30 December 2010

Hot Mormon Muffins: December Edition (Last of the Muffins)

It's hard to believe another year is drawing to a close and this is the last Hot Mormon Muffin post. What started out as a tongue-in-cheek response to a somewhat confounding gift ended up being a delicious bit of fun. I'm going to miss my Mormon Muffins. But not to worry--I enjoyed having a monthly baking project so much that I've chosen another project for 2011: Martha Stewart Living's "15 Years of Delicious Desserts" (as chosen by readers in the February 2006 edition). I decided on this particular project simply because the recipes look mouth watering and I know a few are going to be challenging (in a good way). I hope you enjoy 2011's project baking as much as I think I'm going to (and maybe you'll even be inspired to try some of the recipes out for yourself). In the meantime, enjoy the last of the Mormon Muffins: Celestial Cinnamon, bought to you by Leticia, 27 and mom of one. Click on photos to enlarge.

The snowflake and tag came from one of my Christmas gifts. I thought it was appropriate:

The essentials:

About to mix the egg, butter, and sugar:

Wet ingredients, together at last:

Dry goods:

The batter (note: it's not perfectly mixed, so as not to overwork it):

Getting ready to go into the oven (I never realized how messy I am when I put the batter into the pan!):

They look pretty good, don't they?:

But they look even better after being dipped in butter and cinnamon-sugar!:

Ready to eat and all dolled up:



Leticia's Celestial Cinnamon

[My notes/changes in brackets]

Muffin

1/2 cup [unsalted] butter
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups [all-purpose] flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

[Preheat oven to 350F.] Mix together butter, egg, and sugar. [Mix together dry ingredients.] Stir dry ingredients [into wet mixture], alternating with milk. [Do not overmix.] Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 to 25 minutes at 350F.

Topping

4 tbs butter, melted
3/4 cup [granulated] sugar [mixed with] 1 tsp cinnamon

Dip muffin tops in butter and roll in cinnamon-sugar.

My Verdict

This is a nice muffin, although not terribly exciting. The muffin itself is fairly plain, but rich, dense and moist. The topping adds a nice sweet crunch. I think I might add a touch more nutmeg (or even some cinnamon) to the batter to combat the plainness. I'd also try using salted butter for the topping, just to see how the saltiness combines with the cinnamon-sugar. These make a good dessert muffin.

Want more Hot Mormon Muffins (and really, who doesn't)? Check out my previous posts:

January (Lisa's Priesthood Praline)
February (Amy's Relief Society Raspberry)
March (Kourtnie's Mormon Marmalade)
April (Charli's Seminary Streusel)
May (Tami's Zesty Zion Zucchini)
June (Lynda's Seven Wives Grain)
July (Cami's Bring'em Young Blueberry)
August (Yayoi's Latter-Day Lemon)
September (Miriam's Missionary Meringue--gluten free)
October (Mya's Pioneer Pumpkin)
November (Sallee's CTR Chocolate Chip)

Photos by Domicile

15 December 2010

The witch was on to something...

Who doesn't love gingerbread houses? Seriously, they're right out of fairy tales. I particularly have a fascination with them. I think it's because they combine three of my interests in one handy, tasty package: baking, fanciful architecture, and candy. I've only made one in my lifetime and that was years ago; since then other holiday baking has always dominated my time. But I plan to start making them--they're just too much fun not to. Mind you, I don't entirely 'get' gingerbread houses. If they're meant to be eaten, why do they get stale so quickly? And if they're not meant to be eaten, why are they covered in so many delicious treats? It's a conundrum for the ages.

Anyway, I thought I'd collect a few inspirational photos to share. Click on them to go to the original sites where these were posted. (Sorry, no patterns or instructions--just photos and some descriptions.)









And just so those of you who are looking for how-to info aren't left entirely hanging:

Ultimate Gingerbread website, for recipes, patterns, photos, instructions, forums, and more.

And one of my favourite baking crafts ever: Not Martha's mini gingerbread houses that perch on your mug! This way you can have your gingerbread house and eat it too. Instructions and more photos are available here.

Now, if only I could figure out how to make a life-size, weatherproof gingerbread house...

03 December 2010

Beader Madness 2

The madness is upon me again! Every so often I get the uncontrollable urge to make jewellery; this time the impetus was a pile of necklaces that needed altering/repairing and some uber cute cake and cookie charms I really wanted to use. The irony is that as soon as I started putting together a necklace with the charms I realized I didn't have the right beads to go with. So I ended up not making that necklace. Grr. (I know what kind of beads I need--now I just have to find them.) But of the ones in the photos about half are new and half are older ones I fixed/altered. Click photos to enlarge...

The fruits of my labour:


The 'R' and 'e' charms are part of the word 'more' (you can see it better in some of the following photos). I found a set of letter charms that spelled 'amore.' I decided I'd make one necklace with 'more' (seems to be my life's theme) and use the leftover 'A' (my first initial) in another necklace (you'll see it below too). I also made an '!' necklace (below, right) and an '@' necklace (later). Clearly my hours of working at a keyboard have seeped into my subconscious...

I made a bracelet this time too, although I'm concerned the elastic thread won't hold up and I'll need to restring it. Otherwise I'm happy with how it turned out:




I love this flower charm. It reminds me of Art Nouveau, which I adore and is just so lovely. Designing the necklace was fun too.

The bat to the left of it used to be an earring.


Dragonflies are a favourite of mine (as are stars--if you haven't already spotted them there are three necklaces made with the exact same star beads, only in different colours):



The blue heart is actually an evil eye charm that I picked up from a christening. I love incorporating found objects into crafts.


I thought the swirly beads worked well with the @ symbol:

A figure of Bastet peeking through a loop of beads. That was the first necklace I ever made (and it shows, but I don't mind too much as it's still one of my favourites).

The large bead is part of the 'Art Nouveau' flower necklace:



A closer look at the bracelet:







The charms I use definitely tend to reflect my interests: a pentacle, the Eiffel tower, and a mortar and pestle:

I actually didn't make this necklace but I finished it off. My friend made the chain of beads (yes, that is a crucifix design on the black beads). It more or less looked like a rosary (no, I'm not Catholic) but the dangly bit at the bottom didn't have anything hanging from it. So I added...

...this cross (which I picked up on a visit to a Greek monastery). I'll probably never wear it (well, maybe if I feel like channelling my inner goth) but I'm happy it's completed.

This bee charm used to be attached to a "chain" of dark green wooden beads. It was okay but I'd grown bored of it. So I put together a new setting for it (next two photos, and some of the ones above, as well) and I think it turned out to be my favourite of the new batch!


The silver fleur de lys "badge" is a vintage piece I found in my mom's button box years ago. In fact, I found two others as well! (If you look carefully, you can spot one of the other ones above on a black bead and pearl necklace.) I'm not even sure what they're supposed to be used for (belt buckles? But they're not that big, although they're pretty heavy...) In any case, they were a fantastic find and my mom doesn't even miss them:

The best part is that I didn't buy anything new to make all this; I used what was already on hand. I ended up making a dent in my stash, clearing off my "to fix" list, adding some new pretties to my collection, and getting inspiration for future projects. Pretty sweet.

Photos by Domicile