Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas (Caramel De-Lites)

WARNING: These pictures may make you drool ;)
I'm gluten-intolerant, so in order to enjoy most desserts I have to break out my various gluten-free flours and make them myself. But I definitely have to be in the right mood to bake, and it has to be something I REALLY want, because I hate measuring...I like cooking because I can wing it.

I have SO missed Girl Scout cookies since becoming gluten-free 4 years ago. Especially Samoas (which I understand are now called Caramel De-Lites, but they'll always be Samoas to me). So when I ran across THIS blog with a recipe to make them gluten-free, and somewhat easily, I HAD to try it. (You can make these gluten-full, too...just use regular flour.)

What you'll need:
3 cups shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
12 oz dark or semisweet chocolate (I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour*
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk, as needed
12 oz chewy caramels (I used an 11 oz bag of Kraft caramels)
2 tbsp water

*I keep a brown rice flour mix on hand: 2 cups brown rice flower, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour. You can also use Bob's Red Mill or other brand all-purpose flour mix.

I started out making the topping first.
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 
  • Spread the coconut evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet 
  • Toast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until coconut is golden. 
  • Cool on a baking sheet.
While the coconut is cooling, make the dough.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  • Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt at a low speed.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix until the dough comes together. Add milk only if needed so the dough  becomes thick, not too sticky. 
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. (I left mine in overnight.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Scoop tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and flatten to about ¼ inch thickness.
  • Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. (Keep checking on them, mine took about 15 minutes. Betsy says hers took 20-25 minutes.) 
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
I followed Betsy's recipe and added 1 tablespoon of milk as she suggested. However the dough was a little sticky, as you can see in the picture below. This was even after refrigerating overnight. When I make these again I will try without the milk altogether, and only add a tiny bit if needed. (I'm sure soy or almond milk would also work).
The cookies look like basic sugar cookies when they come out of the oven. Be careful, they're a little brittle.
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, or put in a glass or metal bowl over a pot with an inch of water in it. Make sure you don't get ANY WATER in the chocolate...it will ruin it.

This next step is the hardest and most time-consuming part...

The chocolate is kind of thick, so you can't just simply dip the cookies in. I put the cookie in the chocolate upside-down, then used a rubber spatula to spread a little on the bottom. Next time I make these I might try thinning the chocolate a bit. Place on wax paper to set. Reserve extra chocolate.

Now comes the best part!
  • Place caramels in a microwave-safe bowl with water. Cook on high for 2 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt.
  • When caramel is melted, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
  • Spread the topping on cooled cookies, using 2-3 tsp per cookie. 
  • Once all of the cookies have caramel topping, drizzle extra chocolate over cookies.
  • Devour 1 (or 2) and store leftovers in an airtight container or zip-lock bag.

They are scrumptious when kept the fridge! And if you want to double the recipe, they keep very well in the freezer.

Enjoy! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Love... {What's in a Frame} Wedding Edition

Last weekend I attended the wedding of a dear elementary-school friend, Julia, and her new husband, Adam. Their wedding was on the bluffs above the ocean and the colors were very beachy and beautiful...dusty light blue with champagne and brown. It was amazing! For their wedding gift I made them one a Wedding edition of my {What's in a Frame} line of decor. (See all of my baby and other {What's in a Frame} decor HERE.)




The background paper is from Stampin' Up, and I believe it's retired, but the Baja Breeze blue color is perfect. The chipboard letters are from Close to my Heart. I love that they come white, because it was easy to ink them with a sponge, then I stamped one of the Noted Backgrounds stamps in chocolate ink over the letters. (Noted Backgrounds is retired, but Universal Backgrounds is new and I like it even better!).

I sprayed the whole frame with the Spray Pen filled with a few drops of chocolate re-inker, a little water, and some pearl paint for shine. Added a few embellishments, like the pretty mocha pearls, and Voila! A perfect frame for a photo from their wedding.

If you are interested in purchasing a wedding or baby frame like this one, visit my shop HERE.

