Valentine’s Day Fortune Cookies

Well,  I think the time has come to start giving you guys Valentine’s Day ideas. I’m really sorry that I ran out of steam for the end of the 25 Days of Christmas, but now there are some secrets to save for next Christmas 😉

So, I saw these perfect, adorable little fortune cookies that I was so excited to make for you guys. I was like: “this is great! What an adorable way to spend the day. You order chinese and just hang out, watch movies etc. Then, it’s fortune cookie time. Instead of finding a regular, boring tan one, that says “you will be hungry again in one hour” (true story, that really happened to me) you find a colorful one made with love by your significant other.

I clicked the link, and it brought me to a Martha Stewart project page entitled “Felt Fortune Cookies.” What in the world do you do with a felt fortune cookie?? And tell me that these little guys wouldn’t have fooled you too.

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Okay, maybe I should have guessed by the opened one in the corner with hershey kisses in it, but I just noticed that right now. I was super annoyed, but I thought “okay, I’ll still give it a chance. It might still be easy and cute.” So I take a trip to Michael’s, which is 20 minutes away and ti was snowing, by the way. I assemble all of the listed materials, which are: felt, ribbon, fabric shears, wire cutters and craft glue. I thought nothing of the fact that it required wire cutters but no wire. I got all of my materials home, and started the project.

“Step one: Using wire cutters, cut a piece of floral wire slightly shorter than the length of ribbon.”

Can I just take a poll of how many people have floral wire sitting around their house? What even is floral wire? Come on, Martha. Step it up.

So, then I was determined to find a fortune cookie recipe. As you know, I’m limited to what I can find on Pinterest only, because this blog is dedicated to helping you figure out what’s actually easy and what’s just labelled “easy” as a sick joke. I did find one pretty quickly, and I have a funny little story about it.

So I’ve been trying to come up with a fitness pin to blog about, because I mentioned in the very beginning that I would include those, and I haven’t yet because it’s really hard for me to work out at school. Now that I’m home and back at my regular gym, I can start to try again. I came across this pin that claimed to be a Jillian Michaels recipe for losing five pounds. Here it is:

I was like “oh, this is cool. I could totally do this for the blog.” So I pinned it to my “For the Blog” board and promptly moved on to my fortune cookie search. The first one that I found took me to a blog called “My Name is Yeh.” Ironically, the girl’s name is Molly so I’m kind of confused but she’s adorable, and I really like her blog.

OH it’s her last name. Continuing.

She has this fortune cookie recipe that she says is way better than restaurant ones. She also said it’s chewy though, so I’m a bit skeptical. Regardless, she posted a bunch of pictures of her finished product, and take a look at the one of the fortunes she wrote:

I was a little weirded out, considering I just pinned a juice cleanse to the blog board, so I went back to it and clicked the link. I got an error message telling me that the page was taken down due to a possible problem with the page’s content.

UMM WHO ARE YOU, MOLLY? GOD?

Anyway, I’m live-baking today, so I’m finding out about these fortune cookies as I write about them, just like live-crafting. Here’s the link so you can follow along without me having to explain eeeeverything. http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/189801/diy-fortune-cookies-for-christmas/

Okay, all of my ingredients are together. They’re not too crazy, but I did make a couple adjustments. I used cinnamon and nutmeg rather than cardamom, because I didn’t know what it was and the internet said this was a substitute. I also am adding red food coloring to make them more Valentine’s Day-like.  I also have to separate more eggs! I’m glad I had that miserable meringue experience now 🙂

Okay, so I mixed all of my dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, and I’m about to mix them, but I’m a little skeptical about how this little bit of liquid is going to mix with aaaall of that flour and sugar.

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Aaaaand I was right. I’m very confused. This is not a batter, it’s dough. That’s fine if it works, but her mix looks like she’s making pancakes and mine looks like I’m baking cookies. I’m gonna go with it.

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I’m using the mason jar method that she mentioned to get the right shape and size. I took it off of a decorative one that my sister has in her room. Shhh, don’t tell her.

Oh my God it’s so sticky.

Okay, so I have three set up on parchment paper, and I’m moving them to a tray to put them in the oven for their 5-7 minutes.

It’s taking longer than five minutes…longer than 7 minutes…okay 8 minutes to turn golden brown. The problem is, they look like regular cookies. They’re too thick and unfoldable.

