O.k . . . sometimes plans just don’t go as planned.
I really haven’t been sitting on my duff, eating Bon Bons & homemade truffles.
Ohhhh that would be grand !
So . . .
I’m just going to tell you what the heck I’ve been doing.
First things first though.
I did manage to “getoffmybuttandBAKE” one of my favorite Christmas pastries yesterday.
Simple and pretty, not to mention delicious.
Pinwheels and Swirls might look time consuming, but they are just the opposite.
You really should add these pretty pastries to your Holiday Baking.
I’ll show you how easy they are to make in just a sec.
First . . . some of you have been wondering . . . because you’ve asked,
“WHY HAVEN’T YOU BEEN POSTING VERY MUCH LATELY?”
other than the fact that it’s nearing Christmas and the busy -ness of the season . . .
(shopping for 4 daughters, 4 son in laws and 10 grandkids, parents, family, neighbors and friends)
not to mention all the Add on’s of every day life,
I spend a ridiculous amount of time baking/cooking and taking step by step pictures in my kitchen. Between every picture, I MUST wash and dry my hands, in order to pick up my very nice camera. I simply do not wish to ruin my sweet camera with flour, and all forms of stickiness! I also seem to use – twenty extra bowls, spoons and paraphernalia, than I normally would . . . just to make the presentation a bit nicer.
Once I finally do get the whole process in pictures, I still have to CLEAN UP ALL THE MESS! There simply aren’t any assistant’s behind the scenes, in this house.
I’m clicking with one hand and trying to stir with the other. Hence . . . blurry, sometimes out of focus pictures.
After the cleanup, comes my cleanup . . . so that I’m presentable to deliver the goods, to those receiving the goods!
By then, the day is mostly shot in the butt and I need to prepare for dinner. I always try to have a nice dinner waiting. That doesn’t always pan out, but I do try. This husband of mine isn’t at all picky and doesn’t demand much. I’m thankful for that! He really doesn’t eat much throughout the day, other than FRUIT! This is why he stays soooo skinny. This is also why . . . I bake and give it all away. I REFUSE to be bigger than he is!
I try not to do too much computer work once he gets home, unless he’s occupied in the garage with his own projects & hobbies. At the present time, he’s been a bit on the “cranky” side, since one of his favorite winter sports is snowmobiling. NO SNOW . . . makes for an irritable husband!
Tonight the main dish was . . . ALMOST DUTCH OVEN CHICKEN . . . made in my Nesco slow cooker/roaster oven.
It’s almost as delicious as Dutch Oven chicken . . . you know . . . the kind you make over a real outdoor fire!
I’ll share the technique on my next post. It’s finger licking good.
Since this crazy hobby takes a LOT of time . . . it’s really nice to look at it as a . . . “part time job.”
I’m sure that you’ve noticed a few Ads running, and for some it might be annoying.
Yes . . . I agree it ruins the look I’m going for, but it also pays for my InMotion hosting account +.
It’s not free like Blogger or WordPress.com
I started out with both, and they are both great, but you’re limited to what you can do.
WordPress.org was the right choice for me when I switched platforms.
Some of you have asked me through emails . . . “How do you go about publishing Ads for companies?”
If you’re not interested, you can skip over this part. If you are interested, I’ll tell you a few things to get you started. If you need more in depth . . . click on Contact in my menu bar, and email me directly. I’m happy to help, however I’m certainly NOT an expert. I’m still learning myself.
First I should tell you . . . I don’t think any of us will get rich running Ads. You need to be big & popular like Pioneer Woman or several others I can think of. They have sponsors as well.
The good news is that your blog can make a bit of revenue. The money I’ve made on Ads has enabled me to pay for all the grandkids Christmas presents! That was nice. When I’m able to buy the grandkids, daughters, son in laws as well ….. I will know that I’ve hit the big time! lol. For now, my sweet husband carries that load. Sorry honey….you can’t retire yet. Oh boy, that day is quickly coming. Prepare . . . prepare now Jonna!
If you’re interested in Publishing Ads on your site, you first must blog and gain some traffic. Very important. Most Companies require you to send them info directly from Google analytics or other sites that measure your traffic. You actually install a code into your sites template and it tracks everything for you. I learn a lot by signing into my Google analytics account. It’s quite amazing actually. You not only see how many visitors (unique & not so unique) came knocking on any given day, but you can see “REAL TIME” traffic as well. It tells you where they are coming from, your most popular posts, how long they stayed . . . and on and on and on. It’s really quite amazing! A lot of my traffic comes from Pinterest. When Pinterest dies . . . my blog might fold right up and die as well. That reminds me, please follow me!
