Bash Party Recap · party food

3 Girl Scout Cookie® Inspired Cupcakes!

Fun fact, I was a Girl Scout growing up! We’re talking Daisies all the way to Seniors, earning my Silver and Gold Awards along the way. I loved being a Girl Scout, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that my friends were in my troop. We had some crazy fun times together like running through the DC airport to catch our plane after our Williamsburg trip or wearing ridiculous character costumes at the Capital Holiday Lights in the Park to support the local Albany Police Athletic League and praying no one from high school recognized us. Good times.

So when my fellow Girl Scout troop member and friend, Meara, got married this summer, my friends and I knew Girl Scouts had to be incorporated somehow. We were asked to make the cupcakes for the bridal shower and that’s when we came up with the Girl Scout Cookie® Inspired Cupcakes! (Her shower was at The Hill at Muza in Troy which was lovely!) After brainstorming, we figured the Tagalong®, Thin Mint®, and Samoas® would be the best cookies to emulate.

Girl Scout Cupcakes Bash Parties
3 Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Cupcakes!
At this point, it’s noteworthy to mention that I, nor Bash Parties, is affiliated with the Girl Scouts®, Girl Scout Cookies® or the Little Brownie Bakers®. These ideas are simply inspired by the cookies we grew up selling. For more info about the Girl Scouts, check out their website here and for more information about Girl Scout Cookies and the Little Brownie Bakers check out their website here. Here’s the legal lingo: The GIRL SCOUTS® name, mark and all associated trademarks and logotypes, including GIRL SCOUT COOKIES®, GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SALE®, THIN MINTS®, TREFOILS® and the Trefoil Design, are owned by Girl Scouts of the USA. Little Brownie Bakers is an official GSUSA licensed vendor. ®, ™, © 2016 Little Brownie Bakers.

On to the fun stuff, the cupcakes!

The Tagalong® Cupcake

Of the cupcakes we came up with, the Tagalong® is the most technically challenging. Those of you that don’t know, the Tagalong® is a chocolate coated crunchy cookie with a peanut butter layer. Our idea was to mimic the chocolate coated peanut butter top by piping peanut butter frosting on a chocolate cupcake and dipping the frosting into ganache. (You can see how I did it in the quick video at the end of this post if you want to scroll to the bottom.)

Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes Bash Parties
The Tagalong cupcakes from Meara’s shower!

The Tagalong® Cupcake Instructions

  1. Bake your chocolate cupcakes. Cake purists will balk at this, but I use box mixes. They’re easy and taste great.
  2. Prep your ganache and put to the side. Ganache is one of the easiest and elegant things to prepare when you’re making dessert. It’s basically equal parts heavy cream and dark chocolate. You warm the cream on a stove until it’s a low boil, then you add the chocolate, remove from heat and stir until combined. (Here’s a recipe for reference: Chocolate Ganache Recipe).
  3. Make your peanut butter frosting. Sometimes PB frosting can get a little greasy, I did not find this to be the case with this recipe: Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe.
  4. Pipe peanut butter frosting on cupcakes. I simply put the frosting in a decorating bag, cut a hole and carefully piped a disc of frosting on the top of the cupcake. Then I went back with my spatula and smoothed out the top.
  5. Dip frosted cupcake into ganache. This can be a little tricky, but I have faith you can handle it. Hold the cupcake upside down and dip only the frosting into the ganache. Once coated, flip back over and let any excess ganache drip off and voilà! You’re done!

The Thin Mint® Cupcake

My long standing favorite, the Thin Mint® is a crunchy chocolate mint cookie and they are addictive! We kept this cupcake simple with chocolate cake, a mint buttercream and chopped dark chocolate topping.

Thin Mint Cupcakes Bash Parties
We made a little sign so everyone knew what was in each cupcake.

Thin Mint® Cupcake Instructions

  1. Bake chocolate cupcakes
  2. Make mint buttercream frosting. Here’s the recipe I used: Mint Buttercream Recipe.
  3. Pipe mint buttercream on cupcake. For this frosting, I used a decorating bag, cut a hole and just did a simple swirl of frosting. (Demo in the video at the bottom of the blog post).
  4. Top with chopped dark chocolate. I had dark chocolate on hand because I was making the ganache but in a pinch you could use milk chocolate or even crushed chocolate cookie. For the chopped chocolate, simply put the chocolate on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, chop it up until you reach your desired texture. Sprinkle on cupcake.

