Friday, November 26, 2010

So-Pretty Candy Apple Treats

As a designer, I am blessed to have product reps visit our architecture and design firm with treats in tow on a daily basis.

As a designer, I am also cursed to have product reps visit our architecture and design firm with treats in town on a daily basis. Think cookies and doughnuts in your face at least three times per week. Hard. To. Pass. Up.

Luckily, we have some reps who are wonderfully creative. And sometimes even little health-conscious. Natalie, one of our wallcovering reps, always delights us with yummy and pretty treats. Last week we were lucky enough to have some of her handmade goodness delivered. Before I cut into mine, I took a photo to share with all of you. Then, emailed Natalie to ask for a wallcovering sample and her recipe. If she wouldn't mind sharing it, of course.

Lucky for you, she shared. I think these apples would be the perfect holiday treat. Using both red and green apples would pretty much make them sing Christmas Carols!

From Natalie:

My recipe is kind of loose, especially since I made so many but I’m going to base this on a yield of 6.

1 - 14oz. package of caramels (Yes, I cheated…I wanted to make the caramel from scratch but I decided I’ll try that when I make a small quantity!)
6 – apples (I use Granny Smith because I like the color and the tartness)
2 T. – milk
Chocolate chips
Vegetable oil
Craft sticks

Optional: Vanilla Extract, Chopped Nuts, Crushed Graham Cracker or topping of your choice: candy, marshmallows, toffee, etc

Generously butter a cookie sheet.  Clean apples, remove stems and insert craft stick about ¾ into the apple.

Caramel apples:
Melt caramels in a medium pan over low heat, add 2 T. milk while melting.  Stir frequently until fully melted and smooth.  (Optional – stir in about 1-2 tsp vanilla)  Dip and twirl apple in melted caramel covering about 2/3 + of the apple, wipe excess caramel on the side of the pan, turn the apple upside down and twirl a few more times so the caramel flows towards the top, caramel should cover about ¾ of the apple.  (If using toppings, dip the apples immediately into the topping.)  Place apple on buttered cookie sheet.  Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until caramel sets.

Chocolate Drizzle:
Melt chocolate chips (1/3 to ½ cup? I don’t measure??) in double broiler or in microwave.  If using a microwave, melt in 20-30 second increments (stirring in between) until chocolate is smooth.  Stir in vegetable oil, start with a teaspoon and slowly add more if needed until chocolate is glossy and drips in a smooth stream when raising the spoon.  Hold apple parallel (or slanted a bit downward) over the bowl of chocolate, twirl apple while drizzling the chocolate.  (You could also do a second drizzle in white chocolate.)  Refrigerate again for about 10 minutes.  


For the finishing touches, Natalie used cupcake liners to cut down on possible messiness and ribbon to decorate the sticks.

Natalie said I made her day by asking for the recipe.
She totally made my day, too!

What would you use as a topping for these apples? Crushed candy canes would be super festive! Do you have a favorite holiday treat recipe that is so pretty it's like receiving a gift?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Door Decor

Last year, after my holiday decorations were complete, I stumbled upon an inspiring image posted by AnNicole over at Our Suburban Cottage.  Luckily, I remembered it this year when I assigned myself the task of Christmas-ing Up my boyfriend's house... his multi-colored lights lining the eaves of the house just weren't enough for me last year.

So, while he watched Sunday football, I got to work... see below for details on how to make your own!

2009 inspiration

2010 creation

Since his front door is red, I chose two colors of green ribbon to hang pine cones from. I would have loved to use a ribbon similar to the purply-red color used by the folks over at Country Living. It is so pretty. Very Holiday, but not traditional red or green.

Next, I hot glued the ribbon to the top of nine pine cones varying in size (nine because odd numbered things are usually more pleasing to the eye). I cheated and purchased a bag of pine cones instead of collecting them from the yard. I won't tell if you do the same. To figure the length of the ribbon, I measured from the point the knot would be hanging at the door. I intended to use a wreath hanger or 3m hook, but to my surprise there was already a nail in the door.

After all the pine cones were securely glued, I held all of ribbon in one hand while pulling each strand until they were all varying in lengths that would lay nicely together. Once satisfied, I tied a knot in the ribbon. And, tada! A new, very cost effective decoration that is the perfect amount of holiday for a bachelor's door.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ein. 1. Uno. One. First.

Here. We. Go.
First post by Auntie Fi. Ever. This calls for a hip-hip hooray. And balloons. Lots o' balloons.

I've been dreaming of my blog life for quite some time now. This week I had three [count them: three!] ideas for posts before Wednesday was even half way over. So, now it's Thursday evening and my adventure is underway.

I sweetly asked my IT Guy [read boyfriend] if he would hook me up with a computer I can use solely for internet. He so sweetly obliged. I think he was actually a little excited to put his techy skills to work. Outside of work. I'm more than a little excited to be able to use something other than my Sonyvaiosauraus laptop that I have owned since the internets started. Ok, not really that long. It just seems like it.

So read on, readers. Read on. I've got some exciting things tucked away in my back pocket.

Photo: D Sharon Pruitt