Tuesday, November 27, 2012

chocolate cake for two

So my lack of blogging has got me feeling down lately. It's my creative outlet. Even though I can't blog as much as I'd like I still have all these ideas swimming around in my head... and they're dying to get out! So frustrating.

What makes everything better when you're feeling down?? Chocolate cake of course!!

This tiny dessert is perfect if you've got a chocolate craving but you don't have the time (or the cash) to bake a full sized cake. 

I made this cake when we didn't have any sweets in the apartment and my boyfriend Nate would resort to chomping on plain chocolate chips. I'd yell "don't eat ingredients!!" but he didn't care. I decided I'd make a dessert out of the remaining chocolate chips and challenged myself to use only what I had in my apartment at the time. 

I found this recipe for flourless chocolate cake but was scared of the super low rating it was given. I also thought it was weird that it's called "flourless" but theres flour in it. And quite a bit if you consider the flour to "other ingredients" ratio. Typically I would turn my nose up to this recipe... but I used it because I had all the ingredients. And I'm so glad I did!

This is what you'll need.

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons sugar (original recipe calls for 3)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips (for topping)
1 teaspoon butter (for topping)

Thats it! Only 6 ingredients! And because this recipe is "for two" you don't need much of each. I mixed everything up in a microwave safe tupperware bowl to keep the mess to a minimum. 

Here's how to make it. 

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

2) Add chocolate chips and butter to a microwave safe bowl. Use your microwave to melt the chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring in between. This step doesn't take too long but heating the chocolate 15 seconds at a time is important. This way, the chocolate gets warm enough to melt but it never really gets hot. You really don't want your chocolate to burn.

3) When your chocolate is smooth and melty mix in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the egg. Stir in the flour. Batter - done. 

4) Grease your baking apparatus. I chose a small springform pan but you can use ramekins or even a lined cupcake tin. (Note: you wont be able to fill the whole tin... just 2 or 3 cups)

5) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cake is set. The center might be a little underdone, but I welcome the fudgy texture. If you don't, pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes. Let your cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. 

6) Decorate! This step is optional of course... but why not make this tiny dessert pretty? I melted some more chocolate chips (milk chocolate this time) and just a bit of butter to make a thick ganache. I swirled the chocolate on top and placed a raspberry in the center. Pretty and delicious.  

After taking a bite I was shocked at how good this tiny cake was! It's like a rich, decadent brownie. Not too sweet. The milk chocolate ganache on top firmed to a delicious fudge, so good I'd recommend it over any other toping. 

This cake is so quick and easy I've made it a few times since discovering the recipe. It's the perfect dessert for two! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

oh no.

Sad face. I feel like I've been ignoring my poor blog lately. I've been pretty busy with work and some other projects.

I wish I could blog all day long, coming up with new crafts and recipes but there just aren't enough hours in the day! And with the holidays on their way I'll be even busier. I'm sure all of us will be!

Hopefully I'll find some time next week to share some of the projects I've been working on. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

upcycled jewelry boxes

It's a running joke in my family that I'll save anything. (Un)fortunately I can usually see some sort of potential use for most trash worthy items. And those trash worthy items are kept whether their potential use is carried through or not. It's a curse stricken on the crafty, and I've got it bad.

One particular kind of item I've been saving lately for future upcycling projects are old jewelry boxes. No, I'm not talking about what might be sitting on your dresser right now, filled with necklaces, bracelets and rings. I'm talking about the boxes that necklaces, bracelets and rings come in.

You'd have to be blind not to see all the possibilities! All the different things you can do with those boxes! I mean, you can keep stuff in them, and...


Well that's pretty much it. BUT if you can think of your box as a blank canvas then the styling possibilities inside and out are truly endless. As usual, all the decor options are making me feel a bit overwhelmed. But that doesn't stop me from putting these boxes to use while they are still blank. It gives me time to consider any cosmetic updates before making a commitment.

Hold on a second. There is some work to be done before your old jewelry boxes can be used. They don't usually open very wide. To fix this slowly and gently bend the box open, pulling the lid backwards, until you've reached your desired level of openness. And don't forget to remove the jewelry-holding innards. Some of the innards should be kept as a template when you're ready to add some flare to the inside of the box.

I often use my largest box to hold vital items while traveling. Items such as spare rubber bands, bobby pins, jewelry, lip balm, and a perfume sample or two (samples are so much easier to travel with than your full bottle so stock up on your signature scent!) I load up the box, snap it shut, and I'm good to go!

The inside of the box is pretty raw. 

Think of all the fabric lined possibilities! You could even add a mirror and dividers for a high class travel case. 

I use one of my smaller boxes for... drumroll please... earbuds! Obviously. There is absolutely nothing worse than loose earbuds floating around your bag. Never staying neatly wrapped around your iPod as you hoped. Well, problem efficiently solved.

Next time you're gifted some jewelry don't get distracted by all the shine and sparkle. Make sure to hang on to the real treasure... the box it came in.

What kind of things would you keep in your upcycled box? How would you decorate it?