Grandma’s Easter treats

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Easter Eggs

My Grandma is one of those people who can do just about everything, and through out my life she has taught me so much. When I think of the most influential people in my life her and my mother and definitely the top two. She has so many talents, one of which is making amazing candy and another is teaching her grandchildren how to do it too. Every year for Easter, her and my mom make all of us our own Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg. This year is no different, I went over and helped them make the family eggs and then came home and tried out a batch of my own.

My favorite part is the chocolate, but first we have to start by making the marshmallows.

Marshmallows

2 packets of unflavored gelatin

1/3 C. cold water

1/2 C hot water

2 C sugar

1 tsp. salt

Start by dissolving the packets of gelatin in the cold water.

Bring the 1/2 cup of hot water to a boil, then stir in gelatin mixture. Slowly add sugar and salt. Take off heat and beat with electric mixer until it reaches marshmallow consistency. (about 10 minutes) Immediately pour into to molds and cool.

I’ve seen people just pour the marshmallows into a large pan and cut into squares if you are just making marshmallows for any occasion, but for the egg shapes we create molds using plastic Easter eggs and flour. It works the best if you use a plastic egg that splits down the middle length wise.

this egg

Fill a cake pan with flour, however deep you want your eggs to be, and press the plastic egg into it to create the egg mold.

egg in flour

When your marshmallows are thick, spoon them directly into the eggs shapes in the flour.

In Flour

This allows them to dry and form into the shape that you want, with out sticking to a pan or plate. Once they have been drying for a little while, my Grandma usually covers them completely with the flour to help take away the rest of the stickiness. Once you can touch them with out having the marshmallow stick to your fingers you can move them out of the flour to prepare for dipping. (Time of drying varies depending on the temperature of your room. It took mine over night.)

Marshmallows

To prepare for dipping all you need to do is wipe off the excess flour so the chocolate can stick directly to the marshmallow.

RM dipping chocolatesJJ dipping chocolates

(RM and JJ dusting the flour off the marshmallows and so excited to start dipping.)

Now for my favorite part- the chocolate!

Bar of Chocolate

Is there anything more wonderful than a GIANT bar of chocolate? My grandma generally buys chocolate in twenty five pound bars! Delicious! Because these are so think we have to cut them with a knife into small chunks for melting. If you have never melted chocolate before you want to be very careful not to burn in. Put it in a flat microwave safe bowl and microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals. Check it and stir it often.

MIlk Chocolate

It will be pretty lumpy to start with, when stirring try to break up the lumps as best as possible.

Stirring

It doesn’t take long and it should be nice at creamy. Now Grandma says that in order to do it right you have to use your hands. Check the temperature, stir and dip all with your fingers.

messy

It’s very messy!

The temp should be surprisingly cool when you start dipping. (When dipping chocolate, it won’t be perfect the first time. Trial and error is really the only way to find the right temp.) When you think the temperature is good throw your first marshmallow in. Use your fingers to completely cover it and use two fingers to pull it out of the chocolate. Place the dipped marshmallows onto wax paper to dry.

drying again

You want to dip in a somewhat cool room to help the chocolates dry. If you notice that the chocolate is starting to turn white as it dries that means that the chocolate was too hot when you dipped. If it is too hot you can cool it off by stirring in small chocolate shavings until it reaches the desired temp.

After we dipped all of our marshmallows we had some extra chocolate so we decided to start dipping some other things just for fun. RM loves gummy bears so he wanted to throw some of those in the chocolate. Pretty delicious, but so hard to get out of the chocolate bowl! Then we got out some girl scout cookies and the boys got to dip those on their own. They were very excited that they could hold on to one side of the cookie and stir the chocolate with the other. (I think we ate more cookies than we dipped!)

Chocolate Dipped Girl Scout Cookies

It was very tough to convince them that they should leave all those tasty treats alone to dry.

drying

Once it has dried it turns into to a nice chocolate shell.

chocolate covered

You can decorate them any way that you would like, or leave them blank.

Hooked with love egg

We’ve always written our names on them with decorators frosting and added some little spring time flowers.

Chocolate Covered Easter Eggs

The boys and I really enjoyed making our Easter treats and I have always loved learning from Grandma!

I hope that you will enjoy them too!

