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Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments

It's November, which to many over-enthusiastic holiday lovers means CHRISTMAS! Yes, I love Thanksgiving as well—it's just one big holiday celebration for me from now to the end of the year. So far, I've refrained from putting up my Christmas tree, but that doesn't mean I can't prepare, right? This past weekend, I spent some time making some ornaments. I love to create handmade ornaments to add to my little tree each year. 
Lately I've been interested in popsicle stick crafts. I found some super cute ideas on Pinterest (see the links to my Holiday Crafts and Food board and specific posts below). I like that such a simple material can have so many possibilities. Just add paint and glue!
I was able to get my kids involved for part of my craft day. They are ages 2 and 3, so they didn't do much beyond just paint a few popsicle sticks. I turned these painted sticks into little Santa Claus ornaments—two for each daughter as they're bound to ruin some of them …

Pretty Patterned Pumpkin Roll


Thanksgiving is around the corner. Usually, I love to make pies for dessert. And there will be pie. Lots of it. But sometimes it is fun to do something different. I like to use the Thanksgiving season to experiment with new fall recipes. A little while back, I discovered patterned cakes on Pinterest was instantly intrigued. Pretty patterns + baking = LOVE. They are just so pretty.

Pinterest search for "patterned cake roll"

Basically, it is a swiss roll cake where a design is drawn out with different colored cake batter before pouring the rest of the batter into the pan, so it creates a design on the cake. This was the first one I attempted. It was a basic yellow cake with strawberry jam and whipped cream filling, so the pattern was appropriately themed.

strawberry cake roll

For my second attempt, I created my own recipe for a fall-themed cake. It is chocolate/pumpkin flavored with an autumn pattern and color scheme. Here is the result:



This would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table. The extra effort to create such a pretty presentation are perfect for special occasions. The link to download the printable recipe is below.



Pretty Patterned Chocolate Pumpkin Roll

Ingredients

Cake
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3 large room temperature eggs
• 1 cup sugar
• 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
• 1 Tbl cocoa

Filling
• 1-8 oz. package cream cheese
• 6 tablespoons softened butter
• 3/4 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 cup cocoa
• 1 tsp vanilla




Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 15.5 x 10.5 inch jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.



2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture.


3. Reserve 3/4 cup of the batter and add the tablespoon of cocoa. Place chocolate batter into a squeeze bottle or piping bag. Create your design on the prepared parchment-lined pan.


4. Bake the chocolate pattern for just a few minutes in the oven until the design begins to set.
5. Pour the remaining pumpkin batter into the pan over the design and spread evenly. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the cake springs back when touched.
6. Immediately turn cake out onto a baking rack covered with a clean towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove the parchment. Cool slightly, but not completely—just so it can be handled more easily. While still warm, flip over again onto a clean parchment lined pan so the design is face down once more.


Roll up the cake with the parchment (from one of the shorter ends) and let cool further.


7. For the filling, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully unroll the cool cake. Trim off the thinner, harder edges to even out. Spread the filling over the top, without going all the way to the edges. Roll up the cake once more with the filling, placing the end at the bottom to keep it from unrolling. Trim the ends for a clean, neat look if needed.


8. Cover and chill to set the filling. Bring back to room temperature before serving if desired.


Enjoy!
Niki



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