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Wrinkly Crinkly Chocolate Cookies

This is not technically a Halloween cookie.  You could make these cookies all year, and everyone would love them.  But for some reason, they just feel especially right for Halloween.

Maybe it’s because the stark colored contrast and crackled texture remind me of spooky things.  Mummy skin?  Spider webs?  Who knows?

Either way, if you need a last minute Halloween dessert idea, these cookies would fit the bill nicely.  They are ever so slightly labor intensive, but they still come together fairly quickly.  Plus they look impressive as all get out.

So, are you ready to bake?  Let’s go.

Wrinkly Crinkly Chocolate Cookies

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (bonus points for black cocoa powder, but don’t use Dutch processed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Pour the powdered sugar into a small bowl, and 1/4 cup of the white sugar into a second small bowl.  Set the bowls aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, corn syrup, vanilla, milk, flax seeds, and melted chocolate.  Beat until totally combined.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and beat until fully incorporated.  Your dough should be fairly thick and very sticky.

3.  Refrigerate your dough for at least 30 minutes, to make it easier to handle.  When the time is almost up, preheat your oven to 325° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

4.  Once the chilling time has elapsed, remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball with your hands.  Then roll that ball in the white sugar until fully coated.  Then drop the ball into the powdered sugar, and carefully coat the ball with a fairly thick coating of powdered sugar.  Gently shake off any excess sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet.

5.  Continue this process, placing the cookie balls a couple of inches apart, since they tend to spread quite a bit.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies look like they do in the pictures (slightly puffed, with lots of cracks on the surface).  Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before very carefully removing to a cooling rack.  Allow them to cool completely before eating.  Store in a single layer.

Serve these at your Halloween party, or any time of year.  Their fudgy texture is a huge hit with people who like rich chocolatey cookies (which is everyone, right?).

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some cookies to eat.  Happy Halloween, y’all!

P.S. This recipe was created by my favorite cookbook authors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  If you want to see this recipe in its original form, plus many many more amazing recipes, check out their book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  This is not a sponsored post, and they don’t know me at all.  I just love them, and you should too.



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Halloween Party Luminaries – Free Printable

I’m actually not throwing a Halloween party. Every year, I say I’m going to throw a party, then every year something keeps me from doing it. This year, a couple of friends of mine are actually having a party that promises to be way more epic than anything I could throw together. Maybe next year?

So I basically designed this project for my imaginary party. But hey, are you throwing a party? Because if you are, I’d be thrilled if you used this idea.

I’m not actually going to do a step by step tutorial for this project, since it’s kind of a no-brainer. (Does that count as a pun?)

Basically, all you need to do is cut along the dotted lines on the printable, and glue or tape each insert into a 3-3/4″ square hole in a standard paper lunch bag. Well, my bags measure 5-1/8″ x 3-1/8″ x 10-5/8″, so I’m assuming that that’s a standard size. Anyway, place each square hole 1-3/4″ from the bottom of the bag. You want the placement to be pretty low so you get a lot of flicker behind the insert.

I used calligraphy paper to print my inserts onto, but any light colored paper would work. I bet this would be really cool printed on vellum. If you try that, please let me know how it comes out.

The last step is to put a little sand or rocks in the bottom of each bag, and add a candle. I used battery operated candles so I didn’t have to worry about them burning my house down. Obviously, if you’re using real flame candles, you don’t want to close the top of each bag. And if you burn your house down, don’t blame me.

OK, so here’s the printable. I really hope you enjoy, and have an awesome Halloween!

Click the Image Below to Download the Free Printable

Click the image to download

P.S. I’m sure you’ve figured this out, because you’re so smart, but you can use this printable for lots of things. Make the bags and use them as goodie bags, or paint the bags bright colors and use them to decorate a Dia de los Muertos altar. Use your imagination! Oh, and if you want to share this printable, please credit me. Thanks and Happy Halloween!

Special thanks to http://falln-brushes.deviantart.com for use of the amazing smoke brushes!

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Maple Ginger Cookie Sandwiches

I almost called this post “How to Cheat at Dessert,” since that’s really what this recipe is all about.  A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I hosted a baby shower for his (very pregnant) sister.  At the last minute, I decided I needed another dessert besides the cupcakes I was making.  And the cookie frosting sandwich was born.

Now, I’m certainly not saying I invented putting frosting between two cookies, but I can’t remember ever seeing this before.  What’s important is that this technique really helped me out in a pinch.  And when, sooner or later, you need a last minute dessert, it just might save you as well.  Anyway, let’s get cooking frosting.

You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk (see notes at the end of this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 one pound bag ginger snaps (I like Murray’s, but any cheap ones will do)

1.  Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream together the fats.

