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Wednesday
Feb122014

DIY Conversation Hearts: It's Easy!

Learn how to make your own sweet treats and personalize what they say. Recipe here.

Monday
Feb102014

Pop Tarts for Valentine's Day: Pop-Hearts

In this toothsome homemade take on a commercial classic, a tender, flaky heart shaped crust is filled with Nutella, then baked to crispy-on-the edges, soft-on-the-inside perfection. A healthy dollop of confectioners' sugar glaze with rainbow sprinkles makes these treats as adorable as they are sweet. Recipe here.

Sunday
Feb092014

Make Mornings Magical: Unicorn Pop-Tarts Recipe 

Unicorn pop tarts

I would be lying if I said I wasn't proud as a prancing unicorn about my latest creation: Unicorn Pop-Tarts.

To be completely honest, this wasn't the first time the combination had occurred to me. I mean, Pop-Tarts employ rainbow sprinkles and taste like happiness. Unicorns are trailed by rainbows and are the embodiment of happiness. See? They have loads in common. 

But there are some real technical issues with making Unicorn Pop-tarts. Mainly, the shape of unicorn cookie cutters. They're generally thin in places, which is fine, but not conducive to filling pastry with jam or chocolate. I didn't want these to just be double-decker pie crust cookies. I wanted them to have filling, and taste like pop-tarts. Homemade, of course.

Cookie cutter

I figured that a unicorn bust would be perfect, as it would have the horn but be a larger shape to hold together, but such a cookie cutter was not easy to find.

So I dealt with that issue by making my own. I'll post a tutorial soon on how to do that, but rest assured it required a trip to the hardware store, which is DEFINITELY not my natural element. 

Cookie cutter

It was worth it. The cutter was easy to make, and within hours I had unicorn pop-tarts, which are truly the most magical start to the day. Any day. 

Unicorn pop tarts

Here's the recipe. 

Homemade Pop Tarts

Makes about 6 unicorn-shaped tarts; adapted from wonderful, wonderful Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling

Jam, about 1 heaping teaspoonful per pastry (your choice of flavor)

For the icing

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • heavy cream, to thin (you could use milk...but I like cream)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set to the side.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and blend with a fork, pastry cutter, or your impeccably clean hands. Blend until the mixture is fairly coarse. Add the water, bit by bit, gently mixing the dough after each addition, until the dough is cohesive enough to form a ball.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out using your unicorn cutter. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more unicorns. You should get 10 to 12 cutouts, which means 5 or 6 tarts.
  4. Unicorn pop tarts
  5. On half of the unicorn heads, place a small spoonful of the jam of your choice in the center. You don't want it to be too thick or the top crust will mound on top of it. Spread it where it makes sense (easy on the horn).
  6. Unicorn pop tarts
  7. Place the remaining unicorn head cutouts on top of the ones with jam. Crimp all four edges by hand... Unicorn pop tarts or with a fork to ensure that your filling won't ooze out. I also poked the top of each with a fork, to vent them.
  8. Place the tarts on your prepared baking sheet, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until light golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
  9. While the tarts cool, prepare your icing; make sure it is fairly thin but not so thin that it will just drip off. Once the pop tarts are cool, drizzle it on top. Garnish with sprinkles.
  10. Unicorn pop tarts
Friday
Feb072014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Monday
Feb032014

Sta-Puft in Style: How to Make Funfetti Marshmallows

Marshmallows

Recently, I was making homemade marshmallows for an upcoming Craftsy post, and during the process, I found myself slightly hypnotized by the bubbling of the boiling sugar mixture.

Can't you see why? Just look:

mallowboil

So. It was during this time that I thought these magical words: "I'm going to make these marshmallows funner." How exactly? Well, the typical way one would usually make something funner:  ADD FUNFETTI. 

The process of funfetti-ing something up, I have determined, is pretty simple: all you have to do is stir in rainbow sprinkles. Yup. Science.

Marshmallows

So when I finished the marshmallow batter, I stirred in some rainbow sprinkles into the mix, then let them set. Miraculously, the sprinkles didn't bleed too much--I was a little worried it would look like rainbow soup. But nope. They were pretty as could be.

Marshmallows

So after they set, I further funfetti-ized them by dusting them in a sprinkle and confectioners' sugar mix. I had tried just sprinkles, which was pretty, but the coverage was spotty and they crunched too much in the mouth. 

Marshmallows

Listen, if you decide you'd like to make funfetti marshmallows, here is how I suggest you do it.

Funfetti Marshmallows

Makes about 64 marshmallows

Step 1: Follow the instructions for making homemade marshmallows from this post, for the brilliant marshmallows from  Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery. I will have a step by step tutorial coming up on Craftsy--I will post a link when it's up, OK?

Step 2: When you've finished mixing the batter but before you pour it into your pan, quickly stir in a hefty handful of rainbow sprinkles. I used the translucent kind--you know, the kind you'd find on a pop-tart. 

Marshmallows

Step 3: Let the marshmallows set as specified in the recipe. When finished, dust them with a mixture of confectioners' sugar and about 1 tablespoon of sprinkles, mixed together to evenly distribute everything.

Marshmallows

And there you go. Fun! Both inside and out. 

 Marshmallows

Look at that! Couldn't be easier, and now you have magical marshmallows. Watch out--you just might make your s'mores and hot chocolate jealous.

Monday
Feb032014

Crescent Roll Pretzels = Cretzels

That's right. The mighty "Cretzel" is a pretzel formed from crescent roll dough. Recipe here.

Monday
Feb032014

How to Make Nutella

Sunday
Feb022014

Savory Sleuth: How to Store Cut Vegetables

You've cut them but you're not ready to use them. Here's how to store them. 

Friday
Jan312014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Best wedding cake topper ever??

I would very much like to live in Pound Cake Heaven.

Sweet and lovely: neapolitan swirl cupcakes.

How to make Pavlova, a dessert for tiny dancers.

Very cute: "Bee Mine" tutorial on My Cake School

Even though Pie Day is over, you still might enjoy these unusual pie recipes.

Speaking of pie, if you missed my profile on Pie Town, it really shouldn't be missed.

Learn about the different types of measuring cups and spoons.

This I love: sparkly magic kitchen wands!

Good question: how are Oreos made?

Get yo'self a sconut.

Cupcake toss: mission failure!

Good for the super bowl: choco-avocado pie! Why should guacamole have all of the avocado fun?

PS: Bonus - there's a giveaway going on today (Friday) on the CakeSpy Facebook page!

Thursday
Jan302014

Chocoholics Anonymous: 20 Delicious Quotes About Chocolate

Chocolate quotes

"Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it I wash my mouth out with chocolate."

-- Charles M. Schulz

love

"Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty. Chocolate isn't like premarital sex. It will not make you pregnant. And it always feels good."

-- Lora Brody

hershey

"Chocolate says "I'm sorry" so much better than words."

--Rachel Vincent

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love chocolate, and communists.”

-- Leslie Moak Murray

apology

"Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain."

-- Dave Barry

"Anything is good if it's made of chocolate."

-- Jo Brand

bradbury

"What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate."

-- Katharine Hepburn

"There's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates."

 -- Fernando Pessoa

 

chocolateheaven

"Blood is really warm, it's like drinking hot chocolate but with more screaming."

-- Ryan Mecum

tragedies

"Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed, and puts them in your debt."

-- Judith Olney

artemotion

"Happiness is German engineering, Italian cooking, and Belgian chocolate."

-- Patricia Briggs

winewomen

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