Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Preparation Full of Wins, Fails, and Good Enoughs Part II

As was mentioned earlier, I felt like I had an expectation to live up to when it came to party treats for Kathryn's school. I hunted around Pinterest for something easy, kid friendly, and cheap to make for the party that still met that Pinterest adorable standard. I spent awhile hunting and changing my mind on what I was going to make, finally settling  on something where honestly I felt like I wasn't living up to any type of Pinterest standard (if that even exists).

Valentine Item #3- Brownie + Cupcake= Meh

I came across a pin that showed a strawberry cupcake that had a bottom made out of brownie batter. I figured that any 3-4 year old child could appreciate a dessert that encompassed brownie, cake, and icing. The pin however was one of the hated "pin of a picture but not a recipe" and the only instructions on the pin was to use brownie batter and strawberry cake mix and bake by the cake mixes instructions. On a normal Pinterest experiment I would have just gone with it, assuming that the likelihood of success was going to be fairly low. However, I was going to be feeding these to children so I wanted to see an actually step by step recipe. Thanks to my friend Google I found one easily, and saw that pretty much the pin instructions were valid. You just use brownie batter and cake batter and follow the cake batter baking instructions. I was leery but decided to try it anyway, figuring that Pinterest fails are as popular as Pinterest successes and I could always run to Walmart in the morning and pick up cupcakes if necessary.
I started with the brownie mix and followed the instructions to get the batter mixed. I had bought Valentine cupcake liners at Walmart and lined my well used silicon bakeware. I used a large tablespoon to pour the batter in and filled each bottom about 1/3 full. I was running a little short on brownie mix by 20th cupcake but didn't want to make a whole entire second batch, so this particular brand yielded me about 22 brownie bottoms. The last two cupcakes were purely cake batter. Then I spooned in the cake batter leaving a little room at the top of each liner. The batter yielded 24 regular sized cupcakes and about 6 mini cupcakes that I made because I didn't want to waste the batter and couldn't eat it due to the raw eggs (stupid possible food poisoning.) They went into the oven at 350 degrees and I set the timer to 25 minutes like the cake mix box instructed.
They weren't super pretty going in (which I can chalk up to my lacking cupcake making skills) and the weren't a whole lot better coming out. After the timer went off I had a sneaking suspicion that the brownie batter wasn't cooked all the way. I wanted to leave them in the oven a bit longer but the cake part was nicely brown and I didn't want to burn them. I decided to give them 3 more minutes in the oven and then hope for the best. After the cooled a bit I picked the ugly duckling of the bunch and peeled the paper to see how it went.
The success was that yes the brownie batter did bake (except in one random one where it was still gooey, not sure what happened to that one) but in true brownie form it stuck like glue to the liner. Taste wise it was OK, the chocolate and the strawberry cake mix went well together but I wasn't wowed at the combo. I soon remembered that these were going to be fed to the delicate pallets of preschoolers and I wasn't to worried about them being all that critical of them.

I'm not sure if I'll try these again but if I do this is what I would change. #1 Buy better liners- These were cheap decorative liners and probably not made to handle the super stickiness of brownie batter. #2. Pam the crap out of for mentioned liners- Again even more expensive liners probably aren't made to handle brownie batter. #3 Bake them longer- I probably could have kept them in the oven awhile longer with out burning the cake part and that may have helped the brownie at the bottom bake a bit better. After some icing, sprinkles, and a decorative toothpick they came out looking pretty good and according to the report of my preschooler, they were Yummy! (again we aren't talking about a complicated pallet)
K was on sprinkle duty

Valentine Item #4- Peanut Butter Blossoms (Valentine's Day edition)
Now these were a bit of a cheat as I make this type of cookie every Christmas, the only change being instead of using Hershey Kisses you use Dove heart shaped chocolates. I saw this pin awhile ago and figured that if the cupcakes went south I could redeem myself with these. I used Betty Crocker bagged peanut butter cookie mix and followed the regular instructions. With peanut butter blossoms you roll the dough in small balls and cover them in regular table sugar. I typically have a cereal sized bowl with sugar in it, sprinkle some on top and the roll the side to get everything covered.
Put the dough on the cookie sheets and bake for about 8 minutes at 375 degrees. While they are baking quickly unwrap a bunch of Dove hearts (while trying not to eat them, that's the real challenge). As soon as the come out of the oven place the Dove hearts in the middle. It takes awhile for the chocolate to cool so you can stack them (I ended up putting them in the fridge for awhile so I could get them off the cookie sheet and stacked on the tray I was taking to school). Taste wise these were better than regular peanut butter blossoms but that may be because I think the Dove chocolate is tastier than Hershey Kisses.
Fresh out of the oven
Cooled and on the snack tray
As far as easy goes these are definitely that, while still being a little extra dressed up for Valentine's Day. My husband called me after he had dropped K off at school and said that the teacher's were impressed by my treats and K's Valentines and I had retained my standing as a Pinterest Mom. When I came home from school with her treat box full to the brim I could see that I was not the only Pinterst Mom (and not the only one to use cereal for a Valentine, but I think my Valentine card was cuter). Now I have about a month to come up with something for K's birthday treat in March (and you know I'm already working on ideas).

No comments:

Post a Comment