Friday, March 21, 2014

Crochet Chain Fringe

     When you are making a shawl, you need to finish the edge with some type of decoration.  Lace crochet and picots were popular.  Some shawls had curly-ques on the edge and others had fringe.  Standard fringe requires cutting individual strands of yarn and latching a certain number of them in each stitch desired on the edge of the shawl.  The technique pictured below is another way of creating a fringe using single chains. To my way of thinking, it is much easier and creates a more finished edge.  The fringe can also be created and sewn on garments.  Godey's Lady's book has a photo and similar directions for this craft. The tutorial below is much easier to follow.

Get an illustrated step by step tutorial at this website.

Friday, March 14, 2014

ARNie's Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I wanted to thank everyone for such a lovely weekend during the School of the Victorian Lady, and your patience with my migraine.  I enjoyed meeting new friends, and re-connecting with old friends.

At the Tea, I brought a couple of things, but the Flourless PB Cookies were the big hit.  This would be a great recipe for a child's first baking experience, since there is no leavening to affect the timing, and with only three ingredients, the process is quick and easy.

For veteran bakers, the recipe is simple, but your ingredients can drastically affect the final product, because there are only 3.

I used a course granulated 'turbinado' sugar...HEB has the Central Market Free Trade Turbinado (on the baking aisle with the sugar.)  Sharon Baird had 'Sugar in the Raw' for us on the drink table, and it is a turbinado. These sugars have a flavor similar to brown sugar... which is what my traditional PB Cookie recipe uses, and Jiff actually adds molasses to their peanut butter.

You WANT those large sugar crystals, because they add a light crunch to this recipe, and it allows you to use less sugar. You get that burst of sweetness when you crunch down on a sugar crystal.

I used a 'natural' peanut butter, so there was no added sugar or salt or molasses or -most importantly- no added oils.  My batter was very stiff, even with a jumbo egg, unlike the source recipe which was soft enough to use a piping bag. 

1 cup of smooth peanut butter (but I guess you could use chunky, if you'd like)
1/3 cup of course granulated sugar- I used turbinado, but other versions are available
1 egg
pinch of salt (if your peanut butter doesn't have any)

Combine the peanut butter and sugar.  Stir in the egg until well mixed.

With a tiny cookie scoop, maybe a melon baller tool, or just a plain old tea spoon, make small dough balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I got the entire recipe onto one institutional sized cookie sheet. 

This is another critical element of the recipe, these are really 'dense' and can have the effect of eating a spoon of peanut butter... so the smaller size minimizes this effect.  Keep the cookies to the size of a quarter, for the best results.

Make the traditional Cross Hatch by rolling the tines of a fork over the dough balls.  If you just mash the fork into the dough, it breaks apart.

Bake at 325F for 15 minutes, or until the dough is dry to the touch... I usually know when to check them, when I begin to smell them.

After they are out of the oven, I carefully slid the parchment paper with the cookies onto a cooling rack.  I got around 30 quarter sized cookies.

For the original, and other recipes, including gluten free, check out this YouTube account: