Thursday, September 30, 2010

Candy Corn Spheres

Zoulah was peeking in the Women's Day Magazine the other day and she saw these spheres.  She featured them in her Candy Corn Tablescape this week.  Zoulah wants to tell you that they are so easy to make.  It took Zoolah about 30 minutes to make each sphere.  They provide an extra punch of color during the Halloween season.

Zoulah's Materials:

2 Large bags of candy corn (26 ounce) per sphere -- You won't use all of it.
Two 4-inch spheres -- Wal-Mart sells them in a double package for about $3.50
Low temperature glue gun
Glue sticks
Candle holders or urns or anything to display the spheres.  Zoulah found her candle holders at a garage sale.
Toothpicks to pick out stray hot glue threads.

Zoulah's Directions:

Take your sphere and position it on top of a small bowl; Zoulah used a ramekin.  Begin gluing candy corns on the sphere in a circle around the sphere horizontally; make sure that you do not leave any space inbetween the candy corns.  When you start the next row, try to position the first candy corn in the row inbetween two of the candy corns from the first row --- brick laying fashion.  Now, Zoulah wants to caution you to not be a perfectionist on this.  If the row of candy corns is not straight that's okay.

Zoulah found that you should apply hot glue to the bottom of each candy corn and not run a row of glue on the styrofoam sphere.   By gluing each sphere, you will get less of the hot glue threads.  Use a toothpick to remove any stray glue threads.   When finished, place on candy holder or on top of the opening of an urn.

Zoulah thanks you for dropping by her Halloween Bash at Red Couch Recipes where she always has more tricks and treats this Halloween season.

Posted with the following:  Halloween Party

Candy Corn Cookies

Zoulah welcomes you back to Zoulah Boulah's Halloween Bash.  She promised, and she always comes through, to post the recipe and instructions for the Candy Corn Cookies featured in her Candy Corn Tablescape from yesterday.  They were a hit with the Red Couch Family.

She took the recipe for cookie pretzels, from a Betty Crocker recipe book, that the Red Couchers have used for years.

Recipe and Instructions:
1 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and almond extract, and egg.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Color one part of dough with orange coloring; color another part of dough with yellow coloring.  Form all three dough parts into rounds and cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

After refrigerating, roll each of the colored doughs into a long strip.  Zoulah rolled hers into a 5 inch by 24 inch strip;  you could vary this.  Trim the edges.

Then, combine the three strips.  Next time, Zoulah would weigh each of the colored dough disks to make sure that she has an even amount of each.  Trim the edges.

Roll the dough up evenly and carefully.

Once it is rolled up, you can begin to cut it into slices of about one-half inch.  Zoulah found that a bread knife worked really well for this job.  Before baking, sprinkle sugar on each cookie.

Bake at 350 for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from cookie pans and place on cooling rack.

With the cookie scraps from the edges you can make tie-dye looking cookies.  Zoulah likes the "scrap cookies" because they remind her of her "witchie hippie" days in the sixties.

Zoulah's Baking Notes:

The only tricky part is making sure that you achieve the correct stiffness.   If the dough is too soft, refrigerate longer.  If the dough is too stiff, let sit out on the counter. 
Zoolah thanks you for dropping by Red Couch Recipes for her Halloween Bash.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Candy Corn Tablescape

Welcome to Centerpiece Wednesday, Tablescape Thursday and to Zoulah Boulah's Halloween Bash!  Zoulah has been all a fuss getting this Candy Corn Tablescape ready; it's her first and she wants to impress you.  She chose a candy corn theme because it is her favorite Halloween candy; candy corn also reminds her of witches' teeth.  Just don't tell her that, she might take it personal.

She wanted to share with you the individual placesetting.  This is Zoulah's take on the table:

1.  She chose white square plates, round salad plates, and white napkin rings; they reminded her of the tip or top of the candy corn.

2.  She chose orange plastic plates, bowls, and goblets because they reminded her of the orange center of candy corns.

3.  She chose a yellow napkin to bring in the yellow bottom of candy corns. 

4.  She also paired the yellow napkin ring with a candy corn bandana to pull all the colors together.  Zoulah likes being color coordinated.

In Zoulah's opinion, the highlight of the table is the candy corn spheres.  She had a lot of fun making them; she will post about them later.  Zoulah, loves to display candy at Halloween, but she does not like it when the candy bowls are emptied by Joni's family.  She thinks candy is a great decoration and should be seen and not eaten.  She figured hot gluing the candy to the spheres, MIGHT prevent everyone from eating the candy corn; you never know about that Red Couch family.

