{Tutorial: How To Make Chocolate Mustache Lollipops}

One Cozy Nest ~ Mustache Lollipop Tutorial“I Really Mustache You a Question…..Will you be my Valentine?”

This tutorial will show you (and your kids!) how to make these yummy and silly Valentine’s Day treats to hand out during their class party. The first time I made these lollipops a few years ago, I actually made them for adults and let me tell you…they were a huge hit! I made them for my husband’s 30th birthday party, which had a mustache theme…a Mustachio Bashio, if you will. All the guys grew out their mustaches (as well as they could, anyway) and the girls all donned fake ones that I cut out of black and brown felt. It was quite the sight seeing all the girls with facial hair.

Since mustaches are still all the rage years later, especially with the kiddos, I thought I’d make these tasty treats for my son to give out to his 1st grade class for Valentine’s Day last year.  These, or any chocolate candy lollipops, are easy to make and are spectacular to use as party favors, gifts, and stocking stuffers!

Supplies Needed:

  • Mustache lollipop candy molds (Michaels and Amazon.com are great sources)
  • Color printer and white printer paper (card stock is preferred though)
  • Red cardstock paper or construction paper if you don’t have white cardstock
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon and/or twist ties
  • Clear plastic cellophane bags (usually come with the twist ties)
  • Dark chocolate or milk chocolate melting wafers (I used Wilton brand)
  • Microwave safe bowl (large)
  • Large stirring spoon
  • Long white lollipop sticks

One Cozy Nest ~ Chocolate Mustache LollipopsI always choose to buy the dark chocolate as opposed to the milk chocolate flavor when using these wafers because I think it tastes better. The milk chocolate has a strange “fake chocolate” taste to me.  Are these wafers gourmet chocolate? No. However, they are easy to use and great for these types of projects. I’m sure there are fantastic recipes out there for homemade chocolate, but for my busy mom life, these are A-OK for me!

One Cozy Nest ~ kid cutting bag

  1. Involve your kids as much as you can, always with safety in mind.  My son used his safety scissors to open the bags of candy melts and poured them into the microwavable safe bowl.  I love my Pyrex bowl!One Cozy Nest ~ melting chocolate wafers for chocolate mustache lollipops
  2. Melt your wafers in the microwave according to instructions.  You can also use a double boiler on the stove-top if you have one.  Always make sure water cannot get into the bowl of chocolate because that ruins the consistency completely.  Be careful you don’t burn the chocolate. I melt them in stages. I heat them up for a minute or so, then stir, another minute, stir, another, stir. That way, I know I won’t burn them. The stirring part is another step where your kids can help you out.  My son loves stirring things. He’s 7 now, so he’s now able to do more “grown-up chores” like measure and pour things while I’m baking/cooking. I have found that stirring is something even my 1 year old daughter is able to do, with supervision of course.  It makes them feel accomplished and teaches them great skills.
  3. While you’re checking on the chocolate, get your kids to set out the lollipop molds on a flat surface and also get the sticks out of the package so they’re ready to go.chocolatesqueezebottle
  4. If you have a chocolate squeeze bottle like I do, then great. If not, don’t worry about it. Using a spoon to get the chocolate into the molds works just as well, but tends to be a tad messier. Fill your squeeze bottle with warm gooey, melty, chocolate and fill up each mustache so that it’s level with the surface of the rest of the mold.squirting_chocolate
  5. Have the kids gently place the stick into mustache, give the stick a little twist to coat the entire end of the stick in chocolate, then rest the remainder of the stick into the space provided.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each mustache.
  7. I like to speed up the process by putting the entire mold in the freezer or refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set nicely. I’d say a ½ hour is great.
  8. After you are sure the chocolate has set, gently lift the lollipops out of the molds and set them onto a sheet of tin foil or parchment paper to await their plastic bags.IMG_4872
  9. The kids can help you put each lollipop into a bag that gets secured with a twist tie. The bags usually come with twist ties, but you could also secure them with pretty decorative ribbon.pasting_on_cardstock
  10. Visit Anders Ruff Design (a two-mom design team), and print out their FREE mustache Valentine printable onto white cardstock paper. Regular printer paper could work as well, but I found that the cards were too flimsy, so I chose to paste them onto pieces of red cardstock that were cut a little larger than the cards.  Make sure you print out enough for all the kids in class, including the teacher and any aids!  If your kids are school-age, have them use their safety scissors to cut the cards out.
  1. I had my son fill out the names and sign his own, then he punched a hole into the corner.
  2. String them onto the lollipops and secure using either the twist tie or a nice decorative ribbon.  I used red and white bakers twine that I already had on hand.
  3. Enjoy!