My blog with Bluehost was getting too much traffic for their servers…..this is why I paid to have my entire blogs files moved to a VPS server with inMotion hosting. They are treating me well, and I’ve been very happy. It’s not free, however.
In the past, I’ve carried Ads with Federated Media that partners with Foodbuzz. They have been excellent to work with, but they have made changes and the pay structure has varied a bit. I think it’s best to work with a company that can guarantee a $_ CPM and also fill those Ad spaces. This means that usually, for every thousand clicks you make a garanteed amount. Your clicks have to actually go to the Company that is doing the Advertising. (I soooo appreciate those of you who actually click on these Ads.)
Now, I can tell you what I’ve been spending my time doing lately. Exactly this!
You have also probably noticed linking and Amazon Ads as well. That’s pretty easy to set up, and they are easy to work with.
I decided to do some changing myself. After researching a bit on all the many Companies that work with Ads, and that will work with me . . . I decided to work with Glam that partners with Foodie Blog Roll. I’m considered a Publisher. Applying for Foodieblogroll Ads is the way you have to start, but if you wan’t to work with GLAM, it’s a whole other process. You are given what they call Premium ads if you quality. It’s all about traffic….so please keep reading my blog….please!
That’s what I’ve been doing. Anything worthwhile takes effort.
It’s a good choice so far, but the application process is a bit grueling and time consuming, and a much different process than Federated Media-Foodbuzz was. It takes me a while to understand lengthy contracts and all that legal gumbo jumbo! Old brains don’t think quickly anymore.
You’ll also notice that I’m trying to implement a Company called Swoop in my recipes. Swoop is another way to monetize your recipe posts with a revenue guarantee. They work with Glam + Foodieblogroll.
(This is a plus for my readers as well, since you’re given coupons, healthier alternatives to ingredients,etc. Click on the little icons throughout recent recipes….you’ll see!
Swoop requires certain plugins that allow for better SEO, meta-data using RDFa, micro formats. This is much different than I’m used to. It’s important though if you want your blog and your posts to be visible by search engines. I sure wish someone had told me all of this to start with!!!
So . . . I’ve learned quite a bit the last couple of weeks, but my posting has been on the back burner. Hopefully, soon . . . I will have the process completed.
If you have questions, just email me . . . and possibly I can do a Part 2 of this post, if enough of you are interested.
Now, on to the Puff Pastry Raspberry Swirls & Pinwheels.
For the Pastries:
You’ll need COLD Puff Pastry, pastry pie filling and sprinkles.
I really love the Pastry fillings from The Prepared Pantry. You get a lot of bang for you buck.
The filling stays in place, and won’t run all over as it bakes . . . + it tastes wonderful!
Walking in the door of that place, is a dangerously good experience.
My favorites are Raspberry (shown above) Strawberry, Cherry and Bavarian Cream.
Don’t have pie filling or pastry fillings?
Use Jam instead!
Let’s start making the Pinwheels.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry has three seams.
Cut down the length of those seams with a pizza cutter.
Cut each piece into 3 equal or close to equal squares.
Take a sharp knife, and cut from corner to center . . . leaving about 1/2″ uncut in the center as shown.
Pick up every other corner and bring that corner to the center.
You will be picking up 4 corners and leaving 4 corner alone.
My puff pastry is almost too cold …. it’s not bending well . . . that’s o.k.
It will puff perfectly though.
Press down on the center of that pinwheel to secure the corners and make a well for the filling.
Carefully place your pinwheels on a silpat or parchment lined Cookie Sheet.
Remember chill them again for five to ten minutes . . . if your pastry has become warm.
If you are planning to use canned pie filling, it tends to run a bit.
Here is the alternate way to avoid that problem.
The pic below is using Prepared Pantry Filling – it doesn’t tend to run.
Example below: Prepared Pantry Pastry filling
I used canned Cherry pie filling in this picture below.
See . . it’s already running, but still works just fine.
Add your filling first before lifting the corners.
You just need to fold your corners in and over the top of the filling.
Place your canned pie filling (about a tablespoon in the center of the cut square.)
Now fold over every other corner and pinch the corners together.
**Important: Pinch those corners together firmly, so they won’t come apart in the oven.
Now . . . let’s Make Raspberry Swirls.
Each pkg of puff pastry usually has two sheets.
You could make 18 pinwheels or Raspberry swirls as well.
