CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE MIX IN A JAR (instructions for easy, pretty homemade gifts + FREE printable labels)

Browse around Pinterest DIY boards and you’ll quickly discover that gifts in jars are a popular concept… and with good cause! They make for thrifty, sweet, homemade treats that are fun to embellish and easy to assemble/transport. I made these little lovelies using spice jars from IKEA (which can of course be reused as spice jars or trinket containers). The flat sides are perfect for adhering labels to and each jar can contain enough chocolatey, pepperminty, Christmassy hot chocolate mix to serve 4 people.

Chevron is everywhere these days it seems so, due to popular demand ;) , I thought I’d create simple, quasi-retro, chevron-patterned labels in soft red/coral and pale blue (you can download them below for free… a little pre-Christmas gift for me to you).

 

 

CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE MIX IN A JAR

WHAT YOU NEED

  1. IKEA Rajtan spice jars (they come in packs of four and are extremely good value!)
  2. Hard peppermint candies or candy canes (I used crushed traditional Swedish bite-sized polkagrisar; approximately 10 per jar)
  3. A packet of your favourite ready-made, organic, dairy-free hot chocolate mix (this makes the mix versatile for lactose/dairy intolerant recipients)
  4. A packet of mini marshmallows (you’ll need a small handful per jar)
  5. A sheet of printed labels (do try to print on photo paper so your finished jars will look extra swish ;) )
  6. Clear drying craft glue for adhering the labels (and scissors for cutting them out)
  7. Ribbon in complimentary colour (allow for at least 30 cm of ribbon per jar for a short/small bow)

MissMarzipan_Christmas_hot_chocolate_chevron_jar_labels

To download labels click here or on the image above

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Print out your labels on photo paper and cut them out once printer ink has dried.
  2. Blitz peppermint candies/candy canes in a food processor to a “crunchy snow”-like consistency (there may be some fine candy dust and some larger crumbs- this is fine).
  3. Scoop 1 dl (exactly 100 ml) of your store-bought, ready-made hot chocolate mix into each jar, leveling out the top with the back of a spoon if necessary.
  4. Spoon over the crushed peppermint candy.
  5. Top with a small handful of mini marshmallows; enough to roughly hold everything in place, but not to pack the jar too tightly.
  6. Screw on the lid then adhere the labels, front and back, using craft glue.
  7. Finish with a ribbon in a complimentary colour.

 

We have tried this mix ourselves using non-dairy milk (almond) and it works beautifully. I love the chocolate + peppermint flavour combination and the mini marshmallows are sweet little snow balls bobbing on the surface, adding an extra festive touch.

I recently gave some of these little hot chocolate jars to friends at my Advent-themed crafting night and they were very warmly received.

I hope everyone’s enjoying the Advent period and count-down to Christmas as much as we are!

What projects are you working on right now?
MM xx

 

FROZEN BERRY JAM (no doubt the easiest, yummiest way to use up frozen berries!)

We are not only in the midst of a whirlwind of advent and pre-Christmas celebrations, moreover we are bracing ourselves for 3.5 months away and counting down the days until we leave. This means cleaning out our fridge and freezer, among many other things. I HATE to waste food and when I came across over a kilogram of lovely frozen berries in the back of a freezer drawer the other day, I was determined to find a way to use them… preferably an easy and festive way.

I chanced upon this recipe and having only made jam once before, I thought I’d give it a go. I cannot sing this jam’s praises enough! It is, without doubt, one of the loveliest jams I have tried. I have spread it on toast and on soft Swedish flatbread, dolloped it atop semolina porridge and used it as a filling in mini jam tarts. In every instance, it has been delectable.

If you are looking for a way to use up berries, are in need of jam in a pinch or want to make someone very happy with a delicious homemade Christmas gift, do try this!

