

 


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An Improvisation on Chocolate Butterflies

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Sometimes we here at 21 & ‘Upcakes have a habit of getting ourselves into situations that need a little creative handling. Thankfully it pretty much works out in the end. For instance, a while back we had a woman come to us asking if we can do a special order for her baby shower, the theme was butterflies. We immediately said yes, because who wouldn’t love the chance to experiment with gum paste or fondant to capture the beauty of a butterfly. Well then she sends us a picture of the butterflies that she wanted on the cupcakes. They were beautiful, adorable and not made out of gum paste as we were thinking.

“Ok, we can handle this,” we told ourselves not really knowing what we were going to do. Cue the creative licensing. We combed the web trying to find a mold similar to her perfect little beauties, but nothing even came close. Now while there are a number of different chocolate molds out there for butterflies, they are mostly more realistic than we were going for. So we sat back and tried to think of a plan b, since there are always at least 2 ways to solve a problem. We started looking at the base shapes of the butterfly chocolate she had requested and couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance to two gradual hearts combined together. That was it! We figured we could find a heart mold and “tweak” it to look how we needed it to.

The heart search was on. We yet again combed the web searching for the perfect heart mold that could give birth to our little chocolate treats, and thanks to Amazon, we found the perfect one. Even better was that it was at a perfect price: $1.99! BITE SIZE HEARTS Valentine Candy Mold chocolate You can’t beat that, so we ordered it and within a week we were in the kitchen and experimenting.

We filled the little molds and then went to work cutting them in half, placing them on each cupcake, filling in the body section and adding the little details to make them look more like wings. In addition to cutting the hearts, we also took a warmed knife down the center (where the heart crease is) so that it looked like it went in more and looked like actual wings instead of a heart cut in half.

In the end they turned out both delicious and delightful to look at. The Mommy-to-Be loved the Raspberry Crush cupcake (sans the alcohol) topped with bright baby pink and the butterflies she had been expecting the whole time. As did all of her friends. So the moral of this one? Remember there are always two ways to solve a problem, you just have to look at it from another angle. You may be surprised what you can come up with.




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Funny Things Are Everywhere

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In honor of the release of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in theatres, which conveniently falls on the same day as his 108th birthday, we’re going to undergo an adventure in cake pops. Inspiration courtesy of Bakerella, we’re going to try and make Truffula Trees. We’ll be sure to post how it goes and of course, we’ll try to add our own twist to the flavoring.

We’ve also written our own poem for all those out there who say, “I can’t bake.” A baker’s a baker, no matter how small.

Baking is an art,
in which all can take part.
Whether you’re taller than a wall
or smaller than a doll,
we can all make a mess
and relieve some stress,
just start with the flour
and in under an hour
you may just have a cake
and a crowd in your wake
rushing with great haste
just to get a small taste.

And while we’re cake popping, enjoy 30 quotes by the Dr himself that are sure to brighten your day, no matter how gray.

[Via: 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes to Live By]

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss quote?



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Just Monkeyin’ Around

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When all else fails, just have fun with it. Awhile back I had a request for 5 dozen chocolate cupcakes for a monkey-themed baby shower, but it was no monkey-business. Let me tell you, baking 5 dozen cupcakes after working all day, it can get rather tiring. You’re feet start to hurt, your back aches, you’re so tired you start grabbing pans out of the oven without the oven mitts. You start asking yourself, “what am I doing with my life?” Then you remember that there is a light at the end of that tunnel and at the end of the day, it’s still something you love. And the best way to remind yourself is to just try and have fun with it.

Thankfully, I had seen this design awhile back for Monkey Cupcakes in one of those magazines that are so carefully placed right at the checkout counter. These goofy little monkeys were just real enough to look like the real thing, but cute enough for a baby shower. It also helped lighten my mood as the midnight hour approached, how can you be mad when staring at these little things, right? So I began the process of breaking the Nutter Butter® (having to do the only rational thing and eat the ‘casualties’ that didn’t break quite right), placing the M&M® eyes ever so carefully, then drawing on some fanciful faces to bring them to life. In the end, the baby shower went great, the cupcakes were a hit, and I learned a valuable lesson to just sit back, relax and remember it’s not always a bad thing to have a monkey in the kitchen.

Want to know we made these? They’re not that hard. Start with your favorite chocolate icing, doesn’t have to be fancy, just smooth as you can. Then the ears were made out of Nutter Butter® cookies that were Oreo®-style split then cut down the middle. The mouth is a Nilla Wafer® with a crew cut, then the eyes are just M&Ms. I used red and black gel frosting pens to add the pupils, nose, hair curl, and mouth details. That was it! Feel free to add your own expressions to help give them some spunk.



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