She also put candy corn in a large glass vase; however the candy corn is not glued down.  She will be keeping her witchy eyes on it.  She will be especially watching Tati, Polka Dot Pantry Sweets, who kept on eating candy corn while Zoulah was making the candy corn spheres and saying, "I don't know why I am eating this, it doesn't taste good."  Yeah, right!  Here's an overhead shot. 

Zoulah, found some yummy candy corn kisses for her table.  She is blowing a sticky, candy kiss your way, so please take one.

What would a candy corn table be without candy corn cookies -- Zoulah couldn't imagine -- so she tied on her apron, Halloween-themed, of course, and baked up a storm.  There they are in the candy corn dish.  She wants you to take a few on your way out.  She promises to post the recipe and instructions later. 

Zoulah reminds you that she is guest hosting while Joni sits on her duff takes a break from blogging from now until Halloween.

 Zoulah says, "I have lots of tricks and treats up my sleeve to share with your readers.

Zoulah thanks you for dropping by and reminds you to take a look at all the other Centerpieces at Centerpiece Wednesday and Tablescapes at Tablescape Thursday.

Tablescape Information:

Placemats:  Wal-Mart -- on clearance right now at my Wal-Mart
White Square Plates:Tai Pan Trading
Orange Square Plates and Bowls:  Wal-Mart -- on clearance right now at my Wal-Mart
White Salad Bowls:  Smith's Grocery Store -- springtime
Orange Goblets:  Fresh Values Marketplace
Candy Corn Bandanas:  Wal-Mart right now
Napkin Rings:  Style Sisters
Candy Corn Bowl:  Target -- many years ago
Covered Candy Dish:  Target -- many years ago
Sphere Holders (Candle):  Garage Sale

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Halloween Brown Sugar Shortbread Stamped Cookies

Welcome to Alphabe-Thursday, where the letter is "B" for Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies.  Zoulah and I were going to wait until October 1 to begin Zoulah Boulah's Halloween Bash, but everything Halloween has been tempting Zoulah.  She got a little impatient and I didn't want her to cast a spell on me; my husband is not too fond of frogs.   From now until Halloween, my guest host Zoulah has a bunch of Halloween tricks and treats up her sleeve.  Naturally, it is her favorite holiday!

Let me introduce you to Zoulah.  She is a cookie jar; you can also stash candy in the bag in front.  She was made by Fitz and Floyd and was given to me by my sister Jean, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, about three years ago.

Today Zoulah whipped up some Halloween Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies; they are a favorite with her. 

Zoulah borrowed my Halloween cookie stamps.  Unfortunately, Wilton has discontinued these, but you may be able to fnd some for purchase online at Ebay.   You can also purchase ceramic ones at Rycraft; they are beautiful heirloom-quality stamps; I inherited a few from my mother. 

Zoulah used this recipe HERE from my site.  She wants to advise you to make sure your dough is not dry; you can add a few sprinkles of water in the dough if it is; Zoulah doesn't like a dry cookie.  She then stamped them and baked them.  Here they are cooling on a rack.

To make them more festive, Zoulah spread white and milk chocolate on the backs of the cookies and then added sprinkles.

Zoulah invites to you take a cookie and then come back for more "Halloween Magic" at Zoulah Boulah's Halloween Bash at Red Couch Recipes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Subway Sign

Subway signs are all the rage, and  like many others, I decided to try my hand at making a Halloween one.    I made this sign with Shannon, a new friend.  Now that I have made one, I can see all the possibilities.  Shannon had the Cricut and the vinyl.  I supplied the board and paint.  I like how  it turned out and I love how easy they are.  Best, of all we had a lot of fun talking and getting to know each other. 

I went to my local lumber company and asked them to cut a large manufactured wood board into two equal pieces; the board cost $4.00.  Then we spray painted the boards.  We took inspiration ---should I say almost copied--the design by Allison at A Glimpse Inside. A lot of the subway signs are monochromatic, but when it comes to Halloween, I like color; so we used lots of Halloween colors.  I then spray painted it white, very lightly, to achieve a mysterious, spooky, Halloween look.