I'm linking up this week to Skip the Housework.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My DIY Lampshade Was Featured!

My lampshade was featured this week at the Polka Dots on Parade blog! So exciting! To see my original post, go HERE.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bella Blvd {Giveaway} at Practical Scrappers!

Happy Wednesday, Crafters!

I wanted to pop in to let you know that Practical Scrappers has an awesome giveaway for some yummy Bella Blvd products! I just love their bright, springy colors. Go check out today's post! There will be TWO lucky winners!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DIY Lampshade Redo

I've been SUPER into this green color lately and I have been on the hunt for some bedside lamps for the last couple of months. I happened to find these cute little guys on sale at Target for $16 each. They are simpler than I wanted, but the right size. So I thought I could jazz them up a little bit.
I am going to be redoing our bedroom in greens and white (with pops of color), and I bought this white ric rac with silver flecks in it at Hobby Lobby. I had no purpose in mind, I just liked it. Sometimes I'm so glad I get stuff "just because," because it works perfectly here.

Here's the lamp after one row of ric rac...I simply hot glued it on. I started measuring as I glued to make sure it was even all the way around, but it actually was easier just to eyeball it. It looks nice and clean with just one row of ric rac, but I think it needed one more row. (My cat likes to keep me company while I craft.)
Two rows of ric rac and some fabric flowers and...viola! You have a cute little lampshade to add some color to your nightstand! My nightstand and room aren't too big, so this size lamp works well. But I could always add the shade to a larger base as my situation changes.
The white flower fabric was from a fat quarter, and the coral flowers were from a polyester tank top I never wear. These flowers are so cheap because you can use fabric scraps you have lying around or old clothes you never wear! Plus they're really easy to make.

Here's a video I made a little while back that shows you how to make the flower rosettes.



I'm linking up to:
Tatertots & Jello
Making the World Cuter
Run With Glitter
Between Naps on the Porch
Just Something I Whipped Up
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
The DIY Showoff
Super Stinky Boys
Mad in Crafts
C.R.A.F.T.
Sew Can Do
Hope Studios
Tip Junkie
Today's Creative Blog
All Thingz Related
Sugar Bee Crafts
New Nostalgia
Polka Dots on Parade
Living Craftily Ever After

(This is my first time linking...sorry I didn't grab buttons, I will next time!) :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Egg-Flower Easter Card

Here's an Easter card I made using the new Sophia paper pack from Close to my Heart...love these colors. Do those flower petals remind you of anything? Easter eggs, maybe? I stamped an egg stamp and cut it out to create the flower and leaf!
The border stamp on the green strip of cardstock is from the new Backgrounds and Borders stamp set...love it.

Have a wonderful day, and thanks for visiting my blog today!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thank You Card with CTMH Notebook

This card was made by my upline, Kay Pekin, for a card swap a while back. I've always loved it and have saved it in my card stash all this time, so I wanted to share it with you. It's small...about 2.5" x 4" or so (I didn't measure).
She used the Notebook paper pack with Playful Flourishes and Annotations stamp sets (all now retired) :(

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Super Simple Thank You & Congratulations Cards

Here are 2 more cards I created for one of my all-you-can-create card workshops. I wanted to keep them simple...plus these are great designs for using up your scraps!

I used the Grace paper pack from Close to my Heart (retired) for this first card, with the Circle Around and must-have Thank You stamp sets. I embellished with some Mocha opaques.
This next card uses the Topstitch paper, punched into 1" circles. The stamp set is Love Always, one of my favorite sets for wedding and bridal cards.

I'm joining a linky party!



Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

8 Decorated Card Boxes

I made one of these card boxes for my aunt's birthday last year, and her neighbor saw it and ordered 8 or them to give to her co-workers for Christmas this past year. They live in Florida and love bright colors!
I filled each card box with 5 handmade cards, 2 giant paperclip bookmarks, and 1 pen (not shown). I tried to make a couple of the cards on the masculine side...do you think I succeeded?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Have a wonderful rest of your week.