Monday, November 24, 2014

Prince Charming Scones!

Recently a friend of mine asked me to bake some scones (you know, like 70 or 80!) for her to give as holiday gifts to her friends :)  She knows that I really like baking and hope to someday open something like a bakery or baked goods business (click here for my site: Fairytale Baked Goods!).  She loves my scones and wants her friends to love them too so they will order too!  What a great friend, right?!  So her challenge to me: make some kind of coffee, chocolate, and nut scone.  I tried out something today the scones came out great.  Introducing: Prince Charming scones: coffee, chocolate chips, and walnut scones topped with a crunchy sugar crust!  Hey, something with coffee and chocolate sounds like a prince to me (especially early in the morning)!  Below is my recipe if you want to make your own Prince Charmings ;)  

Prince Charming Scones!
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder (Toll House is my fave)
1 Tablespoon of instant coffee (you know, the stuff people stir into hot water)
6 Tablespoons of salter butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk 
1 egg
2 teaspoons of coffee extract (don't be fancy, I got the store brand)
2/3 cups of mini chocolate chips
2/3 cups of chopped walnuts

2-3 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1/4 cup of white sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Foil a pan, lightly spray it with cooking spray, and set it aside.
Mix the heavy cream, milk, egg, and extract in a cup, and put it in the fridge.  Stir with a fork the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and instant coffee.  Cut the butter into dime size pieces and put them into the flour mix.  Use 2 knives, a fork, or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mix until you get mostly pea-size pieces of butter in the flour.  Dump in the chocolate chips and walnuts and stir until evenly dispersed. Pour in the cream mixture and stir with a fork until you have a loose dough (don't over mix).  Carefully pour out the dough onto a surface (I use a floured cutting board) and do your best to form it into a ball.  Fold the dough, bring it back together, and repeat a few times.  Then, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.  Shape both pieces into round disks about an 1-1/2 thick.  Then cut each disk in half and each half into 4 wedges.  Place the wedges on your foiled and sprayed pan and brush each wedge with cream.  Sprinkle each wedge well with sugar.  Bake for about 16 minutes, cool, and enjoy!  :)  

Note: I usually freeze my scones and take one out as I want one...or two.  For reheating, defrost in the microwave for 1 minute until soft (not too warm) and toast in the toaster oven or regular oven at 350 for 3-4 minutes.  If you're like my mom who tells me that cooking/baking gives her a rash (LOL), just nuke a frozen scone for 30 seconds in the microwave ;) 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Favorite Biscuits!

A good biscuit recipe is hard to find!  I've made different kinds of biscuits using various recipes, but I always come back to the one below (adapted from Dishing the Divine's recipe).  The biscuits come out flaky, buttery, and magical (because they disappear almost immediately!) Har har ;-)

Favorite Biscuits! 
Note: I use a food processor for this recipe, but if you don't have one you can use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut in the butter to the flour mix, and then a spoon to mix in the buttermilk. 


-1 stick of cold, salted butter
-2 cups of all purpose flour
-2 teaspoons of baking power
-1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-A smidgen less than 1 Tablespoon of white sugar (so close to 3/4)
-3/4 cup of buttermilk (use buttermilk from the store or "made buttermilk" made by adding 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes.  Save or discard the extra 1/4 cup of buttermilk after using the 3/4 cup for this recipe.) 
-2 Tablespoons of half and half or cream to brush the tops of the biscuits before they go in the oven.  

Prep work:
-Cut up 1 stick of cold, salted butter into half inch pieces on a plate and put them in the freezer for a few minutes to super chill them.
-Preheat your oven to 450 (you will drop it down to 425 once you put your biscuits in).  
-Place foil on a baking sheet and spray it with a little non-stick spray.

Directions: In a food processor, put in the flour, powder, salt, soda, and sugar and pulse a few times 'till you think it's all been combined.  Put in your butter pieces and pulse 'till they look like rough crumbs (not too small because you're going to keep processing it).  Next pour in the buttermilk and pulse until the dough just starts to form a mass in the processor.  Empty out the rough dough mass onto a lightly floured surface, form one piece of dough with your hands, roll it out with a rolling pin a little bit, and sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour.  Next you're going to fold your dough a few times, roll it out, fold it up again, roll it out again, and fold & roll one last time.  The last roll out should leave your dough about a 1/2 inch thick (this creates those yummy layers as it bakes later).

So at this point, get out your biscuit cutter (or use just use a wine glass like I do!) and go to work cutting out your "first cut" of biscuits (don't twist on your way down, just push straight down.  The twisting seals the dough and prevents some of those layers).  Your "first cut" refers to all your initial dough before it's been re-rolled and re-cut (second cut).  Place your first cut of biscuits on your cookie sheet and then gently and quickly reform a biscuit dough mass with the remaining dough.  Roll it out and lightly flour if needed.  Make your second cut and place those on the cookie sheet.  If you are like me and want to use all the dough possible, go ahead and do a third cut (those are usually my 'tasting biscuits' because they don't end up as pretty as the first & second cuts).  The biscuits in the top row in the photo below are the second & third cuts:

After all the biscuits are on your cookie sheet, brush the tops with those 2 Tablespoons of half and half or cream (this helps to make a nice, creamy crust on top).  Then, place your biscuits on the middle rack in your oven, turn the temp down to 425 and bake for 12-13 minutes until you get the color you want.  The temp drop helps the biscuits puff up.  

