A few years ago I made Trick Or Treat Cookies for Halloween and back then I noted that I’d love to do an all-coffin version. And look! It only took me three years!
I decided to imprint the tops with wood grain using a mat meant to imprint on clay, something I first spotted on Martha Stewart (video, there with Jeff Daniels on an April Fools episode). Doing a little research I found Haniela’s (video) has also created these, and her instructions are wonderful. She’s got a lot of great videos for Halloween baked goods, check out this Monster Eye Cake.
I bought my wood grain mat from a local pottery supply store, it’s the wood grain mat sold by Chinese Clay Art. There is a larger wood grain impression mat for fondant on Amazon. (I would have bought that one if I’d had time, also note: affiliate links.)
When you’re cutting out the cookies roll to 1/4″ thick. Roll the dough between two layers of parchment paper, this will keep the chocolate cookies nice and dark. I have a tiny kitchen so I roll dough on my dining room table using a medium sized Roul’pat. It’s pricey but I adore it, it grips the table and the parchment nicely so things don’t slide around, it gives me plenty of space to work on and I can roll it up to store away.
You’ll need one woodgrain top, one flat bottom and two layers of hollow sides for each cookie. I made these with two hollow layers in the middle, instead of the single layer from my original Trick or Treat Cookies, to allow for more room for candy. I used round cutters to cut out the insides because it was far easier than trying to trim out the middles and laziness ruled that day.
I used dark chocolate candy melts to use as glue because it sets faster, but if you have the time real chocolate would taste better. Use a plastic bag with a very small corner snipped off, no need to get out piping tips or a decorating pen for this one.
Gathering candies to go inside was a lot of fun, I wandered around a particularly well stocked candy shop long enough for the employees to get curious and start suggesting spooky candy for me. Here I have:
I wish I had bought the salted licorice black cats because it would make for an interesting good/bad surprise depending on who gets it inside their cookie. I’m pro licorice myself. The wrapped chocolate eyeballs shown here didn’t actually fit in the cookies so let’s all just ignore them. La la la. (Note: affiliate links above.)
Here is the best thing I learned from doing this project: clay art or pottery supply stores are excellent places to get interesting baking supplies. Wandering around Seattle Pottery Supply I saw a whole bunch of tools meant for fondant or baking and I was stunned by the amount of plunger cutters
that allow you to make teeny tiny cookies. Next time I have some creating baking in mind I’m planning to head to the pottery supply store first.
Click more for the recipe: [Read more →]
· comments  · 10-23-2015 · categories:halloween · holidays ·
Here are the things that have caught my eye this Halloween:
Eyeball on a brownie created by Christine McConnell. She’s made a candy eye look so much more threatening than simple sugar. Also take a look a the other treats she created. And the house she decorated. And basically everything else she’s done, it’s stunning.
Prosciutto Wands at Martha Stewart. I first encountered these back in the summer but they instantly made me think of Halloween. Very simple and easy to interpret as ghastly when set on a darkly decorated table.
Bleeding Heart Cake (video) by Ann Reardon at How To Cook That. This is a recreation of a cake in a Taylor Swift video but this entirely edible construction for holding hidden goo until you cut into it deserves to be used for Halloween.
Halloween Witch Hat Surprise Cookies at It’s Always Autumn. Easy to make and very cute, bonus points for mixing some candy eyes in with the other treats inside.
Creepy 3D Ghost Face tutorial from PiggieLuv (video). This uses gel polish built up in layers, creepy. Via this Halloween nail art round up at Brit+Co.
Halloween DIY Googly Eye Manicure at Design*Sponge. Silly and simple. If you’d like something even simpler take a look at the VandalEyes nail stickers at Espionage Cosmetics, both types glow in the dark!
Dark Echo. You can’t see the monsters but you can hear them. I played a demo of this at PAX this year and even standing in a large room filled with people I was frightened when I would finally encounter something that was stalking me. (Mobile on the App Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps and on Steam.)
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon. This is the second Spider game and this one is larger and tells a much darker story. You maneuver a spider around an estate and it’s grounds and find clues as you explore. If spiders freak you out you can play as a tiny walrus instead, which is hilarious. (Available in the App Store, Google Play, Humble Store and Steam, later for Vita and PS4.)
All In Your Head at the 99% Invisible podcast. They detail how the sound designer behind the television show Hannibal made sounds that make us uneasy.
Caitlin Doughty of Ask A Mortician on the Explain Things To Me podcast. A great interview on how she got started in the death business, how embalming became common and what she wants done with her body when she dies. Also listen: Another interview on the Nerdette podcast.
Charles Manson’s Hollywood, a twelve part series on the You Must Remember This podcast. Karina Longworth follows the series of events and the who, how and what sort of society of the time led to the Manson murders. There is meticulous research and in depth stories of the people surrounding Manson’s time in LA. It’s worth looking at the webpage for each episode to see photographs from the time.
