Back to school. At the end of a three month summer I’m ready for it to start. Let’s be honest. There are some really great things about having your kids go back to school. I have come to LOVE summer the past two years. Primarily because I am no longer making wedding cakes or running two bakeries so I really have time to enjoy it. Hot weather, lazy afternoons, swimming pools, popsicles, neighbor kids in and out all day, late nights, camping, family reunions and flip flops. The feeling you had as a kid of just being FREE. In our house that feeling usually lasts for about 4 weeks. Then that feeling of freedom morphs into feelings of boredom. By August my four kids and I are ready for school to start.
To get my girls excited I decided to whip up some cupcakes for their teachers. These are great for the first day of school, or if you’re anything like me and totally procrastinate you can use them for Parent Teacher conferences or Back to School night or Teacher Appreciation Day.
Last fall our family left the big city and moved back to my small home town. When I say small, I mean like 2,000 people small. My shopping resources have been drastically limited. This means I have to get more creative. Family Dollar, a quaint over priced grocery store, the home-grown mercantile, and the local drug store is what I have to work with. You don’t actually buy drugs there, well I guess you do, that’s where the pharmacist works and his wife runs a cute boutique shop in the front. Like most things, I decided to make these last minute so Amazon was no help. Instead of being discouraged I put on my creative thinking cap (I can thank Mrs. Watson from 2nd grade for that) and went on the hunt for some sort of packaging.
I came across this little gem at the Family Dollar! Four mini cupcakes fit perfectly into each section.
Using my One Sweet Cupcake recipe book, I picked out four quick and easy cupcakes. Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip, Cookies and Cream and S’mores. I have some really great tips for making multiple cupcakes with out a ton of extra work that I will share in a future post.
Being a newbie at photoshop and wanting to save time I decided to create the tags in Word.
Not having time to make my own fondant (I do have a great recipe/combo here) and having no place to buy fondant locally I decided to improvise. Using Bit-o-Honey, Laffy Taffy’s, and Air Heads it was time to play!
A few things to keep in mind before you get started:
#1 place the candy unwrapped in the microwave for 5 second intervals until pliable.
#2 spread a SMALL amount of shortening on your work surface to keep the candy from sticking.
#3 use a small rolling pin, hard plastic straw, or wooden skewer to roll candy out.
Here is a quick overview of how I made each item.
Candy: Bit-o-Honey, Yellow Laffy Taffy, Cherry Laffy Laffy and black sharpie.
Candy: Green Laffy Taffy
Candy: Pink Laffy Taffy, Green Laffy Taffy, graham cracker, black sharpie
Candy: Red Air Head, Bit-o-Honey, Green Laffy Taffy, toothpick
That’s it! Back to school cupcakes DONE. The best part? Reading all the Laffy Taffy jokes while you work! Your kids will love giving them and their teachers will LOVE getting them. Win win. Except for the dishes and clean up afterward. . .
I can’t say THANK YOU enough to the fantastic teachers at our elementary school. The work they do really makes a difference! Everyone loves to be appreciated and there is always something or someone to be thankful for. Creating and sharing cupcakes is one great way to do that.
This blog is supposed to be about cake, I know. So it really doesn’t make any sense that this post is about chocolate chip cookies. It would make sense if it was about chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, or a 3D cake that was carved to look like a stack of cookies and a glass of milk (hmmmmmm that would be fun to make). But no, this post is just about plain old ordinary but best chocolate chip cookies. Only, the catch is these cookies are anything but plain and ordinary.
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!
Now I’ve had my fair share of chocolate chip cookies. Owning a bakery I had to do constant market research, which included taste-testing lots of cookies. No one believes me but it really was hard work. I have lost count of the number of recipes claiming to be the best or the perfect or most delicious tasting chocolate chip cookies ever. The truth is, the ideal cookie is all in your mind. It really is! Stay with me on this. Based on your past memories, experiences and taste buds your mind has created what it IMAGINES the perfect chocolate chip cookie to be. Some people want it a little crispy, with lots of butter and brown sugar and loaded with chocolate chips. Others love an airy almost cakey cookie with just a few chips sprinkled here and there. Someone else might like crispy on the outside and chewy and the inside with a mix of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chips. The list of combinations could go on and on.
What does it all mean?