The Samoas® Cupcake

As a kid I did not understand what the big deal was, but now I totally get it – Samoas® are amazing. Crispy cookies coated with caramel, dark chocolate and coconut that are downright addicting. This was my favorite Girl Scout® cupcake to make because I think it’s the prettiest of the three.

Samoas cupcakes Bash Parties
So decadent, these Samoas cupcakes were a fan favorite at the bridal shower.

The Samoas® Instructions

  1. Bake vanilla cupcakes.
  2. Prep toasted coconut and get ready for your house to smell amazing and beachy! Put a thin layer of shredded coconut on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 350º for about 7 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Make caramel buttercream. Normally, I’d be ambitious and prep my own caramel to add to the buttercream, but after making 3 varieties of cupcakes I decided to take a shortcut. Here’s the recipe I used – Caramel Buttercream Recipe.
  4. Pipe caramel buttercream on the cupcake. I used a large star tip to pipe a big rosette on each cupcake.
  5. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Simply put some dark chocolate chips into a decorating bag, microwave until melted and drizzle on cupcake. (Microwave tip: First microwave for 20-30 seconds, remove and check consistency, then do 10 second intervals until entirely melted. Chocolate is finicky and doesn’t like any more heat than it needs or it will ‘seize’ and get all gross and grainy.)
  6. Top with toasted coconut.

Those are the three Girl Scout Cupcakes we came up with for Meara’s Bridal Shower! Here’s a quick one minute video to show how each cupcake was assembled.

As always, you can follow us on Facebook to see more of what we’re up to @BashBirthdayParties and of course, check out our website, www.BashBirthdayParties.com to learn more about our parties or book your Bash. Otherwise, feel free to comment below or email me at tara.allen@bashbirthdayparties.com with any questions you may have about today’s post.

Thanks and have an awesome day!

-Tara

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Bash Party Recap · kids activities

7 Easy Clues to Create the Ultimate Scavenger Hunt!

I recently helped host a one year anniversary party at a local business here in Troy named Culinary Square. Run by Sam and her mom Carolyn, they offer a fabulous selection of high end cookware and kitchen appliances (To learn more about Culinary Square you can check out their website, Facebook and Instagram). This past October (2016) I was invited to host a Halloween cupcake bar for Troy Night Out, our monthly cultural event here in Troy that encourages everyone to get out and enjoy everything our awesome city has to offer. We had such a fun time that they asked me back to help them celebrate their one year anniversary this April!

My idea for a scavenger hunt came to me because they have SOOO much amazing inventory in their store and I thought it would be helpful to encourage customers to wander around the store to see what they can discover. Customers that completed the scavenger hunt during their one year anniversary party were entered into a raffle for a $100 mandolin (not too shabby for a free contest!).

Scavenger hunts are perfect for kids birthday parties but can be a pain to put together. This post lists 7 easy clues you can adapt and put it together in a timely manner. Let’s get hunting!

Getting Started: Determining Boundaries

I lucked out because I could use the entire store for my hunt but if you’re hosting a scavenger hunt it’s important to set boundaries. Kids are curious and when it comes to competition they can sometimes forget about manners so unless you want a child rummaging through your underwear drawer looking for their next clue I suggest you explain the Off Limit areas before you start. Some areas to consider off limits: bedrooms, bathroom cabinets, the garage, kitchen drawers, etc. You may also want to consider setting all drawers and cabinets off limits and explain that all of the clues will be out in the open. You just never know what kids can get into or find so it may be best to keep all drawers and cabinets off limits.

Select your Clue Locations

I find it’s easier to select the clue locations before you start creating your clues. In my case, I selected my spots then put them in order around the store so people wouldn’t have to keep walking from one side of the store to the other. If your scavenger hunt is for kids that may be exactly what you want them to do because it stretches out the activity and it keeps them moving around.

Coming up with Clues

This is where things can get tricky. To help you out I’ve put the clues in order of quickest to develop to most difficult so if you’re trying to throw this scavenger hunt together in a hurry I suggest sticking to the first three or four clues I’ve listed and use them multiple times.

I like to make all of my clues little games or puzzles. It makes the hunt more interactive and it slows the kiddos down a bit. After all, if you’re spending all of this time on a great scavenger hunt you don’t want the participants to run through it in five minutes.

