Who knew Jolly Ranchers were our 'secret' to this stunning topper?
My daughter and Holly's three children attend the same elementary school. It's a public school, nestled in a quiet country town. And it's filled with wonderful, dedicated and creative teachers. Including an outstanding and inspiring art teacher, Mrs. Herklots. She has taught hundreds of students over the years, as the resident art expert and teacher. But her teaching isn't simply showing the kids colors, shapes and doing crafts. She incorporates all areas of art into her classroom. And it all culminates at the end of the year in one highly impressive art show.
Several years ago, during my daughter's first week of kindergarten, she came home and told me how much she "loved" her art class. I asked her what she did in it, thinking maybe coloring? or gluing noodles to a plate? she said, "Mommy, we're learning how to color block like Mondrian!" What? in kindergarten? That's how amazing Mrs. Herklots is. My daughter's experience in art is like that of so many at her school; she has been enriched and excited by what she learns and this will last a lifetime.
This year, Mrs. Herklots has taught the children about the artist, Dale Chihuly. He is an American glass sculptor and artist. His handblown glass creations are colorful and spectacular. (We have posted some photos of the real Chihuly art below and a link to Dale Chihuly's website).
So the children have been inspired by him (and our art teacher) and created their own "Chihuly Art". The annual art show is tomorrow and Mrs. Herklots (with the help of parents) will transform the hallways of the elementary school with this amazing, colorful, fun art that the children have worked on all year. It's really breathtaking when you see these pieces hanging from the ceilings.
Since Mrs. Herklots is such a Chihuly fan, Holly and I thought we would honor her with a surprise treat tomorrow night giving her our "Chihuly Inspired Cupcakes". I think we made about 150 cupcakes?!
It's our way of saying, thank you for your inspiration and creativity and all that you have taught to our children. We hope you enjoy them, as much as we loved making them!
Recipe for Chihuly Cupcakes
48 mini cupcakes or 24 large cupcakes frosted (we used a box mix for this!)
1 package of Jolly Rancher hard candies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- While the oven is heating, unwrap the candies and chop them into small pieces on a cutting board and using a chef's knife, chop each candy into several pieces. It is not necessary to chop them into crumbs. (Or you can do what Wendy does and put the unwrapped candy in zip top bag and break with a wooden spoon!).
- Cut the parchment paper into 4 inch squares. You will need 4 to 8 squares depending on how fast you work. (Or you can use one large sheet of parchment).
- The candy hardens quickly, so start by making four at a time and once you get the hang of working with the melted candy, you may find you can make more than four at a time. In the size of a quarter, sprinkle two colors of candy on each square.
- Bake for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- Take one parchment square off of the sheet and let it cool for about 30 seconds.
- Carefully peel the candy off of the parchment square.
- If it is sticky and does not peel off easily, let it cool some more.
- Once it is peeled from the parchment, flatten and stretch with your hands.
- Have fun twisting and creating your own Chihuly inspired designs. Continue this process until you have enough shapes to top each cupcake. Let your creations cool completely before topping the cupcakes.
Getting the Jolly Rancher's ready
In bags to 'smash' them with a ladle!
Put a small amount on parchment, on cookie sheet.
After 3-5 minutes, remove from oven.
Let cool for 30-60 seconds to be able to touch it. They should peel right off! no spray needed.
Gently stretch and form the warm candy into fun, abstract shapes. There's no wrong way to do it!
Pretty, isn't it?
Wendy's daughter and my three children each recognized these creations as Chihuly as soon as they saw them. My four year old said, "Where did you get the Chihuly mom?" My six year old proceeded to teach me how Chihuly creates his pieces step-by-step. Pretty impressive knowledge, thanks to one amazing teacher!