MissMarzipan_frozen_berry_jam

 

FROZEN BERRY JAM
Makes approx. 1 liter

INGREDIENTS

1 kg mixed frozen berries*
880g caster sugar
4 oranges, juiced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place berries, sugar and orange juice in a large saucepan (I used a soup pot) over low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Increase heat until the mixture is at a slow boil. Foam will begin to form on the surface. Try to skim as much as of it off as possible with a spoon.
  3. After 30 minutes, test to see if the jam has begun to set by placing a teaspoonful onto a freezer-chilled plate and push the jam forward with your finger. If it “wrinkles” it is ready. If not, wash the plate and return it to freezer. Cook jam for a further 10 minutes, then test again.
  4. When jam reaches a set* then pour/spoon into sterilised jars*.

 

 

 

 

*I actually used a little over 1 kg of a mix of homegrown blackcurrants (frozen after picking during summer) plus store-bought frozen organic blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. The combination is amazing, I promise you!
*It took about an hour on a bubbling simmer (low-medium heat) for my jam to reach a set.
*With the amount of jam this recipe produced, I was able to fill 3 x 0.5 liter IKEA Korken Jars approximately 3/4 full.
*Recipe very closely adapted from this fabulous one found at taste.com.au

 

ROASTED CARROT SALAD (with cranberries, rucola & toasted almonds)

Advent is fast approaching (so is the snow, no doubt) and I wouldn’t normally associate this time of year with salad, however one look at the ingredients list of this delightful dish and I was hooked. Not only does this salad contain some of the yummiest seasonal ingredients, it also looks vibrant and festive and it would make a perfect, lighter option accompaniment to so many of the more traditional main dishes served up at this time of year.

And speaking of this time of year, I’d like to wish my friends who are celebrating a very happy Thanksgiving!

Best wishes to you and yours,
MM xx

MissMarzipan_roasted_carrot_salad

 

 

ROASTED CARROT SALAD
Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

750 g organic carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
250 g organic parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
70 g organic slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2 cloves organic garlic, crushed
50 ml organic extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp organic honey
1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
50 g organic dried cranberries
40 g rucola (arugula) or one pre-washed packet

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Combine carrots, parsnips and garlic in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake the carrots and parsnips for around 30 minutes, until they are soft and the edges have turned brown (this adds extra flavour). Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cool, return the veggies to the mixing bowl, drizzle with honey and vinegar and toss until coated. Add the cranberries and almonds. Toss again to mix evenly. Combine with the rucola just prior to serving to avoid wilting salad leaves.

 

*I know that parsnip is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we can’t get enough of it this year, so I am adding it to everything. It’s not essential in this recipe… carrots alone would be fine.
*The original recipe contains blue cheese. I am not a fan. In fact, I omitted all cheese from my version, but when serving to dinner guests I provided a small bowl of crumbled organic feta that they could choose to add to their salad or not. By all accounts, it was a nice addition.
*Recipe modified from this one, found at allrecipes.com

 

FESTIVE BANANA BREAD WITH CRANBERRIES, ORANGE & PECANS (gluten/dairy/refined sugar/guilt-free!)

Craving a guilt-free, festive sweet treat? Overripe bananas begging to be used? This could be just the ticket!

Still a tad nervy about gluten-free baking, but having a packet of Doves Farm white self-raising flour blend that I needed to get through and an event coming up with a gluten intolerant guest to cater for, I came up with this. This recipe doesn’t fall too short of ticking all my boxes; delicious, easy, lots of organic ingredients, can be made in advance/frozen/defrosted, is refined sugar/gluten/dairy-free…
It does, however, contain eggs.

And I don’t know if any home bakers out there can relate to this, but vegan baking I can do, gluten-free baking I am working on, refined sugar-free baking I am getting the hang of, but the combination of egg/dairy/gluten/refined sugar-free is something I have yet to nail. I have probably baked only one recipe (these cookies), that ticks all those boxes.

In any case, for now this delicious banana bread recipe comes pretty close!