 

Cookies for a special birthday

My darling niece is turning 14! This is the first time since I became an aunt (when I was 9) that one of them getting older has made me feel old. I never wanted to be one of those “lame” adults that said things like “I remember when you were born” and “you can’t be that old, I swear you were just a baby yesterday”, yet every time I see her I can’t help them from coming out of my mouth! I had three nephews before her, the oldest of which is 19, and none of them had this effect on me. I was 14 when she was born and now she is turning 14, and I would do just about anything for her. So when she called me and asked me to make her some special cookies for her birthday party of course I said yes.

We found these cookies on Pinterest (of course) and used the idea from World of Wonder. What a fabulous idea for a cookie!

Hooked with Love Chocolate Chip Cookies with Oreos

I’ve always been a little picky with my chocolate chip cookies so we decided that we would use my mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe instead.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 C shortening

1 C sugar

1/2 C brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

Cream sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla.

1 1/2 – 3 1/2 C. flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

sift together and add to first mix.

1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)

1 C chocolate chips ( I always add more)

Mix well.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Chocolate chip cookies

Now that you have the cookie dough all made, you add the Oreos. We used birthday cake Oreos, both chocolate and golden.

oreos

I’ve seen this done a few different ways, you can put some cookie dough in a muffin tin, or on a cookie sheet, I just held the cookie dough then put the Oreo on top of it,

Oreo in dough

then put some more cookie dough on top of that. This will form a ball of cookie dough.

cookie dough

Then you can bake these using the same baking directions from above. ( I found that I had to bake them for an extra minute or two because of the added size.)

Cookie

Since we used both kinds of cookies, and we didn’t mark which was which, it’s a surprise which Oreo will be inside your cookie when you take a bite!

Hooked with Love Chocolate Chip Birthday Oreo Cookies

I had a lot of fun baking cookies with my darling niece, both the baking and spending a few hours with her, hearing about her life. I hope that she has a great birthday party tonight and a wonderful birthday. Enjoy the cookies and Happy Birthday my Darling!

Hooked with Love Chocolate Chip oreo cookies                               Hooked with Love Chocolate Chip Cookies

A Little Reflection

 

Grow Your Blog

In one of my earliest posts I mentioned that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to start a blog and that in order to accomplish this goal that I enrolled in a Blog Mentoring Program offered by Amy over at One Artsy Mama. She has been an amazing teacher and I can’t believe all the things that I have learned. My blog has changed a lot since we began in January and I can only imagine how things are going to change in the next few weeks as well. We’ve talked about branding, logos, blog designs, photos and editing and finding our voice, and there is still so much more to go. I think what I have enjoyed the most however is the group of ladies that I am in the program with.

There are eighteen of us and we talk through facebook everyday. We ask each other opinions and get emotional and technical support. All these ladies are very talented and so many things to offer. Go check them out and give their pages some love.

Amy – One Artsy Mama

Christina – The Scrappy Housewife

Eva – Tales of the Scotts

Lesa – Moms Bulletin Board

Andrea – DreAm**heArt**sMart**ArT

Dianna – Craft A Spell

Emily – A Tossed Salad Life

DeDe – Designed Decor

Sarah – Sarah SaturDIY

Nancy – Do Small Things with Love

Jenny – Ignite Learning LLC

Sarah – Bentorific

Susan – Organized 31

Lynn – How the Sun Rose

Megan – Crafty Meggy

Jess – The Poverty Barn

Kallee – Creative Southern Home

Tamara – Etcetorize

Deb and Capi – Chosen Sisters

I hope that all these ladies have enjoyed the mentoring program as much as I have and that Amy continues to offer it to other bloggers who are needing a little guiding hand. I can’t wait to learn what else she has to teach me and I hope that all of you will benefit from the knowledge that is making my blog better every week.

 

Leprechauns

A little over a month ago I found a wonderful little crocheted leprechaun hat and bow tie for a new born.

I thought it was so adorable I could hardly stand it! Since I am not really selling anything yet I was feeling sad that the pattern was only for newborns and I didn’t have any reason to make an amazing hat so I posted it on my facebook page just to share my love of it. My “baby” brother saw it and told me he loved it just as much as I did and that he would wear it if he could. So I got really excited again and emailed the maker of the hat and asked her if she was selling her pattern and she said yes! I was so excited! So I bought the pattern from Crochet Creations by Steph and made the newborn size so that I could get a feel for it.

Leprechaun hat

It turned out so cute! Then I combined with a few other hat patterns that I’ve made before so that I could make it big enough for my little brother. I was very excited about the whole project and I have to say that it turned out great! My little brother and I love St Patty’s Day and he had things planned for the whole day. I gave him his new hat in the morning on Saturday so that he could wear it at the parade and it made appearances at St. Patty’s Day celebrations all over the city.

