Thursday, December 15, 2011

Owls

I'm not sure what's gotten into me lately, but after making a Christmas stocking for my g-niece, I got interested in making owls, of all things.  I found quite a few patterns online that I downloaded, then enlarged.  I had lots and lots of wool felt quarter-pieces stashed away that I bought probably 7+ years ago when a local Wal Mart store closed/moved.  And so I began experimenting with different pieces to see what I could come up with.  
I was so silly and thought I would have time to work on these when I went to visit my (18 mo old) grandson last month- ha!  I never even got them out of my suitcase.  But, since my return, I have found myself looking forward to working on these guys after my chores are done and I'm ready to sit down in the evening.  Television gets worse and worse as the holidays approach- series end or go on hiatus.  There's almost nothing really good on until January.  These give me something to work on while I half-listen/watch what is on.  
The only thing I went out and purchased was some more floss.  I found a variety pack at JoAnn's that was less than $5.00 and had a lot of colors to work with.


My husband asked me last night what I was going to do with these and I told him I'm not sure, yet.  I may sell them in my booth or give them away as gifts.  I then promptly began cutting out what I refer to as Version II of these owls.  They are "waiting in the wings" to be assembled.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shortbread Cookie Pans

Shortbread Cookies- yum.  Delicate, delicious and divine.  What an easy recipe, too.  Butter, sugar, flour and vanilla.  I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe for a batch as well as one from King Arthur's website.  Both were very tasty.  There are several ways to bake these, one of them being in a Shortbread Pan.  I was so intrigued by these that I had to have one.  
Or two.  That's what happens when you shop online at Amazon: choices.  These are both Cast Iron Aluminum pans made by Nordic Ware.  I have no idea why one is silver/gray and the other is dark.


The batch from KAF were what I used in the Snowflake Pan, but it took some searching long and hard to find just the right apparatus for pushing this dough into the pan.  Pastry rollers seem to be a thing of the past but not fondant rollers!  I found mine in the Wilton Cake section.  When you place the plastic wrap on top, this thing works like a charm.  


Voila!

These pans are so pretty and the packaging on them suggest using them for other things, such as cakes, cookies and biscuits- I thought: why not?  And so I tried an experiment and bought these "snack size" mixes:

The cookie mix worked just fine, using the plastic wrap and roller.  They tasted OK- well, like cookie mix cookies.  I suppose if you iced these, you could see the designs on them better.


And the brownies-

...came out pretty.


I think I will try making cornbread in one of these as well as biscuits.  Should be fun!  


Friday, December 2, 2011

"Breasert"

I want to share a sinfully delicious breakfast casserole that I made during the Thanksgiving weekend.  It could also be served as desert, so some refer to this as a "breasert".  Whatever you want to call it, it's fantastic and even better if you use homemade bread!  
My sourdough bread recipe makes two loaves so I usually have one or two loaves in the freezer.  This recipe is perfect for that use. It was featured over on Tasty Kitchen and comes via the blog Bake Eat Repeat.  I am all over breakfast dishes that can be made the day before and popped in the oven first thing, without preheating.  That's because I need at least one if not two cups of java before I can think straight.  So, by the time I have had said coffee, the smell of apples swimming in gooey caramel delight and the french toast toasting is heavenly.  I give it 5 stars.  And I will be making this again, very soon.





Apple Bourbon French Toast Casserole
Yield: Serves 5-6
Recipe by bakeeatrepeat.blogspot.com


Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 Tablespoons bourbon
3 large apples (I used Honeycrisp), cored, peeled, and sliced
6-8 thick slices day old bread
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash nutmeg

Directions:
1. In a small pan melt butter and sugar together. Whisk to combine. Cook until slightly thickened. Add bourbon and whisk again. Continue to cook for about 1 minute.
2. Pour butter mixture into a 9" x13" pan. Arrange sliced apples on top.
3. Arrange slices of bread on top of apples.
4. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour mixture over bread.
5. Cover dish and refrigerate over night.** In the morning, place casserole dish in oven. Heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until apple slices have softened and bread is golden brown.

**Note: If you are preparing the casserole the morning you are serving it, dip bread slices in egg mixture before putting them in the pan. Pour remaining egg mixture over top of bread slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.