Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Candy Corn Cookies

No TRICK, just a sweet TREAT!

Candy Corn Cookies
Few weeks ago, I was looking for some interesting Halloween cookies to bake and came across some Candy Corn Sugar Cookies from Our Best Bites.
I thought that those cookies were the greatest idea to celebrate the spooky day of October 31st. I followed their sugar cookie dough recipe, which is a keeper by the way, and tutorial for making those delicious cookies. Check their website for the entire tutorial and extra decorating ideas. You will find bellow their sugar cookie dough recipe with additional comments for the instruction.

What is in the cauldron? A Treat? A Trick?

I had fun making those cookies, kept some, and send the rest to work with my husband in a cauldron. Having around 90 cookies sitting in the kitchen pantry would have been a TRICK!

  • Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe

- 1 cup of butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg (large or extra large egg)
- 1 1/2 t almond extract
- 3 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled (Do Not Scoop It!) 
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt

Directions and Tips:
Preheat the oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit.
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes, in a big bowl. Add in egg and extract and mix to incorporate. 
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. A very important note: It’s important to correctly measure your flour or you will end up with a dry, crumbly dough. Never, ever use your measuring cup to scoop up the flour. Use a regular sized spoon and spoon the flour into the cup and then level it off with a knife.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
4. When your dough is made, instead of putting it in the fridge as a big ball, immediately roll between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper and then place on a flat surface in the fridge. Chill for 30 minutes or so.
5. Pull the dough out, remove the top sheet and start cutting it out with your cookie cutters and place it on your ungreased baking sheet. With the left over dough, repeat steps 4 and 5 until you do not have anymore dough. The dough holds better and longer as you cut the dough. You can use the same technique with "Sablés", which is a French butter cookie.
6. Bake for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. If you like them really and slightly chewy, about 8-9 minutes does it. If you like them slightly crisp and buttery, then go for 10-12.

  • What do I think about this recipe?
- The texture of the cookie is nice. It holds well and it has a nice color considering the thickness of the cookie (1/4 inch) and cooking for 12 minutes.
- The dough is delicious especially with the almond flavor. You can slightly taste the flavor at the first bit. As I was mixing the dough, I could smell the almond.
- The buttery flavor and the sweetness are perfect. One is not overpowering the other. It is a nice balance.
- It takes a long time to make the cookies and I would compare it as long as making bread with yeast. Be prepare to have several hours in front of you.
- This recipe is a Delight and will use it as my sugar cookie recipe.

                                                                                    A treat for your palate! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Fun Halloween Cross Stitch Bag Project

"Tricks or Treats!"?! Is it a trick?

Several weeks ago, I went to a free workshop titled "Make and Take Studio: Learn to stitch" at my local library and came home with a nice Halloween cross stitch kit to make a Trick or Treat bag.

It was the first time that I was sticking on cork linen. Until now, I have being doing my cross point using white Aida fabric. It was nice to cross stitch over 1 and 2 threads of linen with 1, 2 and 3 plies of thread, and sewing props (buttons). I will definitively do another stitching project using cork linen.

The Stitching part was easy and fast. It took me a week and half to complete the project. However, the assembling part was a bit more challenging. I was glad I have made some bags before when it came to make the bottom of the cork linen. The instructions only offered 2 drawings with a lot of written direction. I am more of a visual learner , so I would have rather more real pictures. I will try to remember this point for later tutorials ;-).

This beautiful bag is now on the mental of our fireplace with the rest of the Halloween decoration.

The cross stitch kit is called "Spiders 'N Bones - Tricks or Treats Bag" from The Drawn Thread.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween Applique: "boO!"

It is not a typo. "boO!" is my applique for Halloween. I have been thinking about making this shirt since early September and here it is. I could not be happier with the result. I really like it! 

A cute applique for a Cute Little Boy

It did not take me a long time overall to do the applique once I was satisfied with the design, font name and size. It can be a one day project if you already have the plain shirt, fabric, applique paper and thread of color. Finding a colored shirt with no print on the front was the most challenging part of this project and for reasonable price. 

My Next Applique Project: A giraffe on a long sleeve shirt schedule for December

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread......Almost gone!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 salt
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Splenda
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup canola oil

Combine all the dry ingredients in a big bowl and stir. 
In a small bowl beat the eggs, pumpkin and oil. 
Incorporate the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to have an homogeneous batter. 
Fold the chocolate chips until well combine to the batter.
Grease a bread cooking pan with cooking spray.
Pout the batter in the pan and bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or less.
Cool on a rack for serving.
The recipe yields 1 loaf (12 slices). 

What do I think about this recipe?
It was the first time that I made or even ate a chocolate chips pumpkin bread today. So, I was expecting to get a cake like texture with some crunch from the chocolate chips but somewhat moist with a hint of pumpkin flavor and a crunchy chocolate taste for each bit.
It was very moist to the point that I would say that it was too moist. For next time, I will reduce the amount of canola oil from 5/8 to 1/2 of a cup. For a healthier version of this recipe, I would try to substitute the oil for apple sauce. 
It was very soft to the palate with a nice taste. It felt that every bite melted in your mouth. The amount of chocolate chips was right as well as the pumpkin flavor.

Let me know what you think yourself. :-)

Retrieved and modified form Taste of Home

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dr Seuss Mobile

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the THINKS you can think up if only you try."

From Oh, the THINKS You Can Think, by Dr Seuss

Project: Dr Seuss Mobile for our little guy's bedroom

Dr Suess's Mobile finally came to life and I love it!!! 
For this project, I used a wood hoop (49 inches in diameter) that I sanded a bit before painting to remove the little piece of wood. I used acrylic paints to complete the mobile. For the outer wood hoop, I applied some white paint all around and let it dry. Then I painted several times over the white with some red, let it dry and did the same process for the black paint. The black paint was used  to paint the bottom edge of the hoop as well. The inner wood hoop was painted in light blue on the outside of the ring and white on the bottom to provide some contact.
The colorful wood hoop was varnished. Afterward, a hole was made in the ceiling to put a white ceiling hook to hang the mobile. I tilled some red ribbons of 1/4 inch on the hoop at 4 different spots to provide a nice balance to attached the Dr Seuss Christmas ornaments. I used some red, yellow, orange, black and white ribbons, keeping the same width as the red ribbons. For the ornament in the middle, I directly secured it from the hook to give more depth to the mobile.