Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dipped Marshmallow Pops

I think this would be fun for my nieces and nephew.

any color of candy melts, may want multiple colors!
          - can use melting chocolate
          - [original post used Wilton Candy Melts]
sprinkles/top decorations
large marshmallows
lollipop sticks
wax paper

Directions: [really simple!]
1.   Put a lollipop stick in each marshmallow.
2.   Microwave the candy melts as in packaged instructions.
3.   Roll the marshmallows through the candy melt.
4.   Sprinkle on your decorations!
5.   Place on wax paper to dry
6.   They can be chilled before serving as well.

So simple! I will definitely try these with the munchkins!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles (10) (7)

 Boyfriend loves sugar, chocolate, and truffles. 'Nuff said.

1/2 cup      butter, softened
3/4 cup     brown sugar, packed
1 tsp         vanilla extract
2 cups      all-purpose flour
1 can        sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
1 cup        miniature chocolate chips
melting chocolate (milk, semi-sweet, dark, or white)
sprinkles (or any other decorations)

1.   Cream the butter and brown sugar [electric mixer].
     Add the vanilla extract.
2.   Slowly add in the flour, mix until incorporated.
3.   Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and mix until
     thoroughly combined.
4.   Add miniature chocolate chips.
5.   Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until
     the dough is very firm. [Don't freeze!]
6.   Use a small cookie scoop to make tablespoon-sized balls and place them on a waxed
     paper-lined cookie sheet.
7.   Melt the melting chocolate in a glass bowl.
8.   Dip the chilled cookie dough ball into the chocolate and scoop them out with a fork to allow
     the extra chocolate to drip off.
9.   Place on the waxed paper and decorate to your liking.
10.  Can be served at room temperature or chilled.

- I think when dipping into the chocolate, using toothpicks or something to make them into "pops" would be another decorative touch.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites (7)(10)

Boyfriend liked them, but not enough to crave them.
I loved them, of course!
I used the square checker pretzels because i also made Chocolate Love Buttons with them, so I didn't want to buy 2 backs of pretzels. I also dipped them in milk and white chocolate! yum!

1 cup       creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp      softened butter
1/2 cup     powdered sugar (maybe more)
3/4 cup     brown sugar (maybe more)
1 bag        semi-sweet chocolate chips
120-160     pretzels (makes 60-80 bites depending upon how much of the mixture you put
                   between each one)

1.   Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork/whisk/stand mixer.
2.   Add the powdered sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine.
3.   Roll the mixture into balls. If they still stick to your hands add a little more of each sugar until
     they are thicker and less sticky.
4.   Roll each portion (about a teaspoon) into small balls and sandwich them between two
     whole pretzels.
5.   Stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.
6.   Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30 second intervals,
     stirring occasionally until completely melted.
7.   Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each halfway into the
     melted chocolate.
8.   When they are all dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.
9.   Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cake Batter and Sprinkle Bark

I know my boyfriend will LOVE these.
He loves cake batter ice cream, so why not?
I'm thinking I'll make these closer to Christmas and give some to him. :)

6 ounces     high quality dark or extra dark chocolate, chopped
                  (180 grams)
12 ounces     high quality white chocolate, chopped
                  (360 grams)
3 tsp           white cake mix
Sprinkles of choice

*Original post used Callebaut Chocolate brand

1.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2.   Chop chocolate.
3.   Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or double boiler.
          - To use a microwave, place the chopped chocolate in a
            microwave safe container, and heat for 20 second intervals,
            stirring each time with a silicone spatula.
          - Make sure to not burn the chocolate - stop melting when
            there are few small bits left un-melted. They will melt
            through the contact heat of the other chocolate!
4.   Pour melted dark chocolate onto your parchment and spread
     until desired thickness is achieved.
5.   Free for 20 minutes for the chocolate to set.
6.   Melt the white chocolate in the same fashion as the dark chocolate.
7.   Whisk the cake batter into the melted white chocolate until smooth. Let sit for approximately
     3 minutes to slightly thicken.
8.   Remove pan with set chocolate from the freezer and pour white chocolate on top. Again,
     spread the white chocolate over the dark chocolate.
9.   Put the sprinkles on right away!
10.  Freeze for 20 more minutes.
11.  Once set, take out of the freezer and break or cut them into pieces.
12.  Store the bark in the refrigerator.

