We borrowed Maize in Montana’s idea and made homemade butter for Valentine’s Day this year. Um, there’s a really lot of shaking to turn cream into butter, so only a small portion was shaken. The rest was stirred in the stand mixer.
Aside: All this talk of shaking and stirring makes me want a martini. Mmmm, martini. It’s been years. Sigh.
Super fun and a great way to use up any extra heavy cream that’s nearing its expiration date. As an added bonus, you not only get yummy fresh butter, but also fresh buttermilk! Perfect for your St. Patrick’s day soda bread…
We also made some mini brownies with candy hearts. I gotta tell ya. This whole candy business is terrific. The candy melts are totally inexpensive and they look adorable. I think they taste gross, but the big boys who eat solids both like them. They are for Liam’s school party, so I’m guessing the kids won’t be offended by the flavor.
Alas, no cute valentine photos of the boys. The boys are still cute, but mommy sucks at grabbing shots these days. So, these are the best of the worst. Sorry, but at least they’re topless.
We’ve streamlined our cooking these days. In need of a quick dessert, we stumbled upon this quick and easy treat. A twist on the classic Rice Krispies Treats…
4 Milky Way bars (coarsely chopped)
4 TBS butter
3.5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
8 oz milk chocolate (melted)
Melt butter and candy bars over low heat until combined and smooth. Once melted, remove from heat and add Rice Krispies. Blend then spread into well greased 13″x9″ pan. Spread melted chocolate over top of treats and refrigerate until chocolate is firm.
So, I made Liam a crown for his big day. Finished it about 15 minutes before the party was supposed to start. It looks cute in the photos and he wore it for a little while, so overall I was pleased. Basically, it’s a simple pieced front and solid back with low loft cotton batting between and a 1″ bit of elastic in the back encased in the lower binding. The fabric is 100% cotton fat quarters from WalMart, $1 each and just too cute. I may need to make a quilt or something with the leftovers.
Anyway, back to the crown. First, I pieced the front by sewing the pieces together through the batting like this. Next I attached the “1”, sewing a narrow zig-zag with a short stitch length through the fabric and batting, then attached the backing fabric, leaving the bottom open. I trimmed the seam allowance very close and turned the crown right side out, then quilted around each section of the front of the crown. I totally screwed up the elastic casing. Not really sure what I was thinking, but I first attached the elastic to the crown, then sewed the binding to the back of the crown, folded it to front and zig-zagged it with the same narrow zig-zag and a longer stitch length, and finally tried (failed, but tried) to seam the binding around the elastic. Ugly, but it stayed together for the party.
You can only imagine how long and hard I thought about my baby’s first birthday cake. I lamented having already done the very hungry caterpillar, considered something Sesame Street (in honor of their 40th birthday), and finally settled on a rainbow. It was months of agonizing and eye twitching – Seriously, I have a recurring eye twitch now. That’s hot! – mental gymnastics. Here’s the result.
The six layer cake is made with a double recipe of Cook’s Illustrated’s Basic White Cake. The batter was very, very scarily thin, but the cakes turned out pretty good. I used the same old baking powder that I thought was crappy last May. So, surprise! The cake seemed dense to me. The frosting is a basic buttercream, and lots of it. Like 10 lbs of powdered sugar’s worth.
Back to the method, each batch of batter was divided into thirds and dyed a different color with gel food coloring. A bit was poured into a cupcake pan and the rest was then baked in a disposable 8″ diameter pan. So, there were six individually colored cupcakes and cake layers. The cupcakes were trimmed flat and cut in half to make smash cakes for Liam and Grandpa, who turned 70 in November.
You can see some of the smash cake layers in the photos below. And, yes, Liam did wind up with both cakes. And Grandpa’s slice of cake too, if you’re keeping track.
And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The jello rainbow.
In the bowl, it wasn’t bad, but turned out, this nasty thing looked like a flaccid, multicolored breast implant. I’ll spare you the gory details and leave you with this tip. Do it this way or this way.