Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hearts and Chocolate! Not just for Valentine's Day...

Chocolate Molten Hearts

You know those days when you need a bit of chocolate?  These little treats are just the ticket for a day like that! They are really quite simple to make but they feel like a luxury to eat.  The chocolate flavor is very rich and the texture is somewhere between fluffy and fudgy.  The middle is a bit soft and melty as long as you don't overcook them and they are just as good the next day.  I can't say how they taste two days later because they didn't last that long.  

These are just adorable in the heart shapes, but could also be cooked in regular cupcake tins. You can eat them with your hands, just like a brownie and they would be a great treat for a picnic or an after school snack.The recipe came with the pan (from Nordic Ware), except there was a misprint and it did not have the amount of flour listed.  I had to guess on that one by looking at similar recipes.  You can use whole wheat flour if you want - the chocolate is so dominant and the amount of flour is so small you can go 100% whole wheat with no one noticing the difference in taste or texture.

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
14 tablespoons butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk
2 cups powdered sugar (plus more to dust on top after they cool)
1/2 cup flour (could be whole wheat)

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease your muffin/heart pan.  Melt chocolate or butter together in saucepan, stirring constantly over low heat (or you can use the microwave).  Remove from heat and cool slightly (about 5 minutes, while you crack your eggs).  Add the rest of the ingredients to the melted chocolate/butter.  Spoon into the muffin tins, dividing up equally into all twelve tins and put them in the preheated oven. You will want to take them out while the centers are still soft and runny.  That will take about 8 minutes, but check them after 5 minutes. Remove them from the oven, loosen the edges and immediately flip them out of the pan onto a plate or cutting board.  Let them cool a bit and then eat them!  You can sprinkle them with some more powdered sugar or you could serve them warm with ice cream - YUM!!!

Give these a try - you won't regret it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring is almost here!

In between the rain and wind, we had a glorious day that reminded me that Spring is almost here!  The sky was blue and the air was crisp but not bitterly cold.  The cherry trees in our backyard were really showing off their beautiful blossoms.  We went for a bike ride over to a friend's house to see some baby bunnies who are now three weeks old.  They were so tiny and fit in my hand.  My children were thrilled and of course want to bring one home!  I have to say that I was tempted as well.  It's a good thing they are not old enough to leave their mother or I may have stuck one in my pocket for the bike ride back home.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Getting my ducks in a row...Etsy and handmade dolls

As a child, I preferred stuffed animals over dolls because they were so soft and I could snuggle with them.  That was, until my grandmother gave me a handmade cloth doll.  She had beautiful clothes that I could take off and put back on and every detail was made with care.  That doll became a constant companion for me and I still remember her fondly.

I made my first waldorf inspired doll when my daughter was born.  A neighbor taught me how to shape the beautiful face and embroider the eyes and mouth (Thanks Jen!).  This doll was rather small and was a bunting style with arms and a rounded bottom and no legs.  When my daughter was almost three years old, I decided to make a larger doll for her that could be dressed in different ways.  My daughter was thrilled when I told her that it would be HER doll. 

 I had so much fun that I made another one, and it became a bit of an obsession thinking about all of the wonderful possibilities.  I kept thinking that even though the face is so simple, there are endless variations of colors of eyes, lips, hair and skin that produce such delightful results.  Each doll is quite unique!  I wanted to keep making even  more, but I did not want to lessen the bond my daughter was forming with her favorite dolls by adding more and more of them to her collection. Also, the materials can be rather expensive to continue to purchase just for the fun of creating these precious little beings.  It just didn’t make sense to create more dolls unless they could go to a good home with someone who will love and adore them.

Somehow I learned about Etsy and it seemed like a perfect way to share my dolls with others who can really appreciate them. I figured it would be really simple to post a few things on Etsy for sale.  However, the more I read about it I am beginning to realize that there are a lot of things to figure out and set up first!

Even with all of the work involved, it is really very exciting. My main focus for my shop will be my waldorf inspired dolls.  I am working on an overall theme that will allow me to add some other items and still have it all make sense.  Since I also have a full time job and a family, all of my plans will progress at a moderate speed. I have set up my banner for my storefront on Etsy, but have not posted any items to sell yet because I still have to work out some details. I'm working on the various licenses/permits and learning about writing a business plan!  Whew!  And that seems like it is just the tip of the iceberg!!  Well, wish me luck on my adventure!