Valentine’s Day Candy Molds!

Hi guys!

So, this semester is supposed to be my craziest one yet. So far it is, but not for the right reasons.

I’m taking almost all psychology classes, and I have a job with a psych professor (I assume you’re all applauding) BUT since the very first day of classes after winter break, we’ve been bombarded by snowstorm after snowstorm after snowstorm. There have been almost as many snow days as class days (and we’re expecting another storm today, of course). That might sound fun, but I’m soooo not about it anymore. And I’m not the only one, either. My cousin made this her profile picture on Facebook:

Plus, I’m one of those people who can’t function without structure, and so Wednesday and Thursday both being snow days seriously made my brain hurt.

My friend Alli and I are alike in that way, so we’ve been suffering together, spending endless hours in the library doing work that hasn’t been assigned yet. Everyone off campus has supposedly lost power from this last storm, and they even made our Health Sciences building into a shelter for residents of our town. We had figured it was too dangerous to leave, until we hit rock bottom on our boredom scale. We had to get out, and naturally we ended up at the craft store.

Our friend Jill has a car on campus, so we took the bus down to the parking lot where she keeps it. The temperature was that painful level of cold where your eyes tear and then the tears freeze to your face, and we missed the first bus so we had to wait for another one. When we got there, her car was buried under like, three inches of snow and a layer of ice above it. The people in the parking spot across from her were also trying to dig their car out, and it kind of turned into a ruthless competition of who was going to get out first. The two girls kept giving us looks from the backseat of their nice warm car while the three of us hacked away at Jill’s car and their guy friend handled theirs. In the end, they got out first. But we were there first so technically we still win.

It pretty much felt like we were in the middle of “Frozen,” and I was starting to get really nervous about the roads. I got into a bad accident a few years ago because of black ice, so it freaks me out a lot. But as soon as we got out to the highway, everything was dry as a bone. There were no trees down, no wires down, and I only noticed a few buildings that seemed to be out of power. The Michael’s that we go to is in a giant strip mall (it’s really like a series of strip malls…it’s like an adorable little neighborhood full of every store you could ever want. I love it there!) and everything seemed to be up and running. I don’t really understand how we ended up in a state of emergency and all this stuff. 

We ended up in that section of the store for cake decoration and candy making. They have molding chocolate (well, most of them are vanilla flavored, but they also had chocolate and peanut butter) in every color and you can choose which ones you want and a mold to put them in. They have molds for lollipops, pretzels, or just plain candy, and they’re super cheap. There was a package with like hundreds of shapes in it for $9.99, and the candy wasn’t bad either. 

We got back to campus without incident, and here’s the best part of this project: We didn’t have to sign out the kitchen! You can literally do this right in your dorm room. Here’s what ya do:

1. Melt the molding candy stuff in the microwave the way it says on the package. Don’t deviate from those directions, because if you do it too long, it’ll burn. When it burns it smells bad and can start a fire and gets chunky, not liquid-y. We got red and pink candy, and here’s what it looked like before and after melting (we mixed colors for fun, but yours will be a solid shade if you use one color)

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2. Put the melted candy in the molds. We used a spoon, but they suggest a piping bag because it’s more precise. We’re dorm chefs, we don’t have piping bags sitting around. We’re lucky if we have spoons lying around, actually. 

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3. Once all of the molds are filled, you can even off the tops if you want to, but we didn’t bother. We put them right in the freezer and waited for a while until they had hardened back up. 

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4. Once they’re solid again, you can pop them right out and eat them right away! Here’s how ours turned out:

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They’re not all perfect, but we are first-time candy makers. I can’t wait to try this again, because they can be so impressive but it’s so so so so easy. We did this in like a half hour in four easy steps. Then, we went around our building offering them to our friends and even some strangers 🙂 It was a lot of fun!

So if any of you are as single as I’m going to be this Friday, there’s still something you can do. Make these cute little guys and spread some Valentine’s Day love to everyone around you. Candy is much better than boys anyway 😉

Oodles and oodles of love,

Nicole ♥

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Day 10: Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies! (Kind Of)

So, you can really only wait so long for the perfect conditions to make things. I thought I had enough crafts and recipes prepared to get me through the end of the semester, but I was wrong due to several factors. Some were my own poor planning, and some were the fault of the weather and my university.

First of all, I checked off materials that I didn’t actually have, so I thought I had the right supplies to make a bunch of things but I actually didn’t. Second of all, it was finals week and I fried my brain by accident so that was another problem. THEN on top of that, classes were cancelled on Tuesday, which was supposed to be the first day of finals. My school has been running since 1871 and somehow they seemed to have never experienced snow during finals week, because they did not have any backup plan in place at all.