 I hope you make a Halloween Subway Sign today.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pasta di Myrleen Mystery Tablescape/Giveaway

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY of a $65 CSN Gift Certificate.

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes Pasta di Myrleeen Mystery Table and Tablescape Thursday.

The other day I found these dishes at a local thrift store and I was hoping to find out more about the dishes from the Tablescape Thursday Audience.  Has anyone ever seen dishes like these?   I bought the dishes because I thought they were interesting, funky, and a great deal.   The set came with a pasta serving bowl and eight individual pasta bowls, all for $6.00.


"Pasta alla Myrleen" is written on the pasta serving bowl.  "Napoli" is written on the front and back of the serving bowl.

"Pasta di Myrleen" is written on four of the individual pasta bowls.

Four of the individual serving bowls have no writing on them.

 On all but one of the dishes, including the serving dish, the blindfolded chef is eating or testing the spaghetti.  The backs of the dishes are marked with the word "Napoli."

  They are relatively heavy dishes and I think hand painted.  The dishes have a beautiful white glaze over a red pottery or ceramic ware.


*Is this just cheap dishware that came from Wal-Mart?

*Could it be the dinnerware of a now defunct restaurant?  I live in a small, rural town and there is no restaurant by that name.  The area I live in was settled, in part, by Italians; for a small town there is a relatively large Italian population.

*Is the blindfolded chef testing or eating spaghetti a common depiction in  Italy?  Why is he blindfolded as he tests or eats the pasta?

Is he wearing the traditional uniform of a chef in Italy?

*Why would some of the pasta dishes have Pasta di Myrleen written on it and some of them don't?

We served Rachel Ray's  Parsley Pesto-Breadcrumb Spaghetti in the pasta serving bowl.  Click HERE for the recipe.

Roco the Red Couch Rooster came to check things out at the table.  Roco arrived safely  at the Red Couch Recipe home yesterday.  Roco was a giveaway gift from Gnee the hostess who writes the warm and friendly blog Singing With Birds.  You really need to check out her Top Hits Fridays where she culls the blogworld for the week's best posts.  Thanks Gnee, we really love him!

Thank you for dropping by Red Couch Recipes where you are always welcome to take a seat and relax.

I am posting this with Susan at Between Naps at the Porch where you will be motivated to set a more inspired table.

Table Information:

Placemats:  Wal-Mart -- On clearance right now
Bubble Glasses -- Gift from Tai Pan Trading
Napkins -- Wal-Mart summer clearance
Napkin Rings -- Style Sisters
Pasta Serving Bowl and Individual Pasta Dishes -- Deseret Industries (thrift store)
Embossed White Plates -- Gift
Square White Plates -- Tai Pan Trading

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Animal Crackers/Giveaway

Don't forget to enter the giveaway I am hosting for a $65 CSN gift certificate.  Click HERE for details.

Lions and Tigers and Bears....oh my....!  Welcome to Red Couch Recipes and to the first week of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is A and is for ANIMAL CRACKERS.  What would a childhood be without animal crackers?  Shirley Temple in the movie Curly Top even sang a song about them.  She is so enchanting in this, and many other movies.  I love the part where she conducts the other children in a silverware choir.  Here are the adorable words to the song "Animal Crackers in my Soup

"My mother said:
My little pet,
you oughta learn the
So in my soup
I used to get,
all the letters
of the
I learned them all
from A to Z,
and now my mother's
giving me,
Animal crackers in my soup
monkies and rabbits loop the loop,
Gosh, oh gee, but I have fun,
swallowin' animals one by one.
In every bowl of soup I see,
lions and tigers watching me,

I mae 'em jump right thru a hoop,
those animal crackers in my soup
When I get hold
of the 'Big bad wolf'
I just push him under to drown.
Than I bite him
in a million bits
and I gobble him right down.
When they're inside me
where its dark,
I walk around like Noah's ark
I stuff my tummy like a goop
with animal crackers in my soup!"

Click HERE to see the music video on YouTube.

I won this great giveaway from Sue at Munchkin Munchies.  Sue is a creative and adventurous cook living in the central coast area of California.  Thank you Sue.  Sue has a post on making the animal crackers on her blog.  She iced them so they look just like Mother's Animal Crackers.    I have eyed the embossing cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma before so I was excited to try them.  I am dreaming up what to do with the food tattoos and my girls will have fun cooking with the cookbook; the cute erasers are already claimed.  Yesterday my nine year old daughter Talley and I made animal crackers after school.