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In addition to not looking like a fortune cookie, it tasted like way too many spices and it kind of gave me a headache. I threw the rest of the batter out. Also, I just realized I forgot to put in the red food coloring anyway. Duh. Well, I’m clearly out of practice. I haven’t baked since my last blog. Ugh, ya live and learn I guess. I may try to find another recipe for fortune cookies to see if this was something I did wrong or if Molly is in fact not God. If I do, you’ll be the first to know!

See you next week!

Love,

Nicole ♥

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Day 22: Caramel Filled Snickerdoodles

These sounded absolutely heavenly, and they were so simple that I couldn’t resist. Who doesn’t love a nice warm caramel cookie on a cold winter day?

It’s still 60 degrees, but I’m asking you to just please play along for me. 

All you need for this recipe is chewy caramel candies, SEAMLESS crescent dough from Pillsbury, and cinnamon sugar. And also a cookie sheet and parchment paper, but whatever. 

Here’s what you do, in picture form:

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I was really excited, because I was absolutely sure that these were going to come out flawless. I actually sprinkled some more cinnamon sugar over the outside before I put them in, too. Then they came out of the oven (which should be preheated to 350) after 12 minutes, and this is what I saw:

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Aaaaaand then I was heartbroken. But all hope was not lost: I picked one up, and it turns out that they weren’t nearly as bad as they looked. They just leaked, but they weren’t ruined, so I consider this to be four pins in a row that did NOT fail! Now this HAS to be a record for me. The only problem though, was that I really didn’t like the taste as much as I thought I would. That’s not up to me though, it’s up to you to decide. If you try it, let me know what you think! Maybe they’re delicious, and I’m the one missing out 🙂

See you soon!

Love, 

Nicole ♥

Day 21: Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

This recipe is too sweet for most people I know, but those words are not in my vocabulary, so naturally it’s one of my favorites 🙂 If you’ve never tried it, it’s worth at least one try, and this copycat recipe is a great way to do that.

Today my Christmas present from Lindsay, my best friend at school (you guys remember Lindsay; she knows how to make peanut butter cookies) came in the mail. It presented the perfect opportunity for me to make a nice hot drink for a cold winter day 🙂 

Actually, it’s about 60 degrees Fahrenheit right now, in the middle of December, but who’s really paying attention. 

Look how cute it is!

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It was so funny because when I was online buying her present, I saw this mug and I put it IN my shopping cart but I decided that I didn’t have enough money for it at the moment, so I just bought her gift. I was upset though, because not only does this mug make a super cute tired face, IT TURNS INTO A HAPPY FACE WHEN YOU PUT A HOT DRINK IN IT :O Sure enough, this little guy showed up on my doorstep a few days later 🙂 It was a Christmas miracle 😛 And in her card she wrote something like “this was so cute and just a little bit corny so I knew you’d love it.” She knows me too well.

Anyway, since I now have an adorable coffee mug, I knew I had to make this recipe. All you need is apple juice, water, cinnamon, brown sugar, whipped cream and caramel sauce. 

You take the 1/2 cup of water, teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of brown sugar and simmer them in a pot for five minutes to make a cinnamon-y syrup thing. Mine looked like this:

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Then, you heat up your apple juice. I could have heated it up on the stove like I was told, but I didn’t want to get another one dirty so I did this instead:

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Whatever works, right? So once your apple juice is heated up, you add the syrup to it. The ratio they gave me in the recipe was 3 tablespoons of syrup for 12 ounces of juice. 12 ounces didn’t quite fit in the mug, so unfortunately I had to wake up my math brain, but it ended up working out. Once that’s all mixed together, you add your whipped cream and caramel syrup on top, and that’s it!

I’ve had three pins in a row work out for me. I think this is a new record. Here’s the final product, in my new favorite mug ♥

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See you soon!

Love, this happy girl 

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Day 20: Christmas Tree Pop-Out Card

For Day 20, I took on another pop-out card, but with a different style from yesterday’s. Remember those paper fans you used to make in the summer when you were a kid? You’d fold a piece of paper back and forth a bunch of times until you had one of these?

Well, this card is based on that exact same thing. Here’s the pin I based mine off of:

DIY: 3-D christmas tree card - Click image to find more DIY & Crafts Pinterest pins

See what I mean about the fans? This looked super easy until I realized that I had no way of really being able  to measure how big each fan should be. That was my biggest struggle with this project. But, lets start from the beginning, shall we? I promised you that I would tell you about my page-coloring breakthrough today. 

