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May the frosting be with you February 3, 2019

Posted by thejinx in art, life.
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This weekend was my husband’s birthday, and since he’s a big Star Wars fan (and I wanted to try out my new candy melting pot), I decided to make Star Wars cupcakes!

I used the new X-Wing and Millennium Falcon silicone mold I got for Christmas to make the cupcake toppers.

I melted bright white candy melts in my electric candy pot, together with a few leftover Halloween chocolates…

… and poured it into the molds, then put them in the fridge for half an hour to harden. (With thanks to my daughter for photography credit.)

Presto! Delicious candy starships. Now on to the cupcakes. (Chocolate, of course.)

For the frosting, I started with a basic butter cream frosting. Homemade, I don’t do store bought in this house.

I wanted to do a bit of a galaxy style for the frosting, so I split it in half, made half into chocolate and split the other half to colour blue and purple.

Filled up a piping bag, gave it a quick swirl, and it was ready to go.

Used a big star tip and started frosting.

I also added some edible silver glitter dust to complete the galaxy look. It’s not super obvious, but it does add a little pop.

Once that was done, it was time for the ships.

And voila! The colours didn’t turn out quite as I was hoping they would, but I’m pretty pleased with the results. They’re also very tasty.

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Pumpkinpalooza October 15, 2018

Posted by thejinx in life.
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For all my love of books, board and video games, miniature painting, and science fiction and fantasy, sometimes I take great joy in being domestic. In no way is this more apparent than with baking. And at this time of year, that means pumpkins.

I’ve become one of those people who is crazy about pumpkin goodies. I started out a few years ago, the first time I cooked a fresh pumpkin for muffins, and since then, I’ve made a lot of pumpkin recipes. Breads, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and more. Not all of them have worked spectacularly, but I’ve made enough that have turned out very nice that I thought I would share some today.

A couple of notes before I begin: first, I only use fresh pumpkin for my recipes. I tried canned pumpkin once and it was not nearly as tasty, so bear that in mind. Cooking a pie pumpkin is easy, anyway. Chop it in half, scoop out the pulp, cook for an hour, and puree the innards. It takes time, but not a lot of work.

Second, I feel that a lot of pumpkin recipes are a little heavy on the spice and light on the pumpkin flavour. So, my cardinal rule for pumpkin recipes is 50% more pumpkin, 50% less spice. This usually doesn’t affect the texture with fresh pumpkin, which is thicker than canned. I also tend to cut back on sugar, but I do that with all my baking. Of course, this is my preference.

Without further ado, my favourite pumpkin recipes:

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Pumpkin biscotti – recipe

This was one of my earliest pumpkin recipes, found after being randomly inspired to try searching for one, and has been my most popular. Aside from my cardinal rules, I follow the recipe precisely. Perfect for dunking in coffee or tea. (If you prefer a softer biscotti, however, you can cut the second baking time in half.)

Pumpkin scones

I’ve made the popular Starbucks copycat pumpkin scone recipe a few times, and while tasty, I found myself wanting a more authentic scone. After extensive research on the topic, it seemed to me that British scones are much like North American biscuits. So, I searched instead for a pumpkin biscuit recipe and was very pleased with the results. I did take a cue from the Starbucks knockoff and added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger, which peps it up nicely and makes it the perfect accompaniment to a nice cuppa tea and a grey day.

Pumpkin sugar cookies

This was entirely an experiment on my part last year that worked out better than I anticipated. I took a standard sugar cookie recipe, replaced half the butter with pumpkin, and added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. They are better when iced properly, but I wanted to show the colour for this post.

Ravioli with pumpkin alfredo sauce – recipe

After all these treats, I found this while searching for savoury pumpkin recipes. I made it for the first time a few weeks ago and it was an instant hit. I did not include the nuts in the recipe and added zucchini and mushrooms to the sauce, but otherwise followed the recipe closely, and it came out delicious. I also used ravioli stuffed with roasted cauliflower, which complemented the flavours nicely, but I imagine the sauce works just as well on regular pasta.

Finally, if I have just a little pumpkin left over, I recently discovered a very nice homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe, or my go-to is to use the rest in pumpkin pancakes. I eyeball this one more than measure, but I add about half a cup of pumpkin to a standard pancake batter and add a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg.