Cheese Cream Crackers - Recipe

This weekend I gave my daughter the last of our crackers from the cupboard, it's her default snack choice these days... crackers and apple. I found myself needing to make crackers, but all I had left in the fridge was some mozzarella and some feta cheese. Since mozzarella wouldn't add a whole lot of flavor to a cheese cracker I went with the feta.

Cheese Cream Crackers | Candy Hearts & Paper Flowers


I'll be honest, I didn't really have high hopes for they way these would turn out due to the moisture content of feta, but figured they'd be fine until I could get to the grocery store for some sharp cheddar. I was so wrong! They didn't quite crisp up quite as much as I'd have liked, but the flavor was delicious, especially with tomato soup for lunch. They also would have benefited from some whole wheat flour, but I was out. Did I mention I needed to get to the grocery store?

Generally I do a combination of cheddar for cheese and pepper for seasoning, or Parmesan and Italian seasoning, but the feta and pepper I made this weekend was quite good and I highly recommend giving it a try at least once. I don't add additional salt, if you would like your crackers saltier add up to 1/2 tsp salt. If you have it, I like to use the Pampered Chef Pastry Cutter with the crimper wheel to cut these, it gives it a little bit of a "Saltine" style edge to it. Also, I cut cheese crackers into diamonds and regular crackers into squares, easier for my family to tell at a glance what kind of crackers they are without asking me.

Cheese Cream Crackers
Ingredients
1 cup flour (substitute up to 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup cheese
4 tablespoons cold butter
seasoning to taste, about a 1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/3 cup cream

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Add the flour, cheese, butter, seasoning and salt to a food processor, and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the cream until it just comes together into a dough (it takes exactly 1/3 cup for me, might need a tiny bit more in drier climates or high altitudes).
  4. Turn the dough out and divide into 2 sections.
  5. Roll the dough out to 1/16 - 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with a sharp knife, pizza wheel or dough wheel, or for fun use cookie cutters.
  6. Bake on ungreased stoneware or cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Start watching them at 10 minutes, you may need to pull them out in small groups. Once they are golden brown on the edges and top, pull them off the stone and continue to cook the ones that need more time. Cook time is going to be dependent on cracker size and thickness, so the more uniform they are, the easier to gauge the cooking time.
  8. When removed from the oven, place the crackers on a wire rack with no overlapping to cool, you want the steam to escape. Do not store until completely cooled or you'll end up with soft crackers. If you need to "fix" soft crackers, place in a 200F oven for about 10-15 minutes to dry out.
  9. Roll out remaining dough and bake, or wrap tightly and stick in the refrigerator to make later (up to 1 week, if wrapped well)

Monday Musings - Baum

I've been out of town for a week, and while I skyped with my family as often as possible, it's not the same. My daughter hugging the computer wanting me to hug her back just broke my heart.

There's no place like home | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers
print by Ashley Goldberg

Strawberry & Lemon Marshmallows - Recipe

For my daughter's first birthday I had a pink lemonade theme, and made some homemade lemon and strawberry marshmallows.  I dipped the bottoms in a light coating of white chocolate and put them on sticks to make it easier for the kids to handle. I'll be making some new flavors for her 3rd birthday this year.


Strawberry Marshmallows
INGREDIENTS

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/8 cup dried strawberries, finely chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp strawberry extract or flavoring
red food color
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Lemon Marshmallows
INGREDIENTS

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
grated lemon peel from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp lemon extract
yellow food color
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

DIRECTIONS
Sift together confectioners' sugar and cornstarch.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 13" by 9" baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, not necessary but helpful. Then sift about 1/8 cup of the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture onto the bottom of the pan.  Add 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let stand until softened (about 15 minutes)

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, salt, lemon peel or dried strawberries and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Use a wet pastry brush and wipe sugar crystals from the sides of the pot, boil for about two minute. Boil on high, until the syrup reaches 240F, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using a whisk attachment, turn your mixer on low and slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin. Slowly increase the speed to high and beat until it comes together and looks like thick marshmallow fluff, about 10 minutes. Add extract and 2-5 drops of food coloring (until color desired is reached, I wanted it pale so only used 3) beat to combine, about 30 -60 seconds.

If you use butter to lightly butter the rubber spatula first it makes it easier to spread out.  Pour marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a rubber spatula, scraping out the bowl.  Sift about 1/8 cup of the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture onto the marshmallows and let stand, uncovered on the counter until set, about 3-6 hours (depends on humidity).

Run a knife around the perimeter of the pan, and invert onto a cutting board which has been dusted with about 1 TBSP of the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture.  Put remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture in a bowl.  Peel off the parchment paper, if you used it and cut the marshmallows into small squares.  I do about 1"x1" squares.  Toss in sugar and cornstarch mixture in the bowl, shake off and store in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper.

Just a Minute...

Jen formerly of August Street, now Crafty Type, used to have a Just A Minute feature, which I enjoyed.