All you need for this project is card stock, regular printer paper, scissors, and some method of coloring the pieces. Instead of using colored pencils this time, I went to Microsoft Word on my computer and created a text box that filled the entire page. Then, there’s a button that says “shape fill,” and you click on it and choose the color that you want. I really liked the pale yellow that the pinner used in the example pin above, so I used a similar one. Then, all you have to do is print the page! It uses a lot of ink, but it saves us all from getting carpal tunnel so it may be worth it in the end. 

Now comes the fan part. Here’s what I ended up doing: I used the same coloring method to get a green piece of paper, and now I’ll show you with pictures. I’m not live crafting today, so I’ll be showing you with another piece of plain white printer paper. 

Fold it into 8 pieces, like this, by folding it in half, half, half, etc. Image

You’ll cut off one of these strips for your first fan, and then make it. That’ll give you your littlest top piece. Then cut off one and a half strips and do the same thing. Then two, then two and a half, then three, etc until you have five fans. That’s really all there is to it! Then you just glue them to your piece of card stock, and you can add a trunk and a star if you’re so inclined. Here’s a picture of my finished product, and I love it! It’s one of my favorite crafts that I’ve done because it almost looks like I could have bought it somewhere. Now all I need to do is put something on the front of it!

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Love, 

Nicole♥

Day 18: Christmas Tree Meringue

Well, I learned a few things today while trying to create this:

Christmas Tree Meringues

1. How to separate an egg– WkiHow has several methods. One of them was to use a funnel because the yolk will stay and the white will drip through. This is true, but only if the yolk doesn’t block the hole WHICH ALWAYS HAPPENS. There’s a better method, and it’s to break the egg shell in half, or as close to half as possible. Keep transferring the egg from one side to the other until all of the white has dripped out into a bowl underneath you. You need a bigger bowl than you think you do, because two egg whites fluffs up A LOT when you start beating it with an electric mixer.

2. “Meringue” is a fancy, french-sounding word for fluffy egg white and sugar- Once you’ve beaten two the eggs literally to death, you start gradually adding “finely granulated sugar.” I thought that meant confectioner’s sugar, so that’s what I used. I don’t really know if that’s what it means. Then you add half a teaspoon of green food coloring for the Christmas tree color. After you beat the eggs, they’ve already expanded to fill a lot more of the bowl than I thought they would. When you start mixing in the sugar, it just changes from a bubbly light consistency to a thick paste. The directions said to keep going until it forms “peaks” that are solid. I don’t know what that means, and my hand was getting tired, so I decided that I saw solid peaks and moved on to the next step. Mine looked like this, but I think that it’s not supposed to look like that. I can’t tell you what the right way is, honestly.

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3. When they say you need a piping bag, they’re not lying- The next step was to transfer the mixture into a piping bag. Well, if I knew I needed a piping bag I probably wouldn’t have even taken on this recipe because I don’t own one. Or maybe I could’ve gotten one while I was at Michaels like an HOUR before I started this project. I plowed through this dilemma though, and used a Ziploc bag as a piping bag. I just cut a hole in the corner. Then I read on and found out that it was supposed to be a star shaped hole. I said “screw it” and started piping. This is my piping bag:

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4. Meringue is a pointless, irritating recipe- Well, maybe all of those things that I neglected or changed turned out to be important, because when I tried to start piping out my cute little Christmas trees, I got this:

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Beautiful, right? I missed my calling as a chef, I think. I didn’t even bake it, although if you want to try, you need to do it at 250 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour. Although I’m telling you now that apparently you need to be a talented baker to pull this off. Oh well, better luck on my next recipe.

That’s a wrap for day 18, (no pun intended but…wrap…hah…like wrapped presents…) so I’ll see you tomorrow!

Love,

Nicole ♥

Day 16: Spiral Sugar Cookies

Well, this afternoon I took a chance on one of the more complicated recipes that I’ve tried. It was this version of festive sugar cookies, but I adapted it to make a Christmas version.

25 Days of Christmas 2013 Day 16

From “Make Bake Celebrate” blog

So the first step in this recipe is to make sugar cookie dough, and form it into a log, like so:

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Obviously, I made this dough all by myself with no help from a certain chubby white guy who giggles at the slightest poke. No help whatsoever.