Homemade Thin Mints (5) (6)

I am very exited to try these!

Cookie Ingredients:
1  1/2 cups    flour
3/4 cup        unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp         salt
1/4 tsp         baking soda
1  3/4           stick butter (14 Tbsp)
1 cup            sugar
3 Tbsp         milk
1/2 tsp          vanilla
1  1/2 tsp       mint extract

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup     chocolate chips
1 tsp     mint extract

Cookie Directions:
1.   Mix together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
2.   In a separate bowl, cream butter until smooth.
3.   Add sugar and beat for 1 minute.
4.   Add milk, vanilla, and mint extract. Beat for 1 minute. Slowly add the dry ingredients
     while beating.
5.   Once mixture is well-combined and resembles small pebbles, use your hands to form a ball.
6.   Roll the dough into a log and wrap in wax paper.
7.   Chill for 2 hours.
8.   Slice into thin rounds and place on parchment.
9.   Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes.

Topping Directions:
10.  Melt chocolate chips in a bowl set in simmering water.
11.  Once melted, add mint extract.
12.  When cookies have been cooked and become cool and crispy, coat
     them in chocolate by dipping them or using an icing knife.

Lunch Lady Bars

Kaylee insisted this picture goes first...
These are basically chocolate chip cookies, but using oil instead of butter to make them softer.
Otherwise... I don't see much of a difference.

2  1/2 cups      all-purpose flour
1 tsp              baking soda
3/4 tsp          salt
1 cup             vegetable oil
1 cup             brown sugar
1/2 cup           granulated sugar
2                  eggs
1 tsp             vanilla
1 cup             chocolate chips,
                   white chocolate chips,
                   or any additive you want

1.   Preheat oven to 350F.
2.   In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
     (Dry mixture)
3.   In another bowl, combing oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
     Mix well.
4.   Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla.
5.   Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until combined.
6.   Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
7.   Spread the mixture into a 9x13 inch pan.
8.   Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top of the mixture.
9.   Bake in the oven 18-22 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Snowball Cookies / Russian Teacakes

I haven't tried these, nor have I seen them anywhere, but they look interesting and I will try to make them sometime this week with my nieces and nephew.

1 cup             butter
1/2 cup          sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp             pure vanilla extract
2  1/4 cups     flour
1/4 tsp          salt
3/4              finely chopped nuts (optional)
*[I don't like nuts so when I do attempt this recipe I will not use them]

1.   Mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla thoroughly.
2.   Stir flour and salt together.
3.   Blend the two mixtures together.
4.   Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place them on an un-greased baking sheet.
5.   Bake 10-12 minutes at 400F, or until set but not brown.
6.   While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.
7.   Cool completely, then roll in powdered sugar again.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

They look good, I've heard good things about them.
One note that I've found my going through other site's comments is that if you do add anything like chocolate chips, that you may want to try the original recipe first to see if you'd find chocolate compatible with them, and to also have any extra ingredients very finely chopped otherwise they won't bake the same and may look contorted.

Bookmarks / Page Corners

So I found these online, and I thought they were adorable.
I don't have a lot of books to read, but I figured I could make them sometime before my next quarter of school starts to use on textbooks. :)

So basically you have to cut out a design, or use the corner of an envelope, then decorate it anyway that you want. I am just going to post the pictures that were on the original website below since the process is easier understood through the pictures.

When I do get to do this project I will take these down and put up my own.
As well as rate it, and give tips.

Melted Crayon Art, DIY

This looks awesome.
And I hope to do it with my nieces and nephew and show pictures soon!

Hot Glue
Hair Dryer

1.   Arrange the crayons any way you want to, make you're
     own design!
2.   You can leave the wrappers on or take them off, it
     doesn't matter.
3.   Glue all the crayons to the top of the canvas,
     pointing down, and let dry for a few minutes.
4.   ....MELT!

Well, that's about all there is to it. I've seen some very creative variations of this project, and they are currently posted!

Chocolate Crinkles (7)

I have made these, and they are great!
I made them with my niece, and offered one to my boyfriend to try later on.
...he stole the whole tub, hid, and ate them all.
Let's just say they're good.
Oh, and he's 21 and a sugar-addict.
So this behavior isn't all that unusual...

