Friday, March 29, 2013


Next week marks the second leg of my springtime travels - I'm off to Minnesota for some in-the-flesh Dude and Chick good times, which means lots of card makin' with a side of fried cheese curds and good midwestern beer (I'm coming for you, Grain Belt). I was going to skip Pattern Pals this week, particularly because I'll be seeing Emma's shining face in person ever so soon, but then mid-day through my work afternoon with Kate my laptop died, and I had forgotten my power cord, and she was making a sequined birthday crown so....this happened. Festive! Above is the repeat square, below is the applied pattern. Have a good Friday, everyone (see what I did there?).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

cookie secrets

This is a story about an accidental invention, a recipe born of cake-baking frustration and a quest for greatness, with beginnings in tragedy and a triumphant conclusion. This story clearly does not include quality photography, as evidenced above - my apologies.
Over the weekend, in honor of an ice-cream loving friend's birthday, I set out to create a recipe for a cake that would rival Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heathbar Crunch ice cream (swooooooon). Sadly, my lack of cake-related knowledge made it abundantly clear that such a task was sure to end in heartache (and a crappy cake), so instead, I altered my go-to cookie recipe, adding a few key flavors. It worked out well. Well enough that the remaining cookies were gone before I realized my only photo was sub-par. OH WELL.
Try this recipe plain, or make some scary-good sandwiches with coffee ice cream spread between.

Espresso Toffee Crunch Cookies
(adapted from Ambitious Kitchen's brown butter cookies, which are life changing)
you'll need...
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 T instant espresso powder (you can add slightly more at the end for a heavier coffee flavor)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (this is adjusted, as I always have salted butter on hand. If you use unsalted, up to 1/2 tsp)
2 sticks butter, browned and cooled (see instructions below)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk
1 T greek yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup toffee pieces (you want these)
First, brown your butter: heat slowly in a pan over medium heat. Whisk as you go and watch carefully. After a few minutes, the butter will foam and then recede, turning a carmel brown color. It will smell sort of nutty. Don't let it burn, but be sure it's actually browned (not just melted) - when you pour it out of the pan and into a bowl to cool, it should be a rich, burnt sienna color. Let the butter fully cool before you start - 20 minutes on the counter should do it.
Meanwhile, mix together all your dry ingredients (flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt). In a separate bowl, combine your brown butter and sugars thoroughly. Add the egg, yolk, yogurt, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Gradually mix in your dry ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in the toffee bits and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Taste liberally. Add more espresso powder if you're into that sort of thing, but be sure to mix well.
Stick the whole shebang in the fridge for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 375. Roll loosely rounded balls of dough (make sure you get all those chocolate chips in there - sometimes I'll dot the tops with a few extra) and drop 2-3 inches apart on your pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should look slightly undercooked in the middle, but they will set up within a few minutes of removing from the oven.

Friday, March 22, 2013

frenzy in springtime

Lately, days have been passing quickly, deadlines are approaching with disturbing speed, time is folding in on itself in a blur of noise and stress and good times all rolled up into one. We're finishing up a couple of really big projects at work, and the excitement of creating really great new designs has my heart racing at random. I've got a stack of sure-to-be amazing books to read (thanks to my Dad, whose birthday I got to celebrate with my parents last week), and I can't decide which to begin with. The record collection is multiplying (thanks to my mom, who generously donated a big chunk of her epic collection to my suitcase) at a rate that would be disturbing if not for the fact that we are desperately, hopelessly in love with listening to every single one.
We went to see Merchandise play last night, and despite the fact that they didn't go on until almost midnight, despite the fact that we were cruising through the abandoned streets after one am, thinking about our alarm blaring in just a few hours, it was amazing, awesome in the truest sense of the word. It was a nice cap to the last week - a solid wave of noise crashing over a sold out crowd, enveloping my brain for a moment of the loudest quiet I've felt in a while.
photo above from a night on the town in Portland

Friday, March 8, 2013

pattern pals - secret societies

Secret societies have always been a mystery to me (although I suppose that's sort of the point, right?) so when Emma suggested we take them on for this week's pattern, I had a lot to learn. Because really, who wants to see a pattern based on The Skulls or Beyonce's supposed Illuminati shoutout (oh wait, I do). Here's what came out! This is pretty simple, image wise, but I'm on the road right now and limited without a scanner, so now is the time for experimentation, yes? Yes. Above is the repeat square, below is the applied pattern. Have a conspiratorial weekend, dudes.