Monthly Archives: January 2012

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

Here’s another delicious little treat we made to give away as Christmas cookie gifts. I love the cherry/almond flavor combination, so I chose these a little more for me than anyone else. 🙂

These were a little more involved, but the kids loved rolling the dough into balls. My daughter also helped dip the cookies in white chocolate. A little messy, but fun.

These were another Pinterest find. (Do you follow me on Pinterest?) The yummy recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens.

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60.

Birds Nest Necklaces

I fell in love with these adorable necklaces when I saw them on Etsy. Imagine my delight to find DIY instructions on Pinterest!

I bought the supplies on Black Friday with a Michael’s coupon. I didn’t have any needle-nose pliers or wire cutters, so I bought a set. I used waxed linen cord instead of the chain (because it was cheaper) I spent about $10 for the wire, beads, cord and findings.

The little nests only take 5 to 10 minutes to make. I made a few each night while watching TV with the hubby. It took me a couple of practice runs before I got the hang of wrapping the wire securely. Keep playing with it until you find a method that works well for your hands.

Follow the tutorial I used on SarahOrtega.com.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

We made these tasty little treats to give as Christmas cookie gifts. Hardly any made it out of the kitchen! They are exactly as the name describes: gooey, butter-y, chocolate-y.

And they’re from Paula Deen. Does it get any more decadently delicious?

(Sorry for the terrible photo. I snapped it from my cell phone before they all disappeared.)

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

(from Paula Deen)

Ingredients

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
1   (18 ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
1   (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1   egg
1   stick of butter, room temperature

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Dyeing Yarn with Kool-Aid and Food Coloring

I love dyeing my own yarn for knitting and crochet projects. Kool-Aid, food coloring and icing dyes are perfect mediums for dyeing yarn. Not only is this a fun project, but you get to customize your color scheme to your personal preferences. My daughter loves to help select colors and dye yarn (and get a little messy too!).

The yarn pictured above and below was dyed with Kool-Aid and food coloring. I intended the colors to be very soft and muted. I knit the yarn into an easy child-size Keyhole Scarf for my daughter. The scalloped pattern showed off the variegated yarn well.

 

Here are more pictures of yarn I’ve dyed. The darker colors were created with Wilton Icing Dyes or several packets of Kool-Aid. The higher the concentration of dye in the water, the more vibrant (or dark) the color will be.

   

Want to dye your own yarn? Here are a few tutorials:

Knitty: Dyed in the Wool — specifics on Kool-Aid dyeing

Kool-Aid Dyeing — step-by-step tutorial

Dyeing Protein Fibers with Kool-Aid — these are the instructions I followed

Free eBook: Organized Simplicity

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider

I would want to read this book even if it wasn’t free. The title sounds so wonderful: Organized Simplicity. Give me some of that.

…At the foundation of this book is the idea of redefining simplicity. You must understand simple living as something more than just a catch phrase, some pie-in-the-sky ambition, a trend. Only then will you find the motivation to create a simpler life that works for you, your family, and your home.
–Tsh Oxenreider, Organized Simplicity

Download the free eBook now.