MissMarzipan_gluten_dairy_sugar-free_banana_bread

 

FESTIVE BANANA BREAD WITH CRANBERRIES, ORANGE AND PECANS
Makes: 10-12 slices

INGREDIENTS

100 g organic dried cranberries
75 ml freshly squeezed organic orange juice
175 g Doves Farm white self-raising flour blend (or similar)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
125 g unsalted vegan butter, melted (I used Carlshamn milk-free)
150 g birch sugar (xylitol)
2 large organic eggs
3 very ripe organic bananas, mashed
70 g roughly chopped organic pecans
1/4 tsp finely grated organic orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover and leave until the berries have absorbed most of the juice (30-60 minutes), then drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the mashed bananas. Stir in the pecans, drained cranberries, orange zest and vanilla extract.
  5. Add half the flour, stir well. Add the baking soda, salt and the rest of the flour. Mix well.
  6. Pour/scrape mix into a loaf tin (26 cm x 12 cm x 7 cm or 1.3 litres in capacity) and bake in the middle of the oven for around 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  7. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, turn out, then slice to serve.

 

*Significantly modified and adapted from this lovely recipe by the beautiful Nigella.

 

MISS MARZIPAN ON PINTEREST (finally!), NO NAUGHTIES NOVEMBER (kind of) & NEW CHOPRA MEDITATION CHALLENGE (yay!)

Hi all! After waaay too long, I have finally started a MissMarzipan.com Pinterest account. So please do let me know if any of you have an account. I’d love to check out your stuff there and if you’re interested, share with you what inspires me too :). Feel free to leave me a comment with your Pinterest details!

MissMarzipan_Pinterest

Oh, and please note that I have just started my Pinterest account… so there’s not much there right now, I am afraid. But it will be good… and crammed full of fun stuff soon. I promise!

Ok, so there's not much there yet... but stay tuned!

Ok, so there’s not much there yet… but stay tuned!

 

In other news, I am attempting what I am calling a “No Naughties November”. Essentially my definition of this is eating well/more consciously and exercising more than usual (in a balanced way, of course). I am aiming at a refined sugar-free month (well, rest of the month!)… but definitely not cutting out treats entirely. Why? Because that’s how I roll (it’s hard to take the sugar out of marzipan, after all ;)). I should add that my homemade, refined sugar-free treats don’t count as “naughties”! What I am doing is an extra work out for every bit of “naughtiness”, even if it’s just a short yoga session, 15 minutes of circuit training, etc. So one brownie, for example (ahem, yes… already!), means an extra something added to my usual workout. And I am running. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d like running. What I have discovered this year is that once you break through that ugly pain barrier, it is actually very liberating. And it’s a challenge (I like challenges).

Speaking of “no naughties”, for excellent recipes and ideas for people seeking healthier alternatives or those with dietary restrictions, check out the official, original No Naughties site here

And some other sites that I love that are packed with healthy inspiration include:
liveblissful.wordpress.com
sophiesfoodiefiles.wordpress.com
fueledbyvegetables.com
herbivoretriathlete.com
lucysfriendlyfoods.wordpress.com
Cara at forkandbeans.com is quite simply a genius and kitchen wizard. Check out her site, you’ll see what I mean.
And Kenley of Green Door Hospitality  fame always seems to have lovely ideas for preparing veggies in a manner that both you and your guest will love.

Hmmm, I could go on and on!
In fact, every time I am online I seem to come across sites, blogs, recipes, ideas and stories that inspire me. Thank you all for sharing yours with the world :)

And, once again with impeccable timing, guess who’s back with a new 21-Day Meditation Challenge? That’s right! Deepak Chopra (and Oprah) :). We are 3 days into the challenge now but it’s not too late to sign up TODAY… for FREE!

MissMarzipan_Desire_Destiny_Chopra_meditation

I am so glad that the format has changed and that the daily meditations are now available to listen to for 5 days after they are first released. This is perfect for those who sign up late… or for those of us who can find it difficult to spare even the 10 minutes a day it takes to do one of these meditation sessions. Desire and Destiny is the theme of the current challenge and I am loving it already. Hopefully I’ll actually get time to share my experiences of this challenge as I did with the first two.

If you’re interested, here are the links to my previous 21-Day Meditation Challenge posts:

 

Well, I do hope some of you will join me for this latest meditation challenge… or for a “No Naughties November”… or over at Pinterest!
All the best!
MM xx

“NICE” REFINED SUGAR-FREE APPLE PARSNIP GHOST & MUMMY CUPCAKES WITH “SLIGHTLY NAUGHTY” VEGAN BUTTERCREAM (plus Halloween/All Souls’ round-up with links to recipes & FREE templates!)

Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, All Hallows’ Eve, Alla helgons dag/All Saints’ Day… yes, it was a big weekend for many people around the world. Here in Sweden, the “American version” of Halloween is a relatively new celebration, and not one as yet embraced or understood by all Swedes. Case in point, my husband’s grandmother called from the small town she calls home in the north of Sweden and began complaining about trick-or-treaters. It seemed she did not know what to do with them and found their costumes and “all the banging on the door” to be rather frightening (and not in a cool, “Halloweeny” type of way).  With the aid of a visiting friend, she was able to offer them some form of treat… begrudgingly… and only after they had explained what it was they were doing. The trick-or-treaters, likewise, were evidently unsure of Halloween protocol/etiquette and one 5 year-old boy returned the following night for an extra helping of “godis” (candy, in Swedish). Grandmother pointed out that she recognised his costume and that he’d already visited the night before. He replied “Yeah, I know… just thought I’d try my luck again!”

As celebrating Halloween is such a new occurrence here, but it falls around the same time as more traditional Swedish celebrations of remembrance, Swedish children and their parents seem to get it all a bit muddled. Is Halloween the 31st of October? Is it the weekend before/after the 31st of October? Or is it All Saints’ Day? Or All Saints Eve? Or even All Souls’ Day? It seems to be VERY hit and miss. A direct result of this confusion, I found myself somewhat saddened to be left with treats remaining on Halloween (and thus forced to eat them myself) on account of zero trick-or-treaters coming to call on October 31st. Two days later, imagine my surprise when, just as we were taking little L out of the bath, the doorbell rang… and there stood 5 small ghouls saying “Bus eller godis!” (“Trick or treat”, in Swedish). Luckily, I had extra treats on hand that day as I’d prepared lots in advance of a Halloween party that a Canadian girlfriend of mine was throwing.

And now I have to brag a little…
I was absolutely delighted by the responses of our visiting trick-or-treaters to the Frankenmallow Pops I presented them with. The looks of wonderment on their faces, the oohsaahs, smiles and the lovely snaps I managed to take of our visitors were well worth the effort it took to make those extra pops (and the 2 day delay!).

Frankenmallow Pops with their happy new owners (two days late, but still...) :)

Frankenmallow Pops with their happy new owners (two days late, but still…) :)

 

In contrast to Halloween, Allhelgonahelgen here in Sweden is traditionally a subdued and solemn period of remembrance and reflection, which is commonly commemorated with the lighting of candles on Alla helgons dag (the first Saturday in November). Historically, it was on Alla själars dag (the Sunday after Alla helgons dag) that the Swedish people took time to remember and honor their deceased relatives, but candle lighting on any day of the Allhelgonahelgen period (particularly the Saturday) is a popular tradition today. I was determined to make it to Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery) during Allhelgonahelgen this year. The lighting of candles for loved ones is such a lovely tradition… and UNESCO World Heritage listed Skogskyrkogården is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, no doubt. It truly is a “place of rest”, both for the departed and the living. The minneslund (memorial grove) at Skogskyrkogården is a wonderful place to pause, reflect and remember, particularly perhaps for those of us whose deceased loved ones are buried far away.

Click on this image to watch a fabulous short video by Christopher Bennison that captures Alla helgons dag perfectly and beautifully

Click on this image and take a couple of minutes to watch and enjoy this fabulous short video by Christopher Bennison that captures Alla helgons dag at Skogskyrkogården perfectly, sublimely and beautifully

A few months ago, a random hit on Google as I searched for an address, turned up a link to a fascinating genealogy blog where I discovered some familiar names. I quickly realised that the writer of this blog and I must be related somehow (it’s a small, small world!). I was deeply saddened to read about the author’s son, baby Jarren, my cousin’s cousin, who passed away tragically at only 5 months of age as a result of being exposed to measles by an unvaccinated child. My Cupcake was perhaps 2 or 3 months old at the time I came across baby Jarren’s story and of course I was deeply affected. I cried that night and I thought of the minneslund, knowing that upon my next visit to Skogskyrkogården I would light a candle for Jarren there.

There could, perhaps, have been no better time to do it (and to tell little L about baby Jarren) than Alla helgons dag. 

We were in a bit of a panic to get to Skogskyrkogården that night, as my husband had read online that the cemetery was going to close its gates (to cars only, it turned out) at 8pm. We made it in good time, however, and once we were inside, surrounded by thousands of flickering candle lights in the autumn fog, we felt calm and in absolutely no hurry to leave. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for L’s bedtime and Cupcake’s cough, we would have stayed longer than we did. We walked up the steps to the top of the hill which was already covered in flickering candles. As I scanned the ground for a little patch of free space to which another candle could be added, tears sprang to my eyes as I spotted a group of candles with names written on them… all in the same child’s handwriting, in remembrance of members of the same family.

I told L that it was a special day and that we were going to light a candle for loved ones who had passed away. I mentioned names of some of the people we were doing this for (including my grandparents, my aunt and baby Jarren).

Candles burning for loved ones at Skogskyrkogården

Candles burning for loved ones at Skogskyrkogården

Little L responded “Yes, and for baby Jarren… Where is baby Jarren, mamma?”.
I said that I did not know for sure, but we hoped he was somewhere happy with the other angel babies… and that when we care about people, even if they go away and we cannot see them anymore, they stay in our thoughts and hearts.

L thought about that, then nodded and added “Yes, they are home there.”
I felt very moved by those simple words.

Pausing to reflect and remember

Pausing to reflect and remember

 

The rest of the Halloween/Allhelgonahelgen period was spent enjoying time as a family and celebrating with friends. We visited Skansen (a fabulous outdoor museum) and Över Järva Gård (where my husband’s very talented cousin took photographs of the little ones), had play dates with friends, ate Mummy Cupcakes for dessert on a couple of occasions (see recipe below), carved a pumpkin for the first time and the children received their homemade Sugar Skull-style Treat Boxes with goodies on the 31st of October.

 

Our special Halloween themed family dinner consisted of Jack-o’-Lantern style “carved” bell peppers, stuffed with veggie fried rice and baked in a hot oven for around 30 minutes (fun and delicious!) and a dessert of vegan, refined sugar-free apple and pear crumble with maple syrup, pecans, walnuts, raisins and a little toasted coconut (recipe to follow soon) served with vegan ice cream.

Believe it or not, this pic was not staged (we just don't have much surface space in our kitchen!). Baked "carved" bell peppers stuffed with veggie fried rice in foreground + Jack-o'-lantern, vegan apple pear crumble and Frankenmallow Pops in background.

Believe it or not, this pic was not staged (we just don’t have much surface space in our kitchen!). Baked “carved” bell peppers stuffed with veggie fried rice in foreground + Jack-o’-Lantern, vegan apple & pear crumble and Frankenmallow Pops in background.

