Circus Mouth Cupcakes

July 15th, 2012

Yesterday was the 5th Annual Cupcakes Take the Cake Cupcake Picnic.  I attended the event for the first time 4 years ago (time flies!) and introduced my Cupcake Kebab and it went viral! Although I could never live up to that unexpected response in future years, I’ve still used the event as an opportunity to share new creations like the Sangria Cupcake Stack, Dirt and Flower Cupcake and this year…Circus Mouth!

Circus what?! Allow me to explain…

I knew I wanted to make something colorful this year – and I also wanted to try baking something in a cake.  So, I went to the source and looked for inspiration at Bake It in a Cake!

Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cupcakes in progress…

I found a recipe for Circus Animal Cupcakes and my creation inspiration had begun! I wanted to incorporate 5 layers to honor 5 years of the picnic and use all “circus food” related flavors (popcorn, licorice, cotton candy, candied apples, etc).  So I needed a filling, frosting, garnish and topper. And have all the flavors actually taste good together!

Red Licorice Filling setting up.

I found the perfect filling thanks to Cupcake Wars and their Red Licorice Filling Recipe  (ALWAYS use Red Vines – NO Twizzlers).


The frosting would come from a recipe I’ve been using for years – Cotton Candy Buttercream Frosting.

Cotton Candy Buttercream Frosting

And then it was time for the garnish…I found inspiration from a Popcorn Cake Recipe but rather than form it into a cake I simple placed it on my cupcake and used Pretzel M&M’s and chopped up Circus Peanuts in place of regular pretzels and M&Ms.

Caramel Apple Mini Cupcakes getting ready for the oven. Note: I learned to use less caramel per mini next time!

My original plan to make a Candied Apple Mini Cupcake as my topper was thwarted by the lack of red hots in the many stores I stopped at to find them.  So it became a Caramel Apple Mini Cupcake instead.  I used the caramel topping (minus nuts) used in this Betty Crocker Recipeand then added a Baked Apple Donut Hole Batter on top.  I learned a critical lesson in this step…USE LESS CARAMEL! As it baked, the caramel began to overflow which in turn caused it to land on my stove floor and set off my smoke alarm. Oops.  Thankfully not all the caramel was lost and the minis didn’t burn!

Center L-R: Cupcake filled w/ Red Licorice Filling, Plus Cotton Candy Frosting, Plus Popcorn Garnish and finally the Caramel Apple Mini on top!

After everything was cooled it was time to assemble! I originally placed vanilla wafer sticks in the center of the Caramel Apple Minis but they proved to be more trouble than they were worth as they began to wilt by the cake’s moisture and also caused some cakes to split. I decided the cakes were okay on their own!

And finally…the finished product. Circus Mouth Cupcakes – Your mouth will be full of circus food flavor w/ every bite! 🙂

Presenting the Circus Mouth Cupcake!

Flashback: Domesticated

January 26th, 2012

A past post of mine from a blog I started when I first moved to NYC called Bloggy, Blog, Blog.  Although “Nibbles by Nora” was a few years away it was clear I had the baking bug already! 😉

April 17, 2007

So somehow I’ve gotten in the habit of making treats for people when in a theatre production. It first really started when I was involved with directing some shows around Christmas and a friend of mine had a cookie exchange. I found so many recipes of interest that although I only made one kind for the cookie exchange (Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice Cookies – they don’t look pretty but they taste good!) I decided to use the others to share with my cast and find out if they tasted as good as they sounded. They did!

Two recipes that disappeared the quickest Spicy Pumpkin Cookies – Sans Raisins
and a variation of this Cake Mix Cookie recipe – I used Chocolate Cake Mix! 🙂 They tasted like brownie bites.

Then when my directing duties started to taper off I began working backstage for a month as a dresser for the traveling production of “The Lion King”. Every Sunday we’d have a potluck since we didn’t have a lot of time in between shows. Once again, it was a chance to try something new!

Smoky Corn Muffins (didn’t use liquid smoke)

This time around my baking flurry was influenced by the fact that my character (Essie) in “You Can’t Take It With You” makes candy, but still – I’m finding that as long as the recipe is fairly simple – I enjoy baking…as long as I can share it with a group. That’s the key…not all that enthused about making something that will go to waste cause I only eat a piece of it…I had that happen to a picante peach cobbler. I ate 2 pieces and the rest went in the trash – sadness.

