Peg's Crayon Box

Join me in my journey to live a more artful and colorful life every day. Come read about my projects, things I've discovered or learned from others, and ponderings on what it means to listen to the inner muse.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Diane's Fudge Cookies with a Peppermint Twist!

In preparation for a Cookie Exchange party I dug out some of my favorite standbys.  About 30 years ago my friend Diane gave me her recipe for the BEST FUDGE COOKIES ever! I've made them over and over again, and they are always a big hit.  Super easy, with minimal cleanup due to mixing in a pan and baking on aluminum foil, and you can even safely nibble on the dough as there are no eggs. This recipe makes approximately 2 dozen:
Di's Fudge Cookies
Preheat oven to 350'. Melt 1/2 stick butter and 12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips over medium heat in a heavy fry pan (don't skimp on quality here-use real butter and Ghiradelli or better chips), stirring to mix well until smooth. Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup white flour, 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Optional to add chopped nuts at this stage. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and drop 1 heaping teaspoon of dough for each cookie. As these cookies do not spread much you can postion them closer together than other cookie doughs. Bake 7-10 minutes- do not overbake!! For Christmas this year my variation was to add a peppermint candy to the center of each cookie before baking. These are soft and chewy and oh, so good.

SUPER EASY TOFFEE:  Another fun, nostalgic recipe with just a few ingredients is this one for TOFFEE: Place approx 35 saltine crackers in a single layer on a large cookie sheet that is lightly greased. In a small saucepan melt 1 stick of buttler and 2/3 cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil. Pour over the crackers (I spooned a little over each cracker then spread this around with the back of the spoon). Bake in 350' oven for 7 minutes-watch closely to keep sugar from burning. Sprinkle on 12 oz of chocolate chips, put the cookie sheet back in oven for 1 minute to melt the chips, then spread them around to cover all of the crackers. Sprinkle on about 1 to 1.5 cups of chopped nuts-I used pecans. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour (no more), then break apart into serving pieces. Doesn't this sound like an old-fashion 50's style recipe- you know, from the Campbell soup era? This is real comfort food, and  great emergency recipe for when you need something easy and fast, and other than the hot sugar-butter stage, a good one to make with children.
No wonder I gain 5 lbs at the holidays!

                                       HAPPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Spiced-Up Christmas

Between the cold weather coming in and the holidays approaching I decided to get cozy in the kitchen and make up some gifts for friends. What better way to spend a snowy Sunday afternoon! Gathering my packs of spices from Penzeys I set to mixing up some Berbere Spice Mix, a wonderful blend of 9 delicious and aromatic elements: cardamon, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, tumeric, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, plus a little cayenne and black pepper.                               

Four ounces of each filled my biggest mixing bowl so I'm madly searching for small jars and expanding my list of recipients! Each jar comes with a card listing the ingredients and a recipe for Ethiopian Inspired Red Lentil Soup from Susan V's Fat Free Vegan website- love her recipes!                              
I cut 6" squares of fabric to decorate the jar tops, and put then in small gift bags covered with fabric (wonderunder fused-yes you can do this on paper!).  Ribbons secured the gift card with recipe information.

My kitchen smelled sooooo good! And my friends will have a healthy holiday gift to get them started on their New Year's resolutions to eat better.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Me!

I'm so excited to share the news that my August submission to Cloth, paper, Scissors STUDIOS magazine has been published in the Winter 2009 edition! Elizabeth MacCrellish of Squam Art Workshops encouraged me and helped with the photos, so many thanks there. I wanted to show what could be done in a very small space (6'x12') as so many studios featured are larger than many of us can manage. Laurie Coyle's little red bird is seen in 3 photos, and one of my favorite books, a gift from Mary Aarons at Craftside is front and center on my desk. I love being surrounded by my many treasures and can't wait to get cozy in it again this winter.