Two Halloween playlists for your party needs: at Oh Happy Day and the Marloween 2015 at The Amber Show.
QUESTION FOR YOU
Has anybody tried those lace temporary tattoo masks? Do they stay on for the duration of an evening? I want to try out the various temporary tattoos that are out for Halloween (zombie bites, spiders, masks) but I’m afraid they would flake away after only an hour or so.
· comments  · 10-20-2015 · categories:halloween ·
· comments  · 09-22-2015 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 09-15-2015 · categories:links · technology ·
Manhattan Drink Recipe – How to Make a Manhattan, at Esquire. Lately I’ve been loving the drink histories and variations offered by Esquire. See also: the Old Fashioned, Daquari, and the Martini.
How to Have Your Drink and Drink It, Too | A Cup of Jo. On session beers and session cocktails for lazy summer afternoons.
Hazy Whiskey Cocktail – Gather Journal. Using smoke created by lighting cinnamon and cloves.
Cocktail IN an Ice Sphere | Molecular Recipes.
Meet the Flower That Naturally Colors Drinks Blue – Eater.
Ginger Beer Business Is Booming in Seattle | Seattle Bars | Seattle Met.
A Menu of Gin Tonics & A Feast For Juniper at Cask Strength. This is how other countries do gin and tonics right.
Make Perfectly Clear Ice Balls Using Insulated Mugs – Alcademics.com. I found this on Facebook somewhere, if it was you let me know!
Welcome to Booze Science, Our Drunkest Video Series Ever | WIRED. The first video is about ice and dilution with Jennifer Colliau of the Interval at The Long Now who shows off some ice with less surface area than an ice sphere. Yup.
Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur Cocktails | Chilled magazine. The first cocktail here looks great, it includes Lillet Rouge and Hendricks.
We Experimented With Powdered Alcohol So You Don’t Have To | WIRED.
Jim Meehan’s Cocktail Primer: Terminology, Essential Equipment and Recommended Reading | Food & Wine. I added one kind of shaker and two types of ice after reading this, a concise breakdown of the how/why of cocktailing.
The Only Reason Why Your Scotch Doesn’t Taste Like Meat And Bad Eggs, at io9.
Spiked Watermelon Popsicles – Lulus.com Fashion Blog. Clever and easy.
Ardbeg’s space whisky tastes “noticeably different” from Earth-matured whisky | Ars Technica. It spent three years ageing on the ISS.
Club-Mate: The Favorite Drink of German Hackers and Club Kids Is Here – Eater.
The Delicious Secret Behind Your Favorite Whiskey: The Best Spirits from MGP | Serious Eats. Your small batch artisanal spirit might come from a huge warehouse, but that doesn’t mean it tastes bad. While I’d love to say that small batch is always better there is a growing distillery business in Seattle and I’ve had plenty of bad whiskeys from them.
· comments  · 09-8-2015 · categories:drink · food · links ·
Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk Is Probably the Best Chicken Recipe of All Time — Recipe Review | The Kitchn. I will be trying this soon.
How to Make a Pizza Decorated to Look Like Captain America’s Shield at Laughing Squid.
Compact Charcoal Grills — Shoebox Dwelling.
crunchy cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Scaling Back. Yum, via Whoorl.
How to Cook Spanish-Style Pimientos de Padrón | Serious Eats. I’m excited for Padron pepper season to return.
Genius Kale Salad Recipe – 101 Cookbooks.
Heirloom Seeds – Vegetable Seeds and Plants, Melon, Charentais. This is a note to myself to plant these in our garden next year. We had one of these melons from a local market and it was absolutely delicious. Wait, maybe it was the Vedrantais. In any case, it’s worth seeking out.
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Lemon Vinaigrette and Grilled Chicken – Not Without Salt. After a trip to Vegas we had a few weeks of dinners with lots of deep greens, this option looks delicious.
10 Easy Molecular Gastronomy Recipes :: Paste.
19 Easy, Travel-Friendly Bean and Grain Salad Recipes We Love | Serious Eats.
Discovering The Small Miracle Of The Soup Dumpling | KUNC. I think the first time I heard about soup dumplings it was from Megnut and since then I moved to Seattle and Din Tai Fung has two (always packed) restaurants here. My favorite, though are at Long’s in Vancouver, BC. More tasting needs to be done!
The Food Lab: The Best Way To Grill Sausages | Serious Eats.
Chopped Asian Zucchini Salad – iFOODreal | Delicious Clean Eating Recipes.
French Mushroom Lentil Paté – Vegetarian Foie Gras, at David Lebovitz.