Let’s get started with some of the easier clues to put together:

1. Word Scramble ClueViking Stainless Steel Clue_Bash Birthday Parties

This clue is super easy to put together. Just take the letters and scramble them up in the wrong order and you’re done! One thing I like to do with younger groups is add a helpful picture to the background or attach a picture to the clue so it gets them on the right track.

The word scramble we did at Culinary Square was for their Viking Stainless Steel™ products so we added a viking hat and a stainless steel pot to the background to help the hunters out.

 

2. Jigsaw Puzzle Clue

Don’t let the sound of this one fool you, it’s super simple. Think of a picture that would tell the kids where to go next, for example a couch would tell them to go to the living room, a dining room table would send them to the dining room, etc.

Dining Room TablePrint out a picture of that item onto a sheet of paper (thank you Google images), use a pair of scissors and cut the picture up into various pieces (Use your discretion and based on the age of the group decide how small the pieces should be, but I’d say keep it to under 20). Take the pieces and throw them in a ziplock bag or envelope and boom, there’s your clue. See, I told you that one was easy.

3. Rebus Clue

Rebus
A Rebus of a Rebus

A rebus is a puzzle that has pictures and letters that the solver puts together to make a word or phrase. For the Culinary Square event, Sam wanted to feature their new Corksicle™ tumblers (she was even kind enough to send me home with one as a thank you) so I thought Corksicle™ is an easy word to put together with a rebus.  Here’s what I came up with:

Corksicle Clue_Bash Birthday Parties

I put it together pretty quickly – here’s how. I opened up Word and used their Clip Art to find the pictures then I pasted them in the right order in the document. To insert Clip Art go to Insert then select Clip Art (it’s the 6th button from the left) then enter in the image you’re looking for in the Search for: field at the top of the Clip Art box. A quick tip on working with pictures in Word: if you find that the pictures won’t move or go in the right direction, select the picture, go to Format then on the right there’s an area called Arrange from there select Wrap Text and then the In Front of Text option. This allows you to move the pictures around the page as you need.

To give you a little more inspiration or if you’d like to use these clues yourself, I’ve come up with a couple here for you (Bathroom and Mailbox Clues for Scavenger Hunt Print Out:

Bathroom Rebus_Bash Birthday Parties
Bathroom
Mailbox Rebus_Bash Birthday Parties
Mailbox

4. Idiom Clue

At Culinary Square they have a large, colorful selection of kitchen towels with clever puns and adorable designs so I really wanted to find a way to show them off. For the towels I created an Idiom clue:

Fill in the Blank Clue_Bash Birthday Parties
A quitter never wins, I’m not throwing in the TOWEL!

(One note about these clues, younger kids may have a hard time with these simply because they aren’t familiar with the phrases so that’s something to keep in mind.)

Some examples that you may be able to implement in your scavenger hunt are:

“The next step is up to you, the ball is in your ________ (court).” This one is perfect if you have a basketball hoop at your party location.

“Wow you are awesome! I’d say you’re the best thing since sliced _______ (bread).” This clue should send them to the kitchen.

“That’s top secret information, don’t let the ______(cat) out of the bag.” This can lead them to the cat’s water bowl or to a stuffed cat you set up somewhere.

5. Trivia Question Clues

One clue that I didn’t utilize in my scavenger hunt but does work well is Trivia Question clues. Some neat trivia categories that work great for kids of all ages are TV shows, movies, sports, food and candy. A few examples of some trivia questions that can work for your scavenger hunt:

  • “Where would Nemo and Dory enjoying spending time?” (the aquarium or fish bowl)
  • “In baseball, when you hit the ball over this thing it’s considered a home run” (a fence)
  • “Hermine from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are bookworms. Where would you find them hanging out in the house?” (books or a bookshelf)

6. What Am I?

Mandolin What Am I Clue_Bash Birthday PartiesThis clue has a fun twist to it because you get to describe the item as if you are that item. For the Culinary Square hunt the clue answer was a mandolin.