2.  Sift in about 1/2 a cup of confectioner’s sugar, add a splash of milk, and beat to combine.  Repeat until all the sugar and milk have been incorporated (this should take less than five minutes).

3.  Add maple extract and beat until fluffy (about two more minutes).  If frosting looks a little too soft, beat in up to another 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

4.  Fit a pastry bag with a large star-shaped pastry tip and fill the bag with frosting.

5.  Place one cookie upside-down on a clean working surface, and pipe a circle of frosting close to the edge of the cookie.  Don’t worry about filling the circle in — there will be enough frosting without it.  Place another cookie right-side-up on the frosting, and press gently.

6.  Repeat until you run out of frosting or cookies (they should run out at roughly the same time).  Now place your cookies in the refrigerator.  For how long?  Well, that’s up to you.  If you have a couple of hours, that’s better.  That way the cookies will soften a little, making them slightly easier to eat.  But by all means, you can eat these right away.

Some notes about this project

  • Make sure you use cheap cookies.  Expensive, gourmet cookies somehow don’t work as well.  Neither do homemade cookies.  The cheaper the better for this project.  You could probably even use canned vanilla frosting with maple extract mixed in.  I haven’t tried it, but if you do, let me know if it worked.
  • My maple extract had a really dark brown color.  If yours doesn’t, throw a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder into your powdered sugar when mixing.  That’ll give your frosting a nice maple-y color.
  • It is imperative that you use a fancy piping tip for these cookies.  Otherwise, they’ll look rushed and sloppy.  Since this recipe is so simple, it’s worth getting out that pastry bag!  Oh, and I got my bag and tips from Bake it Pretty.  I would HIGHLY recommend this kit.  (Full disclosure:  I used to work for BIP, but I don’t any more.)
  • These cookies are a little messy to eat.  The longer they are refrigerated, the less messy they get.  If you want, you can even freeze them for an hour or so and serve them frozen or partially thawed.  What I’m saying is that this recipe is pretty versatile.
  • I don’t consume dairy, which is why this recipe calls for soy milk.  You can definitely also use almond milk, rice milk, or even canned coconut milk.  I’ve tried it with all of them, and they all work well.  If you want to use cow’s milk for this recipe, I’m not gonna stop you.

Those may or may not be the actual crumbs from an actual cookie sandwich I ate during this photo shoot.  They’re just so tiny and irresistible!

As always, if you make these, let me know how they turned out.  Or if you have questions about this recipe (or any other recipe or project you see here) let me know.

You can leave a comment on this blog post, email me at info@papertuesday.com, or find us on facebook or twitter.  I’d love to hear from you!

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Paper Chain Window Screen

A couple of months ago, I started a business.  And my boyfriend oh-so-sweetly offered to give me a desk in his already too-full bookmaking studio to work on.  Well, my business has been steadily expanding, and a few days ago it became clear that the studio wasn’t big enough for the two of us.  So he generously ceded the studio to me and moved his operation to the enclosed back porch.  Which is a long way of telling you that I now have an office to call my own!  First on my agenda?  Redecorating.  Starting with this:

Ugh.  I hate blinds in general, but this Pier 1 chic is especially not my style.  If it were feasible, I would love to just keep the window uncovered.  Unfortunately, we have a neighbor who is kind of . . . um . . . creepy.*  He’s harmless, but I don’t exactly want him watching me work.  So I set out to create something that would let in a lot of light while offering some privacy.  Here’s what I came up with.

Paper chain may not seem like an obvious window covering but once I thought of it, it seemed to make perfect sense.  Paper chain is easy to make with supplies you already have, and it provides the right amount of privacy while still letting in lots of light.  And picking a neutral color palette gives the whole thing an air of grown-up sophistication.

Paper Chain Window Screen

You’ll Need:

  • Paper (see notes below)
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Clear Thumb Tacks
  • Clip Board, Book, or Some Other Hard Flat Surface

1.  First, gather your supplies.  For this project, I used cheap copy paper, calligraphy paper, and newsprint.  The first two papers measured 8-1/2″ x 11″, so no trimming was needed.  I had to cut the newsprint into 8-1/2″ wide strips.

2.  Tear the paper into strips.  The easiest way to do this is to lay a piece of paper on your work surface and place a clip board or book on top of it, with about a 1″ strip of paper exposed.  Grab the end of the strip and, while applying firm pressure to your clip board, quickly tear the strip free.  The process should look something like this:

And you should end up with this:

3.  Repeat the above process until you have a whole bunch of paper strips.  Make sure you keep the strips of different materials separate.

4.  Make your chains. This is just a matter of adhering the opposite ends of a strip with a little double stick tape and adding loops one at a time.  My window measures 32″, so I found that the base chains needed 18 links each.

