Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Baking date: November 10, 2018

My son Alex, who is a junior in high school, helped coach a youth football team this year.  A number of his teammates do this each season, at various age levels in the youth sports program. My son was assigned to the D2 JV football team (the D1 team is the more competitive group), comprised of 6th and 7th graders. For the Bowl game they had, I made mummy football player and coach cookies.

The JV teams had a group dinner and I brought cupcakes. I made french vanilla and triple chocolate fudge, with white frosting in royal blue and gold foil cupcake holders.  After putting a swirl on the cupcake with a 1M tip, I topped the cupcakes with royal blue and shimmer golden sixlets. I then dusted them with royal blue and yellow sugar sprinkles.

Here they are on the trays, ready to head to the dinner.

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And here’s each version, up close.

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Halloween-themed Gingerbread Cookies

Baking date: October 31, 2018

Each Friday night there is a home game for our varsity football team, the families provide a dinner for them and the coaches. I usually don’t get the sign up information until late, and dessert is always taken by the time I log on.

For the final game of the season, we invite the varsity cheerleaders to join the meal. I asked the team mom to put my name down for desserts before she launched the potluck sign up.

I made gingerbread cut out cookies that I could decorate with royal icing. I used a recipe from the Mary Meade’s Country Cook Book:

Ingredients: 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 2 cups molasses, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 8 cups flour (yes, 8  cups!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – set aside (for amounts this large, I place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift” them). Beat egg in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.  Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (it will fizz up!). Add water alternately with flour mixture. Chill at least one hour prior to rolling out.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes (oven temps and cook times may vary, also the size of the cookie may mean more or less baking time).

I made some generic Halloween-themed cookies, using white, black, orange, red, purple and green cookie icing, a variety of sprinkles, as well as large and regular candy eyeballs. (Wilton also makes bloodshot eyeball candies – next year!)img_2111img_2113

There were also cookies with royal blue and golden yellow cookie icing, which are the team colors. There was also one huge pumpkin that I shaped from the remaining dough.

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Here are the cookies on the plates:

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The players and cheerleaders were well fed and enjoyed the cookies. Thanks for a great season to all of them!

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Football Player Zombie Gingerbread Cookies

Baking date: October 28, 2018

As  member of the Athletic Boosters for my sons’ high school, I do a lot of picture taking (in addition to managing both the Facebook and Twitter feeds). I take pictures for the JV football team, as we have another football mom with a MUCH better camera/lens than mine who takes pictures of varsity games.

The JV team had a game originally scheduled on Halloween, but due to weather, it got moved to November 1. Unfortunately, the move meant I would not be able to attend the game. But that didn’t stop me from preparing a fun post-game snack for their final contest of the season.

I decided to make Zombie football helmet gingerbread cookies. I used a recipe from the Mary Meade’s Country Cook Book:

Ingredients: 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 2 cups molasses, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 8 cups flour (yes, 8  cups!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – set aside (for amounts this large, I place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift” them). Beat egg in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar.  Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water (it will fizz up!). Add water alternately with flour mixture. Chill at least one hour prior to rolling out.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes (time may vary, depending on your oven and the size of your cut out cookie. The gingerbread man cut out I used was 14 minutes).

I used a drinking glass with a wide mouth for the round cut out. I flooded the cookies with white royal icing, and then added the eye section with black royal icing, red royal icing and candy eyeballs, following the basic tutorial video I found on Nicki Lee Bake’s channel. I used royal blue cookie icing to make the helmets, and more of the white royal icing dyed golden yellow to make the helmet stripes and facemask.

Here are the cookies in various states of the decoration process:

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And here are the cookies in their final format. I didn’t personalize them since I wouldn’t be there to help hand them out. There were enough for coaches, as well as the players. Some of the other team moms were gracious enough to take the cookies to the game and hand them out.

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Great season, JV. I look forward to seeing a number of you move up to varsity next year, joining my son Alex as he plays in his senior year.

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Hot Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Marshmallow Creme Frosting

Baking date: October 7, 2018

There have been a number of times when athletes my kids are on teams with have experienced season-ending injuries. And while I know that sugar doesn’t take the sting out of not being able to finish out a season or the pain from the injury, having something sugary certainly doesn’t hurt, right?

One of the JV football players that my younger son Nick used to play with (Nick has given up football) chipped a bone in his heal and is out for the season. Of course, that meant I needed  wanted to get him a cake.

After asking his mom about favorite flavors, I settled on a hot chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and marshmallow buttercream frosting. The recipe makes a three layer cake, but I went with two thick layers.

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Cake with the chocolate buttercream. I tried a new side decorating technique I plan to use on a cake for a bride and groom I’ve been asked to make in 2019.

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Finished cake with the marshmallow buttercream.  It’s a little more runny than the chocolate buttercream.

I hope the cake helps with the healing, Rhett. Looking forward to seeing you join the varsity team next Fall.

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Rhett (#55) making one of many tackles this season before his injury.

P.S. athletes, please stop with the injuries to get a sweet treat. Just ask, I’ll make it.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Baking date: September 23, 2018

My son Alex is a junior in high school this year, and a starter on the O line for his high school varsity football team. As part of community service, he is helping the parent volunteer coaches for the junior football program that he was a part of for so many years prior to high school.

The kids think the high school football players are “stars” and love talking to them and hearing about how things are done in high school. The youth players come to the high school games on Friday night and cheer on “Coach Alex” and his team. It helps build the sense of community in our rural town of about 5,000.

This year, one of the coach’s sons had a goal of dropping enough weight to lose the red stripe on his helmet (an indicator of weight limit – if you weigh more than a prescribed maximum, for safety reasons, you can not carry the ball). My son Alex wore a red stripe every year he played – and we even struggled with weight one year, in an effort to keep him with his classmates instead of moving up to the next age/grade level.

So, when young Marcus made the weight – celebratory carbs were in order! He requested strawberry cupcakes. That was easy enough, as I have a great homemade strawberry cupcake recipe. Baker’s note: this cupcake does not rise much while baking, so be sure to fill the batter close to the top of the liner.

I did not make the homemade frosting, instead using a canned white frosting.  I then dipped them in multi-colored nonpariels, and topped them with top to bottom-sliced strawberries that I hoped looked like hearts.

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Congrats on all your hard work to make weight, Marcus!

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Marcus grabs a ride on the shoulders of my son Alex

Get Well Soon Chocolate Cake

Baking date: January 13, 2018

One of the kids my son has played basketball, baseball and football with at various times had to have shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. The surgery meant that he would not be able to play varsity basketball or baseball in his junior year, and was hoping to be cleared in time to start back on the field for his senior year with football in the Fall of 2018.

I wanted to make him a get well soon treat. I asked his mom about a favorite flavor of cake, and it was chocolate. I made a one bowl chocolate cake recipe, and topped it with an easy chocolate ganache frosting.  I used red cookie icing to pipe on the get well message. I created a candy melt basketball, football and baseball, to represent the sports Elias plays and added them to the cake.

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I delivered the cake to Elias and not long after, his mom posted this message on Facebook:

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There’s nothing better than knowing I helped put a smile on this talented athlete’s face. Looking forward to seeing you back on the field soon, Elias!

Football Banquet Cookies and Cupcakes

Baking date: January 12 and 13, 2018

Last year our town’s football team were the State champs in our division. I baked a boatload of goodies for the celebratory banquet, including cakes and cookies. This year, our team won the conference title again, but was knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs on a controversial play.

But it was still an amazing season. And this year, my son was selected for varsity in just his sophomore year.

I purchased a t-shirt cookie cutter and decided to start a new tradition of creating personalized jersey cookies for the graduating seniors. The remainder of the varsity team get personalized football-shaped cookies, and the JV players get a cupcake with their number. This is the jersey I modeled the cookie after (it’s my son in the picture – he’s a lineman):

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I decided to make a favorite chocolate sugar cookie recipe. It makes a ton of dough — and I would need it because the t-shirt cookie cutter was bigger than I anticipated. There were 25 seniors on the football team this year.

Here is a look at the cookies as the first layer of cookie icing went on – white for their home uniforms. I think it looks like a bunch of undershirts:

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I piped on blue numbers and their last names, as well as some yellow and blue piping along the sleeves and sides. And I added football mini-decorations from the large sports sprinkles set:

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And then there were the rest of the Varsity players, coaches and team mom cookies in the shape of footballs. I added yellow paw prints and topped them with gold sugar sprinkles (yes, yes, I see the one that didn’t get the paw print):

Varsity Football Cookies

With the rest of the football cookies, I added on the laces for the many siblings that would be attending the banquet.

Plain football cookies

For JV, I made chocolate cupcakes with royal blue and gold foil cupcake liners and topped them with vanilla frosting. Then I dipped the tops in gold pearlized sugar sprinkles and blue sugar sprinkles, alternating the cupcake liner color with the sprinkle color. I added each players’ number on the top.

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For the extras, I added the football decorations.

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Here’s the whole production on my kitchen table, ready to be transported to the banquet:

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Congrats to my son on earning his varsity letter in his sophomore year (this is his ‘I’m trying to be cool and act like I don’t care’ face) …

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Even though back-to-back State championships weren’t in the cards for the team,  congrats to the Walkersville Lions on their back-to-back Conference Championship seasons!

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