Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Afternoon at the Beach!

Chilly day at the beach,
no swimming here these days.

click clack...

hoods up

hood on

ice toss


Monday, December 21, 2009

Salted Chocolate Caramels

Yesterday before dinner I made these fabulous caramels. I had only made caramels once before and had not boiled them long enough, so it was a fear I had. It isn't fun scraping a gooey mass back into a pot to reboil. I did however boil these a little longer than the recipe said too, my fear. They are soft caramels but they do hold their shape. I cut them into squares last night and wrapped them in waxed paper, I am very very pleased with them.

The recipe was found on Epicurious. Enjoy!

Salted Chocolate Caramels

yield: Makes about 64 candies

active time: 45 min

total time: 3 1/2 hr

It's the sprinkle of sea salt that really takes these caramels over the top, teasing out the creamy richness of the buttery chocolate candies.
  • ingredients

    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
    • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as Maldon
    • Vegetable oil for greasing

    • Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer


    Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment.

    Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.

    Bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling pan occasionally, until sugar is deep golden, about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and carefully pour in chocolate mixture (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously). Continue to boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 255°F on thermometer, about 15 minutes. Add butter, stirring until completely melted, then immediately pour into lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to bottom or side of saucepan). Let caramel stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours.

    Carefully invert caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board, then peel off parchment. Turn caramel salt side up. Lightly oil blade of a large heavy knife and cut into 1-inch squares.

    Cooks' notes:•If desired, additional sea salt can be pressed onto caramels after cutting.
    •Caramels keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks.
    •Caramels can be wrapped in 4-inch squares of wax paper; twist ends to close.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    like a bruise..only prettier....

    I wasn't awake to see it, but my gorgeous black and blue treasury graced the front page of Etsy in the early morning hours this morning! Yay!!

    front page, captured from the craftcult vault

    treasury, with alternatives

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Rustic Primitive, Yet Modern!

    Another new felted wool sweater rug!
    Such pretty colours!

    up close!

    unconventional caramel....

    A lovely treat this morning to have my t-west treasury grace the front page of Etsy! I hope it brought many hearts, views and sales to the talented artisans included! Whoohoo!
    front page

    treasury with alternatives

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Lovely Little Rug

    I had set aside a stack of felted wool sweaters thinking I would make a nice big rug. I had a request for a rug recently, and the customer chose part of my stash. This rug is what was leftover in my pile of sweaters, it's lovely! A gorgeous little rug!

    There Goes the Fabulous View...

    I know I am like a broken record but, the constructions workers, working on the long term care wing at our hospital, in my backyard, have started to frame up the first floor on the foundation. It takes our view of the Slate Islands from us. It is a thorn in my side, but one I will eventually get used to. No choice in that matter, luckily we adapt to things easily. I am not pleased though to lose the view, to lose the sunrises, and hopefully not the low winter sun. I hope the roof is not too high..
    a sad day... boo to progress and change..

    early morning as the sun is rising

    Slate Islands peeking through the framing

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Chocolate Dipped Expresso Shortbread

    white chocolate dipped

    topped with shiny dragée's

    Chocolate Dipped Expresso Shortbread

    For the cookies:
    1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp. table salt
    2 1/4 cups flour
    2 tbsp. finely ground expresso beans

    For the dipping chocolate:
    9 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1 tbs. vegetable shortening

    Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix on low speed until the mixture is combined but not smooth. Add the flour and the ground expresso and mix on low speed until the mixture has pulled together. Do not overmix.
    On a lightly floured surface roll out about 1/4" thick. Cut out with your favourite cookie cutters, and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Bake in a 300° F. preheated oven for 30 to 60 minutes, until the cookies look dry and have darkened slightly. Cool on racks.

    Melt chocolate and shortening together over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate and set them on parchment until the chocolate has set up.

    Makes about 7 dozen, 1 1/2" cookies.
    I used melted white chocolate to dip my cookies into.