A few months ago I made a blue scarf. I had found a pretty lace edge to put on the ends, but when I was making it, it really didn’t look very good…you couldn’t see the pattern at all. I decided to ‘block’ it, but was too lazy to Google what that really meant or how I should go about it. So, one ironing board, iron, and several pins later, my scarf took on a whole new look. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a ‘before’ photo, but here is the finished product. You can clearly see the pattern.
My latest project is a cushion, made with Granny Squares (well, really Granny Rectangles). It will be made up of a variety of lace pattern rectangles, and again I have had the issue where you can’t always clearly see the pattern, and there are uneven edges. So, out came the ironing board, iron, and several pins… . This time I took before, during and after photos for you to see. Note that I pushed the pins so they were flat then used the steam function on my iron.
Blocked with pins
It is amazing the difference it makes to the general shape and definition of the pattern.
My method might not be quite right (yip, I still haven’t Googled it) but it works for me 🙂
I first saw Martha Stewart making these on TV. The looks cute and very chocolatey so of course I had to give them a go! They are really easy to make, and just look a little different to your ‘average’ cookie. And with this much chocolate in them, they can be nothing but delicious!!! The other great thing is that you can store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
These are the type of cookies that are better slightly under cook, rather that over cooked, so watch them carefully. If your kitchen is warm, put them back into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes before putting them into the oven.
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
225gm bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Dutch cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
115gm unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup icing sugar, plus more for rolling
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
- On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to15 minutes.
- Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely.
A few weeks ago I posted about shopping for new ‘ergo’ Crochet Hooks. After doing a little bit of research looking at reviews, and working out what my ‘style’ was I went for the Tulip Etimo Rose Cushion Grip 10 Pink Crochet Hooks Set which came in a beautiful case, along with scissors and two needles.
They arrived safely via the USA a week or so ago, thanks to my friend who received them and then shipped them on to me here in New Zealand. (I bought them on Amazon, and the company doesn’t ship outside of the USA).
Since then there has been some envy…my mother-in-law loved the gorgeous case they came in, and the hooks are irresistible in those beautiful shades of pink!
The big question though, is How are they performing? Well, so far so good. I haven’t really put them through their paces though as life suddenly got busy and left little time for any down time. However of the short amount of time I have used them, I have found them very comfortable. The other great thing is the built in ‘pouch’ which hold scissors, needles and my stitch markets. I might throw a small pencil in too, I think.
Update: I’ve been busy again with crochet orders and so have had a chance to put my new hooks through their paces. I am REALLY pleased with them…not a single hand cramp! Yay!