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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/05/13

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DIY MODELING OR SCULPTING CLAY!!

  This was found at www.southernasbiscuits.com .   I've bought the sculpy clay and it's not very cheap.  Nothings better than making it yourself and saving a few buck at the same time.  Good luck!   There are many things during the holidays when this stuff will come in handy.



Homemade Model Magic
My second-grader recently had a school assignment to make a model of an African animal. Two pounds of model magic costs around $20. I thought perhaps those nifty DIYers would have a recipe or tutorial online and I wasn't disappointed. We whipped up a batch at home, using only two ingredients and water! Since I had these on hand, it didn't cost me, but I'd estimate it at around almost $3, especially if buy generic.

We had fun making the modeling clay and the model! I added food coloring to tint. It worked, but know that for strong color, you'll need stronger coloring gels. We painted our model with craft paint.


DIY Model Magic


Ingredients


2 cups baking soda

1 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups cold water

Instructions


Combine 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups of cold water in a pan. Stir the ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.


Place the pan over your stove on medium heat. Stir the mixture until it boils.


Continue stirring to remove any lumps. Set a pan cover slightly askew and cook the mixture until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Keep a close watch on the pan and stir every few minutes to avoid burning the mixture.


Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Saturate a kitchen towel in cold water and wring out so it is damp rather than dripping. Place the towel over the mixture and allow it to cool.


Note: Do not be tempted to eat the dough! It looks just like frosting! My kids were begging to try a taste. I'm sure this is what is piped onto those great-looking demo cakes in the Dewey's Bakery window.


Sprinkle cornstarch on a clean kitchen surface and knead the mixture once it has cooled. Knead the mixture until pliable, then use as desired. Knead in more corn starch, a little at a time, as needed if the dough is too "wet". Keeping a damp kitchen towel over the extra dough, it will keep for some time. It has kept two weeks so far for us, and counting. We've been making Christmas ornaments with the rest.



Our finished cheetah model using the DIY modeling clay.

CHRISTMAS TREE MERINGUE COOKIES!!

Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies

I’m all over the place with desserts lately, aren’t I? But you should know by now that I switch between whimsical and rustic desserts like the Kardashians go in out of the news. These are easy to make and even more fun to receive, because-who doesn’t like a bit of whimsy during the holidays? For shipping, I would suggest finishing the meringue  cookies with something less fragile like a red M&M or Sixlet, rather than the piped chocolate stars.







Meringues are one of those desserts that I always associate with the holidays, even though I don’t eat them. Nope, this is one of the few desserts that I don’t like. But guess who does?
Matt, the p-i-c-k-i-e-s-t eater I know. Seriously, five out of ten meals gets a no-pass, as in it never sees a second breathe of life.
So how is it that he likes meringue? I have no idea, but thank goodness someone in our house likes meringues to test them for me. I’m happy to say these got a huge thumbs up from him, so from my kitchen to yours I hope you guys like them just as much.
A few notes:
  • To color the meringue, I used Americolor’s Electric Green, but any green will work. Just make sure that you start slowly with the color by adding in one drop at a time. The meringue may start fall, but keep mixing it will come back to form shortly.
  • Make sure to add in the mint extract in the beginning and not at the end or you will ruin meringue to the point of no return. The oil from the mint extract will zap it into a liquefied mess.
  • Store finished meringues in an airtight container in the freezer.

CHRISTMAS TREE MERINGUES

Preparation: Line bake sheet with parchment and heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Ingredients:
Meringue Cookie:
  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of mint extract
  • 2-4 drops of green food coloring

Chocolate Stars:
  • 2 oz. melted chocolate
Instructions:
Meringue Cookie:
  1. Place sugar, egg whites and tartar in a bowl over (not directly on) simmering water. Constantly whisk the egg whites until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour the egg mixture into a clean bowl and add mint extract. Using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or a hand held mixture, slowly beat egg mixture on medium low. Once mixture is no longer opaque, add in green food coloring. Increase speed and continue to beat mixture until stiff peaks have almost formed. Mixture is ready when whisk attachment dipped into mixture leaves a curled but stiff peak when removed.
  3. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a close or open star tip and pipe ½ inch to ¾ inch wide cookies, making sure to set them one inch apart from one another.  Bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours, then turn off oven and leave the door slightly ajar for meringues to cool down with the oven.  Store meringue cookies in an airtight container away from any heat or moisture. Alternatively, store them in the freezer where they can be enjoyed straight from the freezer without any defrosting.
Chocolate Stars:
  1. Line bake sheet with parchement paper. Place melted chocolate in a pastry bag fitted with a number two round tip or place melted chocolate in a plastic bag and cut a small hole in a corner and pipe chocolate into star shape. Chill piped chocolate stars in the refrigerator until ready to use. (If you are nervous about free-handing the stars, place a sheet with a star pattern underneath the parchment paper and pipe chocolate over the outline).
Assembly:
1. To place the stars on the meringue cookies, squeeze a dallop of cooled melted chocolate on top and then place chocolate stars in it.