Toffee Crunch Cupcakes (My Favorite Cupcakes To Date)

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Cakes and Cupcakes, Desserts, Food

Toffee-Crunch-Cupcakes

I love cupcakes, AND I make a lot of them. There are so many good ones to choose from, but if you asked me today what my absolute favorite one is, it would most definitely be these toffee crunch cupcakes. They are simply divine! They may require a bit more prep than your regular vanilla cupcake with buttercream (which definitely has a rightful place in the cupcake world), but these chocolate cupcakes with ganache, toffee and caramel frosting are totally worth the extra effort!

About a month ago I was asked to donate 60 cupcakes of my choice for a fundraising event. In choosing which cupcakes to make, I decided I would make 30 of my husband’s favorite, vanilla cupcakes with raspberry cream cheese frosting, and 30 of my favorite, these toffee crunch cupcakes. While I can attest that the vanilla and raspberry cream cheese cupcakes are most scrumptious, it was reported that the toffee cupcakes were cleaned out first. If you ask me, they are pretty impressive little cups of cake!

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

CUPCAKES
2 c white sugar
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 t vanilla
1 c brewed coffee (I use brewed Pero)

GANACHE AND TOFFEE
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 c heavy cream
3 T butter
2 packages (8 ounces each) toffee bits

FROSTING
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c milk
2 t pure vanilla extract
24 T butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature
1/3 caramel sauce (store-bought or homemade)

DIRECTIONS

CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with electric beaters on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in the hot coffee or Pero by hand. The batter will seem extremely runny, but don’t worry! Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

FROSTING: In a medium sized saucepan combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it boils and becomes thick, a bit thicker than pudding consistency. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool until room temperature (this is very important!). Once the mixture is cooled to room temperature, beat in the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter is fully incorporated. Increase the speed on your mixer to medium-high, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Gently fold in the caramel sauce. If your frosting is a bit runny, allow it to sit at room temperature to firm up a bit.

GANACHE: In a small saucepan, heat the cream on the stovetop until it barely begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to sit in the warm cream for a minute or two, and then stir until the mixture is silky and smooth. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Chill the ganache in the refrigerator until it is a piping consistency. Stirring it every 5 minutes or so helps it cool evenly, and if it gets to hard, let it come to room temperature until it softens again.

ASSEMBLY: Pour the toffee bits into a bowl. Use a piping bag with a large round circle tip to pipe the ganache in a ring around the edge of the cupcake. Dip the piped ganache into the toffee bits. Fill another piping bag with a large decorative tip (I used a large star tip here, but I’ve used round or a french tip as well), and pipe a swirl of frosting in the center of the cupcake.

Recipe Source: Originally seen from Baker’s Royale, cupcakes slightly adapted from allrecipes.com, and frosting and ganache from melskitchencafe.com.

Primary Music Racing

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Crafts

RaceTrackFront

This was a super fun end of the month activity for Primary Music, especially for those boys!  I brought in my son’s giant bucketful of toy cars and had each class take turns picking a car to race down our speedway.  The child whose car won the race got to pick their favorite song for us to sing.

I love letting the kids pick their favorite songs.  I was so impressed to see what they chose.  It was a reminder to me that their favorites are the ones that really speak to them spiritually and touch their hearts.  Primary music is so powerful.

Race Track with Stool

I made my speedway by taping cardboard boxes together, making sure to place the tape on both sides for added security.  I then covered the cardboard with a black poster board, and threw on a start and finish line and some flames for fun.

Race Track Back

I taped a couple long dowels on the back of the board for added support, and propped it up on a fold-able step-stool which worked perfectly for all the kids to stand behind with their cars.  My speedway was wide enough since our primary doesn’t have super large classes, but if your class sizes are larger than 6 or so kids, it might work best to split the class up, or make a wider race track.  Either way, the kids really enjoyed this, and my son has gotten several hours of bonus playtime with it at home!

RaceTrack1

Cupid’s Arrow Class Party Valentine Game

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Church, Holidays, Kids, Primary, Valentine's Day

Cupid's Arrow Valentine Game

This year, I have been my daughter’s kindergarten class room mom.  It has been such a fun experience.  I love this age because it really doesn’t take much to make them happy.  Simplicity is a-okay for 5 and 6 year olds.

Our last class party was on Valentine’s Day and we did several activities, but this is the one that stood out.  I called it “Cupid’s Arrow”.

I used a large red poster board, cut out a large heart, and decorated it with crepe paper ruffles.  For the arrows, I used craft dowels and foam valentine stickers.  Just stick two foam stickers to each other with the end of the dowel sandwiched in the middle.  I used hearts stickers on one end and lips on the other.  You could also use pipe cleaners, and cut your arrow tips and fletchings out of paper to glue to the ends.  I liked the weight of the dowels, and with the foam stickers there was no major danger of someone getting accidentally hurt (you never know with kindergartners!).

Valentine Arrows

To play the game, I held the poster up while each child stood from a marked distance and tried to throw the three arrows through the heart.  I made two posters and we had two stations going at once.  The children moved through the line fairly quickly, and each got three turns.  This was a big hit with the boys.  They LOVED it.

I decided I could definitely incorporate this into Primary Singing Time for Valentine’s Day.  I’m sure there are so many ways you could spin an activity like this, but for my primary I had children come up and throw the arrows through the heart.  If they missed, I chose the song, and if the arrow went through the heart, they got to choose.

Primary Snowflakes

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Church, Primary

Snowflakes

I found these snowflake patterns at the beginning of January and have been dying to use them!  I finally had the chance to use them this last Sunday, and they were so much fun!  I glued my snowflakes onto cardstock and laminated them.  For singing time, I put all of them on the board and had boys and girls come up to pick one and try to guess the song it went with.  It was perfect that there were several snowflakes that were easy (“I Like to Look for Rainbows”, “Once There Was a Snowman”,…), but also a few that were tricky and a challenge to figure out.  I loved seeing their expressions when they could see the hidden pictures!

My mom, who is also the Primary Chorister in her ward, did this activity a few weeks before me, and she had the brilliant idea to copy the snowflake, glue that image on the back, and highlight the picture or pattern.  It was a HUGE help with showing those who couldn’t see what everyone else was talking about.

Snowflake

You’re a Real Gem Valentine Printable

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Crafts, Holidays, Valentine's Day

Real Gem Valentine 2

So I know Valentine’s Day is just a couple days away, but we just finished my daughter’s Valentines, and I had to share because they turned out so cute and came together quickly.  So, in the small chance that you may need a last minute idea, here you go. I spotted these eraser rings at Target in the Valentine section (Target has THE cutest things).  They were in a bundle and only cost $3 for 24 rings.  I picked up some small 3×4 clear bags from Hobby Lobby, created a label, and we were good to go. Click here for the printable.  Print the labels, cut them out, and fold them in half.  Stuff an eraser ring (you could even use Ring Pops, costume jewelry rings…) into a bag.  Fold the bag over two times and staple the label over the top.

Real Gem Valentine Front and Back

Write the names on the back and you’re ready to roll.

Real Gem Valentine

My daughter is super excited to pass these out on Friday!

Real Gem Valentine 3

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