15 Homemade Fast Food and Takeout Favorites (That Are at Least as Good as the Originals) | Serious Eats. Shamrock Shake! Also, beef and broccoli and a Double Double Animal Style.
takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber | smitten kitchen.
· comments  · 08-18-2015 · categories:food · links ·
A Common Nomenclature for Lego Families – The Morning News. What to call the various Lego bricks.
The Essential Cyberpunk Reading List at io9.
Aladdin: When Chaos Comes Calling Episode Trivia – TV.com. Under “allusions” here they describe a scene with a whale and a bowl of petunias which is a reference to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The moment lasts seconds and it’s over and when I saw it as a kid I nearly thought I’d imagined it. Glad to finally have confirmation that it was real.
Inner Vision for the weekend of July 10, 2015 | The Wirecutter. I enjoy their weekly collection of links but for whatever reasons all of the links in this set were worthy of sharing.
How To Clean Silver Jewelry Without Buying Silver Cleaner | Apartment Therapy.
The Enduring Paint-on-the-Face Mystery | Best Of MetaFilter. A while back somebody posed a question to Ask Metafilter which was essentially: do you remember the opening credits of an 80s/90s sitcom where Person A ends up accidentally rollering paint over Person B’s face? And yes, everybody remembers that. I remember that. But collectively we cannot find any proof of this actually existing. It’s fascinating!
Check Out This Steel Maze at a Belgian Coal Mine — Design News | Apartment Therapy. Incredible!
Spaghetti in a cone: a miracle of physics, a genius food delivery system | The Guardian.
The Donald Trump Republican Presidential Debate Drinking Game | The Everywhereist. I went to a local bar that had it’s own drinking game going on but I’m sure I’d have been a lot drunker if I’d brought these rules with me.
Podcast: Mystery Show: Case #6 Kotter | FanFare. Metafilter user maxsparber gives us a history of knotting the arms of shirts as a prank.
Why You Should Wear the Same Outfit to Every Meeting – Racked. Solid advice. Via The Working Closet.
· comments  · 08-13-2015 · categories:links · misc ·
· comments  · 07-9-2015 · categories:links · the home ·
My daughter and I almost escaped from a sealed cavern before running out of air – Boing Boing. I’ve done one of these real life room escape games and it was super fun. See also: Let Me Out of Here! Inside Seattle’s Real-Life-Room-Escape Boom.
I’m wondering if anyone knows where the title for “The Breakfast Club” film came from. | Ask MetaFilter.
Seven Of The Most Beautiful Botanical Mazes On Earth at io9.
Flexible, Fluid ‘Revision’ Bounces From Rom-Com To Sci-Fi : NPR. Huge congratulations to Andrea on the great reviews in her first book, I cannot wait to read it!
The Price of Nice Nails – NYTimes.com. I recently found a nail place whose owner is the sole employee as well. It’s popular and can be hard to get a same day appointment there but it makes me feel good knowing that I’m not unknowingly participating in any unfair trade.
7 Pre-Vacation Life Hacks, and The One Thing You Should Never Do | The Everywhereist.
Popular Exercises To Avoid At All Costs—Unless You Do Them Right at io9.
Volunteer work for loners | Ask MetaFilter. Lots and lots of options for making the world a better place while not, you know, dealing with other humans. I will say that I worked as a page in my local library system when I was in high school and it was both a decently paying job and one with minimal social contact. I find myself cringing at the idea that somebody who can work for free could have taken away that job from me, while at the same time my high school self was a listed volunteer with the local parks department. I’m kind of conflicted right now – ?
WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Scrubs | WIRED. Last winter I watched all eight seasons of Scrubs (I fear that season 9 will throw all my happy fuzzy memories off so I avoided it). It was the perfect comfort watching for when you feel nostalgic for not that long ago.
The Frisky Recommends: Podcasts For Everyone! – The Frisky.
How to Make an Awesome Death Star Piñata | Make:.
Watch these plants explode – Boing Boing. Touch me nots grew along my daily route to school and getting to make them pop open was one of my favorite things.
In Space, Even A Single Grain Can Lead To Catastrophe, at io9. I just finished reading Seveneves which deals a lot with collisions like this in space.
The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: Tiara Thursday: The Ocean Tiara. This video briefly (around 2:35) shows how tiaras can be detached from their frames to become necklaces. Thanks go to phix for finding the video after I wondered out loud!
Game of Thrones Finale Recap: Death Is a Gift | WIRED. This is all spoilers, you’ve been warned. This is a great summary of what happens at the end of Season Five of the Game of Thrones television show compared with the where the story lines are at the end of the fifth book. It’s great if you consume one but not the other and are curious about how they are diverging.
Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves: five thousand years of apocalypse and rebirth – Boing Boing. I absolutely loved this book and spent a few very late nights reading because I couldn’t not know the fate of, well, all of humanity. A lot of reviewers don’t like the amount of technical explanations but I like those here as I liked those in Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and in Andy Weir’s The Martian. Of all the reviews of Seveneves that I’ve read Cory Doctorow’s here sums up a lot of what I think. Added I also love the perspective of Laura Miller at Salon who wrote of one aspect of surviving in space: “I enjoyed it as the aerospace version of all those how-to passages about maple sugar boiling in “The Little House on the Prairie” books.”
The Internet is looking for who designed this cup. What does Springfield have to do with it?. Tracking down the designer of the Jazz pattern shown on disposable Solo cups and plates and the fanbase around the design.
· comments  · 06-25-2015 · categories:links · misc ·
#1: Sexy tumblers. There is a restaurant near us, Bar del Corso, that serves wine in low, wide tumblers. I’ve always found them very pleasing so I was happy to find similarly shaped glasses at Ikea recently and they’ve become my default vessel for sipping rose wine out of. Two things: at $3 for a set of six glasses they are ridiculously affordable, and if you buy them pay attention to how the packaging they come in unfolds into a single rectangle of cardboard, it’s a remarkable feat of engineering.
We’ve also been using these for cocktails but they aren’t necessarily ideal as lowball/Old Fashioned glasses, especially if you’re really into your ice and are using ice spheres. The average ice ball is taller than these glasses which makes for some awkward sipping. We’ve been using the ice sphere molds from Tovolo recently which are 2.5″ in diameter and they are definitely too large in this particular glass, but the ice from the King Ice Cube Tray fit nicely.
These also work great as little serving dishes and are shown here with a few of my current favorite snacks from Trader Joe’s: Crunchy Curls and Dark Chocolate Almonds with sea salt which aren’t pretty but they are unstoppably delicious. I can’t stop eating them send help. Back to the tumblers, I recently spotted the same size/shape of glasses at West Elm that had thinner walls, they were definitely finer glassware. Looks like CB2 carries some of the same style as well.
#2: Big bowls. We live in a part of town with lots of pho restaurants, it’s far easier to find great pho than a burger. Pho is best eaten out of nice big bowls but we didn’t have those so we were using two different sized glass mixing bowls, it looked kinda silly. I somehow convinced myself that the healing powers of this soup were diminished by lack of proper bowls so I set out to find ones that would work. It’s summer now but hey look, I finally found the perfect bowls! They are also great for nights when you need a Really Big Salad for dinner. Or a Really Big Bowl Of Pasta. You know.
These are 9″ serving bowls that are almost half spheres, a very pleasing size and shape. According to the description these are made from a porcelain that is lightweight, strong and will hopefully stand up to my clumsy handling. If the price on these seems a little high to you the Skack serving bowl at Ikea is the exact same size and shape but it’s made from stoneware that is a little thicker and heavier.
I’ve shown the bowls here filled with popcorn because it was 84 degrees the day I took this photo and hot soup just didn’t seem that appealing. I added the chopsticks for scale and also because I’m really terrible at using chopsticks and I’ve been using popcorn to train myself. Someday I will be able to get through an entire meal without needing to ask for a fork.
update: We use these bowls so often I went back to buy two more and discovered that they aren’t quite the same as the ones we originally purchased. The new batch it’s quite as bright white, they are a significant bit heavier and they lack the incredible glossy smooth finish. Subtle differences but somehow all the charm has been sucked out of the final product. Still, a nice big bowl has become an important part of making a big salad into a particularly fine dinner option.
· comments  · 06-17-2015 · categories:shopping ·
· comments  · 06-2-2015 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 05-13-2015 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 04-24-2015 · categories:links · misc ·
· comments  · 04-13-2015 · categories:food · links ·
The Jezebel Staff, Perfected. A demonstration of photo editing software that makes people look extra pretty. Its a send up of our overly perfected Instagram age but it kinda sold me on getting one of these apps.
Meet the Man Behind ‘Solarized,’ the Most Important Color Scheme in Computer History | Observer. Via The Wirecutter.
Explorable Explanations. Via Waxy.
A word on the iPhone 6/6 Plus and third-party headphones | The Wirecutter. What to look for to be sure your headphones will fit, and if not a few DIY solutions.
Something Has to Change in Videogames: Everything & Everyone | Unwinnable.
Replacing an inkjet printer with a laser printer | Ask MetaFilter. I recently noticed that my current inkjet printer is nearly a decade old, which means that despite zero signs of something going wrong it’s going to brick itself due to the extra attention. So, laser is what I’m looking at next as well.
Next iPhone game for a Monument Valley lover | Ask MetaFilter.
Weekend Getaway: Telltale Games’ Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent | The Mary Sue. I love this game and it’s sequel.
· comments  · 04-6-2015 · categories:links · technology ·