 

During the afternoon of Alla helgons dag we attended a lovely Halloween party hosted by a Canadian friend. I was very surprised when some of the guests took photographs of the treats I brought to share (Frankenmallow Pops and Ghost Cupcakes), even more so when some of them uploaded the images they took on Facebook (and people posted such nice comments about them). Of course I was most thrilled that the children liked them and that some kept coming back for more… and more!

The Ghost Cupcakes I created were extremely simple to put together. I was afraid that a design based around piped buttercream frosting might be too hard to safely transport to the party, but I recalled store-bought meringues (something which can be easily found here, but that we never buy ourselves) and thought the forms and sizes would make perfect little ghosty toppers for simple cupcakes. With the tiniest amount of dark chocolate (already melted post-Frankenmallow Pops construction) and the aid of a trusty toothpick, I dotted a simple ghost face on each meringue. I assembled the cupcakes, topped with a ghost meringue, 30 minutes before we left home… they were that easy!

 

DIY SUPER-EASY GHOST CUPCAKES

  1. Dot melted dark chocolate on store-bought meringues (around 3 cm in diameter or larger, but no larger than your cupcakes) to create little ghost faces.
  2. Spread or pipe frosting on your baked and completely cooled cupcakes (I made a double batch of Refined Sugar-free Apple Parsnip Cupcakes- recipe below), dab or pipe a little extra frosting in the centre and secure a ghost meringue on the top of each one.
  3. A coating of sprinkles over visible frosting will add an extra festive touch.

MissMarzipan_ghost_meringue_cupcakes

 

REFINED SUGAR-FREE APPLE PARSNIP MUMMY CUPCAKES
WITH MAPLE SYRUP & PECANS + VEGAN VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

Prep time: 25 mins, Bake time: 18-20 mins

I have described these cupcakes as being both “naughty” and “nice” as the cupcakes themselves are refined sugar-free, but the frosting is not (only as I din’t have the time to experiment with birch sugar). The frosting I used for these cupcakes is my go-to vegan buttercream frosting. Vegan frosting has to count for some extra brownie points, right? ;)

MissMarzipan_sugar-free_apple_parsnip_mummy_cupcakes

 

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

175 g unsalted butter
250 g organic coconut palm sugar
90 ml organic maple syrup
3 large organic eggs
250 g organic plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice (I made my own mix using ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice)
170 g organic parsnips, peeled and grated
170 g organic apples (not too tart), peeled, cored and grated
65 g organic pecans, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 small organic orange

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 175C fan. Line cupcake tins with liners. Melt 175 g butter in a saucepan over gentle heat, together with the coconut palm sugar and maple syrup. Cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into the syrup mixture.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, then add the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Pour the syrup mixture over and combine well. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter and bake cupcakes for around 18-20 mins (depending on your oven and the size of the cupcakes) or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cupcakes slightly in the trays before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

 

*The unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen and will defrost perfectly.
*Recipe adapted from my recipe for Apple Parsnip Cake.

VEGAN BUTTERCREAM INGREDIENTS

120 g nonhydrogenated shortening
120 g nonhydrogenated margarine
350 g powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes more.
  2. Add the vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes until fluffy.

 

*Recipe closely adapted from this fabulous one originally from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World , by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
*This frosting keeps well in the fridge and can be frozen too!

 

MUMMY CUPCAKE DECORATING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a Wilton 101 piping tip, pipe a couple of dabs of frosting in the center of each cupcake and secure two candy eyes (or raisins).
  2. Make sure the piping tip is flat side down and pipe strips of frosting to create the mummy’s “bandages”. Pipe 3 or 4 strips of frosting in one direction, making sure they overlap slightly, then change direction and repeat. This creates an “organic” appearance.

 

THE OTHER MISS MARZIPAN 2013 HALLOWEEN POSTS

Click on images to visit the posts!

