Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Cookies 2014

I love making cookies. But I also love eating cookies. This year, when the urge to make Valentine's cookies hit, I decided I would send the majority of the cookies to family and friends. Of course I decorated some in a pretty traditional way for Valentines, but I also wanted to customize a few for my brothers...

 I've never been a big fan of holiday of Valentines, but I do love the burst of color it tends to bring to the dreary month of February. For the traditionalist, some fun colored heart cookies!

For my youngest brother (we're still talking mid-twenties here...), Spiderman heart cookies!

And for my middle brother, studying biomedical engineering - VD heart cookies! I took some common STD's as they would appear under a microscope and converted them to cookie form! Syphilis, chlamydia and herpes. It's weird, but I still think it's funny.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Well we've decided to try an Etsy shop for the whiskey barrel shelves Greg creates! We'll see how it goes... I'm always in awe (and a little intimidated) by the successful shops on Etsy. I hope that I've provided enough interesting information about the hoop shelves. I may have to try some new pictures? Ours is hanging in a very dark hallway. I guess I'll know soon enough!

If you're interested, you can check out the shop here!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Snow Day

We have snow! I took some pictures, and would like to print one of them out for our newly painted bedroom. Not sure which one... but one of the circles. 

And I just wanted to share Adi in the snow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Cookies

I decorated some sugar cookies for a cookie swap. Trees, snowmen, snowflakes and pointsettia flower. I always end up with so many cookie ideas I want to try, but I try to limit the number of colored icings I have to make. I ended up trying a few different cookies but managed to do it with only 5 colors. Easier to make AND easier to clean up!

Pointsettia (how do you say that?? point-sett-ahs, point-sett-ee-ah?) cookies made with a snowflake cookie cutter. 

I used a candy corn cookie cutter to make some tree shapes - include a Charlie Brown-esque triangle tree. Instead of making brown royal icing, I just used chocolate chips melted in a little baggie. I cut a corner off the baggie and used that to "pipe" the chocolate for tree trunks and for...

Snowmen arms! These were my favorites. A small circle cookie stacked on a bigger circle cookie while the royal icing is still wet. That's a lot of sugar in one cookie! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin (flavored) Cookies

I've been looking all over for pumpkin roll-out cookies... and not just pumpkin shaped or decorated like pumpkins.  Actual pumpkin. I couldn't find a recipe for cookies with pumpkin in it... so I took my favorite sugar cookie recipe and changed it up.

I almost always use known recipes so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. I swapped some of the butter for pumpkin, swapped some granulated sugar for brown sugar, and added the fall spices we all know and love. I found the cookies to be a little chewier than the sugar cookie recipe I usually use, but still very enjoyable. And they had that pumpkin flavor!

The cookies held their shape really well.  They puffed up a bit in the oven but deflated after cooling.  The cookies had a bit of orange color from the pumpkin, and were speckled with those wonderful spices.

The pumpkin flavored pumpkin shaped pumpkin decorated cookie! The cookie recipe isn't very sweet on it's own but adding the sugar icing certainly gives the cookies enough!

Pumpkin Roll-out Cookies

1/2 c. butter (1 stick) (I used salted butter)
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbl. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg1/2 tsp. ginger
a pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Candy Apples from Scratch

I got the apples ready before actually making the candy so I could keep my eye on the thermometer. I used twigs instead of popsicle sticks - I just cut a pointy end to stick in the apples.  

I was attempting to make a blue raspberry flavor for the candy coating. I combined raspberry and tutti-fruitti candy oils... close, but not quite the blue raspberry flavor I was looking for. I made some grape ones too. There is special candy colors too - I used blue, but you won't need that until later.  

Start by boiling sugar, corn syrup and water. There's no need to stir the mixture a lot. Sugar crystals that don't dissolve can be a problem, and mixing it too much can get sugar crystals stuck on the side of the pan. Hard crack stage in candy cooking is about 300 F. I used my candy thermometer this time, but I've also done it by watching the size and shape of the bubbles, and having a glass of ice water next to the stove. You can keep drizzling a big of the candy into the glass of water until it feels like a lollipop or hard candy when you bite into the cooled piece. 

Big, rolling bubbles in the boiling candy means it's close to the hard crack stage. At this point I added the blue food coloring and let the boiling incorporate the blue. Adding blue will make a translucent blue candy coating - to make it opaque, add white to the color you want it to be.

Close! It moves quickly to 300 F to keep an eye on it!

Once I started dipping apples in the candy mixture, I wasn't able to take any pictures.  But dip individual apples in the candy, and then allow some of the extra candy to drip off before placing the candied apples on a greased cookie sheet.

It doesn't hurt to have a helper at this point either. And remember, the candy is still REALLY HOT! Don't drip on yourself, don't lick the spoon or bite into an apple until the candy has cooled!

You can use a spoon to drip the candy on the apples if the candy becomes too shallow to dip the apples in.  And to clean up, fill the pan of candy with hot, soapy water and just let that baby sit. The candy will eventually dissolve and what seems to be terrible mess cleans up pretty quickly!

This post is linked up to here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meatless Mondays - Summer Pasta

We've been trying something new in our house - once a week, we're trying to go meatless.  So welcome to Meatless Mondays! ...Being introduced on a Wednesday.

Combining cooking vegetarian with making easy dishes on hot summer days, and this dish was born.  It was very simple, it starts with cooking tomatoes with onions in some olive oils.  After the onions have softened a bit, I added some salt, pepper, Italian herbs and a splash of white wine.  Artichokes marinated in oil, along with all that flavorful oil, were then added and allowed to heat up.  Next, I added a container of baby spinach and allowed that to wilt over the heat for a minute or two.  The pasta was locally made and I cooked it a minute or two shy of the time suggested on the pasta's label so that it could finish cooking in the tomato-onion-artichoke goodness.  Throw in some mozzarella and enjoy!