5. Attach your chains to the inside frame of the window with thumb tacks.  There is no science to this; just randomly pin them into place.  As you do, you’ll start to figure out what should go where.  It’s pretty intuitive, and it will only look good if you aren’t too uptight about placement.

6. Make some longer chains to overlap the base chains, if desired.  I found that my favorite look was when there was some overlap, but not too much.  After trying combinations ranging from seven chains all the way up to twenty, I decided fourteen chains looked the best.

Some Notes On This Project:

  • I chose a combination of white and ivory papers, based on the colors of the best-selling product on my website.  You could certainly choose colors that fit your individual style.  Scrapbook papers would probably work really well.
  • This project involves putting a whole lot of little holes in your window frame.  I don’t care about that, but if you do, you could probably use that sticky tack stuff you use to hang up dorm posters instead of thumb tacks.  If you try that, let me know if it worked!
  • The most important thing about this project is that you don’t over-think it.  I started out by measuring and cutting my paper strips, and it looked all wrong.  For the best results, rip the strips quickly.  Some may only be half an inch wide, others might be an inch and a half.  Imperfection is what this project is all about!

Do you want to make this project but have some questions?  I’d love to answer them.  Either leave a comment on this post, or email me: Info@PaperTuesday.com.  Did you make this project and want to share your pictures with the world?  Well by all means post them on our Facebook page!

*Blake, I can’t imagine you’re reading this.  But if you are, I am sorry I called you creepy.

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Dandelion Flower Sorbet Recipe

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wondered why we call some flowers flowers and other flowers weeds.  I think the dandelion is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.  The flowers are the most brilliant yellow, the stems are long and straight, and you can find them right in your back yard.

I have always known that you can eat dandelion leaves, but it only recently came to my attention that the flowers are also edible.  I am so into foraging for food that it borders on obsession, so naturally as soon as I found out that you can eat dandelion flowers, I decided I had to make something with them.

Now I’m not going to lie — this recipe is a little challenging.  It takes some hard work, some patience, and some finesse.  But the end result is totally worth it; a sorbet that tastes like the essence of spring itself.

Enough chatter, let’s make some sorbet!

Dandelion Flower Sorbet

You’ll need:

  • 1 quart just-picked dandelion blossoms, harvested from a pesticide-free area
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1.  As soon as possible after harvesting your flowers, use sharp scissors to cut the yellow petals away from the green calyxes.  Try to leave as much of the bitter white fibers at the base of the petals out as you can.  We’re shooting for as much yellow as possible.

2.  Place the petals in a fine mesh strainer and give them a quick rinse under cold water.  This will get rid of any tiny bugs that might be on them, so don’t skip this step!

3.  While the petals are draining, make your simple syrup.  Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the drained petals.  Let that mixture steep for one hour.

4.  At the end of the hour, use that fine mesh strainer again to strain the petals out of your syrup.  Stir the lemon juice into the syrup mixture.  Now place that in a covered container in the refrigerator and chill overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

5.  Freeze the cooled syrup mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  I’ve heard that you can also freeze the mixture on a baking sheet until solid and then puree it in a strong blender.   I’ve never tried this method, so if you do, let me know how it worked!

6.  Once your ice cream maker has finished, freeze the sorbet in a covered container for no less than three days.  Be sure to remove the sorbet from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.  This is not totally necessary, but it makes it much more scoopable.

Some notes on this recipe:

  • Harvesting dandelion flowers does not take as long as you’d think.  Take a quart jar out to the lawn on the day you’re going to mow, and fill up the jar.  However tightly packed the flowers are, that’s how intense the flavor of your sorbet will be.
  • Flowers harvested in the morning have a sweeter flavor, and the faster you get the petals into the hot syrup, the sweeter your sorbet will be.
  • You are going to want to eat this before it’s frozen for three days.  Don’t.  Seriously, I don’t know how, but something magical happens to this sorbet after a few days in the freezer.  It’s worth the wait.
  • I wish that the sorbet was a little brighter yellow.  I fought the temptation to add food coloring, but I’m not sure it was the right choice.  If you make this and decide to add a drop or two of food coloring, I won’t tell anyone.  I promise.

As always, if you decide to make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it.  Send me an email to Info@PaperTuesday.com.  Or, even better, share your pictures with the world by posting them on our Facebook page!


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Empty Pantry Chocolate Cake

Around my house, you can pretty much count on a couple of things:

#1.  There are always baked goods on the counter.

#2.  I am almost always out of some major ingredient.

This combination leads to a lot of improvising in the kitchen.  Which is why I tend to really lean on recipes like this one, since it doesn’t require much in the way of supplies.  And it comes together in no time, which is a total plus in my book.

This recipe is actually a riff on Wacky Cakes, which are desserts people used to make during the Great Depression, when ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter were in short supply.  If you have some very basic kitchen staples hanging around, you can make this cake.

