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Monthly Archives: April 2011

I admit it, I have already made two Royal Wedding Groom’s Biscuit Cakes and taken them to meetings. A huge confection of butter cookies and melted chocolate – how really was I supposed to resist. I have not, however, attempted to knit my own royal wedding.

I am going to attempt to get up in the middle of the night and watch. I will not be attending the Lamb Shoppe Royal Wedding Watch and 5th Anniversary sale, but anybody else in the area is welcome to go!

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Well, the Pioneer Woman hot cross buns were not completely successful. Tasty, light and fluffy inside, but still not quite right.

Oh yeah, that whole High Altitude Baking thing. Must remember to adjust recipes from flatlanders for use in mountain areas. Needed only 13 minutes to bake instead of 20, and no egg wash necessary. Next year I’ll adjust for altitude, but the change from raisins to cranberries was definitely a good idea.

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.” – Archibald MacLeish

Make it yourself.

Hunted through multiple grocery stores, Walgreens, and RiteAids trying to find Russell Stover chocolate coconut nests for Easter.

I only managed to find the cookies and cream ones, and quite frankly who wants to eat those? That’s why they’re still sitting on the ravaged easter candy shelves the day before Easter.

Necessity and invention and all that.

1 4oz. bar Giradelli chocolate bar (60% cocoa) melted with 1 T of butter
pile of coconut
handful of jellybellies

Lots of stirring, some sticky moments using the melonballer to make indentations in the tops for the jellybellies, and you have chocolate coconut nests. Put in the fridge to chill.


Edible Nests

Sitting on the warmed stovetop I have three pans of Hot Cross Buns rising. Last year’s were a disaster, so I’m hoping this recipe from The Pioneer Woman will do the trick. I used cranberries instead of raisins, and plan on adding a little espresso to the icing to make the crosses.

Currently Reading: SugarBaby by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Her first book, Confections of a Closet Master Baker, was great.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” – Plato

Well, this would be why they call it “Beginning Spinning”

Beginning Spinning

roving or yarn?

I’ve taken the plunge with a 6 week Beginning Spinning class. We received big chunks of unwashed fleece to take home and prepare, as well as the loan of carders, a drop spindle, and a spinning wheel for the duration of the class. Not friendly to my nearly all-black wardrobe, but I’m getting used to having bits of cream-colored fluff everywhere.

No matter how slowly I treadle, things are moving too quickly on the lovely Canadian spinning wheel. What I’m making barely qualifies as roving, much less yarn. If we had to rely on me to spin the yarn for the EcoVillage, we’d all be in serious trouble.

I think I’m going to try doing more drop spindle and see if I can get any better at things if I have even more control over the speed. I did find this helpful video on using a drop spindle, which I’ll combine with what I’ve learned in person in class.

Anybody have any suggestions or helpful tips on any part of this process? Washing, teasing the wool, carding, or spinning itself? Please send those along, because clearly I need the help!

Currently Reading: Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones

Recently Viewed: Just watched Nim’s Island based on the book by Wendy Orr and recommend it. Overcoming fears, being courageous in everyday life, and teaching your kid to value nature. Good themes there.

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

Yesterday’s Edible Books event was filled with tons of great entries, many made by people under the age of 18. And it helped raise money for our local Book Arts League, which does workshops throughout the Denver Metro Area.

After things fell apart, I ended up with two entries. Not great photos, but here goes:

Edible Book

California Job Case

Edible Book II

Gingerbread Tunnel Book

The professional entries, from two local shops, were amazing as usual. Slices and cupcakes from these were sold to benefit the Book Arts League. Indulge Bakery made The Very Hungry Caterpillar, covered in fondant plums, strawberries, ice cream cones, and more.

Edible Book III

Indulge Bakery!

Piece, Love, & Chocolate made a copy of Brillat-Savarin’s masterpiece complete with chocolate tea cups filled with chocolate cake. If you’re in the area, they are having their grand opening April 28th.

Edible Book III

Piece, Love, & Chocolate!

Just finished reading: Cart and Cwidder, Drowned Ammet, and The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne-Jones. Book four of this series, Crown of Dalemark, is waiting for me at the library. The Spellcoats is a great book for weavers, by the way!

Currently Reading: 13 Treasure by Harrison.

Currently Listening To: Little Britches by Moody.

“Taste, which enables us to distinguish all that has a flavor from that which is insipid.” – Brillat-Savarin

I have begun the attempt at edible books for tomorrow’s Books 2 Eat event. I was planning two things, one simple and one complex.

The simple thing I was making fell apart. Turns out, brownies really don’t like coming out of those flexible mini brownie pans easily, no matter how much you grease the pan. Brownie chunks and crumbs everywhere. This is why I started so many days in advance, because you have to figure out what will actually work. I’m going to try making either chocolate butter cookies that look like blocks or just using Andes mints.

Next up I will be making more gingerbread for the complex thing. I’m trying to make a gingerbread tunnel book, complete with train headed for the tunnel. An archivist friend loaned me her remarkable collection of train cookie cutters, some even custom made! The tunnel book will look nothing like these amazing structures. Yikes. Need to get candy, pull-apart licorice stings, and fruit rollups at the store, plus loads of powdered sugar to make frosting/cement.

“A proud heart can survive general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone.” – Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Check your local calendars for an Edible Book Festival near you. These happen every year in honor of the April Fool’s Day birth of Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

I’m attempting two items, edible type and something involving gingerbread trains. I made the first batch of gingerbread last night, even though the event isn’t until next weekend. Why so early? Because making a book structure out of edible materials doesn’t always work. Often things fall apart or break. (Last night one of the walls I made broke, which means I might need to make more gingerbread.)

Try your hand at making a book, visit your local festival, or page through the gallery online.

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin