As mentioned a few posts back, I was making a batch of surprise cupcakes for Son No. 3's girlfriend's birthday. I had to keep it hush hush, though, so as not to spoil the surprise.
We were invited to her house this past Sunday evening for a small family gathering to celebrate her 21st. Her whole family is so nice, and always makes us feel so welcome. To include us in a small, intimate gathering really made us feel like part of the family. Quite frankly, I think we'll all be family someday. Those two are pretty committed to one another.
Anyway, she loved the cupcakes! Owls are so popular right now, and she's into them. They weren't difficult to make at all. A little time-consuming, but once I got all the components ready, I worked on them in an assembly-line fashion.
Duncan Hines' website has pretty good instructions on how to put them together. You can find them here. The best tip, I felt, was microwaving the Oreos a few seconds to soften them so they would separate easier. When I separated them, however, I wasn't entirely successful in keeping all, or even most, of the cream on one side. I used a small off-set spatula to carefully scrape the cream off one side of the cookie and put it on the other side that had the majority of the cream filling. Then, using that spatula (having the small off-set spatula ~ you know, the kind for smoothing frosting on cakes, cupcakes ~ really made this job easy) I smoothed the cream as best as possible.
Another thing I did that wasn't mentioned in the DH's instructions was when it came time to push the Junior Mints into the cream to create the center of the eye, I put the Oreos back in the micro for a few seconds again so the cream was soft and would allow the candies to be pushed down into the cream to stay put better.
I also found the above baking cup helped in building these owls. It's Wilton's ruffled baking cup. I made two batches of cupcakes, chocolate and vanilla. One batch I backed in regular, decorative cups, and the other in the ruffled. Because of the little edge all around, it held the eyes and ears up a little better. I really wished I'd used this type of baking cup for all of them.
To go along with the "owl" theme, I also created a little owl softie using a free tutorial I searched for online. You can find that tutorial here. As I mentioned, she's into owls, and had pinned the cutest owls at Pinterest. So I took that idea and went with it. She turned out so cute. I had a blast making her.
Actually, I found quite a few different and cute free patterns online for all kinds of owls.
One of the best things about getting together to celebrate Shannon's birthday with her family, besides the fun and great company, is that her Aunt's family owns an orchard in Bridgeton, New Jersey,
and they kindly send us home with an assortment peck of their delicious, crunchy, crisp apples and a gallon of the best apple cider you've ever tasted.
To me, that's a gorgeous site. All those wonderful apples piled high in my Hubby's Grandmother's huge blue-banded yellow ware bowl we inherited. Besides just enjoying munching on those delicious apples, I'll be busy making apple crisp, apple pie, apple butter . . .
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