Gee, snow in the middle of December? How odd.

They decided to just push all of those Tuesday exams to SATURDAY, which screwed everyone over. Now that that nightmare is over for me (my professor didn’t want to be there on a Saturday either, so she found a way to hold it on Thursday) I can look back and laugh at the hysteria it caused. So, even though today is the 13th, I’ll be doing day 10. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up in a day or two. Don’t worry, even if I don’t post every single day, there will still be 25 crafts and recipes by Christmas!

Anyway, since we had a snow day Tuesday, my friend Lindsay and I decided to bake peanut butter cookies. I’d had the mix sitting in my room for weeks, hoping to be able to do this recipe:

Reindeer cookies! So cute. Gotta get the kiddo to help me with these :)

However, I couldn’t seem to get a hold of a freaking bag of M&Ms. So, we just made a regular batch instead of these cute little Rudolphs. If you’d like to make those though, you’ll need

A bag of peanut butter cookie mix (unless you know how to bake, then by all means make better ones than the ones Betty Crocker can make for you)

If you get the Betty Crocker mix I used, you’ll also need water, vegetable oil and one egg. I was informed that I could get a small little package of eggs at Walgreens instead of having to buy a dozen, but that was proven to be false. I bought a dozen eggs just to use one. I also bought like, a quart of vegetable oil to use like, 1/3 of a cup. AND OF COURSE, when Lindsay and I got to the kitchen, THERE WERE ALREADY EGGS AND OIL IN THERE. I can’t get over this kitchen. It’s a new surprise every time.

You’ll also need chocolate covered pretzels. You can choose to make them yourself, but I strongly suggest taking the easy way out and buying Flipz, these ridiculously addicting little bitches.

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Finally, you’ll need M&Ms for the eyes and nose.

The first step is to preheat your oven, and you should probably make sure there’s nothing in it, because if there is something in it, you’ll probably come close to setting your dorm building on fire, which Lindsay and I now know from experience. We were forming the dough and all of a sudden she goes “it smells really weird in here,” and I was just like: “it’s probably just some leftover crumbs burning at the bottom of the oven or something.” So I opened the oven and there was a giant empty pot in there that definitely was not supposed to ever go in an oven. And of course, there are no oven mitts in this kitchen, but there is a little box labelled “dirty towels.” Guess how many options we had?

I was very lucky to have Lindsay with me 🙂 She took charge. She said to me: “Don’t you do this like, every week?” And I said “umm yeah but people don’t read my blog because I’m good at cooking. They read it to laugh at how bad I am at cooking.”

Anyway, then we started making the cookies. I was using a whisk (actually I was pretending that one of those electric mixer insert thingies was a whisk) and Lindsay was looking at me with this pained look on her face. I said, “do you wanna do it?” and she goes “This is how we make cookies in my house,” and proceeded to show me this, which worked a lot better.

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When the dough was completely mixed, and we’d gotten out as many little balls of dry dough as possible, we started forming the cookies on a nonstick pan. If you’re doing the reindeer version, you’ll want to make them sort of egg shaped, like in the picture. If you choose to make regular ones like we did, make little balls and flatten them with a fork so you get that cute criss-crossy thing. In the end, they only had to go in the oven for about 8 minutes. Somehow though, when we took them out, they were burnt! And they pretty much tasted like the pan we baked them on, so that’s not good. Maybe we should have put something on the pan instead of just putting the cookies right on it, but I don’t really know. I can’t even make cookies out of a box, how pathetic. I shouldn’t be trusted in a kitchen. But, practice makes perfect I guess, and as long as I keep doing this, I’ll be getting plenty of practice!

Maybe one day you won’t be able to laugh at me and my cooking/crafting skills. But then you’ll probably stop reading so I guess this is kind of a lose-lose for me. Oh well. Here’s the final product. They look pretty good, but they tasted kind of like burnt metal.

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Stay tuned for a Day 11 post! Hopefully it’ll come out tonight, but it might be tomorrow. Since I’m home for break now, it should be easier to post! See you soon 🙂

Love,

Nicole♥

Day Two: Snowflake Peppermint Bark

Good morning pinaholics 🙂

Day two of the Christmas Spectacular is dedicated to a cute, easy recipe for peppermint bark. Well, that’s what it was supposed to be. You can decide for yourself whether or not I failed miserably. Here’s what you need if you want to do it the right way:

White chocolate chips- the lady in the pin used Ghirardelli, but Nestle was like 30 cents cheaper so guess which one I used?