finished_product

{Celebrating with Cupcakes & Fondant}

Baby Agnes turned one in May.  Um, what?  Yes, I said it.  She’s one already.  We spent the whole year in shock that we had a girl and now we’ve moved onto the phase where we’re shocked that she’s one already.  There’s nothing like a growing child to show you just how quickly the time passes.  They are like living, breathing scrapbooks or time capsules.  You look at them today and your memory plays a movie in your head of the days that have passed.  Jeff and I spent the whole weekend singing “Happy Birthday” to her over and over.  Poor child.  We also kept saying things like, “Remember when she used to fit in our arms like this?” and “Remember when she just laid there on her playmat, not able to really do anything?”  Now she’s cruising the furniture like nobody’s business, climbing up on the couch using anything close by as a step stool (including dad’s face), and taking just one single step unassisted before hesitating and sitting back down.

Jeff and I took off from work on her actual birthday to spend the day with her.  Since the weather was crappy, we didn’t do much of anything besides get things ready for the next day’s party.  Luckily, the forecast for party day was perfectly cool & sunny.  I love the month of May.  We all enjoyed having birthday tea on the playroom floor using the new tea set we bought her, even Grandpa.
She likes to share and tries to very forcefully jam the spoon into your mouth.  Then she chucks the cups and saucers over her shoulder in a very Mad-Hatter way.  I originally wanted to do a rainbow theme or a Mad Hatter Tea Party them, so I almost bought her this top-hat by LilBirdsCouture on Etsy to wear for the big day.  
{$24} Pink Lemonade Vintage Inspired Birthday – Mini Top Hat Headband (or fascinator)
But, Jeff practically insisted on a May Flowers theme, and I agreed it was easier and more fitting for the time of the year.  I’ll re-explore the Mad Hatter theme for when she’s older and has real girlfriends to invite for tea.  
That night, Jeff made dinner and we celebrated with the Grandparents and some cupcakes.  I spent the rest of the night decorating more cupcakes with homemade chocolate icing that I made with Ghirardelli cocoa powder and a mini cake that I covered in fondant.  Screw making my own cake batter.   When people rave over them, I always tell them the batter is from the box.  I’m not one to take credit for something I didn’t do.  Mr. Hines and Mrs. Crocker are my friends and they do quite a fine job in this busy mother’s opinion.  Can I, and have I made my own?  Yes.  Maybe one day the negative stigma over boxed cake mixes will be a thing of the past.  What’s your take on it? 
Oh, and while at the store, I also picked up a box of this blue velvet cake mix just for the heck of it and mostly because it’s my favorite color. I don’t care when or how I use it, but I can’t wait.  Maybe some tri-colored cupcakes for the 4th of July or something like that.   
The little flowers on the chocolate cupcakes are made out of royal icing, which dries rock hard.  It’s the cement for bakers.  I made a big batch of these flowers a long time ago after my mom sent me a birthday package full of Wilton cake decorating supplies.  She used to be a cake decorator at a local arts & crafts store called Lee Wards.  Michaels bought them out.  I remember going in there as a kid and seeing her decorated cakes hanging up on the wall.  I was like, “How do heck do they stay up there?”  I didn’t realize they were fake.  Anyway, royal icing decorations keep in an airtight container FOR.EVER.  This is the third time I’ve used them and I still have a bunch left.  I recommend making a ton if you have the time, so you’ll always have a stash to make your cupcakes pop. 

People call me crazy when I do creative stuff like this, but this is my therapy.  This is my yoga.  This is my xanax.  This birthday cake for my daughter’s 1st was the first time I experimented with covering a cake with fondant.  The design was inspired by the Cake Boss and thanks to his TV show, I felt like a real pro.  “I’m not a professional cake decorator, but I learned how to be one while watching TV.”  I had a little extra help with this Cake Boss kit that I bought at Michaels.  I didn’t buy the pre-made fondant like the book suggests because I made my own a while ago (fondant keeps for a long time too), and used it to make the ears, eyes, eyebrows, and nose of a fox cake that I made for my sister’s birthday.  
I had a huge chunk of it leftover, so I brought it out and added my own Wilton gel colors to it to match the colors in my daughter’s birthday decorations.  
This stuff is like play-doh for adults.  So. Much. Fun!  It probably helped that I had a few drinks while making the cake.  I’m not a drinker so a little goes a long way with me.  As you’re rolling it out, you’re supposed to periodically lift the fondant sheet up and dust your table with more powdered sugar.  Well, I didn’t.  I blame it on the alcohol.  

