Make, Jane, make!: 2010


Small Share

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Baking This Year and Last

So I hope this is not indicative of my Christmas baking future... but here are some pictures of last year's batch of Christmas cookies:

Even I was impressed I was able to churn those babies out while balancing work and third-trimester pregnancy! And here's what everyone got this year:

Not to play down the deliciousness of this year's gift, because as much thought and love went into these chocolate goodies as the cookies of previous years... but significantly less time was needed for these gifts than yesteryear's Christmas cookie assembly line. Let's just say that a delay in home renos, combined with a child whose birthday is in the Christmas season, and being the go-to house for Christmas dinner made for a very tight timeline for Christmas gift making. Throw in some ambitious sewing and crafting projects and I pretty much set myself an impossible Christmas to-do list :P  So with that in mind, I'm going to hope that this year was an anomaly in my Christmas baking history and try to be better with my scheduling next year. (More on what else I did this Christmas in later posts.)

And in case you're wondering if I was giving away strange chocolate lollipops, check out the great hot chocolate on a stick ideas at Giver's Log. Also, even if you think it's not worth the effort... it totally is worth it for homemade marshmallows (@ the kitchn).

btw: You should totally check out the other great stuff on Giver's Log. I love the cupcake domes... that'll probably be the takeaway craft at our next birthday party!

I have to admit that I am proud of the good temper I got one those hot choco sticks though! I didn't use a thermometer... just low heat, decent quality chocolate and a good amount of unmelted chocolate bits to be my tempering seeds. It's actually the first time that I've been patient and diligent enough to get chocolate that was shiny and crrrr-acked right out of the mold. My version of the Giver's Log recipe was:

Hot Chocolate On A Stick (modified from Giver's Log recipe)
  • 24 oz chocolate, well chopped (I liked a 16 oz dark to 8 oz milk chocolate ratio)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
This filled two ice cube trays, or made 28 cubes of hot chocolate. Each of which dissolve into 8-12 ounces of whole milk to make a more-than-chocolatey-enough mug of goodness. I found that I didn't need to use a piping bag to fill the trays... just two spoons and a lot of tapping to get the chocolate to settle down into the compartments. I hate letting chocolate go to waste so the chocolate that I didn't "couldn't" scrape out of the bowl just got washed out with some hot milk, as did any chocolate messy bits that landed on the ice cube tray, instead of in it.

The lovely finished morsels were packaged together with a baggie full of homemade vanilla marshmallows for the perfect "after the kids have gone to bed" snack. 

Oh and those marshmallows are to die for... I even had a few marshmallow-haters converted! Another post on another day for what else I learned to do after making homemade marshmallows...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Full Plate.

Hello dear friends in the electronic world,

After following, reading, and admiring the words and works of all the amazing crafty women and men out there on the world wide web, I feel a little inspired to set myself the challenge of attempting to join the ranks of craft bloggers.

 So, without further ado...

My name is Jane. I am the loving and doting wife of one loving and doting hubby and the mother of two (so far!) beautiful boys. I enjoy anything to do with home-making, although my favs are definitely cooking/baking and sewing/knitting. During my time outside of domesticity, I like to ride on pure powder (or on icy snow :P) in the winter,  play at being a gardener in the summer, or run with some good tunes going any time of year!

Right now life is pretty hectic (toddler and baby, need I say more?) And as the title says, I definitely have a full plate. But like a good potluck table the more you try, the more you want to pile it on. So I'm going to try to add on a little online archiving of my daily/weekly/monthly doings and see how well I can manage this china balancing act. Hopefully at the end of it all, I'll be able to look back once in a while and feel like I do accomplish things while staying at home :) So please join me by pulling up a comfortable chair, bringing on the grub, and letting the gluttony begin!