Welcome back friends! Who would like to celebrate love and create some bittersweet fudge, sprinkled with a little salt this Valentine’s day? Usually I crave a sweeter chocolate, but this fudge has just enough sweet to cut through the bitter dark chocolate taste and if you add a little salt on top? Pure delicious!
Let’s make some!
16 ounces of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Kosher salt (optional)
Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil.
Break the chocolate down in to smaller pieces and place it and the sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler.
Melt the chocolate into the sweetened condensed milk, stirring to incorporate.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the vanilla.
Remove from the heat and spread the fudge on the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle Kosher salt over the top of the fudge if desired.
Refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
Use foil to lift fudge from pan before cutting into pieces. I used a heart cookie cutter to create heart shaped fudge pieces for my Valentine(s).
Welcome back friends! Do you crochet? I dabbled in crochet off and on for a few years, always fascinated, but never fully catching on. I kept at it, and suddenly, it clicked! I feel calm and cozy when I’m crocheting, and fiercely proud whenever I complete a project.
It’s that time of year for enjoying hot beverages! Let’s protect our hands from said beverages and add our own flair to the cups by crocheting our own cup cozy, or zarf!
Crochet hook (size 5.0mm)
Medium yarn (size 4)
Create a slip knot and then chain 30 stitches.
Careful not to twist the chain, bring both ends together and slip stitch into the first chain stitch to join them into a circle.
Chain 1 stitch and then loosely slip stitch into the back bump of each of the 30 chain stitches, then join with a final slip stitch.
Chain 2, then turn the work around so you’ll be working around the outside of the circle. Double crochet in each of the 30 stitches around, then join with a slip stitch.
Chain 2 and front post double crochet in a stitch and then double crochet in the next stitch. Continue alternating around the circle, then join with a final slip stitch.
Chain 2 and double crochet in a stitch, then front post double crochet in the next stitch. Continue alternating around the circle, then join with a final slip stitch.
Repeat steps 5 and 6, four or five more times around and at the end of round 8 o 9, slip stitch to join.
Chain 1 and loosely slip stitch in each of the 30 stitches around, join and tie off the yarn.
Flip the cozy inside out and weave in the loose ends using your yarn needle.
Flip the cozy right side out and you’re done! Enjoy!
*This pattern will fit a Starbucks reusable travel cup. Before getting too far into this project, I recommend slipping the joined chain onto the cup you are making the cozy for. If it doesn’t fit well, adjust how many chain stitches there are up or down to fit.
Welcome back friends! Who would like some warm and comforting, homemade cinnamon rolls on one (or more) of these cold winter mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? Or maybe a good movie or show? I know I do, so let’s bake some!
1 cup of warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 cup of heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup of salted butter, softened
6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast.
Add the butter, eggs and sugar, then mix until well combined.
Add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, then mix until well combined.
Scrape the dough off the beater blade and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
Spray another large bowl with cooking spray and use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place in the greased bowl.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour).
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of heavy cream; mixing it until well combined, then set it aside.
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour, and turn the dough onto the mat. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about 24” x 15” rectangle (though it does not have to be exact).
Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
Starting at the long end, roll the dough up tightly.
Cut the roll into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13” baking pan.
Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
Warm the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the chill is off, then pour if over the risen rolls, allow it to soak in and around.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until gold brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Time will vary so keep an eye on them! If they are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter, blending well.
Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, then beat until combined.
Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.
*To save time in the mornings, you can also prepare the dough the night before. Make the dough and proceed to the second rise when the rolls are in the pan. Once risen, cover them up again and put them in the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for about 30 minutes before baking.
Welcome back friends! Who wants some warm and comforting hot cocoa on a cold winter morning or evening? Maybe with some homemade marshmallows and a good book or movie? I know I do, so let’s make some mix!
HOT COCOA MIX
3/4 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups of dry nonfat or whole milk powder
1 cup of powdered sugar
3/4 cup of white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Whisk together the cocoa powder, milk powder, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl, then add the white chocolate chips and stir again to evenly distribute them.
