Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Candy, candy, candy, I can't let you go...

As promised, here is my filled candy tutorial!

You will need a filled candy mold tray (or any other shape of deep tray you wanna try), a small paint brush that has not been in paint, a melty chocolate that will harden when cooled, such as the Wilton Candy Melts or some chocolate/almond/vanilla bark, your choice of filling (today, used Nutella and hazelnuts, not pictured, because I decided upon them after taking this photo and I too lazy to retake the pic), and some sort of bag from which to squeeze the melted chocolate.  I used a pastry bag and an icing tip, but you could also use a sandwich bag with a tiny piece of a bottom corner snipped off.

I melted the candy and put it into the bag.  A good trick for this is to put the icing tip into the pastry bag , fold the tip once against the bag, and put the bag into a tall glass.  Fold the top of the bag over the top of the glass.  This helps keep the bag in place while you it.  If you're just using a sandwich bag, put the bag into the glass, open it, and fold its top over the glass top.  Don't overfill the bag.  You only need a little chocolate.

If you look here, you can see the icing tip in the bottom of the glass.  It's folded against the bag so that the chocolate won't drip out immediately.

Squeeze a small dollop into each mold cavity.

Using your paint brush, brush the chocolate up the side of each cavity all the way up to the top.  When all are filled and brushed, lift the mold and look under it to make sure you didn't make any "bald" spots while brushing up.  The entire cavity should be well covered.  Put this into the refrigerator.

When the first part has hardened, prepare your filling.  I just melted chocolate chips and poured pecan pieces in, then mixed.  I would suggest putting this filling in another pastry bag to make it easier to control.  Add the filling to the cooled mold, but be sure not to fill it all the way.  We still need room for the bottom layer of chocolate!  As you can see, I kinda got carried away on a couple before the chocolate went on.

Once all cavities are filled, pipe on your last layer of chocolate.  Sorry, I don't have a picture of this.  Put them into the refrigerator again to harden.

The peanut butter ones I made were FANTASTIC!  These were also good.  On a side note, I think the candy melts taste better than the almond bark.  But that's just my humble opinion.

This is Halloween (kinda early, isn't it?)

Have you noticed all of the amazing Halloween stuff already out at some of the major craft stores?! JoAnn Fabrics has tons, already on sale!! I had to
control myself. I got orange and black sprinkles for cupcakes or brownie pops and a skull candy mold. At Michael's, I got 2 ice cube trays that I've already bragged about. There is a baking pan in the shape of tombstones that I want as well. I have a coupon so I may get it. I also hear that Party City may have some cool stuff as well.

While perusing those aisles, I also got inspired in the general baking/candy sections of both stores. I bought a candy mold to make cute filled candies! I tried it out last night and success!!! I made some delicious peanut butter filled candies! I will post a tutorial and a picture later today. I've been brainstorming all kinds of fillings!

I will return to Michael's today and get a couple of packs of the white candy melts to decorate my new creations, and maybe see if those little candy decorating bags are useful!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dangit, I love Halloween!

I found these bad boys for $1.99 each at Michael's Craft Store.  I have one already, for which I paid $10 at some fancy stupid store.

Now I have three.  One for soap making and two for candy making.  And I paid MUCH less for the new ones.  So, suck it, Z Gallerie!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greeky Goodness

While I'm on here, I thought I'd share my dinner with you from last night!

Chicken Pita

1 piece pita bread (or a pita pocket)
as much chicken breast as you want to put in
onion powder
Tzadziki sauce (I've been seeing the Cedar's brand all over the place lately!)

Basically, I cut up probably about 4 oz of chicken and tossed it in salt, freshly ground pepper, a little olive oil, and onion powder.  I sauteed that until it was done.  I popped the pita in the microwave for 30 seconds and sliced up a little cucumber and onion.  I spread an INSANE amount, I'll admit, of Tzadziki sauce on the pita.  I put down a couple of handfuls of spinach and then layered the onion, cucumber, and chicken.  I folded the pita and nommed down!

Key Lime Cupcakes

Tonight, I made amazing tacos.  There's not really a recipe, I just made them with McCormick taco mix and ground beef.  I heated the shells to make them crispy and added copious amounts of cheese, sour cream, and black olives.  I also had a margarita.  And then got the biggest hankerin to make
 margarita cupcakes.

