The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

So at our last Lightning Talk at Interlock I shared my secret for making the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I’ve since had a few requests for the recipe and I’ve hesitated to give it out not because I think it’s a secret but because baking is a science and with all science it’s not always exact… the recipe will get you close but with so many variables to consider(1) you’ll have to experiment and take notes… just like in real science class.

Also if you are someone who expects perfection the first time then I suggest going to the nearest bakery and just buy your cookies. It’s easier and I won’t have to hear your complaints about how the recipe didn’t work for you.

So here are the recipes and the links for where I originally acquired them. Thank you Alton Brown for teaching me to love the Science of Baking. http://altonbrown.com/

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Notice in my image of the recipe they list cups instead of weights for the ingredients… if you want accuracy and consistency in your cookie then use the weight measurements… if you just want to make cookies then consult the photo. For larger view click on the image.

The Chewy (The inspiration for the best chocolate chip cookie ever) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-recipe/index.html

The Puffy http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-puffy-recipe/index.html

The Thin http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-thin-recipe/index.html

My secrets:

(1) Humidity, how loose or compact is your flour, what type of butter are you using, how many chocolate chips do you want to use, the size of your cookie scoop, how hot does your oven get, how much patience do you have, who will be eating the cookies (let’s face it you want to impress but not everyone deserves the best).

from on December 21st, 2013CommentsComments Off

Earring Display/Storage

I have an affinity for jewelry, I’ll admit it.  I’m a girl, so I feel it’s okay.  I have a couple of jewelry boxes already, but some things are difficult to store.  Like most women with a thing for jewelry, I have more earrings than I know what to do with.  It had gotten to the point where I no longer had room in my jewelry box for any new pieces, and it was becoming more than a little difficult to sort through what I had, despite having organized them into different spaces in the built in storage tray in the jewelry box.

Long story short, it was time for a change,

I decided to make myself a earring storage and display device that I could set out on the top of my dresser, that would allow me enough room to hold all of my current collection, as well as expand it and not have to develop a new storage system anytime soon.

The answer came in the form of upcycling.

I went on Craigslist and looked for used windows for sale.  I found a guy who lived not too far from me who had a whole stash of used windows that he had removed from his home as part of a remodeling project.  I went to see him, had an awesome conversation with him, and bought several windows from him.

I chose one of the long, slim windows to use for this project.  This particular window measures approximately 40″ x 18″.  I removed the storm pane from it, brushed off the loose paint with a stiff bristle paint brush, and lightly cleaned the glass (I say lightly because I wanted to keep the rustic look it had.  I didn’t want it to look overly done up or commercialized.)

The next step was a quick trip to Home Depot to buy a roll of window screening and some upholstery nails.

After my supply run, I came back to Interlock and got started in earnest.  I will fully admit that I did not follow any safety protocols for this project.  I wasn’t wearing safety glasses, steel toed shoes, gloves, a hard hat, or ear protection.

Instead, I cut the screen to size with a dull pair of tin snips I had laying around, and propped the window on a padded desk chair to nail the screening on.

I used a basic claw hammer to attach the screening to the wooden window frame.  I was actually a bit surprised at how easy it was.  I tacked one of the long sides on first, then stretched the screening tight across the frame and tacked on the opposite long side.  I stood the window up on the floor to attach the short side and then trimmed off the excess with my snips.

I took the newly screened window home and placed it on top of my dresser, anchoring it in place to protect from feline related accidents/crashes by placing one of my jewelry boxes in front on if and looping a pair of swimming flippers I have hanging from the attached mirror on my dresser over the top corner.  Improvised solutions people, they work.

Once it was in place, I hung each pair of hook backed earrings I own onto the screening, setting their backs aside into a small bag.

Here are some pictures of the finished product in place, and covered in earrings.

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And here are some close-ups of the tacks attaching the screen to the window frame:

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All said, it took about 20 minutes to make, and 20 minutes to fill up with my collection.  I have plenty of room to expand into as my collection grows, I can move the whole thing pretty easily, and if I wanted to turn the whole thing 90○ and set it on the floor, propped against the wall, I wouldn’t even have to take the earring off and put them back on, they will just rotate with the window.

I think the total cost of this project was just under $10, so I think it was worth it.

You can do this same thing with a window with no glass, but I like that the panes are still in it, it adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

If you decide to replicate this process, please be careful.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, or aren’t sure if you know what you’re doing, ask for help from someone in the know.

Happy Craigslist Hunting!

from on December 3rd, 2013Comments0 Comments

Tape Painting

Somewhere in my online travels, I came across a nifty idea that seemed relatively simple to pull off.  It’s called tape painting.  The idea is that you apply pieces of tape to a blank canvas, in any manner you want, then paint the canvas, again, in any manner you want.  After you’re done painting, you remove the paint to reveal spaces of black canvas interspersed with your painting.

Here’s the blank canvas I started with:

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I picked it up, like all my canvas’s at Ollie’s here in Rochester.  Hopefully, it goes without saying that you remove the plastic and label that it comes wrapped in.

The next step is to apply the tape.  You can do this with just about any masking-type tape.  I chose painters tape because that’s what I had on hand.  You can apply the tape in any pattern you like.  I chose a geometric patter, making sure to wrap the tape all the way around the edges and on to the back.

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Once the tape is applied, the painting can commence.  This, of course, is the funnest step.  I typically only work with acrylic paint because it’s cheap, easy to work with, easy to obtain, easy to clean, and can be applied with a variety of techniques.  I decided to go with an abstract theme because this was my first attempt with this kind of art, and when it comes to abstract, there is no wrong way.

Essentially, I chose some colors, threw them on a palette, and then applied them to the canvas at random.  You paint right over the tape as if it weren’t even there.

Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of this step, but I’m sure you can use you’re imagination.

After painting the canvas, making sure to extend the paint onto the sides of the canvas, remove the tape while the paint is still wet.

Make sure when you remove the tape, since most of it will be stuck together, that you don’t allow the wet paint on the tape to touch the wet paint of the canvas or you will end up with smearing that you did not anticipate in planning the chaos of your abstraction.

Here’s the finished product:

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If you have the ability to plan ahead, you should attach the picture hangers before painting, but if you chronically forget that step as I do, wait until the painting dries, then lay it on a towel or other padded surface to avoid scratches, and attach the hardware to the back.  I typically use hardware that can be found in any picture hanging kit from the dollar store or other reasonably cheap retail store.

As is true with almost anything, you can customize this project in any way you want.  More tape, less tape, defined pattern, no pattern, abstract painting, realistic painting, whatever you want.  The point is to have fun and create a unique piece of art for very little cost.

 

Happy Painting!

from on December 3rd, 2013Comments0 Comments