Thursday, April 25, 2013

Triple Hazelnut Pudding Cookies

Last week while browsing recipes on pinterest, I came across the pudding cookie, a supposedly foolproof way to make the perfect chewy cookie. Having totally missed the main part this recent internet craze, I just had to try it and see if one readymade ingredient really could make all the difference.

So I studied a few of the available formulas and modified my signature Nutella cookies to work with the instant pudding. The result is something even better: the perfect chewy cookie with 3 kinds of hazelnut goodness and 4 types of chocolate in the recipe.

I made a full recipe of these and it was gone in days. Try it for yourself and see if your family can keep their hands off.

Xandy's Signature Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut (PUDDING) Cookies

Takes approx 45 min
Makes approx 40 cookies
Preheat oven to 350° F

2.25 cups all purpose flour
1 box Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding
3/4 cups thawed butter
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 alarge eggs
2 Tbs Dutch process cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs Fra Angelico (hazelnut) Liqueur (bottle looks like a monk brown robe and cotton belt), substitute with vanilla extract.
1 cup salted roasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 cup nestle semisweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating the oven to 350° F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Add butter, sugar, and Nutella to mixer, can't bake without the kitchenaid,and cream on medium speed until the mixture lightens and has some air beaten into it.

Add eggs, remember to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure you are getting a uniform mixture.

Add flour, Baking soda, and cocoa to mixer in increments on slow speed continuing to scrape sides periodically.

Add Fra Angelico, roasted nuts, and chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, portion out 1Tbs balls of dough. Flatten and place on cookie sheet with space to expand (at least 2").

Bake in oven for 10 min per sheet.

Cool cookies on racks and eat,and eat, and eat.

Notes: Any alcohol in these cookies is cooked off by the time they leave the oven, using Liqueur as a flavor is comparable to using extracts. THESE ARE KID SAFE.

If you cannot find roasted Hazelnuts at the store, you can roast raw or blanched hazelnuts for 10 min at Preheat oven to 350° F to develop flavor before adding a bit of salt and chopping. I did this and the cookies came out very well.

Overall evaluation, though I'm not sure exactly sure anymore how chewy these are without the puds you can really tell that these are not just another Nutella cookie.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Making Neon Rope Baskets

Neons are really hot right now and one of my favorite neon craft supplies is the brightly colored mason line that you can find in the rope aisle of any hardware store. Pair it with plain cotton clothesline, and you have these super fresh baskets. I use mine to hold knitting needles, scissors and my drop spindle.

You might even be able to make these and call it "spring cleaning" because they are a great way to organize things in a presentable way.

I've made some videos of this project because it is a little hard to learn with still images. There are also pictures below showing how to do the stitch.

Video tutorial part 1

Video tutorial part 2

Both of these are playable in HD, and I recommend doing so in order to clearly see what is going on.

You will need:

Cotton clothesline or a similar thick rope in any material, I used this kind.
Neon mason line, I've located it for sale online in neon yellow, neon pink, neon orange, and white.
Cotton butcher's twine
Similar thin rope in any material - but if you can break it with your own strength it is not a good choice
A crochet hook
Fire to burn the ends of the mason line

Begin as in the video by making a crocheted magic ring.

Work in a coil attaching the rope with the following stitch

Reach through the previous coil with the hook and create a loop. This should be about an inch from the last stitch.

There should be a loop on the back of you work after you pull the string through.

Put the front loop through this back loop.

Put your bobbin or spool of thread through the front loop.

Now pull tight. You have finished the stitch.

Just as if you were making a coil pot out of clay, the shape of the vessel can be changed depending on how you place the coil. Each of these baskets took about 100 feet of thin rope and 20-30 feet of clothesline.  Finishing instructions are in the video.

It takes some practice to control the shape.
Have fun making your baskets and please leave a comment if you liked the videos, want to see them in the future, or have a suggestion for future videos.

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