Sunday, August 7, 2011

Peppermint Fudge Crinkle Cookies

Good Mornin', Dearies!  How are you on this fine Sunday morning?  I hope you're all feeling well and many good things are blessing you today.  If it's not one of those "good" days or "times" for you, rest assured, these things will pass.  You will be able to get through it and better times are in store for you.  My Mother always taught us, when you're going through a hard time, its because God has something extra special in store for you.  He'll make up double of what you lost or what has been done to you.   

Well now, on that note, let me get to something really special I came across from one of the other Mrs. Santa's, Jean Marie.  At one of our club meetings, she shared this recipe with us; and, I wanted to pass it on to all of you because it looks so delicious!

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted chocolate, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup canola oil, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract.

Stir in the eggs, one at a time until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly combined.

Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; mix just until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or place in your freezer for 45 minutes until the dough is chilled. This will make the dough easier to work with.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, begin rolling the cold dough into portions about the size of a tablespoon or portion using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop.

In 2 separate bowls, separate the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 3/4 cup powdered sugar.

Roll each ball of dough first in the granulated sugar followed by a generous amount of powdered sugar.

Place about 2-inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until the center of the cookie is set. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on cooling racks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Which Reindeer Food to Choose for Rudolph?

Cupid and Comet with Santa - Reindeer Games, Hartford, Wisconsin
Photo Courtesy of Reindeer Owner and Breeders Association

There are many recipes to choose from when deciding what to feed Santa's Reindeer.  Did you know they're also known as caribou? 

Like us, each reindeer has their own preference for what they like to eat. Ohhh, Dancer does love his apples and Comet is big on carrots. Donna will even nibble on a little spinach; but, they all have a basic Reindeer diet they that is rich in nutrients to keep them healthy and strong to pull Santa's sleigh, especially through those cold, snowy Christmas Eve Nights.

Before they came to live with us, they used to eat shrubs and grasses, Reindeer Moss and mushrooms, occasionally some bird's eggs, small fish (artic char) and rodents (lemmings) and some fruits. you know...I enjoy cookin' and bakin' up a storm of special treats for everyone!  Now, they definitely have a lot more variety in their diet, which is still very good for them and much more enjoyable then having the same old boring thing all the time!  I've added things like hay and alfalfa, commercial deer food, grasses and other vegetation, willow and birch trees, leafy weeds like dandelions, and carrots and apples as treats.

BUT, the best food is the one that helps make them FLY, which I'm about to share with you right here!  Shhh!  It's a secret recipe!  We don't want everyone creating traffic jams in the sky now, do we?! It's bad enough trying to get to the nearby store.  I remember when there were only...I digress...Anyhoo, Santa would never be able to get through with all that traffic. But, we don't have to worry about that now, do we?  I trust you can keep a secret.

Everyone says its the magic of Christmastime that makes Santa's reindeer fly.  Well, that is partially true.  However, its this recipe that keeps them up there!  If it weren't for that, they'd fall right out of the sky after a short sprint!

Oh yes, the secret recipe.  Here it is.  You can help Santa on Christmas Eve by whipping this up for his team and sprinkling it outside so they can have a little nack-nack (my version for snack-snack).

Here's one recipe:

Photo Courtesy of Today's Creative Blog

Here's another for a little change:

Get yourself a nice selection of food that is safe for birds and animals to eat.  This can be dried oatmeal, cereal, birdseed, Christmas sprinkles, sparkly sugar crystals...things of that sort...and mix it all together.  And, you're all set!

Photo Courtesy of Tom Kat Studio

Elf Tom Kat actually gave these as gifts one year and created these wonderful gift tags to go along with them:  Magic Reindeer Food.

Now you have another one of my secret recipes that you can pass down through your family!  After all, its important to carry on tradition.  Isn't it, my fellow Mrs. Santa's.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Cupcake Ornaments - Retro Style!

I love these ornaments.  They are so much fun to make and very easy to do.  There is an earlier blog post for making more cupcake ornaments, too, where you can find the basic instructions.  This style was shared by Prudent Baby  who found it on Bake It Pretty.  Bake It Pretty no longer maintain their blog; but, you can find some fun cupcake liners to use for these projects.

