Dark Caramel Frosting

Monday, April 14, 2014



Remember that time I made white caramel frosting for those amazing mason jar mini pumpkin cakes?

Well, guess what—now I've (finally) got a dark caramel frosting recipe to go with it! This frosting is made in exactly the same way that white caramel frosting is; the only difference is that you are using brown sugar instead of regular, white sugar here. And as for whether to use light or dark brown sugar, either is totally fine. Just know that the darker the sugar you use, the darker your frosting will be.

This frosting is pretty rich, by the way. I honestly just use skim milk in it, and it works great for me (:



DARK CARAMEL FROSTING
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes or for half of a standard double-layer 9" round cake.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk or half and half or cream
  • 1–2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, gently bring the butter to a boil.
  2. Add the sugar to the butter and keep the mixture to a low simmer. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the milk or cream.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let it cool.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled, beat it with an electric mixer, gradually adding in the powdered sugar.
  6. Finish by incorporating the vanilla.

Enjoy!

Love, Maurine

Brainfood: Naming Our Days of the Week

Tuesday, April 8, 2014



Brainfood—just an opportunity for me to geek out over something I find interesting and intellectually stimulating. Here's something I've always wondered about our calendar: Where on earth did English get its names for the days of the week?

Well, me being me, I decided to go on a Wikipedia rampage and devour as much information as possible on the subject. So I essentially inhaled their "Names of the days of the week" article and then steeped myself in gobs of Germanic mythology while I was at it.

Just your typical Friday evening with Maurine. (Kidding. Except actually I might not be kidding.)

And now I present my findings in light of this question. Researched, condensed, and no-nonsense. Just for you.


First things first...

In English, we've got a mix of mythology and astronomy going on in our day naming. This is thanks to the conglomeration of many a culture and tradition, of course. Observe:

The seven-day week itself stems from religious significance of the seventh day, as you may have guessed. (Creation, anyone?) Once the seven-day week made it to the Greeks, they were naming each day after a celestial body, starting with the sun and moon and continuing with five planets: Sun, Moon, Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Cronos. (The Greeks grafted gods' names onto their planets, similar to what the Babylonians did.) But why name days after celestial bodies? Well...according to Hellenistic astrology, a certain celestial body presided over the first daylight hour of each day.

Anyway, fast-forward to 3rd century AD Rome. The seven-day planetary week is all the rage, and the Romans decide they want their own gods to star in the day names. Enter: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The Romans simply swapped out the Greek gods for their Roman equivalents.

Final milestone: Germanic peoples doing pretty much the same thing the Romans did, swapping out Roman god names for names of their indigenous gods. Now see below.

Sunday.

Old English: Sunnandæg  ("sun's day"). A simple translation of the Latin phrase dies Solis. Pretty straightforward.


Monday.

Same story here. Old English: Mōnandæg  ("Moon's day"). Based on the Latin name dies lunae.


Tuesday.

Old English: Tīwesdæg  ("Tiw's day"). Tiw was a god of war and combat, much like the Roman Mars.


Wednesday.

Old English Wōdnesdæg  ("Wodan's day"). The god Woden didn't have a ton in common with the Roman god Mercury, but they could bond over guiding souls after death. So I guess the Germanic folks made this one work.


Thursday.

Old English: Þūnresdæg  ("Þunor's day"). That Þ indicates a "th" sound. Þunor was the Germanic god associated with thunder. Think of the Norse god Thor here.


Friday.

Old English: Frīgedæg  ("Fríge's day"). Fríge was comparable to the Roman goddess Venus because of her associations with fertility.


Saturday.

Old English: Sæturnesdæg  ("Saturn's day"). Yep, they kept it Saturn's day here. Based on the Latin dies Saturni.

....


Whew, that's all of 'em. Thank you, Wikipedia and random Seven-Day Week page, for your wealth of information on the subject.

The beautiful calendar in these photos, by the way, is by the amazing Brittany Jepsen over at The House That Lars Built.


Happy Tuesday! I mean...Tīwesdæg.

Love, Maurine

Shop Crush: The Soap Engineers

Friday, April 4, 2014




I'm kind of a huge fan of dubbing oneself a connoisseur of less-than-common things. Herbal teas, for example. Or fine cheeses. Or soaps. Goodness, do I love soap. Walking through swanky bath shops and checking out all their different bath bars, truffles, and such is my fave.

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered a little soap-making business called The Soap Engineers. They're on Etsy. I was introduced to them through my older brother, actually, who (I think) works with one of the its founders at an engineering-oriented company. (Yes, these girls are true engineers!) So they've got a pretty sweet dynamic going—artfully crafted soaps, scrubs, and bath truffles developed using pro engineering techniques. What more could you want?




Annnyhow. I could go on forever about these peeps. The main point of all of this? I've tried out their soaps, truffles, and sugar scrubs, and I can safely say that they're the best eva.

Not that I'm surprised or anything.

Never used a bath truffle? It's what Lush calls a "bath bomb." Basically you drop it into a warm bath, and it magically fizzes up and distributes ultra-moisturizing ingredients throughout the water. Ha! I can't describe it. Just get one and try it, okay? You will shine like a diamond after.



Here's one of their sugar scrubs. If you've never scrubbed your face with sugar I recommend you stop reading this post and do so immediately.



Sensual rose? Sounds dreamy.



Alright, well I'll stop gushing and let you go explore their Etsy shop. Treat yourself to a nice bath this weekend, okay?

Love, Maurine

Playlist // Fresh Noise

Wednesday, April 2, 2014



I'm thinking we need more music on this here blog. Especially since it's getting warmer out and everyone is getting out of their winter inertia mode. (Note: I use the word "inertia" often, even when it doesn't quite make sense. Don't overthink it.)

Anyhow, here is a sweet playlist a friend of mine made for me a couple years back for my birthday.

May it inspire you to go out and conquer the world.

Fresh Noise.

Fresh Noise by Maurine Dashney on Grooveshark

Happy Woden's Day!*

Love, Maurine

* Linguistic factoid because I feel like it. Wednesday was named for the Germanic god Woden (whose Roman equivalent happens to be Mercury.) To say Woden's in Middle English meant rearranging a couple of sounds, giving you "Wōdnes." So, to say Woden's day in Middle English, you'd say "Wōdnesdæg." There's a lot more to it than that, such as why we ended up assigning certain gods to certain days of the week in the first place, but I'm thinkin' I'll write a Brainfood post on it later since this footnote is getting so long. Ha!