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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Who doesn't love chocolate & cherries?  This cookie has a sweet, moist texture and complements the chewy goodness of the cherries perfectly!  Use either sour cherries for a zing, or regular dried ones for that super sweet tooth!
{photo courtesy of Martha Stewart's COOKIES book}.

This recipe hails from the "Cookies" book by Martha Stewart...and one thing I've noticed about pretty much all her recipes, is that she uses parchment paper on her cookie sheets.  LOVE this! Makes for easy cleanup and not sure how, but somehow the cookies seem to turn out better...softer and chewier....  This woman really knows her stuff!!


Dark Chocolate Cookies with Sour Cherries
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/3 C unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped {or just use chocolate chips}
1 1/2 firmly packed cups dried sour (or not!) cherries (9 oz)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined.  Do not overbeat. With a wooden spoon, fold in chocolate and cherries.  (Dough can be frozen at this point, wrapped well in plastic, up to 1 month; thaw completely before baking).

4. Form balls into dough, each about 1/4 cup; place balls on prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart.  Bake until puffed and cracked, 9-11 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Shabby Vintage Christmas {Paper Doilies: Part I}

I love doilies.  I do, I do!  It might stem somewhere from me seeing them everywhere around the house when I was little, as my Grandma crocheted them nonstop.  Mix that in with the vintage style that's so incredibly "in" right now, along with the incredible femininity and intricacy of these little lovelies, and there ya go ~ we have ourselves a winner!
{paper snowflake doilies as part of Christmas package wrap}

So, I have just been totally inspired by these little lovelies, as of late.  I am currently working them into the adam's blankie hair accessory line {although, they're also currently available on our highly fashionable baby bibs now, if you just can't resist the doily, like myself!}, as well as all parts of our house.  Seemingly.  And much to my husband's dismay. Ha!
{paper doily snowflake in our diy shabby garland...tutorial to come later on the blog!}
Naturally, I wanted to implement them into my Christmas, too, of course!  So the first thought I had was making them into snowflakes.  Afterall, doilies inherently already have small cuts & eyelets that resemble snowflakes themselves.  So I figured I could just add my own distinct eyelets to them, and I'd end up with some "truer" looking snowflakes that are each unique to themselves...just like real snowflakes, of course.
{paper snowflake doily implemented into pre-made store garland}
 To achieve this look, you gotta go back to your grade school art class.  Not literally, of course.  But just think back to some of your earliest crafting as a child. Remember making paper snowflakes?  Yup.  I thought you would.  This is the same thing!  You're going to take your paper doily {available for purchase in any craft store {Michael's, JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, WalMart} in their cake decorating aisle} and fold it into half 4 times, until you end up with a thin wedge, like so:

Now comes the fun part: snipping!  Just take a small pair of scissors and begin cutting tiny shapes along the folded edges of your wedge.  You can snip off the tip, or choose to leave it there.  Remember, every "snowflake" is unique, so make them all a bit different from each other!
{after all the cuts are in.  you can vary them up, tho!  rounded, heart half shape, etc.}

Once all cuts are done, open it up, and you'll end up with something like this!

So now we just need to flatten it.  To do so, you'll need to get some cotton fabric {if you don't have raw fabric yardage laying around like me {what's that you say? you don't? whaaaaat???  kidding!}, you can just grab a plain cotton tshirt instead} and put it over your snowflake.  Iron on top of the fabric for a few seconds.  Then flip over your snowflake, lay the fabric back on top and iron again.

 Now you should have a flat snowflake.

Now comes the real creativity!  You need to decide what you want to do with this little piece of fabulousness!  I had a hard time deciding...so of course I made tons so I could use them many ways!  Here are just a few ideas of what you can do with your doily snowflakes:

*Hang from the ceiling in clusters, creating your own snowy dream! {Would look fabulous over a front entryway buffet table/lowboy}
*Hang onto garlands {see images at top; tutorial for the diy shabby garland to come in next "shabby vintage christmas" installment!}
*Hang from your mantle
*Attach to your stockings
*Hang on the tree
*Sew together to form its own snowflake garland
*Use as tags for Christmas packages {see image above {NOTE: One was spray painted with the ahhh-mazing "Glitter Blast" spray paint from Krylon! You GOTTA get some of that stuff!  It's fabulous!!}
*Use as stencils {idea for this & tutorial coming soon!}

Enjoy!  And be creative!  Let me know how YOU decide to use your snowflake doilies!

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