Empty Pantry Chocolate Cake

You’ll Need:

  • 1-1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder (I like Dutch Process for this recipe, but whatever you’ve got is fine)
  • 1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • Frosting of your choice

1.  Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease some sort of pan(s).  For this recipe, I used four 4″ round cake pans.  But I’m just showing off.  If you’re a normal person, you can use one 9″ cake pan, or a muffin tin, or try two clean coffee cans.  The coffee cans will give you cakes similar in size to mine, and you have the added benefit of exhibiting some super Depression-era realness.

2.  Make your batter while your oven is heating up.  In a large bowl, combine your flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa powder.  Whisk the mixture (with an actual whisk) until the color looks evenly grayish brown all the way through.  This is the hardest part of the recipe.  It’s not hard, the rest of the recipe is just really easy.  Into the dry ingredients bowl, pour the remaining ingredients.  Use that whisk again to get it all good and mixed.  Don’t worry about over-beating, this recipe is totally forgiving.

3.  Pour the prepared batter into your prepared pan(s).  As a rule of thumb, never fill any cake pan more than 2/3 of the way full.  Usually 1/4 cup measuring cup fills each hole of a standard muffin tin nicely.  If you’re using coffee cans (good for you!) only fill them about half way up.  You can bake any left over batter into a regular cake pan.

5.  Bake until done.   For a 9″ pan, or two coffee cans, that will be about 30 minutes.  For cupcakes, it’ll be closer to 18 minutes.  It’s better to check them too often than to let them burn.  Cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

6.  Put the cake into the freezer after five minutes.  That’s right, put the cake (still in the pan) into the freezer.  We’re not going to freeze it, just cool it off a little.  Remember, the pan is hot and it’ll melt stuff, so keep that in mind.  Now make your frosting.  When the frosting is done, your cake should be nice and cool (we’re aiming for somewhere around room temperature here).

7.  Cut into layers.  Cut the rounded top of the cake off to make it as flat as possible.  Now cut it into as many layers as you want, and put a nice layer of frosting in between each layer.  This whole thing only takes a minute, and it looks way more impressive than a single layer.  I promise it’s worth it.

Some notes on this recipe:

You can improvise like crazy with this thing. 

  • If you want to sub some milk (regular, almond, coconut, whatever) for the water, that’s totally fine. (Try brewed coffee, too.  It’s delicious.)
  • If you want to use lemon juice or fancy vinegar instead of white vinegar, go ahead.
  • One of my favorite variations on this recipe is to sub balsamic for the white vinegar and olive oil for the canola.  It feels so fancy.
  • Try using fruit preserves in between some of the layers, and whipped cream in between the others.  It’s divine.

If you make this cake (or some variation of it) I’d love to hear about it!  Leave a comment below.


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Mini Bunting Card DIY

I was shopping at a local discount store a couple of days ago, and I found a Fiskars triangle-shaped craft punch for super cheap.  It was too good a deal to pass up, but it took me a while to figure out a project to use it for.  I ended up using a version of the technique I’m going to show you to make a birthday card for my niece’s first birthday.  I ironed out some kinks, and now I want to show you what I came up with.

You’ll Need:

  • Heavy Weight Card Stock (measuring around 8-1/2″ x 6″, for the card itself)
  • Light Weight Card Stock (for the bunting)
  • Triangle Craft Punch 
  • Twine (about 8 inches)
  • Glue Dots
  • Letter Stamps or Stickers
  • Scissors

First, cut out the bunting.  Fold some light weight card stock in a strip wide enough to measure twice the length of your triangle punch.  This is not exact science, just make sure you give yourself plenty of card stock to work with.

Now position your punch almost all the way up to the folded edge of card stock and punch all the way through.  You should end up with a diamond shape with a fold right in the middle, like this:

If you ended up with two triangles instead, you just need to punch a little further away from the folded edge.  No big deal.  Now punch out a bunch of these diamonds.  It doesn’t hurt to punch several more than you need, to be on the safe side.

Now stamp your message onto the bunting.  I would highly recommend using one stamp per flag.

When you’re all done stamping, fold each flag over the twine, and affix the two sides together with a glue dot.  If you place the dot at the bottom of the flag, you’ll be able to adjust the flags a little more.

Now fold the card directly in half vertically.  Punch a small hole at the top two corners, and string your bunting through the two holes.  Tie small knots on the outside of each end of twine.  Your final product should look like this:

Now you’re ready to add a greeting, put the card in an envelope, and stick it in the mail.

Some Notes About This Project:

  • Heavy card stock can be too much to punch through, so make sure you’re using light weight stuff (like they use for scrap-booking).
  • If you don’t have a craft punch, you can still totally make this project.  Just use some scissors and a ruler to cut out the triangles.

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