Add the mixture to a food processor and pulse until everything is finely ground and smooth.
This dry cocoa mix can be store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To make hot cocoa, put 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk (whichever milk you prefer).
Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired and enjoy!
Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh, oven baked peasant bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Or afternoons? Or evenings? Honestly, anytime is the right time for freshly baked bread!
So let’s bake!
HOMEMADE PEASANT BREAD
4 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of lukewarm water
Butter, for greasing
Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, then add the warm water and stir until well combined.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
Grease two bread pans with the butter, then set them aside.
When ready, remove the cover from the bowl and using two forks gently pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl, then use the two forks again to split it in half down the middle.
Transfer each half of the dough into a greased bread pan.
Cover each pan and allow the dough to rise again for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Transfer your baking vessels to the oven and allow them to bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden all around.
Allow to cool in the baking pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational crafts for her that are made with love and will be loved!
This week we’ll be creating paper marigolds in honor of their color and beauty, but also to begin educating Zoey on their significance this time of year.
These supplies and instructions create two large paper flowers, but you can multiply and create as many as you like in as many color variations as you like!
4 green pipe cleaners
5 sheets of 20” x 20” gift-wrapping tissue paper (or similar)
Layer and align the 5 sheets of tissue paper, then fold them in half and crease.
Cut along the crease line so you now have two groups of tissue sheets, 10” by 20” each.
Keeping each group of tissue sheets layered and aligned, pleat the paper in an accordion fold.
Holding the accordion fold closed, cut a half-circle shape from each end. (You could also cut a point or zig-zag)
Holding the accordion fold closed, wrap the top of a pipe cleaner around the middle of the paper and twist it around itself to hold it in place. This will also act as the stem.
Fan out the paper, then gently separate the first layer of paper from the rest, and move it up to form the top layer of petals.
Gently separate the rest of the paper layers and fluff out your flower.
To bolster the stem a bit more: Secure a second pipe cleaner around the existing pipe cleaner where it meets the flower, and wrap it around the existing pipe cleaner down to the base (start back up if you have extra).
Repeat steps 3 through 8 with the second group of tissue sheets.
Who wants some fresh from scratch, oven baked ghostly brownies to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn evenings? Maybe at a movie night, or a game night?
I know I do, so let’s bake some!
1/2 cup of butter, melted
2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F and coat a baking pan with cooking spray (I used a 13×9 pan).
Combine the melted butter, oil, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
Add the eggs, vanilla and salt.
Slowly stir in the flour a little at a time until a thick batter forms, then fold in the chocolate chips.
Spread the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 21 to 25 minutes or until they become glossy around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
Place a little powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly sift the tops of the brownies until white.
Using a ghost shape cookie cutter, cut ghost shapes into the brownies (leave them where they are) and add 3 chocolate chips for the eyes and the mouth of each ghost.
Allow the brownies to completely cool and solidify, then carefully remove the ghosts from the pan. I peeled away the edges and extra spaces first, then used a flat metal spatula to lift the ghosts out.
Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh stovetop popcorn to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn nights? Maybe cuddled under a blanket, while watching a good movie? I know I do, so let’s pop some!
HOMEMADE STOVETOP POPCORN
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 cup of popcorn kernels
2 to 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoon of popcorn salt
To create popcorn salt, grind it into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or run 1/2 cup of salt in the food processor until fine.
Place the olive oil and popcorn kernels in a large lightweight pot, then gently shake the pot to distribute the kernels over the bottom of the pan and evenly coat the kernels with oil.
Place the pot on medium heat (or slightly lower depending on the power of your stovetop) and put the the lid on. The kernels will begin popping in about a minute or so and you may need to hold the lid on using the safety handle.
Shake the pot briefly every 30 seconds or so. When the popping stops, immediately pour the popcorn in to a large bowl. You may want to have a bowl set aside to pour excess popcorn into as you go if your pot turns out to be too small.
Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave, then pour it over the popcorn and sprinkle the salt, shaking well to toss and disperse.
*This popcorn may look a little dark, but the kernels were toasted in the pan before popping, I did not taste any burnt flavor.