Rarely do I make a dish twice as I am always curious about new ones – so I’m constantly in finger cross mode and hope, hope, hope that whoever is eating it – likes it.

Needless to say here is a list of some of the recipes (the links are all from that I tried and those that ate it seemed to like it! (No deaths or stomach trauma were reported either! ;))

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Cherry Mash Candy

Pistachio Fruit Salad (Some of the cast was diabetic, so this worked well for the potluck!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Hot Jezebel – Took this to the cast party and previously to a Bridal Shower, knew it was good when a former co-worker brought it to work several times and it always disappeared quickly!

I also discovered a Truffle recipe in a cookbook that used the same instructions as an easy fudge recipe I found online. Go figure. I went the truffle route though, using chocolate sprinkles on some and cocoa on others. One of my co-stars thought they were donut holes though and had a bit of surprise when he bit in.

And when not in the baking mood, thanks to my mom (who’s a rep), I’ve discovered Watkins has great dip mixes. So good and so easy to make! I highly recommend ordering some to try! 😉

So now it is your turn – share your fav recipes or maybe this will give you inspiration to try baking if you haven’t already! 😉 Good Luck!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 7

November 20th, 2011

In this episode I create a treat based on The Band Perry’s favorite snacks.  Perry Pieces are so good, they may make you want to sing! 🙂

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 7, Sweets to Sing About…

Inspired by White Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookies from and The Band Perry Official Fan Club,

Perry Pieces Ingredients

Perry Pieces

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, slightly crushed up

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

12 oz pkg Mini Peanut Butter Cups, chop each cup in fourths

2 cups Cocoa Rice Krispies

12 oz Dark Chocolate, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cake pan and set aside.

In small bowl beat margarine and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla until well combined.

In large bowl combine flour, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, baking powder and salt. Slowly add wet ingredients along with Mini Peanut Butter Cup chunks until just combined.

Spread mixture evenly into cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown.

Let cool. Then crumble bars. Place half of the crumbles in a bowl. Spread the other half over a wax paper lined baking tray. Set tray aside.

Add Cocoa Rice Krispies to bowl and mix with crumbles. Then add  Dark Chocolate until mixture is coated.

Spread Dark Chocolate mixture evenly and firmly over crumbles on tray.  Place tray in refrigerator to let mixture harden.

Once mixture is hardened, break into pieces and Enjoy!


Aimee Todoroff

And here’s info on the “Before They Are SuperStar’s Taste Tester”, Aimee Todoroff‘s theatre company fundraiser

Elephant Run District “Babes in New York” Fundraiser

Monday, November 21, 2011 – 7-10pm

Please join us for an evening celebrating the first year of the Elephant Run District and fundraiser for next year’s production of “Rabbit Island,” a Coney Island themed comedy about fitting in, freaking out, and becoming a “real” New Yorker.

We’ll be having fun raffle prizes, amazing silent auction items, and some stellar performances by some of New York’s most talented transplants.

Hosted by Chad Lindsey, featuring Adam Wade, Cathryn Lynne and Laura Butler.

$30 suggested donation at the door.

If you are unable to attend, or would simply like to support the work we do, please make a 100% tax deductible donation through our profile with The Field:

Thank you and Much Love from The District.

PS- Please “like us” on Facebook-

Say What?

November 2nd, 2011

Have you tried a Nibbles by Nora creation yet?  Here is what some people are saying…

“Dr Who cupcakes blew my  mind! Amazing! Thank you so much Nora!!”Sean Hanna, Astoria, NY

“Two of my least favorite flavors/textures, but that pudding was delish!!!” – Marcie Friedman, Astoria, NY

“…just wanted to say your cookie-embedded-in-a-cupcake-embedded-in-another-cupcake was absolutely delicious.” – Eric Wagner, New York, NY

“My gingerbread cookies with eggnog frosting are beyond my wildest expectations. Absolutely perfect.” – Michael Weems, New York, NY

“I just ate one of your Nibbles! It was delicious!” – Ronn Burton, New York, NY

“Nora, the Nibbles were delicious! You will be happy to know that they were a big hit at our family viewing of the Husker game. 🙂 Thanks SO much!”  – Deborah Krambeck, Omaha, NE

Everyone is RAVING about the brownies!” – Dev Bondarin, Astoria, NY

I had one of your delicious O Bars! Wonderful. Simply wonderful.” – Jeremy Blocker, ArsNova – New York, NY

 “The cookies sold very well and they were absolutely delicious.  The gingerbread was my personal favorite.” – Lisa Hryckowian, Gallery Players Theatre – Brooklyn, NY

“The cupcakes were a HUGE hit! ….even (with) the ones who don’t like cupcakes.” – Scott Melcher, Astoria, NY

“They look amazing and taste even better.” – Brian Michael Flanagan, Gallery Players – Brooklyn, NY

Examiner.Com Article

If you have tried a Nibbles by Nora treat or used a recipe, feel free to give your feedback in the comments section!

