Candlestick Maker

I’ve had some extra mason jars hanging around my house that I’ve been meaning to use for something.  Last weekend I came up with a great idea: candles.  I decided it would be cute to make some candles in the small mason jars that I could use primarily outside to decorate the dinner table.

With this thought in mind I made a quick trip to Michael’s and made some amateur choices about wax, colors, and scents.  I am definitely a candle making novice, but I think it was pretty easy to make choices among the various choices of wax and accoutrements.  I basically just read a lot of labels and picked a pretty standard wax for container candles, plus some floral scents, wicks, and a color.

To get started I chopped up about half of the four pound block of wax and started heating up a little water on the stove in the bottom of a double boiler.  I dropped the chopped up wax into the top of the double boiler and watched it melt down.

Once it was melted I added the directed amount of scent and color so my candles would be purple and smell like gardenias.  While the scent and color were mixing into the wax I microwaved the mason jars for a minute to warm them up.  The label on the wax suggested that the containers should be warmed up without using water. The microwave was the perfect option.  Apparently if the containers aren’t warm, then the wax will shrink away from the sides as it cools.

Finally, I poured the wax into the jars and positioned the wicks as best I could.  Then all that was left was to wait for them to cool!

They didn’t turn out perfect because the centers sank a little, but I love them and I think they will be a great addition to my outdoor decor!

Beach Cake

Here’s a cake to inspire you to get to the beach if you haven’t been there yet this year. Only one more week left of summer so enjoy it while you still can. Although I must say that I thoroughly enjoy the beach in September when all the crowds have left.

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My Favorite

This week includes my favorite day of the year, so I wanted to make my favorite dessert ever.  There is nothing I would rather have for dessert than strawberry shortcake.  It is basically the confluence of all of my favorite foods and flavors.

While strawberry shortcake can take many different incarnations, my favorite version is a biscuit, sliced strawberries, and some home made whipped cream.  This is always my preference over an actual birthday cake.

I know my mom usually makes a buttermilk biscuit recipe for the biscuits (or “shortcake”), but I decided to try Martha’s Baking Powder Biscuits this time around.

Baking Powder Biscuits

Yields 8-10 biscuits depending on size from Martha

Ingredients

  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 2 Tbs baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • sanding sugar for garnish

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine 2 cups or flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.  Mix in butter so the mixture has small “pebbles” of butter.  Use a blender, food processor, or hand mixer.
  3. Add the rest of flour and mix until uniform.
  4. Fold in cream gently until just combined.
  5. Turn dough out and pat down to about an inch high.  Use a cookie cutter or slice into  desired size.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on wire rack.

*For strawberry shortcake just slice up some strawberries and whip up some heavy cream.