Monday, February 11, 2008

I *heart* S'Mores

I really do. So, when I saw that people were making them completely from scratch (sorry I can't find the link and can't remember where I saw them!), I had to try it. I made my own graham crackers and my own marshmallows. Let me give the recipes and tell you about my experiences.

Homemade Graham Crackers

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 c hot water, approximately

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour till coarse. Add sugar, soda, cream of tartar, egg and enough hot water to make dough that can be rolled like pastry. Roll 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on a board sprinkled with a little white flour. Cut into 3 inch squares. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on rack. Brush tops with butter.

This is the recipe I decided to use. I got it from the Hodgson Mill website. The graham crackers were certainly easy to make. Pretty much the same as any cookie. I did forget to take the butter out of the freezer and I had to use a shredder to "cut" the butter into the flour. I decided I actually like doing it that way better and will try that technique again some time. The end result wasn't what I expected. They did not taste like your traditional graham cracker. They were more like those fancy thick wheat crackers - sorta a cookie sorta a cracker. Make sense? The kids LOVED them. I decided to cut the crackers into heart shapes since we are so close to Valentine's day.

Although I may make the graham crackers again, I don't think I will call them graham crackers.

On to the marshmallows.....
A while back I found a recipe for marshmallows. I decided they were way to hard. That was before I had a KitchenAid. Cooking is easy if you have the correct tools. I used a Martha Stewart recipe and I must say the end result was quite delicious. The kids loved making them and loved eating them even more. Here is the recipe and picks....

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let it stand 30 minutes.

Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust an 8 x 12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out.

As you can see, I also cut the marshmallows to match the crackers. After I made them I packaged them with some cute mini chocolate chips. They were so cute. I put them in the fridge until I got around to mailing them. Two days later I removed them from the fridge and testing one. YUCK!!! The marshmallows had turned hard and chewy. The "crackers" were soggy. I let them warm up and the crackers tasted gross (maybe from the butter you brush on!) and the marshmallows were still rubbery. The whole thing ended up in the trash. I am sorry. It is awful I know. Imagine how heart broken I felt over it. So, those of you that would expect a Valentine from us may not get a little surprise this year (remember the caramels from last year?).

Just a note....I had a ton of marshmallows left over and had put them in a ziplock bag in the cabinet. They are still yummy.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Birdseed Pine cones

Last week we made birdseed pine cones. First we recycled the pine cones from our Christmas Wreath. We took them and smeared a healthy amount of peanut butter all over them. Notice Jude took a taste or two or three for himself. After we had them completely covered we rolled them in birdseed. It was a little messy but not too bad. Then we hung them on our front porch. So far I haven't seen any birds. Hopefully they will find our food soon. I have the camera ready so I can capture a picture.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Candy Wreath

The ladies from our church got together and did a little crafty project. We made a candy wreath. I enjoyed it so much I made another when I came home. Check them out.

It is really easy to make these. If you are interested the directions are HERE.
I gave mine away the next day so I wouldn't eat it all.

Wordless Wednesday....Cookies

Friday, November 30, 2007

Magnets Part Two.

I LOVE photo gifts. There are so many options out there these days. I bought more of those glass beads only bigger ones this time. I tried putting photos underneath and they just seems distorted SO...I compromised and decoupaged the photos on the top and stuck a magnet on the back. I made a ton of these last night while sitting in front of the T.V. I am only showing you the ones of my kids. Aren't they cute?

Meet My Girls...

I am so excited about these. I made them as Christmas gifts for some of the younger girls in my life. I think they are the sweetest things. I forget how much I paid for the clothespins but I think it was a couple of bucks for 30. I also bought a heavy duty craft glue that works on practically everything. It was also a few bucks. The fabric for the clothing was scraps I had from old stained up clothing. I used paint for their faces. I tried using sharpie markers but it bled a lot and that annoyed me so I painted the sweet little faces on.

If you are interested in making your own they are simple. There isn't really a method, though. I think you have to apply your own style. I spent a lot of time looking up these dolls on line and they are all dramatically different. If I get around to it I plan on making a doll pouch for the girls. Of course I will post photos.