Zentangle Quilting in Color

Zentangle Quilting in Color | BakeNQuilt.com

I had such fun making Zentangle quilts last month that I decided to make a couple more.  This time I filled them in with color using a technique from Irena Bluhm’s book Quilts of a Different Color.  After stitching and coloring in the black areas with a Pigma pen, I used colored pencils to fill in areas of the quilt.  I then painted over the color with textile medium to blend and fix the colors.  This was even more fun than making the black and white Zentangles, though I like them both.

Related posts:

Posted in Other, Quilting and Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Cocoa: Hot Cocoa Bunnies

Hot  Chocolate Bunnies | BakeNQuilt.com

Easter weather is always a surprise around here – sunny summer temperatures one day and overcast and chilly day the next.  I’m pretty happy drinking hot chocolate on all but the hottest days though.  With that in mind, I made some little hot cocoa bunnies to use to make a decadent cup of Easter-themed hot chocolate.

Some of the best cups of hot chocolate I’ve ever had have been simply milk with a good quality chocolate melted into it.  Plain chocolate chunks don’t melt very smoothly though.  One of my co-workers used to melt my homemade truffles into her coffee to enjoy as a mocha, so I thought I’d try using ganache (the chocolate and cream filling for truffles) as my hot chocolate “mix”.  With a little cocoa powder added to temper the sweetness, the ganache makes an excellent hot chocolate and can be molded into any fun shape using a silicone mold.  I have a great little silicone bunny mold that I usually find hiding in my baking cabinet in the summer, so I’m pleased I remembered to use it before Easter this year!

I’m entering this recipe in April’s We Should Cocoa challenge which is hosted this month by Rachel Cotterill who picked Easter as her theme.   The We Should Cocoa challenge, managed by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity.   The idea is to make something with chocolate each month.  We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

We Should Cocoa: Hot Cocoa Bunnies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Chocolate Ganache bunnies for melting into milk for a decadent, dark hot chocolate
Ingredients
  • For the Bunnies
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped (do not use chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • For the hot chocolate
  • ⅔ cup hot milk
  • 1 bunny
Instructions
  1. For the bunnies:
  2. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the chopped chocolate, cream, powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Stir constantly until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Spoon chocolate into a silicone mold. Tap mold to release air bubbles. Refrigerate for an hour to firm up.
  4. Remove chocolate from the mold and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  5. To make hot chocolate:
  6. Heat ⅔ cup of milk to a simmer and pour it into your hot chocolate cup. Add one bunny and let sit for a minute to soften. Stir well until the chocolate is fully incorporated into the milk.
Notes
Molds come in many different sizes. You may need to experiment with the amount of milk per shape to get a ratio that you enjoy.

Related posts:

Posted in Beverages, Challenge Groups, Chocolate Recipes, We Should Cocoa | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Zentangle Quilting

Last month, I decided to try a fun technique from Pat Ferguson’s book Zen Quilting.  Prior to this book, I had never heard of Zentangles but am now fascinated with them.   A Zentangle is basically a structured version of doodling.  It starts with an outline, which may or may not be roughly square, drawn on a 3 1/2″ piece of paper (a Zentangle tile).  That shape is then filled with patterns.  The finished piece is meant to have no up or down and can be displayed in any orientation.

With her book, Pat Ferguson takes this Zentangle art form and transfers it into machine quilting by creating patterns with continuous lines and then reproducing them in a larger size on fabric with machine stitching.  The machine stitching can be enhanced by filling in areas or adding intricate decorative designs with a fine Pigma pen.  The designs may also be colored, though the black and white style is traditional.
Zentangle Quilt | BakeNQuilt.com

Zentangle Quilt | BakeNQuilt.com

I had so much fun making these two 8.5″ mini-quilts and I am planning to do more.  Not only does it help with creativity, it’s a very constructive way to practice free-motion quilting and helps with creating free motion quilting designs.   It took me about 10 drawings to really start to like what I was doing and feel comfortable with it.  I then chose the two Zentangles I liked most to turn into quilts.  I chose to stick with the traditional approach of black thread on a white background (scary quilting territory!), black pen stitching, and filling in the border with white on white machine quilting.  Next, I hope to try make a version where I color the fabric after I’ve stitched the design.

Related posts:

Posted in Other, Quilting and Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Daring Bakers’ March 2014 Challenge: Nougat

Nougat Torrone

Nougat Torrone

chocolate_nougat

Chocolate Nougat

 

Blog Checking Lines:  The March 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.

That’s right, it was my great pleasure to host the Daring Bakers’ Challenge this month!   I’ve been baking since I was a kid, but I also have been making candy for years and it remains one of my personal challenges.  With that in mind, I decided to choose nougat as the Daring Bakers’ challenge for March.

A friend of mine who often makes it for Passover first introduced me to nougat.  I had never had it before and had only heard about the soft and fluffy kind of nougat that shows up inside candy bars. This nougat was completely different – chewy and filled with nuts and dried fruits. It’s addictive stuff!  Since then, I’ve been on a quest to become comfortable making it myself.

Nougat is an aerated candy made from sugar, honey, egg whites and nuts.  It’s closest cousins are the marshmallow and divinity, though the texture is much chewier than either of those candies.  This type of nougat has been around since the 16th century (according to Larousse Gastronomique). The most well known nougats are the French Montélimar nougat and the Italian Torrone nougat. Montélimar nougat contains at least 30% nuts and includes pistachios as well as almonds. Italian Torrone and Spanish Turrón are similar, typically containing almonds and sometimes other nuts. The cooking temperature and the quantity of sugar determines the texture of the finished product.  Nougat can be chewy, soft and tender to hard and brittle.

The flavors, textures and add-ins may vary, but the process of making nougat is fairly standard. Traditionally, nougat is made by adding cooked honey syrup to egg whites that have been whipped. Nuts are usually folded in and occasionally dried or candied fruits or citrus zest are added. The mixture is poured out onto edible wafer paper and smoothed into a block, which is allowed to set before cutting. Nougat is most commonly white, but can also be flavored. To really dress it up, it can be dipped in chocolate.

I had a lot of fun hosting this challenge and I hope everyone who participated had a great time too!

Continue reading

Related posts:

Posted in Baking and Cooking, Candy, Challenge Groups, Daring Bakers | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments