It’s a Truffle Job, but Somebody’s Gotta Do It

July 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Grasshopper Truffles I told you about last week were so delish that  when I came across this recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, I didn’t hesitate.

Tasty little bites!

Now, this is a vegan recipe and as such, calls for vegan butter. I am not vegan (you may have noticed) and as such, do not have vegan butter on hand generally. So I used regular ol’ butter. It’s an egg-free recipe, so it’s safe to eat the raw cookie dough. However, the lack of eggs means the cookie dough is a little less rich than I’m used to. I think next time maybe I’ll experiment with using egg beaters. This recipe also uses only brown sugar, as opposed to the combo of brown and white in my regular cookie recipe, and I think that might be flattening the flavor as well. So, this one I’ll tweak a bit before posting my version of the recipe. In the meantime, the original is pretty darn tasty — give it a try!

 

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A Little Sparkle

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

I know I haven’t been showing you a lot of knitting and crochet lately…that’s because I’ve mostly been working on Sooper Sekrit type projects that I’m not allowed to reveal. However, it occurred to me that one of the things I’m currently working on is something I’m planning to publish myself in a couple of weeks, and I can totally show you pictures of the WIP:

Ain’t she purdy?

I bought this yarn (wooliebullie Twinkle Superwash in Enchanted Evening, ftr) for some other project that I can’t even remember now. I don’t even know if it was to design something else or for someone else’s pattern, but it whispered that it would very much like to become what it is becoming, and it’s so lovely to look at and feel I had no choice but to give in.

Patience, Young Grasshopper

July 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

Pinterest is killing my waistline, I swear. Okay, also Foodbuzz and Foodgawker, but if it wasn’t for Pinterest I wouldn’t have anywhere to store all those yummy looking recipes. With pictures. So as soon as I go and look I am reminded of why I wanted to make the tasties in the first place. Such was the case with this recipe for Grasshopper Truffles. Each little ball is a mouthful of chocolate-minty delicious heaven.

Concentrated nom, coated in chocolate for extra nomminess.

I did modify the original recipe a bit…I found that the ratio of cream cheese to cookie was really high, so I adjusted that. I went with the straight up cream cheese rather than the frosting, and I’m glad I did…I think they’d’ve definitely been too sweet for me otherwise. And obviously, I didn’t use the sprinkles. I also didn’t use the mint extract and again, I’m glad I didn’t: I think it would have been overkill.

Here’s my tip for easy chocolate dipping: use chocolate chips in an electric fondue pot. Just set it to warm, as if you were going to actually fondue. Have your cookie sheet with waxed paper handy, and just pop the balls down on the paper as you take them out of the pot. Easy-peasy and makes clean-up a breeze, too. As tempting as it is to dump a bunch in and roll them around, resist. You’ll only end up melting them. One at a time is the way to go with these (that rule only applies to the dipping part, not the eating part).

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 box Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies
  • About a cup of whatever chocolate chips you have on hand (I used a mix of bittersweet and milk, because that’s what I had)

Crumb the cookies in the food processor. You probably don’t want to add them all at once, and if they’re still a wee bit chunky, that’s okay. You don’t really want any chunks bigger than, say, a sunflower seed. Add the cream cheese and pulse until mixture is uniform. Chill mixture for about an hour.

After mixture is chilled, roll into small (about 1″) balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

Pre-dipping…they’re kind of a gross dark taupe color. Cover them with delicious chocolate, stat!

Pop them back in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how soft the dough got while you were rolling them. You want them to be nice and firm and chilly for this next step, otherwise they’ll fall apart.

Melt chocolate in fondue pot (or using other method of your choice, but I promise, the fondue pot is really awesome). Roll chilled balls, one at a time, in melted chocolate, then place back on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. When you’ve dipped all the balls, put them back in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

Honey Badger Needs a Leash!

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve just published a pattern over on Ravelry that honestly I’m almost embarrassed to call a pattern. Last week when I was at The Knit and Crochet Show, I needed a cord for my badge. So I made one. I thought some of you might need such a thing, too, so I’m sharing what I did.

You can download the pattern here.

Found It on the Internet Friday #14

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s Saturday. But at least it’s posted!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but after I had my final child, I decided to get serious about losing all the extra weight I was carrying around. After a lot of experimentation, I finally found a system that worked for me, and dropped about 40lbs. I feel better, I feel like I look better, and it’s a lot easier for me to find and make clothes that I’m comfortable wearing. However, it did leave me with a big pile of giant t-shirts that I loved but no longer could wear without looking like a total slob. So I’ve been looking for good ways to make them wearable again.

Pinterest has, of course, been invaluable. The other day I came across a super easy tutorial for turning tees into tanks, and this is what I ended up with:

Cute and comfy!

I did a couple this way, and I have to say, they are super comfy. You do need to make sure that your design is low enough on the shirt that you have room for the casing, but other than that they’re pretty much no-brainers. I’ll definitely be making more.

Hoot! There it is!

July 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last year for Christmas, one of the many delightful gifts I received from the kids (read: Kit) was a certificate for some fresh ink. I decided to redeem it as a reward to myself for finally finishing the Neverending Sweater (more on that in a later post, and yes, that’s where I’ve been keeping myself and why blogging has been sparse at best), and since the design I wanted featured a big ball o’ yarn, I wanted to try to get it before heading up to The Knit and Crochet Show last week (again, more on that later — I got a lot of stuff to tell y’all about!). So two Fridays ago, I headed over to Lola’s Tattoos in Bogota, NJ and Johnny hooked me right up with this:

It’s (not) a press on tattoo!