Reading... The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland

Making... goodies for Kirsten's Easter basket and decorations for her birthday party

Watching... Firefly, I've seen it before, just rewatching


Listening... to Kirsten goofing around, making up silly stories about a dragon and her baby

Loving... getting ready for Spring

Dreaming... of the day we get a call about our next little bundle of joy

Planning... Kirsten's Hello Kitty birthday party and the garden layout for this year

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Alicia's gorgeous garden, you really should go take a peek at Posie Gets Cozy. I love her blog, it was one of the first I started reading. Mine will be a big tilled up patch of soil at my in-law's farmstead, so not very pretty, but quite functional nonetheless.

via

Baking... test runs for Kirsten's birthday cake

Lamenting... the demise of Google Reader and finding a new RSS feed reader... so I'm trying out Bloglovin this week. Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Monday Musings - Swift


If you're lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don't ever change - Taylor Swift
unknown source, found on pinterest with a bogus link back


Cocktails - Recipes

Just a small sample of my favorite cocktails that are consistent favorites at our yearly cocktail party.


Appletini
1 oz Shakka Apple Liqueur
2 oz Apple Juice
1 oz Smirnoff Apple

Shake with ice, strain into martini glass
optional: Garnish with apple cubes or slices

Ocean Breeze
1.25 oz Malibu rum
.75 oz Curacao
.5 oz Orange juice
.5 oz Pineapple juice

Shake with ice, strain into martini glass
optional: Garnish with an orange slice or pineapple spear

Mojito
3 oz Light rum
Juice of 1 Lime (1 oz)
2 tsp Sugar
2 Mint sprigs, crushed in glass to release flavor
Soda water
Muddle mint and sugar together into shaker with a splash of soda water
Add remain ingredients, shake with ice
Strain into highball glass
optional: Rim glass (dip in lime juice, then sugar) and garnish with a mint sprig

Raspberry Creme
1 oz Chambord
1 oz cream
1 oz creme brulee liquer (Just Desserts)

Shake with ice, strain into martini glass
optional: Garnish with White Chocolate shavings, or a raspberry

A personal favorite:
Pomegranate Champagne
2 oz champagne
1 oz pomegranate juice
0.5 oz orange liquer: Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1/2 tsp simple syrup

Shake orange liquer, pomegranate juice and simple syrup with ice, strain into champagne glass
Pour in champagne and stir gently
optional: Garnish with pomegranate arils

20 Little Things in Spring

Several years ago, 2009 to be precise I did a 20 Little Things in Spring post. It was before my daughter was born and I thought it'd be fun to do another, then compare them afterwards.

via

  1. Taking nightly walks and watching Kirsten ride her tricycle
  2. Blowing bubbles and watching Kirsten catch them before the grass pops them
  3. The squeals of delight of Kirsten at the park "Mommy, look at me!"
  4. Little skirts and sandals revealing the scraped knees and bruised shins of my princess tomboy 
  5. Taking lots of pictures outside
  6. Baby bunnies frolicing in the back yard
  7. Morning dew on the green peeking out of the ground in the flower beds
  8. The house the day after spring cleaning
  9. Early morning coffee on the back patio
  10. Opening all the windows to air out the house
  11. Waking up to birds chirping
  12. Trading my heavy winter clothes for lighter colors and fabrics
  13. Trading heavy down comforters for lighter quilts and blankets
  14. Greeting neighbors as we all begin work on our yard clean up
  15. Seeing all the kids in their Easter best at church
  16. Hiding eggs for days on end, because Kirsten loves to find them again and again
  17. Fire pits on the weekends
  18. Browsing the garden centers and starting seedlings
  19. Filling my window boxes and urns with flowers
  20. The soft tapping of rain on the roof and windows
A quick glance back shows me not too much has changed...

What do you look forward to in Spring?

Monday Musings - Brontë

My favorite quote from Wuthering Heights:

Whatever souls are made of - his and mine are the same ~ Emily Bronte


Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread - Recipe

Nothing goes better with Chili then a little cornbread. Especially when said cornbread is sweet buttermilk cornbread, hot out of the oven, slathered with butter and drizzled with honey, with a crispy outside from a hot cast iron skillet. Is your mouth watering yet? I'm going to share my cornbread secrets with you, and I've been told many a time that my cornbread is the best!

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

Secret #1: Buttermilk
Secret #2: Honey
Secret #3: Hot Skillet

Don't have buttermilk? I keep a buttermilk powder on hand for baking when you want the buttermilk flavor, without added liquid. Or quickly make your own: for the 1 1/2 cups this recipe calls for, remove 1 1/2 Tbsps milk from 1 1/2 cups of milk and add in 1 1/2 Tbsps of vinegar or lemon juice, and let it sit for 5 minutes, then add to the recipe.

Now, this week I got to up the secret factor, because I got to use some AMAZING honey, and I don't know if I'd ever be able to live up to it with any old honey again. I got my honey from Haff Apiaries (701.663.1619‎) in Mandan, North Dakota, it's raw unpasteurized honey and the best I've ever tasted. I also used White Lily White Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix, this is hard to find up here in North Dakota, so I order it online. While I do think it makes a better cornbread, you can use whatever corn meal you have.

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread | Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread
INGREDIENTS
2 cups White Lily White Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix
-OR-
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour

1 1/2 cup buttermilk
-OR-
1 1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp buttermilk powder

1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tsp honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS
Generously grease 8-10" cast iron skillet (I use butter flavored shortening for this, butter just doesn't do as good a job)
Preheat skillet in oven to 425
Measure cornmeal (and flour, if needed) into a bowl and stir (with a wooden spoon) it up to break up large clumps
Add remaining ingredients and mix until just moist, it will have some clumps
Pour into skillet and put in oven for 20 - 30 minutes (depends on the skillet size, start checking on it at 20 minutes. You want the top to get to a nice deep golden color.