I Love a Mix CD: Songs I Liked in 2012

A new year calls for reflection, and I like doing that best by compiling all the music I’ve loved listening over the past year. They may not be the best songs of 2012, but they’re the songs I loved at least. Feel free to download and enjoy.

Happy New Year!
2012mix-web-cvrCZ

Click here to download the mix

Track List:
2012mix-web-tracksCZ01/Teen Age Thugs* – Sonny + The Sunsets
02/Only in My Dreams – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
03/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards – Tame Impala
04/Better Girl – Best Coast
05/Sixteen Saltines – Jack White
06/Ruin – Cat Power
07/When the Lillies Die – IO Echo
08/Hail Bop – Django Django
09/Clouds Are Lies – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
10/Elegant Design – Pond
11/Origins – Tennis
12/Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover) – The Kills

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Christmas Goodies: Triple-Decker Maple Peanut Butter Pretzel Fudge

Maple. Peanut Butter. Pretzel. FUDGE.
That’s exactly how I read this entry from one of my blogger idols, Heather, at Sprinkle Bakes. Oh, I’ve tried twice before to emulate her absolute perfection in the amazing treats of hers that I’ve tried to make. Unfortunately, I never seemed to execute the projects quite to her level of awesomeness. But I’m gonna be frank here — this time, I nailed it.

The second I saw all those combined together in one delectable treat, I knew I had to make it for my friends this holiday season.

The look of this fudge is so stunning. I love the way the pretzel rods and crumbs look on the top of the rich ganache layer. The middle layer is the thickest, creamiest, most scrumptious peanut butter fudge ever — with just a hint of maple. And the bottom is a “crust” of all chocolate/butter/crushed pretzel goodness.

It was a no-brainer that I’d make the fudge, but what I didn’t know was how I was going to package it. Because it’s so pretty, I knew I wanted the wrapper to be clear, but just putting this stuff in a treat bag didn’t seem to do it justice. After trying a few things, I finally settled on printing a label to use as a backing inside, and printed it out on kraft brown cardstock.

It’s super easy to do. Just leave an equal extra amount at the top and bottom of the label to score and fold over (I used a ruler on the fold line and traced over it with a butter knife —careful, you don’t want to cut through! — to get a clean folded edge), so that the label wraps the bottom and top sides of the piece of fudge. I also recommend cutting a piece of wax paper for the fudge to sit on so that it doesn’t seep through the paper and mess up your pretty label!

FourEyedGirl-mpbpfudge-thumWant to make this delicious and amazing fudge? Of course you do! You can find the recipe here at Sprinkle Bakes (Heather, thank you for sharing this with the world!). If you’d like to use the tags I made, you can download the free printable tag here. If folding it as a backing isn’t your thing, punch a small hole and tie it to the outside with some red/white bakers twine to keep it looking seasonal!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

*added note: The pieces of fudge pictured are pretty huge. The idea was to give out mini “bricks” of fudge to each recipient. Again, because of how pretty the topping is, I thought it looked better to give a larger piece. You could realistically cut about four pieces of candy from the size of the block I have pictured.

Baking from the Heart

I’ve had a friend on my mind for the last few days, and I just haven’t been real sure what to do. So this morning I finally just decided that I was going to bake some cookies.

I used Bakerella’s fabulous “Cowgirl Cookies” recipe — a friend gave away a jar with all of the ingredients for these cookies at her daughter’s birthday party a while back, and the cookies were so good that I knew I’d have to make them again. They combine chocolate chips, oatmeal and M&M’s, so I figured they were bound to please just about anybody. Make no mistake, these cookies are amazing.

To package the cookies, I used a cute little wood bark patterned treat box that I found in the dollar bins at Target a few weeks back, and I embellished it by making one of Martha’s cupcake liner carnations. Then, I added a simple tag I made that said exactly how I felt: “When I don’t know how to help, I make cookies.”

Want to make some cookies for a friend  you’re thinking about too? Download the free tag here and make your own box for somebody special.

Sweet Treats: Making it work when results aren’t what you planned for!

One of my favorite toddlers recently turned two, and I was asked if I would help with the birthday girl’s party sweets. I was feeling really ambitious and thought I’d try something like these adorable ice cream cone cupcakes at Bergdorf Goodman, but I was a little too ambitious! We got the cupcakes to bake quite well in the cones, but no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t get them to be even sizes, and some were straight-up crooked and just wouldn’t stand up!

Sample only – use link to download

So, I channeled my inner Tim Gunn and decided we’d make it work. Afterall, cupcakes in the ice cream cones are so easy for a toddler to hold themselves, and with independence at a real high at this stage – whatever makes it easier for them to do things by themselves is a win. I decided to turn the cupcakes upside down and place them in color-coordinating baking cups to match the party theme, use a little ribbon to jazz up the “handles,” and I made little tags and stick them into the top. Voila! We pulled it off, and the guests had no idea the new upside-down treats were a happy accident!

Would you like to download the tags to print yourself? Download here. Just cut out and tape to a toothpick – they’re super easy!