Lightly flour your surface and try to roll away some of those seams.
Place the filling on top of that sheet of puff pastry.
(You can be fairly generous with the Prepared Pantry filling or jam . . . but not so generous with canned pie filling)
Take an offset spatula and spread the mixture evenly, but leave at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the edges – filling free.
You could sprinkle chopped nuts, coconut, etc. over the filling if you please.
You are going to start rolling (from the short) end . . . not the long end.
This is the opposite of rolling cinnamon rolls.
like this . . .
Now pinch the end of the roll (seam) together VERY, VERY WELL!
Cut a piece of ordinary sewing thread about 12 inches long.
String works sooooo much easier than a sharp knife .
Run it under the roll and bring the tails up and cross them.
Pull to cut into perfect little slices.
My slices were just a tad over 1/4 inch.
Place the swirls on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet.
Chill them again, if the pastry is warm and not cold.
Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until nice and golden brown.
Note: You can secure the tails of the swirls with a toothpick before baking. Just be sure to remove the sticks before glazing.
Can you find the hidden toothpick in the picture above?
Make sure to remove them, if you use them.
Don’t you dare eat one yet!
Let them cool then drizzle glaze over the tops.
You could also just sprinkle a tiny bit of powdered sugar over them as well.
Glaze is better though, and it’s quick and easy to make.
Take about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and place in a bowl.
I like to flavor the glaze with orange juice or clementine juice as shown above.
Squeeze all the juice you can out of one orange.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract – I also added just a tiny bit of Almond Extract.
Take a spoon and begin stirring, stirring, stirring until you have a thick paste.
Don’t add additional juice or water until all the lumps are out.
This is nice, but still too thick.
Add a bit more orange juice or a bit of water or even a bit of milk.
I like to use all orange juice, so that I don’t feel like I need to refrigerate the pastries.
Sometimes I add a touch of melted butter to the glaze as well.
When it’s the perfect drizzle type consistency,
it isn’t necessarily necessary, but I like to pour the glaze into a plastic squeeze bottle.
It makes drizzling so easy.
Now drizzle . . . back and forth.
Place a few pretty sprinkles in the centers if you like, while the glaze is still wet.
Once the glaze is partially set, I transfer them to a clean silpat or Parchment paper .
Now . . . You can eat one.
Give the rest away, or you’ll wear them proudly on your hips!
This post sure took a long time, for such an easy recipe.Print
Puff Pastry Raspberry Swirls & Pinwheels & Your Questions answered
Raspberry Pinwheels and Swirls Possibly one of the prettiest pastries on the plate!
- For the Pastry:
- 1 package prepared Puff Pastry (2 sheets)
- Pie filling, Pastry filling or jam
- For the Glaze:
- 1 small orange
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (opt)
- additional: water, orange juice or milk – until desired consistency is reached.
- For pinwheels:
- Take one sheet of Puff pastry and place it on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut down the 3 seams.
- Cut each piece into 3 equal size squares. (Nine squares total)
- Take a sharp knife and cut each corner to about 1/2″ of the center. Don’t cut all the way to the center.
- Pick up every other corner and bring it up into the center of the square.
- You will do this with 4 corners.
- Press the tails of the corners down securely in the center – leaving a slight well.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of pastry filling over the tails – onto the center of the square.
- Chill the pinwheels for 10 minutes in the fridge before baking in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- For the Swirls:
- Take one sheet of puff pastry and lay it on a lightly floured surface.
- Take a rolling pin and try to press out the 3 seams.
- Spread filling over the top of the pastry as evenly as possible, but leave about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the puff pastry edges without filling.
- Begin to roll from the short edge of the pastry. Secure the seam securely, by pinching the end of the seam into the roll of puff pastry.
- Take a 12 inch piece of sewing thread and cut 1/4″ slices.
- Place on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Chill again for about 10 minutes so that pastry dough is cold again.
- Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Let cool then glaze.
- Place 1 1/2 to 2 cups of powdered sugar in a med. sized bowl.
- Squeeze the juice from one orange over the powdered sugar.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and a tiny bit of almond extract if desired.
- Take a spoon and stir until it’s a thick smooth paste. Squeeze in additional orange juice or water or milk to make the desired drizzable consistency.
- Drizzle the glaze with a fork, or pour the glaze into a squeezable bottle, and drizzle over the tops of the pastries, in a back and forth motion.
- Add sprinkles while the glaze is still wet.
- When the glaze has set slightly, transfer the pastries to clean parchment paper.