Saturday, December 12, 2009

I wasn't keeping a secret... it was just a flirtation.

Dear Blog,

We've had an open honest relationship. I didn't mean to not tell you about this, it's just that other things came up. Other crafts stole my attention away and then it seemed silly to tell you about something that happened so long ago. Besides it was just a flirtation, nothing serious.

The second time... uh, well...

I didn't know how to tell you since I hadn't told you about the first time yet.

But I swear it won't happen again. I'll come clean and tell you everything.

I have continued my flirtation with glassblowing and taken two more workshops, pumpkins and ornaments.

I really loved getting the chance to work with glass again. Every time I'm around it I want to try more techniques and the feeling that I want to take a long term class gets stronger. I've even found myself looking at hand blown glass more often in the store, not as something I'd like to purchase but looking at the techniques it took to make it.

I think I've always had a thing for glass... this might be more serious than I thought.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chocolate Orange Cream Pie

I stumbled onto making this pie three years ago- and it quickly became the best little trick I know for holiday get-togethers!

I had a crate of oranges in the house (that I was desperate to use in any way I could) and an extra box of pudding. I've always loved the taste of chocolate and orange together and thought it might work.

I use the instant pudding- you can use the kind that needs to cook if you'd like... but I hate to wait for pudding! This is as simple as grating the zest from one orange into one box of pudding.

Then put it into a pie crust- I like to use a chocolate cookie crust

then top with whip cream for serving, a little sprinkle of orange zest and some chocolate shavings on top and you have a really nice.... VERY easy dessert for a holiday pot-luck.

I've also used 3 clementines instead of an orange- works perfectly.
Try this one- it's really good. This pie goes over really well at parties, I get asked more for this ridiculously simple recipe than I do anything else... but keep it a secret or everyone will want to bring it since it takes about 3 minutes to make!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cupkins December: Eggnog Muffins

Today is the first Monday of December- I can't believe we are in December already! Time for another Cupkins collaboration between Joanne of Ready, Set, Craft! and I. This months theme is Christmas. I love seasonal foods and when I started seeing eggnog in the store it made me think about the holidays. I knew I wanted to try to make muffins with that flavor.

Eggnog muffins were probably the hardest flavor I've ever tried to get. I made batch after batch of muffins and I couldn't really get the intense flavor of eggnog to come through (Some batches actually had no flavor).

I started with just substituting the milk in my normal recipe with eggnog. Result- A moist muffin with no flavor. Next I doubled the amount of nog- same result.

Then I tried adding the actual ingredients that go into eggnog into the muffins.

These are two ingredients that I don't often use first thing in the morning!

After many batches of different combinations I landed on something that's good. It has a nice light eggnog flavor and is a moist, tender, muffin... but still doesn't have the intense flavor I was hoping for.

Here's where I came out:

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a muffin pan with non-stick spray.

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of eggnog (I used the light kind)
  • pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons of rum
A note about the Rum: I played around a with the amount of rum in the muffins- to me that's the taste in eggnog I also tried rum extract. While I got a more intense flavor from the extract I could detect something in the muffins that I didn't like- a bitter after taste. You could use whichever you prefer. I also tried adding both real rum and a little extract- that was good too.

Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with nutmeg and cinnamon just like a glass of eggnog and bake for about 18 minutes at 375. Or until a tooth inserted in the center comes out clean.

I made six large muffins- this recipe will make 12 regular sized muffins but they will bake for a shorter time.

These have a really good flavor (even though it wasn't the intense flavor I was looking for) and it's a great way to use up extra nog. I know there are some people who won't drink eggnog (I used to be one of them) but love the flavor- so if you're one of those people this is perfect you!

Head over to Joanne's site (by clicking on the cupkins logo) she'll have a yummy holiday cupcake to share with you later today!

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