Flashback: Peanuts & Crackerjack Chocolate Cupcakes

October 21st, 2011

A past post of mine from the “Bicoastal Bakes” blog (a blog that pre-dates Nibbles by Nora!) I created this treat for the show run of  “Top of the Heap” at the Gallery Players.

October 27, 2009

Inspired by Scarecrow Treats, the cupcake has 3 layers – Chocolate Molasses Cake (there are many recipes via the google out there – pick your fav!), Marshmallows and Homemade Crackerjack.

After the cake is mostly baked, add a layer of mini marshmallows and put back in the oven until the marshmallows puff up.Adding the marshmallow layer.








Then add a layer of crackerjack on top.

Adding the crackerjacks.









The finished product!

Peanuts & Crackerjack Chocolate Cupcake

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 6

September 5th, 2011

Now you can celebrate #Jerzday everyday with this Snooki inspired recipe on this episode of “Celebrity Nibbles by Nora”!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 6, Tastes Like Jersey Shore …

Inspired by Savory Cornmeal Cookies Recipe from and “Snooki Cookies” suggestion from youtube viewer, Lola801.

Snooki Cookies

Snooki Cookies  

About 3 Dozen Cookies


1 cup white cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa*

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp chili or cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp cinnamon*

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese (shredded)

1/2 cup dill pickles pulp (chopped well in blender)

2 Tbsp margarine (melted)

1 egg

1/3 cup dill pickle juice

1/4 cup water



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease baking sheet(s).

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, chile/cayenne and black peppers. Stir in cheese and dill pickle pulp. Then add melted margarine, egg, pickle juice and water. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes or more to let batter firm up a little.

Drop rounded Tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet(s).

Bake on top or center rack in oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.


Note: Leftover Snooki Cookies can be stored in an airtight containers for up to 2 days.


And here’s info on the “Before They Were SuperStar’s Taste Tester”, Zach

Zach McCoy

McCoy‘s Show that he’s in, “The Birthday Boys”.

ArtEffects Theatre Company Presents:

The Birthday Boys By Aaron Kozak

Directed by: Montserrat Mendez

Winner of the 2010 Hollywood Fringe First Award (world premiere) and the LA Fringe Award (LA Theatre Review Critic’s Choice).

“A high-tension, clock-ticking-away dramatic thriller.” —

Three Marines captured by insurgents during an unheard-of infiltration of the Al Asad green zone struggle with the horror of captivity and their unknowable fate. But what first appears to be a kidnapping unravels an emotionally complex trio of characters dealing with major values such as honor, good, evil, commitment, ethics, God and country. Tense, hilarious and frequently heart-wrenching, The Birthday Boys keeps us guessing on the edge of our seats, as we barrel towards a shocking climax.


Kristi McCarson

Phil Newsom

Stage Manager: *Mary Spadoni


Lowell Byers

Walker Hare

Zach McCoy

Abraham Makany

Jevon McFerrin

Patrick Cann

Roland Lane

(*courtesy of actors equity, an equity approved showcase)

PR/Marketing: Lanie Zipoy

Graphic Design: Theresa Evangelista

Lighting Design: Porsche McGovern

Set Design: Jason Bolen

Sound Design: Patrick Metzger

Costume/props: Rebecca Snyder/ Kristi McCarson

Performance Dates:

Thurs. Sept 15th, 8pm

Fri. Sept 16th, 8pm

Sat. Sept 17th, 8pm

Sun. Sept 18, 3pm and 8pm.

Wed. Sept 21, 8pm

Thurs Sept 22, 8pm

Fri, Sept. 23, 8pm

Sat, Sept 24, 8pm

Sun, Sept 25, 3pm


Access Theatre

380 Broadway (at White Street)

New York, NY 10013 (2 blocks South of Canal)

4th Floor

Tickets price: $18

Purchase online at

or Reserve tickets at:

Discounted tickets available for military personnel and Veterans for $10 (Please email for details).



Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 5

July 12th, 2011

Toast Harry Potter and his pals in their last film with a Potter Pie Shake in this episode of  “Celebrity Nibbles by Nora”!

Celebrity Nibbles by Nora, Episode 5, Farewell Harry …

Inspired by the flavors of Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice and by the Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie Recipe from, Cream Soda Sauce Recipe from and shake assembly suggestions from

Potter Pie Shake

Potter Pie Shakes

Makes 8 Servings

Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

1 frozen pie crust (from 12 oz deep dish package)

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

6 oz fat free evaporated milk

1 cup canned pumpkin


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  

Microwave chips in medium bowl in 15 second intervals, stirring each time until chips are completely melted. Set aside.

Mix egg, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt in large bowl until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, milk and melted chips until well blended. Pour into crust.

Place pie on a baking sheet (in case it bubbles over) and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack.

Cream Soda Topping Ingredients

1 cup cream soda

1 package (2 packets) whipped topping mix

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp rum extract


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until thickened.


***Additional ingredient – 1 gallon vanilla ice cream***

Cut pie into 8 slices.  

Place 1 slice of pie, 1/4 cup cream soda topping and 4 scoops of ice cream in the blender and blend well.  You can increase or decrease cream soda topping/ice cream based on your preference for thickness of shake.

Drink immediately or store in freezer until ready to enjoy!


And here’s info on the “Before They Were SuperStar’s Taste Tester”, Kristin

Kristin Cantwell

Cantwell’s improv group that she’s in, Equipo Jesus.

Upcoming Equipo Jesus performances:

July 15th, 10pm @ The Magnet Theater – Part of “The Circuit” performances (“Equipo Jesus” rotates Fridays).

Cost: FREE!

July 25th, 8pm @ The PIT – Part of the Secret Crush Show.

Cost: FREE!

Cookies & Booze

July 3rd, 2011

For a looong time now I’ve used Yelp reviews to find the best restaurants, doctors, places to visit when traveling, etc but it wasn’t until recently I decided to become an active participant in Yelp and start contributing my own reviews.

When I officially became a “Yelp” member I made a new discovery. Yelp is also a forum (like Meetup) to post activities.  And the first activity I spotted? Cookies & Booze 9!  Once I knew that this event was in fact open to anybody I then had to decide what cookies to make!

Since I had leftover dried cranberries from my B. Frank Cranapple Beer Cupcakes, I began to sift thru my numerous cookbooks to see what I could find for inspiration.

Inspiration struck in the form of  “Cappuccino Spice Cookies” from 100 Best Holiday Cookies and I began tweaking.

My initial thought was to halve the recipe but then I mis-calculated how much coffee to add. Oops.

After several minutes of panic, this mis-calculation ended up being a happy accident.  (Phew!)  However, I was a bit concerned about how much the cookies would spread if baked individually so I decided to corral them (and save time scooping) in a circular cake tin to make “Giant Coffee Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

You can see some photos from the event on my Facebook Page and you can get the recipe below!

Giant Coffee Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Giant Coffee Cranberry Chcolate Chip Cookies



1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 cup boiling water
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla*
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
â…› tsp ground nutmug
â…› tsp ground cloves
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

*If you use flavored instant coffee, you can omit vanilla extract. You can replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour if you prefer.


Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.

Dissolve coffee granules in boiling water. Beat margarine and sugars in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, coffee and vanilla*; beat until well blended.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves in medium bowl; gradually add to margarine mixture until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

If mixture seems a little too gooey, place mixture in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to firm it up.

Prepare circular cake pan (about 8” x 2”) by placing aluminum foil around the inside with enough leftover at the top so you can pull the cookie out when it is done baking. (You will need to do this for each cookie.)

Spread a thin layer of cookie batter in the bottom of the cake pan, making sure it’s spread evenly.

Place in oven for 10-12 minutes or until set. Let cookie stay in pan for a few minutes then carefully pull it out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack in the aluminum foil.
Prepare the pan with aluminum foil again, spread cookie batter inside and so on until you have used all of your batter.

Once cookies have cooled completely, carefully peel away the aluminum foil and serve!


