Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brown Sugar & Chocolate Chip Icebox Shortbread Cookies

I love shortbread cookies! They are crispy, light and yummy! My favorite shortbread cookies are the ones that have brown sugar on the outside.  The basic icebox shortbread cookie recipe comes from Martha Stewart:  Hope you like these as much as I do!
Yummy shortbread cookies.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
Mix in 1/2 cup mini chocolate, peanut-butter chips, dried cranberries, raisins, etc.
1/8 cup of brown sugar


  1. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt with a mixer until smooth.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour, mixing just until the dough forms.
  3. Divide the dough in half
  4. Take half of the dough and stir in the chocolate chips or peanut-butter chips.
  5. Roll each piece of dough into a 1.5-inch-diameter log.
  6. Spread out the brown sugar on a flat surface and roll the log without the chocolate chips on the brown sugar, until the outside is completely coated (press the sugar on gently to help it adhere).
  7. Wrap logs tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1-1.5 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Unwrap logs and slice dough 3/8 inch thick, if the dough crumbles, leave it at room temperature 5-10 mins.
  10. Place the slices 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
  11. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.
  12. Cool on the baking sheet 1-2 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Shortbread cookie ingredients.
Cream the butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla.
Slowly add the flour.
Divide the dough in two.
Spread about 1/8 cup of brown sugar on a cutting board, roll the dough into a log, roll the log of dough on the brown sugar so the outside is completely covered, next wrap it up in plastic.
Get some mini-chocolate chips (you can use cranberries, raisins, etc.)

Add the mini chocolate chips, roll it and wrap it up in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for 1-1.5 hours.

Slice them 3/8" thick and place on a cookie sheet liined with parchment paper.

Slice and bake in the oven 12-15 mins!

Eat them up!

Package them up and give them as small gifts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Craft #4: Tinsel Glass Ornament

Christmas time is full of lights, glitter and things that sparkle and shine :) This ornament is very sparkly and easy to do and involves one of my favorite things, TINSEL!  Not only is it simple to make but cheap too! Hope you guys like it!

Things You Will Need:

Tinsel *I got mine at the Dollar Store, a whole lot of it for just a buck!
Glass Ornaments
Glitter Alphabet Stickers (Optional, $1.99 for a pack at Michael's)
Ribbon (Optional)
Thin Pencil

Step-By-Step How To:
Supplies!  I would recommend using a 12"-14" piece of tinsel for a medium sized glass ornament. It's up to you how much you want to fill it up. 

Take the cap off the ornament.

Poke the tinsel inside the ornament with the pencil.

Put the cap back on.

Get some stickers and ribbon!

Tie the ribbon on the ornament.

Place the stickers on the center of the ornament.  I spelled out some common holiday words but you can also put someones initials on there to personalize it.

That's it! Easy enough right!?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Craft #3: Glitter Ornament

I am in full Christmas ornament/decoration mode.  This is my favorite time of year to make crafts for around the house or as mini gifts for people.  Glass ornaments are pretty cheap and can be customized in a lot of ways, this is a simple way to make a pretty glamorous looking ornament.  I found this fun project at Michael's but I will warn you it takes about 3-4 days for this ornament to dry but it is definitely worth it.  If you plan on making them for yourself or others do it a week ahead of time.  Don't let the dry time scare you off this project is extremely easy, quick and fun to do, you just add the paint, shake and let dry!

Glitter Ornament!

Things You Will Need:

1 2fl.oz bottle of Folk Art Extreme Glitter Acrylic Paint (In any color you wish: gold, silver, green, blue, etc., price:$2.49 per bottle)
Clear Glass Ornaments (I found mine on sale, $2.50 for 6 at Michael's but they usually cost $4.99 for 6)
Ribbon ($0.50)
Rubbing Alcohol
Small Funnel (optional)

Step-By-Step How To:

Things you will need.

Remove hanger and place a funnel on top (funnel is optional).

Pour 1 tsp of rubbing alcohol inside the ornament, place thumb over opening, swirl and shake it around.
Pour alcohol out and let dry.