3                eggs
1  1/2 cups     sugar
4 ounces      unsweetened chocolate,
                 melted (4 squares)
1/2 cup         cooking oil
2 tsp.          baking powder
2 tsp.          vanilla
2 cups         all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar - for rolling in before baking

1.   In a mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, sugar, melted chocolate, cooking oil, baking powder,
     and vanilla.
2.   Gradually add flour to chocolate mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.
3.   Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
4.   Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
5.   Roll balls in powdered sugar and coat generously.
6.   Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
7.   Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled.
8.   Cool cookies on a wire rack.
9.   Sprinkle with more powdered sugar.

So I have made these, but I did not take pictures because it was before I had even considered making a blog.
So the picture above I did find online, but I promise they look EXACTLY like that!

Also, a friend gave me the idea to cook in pieces of candy cane for the holidays, he claims they are very good! He said it works best to put candy canes or mint candies in a blender and blend them until they are very fine particles, then mix into the batter before chilling in the refrigerator.

Bacon and Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

This is something my boyfriend really wants me to make for him soon.
...but with "MORE BACON!!" of course... haha :)

4-6 Lunch Servings

1 tsp        kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta water
1 lb          fusilli (corkscrew) or other pasta
3/4 lb       bacon, diced (about 1 cup cooked)
3 cups     heavy cream
2 cups     firmly packed shredded sharp cheddar cheese
                 (about 1/2 pound, avoid pre-shredded cheese!)
1/4 tsp     freshly ground black pepper

1.   Bring a medium (6-8 quart) pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously.
          - Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
          - Drain and return to the empty pot.
2.   Meanwhile, place a large (12-14 inch) saut√© pan over high heat for
     several minutes.
          - When hot, add the bacon and saut√© until browned and
            crispy, about 5 minutes.
          - Remove the pan from heat and remove the bacon from the pan
            and drain on paper towels.
3.   Pour off the fat from the pan into a storage container and return the
     pan to medium-high heat.
4.   Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits
     from the bottom of the pan.
5.   Lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the heavy
     cream is reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.
6.   Add the cheddar cheese and bacon.
7.   Stir well and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the
     cheese has melted and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
8.   Season with salt and pepper. [or anything of your choosing!]
9.   Stir the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta in the pot.
10.  Place over medium heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes to thicken the
     sauce and allow the pasta to absorb the flavors, stirring occasionally.

...and of course you can always add "MORE BACON!!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cinnamon Toast Rolls (8) (8) (10)

Boyfriend & Me:       |
Niece, Kaylee (8yo):   ~

A simplified (and less expensive) version of
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread.

Soft White Bread
Cinnamon Sugar
Melted Butter

1.   Preheat oven to 375°F
2.   Cut the crusts from a slice of bread and roll/flatten until very thin.
3.   Spread both sides of the bread with melted butter, and then
     sprinkle one side with cinnamon sugar, making sure to cover very well.
4.   Fold each side of the bread into the middle and then gently roll up
     and place in a buttered mini muffin tin.
Or Fold them into triangles!
5.   Sprinkle with a little
     more cinnamon sugar.
6.   When all the rolls are
     made, bake for 15-20 minutes,
     or until they are just starting
     to turn golden brown and get
     a little crisp.
7.   Remove from the muffin tin
     to cool slightly before serving.

You can then drizzle them with icing!
Home-made icing is easy, powdered sugar + water or milk!

Alright so these were great! I folded them into triangles in order to bake them on a flat cooking sheet since I don't have a muffin tin. They were really good!
1.   Save the scraps of the crusts, you can bake them too!
     Yes they get very crispy, but my niece loved them!
2.   If using a rolling pin, go through rolling each piece once, then go through
     them again to flatten them more after they've relaxed.
     Obviously optional, but it makes them flatter.
3.   Don't melt the butter so it's boiling hot, I melted it about half way so it
     wouldn't melt the bread.
4.   When spreading the butter, keep mixing it up with the brush so you
     don't just get the oil part on the bread, but the cream part too.
5.   Put wax paper down when coating the bread in butter and
     cinnamon sugar, clean up is 100% easier!
6.   I had them in the oven for 18 minutes, and they were still soft,
     but that may be because I put the scraps on top to cook them too.
     I suggest putting them in for 20 minutes.
7.   I did using icing with powdered sugar and milk. There is no real recipe
     for this, but you don't need that much milk! You want the mixture to
     be thick. Lumps are okay! As long as you can drizzle them on with a
     spoon it's fine. FYI this mixture just tastes like liquid powdered sugar,
     so don't expect too much!

