Just a little place for me to post to my hearts content. My crafts and creations, photos and thoughts.

Feb 27, 2012

Devil's Food Cupcakes

 I love trying new from-scratch cake recipes, always hoping to find the ultimate tastes-like-its-from-a-box mix winner. Sounds backwards and counter intuitive, but its the truth. The box mixes, to me, always taste super moist and fluffy. However a problem that arises is my disorganization, or lack of proper documentation, after trying all those recipes. I have many recipes I've written or printed or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but at this point just can't remember how they've all turned out, so i find myself just searching for a new one. I am hoping that documenting these trials on this blog, something that cannot get lost, or ruined or forgotten, will help me with my search.

 Recently I made these Devil's Food cupcakes. They came out pretty good I'd say. I topped them with a chocolate ganache glaze.

                ~~    Here is the Recipe:     ~~
2         Cups   Flour
2         Cups   Sugar
3/4      Cup    cocoa powder (or 4 oz.of unswtnd. chocolate and a reduction of 4 Tb. of fat from recipe)
2 tsp.     baking soda
1 tsp.     salt
1 tsp.     baking powder

1   Cup Veg. oil
1  Cup hot coffee
1  Cup milk

2 Lg eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla

            ~~Here is what I did:       ~~
((*First off I had to substitute a few things, I was out of cocoa powder so looked up how to use baking chocolate bars instead, I found that I could use 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and reduce any oil or fat by 4 Tablespoons, so that is what I did. I also used instant espresso powder in hot water for the coffee and as usual I try to reduce a little sugar whenever I can and so used 1 3/4 cups instead of 2. **))

  Preheat oven to 325 degrees,  grease and flour (2) 9'' pans, (1) 9''x13'', or make cupcakes!
Sift the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix wet ingredients.
 (* I heated the milk, water and espresso powder until a little bubbly then I poured it over the chopped 4 oz. of chocolate let it sit a moment then mixed it all up, then added it to the remaining wet ingredients and proceeded with the rest of the recipe directions*)
Combine the dry and the wet and pour into pan(s) or cupcake tins.  Bake 45 minutes, but for cupcakes Id start checking them around 25-30 minutes for done-ness.

I topped them with a simple chocolate glaze or ganache, I'm a little unsure of the measurements or recipe I used but will add one I have in my notebook that I more than likely used.
1/2 Cup heavy cream
8 ounces chopped chocolate
1 Tablespoon butter
1 tsp. instant espresso powder.

heat cream until just bubbling. pour over chopped chocolate and espresso. Let sit 2 minutes. whisk in butter and continue until smooth.

Feb 8, 2012

Valentine's Heart shaped pot-holder

   I was looking for a cute item I could whip up and make for everyone i know for Valentine's gifts and settled on this Heart shaped pot-holder from Martha Stewart. Let's just say that won't be happening. I should have known going in that anything using quarter inch seam binding is ALWAYS a major pain in the ass, but I kept telling myself to do it, DO IT!    Also, in an effort to make it more ouch proof I used 2 layers of natural batting and a layer of insul-bright. (The Martha pattern calls for 3 layers of only batting) I also did a light machine quilting to hold those layers together better.
 Add to that  a few layers of cotton and it was just too thick for that teensy tiny quarter inch binding.
 I ended up doing a zig zag stitch over the edges to seal all the loose ends up, and I do like the way it turned out, but now my easily aggravated and short attention spanned mind has said "OK,...that's enough" for this project for the time being. 
           Pot holder directions can be found HERE   please note that the pattern prints out small and you are expect to enlarge it by 200% , which I find silly since the final size could have easily been provided in the first place, SECOND the pattern and instructions are incomplete as written and printed. I printed out 3 and cut one out as the pocket template and another as the batting template.
Purlbee.com has provided a correct printable template HERE

                    all the pretty pieces

Feb 7, 2012

Learning to crochet

  Well, last week I tought myself how to crochet using youtube videos, and it's been just the fun little thing I've needed to beat these gloomy winter blues.  The first thing I made was a "face cloth" and ehh, it's a bit unique. You can see the progress as I got the hang of things.

 Next I started making flowers out of any yarn I had lying around.

and finally I went out and got myself some wool yarn so that I could make some flowers and then Felt them in the washing machine.
((top is a double petal, bottom left a triple petal and bottom right I'm calling a marigold))

I've really enjoyed it and look forward to tuning my new-found skills.
( Bad photos taken courtesy of my cell phone)

Here's the marigold before being felted.