DIY Sugar Skull Treat Boxes

DIY Sugar Skull Treat Boxes with FREE downloadable template

The easiest Jack-o’-Lantern carving template ever... with FREE downloadable template

The easiest Jack-o’-Lantern carving template ever, FREE for download

DIY Frankenmallow Pops with step-by-step directions

DIY Frankenmallow Pops with step-by-step directions

 

 

DIY FRANKENMALLOW POPS (chocolatey, marshmallowy, easy-to-make treats… perfect for little monsters)

You don’t need an oven (or a 19th century Gothic laboratory!) to create these little guys. Just a few ingredients, a little assembling and you’re minutes away from having homemade treats on hand for when the ghosts and ghouls coming knocking at your door tonight!

MissMarzipan_Frankenstein_marshmallow_pops1

 

WHAT YOU NEED

MissMarzipan_Frankenmallow_pops_what_you_need

Lollipop sticks
Green candy melts
Dark chocolate
Candy eyes
Large marshmallows
Tooth picks
Food colouring/edible pens (optional)
Fruit bites/fruit leathers or similar, cut into little squares for “neck bolts” (optional)

HOW YOU MAKE ‘EM

MissMarzipan_Frankenstein_marshmallow_pops_how_to

My toddler, L, got in on the pop-decorating action and created his own little monster

My toddler, L, got in on the pop-decorating action and created his own little monster…

 

... and, on going through my iPhone images, I discovered that Baby Cupcake photobombed my setting Frankenmallow pops! :D

… and, upon going through my iPhone images, I discovered that Baby Cupcake totally photobombed my setting Frankenmallow pops!

MissMarzipan_Frankenmallow_pop_scary

 

I came across various versions of Frankenmallow pops on Pinterest in the lead up to Halloween this year and, as it’s been ever so long since I added a Project Pinterest post, I thought I’d include this project. They really are simple, yummy and fun… and a great no-bake treat option if you are short on time!

Happy Halloween, my pretties!
MM xx

 

POSSIBLY THE EASIEST PUMPKIN CARVING TEMPLATE IN THE WORLD (FREE for download here!)

No Halloween decor up yet? No time? No pumpkin carving kit/fancy knives/special tools? No previous pumpkin carving experience? No idea where to start?
No worries!

This is the Jack-o’-Lantern design you’ve been looking for!

My husband, our two and a half year-old toddler and I decided to do a last-minute, first time (!) pumpkin carving on the weekend… and within 30 minutes we’d gone out, found and bought a pumpkin, prepared possibly the most simple template EVER, cleaned and carved the pumpkin and lit the tea light candle inside. It really was that simple!

And the secret to this super-fast, super-easy DIY project?
This Jack’s face design contains NO curves and requires minimal cuts… but, as you will hopefully agree, it does not lack personality.
Straight lines are a cinch to cut (believe me, we only had one 9 year-old, medium-sized, non-serrated edge knife from IKEA to work with!).
Despite the easy, straight cuts, the curved nature of the pumpkin’s form helps create the illusion of curves within the facial features from certain angles. The simplicity of the design is perfect for smaller pumpkins (such as the one we bought) too.

MissMarzipan_easy_pumpkin_carving_JackoLantern

 

 

So if you’re in urgent need of some Halloween-spirited decor and have little time to spare, download the FREE template here and get carving!

Print

 

Happy Halloween, my pretties!
MM xx

 

DIY DAY OF THE DEAD SUGAR SKULL TREAT BOXES (they’re spooky, sparkly & perfect for Halloween!)

What an amazing time of the year this is! Autumn landscapes and harvest festivals, Halloween, Thanksgiving… so many things to celebrate. Here in Sweden, All Saints’ Day (Alla helgons dag) is traditionally a quiet day of sombre reflection… dignified (in a typically Scandinavian fashion). Lighting candles at family grave sites is a widely practised custom. I have never had the pleasure/privilege/opportunity to witness a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, but have always been captivated by the bold and colourful imagery associated with it (a stark contrast with Swedish tradition).