Squeeze some of the Extreme Glitter paint into the ornament.  Place your thumb over the ornament opening and shake, swirl and tap it until the inside is completely coated.  If you feel you did not add enough Extreme Glitter add more until the ornament is completely coated.  If you added too much paint, over a trash can turn the ornament over and shake out excess paint.

Place the ornament back in its box and let it dry completely.  Rotate the ornament occasionally so it dries out evenly.  My house was pretty cold so my ornament took about 3-4 days to dry.

Once your ornament is dry cut some ribbon and tie it on the hanger of the ornament.

Seal the ends of the ribbon by putting them close to the flame of a candle in order to melt the ends slightly so they won't fray. Be very careful when doing this, if you put the ribbon too close to the flame it will shrivel up and burn away.

Glitzy Ornament :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Craft #1: Paper Christmas Tree

Paper X-mas Tree!
This blog is suppose to be not only about food but crafts too.  I was finally inspired to put up a craft post, especially since Christmas is coming around and I love making Christmas ornaments, cookies, decorations, and cards.  I saw a similar tree to this at a local craft store so I decided to make one for myself.  It's easy to do and you can get pretty creative with it but is kind of time consuming since you have to cut all of the paper strips and glue each one individually. I bought a large cone so it too me longer to do but this would make a great ornament if made from little cones :)

Things You Will Need:

1 Cone (Any size, I used 13.75"x5" cone, you can find it at any craft store for about $1-2)
3 Sheets of 12"x12" paper (try to choose patterns and colors that complement each other)
1 yard of ribbon (I used two ribbons to make it fancier)
Acrylic Paint (I used white because it matched the colors of the paper I was using, if the paper you are using is predominately green, use green paint, etc.)
1 small painting sponge
1 disposable plastic or foam plate
scissors (or paper cutter)
white glue
hot glue gun

Step by Step How To:

Things you will need

Put some acrylic paint on to the plate

Paint the cone, give it 2 coats of paint.
Cut the paper into strips:
4 - 0.75" strips
4 - 1" strips
4 - 1.25" strips 

Now cut the strips into 3" sections

Add a little bit of white glue to one end of the strip, next fold over and hold for 10-15 seconds. Continue to do this until you have finished all the strips.

Put glue on one side of the folded strip and press against the painted cone for 10-15 seconds.  Start by putting the wider strips at the bottom; as you work your way up the cone reduce the size of the strips.  Hence, for the bottom portion use the 1.25" strips, for the middle portion use the 1" strips and for the top portion use the 0.75" strips. 

You can overlap the strips however you'd like.

Make a bow with the ribbon.

Heat up your glue gun and add some hot glue to the back of the bow, place the bow on top of the tree and hold down for about 5 seconds.
And that's it!
The tree is pretty easy and fun to make! When my sister saw the tree she thought I had bought it so that was definitely a plus! :) What are some of your favorite holiday crafts?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quick and Easy Pecan Brittle

I love to eat brittle and I found this recipe on the Good House Keeping website, it's super easy and quick to make and you can pretty much use any type of nuts you want.  It makes a really cute garnish to put on top of pumpkin pie or ice cream.  You can even just eat them as a snack and pack them up in cute little bags to give your friends since the recipe is super simple and delicious!
Pecan Brittle!
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

  1. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and place cookie sheet on wire rack since the foil and cookie sheet will get very hot when topped with the caramel/nut mixture. 
  2. In heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat sugar and water on medium until mixture turns golden, about 5-8 minutes. 
  3. With a heat-safe spatula, stir in pecans and cook 30 seconds. 
  4. Working quickly and carefully, pour hot caramel/nut mixture onto foil and carefully lift and tilt cookie sheet slightly (holding foil in place) to spread caramel into a thin even layer. 
  5. Let brittle cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  6. When cool, peel foil away, and break brittle into pieces, pack up as sweet snack or use as a garnish.
Cookie sheet lined with foil.
Cooking the sugar and water until it's golden brown.
Spreading the caramel/nut mixture on the foil.

Breaking the brittle into pieces!
Using the pecan brittle as a garnish for pumpkin ice cream! yum!!