Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post-Holiday Goodies

How were your Holidays?  Was is full of delicious (fattening) holiday food? Yup.  But after the Holidays is a great time to make and buy Christmas stuff. Then there is no big rush, and you can pack up your holiday crafts and bargains for next year.  I have however, been slacking on my blog in the process. So here we go.
 I made a double batch of macarons (which makes a whole lot) and they were eaten very, very fast. Plus they're gluten free. Here's the recipe. I also made a crouquemouche (pronounced crow-kem-boosh, I think) which turned out awesome, although it dirties so many dishes. Here's the recipe I used.

Sorry I haven't posted in forever, I took kinda took a long break. But I have some good posts coming up, so no harm done! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Only 10 More Days!

Only 10 more days till Christmas! And I've barely started on presents. Whoops! Here is our advent calendar for this year:
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Homemade Twix Bars

Yes, they exist. And they are delicious. And they are expensive to make (but not too expensive, about 5 bucks for 40 Twix Bars).  But that's only if you count the cost of the chocolate, butter, and sweetened condensed milk.  And, as a side-note, I haven't really been slacking off on my blog, it's just my brothers hog the computer (and lap-top, and I-phones, and I-pod) all the time. Anyway, this recipe uses microwave caramel, which is way easier to make than regular caramel. And it is just as good. I was really surprised, because I didn't know it existed.

We'll start with Martha's Basic Shortbread Recipe (slightly adjusted):
Important Note: This is the doubled version of the recipe. When I made them, only 40 got covered in caramel because the rest were eaten. So feel free to save 40-60 (my caramel was too thick) and eat the rest.
  • 2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a cookie sheet. Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, cream butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture, and beat on low, scraping bowl if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed.
  2. Pat dough and softly roll until desired thickness. Use a paring knife to score dough into bars; prick all over in even intervals with a wooden skewer or fork.
  3. Bake until firm in the center and just starting to color, about 50 minutes (more or less, depending on your oven). Let cool completely and cut into bars. Cookies will keep, in an airtight container, at room temperature 3 weeks.
Cook's Note The dough (and its variations) can be prepared and refrigerated overnight or frozen up to three months, covered tightly with plastic wrap; thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. The baking time for each variety of shortbread will vary depending on the kind of pan and cutters used.

Microwave Caramels From Gourmet Mom on the Go:
Before Making: notice that 1 can of sweetened condensed milk makes 2 batches of caramel. The caramel in my bars was too hard because Twix caramel is softer than regular caramels. You can use the first batch to test how long you need to microwave it (microwaving longer = harder caramels).
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup (not dark-doesn't set right)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla
Grease the foil barrier on the shortbread. Melt butter in large microwave bowl. Stir in Karo syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until dissolved. Microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir down and scrape sides of bowl. Microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour onto shortbread carefully and let cool until set.
If the foil is not wide enough to guard both sides, use the side of a cookie sheet.

Chocolate Time!
I'm not sure how much chocolate we used, we bought it in bulk and I didn't measure, so buy extra and use the rest for chocolate chip cookies or something.
  1. Melt your chocolate, or temper it if you know how.  I tried tempering but I don't think it worked (I didn't use a thermometer or anything)
  2. Set up your dipping station left to right: Twix Bars, then chocolate, then cookie sheet with parchment.
  3. Dip the bar on the edge of a fork scraping the bar on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. I learned how to dip chocolates here and it is very useful (there are also interesting taste tests on that site)
  4. Make designs with a fork or toothpick, or drizzle chocolate on.
And now you have your very own Homemade Candy Bars!
      And now some history on the Twix Bar (found here on Wikipedia). There is a possibility that none of this is true, as it is from the internet.  Twix stands for Twin Sticks and was called Raider in parts of Europe.  Apparently there were limited editions of flavors that I had no idea existed, including mint, orange, triple chocolate, coconut, dark and white chocolate,  cookies and cream, and a whole bunch of other products. Wow. And I was sitting here thinking "I wish they had different flavors like white chocolate."
    Enjoy your homemade Twix Bars!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Golden Snitch Necklace

    I've been waiting to post this for a while. Isn't this soo cute! I am a huge fan of harry potter, so when I saw this on One Pretty thing, I had to make it. Its a mini little snitch! Isn't it so cute? Its a perfect tutorial, but I did make some changes:

    -you don't have to buy special beads. Just paint a regular one with gold paint and cover it with mod podge (I used gold liquid leaf and gloss mod podge) you could also use clay.
    -If you do want the beads she used, they sell them at hobby lobby and etsy
    -I learned afterwards that instead of adding jump rings to the end, just use pliers to form a circle with the wire while you are making the wing. That would be easier (probably).

    My first one (there was no way I was going to only make one) wasn't great, but the second one I made was much better and it only took me like five minutes (unfortunately I didn't get a picture of that one before giving it away). It just goes to show that practice makes perfect.

     Wouldn't it be so cool to have a Harry Potter Halloween party? That's such a great idea. Ohh, I'm in great, I wonder if my mom will let me.  Here is the Harry Potter love: (isn't it the best book ever?!!)

    Enjoy! -Maddie

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Fried Peach Pies

    I am way behind on my blog because of school, and I was planning on posting these a month ago during general conference because thats the only time we make these. And also, as a side note, yesterday was 11-11-11! These would be really good with some cinnamon added for flavor. These are basically huge fruit potstickers. The inspiration came from these fried pies which use dried fruit. The crust is from the original recipe.

    To make the dough:
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 cup shortening
    • 1 cup milk
    1.  In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Mix in milk and stir until dough forms a ball. Roll out dough and cut into 13 6-inch circles. Set aside. 
    To make the filling:
    • 1 jar of peaches and juice
    • 2 TBSP cornstarch
    • sugar to taste
    • cinnamon (I've never actually used cinnamon in this recipe, but it sounds like it would be good)
    Mix everything together over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Cook until the mixture thickens
    1. Place 2 cups oil in a small high-sided skillet. Place over medium heat. Spoon equal amounts of filling into each pastry circle and fold in half. Seal pastry with a fork dipped in cold water.
    2. Fry a few pies at a time in hot oil, browning on both sides. Drain pies on paper towels. 
    Our counter-top is not really blue. That would be weird. Its just the photo.
    You can use any filling for these.  We even made pizza ones, and they tasted great! We didn't have any pepperoni, so it was just sauce and cheese (they really needed salt). I just about choked on stingy cheese.

    They Taste Great! Just make sure to add salt to the pizza ones.

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      Hydrangea Wreath

      It doesn't speak "autumn" to me, but I still think its really pretty. My mom cut some flowers from my grandma's huge bushes and made a wreath out of them.  She's been wanting to do it for years, and I think it's a great idea.  Plus the flowers don't turn brown after they die, they stay the same (they only turn brown when they are still on the bush).  Hopefully there are still enough live flower bunches on your plants to make them (you will need a good sized bush).  You will need:
      • metal wreath form
      • 14 hydrangea bunches (more or less, depending on the size of the flowers on your bush, and the form)
      • string
      • pruning shears or scissors
      • suction cup hanging thing (from hobby lobby, but it won't work unless you have a glass door)
      • Matte spray (we used Krylon's Matte Spray)
      • ribbon or fabric to hand it with (optional)
      Don't cut all the flowers off at once! Cut them one at a time, leaving some stem to tie it to the wreath form with.

      Spray the wreath with the Matte Finish. It should help the petals to not fall off. Take your thick ribbon (at least 3 inches wide) or your fabric and wrap it around the top of the wreath.  
      Then attach your hanging device (you can use whatever you want, but the suction cup only work for glass doors, so that is what we used).
       And there you have it! A beautiful fall wreath.
       And now more flowers from grandma's garden:
      So far she has produced 2 half color roses. Weird.


      Saturday, October 29, 2011

      Black Diamond Pumpkin

      My mom said that this pumpkin looks very Martha Stewart, and I have to agree. It is rather pretty isn't it? It's really easy to make too. Simply paint the pumpkin black, then top it with shiny gray-black and then gold diamonds.  You can also add dots around the edges with 3d fabric paint like I did, but that's just because I add it to everything.  Here are the details:

      I used a silvery color by Ceramcoat (there is no name on the label) and Folkart's Sequin Black mixed together for the base (Hobby Lobby doesn't sell metallic dark gray, just silver and black). The silver I used is the best silver I have come across (most don't have good coverage) and I use it for everything silver. For the diamonds I used Folkart's Pure Gold.

      I really like the fabric paint on the pumpkin. It finishes the edges and hides and painting mistakes on the edges.  Plus it looks pretty (which is always a plus). It is a dark metallic gray, to dark to be silver, and to light to be black (I just love metallic dark gray).

      Monday, October 24, 2011

      Temple Cookies

      My sister got recently baptized and in celebration I made Salt Lake Temple Cookies.  We don't actually live near that particular temple, but it is the most recognizable.