You need very few materials:

  • small Styrofoam balls (to fit mini cupcake liners)
  • something sparkly to mimic snow (glitter, mica flakes, glisten bagged snow, iridescent basket filler, iridescent very very tiny beads
  • mini cupcake liners 
  • something to decorate the top with like a gold jingle ball or red bead
  • ribbon or yarn to hang the ornament
  • glue gun to attach cupcake liner, hanger and bell
  • modge podge to spread on ball to attach your snow (you can use white spreadable glue but I always favor modge podge for everything
  • something to poke a hole in ball to glue and stick the ribbon and yarn in

Photo Courtesy of Prudent Baby

You can play and put the ingredients together yourself because there are so few materials to work with. Get the basic instructions from Tutorial: Glittery Cupcakes and Snowball Ornaments..  Let us know if you tried them!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tutorial: Glistening Snow Men

I found this eye catching decoration and found it to be so charming. Make sure to add LOTS, and I mean LOTS, of the glittering micro glitter to make it shine and sparkle like snow. Any of the winter and Christmas decorations I make are always covered with lots of the spray glitter. It's so appealing.

Tutorial for Glistening Snowmen

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tutorial: Glittery Cupcakes and Snowball Ornaments

Photo Courtesy of Fuzzy Sheep Crafts

Take a look at these great ornaments! They are very easy to make. Kids, large and small, can get involved. There are lots of kid-friendly crafts over at Fuzzy Sheep Crafts.

The basic tutorial teaches you how to make these great sparkly snowballs.

Photo Courtesy of Fuzzy Sheep Crafts

Build upon that lesson to make the cupcakes which are featured in the first picture above.
  1. Styrofoam balls (any size desired, these were 4”)
  2. White glue
  3. SnowFlakes (found at Michaels for about $3 a bag)
  4. Chopsticks
  5. Thin ribbon to hang ornament
  6. Clear Coat Spray
  7. Hot Glue

Step 1: Gently press a chopstick into each ball to serve as a handle. Paint your ball with a good thick coat of the white glue. The more the better as the glue soaks into the ball. Because the ball is white, and the snow is what, if you miss a spot or two don’t worry.

Step 2: Now for the messy/fun part! Dip your ball into the snow flakes and coat everything. Use your hands to press and smoosh the flakes into the glue. This helps things adhere and means less flaking off later. Once everything is well coated, allow to dry for an hour or two. I found it worked well if you just stood the chopstick up in a hefty coffee mug.

Step 3: Once everything is dry, give a quick and thin spray of some clear coat. This step isn’t completely necessary, but I did it to help prevent flake-off, my grudge against anything glittered. Allow the snow balls to dry again, for at least an hour. Do this in a well ventilated area, trust me.

Step 4: Once dry again, pull your chopstick out. Fill that hole with hot glue and use your chopstick to help you push the ends of a length of ribbon in to hang your snowball from. Allow to set and hang on your try for a sparkly Melt Free Snowball for your Christmas tree.

That's it!
Now, to turn them into Glittery Cupcakes, do this instead:
Extra Supplies:
  1. Styrofoam balls (2 1/2”)
  2. Red christmas berry pick
  3. Red tin foil cupcake liners
  4. Beads to simulate sprinkles

Step 1: Coat/cover/spray your snowballs as indicated above. The only difference is that you only need to cover the top portion of the ball, maybe just over a half.

Step 2: Once everything is dry, run a bead of hot glue along the inside edge of a cupcake liner. Carefully press your liner around the uncovered part of your snowball. I tried more white glue, but that didn’t work. Hot glue is my duct tape! Fixes everything.

Step 3: Once everything is set, snip a berry from your pick, being sure to leave enough wire to stab into the snowball. Use this wire to poke through the center of the ribbon you’ll use for your hanger. Add a dab of hot glue to hold everything together.

Step 4: Use the wire again to poke the cherry into the cupcake. If you want to make sure it’ll really stay, run a dab of hotglue along the wire just before poking it in.

Step 5: Add a few dabs of white glue here and there, and toss on a few beads to simulate sprinkles for extra cuteness.