Archive for December, 2011

Ad Nauseum

Apparently, this blog has been home to various video ads, unbeknownst to me. WordPress helpfully conceals this fact when you view your own blog while logged in, but thanks to a quick upgrade, the problem is solved. Apologies for the errant content. (And speaking of apologies for content—or specifically lack thereof—I’ll be back next week!)

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes with Homemade Irish Cream

This year, I decided to do individually-packaged cupcakes for coworkers and friends—26 in all. I found a Peppermint Mocha Cupcake recipe on Bakers Royale, which served as the base for the project. I used the foolproof One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart, adding in espresso powder—I wish I had thought to substitute coffee for the warm water. I used Martha’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream (with a bit of peppermint flavor) to top the cakes.

I was a little concerned about the pouring chocolate—I was worried it wouldn’t harden (and therefore be difficult to transport). But the suggestion to freeze the cupcakes before pouring the chocolate worked very well. I added peppermints (and peppermint pieces) to the tops:

We have a fantastic new baking shop downtown where I found these cupcake boxes.

The supplier has stopped making inserts that keep the cupcake stable, so I hot glued a fluted cupcake liner to the bottom, and set the cupcakes inside. It wasn’t the most reliable solution, but with some very careful transportation, the cupcakes seemed remain mostly upright inside the boxes.

We packaged the boxes into sacks, adding a little bottle of homemade Irish Cream with each one.

Holiday baking

My friend Erin hosted a holiday baking party last weekend, and anticipating a rather crowded kitchen, I opted to roll truffles. Working in a kitchenful of close friends made an otherwise tedious task fly by.

We packaged the truffles by nine, and shared with them friends, teachers and neighbors.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Dawn and I met for an afternoon of baking—together, we knocked off eight double-batches of cookies and froze the dough. Earlier this week, I spent several hours baking…

In addition to the Oatmeal Scones, Lemon-Sour Cream Cookies, Monster Marshmallow Cookies, Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies, Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps, Molasses-Spice Cookies, Lemon-Pistachio Wreaths I made with Dawn, I also made Peanut Butter Blossoms, a chocolate-cinnamon cookie with cayenne pepper, and these gorgeous Sprinkle Cookies from Saveur:

This was my first attempt at freezing cookie dough, and it worked out beautifully (just as Dawn assured me it would). Now, I have several boxes packaged up and ready to share with friends and family.


Smith Family News

Ava and Olivia have been sharing some new news far and wide this month—we’re expecting baby number three to arrive in early July! The girls are VERY excited to be big sisters, though they admit hoping for yet another girl. (I’m quite sure this one is a boy, but I’ve thought that twice before…)

Aside from some exhaustion, my first trimester has been so good, I’ve been joking that this one is going to be my favorite. One thing’s for sure, though—we’ll have plenty of help once this baby arrives!

Smith Family Fix

A chat with Santa

Ava and Olivia had the chance to visit with St. Nick this morning…

Olivia’s trepidation was slightly improved overĀ  the last face to face with the big guy.

Eggnog Cupcakes

I love everything about this Starbucks-inspired recipe—the quick steps produce 24 generous cupcakes, the flavors seem to meld well, and I like any excuse for shiny gold sparkles.

I will note the cake may have been a bit dry, perhaps due to over baking. However, there’s booze in the frosting, so I think it all evens out.


Bec: “Did you have a good day, Liv?”

Olivia: “Yes, I did! Jack didn’t even bite me today.”

Bec: “…what? Wow.”

Olivia: “Yeah, NOBODY bited me today!”


Classmate gifts

Thanks to an idea I found on Pinterest (please, go right now and sign up–I’ll wait), I am spending the afternoon making “Reindeer Noses” for Ava’s classmates.

While the original Pin suggested a much more intricate label, I found an old reindeer stamp to work just fine. It took me quite a bit of time to find red “noses” to match the size of the malted milk balls, so I finally settled for larger gumballs. In the end, I think I like how that makes Rudolph’s nose stand out. At least that’s what I’m telling myself…

Tooth fairy news

After a long, hard-fought battle to keep her third loose tooth securely intact in her lower gum, Ava FINALLY let Bryan help her pull it last night. Apparently, the last tooth extraction was a bit premature, and she was concerned this one would hurt as well. But, one quick yank, no tears, no blood and a few coins later, she’s sporting a new gap!