You cut out the cookie, as you would with a normal cookie cutter.  That's is Talley doing the cutting.

Then you press on it, so that it embosses.  They are so cute and taste so much better than normal animal crackers.

Animal-Cracker Cookie Recipe

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. mace
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Over a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and beat until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Place each dough disk between 2 clean, large pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (If the dough cracks while rolling, let it stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes more.) Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a floured work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.
Preheat an oven to 350°F.
Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Dip circus cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes. Hold each cutter over a prepared baking sheet and lightly depress the plunger to remove the cutout; the plunger will also imprint the tops of the cookies. Freeze the baking sheets for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more cookies.
Bake the cookies until very light golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature. Makes about 20 cookies of each shape.   Notes:  I did not follow these directions exactly.  I found that it was easier to make a thicker cookie, so I did not get the yield of 20 cookies per shape.  We also did not refrigerate or freeze them; they held their shape nicely.  I also want to thank Sue because I cut and copied the Williams-Sonoma Recipe from her blog.

How fun are these?

Thanks for dropping by my Red Couch today.

I have posted this with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fondant Pumpkin Cupcakes

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes!  Please have a seat on my Red Couch.  My daughter Tati (14-year old, Polka Dot Pantry Sweets) and I had fun on Saturday working with fondant.  We are relatively new fondant makers and players.  She made sunflowers with homemade fondant; I made pumpkins. The homemade fondant is easy and cheap to make.

Tati's Cupcakes

Almost every Autumn, I make a Autumn Harvest Cake, with fruits of the harvest made out of marzipan.  I will share the Harvest Cake with you later.  The fondant pumpkins are a fun project to do with your kids; even young ones can make the pumpkins. If you are into more artistic fondant pumpkins, go to  Judy's Cakes  where she has great tutorial for fondant pumpkins.  Next time I will try her method.

First, make your favorite recipe, or from a box if you are pinched for time, for chocolate cupcakes.

Then make a recipe of buttercream frosting and decorate them with your favorite tip.   I have included the recipe for buttercream that we like to use.  Both the buttercream recipe and the fondant recipe are from my sister Jacqueline at Purple Chocolat Home.

Buttercream Frosting
Blend together 3/4 cup room temperature butter, 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, and 3-4 tablespoons water. You may need to add extra water, depending on how thick you want it. For chocolate, add 6-8 tablespoons cocoa powder, depending on taste and coloring.

Then make a batch of homemade fondant.  I really like the taste of homemade fondant so much better than store bought. 

Marshmallow Fondant
16 oz. marshmallows - use good quality marshmallows
2-3 T. water
2 lb. powdered sugar

Place the marshmallows and water in a large microwavable bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave 30 seconds until the marshmallows are beginning to melt. Remove from microwave and stir the melted marshmallows and water together. Repeat until completely melted and blended together. Place in your large KitchenAid or other heavy duty mixer bowl. You will need a powerful mixer to blend this. Use your bread kneading hook. Add the 2 lb. powdered sugar. You can also add 2 tsp. almond flavoring. Begin to mix the dough at a low speed. Mix until completely blended.

After your fondant is done, you will want to start coloring it. Take a little of the fondant out and save it for pumpkin stems and color the rest orange. Use as much food coloring depending on what shade of orange you want your pumpkins to be.  I added a bit of cocoa powder to tone down the color of the orange fondant.  You will need to knead the fondant until the color is completely mixed in. You can mix the orange in your KitchenAid or Bosch or just knead by hand.  Next color the saved out fondant by mixing in green coloring for the pumpkin stems.

Notes:  I think the tricky part is getting the right amount of water.  You don't want too much water because then the fondant is sticky and you don't want too little, because the fondant is too dry.  Just experiment a little bit. 

Roll the orange fondant into balls.  Next time, I would make the balls smaller if I were using the pumpkins for cupcakes.  I am used to making marzipan pumpkins that top a cake.

Using a toothpick, poke a hole in the top of the ball for the pumpkin stem.  Then use the toothpick to make lines in the pumpkin.  Then make stems out of the green fondant and insert in the pumpkins.

The mini pumpkins in all their glory.  You could, of course, make them into different shapes or add warts.

Place the pumpkins on the cupcakes and beware of the pumpkin eating spider!

Thank you for dropping by Red Couch Recipes.