Bake

Monthly Archives: September 2014

It’s feeling a little chilly in here….

Winter_by_FrozenStardust

 

No, really.

It’s feeling a little chilly

….Hmm…wonder if the air conditioning is set too low.

Oh…that’s the problem..

 

elleafrozen

I have an Elsa in my house..

 

 

I hear you can’t keep those things out this time of year…

 

 

And this one has

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Ice Powers!

 

I’ve been looking around for a way to represent Ice Powers (safely) and this was the solution I came up with.  Tutorial Incoming!

 

Step 1.  Get some balls!

 

ballsThese were just perfect for the job.  I found them in the sports aisle at Target for $4.99 for 12 (or 24, I can’t remember)

 

Step 2.  Get some pretty Elsa fabric!

 

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I have TONS of this kind of stuff right now.  I’ve been buying bunches of different ones trying to find ones that are Elsa enough so I have a lot to choose from.

 

Step 3.  Cut some squares!

I made mine 7 x 7 because I had a handy template that size.    Place a ball in the middle of your square.

 

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Step 4. Gather up the material around the ball and twist it slightly.  I did a blue layer and a silver layer on the outside.  Like this

 

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Step 5.  Thread a needle and poke it through the center of your twist, bring it out the other side and wrap it around the outside 4 or 5 times, then sew through the middle 2 or 3 times and break thread.

 

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Step 6.  Cut some ribbons however long you want them to be.  Tie around gathered fabric and knot a couple of times.

 

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Step 7.  Give them to Elsa and watch out!

 

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I may have mentioned previously that we are doing a Frozen birthday party for the Zombie girl this year so this is just the first of the madness that is coming up.  I can’t wait to watch the kids play Freeze Tag with these!

If you aren’t a sewer/sewist, hot glue should work just as well for this project.  After I made the first one I experimented with different things.  I stuffed the rest of the balls with scraps of the silver material and tied ribbons into the holes and then fabric around the outside, twisted and sewn so they would be weighted ever so slightly more.  The only complaint I have is how visible the balls are, if I made them again I would use a non-sheer square in the middle and then sheers over top.  Happy Ice Power making to you!

Mind Grapes

imageAs I pick up the same basket of toys for the five brazillianth time today, I think: ‘Am I going crazy?  This is literally something a crazy person would do, keep picking up the same basket of toys knowing full well that it will be dumped again in five seconds.  But I Just. Can’t. Stop.  Because if I stop then what?  I’ll die?  No, that’s not right.  If I stop, I’ll turn into one of those Hoarding: Buried Alive people and I’ll have to adopt 35 stray cats.  But the fireplace repairman will judge me if he sees toys on the floor?  What would he think – that a toddler lives here?!!  Wait, that is accurate.  Do I care what this stranger thinks of me?  Yes?  No?  I really need to go to Target.  I hope he doesn’t take forever.  Is it rude to take a picture of someone without them knowing it and post it online?  Probably.’imageSorry this picture is blurry and poorly framed.  I was really afraid he was going to turn around and bust me.  Awkward.

That was just a 30 second glimpse of my mind grapes.  It’s a scary place in there…

In other news, we transitioned the little honey pile (that’s a term of endearment right?) to a big boy bed last weekend.  It looked like this for one glorious minute:imageSince then he’s been falling off the bed at least once a night, which means waking up to a screaming toddler.  I come back to bed after getting him settled and say to my husband:

‘How are we ever going to get back to sleep after that?’
‘Snore.  Snore.  Snort’.

The last one definitely sounded more like a snort.  Reminiscent of the newborn days, eh?

We attempted two different kinds of bed rails (do you care about this? Probably not.) that both had to be sent back because they aren’t compatible with our bed.  Bed rails only work if a) you have a box spring or b) your mattress is perfectly flush with the frame.  If not, it looks like this:

imageSee the gap?  No good.

But there is a solution – these puppies!  They’re inflatable guard rails that go under the fitted sheet.  The come with a really useful hand pump (took about 20 seconds to inflate) and they have grip strips on the bottom that keep them in place.imageimageThey actually work really damn well aaaaand it doesn’t take away from the cute pottery barn kids bedding you love, and your toddler doesn’t give a shit about!

Anyway, I should probably go.  I’ve been typing this on my phone and not engaging my child the whole time the fireplace repairman has been here…I wonder if he thinks I’m a bad mom?  I better go pick up those toys.

Do You Want to Test a Pattern?

YoungAE2

 

 

 

Come on let’s go and sew! 

This is so brand new

I wonder if a test you’ll do?

 

Okay, maybe a lyrical stretch but it was worth a try!  And I do need a couple of pattern testers willing to sew up an apron.  If you have (or know) a little girl (2-6 yrs old) who loves Frozen and aprons and you have successfully sewn from commercial patterns this would be a good fit for you!  Please contact me at:    c r a f t  at craftbakeenvy.com.  (I left spaces between the letters so the bots won’t collect this address and abuse it like they have  the other one, take them out when you type it in.)  This is my first try at doing PDF patterns so there will likely be plenty of things I’ll need to improve. Thanks in advance!