After they've finished baking, take them out, and immediately place them on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.  Then... enjoy!   

Yum!  I hope you love these as much as we do! :)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Cheesy Chex Mix!

Hey there!  :)  This holiday season I've been working on perfecting my own 'home made' chex mix.  I put quotes around that because most mixes (including mine) don't require home making anything; you just mix pre-made things together in sauce and bake it.  It's still delicious, just not super home made-y (oh well right?!).  

Tonight I made the recipe below and it turned out so good that I wanted to share it with you!  Super easy to make!!  It's a little cheesy and I'm sure you could make it more so by adding even more cheese-flavored goodies to the mix.

Jen's Cheesy Chex Mix :-)

Wet ingredients:
-3 Tablespoons of butter or margarine (I use can't believe its not butter)
-1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
-3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Dry ingredients:
-1 cup broken up* mini pretzels
-1 cup broken up* cheddar sun chips
-1 cup broken up* cheddar bagel chips
-1 cup of cheddar gold fish crackers
-1 and 1\2 cups of rice Chex
-1 and 1\2 cups of corn Chex
(*Broken up = pieces roughly the same size as the Chexes)

Heat oven to 250°.  Melt the butter, sauce, and seasonings in the microwave (30 or so seconds).  Whisk the mixture together and set aside.

In a large bowl mix Chexes and half of the other prepared snack mixes together.  Stir in the sauce mixture and coat the Chex mixture.  When most of the mix is coated, add in the rest of the prepared snack mixes and stir to combine.  

Pour mix into an un-greased 13x9-inch pan and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread your Chex mix on paper towels to cool for about 15 minutes and enjoy some deliciousness!  Store in airtight container.  

Happy New Year!

Monday, September 3, 2012

What to do with all those cute clippies!

If you love clippies as much as I do, you (like me) probably have an impressive collection ;)  My clippies used to be all over my sink, on counters, etc. until I Googled hair clip storage and learned about bow boards.  As you can see, bow boards are framed boards with ribbons on them that you can clip your clippies onto.  Genius right?!  

I love this idea, but decided on an easier, but similar project for today; which I call a Clip Strip!  

What I did was find a wider piece of ribbon that I liked, figured out how long I wanted it to be, and hot glued a Command Picture Hanging Strip to the back of the ribbon.  I opted for the strips instead of a thumbtack or hook because I want the clip strip to stay on the wall when I take clippies off.

The Command strips velcro to each other and create a strong seal: 

I hot glued the ribbon and strip together so that the bond would be strong between the fabric and the adhesive and not fall off my wall: 

Next steps: vertically adhere your Clip Strip to the wall with the Command strip and secure your clippies! :)

A+ Accessory Storage!

Empty oatmeal container=clever headband storage! 

Recently I've started wearing more headbands, and I've been trying to find a good way to store them all and keep them looking nice. I Googled headband storage and found this great idea from Makoodle.   

This project includes an empty oatmeal can, batting (or I used fleece), hot glue gun (yes I cringed too, but I found a good one that doesn't burn!), cute fabric, and ribbon.  

When I first saw Makoodle's 'how to' I have to admit that I was not super excited about a fabric craft because I haven't used fabric in a lot of crafts.  I wrote a list of what I needed and headed to my local Joann's Fabrics store.  I didn't know where to start so I told a very nice store associate what I wanted to do and what I needed.  She introduced me to the remnant section where I found a piece of fleece that worked as my batting:

Then I found my way over to the fabrics and picked up some fabric quarters I liked (cheaper than buying yards):

Then, I went in search of the most feared item on my list: the hot glue gun!  Chuckle as you may, I have memories (and scars!) of when I was younger and used the hot glue gun for projects-ouch!  Very happily I found a 'Cool Shot' which is advertised to be safe and cooler than other guns.  I have to tell you that it was a little more than a regular glue gun, but so worth it!  Even when I accidently touched the 'hot' glue, I did not get burned :)  Magic!  

Once I got home, I cleaned out my empty oatmeal can with a damp paper towel and got to batting!  I'm big on eye-balling my measurements rather than writing them down so that's what you see below:

Then I got to 'cool' gluing ;)  I did two layers of the fleece:

I kept room at the top so that the lid could still fit.  This way I had extra storage inside the container:

Then I glued the fabric onto the fleece:


Then I glued a ribbon around the top and seam of the container:

I attached a mock handle on the top of the lid for extra detail:

A place for everything and everything in its place :) :

P.S.: Check out all this room inside the container!:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cocoa Crispy Treats (I'm almost positive that they are 100% gluten free!)

I'm going to an all day training tomorrow for work so I thought it'd be fun to bring a treat to share with my comrades ;).  One of my buds can't have gluten so I challenged myself to make a treat that she could have and we could all enjoy together.  

