Month: December 2014

Around The Web: Favorite Holiday DIYS

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There’s officially less than a week left until Christmas day! I can’t believe my holiday shopping is done, though I still want to make a little more DIY gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love DIYs, but so many are popping out nowadays that it’s getting to be more difficult to find the ones that look better than anything you could actually purchase. Here, I’ve rounded up my favorite ideas that don’t require too much planning.

Amy from Homey Oh My! created this DIY Tinsel Pom Pom Gift Topper. It honestly seems like the easiest thing to pull off, and will most likely result in having the cutest wrapping for presents. Wish I’d seen it before I wrapped mine!

So this isn’t exactly a DIY, as I took the image from a shopping site, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. I’ll probably make some similar to these this week. I’m actually a little resentful of finding this image as I want some of these right now.

I’m totally jealous of the genius that thought of this camera strap DIY. Probably going to do this for myself instead of as a gift (pros of being done with holiday shopping already).

So excited for this coming week! Here are more images of what it looks like around here lately.

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Peanut Butter Cookies You Could Totally Pull Off

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So I’m not exactly known as the baker of the family. Not only because everyone knows my sister is the Karate Kid of baking (Bakate Kid?), but also because I don’t often bake, and when I do, something always goes wrong. Good news is that nothing went terribly wrong this time! If I made these babies edible, I fully believe in your Betty Crocker abilities to pull these off without a hitch. Plus, you get to learn from my mistakes (which I will shamelessly outline below in my so-called “tips” section).

I stole this idea from A Cup of Joe, and the lovely Joanna took it from Ambitious Kitchen.

Recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies  

What you’ll need:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar (light will also work just fine)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon sour cream or plain greek yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 cup crushed pretzel
1/2 cup toffee pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add in peanut butter, softened butter and brown sugar; mix on medium low until well combined. Switch mixer to low speed; add in egg, vanilla extract, honey and sour cream and beat one minute or until well combined, smooth and creamy. Slowly add in dry ingredients, increasing speed to medium low; mix until just combined. 

Grab a tablespoonful of dough and roll into a ball with your hands. You can also use a small cookie scoop if you have this available. Place dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches apart between each dough ball. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack. This allows them to set and harden slightly around the edges. Repeat with remaining dough. 

In a small bowl, mix crushed pretzels and toffee pieces.

Once cookies are completely cooled, you can prepare the chocolate. First, line two baking sheets with wax paper. Next, add chocolate chips and coconut oil to small pot and place over low heat. Watch carefully and stir often until chocolate is completely melted. Dip each peanut butter cookie in chocolate then sprinkle with toffee-preztel mixture. Place on wax paper and repeat with remaining cookies. The chocolate should set up within 30 minutes, but if you want to speed up the process, just place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 5 minutes.

Piece of cake (or cookie), right? I followed the recipe as accurately as I could, with a couple exceptions.

Tips (that may seem too obvious but not to the naive bakers of the world, aka me):

  1. The first paragraph actually calls for mixing in two separate bowls before mixing all together.I struggled to combine everything at once because I thought the “medium” bowl and “electric mixer” bowl to be the same thing. It actually calls to combine these two mixtures later on, which brings me to my next tip.
  2. ALWAYS KNOW A STEP AHEAD. I simply read step by step, then realize I did something wrong.
  3. The recipe calls for parchment paper. I didn’t have any and used foil with cooking spray. The bottom of my cookies ended up burning (which I scratched off with a knife), and I believe that to have been my mistake.
  4. I ended up NOT using the coconut oil. Instead, I melted the chocolate chips in the microwave. I added them to a bowl and heated it for 30 seconds, mixed it with a spoon, and repeated this process right to the point of the chocolate melting. DO NOT GO OVER OR THE CHOCOLATE WILL BURN, which I learned during another baking tribulation.
  5. Be careful of having the show Friends on TV because you might become too entertained by Ross getting married again and momentarily forget the oven is on.

There you have it! Have fun. If you prefer to just bake vicariously through me, I’m also happy with that and so here are your pictures that you took whilst baking. I wish the taste and smell could also transfer through the images.

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