This year I had a special project I wanted to undertake in celebration of this time of year; the creation of treat boxes (using papier mache Easter eggs, bought on sale months ago from Panduro) for my little ones. Clearly these are not sugar skulls per se, but they are decorated in a “sugar skull style”… and would make perfect containers for things made of sugar ;)

MissMarzipan_sugar_skull_treat_box

My son has requested that his sugar skull treat box contain a box of raisins! As for Baby Cupcake, at 8 months of age she’s not at the raisin-eating stage just yet, so I’ll be popping a necklace in hers that she can wear and enjoy at a later date.

I really enjoyed making these and I hope you like them too! Below you’ll find images and an easy-to-follow infographic and design template in case you’re feeling crafty this weekend.

**UPDATE!**
As per request, I have created a template with a simple sugar skull design which is available FREE for download here at MissMarzipan.com :)

Print

For a pdf version of the template, click here or on the image above.

For a free eps version of the template, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you :)

MissMarzipan_sugar_skull_treat_box3

The more bling, the better!

The more bling, the better!

Not just for candy! They make lovely gift and jewelry boxes too.

Not just for candy! They make lovely gift and jewelry boxes too.

MissMarzipan_DIY_sugar_skull_treat_box

 

 

APPLE PARSNIP CAKE WITH MAPLE SYRUP & PECANS + WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (AKA Hello, my new favourite cake!)

My dear husband’s birthday was this week- and birthdays always mean cake in our house- so, yet again, I was given the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe. Allowing seasonal, organic produce to dictate the direction this cake would take, I searched and came across a fabulous looking recipe that I couldn’t look passed. I tweaked and modified it, of course, and I added my own version of a whipped cream & cream cheese frosting. The end result was a divinely moist, incredibly delicious and utterly surprising (I’ll eat my proverbial hat if you can taste the parsnip!) seasonal cake… and one VERY happy birthday boy! This cake was an absolute hit with everyone who tried it and has already become a new family favourite.

MissMarzipan_apple_parsnip_maple_cake

 

APPLE PARSNIP CAKE WITH MAPLE SYRUP & PECANS
Prep time: 25 mins, Bake time: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

175 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250 g organic demerara sugar
90 ml organic maple syrup
3 large organic eggs
250 g organic plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice (I made my own mix using ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice)
170 g organic parsnips, peeled and grated
170 g organic apples (not too tart), peeled, cored and grated
65 g organic pecans, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 small organic orange

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 170C fan. Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bases with baking paper. Melt 175 g butter in a saucepan over gentle heat, together with the sugar and maple syrup. Cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into the syrup mixture.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, then add the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Pour the syrup mixture over and combine well. Divide the batter between the tins and bake the cakes for around 30 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cakes slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Frost with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below) as per images.

 

*The unfrosted cakes can be frozen and will defrost perfectly.
*My husband’s birthday cake was decorated with walnuts as I’d used the last of my pecans in the cake itself. They worked just fine, although decorating with pecans makes more sense!

*Cupcake versions of this cake can be made with the same batter. Simply fill cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter, place in a preheated oven (mine was 175C, fan) and bake for around 17 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
*Recipe adapted from this amazing one by Catherine Berwick, found at www.bbcgoodfood.com

 

WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

This frosting combines the best of two worlds; those of the classic whipped cream cake filling and the tasty cream cheese variety. Thanks to its lovely texture and heavenly combination of flavours, it manages to be both light and indulgent at the same time. A little goes a long way… and makes a BIG impact. :)

INGREDIENTS

110 g cream cheese
100 g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp maple syrup
180 ml heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, salt, maple syrup and vanilla powder. Beat until smooth, then gently fold in whipped cream until perfectly combined.

 

*The above recipe and quantities of ingredients will produce enough frosting to adequately fill the center and cover the top of a two layered cake such as the one pictured. If you want to cover the sides too, I suggest doubling the quantities.
*Recipe adapted from this one by Tom found at allrecipes.com