I designed and drew it myself, and although I was cool with Johnny making suggestions/changes, he thought it was cool the way it was and the only real change he made was to make it a little larger so the fine lines wouldn’t bleed together.

But what does it mean? Well, I’ve wanted to get an Athenian owl for a while now, and I’ve also wanted a yarn-y tattoo. When I went to college (not that long ago — I was 30 when I finally got around to doing that), I fell into the Classics program and absolutely loved it. I often find myself tempted to consider going back for a PhD, but have heard too much about the crazy politics involved in those programs and I’m just not interested in that part of it. But I do still enjoy supplementing my education by reading lots, and I find ancient civilizations and religions just fascinating. In case you don’t know, Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and the owl is her symbol. In addition, she is the patron goddess of handcrafters and artisans, so I thought it would be appropriate to have her owl holding a ball of yarn. As I was researching images to base my tat on, I found an ancient coin that showed the owl grasping a spindle full of wool (scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page) which I thought a) was pretty spiffy and b) lent even more support to my idea. (Okay, so the description says it’s an amphora that the owl is perched on, but it really looks like a spindle to me.)

Then a couple of months ago, I came across a tattoo of an elephant done in this really awesome style, outlined in thick lines with little random designs, and something  just clicked. I knew I wanted to mimic that style for this tattoo. I found it originally here — well, on Pinterest, but pinned from there — but supposedly it’s by someone named David Hale. I can’t find any evidence to support that, but if you like beautiful tattoos, his gallery is worth flipping through.

So I sat down one night, and what you see above is pretty much exactly what I drew. I had originally thought to get this tat ( back when it was still generic “owl holding yarn ball” — not as drawn) on the underside of my wrist, but then someone (can’t remember who) (see what I did there?) suggested the shoulder as an alternate location and clearly, that was sheer brilliance. So now I have my little craft owl — whose (again! I did it again!) name is Pete*, incidentally — perched on my shoulder, whispering wise and crafty ideas into my ear.

*When I was a very little girl I had a velveteen stuffed bulldog named Pete that was bright electric blue and white, and my dad used to make up off-the-cuff stories about Pete the Bulldog for me sometimes at bedtime. Pete was really smart and creative and silly and funny, and every time I thought about what to name my owl, I came back to Pete. I know it’s not a bulldog, but it just works for me and makes me smile.

Pie-thagorean Theorems

July 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

I do actually have a couple of recipes to post for Tasty Tuesdays, but there have been some photography issues (namely, that I keep neglecting to take the photographs). So I thought today we could talk about pie crust. Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I loves me some pie (and also other things made with pie crust). There are all different sorts of crusts, from cookie crumb crusts to pate brisee, but the basic crust I nearly always use is a simple all-butter crust (“all-butter” refers to the type of fat — there’s still flour and liquid involved). I nearly always use it because it’s easy, I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s super easy to customize. For instance, when I make pecan pie, I put a little cinnamon and nutmeg into the crust. When I make savory pies, I often put a little garlic powder in. When I made the peach galette, I put a little brown sugar in the crust. But the basic crust is this (it’s basically the same as the one for the galette, only without the sugar and doubled, because you can always freeze the extra crust if you only need a single):

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 c. flour
  • 7-8 tablespoons ice water or chilled liquor

Crust:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in sugar and pulse once more. Begin adding water/liquor 1 Tbsp at a time until 5 Tbsp have been added, pulsing as you go. Now add the water/liquor about 1 tsp at a time, stopping when the mixture just comes together. Turn out onto plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill to firm, about 15 minutes.

There are two super important things here:

  •  Don’t overprocess.
  •  The butter and the liquid need to be COLD.

The second thing is easy…just pop everything in the freezer. How long you need to leave it in there depends on the day and what you’re starting with. You don’t want things actually frozen, but you want them as close as possible. Not overprocessing, though, is an art. You do need to get everything combined, but you need to stop immediately after. And often — especially before you start adding the liquid — it’s hard to tell if you’ve done that. Once you start adding the liquid, what you’re looking for is this:

This is even maybe a wee bit overprocessed.

You want it to just barely be holding together. When you dump it and form it into a disc, you’re going to smush it together a little but again, remember that you want to work it as little as possible so be gentle. Toss it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. If you need to leave it in longer, that’s fine, but you may need to let it warm up just a bit in order to be able to work it in that case.

My very favorite new tip is one I shared with you on the galette post: parchment paper!

Put the disc between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper and roll to your heart’s content.

No muss, no fuss!

Once you’ve got it rolled out, peel off the top layer of parchment paper and fold the crust (just the crust, not the remaining paper) into quarters. Plop it into your pie plate, unfold, and trim. Note that if you are doing a double crust, you’re better off waiting to trim until you’ve got the second crust on (and in that case, I like to just fold it up like a galette around the edges, because pie crust = NOM).

A word on using liquor instead of water in your crust. I have seen this tip all over the place and frankly, I’m not really fan. I do like to use dark rum in crust for a pecan pie because it gives it a nice flavor, but I find that my crusts made with vodka aren’t as tender as those made with plain water and also, they taste a little off. Not bad, just not quite as delicious. So I generally stick with water.

Another thing I see quite a lot of is a recommendation to make a foil shield so your crust doesn’t over brown. I’ve never had an issue with this, but then again I don’t do a lot of parbaking my crusts — I usually just pop the fillings into the raw crust and go.

Where Am I?

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