October 27, 2008

Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

This little dessert is heavenly. I am not a big pumpkin fan, but if it is combined tastefully with other dessert items (my mother-in-law has a wonderful recipe combining pumpkin and yellow cake mix for example) I find it quite good. Pumpkin and chocolate is an excellent combination. Try this recipe out, you will not be disappointed.

20 chocolate wafers
2 TB sugar
3 TB unsalted butter, more for pan
4 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse cookies and sugar in food processor until finely ground. Add butter, pulse until crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs into the bottom of a 9 inch removable -bottom tart pan. Place tart pan on rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes.

Pour chocolate onto warm crust, spread with spatula. Freeze until chocolate is firm, about 5 minutes. Brush sides of tart pan with butter, set aside.

In a bowl, combine all filling ingredients using a whisk. Pour filling into prepared crust and bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 45-50 minutes until set. Cool 1 hour at room temperature or cool in fridge. Unmold tart and transfer to a platter for serving.
(Martha Stewart Everday Food magazine November 2008 issue, page 27)

(Britt tip: a little dabble of whipped cream just before serving doesn't hurt either)

Pomegranate Soda

I made this delicious drink for a YW sleepover and we liked it so much that we made some more in the morning for breakfast!

2 cups sugar
1 cup pomegranate juice
club soda, for serving
maraschino cherries

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and juice, bring to a boil over high, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce to a simmer and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove from stove and cool until room temperature. Store in fridge for up to a week.

To serve, fill glass with ice. Pour 2 tablespoons of syrup in glass and top with club soda to taste. Stir until combined. Garnish with cherries and enjoy!

This is very yummy and easy. I will definitely be making it again. I think I want to try it with 7-up or Sprite next time too, as long as it doesn't make it too sweet. Experiment with this and let me know what you think!
(recipe from Martha Stewart's Everday Food magazine)

October 23, 2008

Werewolf Cupcakes

These are just too cute. I don't know if I have time to make these this year, but they're adorable and seemingly easy to make. Check these out on the Wilton website here.

October 21, 2008

Candy Corn Cake

Using this handy little tool from Wilton, you can create a fun Halloween cake. Due to time constraints, I used a boxed white cake mix, divided the batter, and colored some yellow and orange, leaving a little plain white for the center. I would recommend a homemade cake mix if you have the time though, the box mix is only enough for one 9-inch round using this Wilton pan (there is some left over but not enough for a second cake) and I think this cake looks better as two cakes stacked on top of each other. I guess you could use two cake mixes, duh.

After getting your circles of cake colors in their correct position using the handy tool (I don't know if it has a name), pull it out, and VOILA!...your cake is ready to bake!

When coloring the cake mix and getting into the right places in the pan, I use Pyrex measuring cups. I can measure out the right amount of batter for each ring (you need a lot more yellow batter obviously), mix the gel food color right in the Pyrex, and then easily pour it into the pan. Much easier than trying to do it all in regular bowls.

This cake was for a birthday, so with the leftover batter, I made a small example cake that I could cut and show the layers. Doesn't that look great? It's a fun surprise if you don't tell your guests before cutting it open.

Add some star-tipped icing to your cake to coordinate with the colored cake underneath and you are good to go. Just make sure you slice it like a pie, or it won't look like candy corn when you serve it.

I like to add a little of the real thing on the side, just for fun. Check out the Wilton Cake Decorating Yearbook 2006, that's where I first saw this idea.

Pumpkin Tie Dye Shirts

My cousins, Erin and Cami, invited the boys and I over for a craft day. Erin's sister-in-law was there as well, which gave us a total of 4 moms and 9 kids ages 5 and under. Crazy? Yes. Fun? Of course.

Cami found this idea in this month's issue of "Family Fun" magazine. Pre-washed white shirts, one rubber band around a gather in the middle of the front to create the white circle, and a bottle of orange Rit dye. Follow the directions on the dye bottle and about twenty minutes later, you have a nice circle shape for your pumpkin. I bought a fabric marker from Michael's, drew the faces on (use cardboard underneath the front of the shirt so it doesn't sink through), and heat set it with an iron.