I researched online and finally decided on rice crispy treats!  The articles and comments that I read told me that butter and marshmallows are typically gluten free, (readers correct me if that's wrong please!), so that just left the crispies.  

I set out looking for crispies that were gluten free and finally found them at Whole Foods (Kroger and Target didn't have any).  I bought a box of Enviro Kidz Organic Koala Crisp cereal and set to work.

I melted 4.5 Tablespoons of butter in a deep pot, and then melted 6 cups of mini marshmallows (1 bag) in the pot.  I transfered the mixture to a large bowl that held 6 cups of Koala Crisp (1 box) and stirred until everything was combined.  I then transfered the sticky deliciousness to a greased pan.  

There were a few crispies left in the bowl so I did a taste test and found out that Koala Crisps are cocoa flavored (surprise!)  When I originally opened the bag I could tell that the crispies were darker than other kinds I've seen, but I thought that was just because they were gluten free (you can tell I'm very new to the gluten-free world!!!)

Since I was a kid I've always loved this treat, but let me tell you, cocoa is the way to go go!!!  The chocolately-salty-buttery-marshmallowy taste is sooo yummy!  Gluten free or not these are some of the best rice crispy treats I've ever had!  Try it out for yourself :) 

P.S. Are you looking for gluten free candy?  Here's a list of gluten free Valentines (and other) candy! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tie, Tuck, and Twist Your Way to a Great Fall Look!

In the fall I love pulling my scarves out of storage and thinking about which cooler weather clothes to pair them with.  Each year I've worn them in pretty similar ways, but this year I wanted to try out some new cute styles.  

The first style that I found and really liked is called the Four in Hand:

It's a just a little bit different than the classic slip knot that I usually do with this scarf:

Another style that I think looks sweet is the half bow:

It adds a little bit of drama, but still looks very stylish. offers over 37 different ways to tie scarves.  You can peruse all of them by viewing their short video clips.

Check it out and try a new, clever style for yourself today! :)  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cute and Easy Halloween Craft

Halloween is my favorite holiday :)  It's during my favorite season and it just seems like the world is a little more creative and fun this time of year.  

 Lately I've been checking out all of the awesome Halloween projects on Craft Gwaker and Dollar Store Crafts and have been inspired to create my own spooky craft ;)

I was able to purchase the items needed for this craft from my local dollar store:

Glass votive holders

Battery operated votives
Halloween ribbons
Googly eyes

 In addition to the items above I used double sided tape and thinner Halloween ribbon to create my spooky candle holder.

This is the Halloween ribbon I found. It was a little wider than the votive holder was tall so I cut it down to fit.

I used double sided tape to secure the ribbon to the votive holder.  

Then I attached (double sided tape again) the thinner ribbon to hide the seams...

And to hide the fringe that came off the wider ribbon after I cut it.

I dropped in my battery operated votive and thought I was done...

But then I saw my googly eyes and thought, 'hmm, this could be a little cuter!'  So I covered the jack-o-lanterns' eyes with the googly eyes (using little bits of double sided tape).

I have to say that it turned out pretty good!  Clever even ;)

I hope you try this project out for yourself :)  

Note: I made these for a battery operated votive candle so I don't know how the tape and googly eyes will react with the heat from a real candle.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Perfect Party Drink for True Blood's Season 4 Finale or Your Halloween Party!

My friends and I love the HBO series True Blood based off of the infinitely better book series by Charlaine Harris, The Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Each Sunday night we excitedly wait for an episode to air (like vamps wait in their coffins for the sun to set!)

Recently we created the most temping drink to sate our thirsts before the show started.  ;)  (I'm really getting into this vampire theme)!  We call it V (it's what Vampire Blood is called on True blood).  

V would be great for your own True Blood party/marathon or upcoming Halloween party!

Start by making 1 large box of your favorite flavor of any red jello (cherry, strawberry, even raspberry can work great!).  Strawberry was our favorite flavor to use.  

Let the jello set up until it's jello and then deposit spoonfuls of it onto a flat plate (we found that making the jello in a casserole dish cuts out this step).  

Use a fork to go through and make 'vampire guts' (what True Blood's director Alan Ball thinks vampires look like when they meet their demise).

Spoon the vamp guts into clear cups.

Then fill the cups up with your favorite fizzy red drink (half jello, half fizzy drink).  In our trials we tried sparkling blood orange and sparkling cranberry and then Faygo red pop.  Faygo won!  It tasted the best with our strawberry 'guts'.  

Mmmmm, bloody!  

This taboo drink was easy to make and waaay fun to drink; probably a good one to make with kids as well :)  If you wanted to add a little adult into the mix you could probably follow a jello shot recipe for when you prepare the drink's innards!

Until next time, enjoy your V and the season finale of True Blood season 4!

Note: Me (left in the black and coral) and Arika (mid-right in the white and blue) worked together to perfect this recipe. Our men happily volunteered to be 'scary' in this photo ;).  Check out Arika's blog, Happy Home!