Set the dough on parchment paper. The next step is to cut the log into four equal pieces, and roll them into balls. Then, dig a hole into the center. You’re going to put some food coloring into those holes, which just helps to keep most of the dye off of your hands (key word: most).Mix it all up, and you should end up with four balls of dough that look something like this:

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Now, take off little chunks about the size of a quarter, or maybe a taaad smaller, but not by much. This recipe was made for a cookie with four colors, so it was a little odd to do it with two. You should have two little green balls and two little red balls, and they should be arranged in a little square with alternating colors. Now, roll it into one ball! Do this until you run out of dough. Here was my set of balls:

…hehe

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I guess I don’t know what the size of a quarter is because as you can see, I had a rather significant problem with keeping them all a similar size. I think the bigger ones were better to work with. Once all of these little balls have been made, I’m sure the dough has become really soft and greasy. To solve this, you can put them in the freezer for a little while to harden them back up. They’re easier to work with when the dough is harder. The blog that I originally got this from said that you can put them in for 1-2 minutes, but that didn’t work for me. I needed to put them in for more like 5-6. Once they were hardened, it was time to do the coiling. Roll out the balls into long rope-kinda things, and then roll them back up into a cute spiral shape, trying to expose both colors. If you’re confused, you have every right to be. These were my first couple of attempts:

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It got a little easier though, as I got the hang of it.

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They started to get sticky again, so when I was done coiling all of them, I had to put them in the freezer again. Then, I put them in the oven, and I was kind of excited. I didn’t know how they were going to come out at ALL.

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As I was checking up on them, I noticed they were getting bigger and consequently closer together…until they were all squished together and they came out looking like this:

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And to be honest, they all came out looking like an odd reddish greenish soup. They taste fine, but they don’t look nearly as cute as the picture at the top of the page. They’re also really skinny, so the sprinkles from the picture didn’t really work out. I guess to make this recipe better I would have had to be more careful when I smooshed them all up from the separate little balls. It also might have helped to not wait so long to put them in the freezer when they were getting greasy.

Well, hopefully you guys have better luck with this recipe. And also, there are less than 10 days left of the Christmas Spectacular! Hope you’ve enjoyed it so far!

Love,

Nicole♥

Day 11: Candy Cane Heart Lollipops!

So Day 11 is dedicated to an easy little recipe that you can do not only for Christmas, but also Valentine’s Day, or any other day if you happen to keep candy canes in the house year round 😉 

You’ll need:

Mini candy canes

White chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate because I already had them in the house…my car was in use by my dad because it’s only my car when he says it can be my car…I think white chocolate is prettier and more delicate looking though)

Sprinkles- in any color or shape that you feel is Christmas-y or appropriate for the occasion

Some sort of stick that should be oven safe for three minutes

It’s really simple, but the result is pretty fragile. Here’s what I came out with in the end:

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But here’s what I came out with when I was actually just finished. It’s honestly really cute, and it can definitely be done the right way if you’re a little more careful with it than I was:

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Even in this picture though, you’ll notice it’s a little cracked at the bottom. It’s okay though. Like I said, it can be done but you have to be more talented and patient than me. Well either way, here’s what ya do.

First, preheat the oven to 300. Put your two candy canes on a tray, and have them touching either side of the stick so they’re shaped like a heart. Melt your chocolate chips, and fill up the whole center. Then, stick it in the oven for just three minutes! When you pull it out, add your sprinkles and put it in the fridge until it hardens. BUT make sure your candy canes are touching the stick before it cools! I put mine away to cool for like a half hour, and it was rock solid, which was good, but probably most of the reason why it cracked. And after all that effort I put into making a place for it in the fridge…

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When it had hardened, I used a toothpick to kind of scrape it off of the pan. There was probably a better method, because that’s how I broke it, but I don’t know what that better method might have been. Maybe using parchment paper instead of the plain tray. It probably would’ve peeled right off. You live and learn, I guess. 

In the end, I wouldn’t call this one a complete failure. It looked cute for about 30 seconds, and when it broke, my sister ate half of it and said it was good. I consider that a win. 

So, let me know what you think! If you try it, I always like to hear how it came out for you! 

See you guys ASAP!

Love,

Nicole♥