Monday, December 27, 2010

Peanut Butter Bites

This is the second of the two new cookie recipes I tried for cookie exchanges this year. I was particularly attracted to this Peanut Butter Bites recipe because it involves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (mini). How could you go wrong when Reese's are involved? Yes. This was my theory, and it turns out I was right. The recipe is basically a light peanut butter cookie - I say "light" because it isn't quite as heavy as a regular PB cookie - with half a mini Reese Cup in the middle. Here are some pictures from the making of these gems.

The dough doesn't really spread at all, so I was able to fit quite a few cookies on each cookie sheet. So, you should know that however they look going into the oven is pretty much how they'll look once they're cooked .

Peanut Butter Bites right out of the oven.
I decided to take a picture of one of the cookies cut in half, so you can see what I mean when I say there's a peanut butter cup on the INSIDE :)


And the final picture I took was of all the cookies ready to be taken to the cookie exchange. There are actually a little over 3 dozen cookies in the dish even though it doesn't look like very many.

I really liked this recipe because it was super easy to follow, called for ingredients that I had readily available(except for the mini Reese Cups), and incorporated one of my favorite food combinations - peanut butter and chocolate! The cookies were a hit at the party. So, if you want to make these I have only one warning for you: be sure you have an event to take them to otherwise you may gain a few unwanted pounds within a couple days because these cookies are irresistible!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mint Crinkles

This year I was invited to 2 cookie exchanges. Until this year I don't think I had ever even HEARD of a cookie exchange, but I was excited nonetheless. For the second party I needed to bring 2 different kinds of cookies, so one of the cookies I chose to make are called Mint Crinkles. You can find the recipe here.  I needed to make 3 dozen of these cookies, so I doubled the recipe.
The very first step in the recipe requires you to melt little mint candies (like those little Andes mints).

These aren't quite melted, but don't they look delicious?
The part about "let the candies cool for 15 minutes" - yea - they mean that. I touched the chocolate after about 8 minutes and nearly burned by finger. I don't suggest you try that at home.
Anyway, here's my dough ready to be chilled for 3 hours.

Being the genius that I am I left my spatula in the dough and I didn't cover the dough with anything while it was in the refrigerator. It turned out fine, but next time I think I'll cover the dough with plastic wrap so the top doesn't dry out.

The first batch of cookies I made the were a little too big - they ended up running into each other. They also didn't "crinkle" as much as they should have because I used too much dough.

Luckily, the second batch turned out much better even though they weren't all the same size.

The cookies turned out well and were pretty good. If you like mint flavored things these are definitely the cookies for you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Curtains - Take One

This past summer I decided I was going to make curtains for every room in the house. I decided I would start with our living room, so I went to the fabric store, chose a pattern, chose some fabric, and came home. At the time I was in the middle of working on my quilt and wanted to hem another set of curtains before I started on this set, so curtain making kind of got put on the back burner for a bit.
Then my mom came up in early October (or was it September?) and helped me pick out lining for the curtains. After she left she asked about how the curtains were coming along every time we talked on the phone - unfortunately, every time we talked (until very recently) I had some reason why I hadn't started them. I finally got around to cutting the main panels a week or two before Thanksgiving. Even just cutting the panels took a good bit of time because I don't have a large workspace. Anyway, I took the panels home over Thanksgiving for a little help from my mom.
The pattern I bought was pretty confusing. They assumed I had a lot more sewing knowledge than I actually have - and I don't feel like I'm a novice. Alas, my mom helped me figure out what I needed to do in order to get these things done.
So, fairly soon after I got home from Thanksgiving I began piecing these suckers together. I sat down one night and began working on the tabs for the top of the curtains. Making those darn tabs is going to take a long time. I completed about 8 tabs in one hour - I still need 24 more :-/
Here are a few pictures of the progress I've made so far...
The first 8 tabs after they'd been cut, sewn, inverted and ironed.
While inverting the tabs I realized I should have left enough thread at each end to tie off the seam, so I had to be careful about holding the seams together. But it turned out ok - now I know to make sure to do that with the rest of the tabs.
I also had to iron the tabs so that the seam was in the center on the back of each tab. Here's what that looked like.

Sorry if the photo is a little dark - the only way I could get the seam to show was by not using a flash.

Anyway, now I have to seam together the main panel with the lining, iron that and then figure out how I want the tabs spaced before I sew them on. Making these curtains is going to take a lot more time than I originally thought it would. I'm fairly certain this will be my first and last set of curtains I ever make.
Since making those 8 tabs I haven't really had time to work any more on the curtains as I've been busy with getting ready for Christmas (a few recipes coming soon!) and getting through some remodeling we're having done on the house (posts about that soon, too!). But, I promised my husband I would make the curtains my priority as soon as the holidays are over - and now I've said it on the internet so I'll have to keep my word.