Friday, December 5, 2014

Making Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's been more than two months since I last baked something and since today is TGIF, I spared two hours in late afternoon to bake some yummy soft chocolate chip cookies (go imagine Subway's cookies now!).

I guess a diabetic Christmas spirit got into me today; hence instead of baking small as I usually do, I baked a whole recipe of chocolate cookies. And holy sweet! Now I have two big jars of cookies sitting in my dining table.

Gooey chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon sensation.

Here's the recipe that I used for making my soft chocolate chip cookies.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 225gr Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 150gr Fine granulated sugar
  • 150gr Fine brown sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Large egg + 2 Egg yolks
  • 350gr Flour (plus 1-3 tbs, if needed)
  • 1 tbs Corn starch
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 300gr Chocolate chips or chopped cooking chocolates

Tutorial:
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degree Celcius. I tried using the fan setting on my oven today.
  2. Sift together flour, corn starch, cinnamon powder and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, vanilla extract and sugar until fluffy and pale using high speed electric mixer.
  4. Gradually add egg and egg yolks into the mixture and mix well.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients onto the butter mixture by using spatula until everything is well incorporated.
  6. Stir some chocolate chips or chopped cooking chocolates into the cookie dough. Reserve some chocolate chips for cookies' topping after baking.
  7. Create small drops of cookie dough using ice cream scoop or two spoons. Place them on lined baking trays. Make sure you give enough space for the 'dropped' cookie balls on the trays as they will spread once they hit the hot oven.
  8. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Once the cookies are out of the oven, immediately place some reserved chocolate chips on top of them. The cookies will look kind of soft when they are fresh out of the oven but they will firm up on the outside and slightly gooey on the inside when cold.

Fancy some cookies?

I didn't have enough chocolate chips for my cookies today so I poured some chopped chocolates into the cookies dough. I think my cookies today tasted a tad too sweet because I used chopped chocolates more than the chocolate chips and didn't reduce the amount of sugar used in the cookies dough. Lesson learned, the next time I bake cookies again, I will use less sugar for my cookies dough when using lots of chopped chocolates.

Anyway, as I baked way too many cookies this evening, I gave some to my neighbour's kids for their sweet treats. I will do the same again to some other neighbours tomorrow; else my sugar level would hit the roof even before Christmas starts!

Oh, did I mention that Naomi was not napping when I was busy in the kitchen doing my cookies this afternoon? It was one chaotic baking session I tell you. Both hands well covered in cookie dough, big batch of cookie dough to bake, distracted mind, a mountain of dirty baking utensils in the sink plus clingy and whiny toddler, all at one time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Making Felt Christmas Decorations

Christmas is in the air and thanks to the felt crafting bugs that bit me since last week, I got so itchy to make Christmas decorations all by myself this year. Sounds insane I know.. but before I even had the chance to further imagine whether making DIY Christmas decorations was worthy my efforts or not, I already found myself busy cutting, sewing and gluing on my free time since last weekend. I might even continue making more of these after I publish this blog post. My dedication level to make these Christmas felt decorations at this moment is one bar below 'obsessed'.

In the beginning, I created two or three felt Christmas trees just because I was curious whether I could pull through making Christmas stuff using felts. Very soon, I explored other Christmas themed shapes. When I finished making five of them, I thought "Hey, these cuties may look good on my Christmas trees. They are relatively safe for child's prying fingers and glitter free too. Why not I make more?" Needless to say, I went on and on labouring myself to produce Christmas ornaments. By now, I've made over a dozen of Christmas decorations using the available felts I have at home. I do my crafts when Naomi naps or watches her ABC songs on weekends and in the evening on weekdays.

Enough with the babbling, here are some of the DIY Christmas felt decorations yours truly had made thus far.

My DIY Christmas ornaments for 2014.

I didn't use specific patters to creating these ornaments. I just drew whatever shapes I had in mind on my felts to realize all Christmas-y ideas that were vigorously dancing in my head.

More DIY Christmas ornaments for your eye candy.

Anyhow, you must be wondering why Santa Claus, Christmas's most iconic personality, is not shown in the above. It's because I don't have any dark red felt. I reckoned it would not be so nice if my felt Santa Claus is dressed in neon pink or light green so I might as well skip creating Santa Claus until I have some red felts on hand.