One clue I thought would be fun for a kids party is a television, here’s my description:

“I come in lots of different sizes and I’m usually black in the back and colorful in the front when I’m turned on. The whole family can use me at the same time. I can’t eat, but if I had a favorite snack it would be popcorn”

 

 

7. Password Cipher Clue

Here’s our final clue for today’s post. We used this as our last clue for our Culinary Square scavenger hunt. What you do is give the hunters a code they need to crack with a password cipher. The cipher will tell the hunter what each symbol means. Here’s the code I used for the Culinary Square, we used cooking and kitchen symbols for the password cipher:

Password Cipher Clue_Bash Birthday Parties
What’s the answer? Your hint is it’s a name brand

The one we used for our hunt would be a little difficult to duplicate because we downloaded a new font for the kitchen symbols. However, a quick and easy way to come up with your own codes are Wingdings! You know that weird font that no one ever knows what to do with? Well now you have a reason to use it!

We even created this handy, dandy Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties. All you have to do is type out the clue words that you want the hunters to crack in CAPS, highlight the word and change the font to Wingdings and print. (Don’t forget to type the words in CAPS, otherwise it won’t match up to the password cipher) That’s it! Give them the password cipher and their code to crack and off they go.

Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties
The Bash Birthday Parties Password Cipher

Printable here (it prints 2 ciphers per page): Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties

You may want to use this as the last clue that way you can make it a message like, “go find Jack’s mom to claim your prize” or “You’ve complete the hunt, congratulations”.


Overall the scavenger hunt was a fun way for customers to enjoy the store and the anniversary party! I hope you’re able to take some of these clues and easily apply them to your own hunt. If you end up trying any of these out let us know in the comments section. We’ll be back with more party ideas (like our next post about the Girl Scout themed cupcakes I made for my friend’s bridal shower!).  You can also check out our Facebook page or Instagram to see more of what we’re up to –  lately it’s been a lot. Thanks for reading and talk to you soon!

Party on!

-Tara

Bash Party Recap

Maddie’s Trolls Art Bash!

Like I mentioned in my last post, we had a Trolls Art Bash this weekend for Maddie. Her birthday party was held at the United Church of Christ of Zion in Sand Lake, NY in their beautiful, newly renovated community center. It was the perfect space for our party; it has a huge community room with lots of folding tables and chairs, a large commercial kitchen and  sits right on Little Bowman Pond so there’s a gorgeous view. It’s a fantastic space for a party or an event so if you’re looking for a venue in the Averill Park – Sand Lake area, I highly recommend it.

Now, on to the party details!

little-bowman-pond-view
Gorgeous, right? Our view from the community room.

Being as it was a Trolls Art Bash we had Trolls decorations around the party room. I made these little skewers with “Find Your Happy Place” and Poppy cutouts as well the Trolls paper lanterns (DIY instructions for the lanterns in my last post). On the tables, I used some colorful handkerchiefs to brighten up the white tablecovers.  And, like we do for all Art Bashes, we made name tags for everyone and placed them on mini easels.

We had 9 kiddos at the Bash, including the birthday girl, Maddie, and her little brother, Drew. While we waited for everyone to arrive, we played kids charades then we started on the birthday banner.

maddies-art-bash-birthday-banner
The Birthday Banner (Drew, 4 years old, got a bit of a head start)

Our first craft was the Trolls pencils, picked out by Maddie and her mom. The kids picked out their feathers for their troll hair, then they added stickers and eyeballs. They turned out great!

After a quick game and pizza break we went on to the BIG craft – Initial Canvas Paintings. I prepped the canvases ahead of time with their first initial, then the kids picked their own colors to make their personalized paint creations. They loved using the paint!

Initial Canvases_Maddie's Art Bash.png
Canvases all ready to go!
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Maddie’s Canvas Painted with Pink Stripes

Once we cleaned ourselves up it was time for cupcakes! We made tie dye frosting and the kids decorated their own cupcake with sprinkles and candy.

tie-dye-cupcakes_maddies-art-bash
Tie Dye Cupcake Time!

We wrapped up the birthday party with a game of Bingo and some bubbles!

Maddie’s Art Bash was so much fun, especially because the guests were an awesome group of 6 and 7 year old kids and Maddie’s family are such nice people! Happy Birthday Maddie! Hope you have a great time at your family party today!


Next weekend is another busy one for Bash Parties with 2 Bashes and the Hannaford Kidz Expo on Saturday, March 4 at the Empire State Convention Center in Downtown Albany (more info here). This week we’ll be rolling out our guide to making the most of the Kidz Expo, so stay tuned!

Thanks and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-Tara