Apple Cider Syrup

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Thanks to this heavenly little concoction, I’m one step closer to a fall treat that is so near and dear to my heart that it actually has me thinking fondly of Wisconsin, where I discovered it at a local apple orchard (the Apple Cider Doughnut – coming soon!) but I can’t seem to find it here in Indiana.  I know it’s not fancy or exotic but in my opinion, it just isn’t fall until I’ve had six one of these puppies.

The only thing that this recipe really requires is time and trust me, it’s worth it.  It’s one of those minimal effort, super easy recipes that you can totally use it to make your “friends” jealous.  Here’s what you do: invite a friend over…your house will smell unbelievable as she walks in to find you in an adorable hand-crafted apron, you nonchalantly mention you are making apple cider syrup for homemade apple cider doughnuts for your dear family, your perfect child playing quietly at your feet.  Trust me, she will hate you for it.  You’re welcome.image

Apple Cider Syrup (Boiled Apple Cider)

makes about 1/2 cup syrup

½ gallon fresh, local apple cider

Large, Heavy bottom sauce pan

Bring cider to boil over high heat.  Monitor closely at this point so it doesn’t boil over, like this:

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Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to boil, uncovered for 3+ hours.  Stir occasionally.  Mixture should thinly coat the back of a spoon when finished.

Tip: If you’re boiled apple cider sets up thick, transfer mixture to microwavable dish, thin with some water or apple juice and microwave on 30 second intervals until liquid.

That’s it.  Now you have unlocked the magic to a treasure trove of apple-y fall time treats.  Muffins, cakes, doughnuts, pancakes, bread, even pulled pork – all that much better with this little bit of liquid love.

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Chocolate Pretzel Tartlets with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream

I read a quote in a book (yes, I read books) that says “if you don’t know what you’re doing with your life, your only job is to sit down and not move until you figure out what you should be doing”. Something about that really appealed to my lazy nature so that is what I’ve been doing these last few weeks.  Sitting, thinking and reading.  And some of this:image

Ok, I know that was just gratuitous cute toddler filler but I couldn’t resist.

Through my soul-searching I realized that while baking/blogging may not be my great contribution to humanity, that’s no reason to drop it entirely and who knows what it could blossom into.  It’s fun and sometimes I’m good at it so why not?  Anyway, I’m not the kind of person that can do nothing for very long so it’s either this or get knocked up again out of sheer boredom.  Also, we’re coming up on baking season and I’m powerless against the pull of warm, delicious fall desserts like apple danishes and pumpkin muffins….bear claws…doughnuts…hot cider…you get the idea.

For now, enjoy this little contribution to the cause.  The peanut butter whipped cream alone is dessert heaven.

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Crust

Makes about 4-5 3.5 inch tarts or 6-8 2.5 inch tarts

½ stick unsalted butter, softened

½ cup plus 2 tbsp crushed pretzels

¼ cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ large egg*

1-2 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, melted

Coarsely crush pretzels.  You can use a food processor if you have one or you can just throw them in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin like this:

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In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar on medium (either hand-held or mixer) until creamy.  Reduce speed to low and add in ¼ cup of crushed pretzels.  Add in the flour and egg and continue to mix on low to incorporate.  *To halve an egg: beat egg in small dish until bubbles appear.  Weigh egg on kitchen scale and measure out half for recipe.  You can also eyeball it if you don’t have a kitchen scale.

Add in remaining pretzels and mix until fully combined.

Flatten dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350.image

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Press small amounts of dough into the mini fluted tart pans (about 1 tablespoon amount for 2.5 inch pan and 2 tablespoons for 3.5 inch pan).  Prick dough with a fork. Bake 2.5 inch tarts for 10-12 minutes and 3.5 inch tarts for 12-14 minutes.

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Remove tarts from oven and allow to cool completely.  Remove from tart pans and brush the insides of tarts with melted dark chocolate.  Place in refrigerator to set.

imageFilling

4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup heavy cream

1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon espresso powder

1/8 teaspoon fine salt

Put chocolate and butter in small medium bowl and set aside.

Heat cream, sugar and salt in small saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in espresso powder.  Pour mixture over chocolate and butter, cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.  Pour mixture into prepared tart shells and chill in refrigerator until set 2-4 hours.

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Peanut Butter Whipped Cream Topping

Chill mixing bowl and beaters in freezer 15 minutes prior to preparing

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2-3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Beat heavy whipping cream on medium until soft peaks form.  Add sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract and continue to beat until stiff.

Assembly

Pipe whipped cream onto chilled chocolate tarts and top with chocolate dipped pretzels and coarse sea salt.

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This really is one of those desserts that looks impressive but is deceptively easy and it’s the perfect make-ahead for a dinner party, since it has to chill for 2-4 hours anyway.  Hope you enjoy!