Milk chocolate chips- see above

Waxed paper- I think parchment paper might work as well but if it doesn’t, don’t blame me.

About 12 crushed candy canes- I used mini ones and guesstimated, it worked out fine and you can always crush more if you need to.

A cookie sheet

A snowflake cookie cutter- or whatever shape you want your bark to be

Peppermint extract- this is debatable seeing as how I did it without it, but the recipe calls for it so you might as well use a couple drops if you have it

Okay, let me start by saying that the snowflake shape did NOT end up working out for me, and I would’ve had to take on an entirely different method if I wanted to incorporate that. So, even though the title says “Snowflake Peppermint Bark,” I’m going to tell you how I ended up making plain peppermint bark, and then I’ll tell you what I would’ve had to do to get the cute snowflake. Or at least, what I think I would’ve had to do. Take a look at my horrendous snowflake attempts:

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Ugh. Anyway, first, line your cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Then, melt your milk chocolate chips in the microwave for however long it takes to get them completely smooth. Spread them across your cookie sheet, and refrigerate that for about 20 minutes. When that’s done, take it out and repeat the process with your white chocolate chips. If you’re using the peppermint extract, add it to the melted white chocolate before you put it on. Also, heads up on this part: unless you use significantly more white chocolate than milk, it’s not going to look perfect. The hot white chocolate melts the cooled milk chocolate and the colors will mix a little bit. It’s okay. I was worried at first when I looked at mine:

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But they all sort of look like that on Pinterest so it’s no big deal. Before you refrigerate it for the second time, add your crushed candy canes to the top. Then put it in the fridge for another 20 minutes, and voila! You have peppermint bark. Now, here’s where my fatal flaw was. I thought it was going to be a really easy thing to just use the cookie cutter and stamp out snowflakes. Well, it’s not easy. The bark will crack, and you’ll have a million tiny pieces of chocolate that look nothing like a snowflake 😦 I ended up just breaking it all into pieces that look like everyone else’s peppermint bark and calling it a day. It tastes great. In fact, I think it’s one of the most delicious things I’ve made, but it just isn’t cute 😦

What I probably would’ve had to do to get the snowflake shape is use the cookie cutter to shape the melted chocolate before I refrigerated it. That means I either would’ve had to have several cookie cutters or several hours to spare, neither of which were available to me. If they’re available to you, that’s awesome! Send me pics of your not-failed attempts at peppermint bark, and I’ll be sure to feel bad about myself. Send me packages with your actual peppermint bark and I’ll feel a little bit better. Here’s a picture of the final product! I put it in this cute little Christmas box to bring back to school for my friends to try 🙂

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Happy holidays, loves!

Nicole ♥

S’more Bites

Before you say anything, I know I’m a slacker. I ended up getting sick this week, and then of course it was homecoming and I was very tied up with lots of wholesome, school sanctioned events.

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Don’t worry, there will be a bonus post right after this to make up for my absence last Sunday. I know you’re all terribly angry and missed me deeply. Another reason that I’m posting a second thing though, is that this one is going to be pretty short. Seriously, I picked a recipe that was so easy that there isn’t much to say about it.

This week’s recipe was S’more Bites. If you’d like to see the original pin, feel free to visit my board just for this blog! 🙂 It has all of the pins I’ve posted about, and also some ideas for new ones that I might do. If you’re the curious type that liked to try to find their Christmas presents before Christmas, then you might also be the type who might be interested in this link:

http://www.pinterest.com/paranormal627/for-the-blog/

Mostly I’m just desperate for new followers…ANYWAY S’mores Bites. Super cute and super easy. Here’s a picture of all of my ingredients. I made the mistake of buying semisweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, and that was the downfall of these guys. There’s always a downfall when I do something, I think. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have a scruffy, marshmallow-loving dog. You can still do the recipe without one. Actually, you might be better off -____-

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So as you can see, you only really need three ingredients. First, you melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and then you crush your graham crackers. Side note: have a better method than me. I had this really clever video of me pounding graham crackers in a little plastic baggie with my fists but I would have to post it separately and it’s not worth it. Just use some sort of utensil or meet an unfortunate fate. After you have your melted chocolate and your safely crushed crackers, here’s a pictorial description of what you do. ImageImageImage

And that’s it for me today, guys! Last but not least, I’ll post my top five pins for this week, and be on my way 🙂 Don’t forget to come back in a little while for your bonus post. It’s not autumn-themed, but I think you’ll like it!

Stay Wonderful♥

~Nicole

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