My boyfriend COVERED each of his pieces in the icing, and I mean he drenched them!

So here are some pictures of our process, I'm sorry but I only remembered my camera about half way through the process, but I think you can manage cutting off the crusts and rolling the bread flat!

Flattened Bread
Buttered with Cinnamon Sugar

Triangles if lying flat!
Added more cinnamon!

I put the long scraps/crusts on top.
...more butter and cinnamon sugar.

Thickness is up to you.

Powdered Sugar + Milk = Icing

The triangles.
The scraps.

Boyfriend <3
Niece, Kaylee, 8 years old

Chocolate Cake Reese's Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies

1 box        devil's food cake mix
8 Tbsp.     butter, melted
1             large egg
2 cups      [mini] chocolate chips
25           mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

1.   Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.   Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
3.   Place all ingredients into a large bowl,
     mix until combined.
4.   With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough
     onto baking sheet placed 1 inch apart.
5.   Bake for 13-15 minutes until cooked through.
6.   Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring
     to cooling rack.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Final Product
This is a recipe that I am planning to do with my boyfriend sometime this week, hopefully before Christmas!

Dough Ingredients:
2  3/4 cup     all-purpose flour
                  (set aside 1Tbsp extra)
1/4 cup         granulated sugar
2  1/4 cup      instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp.         salt
2                large eggs, room temperature
2 ounces       unsalted butter
1/3 cup         milk
1/4 cup         water
1 tsp.            pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients
1 cup            granulated sugar
2 tsp.           ground cinnamon
2 ounces       unsalted butter

Start With the Dough:
1.   In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and
2.   In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs.
3.   Melt the butter with milk either in microwave or saucepan.
4.   Add the water and vanilla extract to the milk-butter mixture and stir a
5.   Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.
6.   Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into
     the batter.
7.   Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and stir with spatula for about 2
8.   Knead the dough into a nice ball, about 10 minutes.
9.   Grease a clean bowl and place the dough ball inside. Cover with plastic
     wrap and place in a warm space and allow the dough to rise until
     doubled in size, about 1 hour.
10.  Deflate the risen dough and knead about 1 Tbsp of flour into the dough.
11.  Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
12.  Roll the dough out until it's about 12 inches tall and 20 inches wide.

Then Start the Filling:
13.  Melt butter in microwave or saucepan.
14.  Mix the sugar with cinnamon.
15.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.
16.  Sprinkle dough with cinnamon mixture.
17.  Slice the dough vertically, into 6 equal-sized strips.
18.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into 6 equal
     slices once again.
19.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
20.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan.
21.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow dough to rest in a
     warm place for 30-45 minutes.
22.  Bake in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until the tops are dark
     golden brown.
23.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

When I actually get to try this recipe, I will post my own pictures of the process, and insert some comments, as well as rate the process and how it turned out!

This Blog...

I plan to use this blog as a place to store all the little crafts and recipes that I like to find and try out.

Edit: [Generally I find new ideas using my account! I love that site!]

Many of the crafts I tend to do on my own in my free time, but the recipes... well I don't like to just cook for myself, I usually wait to do those for when my boyfriend is visiting, or I make it into a little date where we can both cook together. I think he hates it, but he wants to make me happy. :)

Well, I plan to post things that I find and don't want to forget about. Then, when I get to trying them out I will edit the post to critique it or to make it better, give tips, and just a general overview of what I thought of it. How I plan to make it recognizable that I have edited the post will to "rate" the craft or recipe in the title of the post.
The rating will be based upon whether I'd do the craft/recipe again, if I enjoyed creating it, and other factors that I will try to post and explain when I do each activity. An exact "rating system" will be put here when I come up with one...

I don't think many people will read this blog, as I am not putting my name anywhere on it, nor telling anyone that I know about it. But if you are one of those unexpected readers, comments, suggestions, tips, literally anything you'd like to share (as long as you be respectful and don't be rude) would be great!