Inspire you much? Maybe next year or few years from now, when I look back at all these DIY Christmas crafts, I could only say this to myself, "Ahhh.. Those days when I was young and crazy... Or rather too bored and free..."

Moving on, here's a quick step-by-step instructions in making felt Christmas decorations.

Felt Christmas Ornaments

Materials needed:
  • Assorted color of felts
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • UHU Glue
  • Needle and thread
  • Ribbons, for hanger
  • Cotton balls or dacron

Tutorials:

1. Draw the pattern shapes that you want on felts and cut them out. My felt Christmas decorations are around 4.5cm x 6 cm big. For instance, if you were to make the snow mittens - cut out 2 snow mitten shapes, 1 heart for decoration and 1 rectangular for the mitten's upper section. See below for picture.

Making snow mittens for Christmas decorations.

2. Fold the ribbon over (mine is about 20cm) to form a loop and glue it securely to one of the mitten piece. This part is going to be the bottom part of the mitten and will be hidden.

3. Sew the two mitten shapes together. Halfway before you finish sewing them, put some cotton balls inside the felts then continue sewing until everything, looped ribbon included, is sewed together.

4. Use glue to stick your mittens decorations with all the felt cut outs you want.

5. Apply the above techniques for making other ornament shapes.

This evening, I hung my DIY felt Christmas ornaments on my mini Christmas tree and my Christmas tree now looks like the following.

What do you think? Cute?

Speaking of Christmas tree, I am so buying a new and bigger Christmas tree next week. The one I have now is way too small and not solid at all. It tends to lean to the right and basically just can't stand straight. Not to mention that all these years, I have been dreaming to have one Christmas tree that I can put on the floor.

Naomi and our soon-to-be-replaced Christmas tree.

While I love to have some colourful lights on my Christmas tree since a Christmas tree doesn't look so complete nor happening without some lights on it; my husband and I will not be putting any lights on our Christmas tree this year to avoid potential hazards they may cause on Naomi.

Up next in my head after the felt Christmas decorations craze is... Christmas cookies? Stay tuned.

P/S: If you are using cotton balls as the felt decorations' filling, please remember that you must not wash your felt crafts.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Making Animal Finger Puppets

When I was doing my work yesterday, nearing the end of COB, my laptop which is not so 'healthy' now decided to die on me twice. As such, I thought of calling it a day. I let my laptop take its much needed break and did something fun with felt crafts for the rest of my evening especially since I had not been utilizing my felts for DIY crafts for a while.

Inspired by a Mommy I follow on Instagram, this time around, I was determined to create cute animal finger puppets using colourful felts for Naomi. They are easy to make but do require some sewing work.

Cute animal finger puppets for kids.

Some imagination and creative juice are demanded to make the kind of animal finger puppets you have in mind. You can create any animals you want for the finger puppets, depending on your material availability. I can only make five finger puppets so far because I don't have that many coloured felts for certain animal shapes.

So here are the steps to make the simple animal felt finger puppets. 

Animal Felt Finger Puppets

Materials needed:
  • Colourful felts
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • UHU Glue
  • Needle and threads
  • Puncher, optional

The cut outs to make the animal finger puppets.

Tutorial:
  1. Draw the animal main body part pattern in the coloured felt and cut it out. Use this as a base model of the other side of the main body part pattern as we need 2 felt patters to make the animal body part. Sew them together but leave the bottom part opened. The size of the animal finger puppets I made was 5.5cm x 4cm - just nice for Naomi's little fingers but a tad short for mine.
  2. Cut out the shapes the other parts of the animal body such as eyes, mouth, legs, paws, wings, etc. using the colourful felts. I use a puncher to create the animal eyes so they look somewhat uniformed and round.
  3. Use glue to stick the animal's eyes, ears, legs etc. to the main body part that is already sewn. 
  4. Pop a puppet on each finger and let the fun begin.

5 Animal finger puppets I made for my little girl.

Naomi was so excited when I presented her the first animal finger puppet I just made. She kept it on her finger for a long time and could not wait for me to finish the second one.

Let's play.

These little finger puppets are so fun to make and they don't take too much time to produce. They are fantastic to make animal characters in story book come alive or to sing along with favourite songs.

P/S: The purple finger puppet is meant to be a hippo. It's so difficult for me to make a really nice hippo look-alike here, hence mine ended up looking like a hybrid of hippo, horse, donkey and cow.