      Anyway, I used Bake at 350's yummy almond roll out sugar cookies.  It's a great recipe, and they don't use five cups of flour like most sugar cookie recipes.  Plus they taste delicious.  Here is how I frosted them:

      You will need:
      • very light gray icing
      • white icing
      • sky blue icing
      • several small piping tips (I used #2 wilton)
      • piping pags
      1. print out a tiny picture of the temple and cut the outline  
      2. lay it on the cookie and pipe the temple edges and turrets (in gray icing)
      3. let it dry a bit and
      4. fill the temple (in white icing)
      5. let it dry a bit and fill in the sky
      6. add Moroni while the blue us still wet
      7. pipe the Temple's details
      8. eat the cookies
      Here are more specific piping directions and a closeup on the details:

      Most of the temples each had their own design, until I found one that I liked.  I made the rest like that. WARNING: These take forever to pipe! The details take 5 minutes per cookie!

      It was worth it. We had a great time eating these at the barbecue that followed the baptism.

      Thursday, October 20, 2011

      Lemon Cake

      For me, Fall is dessert time. I think up 100 crazy dessert ideas, then make only a portion of them (which is still a large number).  This cake is actually vanilla, with lemon curd filling and lemon frosting. This recipe is the original, with no changes (other that the time the lemon curd is supposed to chill). I got the recipe from (as usual) by Anela. Anyway, this cake is super moist and the filling is an amazing lemon curd (I like slowly licking it off a spoon while reading a good book) but, I would use a different frosting unless you like it really sweet.


      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
      • 3 eggs
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 cup milk
      • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
      • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
      • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
      • 6 tablespoons butter
      • 3/4 cup white sugar
      • 4 egg yolks, beaten
      • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
      • 1/2 cup butter, softened
      • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
      • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
      • 2 tablespoons milk


      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
      2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
      3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
      4. To make filling: In medium saucepan, mix together 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Mix in 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. In small bowl, with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, beating the hot lemon mixture rapidly. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thick (not to boil).
      5. Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 3 hours.
      6. To make frosting: In large bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk, and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
      7. To assemble: With long serrated knife, split each cake layer in half horizontally, making 4 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with half of the lemon filling. Top with another layer, and spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Add third layer, and spread with remaining half of the lemon filling. Press on final cake layer, and frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate cake until serving time. 
      Your cakes will bake flat if you use this method (which is way cheaper that buying Wiltons  fancy cake wrap things) so that no trimming the top is necessary. Just use an regular (old) towel.
         This recipe got me addicted to lemon curd. I don't even know if its real lemon curd, because its called lemon filling, but it's delicious whatever the name. I've adapted the original quote to: When life gives you lemons make lemon curd (or frosting, or cake). But what my brother says is clever: "When life gives you lemons make orange juice and have everybody wonder how you did it."
        I suggest that you use as different lemon frosting, unless you have a hankering for really sweet frosting. And it's not quite lemony enough. I added extra lemon juice to fix that problem, and my frosting completely fell of the sides of the cake.  It was really weird (so please excuse the bad frosting job).  We have a family cake platter (it is shared between my aunt, and grandma's family's,) so right now it's at my grandma's house.  My parents were not willing to drive all the way there just to borrow it when I randomly decide to make a cake.  I ended up using an overturned crystal bowl as my cake stand, which as you can see, was barely big enough. 
        Have your cake and eat it too! 

        Wednesday, October 5, 2011

        Pumpkin Meringues

        I love meringues. They are one of my very favorite desserts. They are so light and airy, and are easy to make.  If you like the centers less chewy, you turn off the oven and leave them in overnight. I have made these pumkin meringues twice now. You could set some meringue aside, die it green, and pipe in the vines (the fondant vines don't stay on very well) but I thought, why waste my time when I have fondant?

        Now, I set up an awesome Halloween style "set" to take pictures of these in, but the lighting was horrible, and I was to lazy to set it up again the next day.  Here is the recipe (adapted from Holly Wilkins on

        • 1/2 cup egg whites
        • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
        • 1/4 teaspoon salt
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1 cup white sugar
        1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
        2. In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Continue whipping until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar so that it does not sink to the bottom, and continue whipping until the mixture holds stiff shiny peaks.
        3. Place a large star tip (the size you use to make swirls in cupcakes) into a pastry bag, and fill the bag half way with the meringue. To pipe the pumpkins, squeeze out large meringue stars onto one of the prepared cookie sheets.
             4.  Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the caps are dry enough to easily remove from the    cookie sheets.   Form a twisty vine and leaf for each pumpkin from green fondant.

        Look! They're moldy now! (me and my brother had some fun with the halloween effects on Picnik.)

        Have fun! Maddie