Note: They do have a bar/cake like quality to them. I’m not sure if they’d bake well if a thicker layer was used to make them an actual bar or not but if you try it, let me know how they turn out! 🙂


Former Recipe Contest Addict

July 3rd, 2011

The results are in for the Lucky Leaf  “Made With Love” Recipe Contest aaaaand my submissions did not make the top 3.  According to their site, they will be posting the full top 10 but I’m assuming I would have heard if I would have made that, right?!

At any rate, I thought I would share my non-award winning recipes with you here.  They do sound unusual but they tasted good to me! :)  If you do decide to use one of them let me know if you add your own tweaks to it as I know everyone has a different preference when it comes to spices and whatnot.

Here ya go!

Cherry Cornbread Casserole Kicker


1 21-ounce can LUCKY LEAF ® Lite Cherry Pie Filling

Cherry Cornbread Casserole Kicker

1/2 cup salsa

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained

1 ½ teaspoons cumin

*optional* 4 links chicken sausages, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (approx. 2 cups) or a similar meat preference

1 box cornbread/muffin mix

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add Lucky Leaf Lite Cherry Pie Filling, salsa, black beans, tomatoes/chiles, cumin and chicken sausage to large sauce pan. Stir ingredients over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, until mixture is incorporated warmed through. Set aside.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Pour cherry mixture into 13×9-inch baking dish. Spread spoonfuls of the cornbread mixture evenly over the cherry mixture.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, checking to make sure cornbread is done.  Let cool slightly before serving.

Blueberry Meatloaf Muffins


1 21-ounce can LUCKY LEAF ® Premium Blueberry Pie Filling

½ cup ketchup

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 ½ lbs lean ground beef or turkey

1 egg

3 – 4 whole-wheat bread slices, torn into pieces

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin by coating with cooking spray.

Add first 3 ingredients to large sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat stirring frequently, about 5 minutes until mixture is incorporated and starting to thicken. Set aside.

Mix remaining ingredients in bowl. Then add 2 cups of the blueberry mixture to the bowl and mix. Start dividing meat mixture evenly among muffin tins – makes approx 16-20. Top each mixture with a spoonful of remaining blueberry mixture.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Check center of one of the muffins to make sure it is browned through. Let cool slightly before serving.


Flashback: Cupcake Kebabs

June 28th, 2011

A past post of mine from the “Bicoastal Bakes” blog (a blog that pre-dates Nibbles by Nora!)


In an effort to be different (and use up some of my cupcake batter that was in the freezer) I formulated a plan to make mini cupcake kebabs for a gathering sponsored by “Cupcakes Take The Cake”.

Based on the batter I had, I chose Neapolitan as my combo of flavors, then I had to figure out spacers. My original thought was Strawberries dipped in white and milk chocolate. But they don’t stay nice for very long so my thought turned to dipping marshmallows. I know I had seen strawberry marshmallows before, but where?!

So my search began for marshmallows. And as I searched I began to pick up alternatives if I couldn’t find them. Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcakes cut up and partially dipped in chocolate was an idea. I picked up sugar wafers and inspected them closely to decide if I thought they’d hold up to a kebab skewer and then my last stop – there they were! Strawberry Marshmallows!!!

By the time I got home on Friday, my original vision for the kebabs had been altered. Now I would combine the use of strawberry marshmallows – dipped in white chocolate & chocolate cookie crumbs (inspired by the Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches) and the sugar wafers. With careful twisting and guidance the skewer went thru the wafers just fine!

Once I got my minis baked and frosted, my marshmallows dipped and my wafers sliced up it was time to assemble!

I found that the key (besides keeping the skewer centered on whatever you are putting on there) is to make sure you wipe off the skewer as you go! No premature mixing of flavors that way! ;)

Once I got them assembled I was a bit stymied as to how to store them w/out the frosting looking flat on one side but then I decided to balance them on the edge of a casserole dish for overnight storage in the fridge and it worked out just fine…until it was time to pack them up.

I decided to use an aluminum casserole dish w/ a wax paper lining for transport and as a whole they traveled okay. How I was going to travel w/ them wasn’t my first thought when I woke up though- it was wondering if the wafers and cookie crumbs were still crisp. They seemed to be but later feedback said the wafers were a bit soggy. Something to work on…

I was a bit anxious to see what the feedback would be and they


went over extremely well! So well in fact that apparently I’ve given people lots of ideas and was blogged about! :)

Since I’ve been in the process of starting my own online baking company, this little niche of a product has been inspiring and I can’t wait to try out new flavor combos- that will hopefully be made available to you all soon! :)


~NY Nora



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