Sunday, 30 June 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Hey all you Canadian blog readers! (I'm hoping there are lots of you) Happy Canada Day! (and for those of you reading this from the States, Happy July 4th!)

Today in our town there's a 1 mile run to start off the parade, followed by, you guessed it the parade! Later in the day the festivities include fireworks, swimming and hopefully some nice weather!

Hope you guys have an awesome Canada Day wherever you are! Let me know what you're up to!

Ashlee <3

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Recipe: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok seriously, salted caramel chocolate chip cookies! Yes you read that right! How delicious do those sound? I remember the almost identical ones that Tim Hortons used to make and they were absolutely phenomenal!  Again this will be my first time making these guys. But I can't wait to dive right in. Personally the sound of some chopped pecans in this recipe sounds absolutely devine, so I will be adding 2/3 cup of those.

Recipe Adapted From: Culinary Chat                             

Makes 3 dozen:
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
  • Sea Salt for garnishing

Preheat oven to 325° F.
Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
With an electric mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms (may take a couple minutes of stirring). Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans (do not add the caramels yet). Do not overmix the dough at any point in this process.
Chill dough for at least 30 minutes (or up to 5 days) in the refrigerator. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. The centers should appear very soft and puffy. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt while they are warm. Let cool completely and enjoy!
*Make sure to keep dough cold at all times while the batches are baking. I kept my dough in the refrigerator in between batches

Cookies anybody?
Ready to eat!

Now I'm not going to lie this recipe was absolutely amazing! They are definitely fully loaded with lots of chocolate chips, pecans and ooey gooey caramel pieces. My only complaint was that the dough was on the crumbly side, but this is understandable with the amount of stuff in the dough. There is no salt in the dough but don't be tempted to add any. The light sprinkling of sea salt on the top makes it just right. 

Hope you guys enjoy the recipe as much as I did!

Ashlee <3

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Recipe: Ice Cream Sandwiches

For today's post I will be attempting a new recipe. I'm going to making homemade ice cream sandwiches! I'm using a chocolate cookie recipe and filling them with vanilla ice cream, rolled in decorative chocolate candies/sprinkles! I personally am not a huge cake fan so I decided that some ice cream sammies would hit the spot for a summer beach birthday party!

The Recipe: Courtesy of Annie Eats

Yield: Makes approximately 10 sandwiches (or 20 cookies if you wish to eat them by themselves)

For The Ice Cream:

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean split in half length wise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

For The Cookies:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


Combine the milk, sugar and 1 cup heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into mixture and add the husk of the bean as well. Cover the saucepan, remove from heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream into a large bowl with a fine mesh sieve over the top. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Continue until you have all of the milk mixture added. Return the mixture to the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heat-proof spatula, being sure to scrape off the bottom off the pan as you stir. Continue stirring until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. (about 170-175°F) Pour the custard through a mesh sieve and stir it into the cream. Place the vanilla bean into the custard mixture, stir in the vanilla extract and stir until cool over an ice bath. Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Remove the vanilla bean from the ice cream batter, stir well and freeze into your ice cream maker as according to the instructions. Line a 9x13" pan with plastic wrap. When ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency, spread some of the ice cream into the pan, spreading about an inch thick. Freeze until firm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, oil and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until combined. Blend in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract until smooth. Then add in all of the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder). Mix on low speed until combined. You should then have a soft chocolate cookie dough. Gather the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

Pre heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface (or a non-stick silicone baking mat) roll out your dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Use a circle or square cookie cutter to cut out your cookie shapes. (this step is not necessary but it ensures the same size cookies for your sandwiches) Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving onto a wire cooling rack.

As delicious as the ice cream part of the recipe sounds, I decided to use store bought vanilla ice cream since the recipe sounded like a lot of work.

I also decided to use shortening instead of oil since all we had was olive oil and sometimes using olive oil in baking can give it a funny flavour.

Here are the few first ingredients in the mixer:


 With eggs and vanilla added:

 Adding the dry ingredients:

Soft chocolate cookie dough:

Dough rolled out:

Cookies cut-out ready to be baked:

Final Product without ice cream:

Final Product with ice cream:

Please excuse my not so professional photography skills! I decided to be more festive and added some colourful little chocolate sprinkles to the outside. The chocolate cookies were very rich and chocolaty and not overly sweet (a good balance once the ice cream was added). The recipe was fairly simple and straight- forward withe easy to follow instructions.  Would definitely make again!

Ashlee <3

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Review: Beazu Beading Wire

For today's post I decided that I would do a review, since time did not permit to do a project :( Anyways today I've got a review to do on my all-time favorite beading wire! The wire is the 22 gauge (which is the most common gauge for wire work, for those who don't know) or 0.6mm, though gauge is the preferred term. It's silver plated wire with a copper core. 1 package of 10 metres of wire retails for $6.50 at my local bead supply store. However the price may vary throughout stores.  Unfortunately I was unable to find the price online as you have to actually own a store to view the prices.

On to the product itself. One of the main reasons that I love this wire is the fact that it's not too spring-loaded. Some of the beading wires that I've boughten have been super spring-loaded, therefore making it difficult to wrap. It is of course somewhat spring-loaded as is almost all types of wire out there. Another nice part about the wire is that unlike some it doesn't rust. One of the problems with silver  plated wire can be that a) the silver can rust when it becomes wet and/or b) the beautiful, shiny silver coating on your wire can, after a certain amount of time wear off and expose the not so shiny and beautiful copper underneath it.

I've been using this wire for all of my beading projects for about 2 years now and have been absolutely in love with it! The only other gauge I've tried so far is the 26 gauge which is just slightly thinner but delivers the same excellent quality every time. I would highly recommend this wire to any and all beaders, especially beginners. This is a fool proof, never fail brand for me and I will continue to use it as long as I'm beading/wire working!

Hope you enjoyed my first review!

Ashlee <3

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Welcome to my blog!

So some of you may be wondering... what is a DIY high? Well in my opinion just the magic and thrill of creating something, anything really. My name is Ashlee and I am an avid crafter, baker and jewelry maker. On my blog you will be able to follow my journey of success, failures and everything in between. I will be experimenting with new recipes and projects hopefully every day or as frequently as possible. You will see the occasional video tutorial on simple beading or wire projects. I am also currently in the process of creating my own etsy shop (more info coming soon!) You can follow me on Instagram: @ashleetaylor28 or on pinterest with the username ashleetaylor28 As this is only my first, please look forward to some more exciting posts with pictures to come! 

Well that's all for now!

Ashlee <3