Mar 1, 2012

Cupcake Tin Craze

by Mel Gardner

50 Things you can do with a cupcake tin!

Cupcakes are everywhere. They're posted on your blogs, pinned on your Pinterest, selling in your mini malls and taunting your taste buds. These mouthwatering mini cakes have enveloped the cooking and craft universe. But the trend hasn't just brought cupcakes out of obscurity, but also the cupcake tin. What was once only used for molding cupcakes is now the latest organizer, mini food maker or toy.

Through ideas gathered from the internet and brainstorming in the studio, MIX! has come up with 50 different things you can do with a cupcake tin. MIX! up your food and craft ideas with this neo-cupcake trend.

Mini Foods
  1. Favorite Cupcake: Make a cupcake of course!
  2. Mini Chili Dinner: Put cornbread batter, chili and cheese in a muffin tin, bake and enjoy.
  3. Mini Lasagna: Place a small square of a lasagna noodle to cover the bottom of each cupcake mold; then, roll a lasagna noodle around the sides of each cup. Fill the center of the noodle with your meat/vegetable filling then sprinkle cheese on top. Bake and eat. Alternative: Use wonton wrappers to make mini layers instead of wrapping lasagna noodles.
  4. Mini Cheesecakes: Mix melted butter and crushed graham cracker to make crust. Press crust into the bottom of each cup (using cupcake liners will make this easier to take out after cooking). Fill the rest of the cup with your favorite cheesecake recipe. Bake and eat. Drizzle with fruit sauce, chocolate or caramel if desired.
  5. Eggs and Bacon: Cook pieces of bacon until brown but not crisp. Take piece of bacon and wrap around the edges of each cup. Put a small slice of bacon to cover the bottom. Crack one egg into each cup. Break yoke if desired. Add desired ingredients such as salt, pepper, cheese, or onion.  Cook in oven until egg is done. Enjoy!
  6. Mini Omelet: Cook sausage or bacon (or other meats), then cut into small pieces. In a bowl create an egg and milk mixture like you would for making omelets. Add meat, onions and any additional spices or vegetables to egg mix. Pour mixture into each muffin tin and top with cheese. Bake until eggs are cooked.
  7. Mini Pies: Using favorite pie recipes, bake mini individual pies for everyone.  Example: pumpkin, raspberry, key lime,  apple, etc.
  8. Mini Meatloaf: Instead of cooking your meat loaf as a loaf, try it as a meat cupcake for individual servings.
  9. Mini Crab Cakes: Using your favorite crab cake recipe and cook in a cupcake tin. Serve with lemon wedges or special sauce.
  10. Mini Brownies: Use your favorite brownie recipe and cook in cupcake tins. There are all sorts of decorative molds and the individual size is easier for sharing.    
  11. Mini Pizza: Take your favorite pizza bread recipe (or use generic unbaked crescent or dinner rolls) and top with favorite pizza toppings. Bake and eat!
  12. Mini Macaroni Casserole: Mix your favorite macaroni casserole ingredients in a bowl then scoop into cupcake tins and top with cheese, bake until cheese is melted.
  13. Brownie/Cookie: Create your favorite chocolate chip cookie and  brownie recipe. Then layer cookie and brownie in each cup and bake. You've got the best of both desserts in one dish!
  14. Freeze for Later: Pour your favorite soup into each of the cups and freeze. Put into a freezer safe bag and take one cube out as you need it for individual serving or take one cube in a thermos to take on the go. 
  15. Pizzokie: Cook your favorite chocolate chip cookie in the bottom of a cupcake tin. Then while it's still hot, add a scoop of ice cream and whip cream on top. Have everyone gather around and eat their own right out of the tin.
  16. Mini Quiche: Using your favorite quiche recipe cook it mini style in a cupcake tin.Organizer
  17. Jewelry: Avoid a tangled jewelry disaster by using your old cupcake tins for organization that can fit easily in a drawer.
  18. Office Supplies: Don't want your paper clips and pins flying around your desk? Put them in a cupcake tin.
  19. Small Tools: Store sharp objects such as nails, screws, and pins.   
  20. Pre-Gardening: Use the cupcake tin for organizing seeds before planting.
  21. Sewing Supplies: Needles, string and more can be easily organized with a cupcake tin.
  22. Junk Drawer: Find some way to organize those odds and ends floating around in the drawer.
  23. Painting: Use each cup as a palette for mixing and holding paint colors.
  24. Easter Eggs: Use each cup for the different Easter egg dyes.
For Kids
