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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cake Pops

Last night, I went to a New Year's Eve Eve party, and I decided to bring cake pops! I had never made them before, and thought it would be a good treat to try out. The recipe was very simple, but it turned out to be a lot more challenging than expected. 


First thing you'll  need to do if you want to try making your own is bake a cake. One of my favorites is chocolate, and I thought that was standard enough that a lot of people would like it. 
After you bake the cake, you'll need a really big bowl for crumbling the cake.  I started out by dumping the cooled cake into the biggest bowl in my kitchen, and ended up switching to one of my mom's huge pots when I realized the whole cake wouldn't fit. 


See? Way too full, and that's not even the whole cake! 
Anyway, crumble the cake into tiny bits. Next you'll add in half of  a container of frosting, but you can always add more if the mixture isn't sticky enough. You want it to be sticky enough to roll into balls, but not where it's gloppy.  I added chocolate frosting (sticking with the chocolate theme). 

After that, you can roll them into 1-inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet. They'll need to be refrigerated for an hour or two, but I'd recommend just doing it overnight. 

Cake/frosting mixture rolled into balls

 Next is the hard part. Use your favorite melting chocolate ( I used Candy Quick Melting Chocolate), dip a candy stick (can be found at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc) and dip the end in the chocolate and insert the stick about half way into the cake ball.  Then, you can dip the ball in the melted chocolate, coating it all the way around. If you want sprinkles, roll the coated ball in the sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet. After that, stand them up somewhere to dry, and keep them refrigerated until you're ready to eat! 

The finished product! 

Challenges:
1. If you let the cake balls sit out too long while you're dipping them, they'll get warm and fall apart. So I'd only do a few at a time and leave the rest in the fridge.  

2. I used chocolate frosting to hold them together, but chocolate on chocolate makes them REALLY RICH. Almost too sweet for me. I'd recommend using vanilla frosting instead of chocolate, and that will make them a little more bearable for those of us who don't have as much of a sweet tooth. 

3. I seriously underestimated the amount of dipping chocolate I needed, and had to go buy some more. Trust me, even if you think you've got too much, you probably don't have enough. These take a LOT of chocolate coating. 

Out of all this, I got about 24 cake pops (with a few mess-ups) and they turned out to be a huge hit at the party! 

Happy baking! 

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Ah, all of the Christmas festivities are finally over. I'm pretty sad! It's always been my favorite holiday.  I got to visit most of my extended family and even hang out with some crazy kids. My family tried to go to Hollywild to see Christmas lights, but after we arrived (and after an hour and a half drive) we found that they were closed "due to inclement weather". Pfffft, it wasn't even raining. Too bad the website didn't mention anything, but we'll be sure to call before we come next year! 

Check out some pictures from the holiday: 

Our awesome Clemson wreath



The Grandparents came with us to look at Christmas lights







Christmas with Mom's side of the family: 

The whole group!


\
Anna and I 

Goofing off with Abigail

Christmas with Dad's side of the family:

All the grandkids
 
Opening presents! 

The whole gang


Only 359 shopping days left until next Christmas! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Batiking Made Easy

So, I got the idea to do a Watermark T-shirt from the adorable Sweet Verbena. She's great, really. If I had half the amount of craftiness that she does, well, I'd be a lot more crafty. 

Anyway, it's a process called batiking, and it's actually really fun and super easy to do! Basically, you use a dye resist and whatever you write or draw on your shirt will become the negative image once it's finished. 

First, you'll need to grab a white t-shirt and some BLUE Elmer's Glue (the gel kind), and put something sturdy inside so the glue won't bleed through. 


After you write/draw what you want on it, you'll need to let it dry completely before you can do anything. This will take years. Okay not really, but you should probably just let it sit over night. 

What you put on the shirt is really up to you and your artistic ability! Since I do not have an artistic bone in my body, I wrote some text in cursive and even that was a challenge. 

You'll also want to prepare the dye bath using cool water, compared to the normal boiling water that you'd use for dyeing fabrics. Rit Dye is good stuff too, and Fuchsia is my personal favorite. Everyone knows that pink is the best color anyway.



Once it's dyed, lay it out flat to dry and let it dry completely before washing it. This lets the dye soak in all the way.


Drying is the last step, then it's ready to wear! It might fade a little over time, as most hand dyed fabrics do, so be weary of that when choosing your original color.

 
To see the original post from Sweet Verbena, click here.
To learn more about the art of batiking, click here.

Oh, and Merry Christmas Eve, errbody! And Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

There's a first time for everything...

Today was a monumental day. That's right, I made chocolate cookies from scratch for the first time. 

Harvested my own wheat for the flour and everything. Not really. Okay, I'll stop. 


The oldest of my two younger sisters helped me. See? Isn't she pretty?
Anna looooves measuring! 
The younger of the sisters had her wisdom teeth out yesterday, so she's out of commission for a while. I promised there'd be no chipmunk pictures floating around the internet. Darn. 

Basically, we used all the usual ingredients: 


Mixed them with my mom's fabulous KitchenAid Mixer: 


Oh yes, and the batter was delicious! 


We made them as big as we could without being too ridiculous.


And I think they turned out perfectly. 

I might take some leftovers to the 13,234,098 family gatherings I've got this week...if there are any left. Everyone loves cookies, right? Right? 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Boredom-Busting Crafts: Candle Making Edition!

Today  I did one of my favorite projects: making candles! Unfortunately, I had to make a pit stop at Hobby Lobby for some supplies and nearly got run over by soccer moms. Apparently Monday is a popular day for crafting... 

These candles are extra special though, because not only are they made with wax, they're also made with ice

Things you'll need: 
Wax - I used Crafty Candles Paraffin Wax from Hobby Lobby
Crushed ice
Scent- I had "Spiced Apple", "Sugar Plum", and "Moonlight" 
Dye- Food coloring would probably work here too
Wick string
Candle mold
Double boiler
Metal spoon


First you'll need to pull the wick up through the bottom of the candle mold, secure it, and cut off any excess. 

After that, you can melt down the wax in the double boiler. Be careful! This stuff is flammable.  Two blocks is enough for an 6 to 8 inch candle (depending on how much ice you use), but 3 blocks come in a box. 

After the wax is liquefied, add your scent and coloring. The dye will look very dark in the pot, but once the wax dries it will fade significantly, so adding extra probably won't hurt. 

Next, pour about a half inch to an inch of wax in the bottom of the mold (making sure the wick is standing straight. You might have to tape it to a pencil.) 

After the base is dry, you can either layer wax and crushed ice, or fill the mold with crushed ice and pour all of the wax over it. Both accomplish the same thing, but the layering will make it a little more solid. It just depends on the look you're going for. (Layering: Purple candle; Pouring over ice: Pink candle)



The hardest part for me was waiting for it to set. The wax will have to solidify before you can slide it out of the mold. Don't bother trying to get it out early- you'll be fighting it for hours. Trim the wick and you're good to go.

Once the ice melts it'll leave tiny holes and ta-da! You've got an ice candle!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

So, I started a blog.

Yeah, yeah I know. I'm one of those people now.  It's "The Diva Chronicles" because "Confessions of a Shopaholic" was already taken (good movie, by the way).  But I though this would be a good way to document my crafting activities, cooking adventures, and general craziness! And when family and some friends don't live nearby, it's a good way to stay up to date! My University is on winter break now, and I've got lots of exciting things planned. Keep checking back for more shenanigans!

xoxo
A