Brother Leprechaun

Thanks little bro for helping to make my hat so great!

After the parade I thought my boys needed to have a St Patty’s day lunch but I knew they would not eat something like corn beef and cabbage. So I found some Shamrock shaped ravioli filled with Irish cheese.

Shamrock pasta

I thought they were so cute and were perfect for a lunch for toddlers! My oldest son, RM, is obsessed with the color green right now which worked out great for the holiday. So I thought I would make things a little extra green by adding green food coloring to the spaghetti sauce that I was serving with our pasta.

Green sauce

What a terrible idea! It looked disgusting! It looked like something Shrek might pull out of his swamp! My boys thought that is was wonderful. Of course, boys loving disgusting things is nothing new. There was one more thing that I forgot to take in to account before feeding it to my kiddos… green food coloring turns everything green, including children! Little boys who are still learning how to use a fork have an excellent way of getting sauce EVERYWHERE! And it did not want to come off. Green little fingers, cheeks, lips and teeth. Overall, despite the mess, our St Patty’s day was a big success and I had a great time turning my little brother into a leprechaun!

What did you do for Saint Patrick’s day with your families?

St Patty’s Day fun

 

Pot o' gold cake

I have always been a huge fan of St. Patrick’s day. Leprechauns always seemed to make their way into our house to leave fun treats and dye everything green. We always got Lucky Charms and gold coins hidden around the house. We had green milk in our cereal and green drinks with dinner, we even had a green bath a few times. My little brother and I had so much fun searching the house trying to catch them and finding all the surprises that were left behind. Now that I have kids of my own I have been so excited to start the St Patty’s day celebrations at my own house. Since my boys are still pretty little and don’t really understand I decided to have a little St Patty’s day celebration a little early while my niece and nephew were here for the day. We had green pancakes for breakfast and green lemonade with lunch. Then my mom came over and we made a Pot of Gold cake inspired by Ashlee at  I’m Topsy Turvy. She is an incredible cake decorator and I love seeing all the cute cakes she makes. Now I have never decorated a cake before so I thought it would be a fun experiment. We had a lot of fun making it but mine definitely didn’t turn out like hers! potogoldfail

Part of the problem was that I was somewhat unprepared for the project. (I really should have read all of her instructions before I went shopping instead of assuming what I had would work!) We didn’t have a ball cake pan like she suggested using and we thought a pyrex pan would work well enough. Ashlee made a chocolate cake in a ball pan and cut it in half so she had a perfectly round cake. Then added an 8 inch cheesecake in between the two halves of the cake to create a pot shape. So my mom made a chocolate cake the night before in her pyrex dish and froze it. We cut it in half and we got a very interesting shape! I made a cheesecake in a pie plate and decided I would place the top of the cake on it and cut out the shape that we needed.

Ashlee suggested using Ganache to frost the cake and stick all the sides together. I had never heard of Ganache before so went straight over to Pinterest to find out what it was and see if I could find a recipe. After going through lots of recipes that had Ganache in them I discovered that Ganache is just chocolate and heavy cream whipped together. Sounded delicious! I think that was the only thing that I got totally right out of the whole recipe. Then after we got the cake put together with the cheese cake in the middle and totally covered in Ganache, the next step was to wrap it in fondant. Now there was another thing I had never done before. I’m not typically a huge fan of the taste of fondant, but I saw a recipe for Marshmallow fondant on Amy’s Confectionery Adventure’s. So we decided that we would try her recipe. I’ve never made regular fondant so I can’t say how different or alike they were as far as working with, but it wasn’t too hard to make. I can tell you this though, I made a GIANT mess!

makingamess

I wish that I had more hands to take a picture of me trying to roll out the fondant and put it on to the cake. I was getting it everywhere! Oh one more thing I forgot to get at the store was black food coloring for the fondant. All I had at my house was brown, I thought if I made it dark enough brown it would still look pretty good. I added the entire bottle of brown food coloring and it only turned a nice caramel color. So we decided we would just make a gold pot of gold. I did finally get it onto the cake and cut the excess off, but I didn’t do a very good job of smoothing out the wrinkles. You can definitely tell this was my first try at fondant. We rolled out a lip for the pot and attached it (although it did not stick very well!) We put the coins on top of the cake and we were finished.

finishing touches

It still turned out pretty good especially for our first try at cake decorating. Although from a crafting blog point of view this should probably be called a fail.

pot of gold

But it was still very delicious!

slice

I will definitely need to keep practicing! Thanks for the inspiration ladies!