Great idea Cami, thanks for getting us crafting this Halloween! We also made some cute bats using little pumpkins and foam pieces, but Scotty has this thing with taking things apart and they were destroyed before I could take a picture. Way to go kid.
Oh, and by the way Erin and Cami, I was planning on washing these separatly a few times just in case the dye washed off, but they ended up accidently in a load of whites.....I am happy to say my whites are still white and the shirts still look great, so no worries in case you were wondering about washing yours. The fabric marker hasn't faded yet either, but even if it does, just pull it out and do a little touch up.

October 15, 2008

Sugar Cookies

I saw this effect a few years ago and finally got around to trying it yesterday. I love them!

Spider web, anyone?

I have a letter cookie cutter set and couldn't resist making some cookies for my alma mater. We'll eat them during the game this week. Go Cougars!

I cut out the letters separately and then squish them together a little before I bake them on the cookie sheet. They come out as one cookie. Just let them cool and then add some royal icing. They're shiny when wet, but dry in a couple of hours.

A little shout out to the mother land. Dad, I would seriously mail these to you if I knew they would get there in time for the game, but I think it will be too late. Maybe for the BCS bowl game...? :) If you know the top teams in collegiate football this season, you will know that I am VERY happy with my teams this year. Go Broncos!

Spider Web Sugar Cookie How-To

Start with a yummy sugar cookie. I use the Better Home and Garden "sugar cookie cut-out" recipe. Lots of butter, very scrumptious.

Frost using a piping bag filled with Royal Icing. I use Martha Stewart's and it's really easy to make. One batch of icing is plenty for a batch of sugar cookies. I always have extra icing. Make it right before you are ready to frost though, you do not want your icing to dry out before you are done decorating.

Outline the spider web in black tinted royal icing and then make a swirl starting in the center, all the way to the outline.

Use a toothpick, starting in the center, and pull the icing gently to one of the points of the spider web. You have to do this before the icing dries and don't press to hard or you will scrape the icing off and see cookie underneath. Repeat all the way around the cookie.

The icing is shiny when wet and then dries with a kind of pearl-like sheen to it with no separation between colors, it's a cool effect. Very pretty and great for a gift or a thank you. These are for Scotty's preschool teacher because I was late picking him up a couple of days ago. I learned my lesson: never schedule doctor's appointments during preschool....you will always be late to pick up your child!

October 10, 2008

Some Past Cakes

The first two cakes were practice for a baby shower cake I did a couple of years ago. The last cake was the final product. It was my first experience with fondant and it went pretty well. I learned a few things and I am always looking for a fun cake idea. I got one for Halloween I hope to do soon. Stay tuned!

Baby Shower Gift Idea

The "diaper cake". A great gift for a mommy-to-be. My mom has been making these for years, thanks for the great idea Mom!

The trickiest part is getting the ribbon around the diapers so they stay in place. It takes some time and a little practice. My mom ties a knot with the ribbon and then glues a bow on to hide the knot. I safety pinned my ribbon into place and just turned the cake so you can't see the pins. Her way is more eye-appealing. For this cake, I used 78 (size #1) diapers. My mom usually makes a four tiered cake which uses 112 diapers. It's a little big though, and since this baby shower is at a restaurant, I didn't want to bring a HUGE gift that no one can see around at the table.

You can present your diaper cake like the first picture or you can buy two yards of tulle (I get mine at Walmart for 97 cents per yard), gather it at the top, and tie with a bow. Add a couple of cute toys and you're good to go. I tucked the raw edges of the tulle under the ribbon so it looks more like a fluffy bun thing on top...just something a little different.

Congrats Christi! You're going to be a great mom!

Halloween Crafts

I got this great template from Martha Stewart's website this week, cut them out of black paper, and hung them with white thread and a push pin in my kitchen today. The boys love them and it adds some Halloween whimsy to the house. I would love to make more for a bigger impact, but I've got too many other projects right now. I can only do this in my kitchen too, since the rest of my living and hall space has insanely high vaulted ceilings. Sorry, I'm not pulling out the 10 foot ladder. For the template, click here. For the cobweb template, click here.


Welcome to the grand opening of Brittney's personal blog of craftiness and cleverness! I must tell you that about 90% of the things posted on here will be things that I did not come up with on my own. I am a copier. I find a cute idea and I copy it, usually tweaking it to make it more personal or easier (always trying to make things easier). I will cite sources to the best of my ability. So, without further adieu....here are some things I've been working on lately...while my boys nap or play outside or watch a movie or with all three of them hanging on my leg asking for lunch while I try to use my glue gun....sigh.
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