But hold up.  I only make cupcakes for work or parties, because Allen and I will likely ever only eat a couple ourselves.  And I can't put alcohol in cupcakes I take to work.  I could get fired, and it's just not worth it.

So, I made Key Lime Cupcakes!

The frosting made just enough for 11 cupcakes.  I was afraid if I tried to pipe it on, I may not have enough.  So, sorry they're not all pretty!  But they sure taste fantastic!  But  you know what's next.  The recipe!

Key Lime Cupcakes with Key Lime Frosting (makes about 10)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1.5 tsp lime zest
1 cup soy (or regular) milk
1/4 cup canola oil (I actually left this out by accident and they came out just fine!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, beat lime juice, zest, milk, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until smooth.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool on a cooling rack completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (that's one stick.)
1.5 tsp lime zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tbsp soy (or regular) milk

Beat the first four ingredients until creamy.  Add powdered sugar, lime juice and milk until the frosting is the desired consistency.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Out with the old and in with the new!

I am deleting my old Facebook account and creating a new for my Etsy and my website, which is currently under construction!

If you are on my Facebook page, the new profile is here:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog combination and gluten free baking

I have come to a decision to combine my cooking and craft blogs right here into this one!  I sporadically update both, so maybe combining them will keep everyone interested!!

So, as my first official combining post, I will post a recipe from my newest baking experiment- gluten-free baking!

I have a friend who found out a while back that she is allergic to gluten.  SO MANY things have gluten in them.  Boo!  So she had to make a serious lifestyle change.  We just started getting together for craft dates, and since we both love cupcakes, I thought I'd try to make some gluten free ones.  They do make mixes for gf cupcakes, which I have used for another friend that also is allergic to gluten.  However, I like a challenge and I like to brag that I make stuff from scratch, so I wanted to try my hand at gluten-free baking.  Aaaaand my first cupcakes turned out great!!  I was sorta scurrrred that they would come out wrong.

They didn't.  They were amazing, my gluten allergic friend loved them and took some home, and my friend who is not allergic to gluten said they were better than those she's had from the gluten free mix you can buy in stores.  That made me very happy!

The batter is very thick and almost stretchy, but that's okay.  Also, I filled the cups up a little too much (as per usual!!).

Here is what they look liked baked and unfrosted.  The consistency was almost like a brownie, but not quite as dense.  And yes, they are on my dryer.  My kitchen is tiny, okay?

The vegan icing was runny, and I will do regular buttercream from now on.  

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Coffee Icing

3/4 rounded cup sorghum flour
3/4 rounded cup potato starch, cornstarch or tapioca starch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup warm coffee (not too hot or it will make the potato starch gluey)
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer beaten with 1/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons light olive oil
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon light tasting rice vinegar

Whisk the dry ingredients together.  Combine the wet ingredients and incorporate into the dry.  Using an electric mixer, mix the batter until it is no longer clumpy.  If the batter starts to climb the beaters, just lift them a little to get the batter back down with the rest.  

Using an ice cream scoop (that's what I do, anyhow), fill the cupcake cups about 2/3 of the way.  Bake in the oven for 15-22 minutes (my gas oven took 22 minutes).  Immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack, as the cupcakes may get soggy if they are left in the pan too long.

For the icing:
2 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
2-3 tablespoons Spectrum Organic Shortening or vegan margarine
2-4 ounces cold coffee, as needed
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla

Starting with the least amount of liquid, beat the sugar to incorporate the shortening, coffee and vanilla. if you need more liquid, add a small amount at a time. beat for two minutes or so until smooth.

If you need to stiffen the frosting, add a little more confectioner's sugar.  Chill in the refrigerator about an hour before using.  When you add it to the cupcakes, it may be a little drippy, but it will dry and hasn't seemed to soak into the cupcakes.  It turned out pretty good.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ode to Mother Gem

I made this cross stitch pattern...

... as an ode to this amazing woman.

Cause that's how we go out.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not lame, very cool cross stitchin

I got the coolest book!

As you can see, it is "Very cool" and "Not lame".  True, true.

I made this from it!

An awesome tiny shark.  I do not know what I'm going to do with him, but he's awfully cute!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Born this Way

Here is the latest installment of my Lady Gaga collection.

The mermaids were a request from a friend.  I wanted to put a unicorn but couldn't manage it, so the mermaids were thus... born.

Here is the fourth and I think final piece.  I may do more, I dunno.