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Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peel  

Disclaimer - I don't know what's up with Blogger, but it's doing crazy things to my formatting.  Please excuse!

The big hit at our Thanksgiving dinner this year was the Dark Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peels.  They were so good!  This is how I make them:


  • 1 large navel orange
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melts


Try to find organic oranges so there are no chemicals involved.

Cut away all the white pith, which is bitter, from the peel.  You cannot be TOO careful doing this.  The extra effort will produce wonderful flavor without bitterness.

Slice into strips.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper for them to dry on.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. 

You want to put it through lots of boiling and cold water baths.  Each one reduces bitterness.

I find using a strainer to be perfect.  

Put the peels into the strainer and boil for 1 minute.  I stir them with a fork to be sure they are all immersed in the boiling water.

I use the same bowl that I rest the fork in to carry the strainer to the sink (no drips).
  Rinse the peels with cold water.
Repeat this several times.  I did it 7 times on my last batch and they are awesome!

Pour out the boiling water and fill with the fresh water and sugar.

Dump the peels into the boiling sugarwater. 

Boil for 15 minutes or until tender.
Remove peels to parchment paper and let cool for 1 hour.
Roll peels in sugar and let dry.
When they are dry and hard, dip into melted chocolate and lay on parchment to dry.
BYW - this was all five oranges made and it's a small dish.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

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Adorable Turkey Cupcakes  

My favorite blog is Home Is Where The Boat is.  She shares the amazing gifts God has given her and we are all blessed for it.  There's always something wonderful on her pages.

I fell in love with these cuties she shared and made them for Thanksgiving this year.  Here is her post complete with tutorial.  I hope you give them a try!

I made 61 of these cuties. 

To give you an idea of how many a box of Nutter Butter cookies makes, this is two boxes and nearly two packages of Wilton eyes.  I had eleven cookies left over that I didn't have enough eyes for.

I made two changes to her directions.  The beaks were to be orange covered sunflower seeds.  Really?  Well, nowhere I looked had ever heard of them.  I had some orange marshmallow fondant left over, so I just molded beaks from that.  

Also she attached the "faces" with a kind of white frosting.  I had edible glue that I use with the fondant and gumpaste, so I tried it.  It works just perfectly, and since it's invisible, you don't have to worry about messy white frosting showing.  I used a generous amount of the glue to be sure it would stick, given that the texture of the cookies is deep.  That made the drying time longer.  At half an hour nothing fell off, but I left them overnight to be sure they were dry.  A real blessing to make this part ahead!

I love how they looked in a bag!  So fun!

Then came fail#1.  I had read that we can bake any boxed cake mix using only a 12 oz. can of ginger ale.   Given my husband's quadruple bypass surgery a year ago, eliminating all the fat in the egg and oil was so exciting.  I couldn't wait to try it. 

Never in my life have I had to throw out an entire batch of cupcakes.  I have now.  Returning to following the package directions (ingredients), I made four more boxes of extra moist triple chocolate cupcakes.

I frosted them with the frosting recipe on the Hershey's Cocoa container, my always fav chocolate frosting.  Fail #2.  Just the gentle frosting of the tops was enough to cause some of the tops of the cupcakes to slide entirely off.  Others, the cupcake liners came loose.  I won't be using extra moist box mixes on my cupcakes in the future.

Made the happy flags for our turkeys to carry blessings to everyone I was giving them to.

They turned out great!

I saved some for my own family celebration.  It's only the second time that all our grown family has been together for a holiday, and this time so much more special as I became a grandmother this year!!!  Yep!  High chair at my table!!!  They live out of state, so this was big for me.

I delivered all my turkeys the day before and had just "tented" the lids on my carriers to keep ours clean until I would serve them with pumpkin pie a day later.  Yep... fail#3 and such a huge one.

As I excitedly pulled the lids off to serve them, the moisture from those not-such-a-blessing extra moist cupcakes had destroyed them all.  

I had a bunch of "angry turkeys".   Some had mashed heads making them glare.  Some had gotten so soft they broke off at the cupcakes.  Then it was a toss up between blown out eyes and glazed over dead eyes.  Sigh.

She warns not to put the candy corn "tail feathers" in the cupcake until you are ready to serve them as the frosting melts the candies. We went ahead and gave tails to all those ruined turkeys and set them out.  I think I'm the only one who ate one.

Happily, all the turkeys I gave away were perfect and such a happy bunch.  I hope they helped people to be thankful and realize that all good things come to us from our loving Father God above, and took a moment to thank Him.  I certainly learned some things and will know better next time.  They were so very cute!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  God bless you and yours!

