Monday, March 28, 2011

Polka Dot Brownies

These brownies are so dark and dense and delicious-you are going to love them! Also a great thing about these brownies is you can add anything to them. I have added white chocolate chips for a polka dot effect but walnuts would be fab and you can also add in oreos or mint extract. The possibilites are endless.


5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup (about a stick and a quarter) of unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups of sugar ( I used bakers sugar but you can use granulated also)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of salt
4 large eggs

First preheat oven to 325 degrees and make sure one of the racks is positioned in the center.
Then in a double boiler, or in the microwave but be careful not to burn it, melt your chocolate and butter until it is smooth and velvety. Set it aside to cool slightly.

Next sift your flour and the salt into a small bowl and set aside. Then in a larger bowl whisk your sugar and eggs to blend. This will take about a minute. The consistency will be thick and custard-like. 

Then grab your pan, I used a 9x9 inch and spread it with unsalted butter. Here is a tip I use all the time when my recipes call for this step, I use a coffee filter to spread the butter (or Crisco) around. It's an even coverage, as you can see, and your hands stay mess free.

By now your choclate should be cooled slightly; add this to your egg/sugar mix. The reason for letting your chocolate cool slightly is if you added it to the egg mixture it would "cook" the eggs and you don't want that yet. Then add in the flour and whisk until it is all incorporated. At this point you know that the brownies are going to be thicky-thick because your mixture is heavy.

Now is the point where you can add in your extras, whatever that may be.

Then pour the mixture into your pan and place in the oven. You will cook this for about 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your pan. My pan was short and fat so it took a bit longer since the middle was still liquid after 35 min.

Once they are done let them cool on a rack and then slice and enjoy. These will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days but in my house they don't last that long.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A tulle skirt

This fairy skirt or dancing skirt was really simple, and inexpensive, to make. I was quite shocked. There are obviously better options out there than mine but I don't sew and this would be super easy for the rest of you out there that also don't sew and not to mention way cheaper than buying one. I made this skirt for a fairy princess named Isa. I think she is going to love it! I can't wait to see her dance and twirl in her new skirt.  

First I picked up my supplies: elastic ($1.29 at Hob Lob) and three rolls of 25ft tulle (in cream, purple and green) for $2.99 ea roll. To start I cut the elastic the desired length; I eyeballed it because the model wasn't here to measure.

The cream tulle will be the base so I cut it a bit longer than the other colors. I didn't measure; again just eyeball. I took each piece of cream tulle and tied it on in a knot around the elastic waistband.

Then I cut the green tulle a little shorter than the cream and began the same process of tying it in knots around the elastic. I tried to alternate every two or three cream knots and then insert the green tulle. The beauty of this is it doesn't have to be perfect and it will still turn out wonderful. For the final color, purple, I cut it a bit shorter than the green. This allows for a more fuller look in the skirt. I placed the purple tulle throughout where I saw fit.

Doesn't it look absolutely full and gorgeous!

It is hard to get the idea of colors because the ones I chose were pastel and my camera doesn't pick up on the subtleties. I enhanced the colors with Picasa so that you could see. In the below picture you can see that each piece of tulle is simply tied onto the elastic with a knot.

I don't have a dress form so I decided to model this on my leg. It gives an idea of how it is supposed to look (sorta). It is still see through so I recommend that leggings or shorts be worn underneath.

There have been many beliefs on fairies and many stories. They were known as "people of peace"; they were ethereal and sometimes angelic. My most favorite belief comes J.M. Barrie's novel 'The Little White Bird'. It said "When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies."

I just think that is a lovely thought but no matter what you believe there is no denying that this skirt will bring joy to any girl that loves to play and dance.