Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monstrous cupcakes

My baking has been lacking lately. My week got super busy when I realized it was Internship Application Week, a week of killing fie trees just to plea for a paid internship. Ugh. And I'm not even finished. Between that, a test, a few books I'm supposed to read, and then sleeping and eating, I haven't had a whole lot of time for cookies.

Last weekend, though, a friend and I hosted a big pre-Halloween party, and there was lots of cooking and baking involved. So much, in fact, that a few friends and I had a marathon session of about six hours of Halloween fun.

The laundry list of things to do: Make awesomely dorky costumes, a.k.a. t-shirts of Adobe icons, carve pumpkins, roast pumpkin seeds, make and decorate monster cupcakes, make suckers and make Chex mix.

Considering we didn’t start this stuff until 10:30 p.m., we didn’t have enough time to finish everything for the next day. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good time. The Chex mix is my favorite, a recipe using ranch dressing mix, and everybody loved it. While I made it, my friend Kelly mixed up the cupcakes and baked them. Everyone else was cutting out letters for icons, hollowing out pumpkins and just hanging out. Then they decorated the cupcakes a la Martha Stewart.

Side note – I love Martha Stewart cookbooks. I have her Cookies book and Cupcakes book. Her lemon bars are to die for, as are her triple chocolate brownies, streusel cupcakes and almost everything I’ve made. She’s failed me twice: maple icing and meringue butter cream icing. The maple icing was more of a glaze, and the butter cream was really buttery. A couple more dashes of sugar, though, and the problem was fixed. Then came the decorating: Pull-n-peel Twizzlers, Dots, M&Ms, marshmallows, chocolate chips, candy corn and a multitude of other candies transformed normal cupcakes into semi-scary monsters. Believe me, it's hard to make cupcakes looks scary.

The suckers were a disaster. My candy thermometer didn’t go high enough and I’d never made suckers before so I didn’t know how to pour them. I also didn’t put in enough flavoring, because the recipe called for eight drops of flavoring and my flavor bottle poured. Oh well, I have to start somewhere with these things.

The party and its food were a huge success. We had a huge variety of costumes, including Lady Gaga, Twitter, Facebook, a Frenchwoman, a cow and lots of KU athletes. The food went quickly. About 48 cupcakes were reduced to four, the snack mix was gone but the suckers untouched. I don’t blame them.

No baking this weekend, courtesy of the National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas. Never been here, but so far I’m a fan of the weather and sixth street. Perhaps next week I’ll have some time for fall baking.

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