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Creative Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can you even believe this? My dear friend (who is amazingly creative in the kitchen) just gathered and posted 100 chocolate Chip Cookie recipes (some are hers, and some from friends all over the blogosphere!)

CCC-collage-1I am in awe of her creativity and her passion.

Click on the picture above and find yourself in an amazing world of chocolate and yum.

There are cookies for the Healthier eater (Healthy Avocado Chocolate Chip) and cookies for the “I don’t care I’m having my bacon anyway” eaters (Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies) and some for everyone in-between! (My choice is the caramel stuffed chocolate chunk cookies – ’cause I’m a sugar overload kind-of snacker!)

While you’re at it, check out Jen’s site. She has worked so hard at creating amazing recipes.

Here are a few –

  • Frozen Hot Chocolate, (what a great summer treat!)
  • Orange Sugar Cookies (that are DIVINE! I make them every year)10 Mocktails Kindle cover
  • Soft Pretzels (My hubby just saw these and started drooling!  Jen pairs them with a cheesy mustard dip. One day I’m going to request just a warm cheese dip).

There are dips, breakfasts, beverages and so many desserts that you will get LOST on her site.

She also has an amazing ebook (perfect for those family summer parties), 10 Summer Mocktails a steal at $0.99!

Jen Stott – (of Jen’s Favorite Cookies) you get the Creative Cook award!!!

 

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Homemade Easter Sugar Eggs

My husband’s amazingly creative Aunt Susan and her daughters made Easter eggs this year for my mother-in-law. Not just any Easter eggs, mind you, but the beautiful, sugar, peek inside to another world kind of egg.

I read a book about a sugar egg like that when I was little and it made such an impression on me.  The book was called, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward –

Those eggs are seriously cool!

So, Aunt Susan graciously gave permission to write about her AND sent her recipe to share. (She’s one of those women that blow you away with her abilities and talents!)

Maybe we should have a contest next Easter… 🙂

SUGAR EGG RECIPE

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp Wilton Meringue Powder

Placed sugar in large mixing bowl. For extra strength, or if you live in an area that has high humidity, add 2 tsp meringue powder to mixture. Mix sugar so there are no lumps in it. Make a well in sugar, then add water. Rub mixture between your hands & knead for about 1 minute or until well-blended & mixture packs like wet sand. Makes 1 large egg, 2 medium eggs or 3 small eggs. (These are SOLID eggs without scooping out the sugar to hollow them.You can reuse the scooped out sugar to make more eggs so you’ll get more than what is stated.)

To tint sugar:
Add icing color to water. Add color sparingly; lightly tinted sugar makes the prettiest decorations. Mix until color & sugar are well-blended. I usually just make mine white then make it colorful by adding the decorations to it.

HOW TO MAKE HOLLOW SUGAR EGGS (Note – I use the sugar I scoop out of the eggs to make more eggs.)

*Dust mold with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Pack sugar mixture into half egg mold, pressing firmly with heel of hand.

*To remove excess sugar, hold metal spatula at 45* angle to egg mold and scrape off excess sugar.

*Unmold at once by place cardboard circle over mold and turning mold upside down. To loosen mold, tap top of mold with spatula. Carefully lift mold off.

This is what I do – cut the narrow end of the egg of both halves about 1 – 1 1/2 inches. This is what will make your opening to see your display inside the egg. You can keep this part of the sugar to reuse – just keep it covered with a damp cloth.

*Let egg dry for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then carefully pick egg half up holding it in palm of hand. Do not squeeze or move egg while it’s in your hand or it will crack.

*Use a spoon to gently scoop out soft sugar following the contour of the egg. Smooth inside & opening of egg with your fingers. You can keep this sugar, just put it in a bowl & keep covered with a damp cloth. Then reuse it to make more sugar eggs.

*Place egg right side up (so hollowed part can dry) on cardboard to finish drying for about 24 hours.

DECORATING SUGAR EGGS

Decorate the inside of your egg putting decorations in with royal frosting. Then put top & bottom of eggs together with royal frosting carefully handling the halves. Decorate the outside with royal frosting & decorations. Let dry. To store during the year, put in a box that has no light & keep in a cool place.

ROYAL FROSTING RECIPE

3 Tbs Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 min at low speed with a heavy duty mixer or 10-12 min at high speed with a hand-held mixer. Makes 3 cups.

NOTE: I make my own flowers by coloring the royal frosting & making drop flowers on wax paper night before until they are dry & hard. Make plenty, they do store well if not used. I have even made little chickens before but haven’t done rabbits yet.

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Alexander’s

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of dining at Alexander’s.  You haven’t heard of it yet?  It’s this great new place – it’ll be all the rage!

A dear friend of mine is fabulous at inspiring and allowing her children to be creative.  Her son Alexander made up a menu one day, (he’s interested in being a chef) and she took it a step further and let him have a “restaurant” for family and friends.

The Menu

The menu was hard to read, but it’s separated into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Anytime snacks.  It also includes serving times, the items available and the prices.

I loved the idea so much, that I called to make a reservation, and Alexander himself called to confirm our plans. 🙂

The special of the evening

When we showed up, he and his siblings greeted us, showed us to our table and served up a wonderful meal.  We were also treated to beautiful music and her oldest son even played on their piano (well, it was a player piano, but he sure fooled me with his acting skills).

Being shown to our table - note the menu in his hand.

My friend Cydnee had the boys do almost everything, from menus to serving to tallying up the bill.  They even gave us coupons for our meal – which was a steal to begin with.

Yummy!

I am amazed at her ability to foster creativity.  She threw an Indiana Jones themed birthday party for her son and Alexander decorated the house with paper  snakes and made up a party game, complete with a golden paper head ala the first movie.

Another thing that I loved was the outdoor oven that Alexander made.  When I asked if he had cooked anything on it, she said that he had melted cheese and chocolate.  Move over Easy Bake Oven, there’s a new contender!

Homemade oven

So, here’s to Cydnee and family –  well done!  I am amazed at your talents to nurture your children’s natural abilities.  Thank you for a lovely evening.