The connection to our favorites goes beyond the taste buds and into our relationships, experiences, and surroundings. Your grandma’s cookies are the best because she’s your grandma, and French macarons always taste better in France. (That’s why I keep telling Tdawg we need to go there!) I hate to break it to you, but there is no universal perfect chocolate chip cookie.
That’s what I thought until I met Brooke.
Brooke is my new neighbor. She’s the kind of neighbor that everyone knows in a few weeks. She’s cute, and funny, and gets involved in things. Can I just say she’s the type of person that you can’t help but like. Brooke is also really great at dropping off random plates of chocolate chip cookies. Now I may no longer run a bakery, but I feel it’s my duty and falls in the line of my expertise, to taste-test all desserts brought to our house. I pulled back the plastic wrap from the slightly warm Chinet plate, selected the cookie with the most chocolate chips (you do this by flipping the cookie over and looking at the bottom) took a bite and thought, “this is the most perfect chocolate chip cookie ever.” Of course all of this was done before my kids got home from school.
Make it & Bake it!
The recipe seemed so easy, I thought after I conned her into giving it to me. I have since attempted to make the same perfect cookie several times. No bueno. I’m still working on it. For some reason I don’t get the flawless balance of buttery, chewy, chocolaty goodness that I experienced during that first bite so long ago. It could have been her unexpected thoughtfulness, or the fact that I had only eaten a bowl of cereal that day, or the pleasure of having something to eat with out doing a thing for it that made the cookies taste so good. I’m not sure what the secret combination was, but that day it created an unforgettable bite. In my attempts to recreate that moment I thought I would share the recipe with you!
Click here for the recipe to the best and easy chocolate chip cookies. Ever.
Leave a comment and let me know your favorite combination for the best chocolate chip cookie.
It’s been a long time One Sweet Slice, but I think the moment has finally arrived. Two years ago Trent and I closed our bakeries with the intent to regroup and focus on our family. We have four young kiddos and running two bakeries with Trent having another full time job pushed us to our limits. We needed to take a step back, re-evaluate our priorities and set realistic goals. The past 24 months were spent reading, cleaning, cuddling, washing, listening, yelling, playing, traveling, laughing, working, remodeling, crying, driving, cheering, learning, helping, organizing, painting, and exercising. I did about every “ing” you can think of……….except baking.
I sold most of my baking and decorating tools, boxed up my recipe books and started saying no to any one other than immediate family that asked me to bake. One Sweet Slice was a thing of the past.
And yet. . . there was a huge part of me that began to miss the fast paced atmosphere, pressure to perform, creative outlet, the feelings of accomplishment and of course the amazing people I interacted with every day. I missed my network of wedding friends and professionals, complaining about crazy brides with other decorators, talking with clients about the life events they were celebrating, laughing with customers, and pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and build something bigger. Sigh. No matter how hard I tried to distance myself from my baking past it kept creeping back in.
The Mommy Blogger
Blogging. That was the other “ing” I tried to get away from. Trent has been trying for SIX years to convince me to start a blog. At one point he was so desperate he started a blog pretending to be me! The paragraphs were loaded with words like, “so fun” “cute” and “super.” I don’t really talk like that. . . do I?
I’ve been able to meet some pretty amazing bloggers over the past few years and I totally should have started then, when I was around people who know what they were doing! The biggest thing that held me back then, and still has a grip on me now, is straight up FEAR. The online world of blogging is extremely competitive and intimidating. Starting 10, 8, or even 6 years ago there would have been some mercy extended to my attempt at blogging and blundering at photography. In 2017, if photos aren’t properly lit, or the title to a post isn’t super witty, or if it’s an idea that’s already been done, your blog will be lost in a sea of super cute awesomeness.
Then I started to come across quotes like this:
And finally this:
Not sure who you are Rachel Huber, but your fear quote was just what I needed to read.
I’ve emailed, called and texted my blogger friends to try and discover what the secret is to blogger bliss is. Their answers were all the same, “JUST START!” So, that’s what I’m doing. It’s not pretty, I’m still learning how to work my camera, and I’m trying to understand blogger etiquette. I have a lot of learning and failing to do but I’m going to stop worrying about this:
And start doing more of this:
Grab something sweet, subscribe, and come along for the ride. See what I mean, every blogger says come along for the ride. How about jaunt, undertaking or escapade. Ha! Now I’ll have Madonna’s song stuck in my head all day.
I’m pretty sure I already did 4-5 big blogger no no’s in this post. Just. . . just comment and let me know. Let’s watch One Sweet Slice grow.