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Wilton Checkerboard Cake Set Review  

My daughter and son-in-law love to hike in the mountains, year round, even in the snow and ice.  Brrrrr!  Even while she was pregnant!  She wanted a wilderness theme for her baby shower.  I made her a Lumberjack plaid cake for her baby shower.  We cut out cardboard rings and used them as guides to cut the cake layers.  It was tricky, but the cake turned out beautiful.  

She said she'd like to make many more plaid cakes for her husband and son in the years to come,  so I recently bought the special Wilton checkered cake pans to make it easier.  I tried it out for my sister's birthday cake this week.   

I got the 9" round Wilton checkered cake set.  It actually takes three batches of cake batter.  That came as a surprise as it does not warn on the box.  I wanted pretty white, pink and lime green squares, so I made key lime, strawberry velvet and plain white cakes.  

The directions say to set the insert in a pan, fill the center ring, then the middle ring, then the outer ring.  Then you are to lift the insert divider straight up.  When I did so, it created an incredible suction and a lot of batter came up with the insert with each layer.  Then you wash it and do the next layer until all three layers are done.  When baked and leveled, only one layer showed all three color rings.  That made me think it unlikely there would be a three color checkerboard when it was sliced.

I had enough batter left over for nine cupcakes.  I dumped a dollop of each color into each cupcake liner and it turned out so pretty when eaten!  I topped them with Buttercream Frosting, sprinkled them with yellow and pink sanding sugar and topped them with gum paste daisies.

The bag you see is individually wrapped Almond Sugar Cookies topped with Marshmallow Fondant.  I think they were gorgeous!

I also had yummy leftovers from leveling all three layer tops, that could be used to make cake pops! 

I liked the pic on the box the set came in, so I used it as a jumping off point.  I decided it could be fun and funky to scatter some daisies on it for whimsy.  A row of fondant balls finished the bottom.  (Love my pedestal from Home Goods - what a happy place that is!)

For this cake I made a batch of marshmallow fondant, edible glue, 3 cakes, 9 cupcakes, 29 gum paste daisies, 260 fondant circles and 12 fondant curls.  I also made a batch of buttercream frosting for between layers and crumb coating.  Fortunately I had some gum paste left from the last batch I made.  I did have a few circles and daisies left over.

Then for the moment of truth...would it be checkered?

Nope!  As a set to make a checkered cake, it was an utter fail, but I think the results of my fail were gorgeous and oh my it tasted wonderful with those three flavors!  We think that suction is what caused this pattern.

My opinion after using this set is that one would do much better baking a different color batter in each of the three pans and then pressing the insert into it to cut the circles, as it DID NOT make a checkered cake at all.  A plaid would also have utterly failed.  I have not tried pressing it into a baked cake to cut rings and do not know it would work.  Perhaps using it as a guide to cut rings with a knife might be another option.  It was helpful having the three pans so it could be done in one baking.  I have not returned it for that reason. 
This was my second fondant/gumpaste cake and the first I had actually "draped". 

In case you too are new to this...let me share what I learned on my first one and save you some grief.

When I made my first fondant/gumpaste cake, I wanted the entire exterior to be a beautiful embossed roller pattern, but it only imprints a limited area.  I opted to cut a circle for the top and then measured the height of the cake and cut a band for the sides.  Using edible glue, I joined the sides together, then attached the top to the sides and worked it gently with my fingers to hide the seam.  It looked gorgeous! 

The next day was another story. It was perfect when I went to bed, but in the morning, it had all these lumpy ripples!  In researching on line, I found that apparently my layers had settled, which then made the fondant too "tall" causing the ripples.  I set it on something to elevate it, gently smoothed the wrinkles down and trimmed the excess off the bottom.  It was almost as good as new.

This cake was my first chance to try out many of the things I'd been learning about, so it's a mix of many things.  I do not like the ribbons on it and they weren't extremely successful anyway, but I did like how it looked when I piled all the gumpaste flowers I'd made on top.  They were also my first attempts.

This cake, my second fondant/gumpaste cake, was the first I "draped".  This is how I did it:

I love the results.

I hope you found this helpful and it saves you some grief.  Fondant/gumpaste was a bit intimidating to me at first, but no more.  I wasn't very good at making buttercream flowers and turned to this as an easier - hands on way to make them.  My treats are not only delicious now, but pretty too. Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day!

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