  1. Snack Time: Use each cup for a little snack to make eating fun for kids. Stick a few vegetables in there and once they eat all of them in the cup, they can have the treat cup.
  2. Finger Painting: Pour different paints into each cup and let the kids go wild with finger paints.
  3. Toss Game: Make little rice/bean filled sacks for tossing. Then write point values for each cupcake cup. Have the kids stand behind a line and toss their sacks to win points.
  4. Advent Calendar: Cover each hole with a large flat magnet with Christmas themed pictures and numbers for each day of the month. Put candies or quotes inside for each day.
  5. Dinosaur Fun: Put little plastic toys in the cupcake tin with water and freeze. Ta da! It's the ice age!
  6. Mini Garden: Using some dirt, seed, water and some love; create a mini garden. Or use each cup for a plant science project.
  7. Homemade Lunchables: Cut slices of cheese and place in one cup, then slice the same amount of lunch meat and place in another cup. Place enough crackers for one piece of cheese and one piece of lunch meat in its own cup. Fill the rest of the cups with a healthy snack, dessert and drink in a paper cup. Let your child make his own lunch from each of the sections.  
  8. Alphabet Sorting: When kids are learning their letters, use scrabble letters and have them sort each letter into the correct cupcake tin.
  9. Color Sorting: Put pieces of different colored paper at the bottom of the cupcake tins. Then let the child sort through little things like buttons and paper clips and put them in the cup with the correlating color.
Perfect Mold
  1. Cookie Cups: Flip the tin upside down and cover each cup with foil/parchment paper, then cover with cookie dough and bake. It'll make perfectly formed cups for ice cream.
  2. Chocolate Cups: Flip the tin upside down and cover with foil/parchment paper. Cool the tin in the freezer. Then using the chocolate topping that instantly forms a hard shell around ice cream, pour around each cup then freeze until hard. Remove from mold and eat with ice cream or pudding. Alternative: You can also try melted chocolate chips, but the cooling time will take longer.
  3. Creative Crayon: Take your old crayon ends and melt together in the cupcake tin. You'll have your own large multi-colored round crayons. You may want to use parchment paper for easy removal from tins.
  4. Soap Mold: Make your own organic soup and use your cupcake tin for the mold.
  5. Mini Tortilla Bowls: Take small yellow corn tortillas, microwave for 1 minute, then spray each side of tortilla with cooking spray. Turn your cupcake tin upside down and center the tortilla in the space between 4 cupcake cups, creating a bowl.  Bake until crispy, but not burnt. Fill with taco ingredients and enjoy.
  6. Lego cake: Bake one regular 9 x 13 pan cake, then bake one tin of cupcakes. Place cupcakes upside down on the cake in the form of a Lego piece then frost the whole thing in an appropriate Lego color.  
  7. Snowball maker: For an easy perfect-throwing snowball, take some snow and shove into your mold. Flip over snowball into your hand and chuck at nearest target.
  8. Perfect Circles: Dip the bottom of your cupcake tin in paint and stamp where desired, creating a perfectly spaced and formed circle pattern for wall decorations or crafts.
  9. Flavored Ice Cubes: Slice lemons, limes and berries then place in the cupcake tin. Add water and freeze. Use ice cubes when serving punch so the flavor will slowly melt into the punch.
  10. Candles: Make your own candles with the regular cupcake mold or try other cupcake pan designs.
  11. Jello: of course.
  12. Pineapple Flower: Shave the sides and cut off the stem of the pineapple. Cut very thin slices through the whole pineapple including the middle stem, creating a circle. Set thin slices into the cups of  the cupcake tin and bake at a low temperature until dry and edges are brown. Use as a garnish.  
Miscellaneous
  1. Armor: Use one cupcake tin for the breast plate and one for the back. Drill holes in the tops and connect over the shoulders with string. Perfect armor for a snowball or water balloon fight.
  2. Makeshift Shower: Drill little holes in the bottom of each cup. Place water hose above cupcake tin and voila! It's a shower. 
  3. Mancala: Create your own game of Mancala (Asian/African chess game). You can find game play and rules online.
  4. Floral Arrangements: Use an older antique-looking cupcake tin for making new and creative floral arrangements. 
  5. Easter Egg Holder: Use a mini cupcake tin to display your Easter eggs or to hold them while the dye dries.

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