In Season January 2014

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Jordan Brueckner

Bundled Baked Goods

All the time indoors this season offers a great opportunity to bake yummy treats. Once they’re ready to be shared, keep them safe on the go with the new Metal Cake Carrier from Cake Boss. This durable carrier is warp resistant and made with tin-plated steel for extra strength. It’s roomy enough for a 9-inch, double-layer, round cake; cheesecake; or pie. Impress your family and friends with your desserts in style when you get the Metal Cake Carrier from Cake Boss at a local Target store.

Ice, Ice Baby

Protect your child from the snow and ice this winter with Lite for Kids ice cleats from Stabilicers. These safeguarding cleats fit over any shoe or boot and provide reliable traction on snow and ice. To learn more about the Lite for Kids ice cleats and ensure your child’s protection during outdoor sports and winter play this season, visit www.32north.com.

January Treat Jar

Add personalized flavor to your winter decor with the Fits for the Occasion Cookie Jar. This cookie jar is unlike the rest with its unique ability to interchange magnetic designs and labels. The jar contains an area to use with an erasable maker, so you can store cookies and label the jar with whatever wintry motifs you like. Stick on a snow flake magnet to finish the look. Purchase the Fits for the Occasion Cookie Jar at http://shop.placetile.com.

Let Them Eat Cake

January 27 is Chocolate Cake Day! Indulge in rich, chocolate delight and celebrate with the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson at www.foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients:
Cake: •1½ c. all-purpose flour •1 c. super-fine sugar •1 tsp. baking powder •½ tsp. baking soda •⅓ c. cocoa •1½ sticks soft, unsalted butter •2 large eggs •2 tsp. vanilla extract •⅔ c. sour cream
Frosting: •6 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces •¾ stick unsalted butter •2½ c. confectioners’ sugar •1 tsp. light corn syrup •½ c. sour cream •1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all the cake ingredients in a food processor. Continue process until you have a thick, smooth batter. Divide this batter into 8-inch prepared tins. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean. Move the cakes to a wire rack. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before turning them out of their tins. To create the icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Sieve the confectioners’ sugar into another bowl while you are waiting for the butter and chocolate to cool. Add the corn syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract. When this is all combined, add in the sieved confectioners’ sugar using a whisk. Sit one of the cakes uppermost side down. Spoon about ⅓ of the frosting onto the center of the cake-half. Then, spread the frosting using a spatula or a knife until the top is evenly covered. Layer the other cake on top. Spoon another ⅓ of the frosting onto the cake top and sides. Leave it to set for a few minutes before serving.

The Dream Continues

Teach your children about tolerance and diversity this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with the Freedom Friends craft from www.spoonful.com! This puppet project lends itself to a fun learning activity.

What You’ll Need:
•Jumbo craft sticks (one per puppet) •Mini craft sticks (two per puppet) •Construction paper in various colors •Small wiggle eyes (two per puppet) •Craft paint: peach or flesh tone, brown, light brown, sunflower or light tan •Chenille stems in black and brown •Scissors •Craft glue and hot glue gun •Black Sharpie marker

Directions:
Paint the jumbo craft sticks and mini craft sticks with the desired color of craft paint, and let dry. Cut out clothes like T-shirts and pants from colorful construction paper. Proceed to glue two wiggle eyes on each jumbo craft stick. To create curly hair, cut a chenille stem into four pieces. Tightly wrap each piece of chenille around the handle of a small paintbrush. Remove the stem and pull it to stretch out the curl. Attach the “hair” to each puppet using a hot glue gun. Add the clothing to the puppets using craft glue. Make sure to glue the bottoms first so the shirt can overlap. Turn the puppet over and glue the arms to the back of the jumbo craft stick. Make sure to line the arms up with the shirtsleeves. After the glue dries, turn the puppet back over and draw on smiles and dot on a nose with a Sharpie marker.

This column appeared in the January 2014 issue.