It ended up sticking to the mat in a very big way so I had to scrape it off with a bench scraper and start over.  Oh well, lesson learned.  You’d think all the cookie dough I’ve rolled out would have taught me that lesson, but no.  I like to learn things the hard way.  Over and over.  Ironically, I also blame my calmness about the above on the alcohol.  I should drink more often.  I really should.    

I displayed the cake on a boring clear glass cake stand.  I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect vintage cake stand like this one sold by SwirlingOrange11 on Etsy:

{$295} Turquoise Blue Milk Glass Cake Stand, Opaque Blue Milk Glass Wedding Cake or Cupcake Pedestal

So far, I haven’t been able to find one at the price I’d like to pay.  When I finally find the one, though, I may just have to bite the bullet and pay a little extra. 
The cupcake stand is also a Wilton product.  I used a 50% off coupon at JoAnn Fabric so it cost me about $10.  It collapses so it stores nice and compact on a shelf in my basement.  The nice thing about it is that the tier surfaces are slanted outwards so the tops of your cupcakes are displayed, not the sides so much.  You can also attach ribbon, lace, or any other decorative trim to the sides to add another element of design to your cupcake display.  I haven’t done this, but if I ever do, I’ll probably use sticky scrapbooking tabs or something to hold the trim on instead of hot glueing it.        
For the party decor, I went to Party City and bought the standard party stuff.  Cups, plates, napkins, tissue paper hanging thingies, paper lanterns, and helium balloons.  I wanted to add a little personalized touch, so I printed out one picture from each month of Agnes’s life and hung them in chronological order.  I used a strand of pink & white baker’s twine and mini wooden clothes pins to hold each photo.  It was so hard to pick my favorite one, but the experience of going through all of those photos was a nice way to reminisce about the year. 
I saved the triangles of scrapbook paper that I cut out for her baptism decorations, seen above, and hung them in between each photo.  The big tissue paper pom poms can be made yourself, like I did here for Agnes’s baptism.  I used all the tissue paper that I got in baby shower gifts.  The pom poms for her birthday were store-bought because I was feeling lazy and wanted to focus my energy and time on her cake.  Call me cheap, call me frugal, call me a hoarder, but I save all of it.  I flatten it out as best I can and store it in my basement with the hundred and one gift bags I’ve received over the years for baby showers and birthdays.  You have to understand too, that I’m an environmentalist by profession.  I do care about not wasting resources, so when I can, I try to recycle things, especially paper.  When I need to use the tissue paper, I’ll iron it on a low setting if I need to and if I have the time.  Otherwise, it gets shoved into a gift bag, crinkles and all.   
Well, the party was a success, and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes and mini cake, especially Agnes.  I was able to really enjoy myself and the weather, thanks to everyone who helped that day.  Jeff manned the grill, and Grandma made the sides.  Everyone pitched in and helped clean up too, which is always so helpful.  Happy Birthday to our sweet, happy-go-lucky, baby girl who has put smiles on all of our faces since the day she was born.

{Home Baked Goodness}

What’s better than a warm batch of homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies?  If you even bother answering anything other than “Nothing.”, remove yourself from this blog immediately!  All kidding aside, I’d take these with me on a desert island if it was the only thing I could eat.
 
 While I’d end up being too fat to even be rescued from said island, I’d still choose these over any other food item.  The recipe is actually a “secret” one that was sort of handed down to me by my roommate from college and her husband.  Kim would go home from school every weekend and her parents would often send her home with a round tin of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.  They were heaven.  I’d never tasted anything like it.   
Oval Yellow Tin, 1950s {$14.24}
After college, I tried to recreate them to no avail.  Any time I asked about the recipe, she’d say “Oh, it’s just the recipe from the Nestle’s chocolate chip bag.”  I don’t think so!!  They never came out right.  Kim continued to make these for me and my family any time we came up to her house to visit.  Still, the same thing…just the recipe from the bag.  It went on like this for several years until they finally CRACKED!!  Although the recipe is, in fact, based on the one printed on the bag, there are a few minor details that make a major difference in texture and taste.  I like a chewy, yet subtly crispy chocolate chip cookie.  These are exactly that.
Vintage Aluminum Measuring Cups {$7.99}

If you’re wondering, no I’m not going to give up the secrets!  Kim’s father, John, passed away very suddenly this past October and every time I have made these cookies since, I think of him.  Her parents were like my own anytime I came to visit.  They made me feel so comfortable in their home and these cookies represent that feeling.  I will always remember him as a very kind man, his smile, and how he always treated me like one of his own.