Carmen Murillo: Web and Graphic Design

Carmen Murillo: Web and Graphic Design

Carmen Murillo: Web and Graphic Design

Hi there, I'm Carmen Murillo, a Madrid-born designer passionate about creating clean, usable, pixel perfect web and graphic designs.
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Candy Coal + Free Printable: Bag Topper

Candy Coal + Free Printable: Bag Topper

On January 6, it is traditional that Spanish children receive gifts from the Three Wise Men. The night before children will leave their shoes in the living room for the Wise Men to deposit their gifts in them. If they have been nice, they will find a lot of good presents but if they have been naughty they will find coal.
The Three Wise Men use to be quite generous even though I got a lump of coal once. It turned out that it was coal made of sugar, so I guess I wasn?t that naughty after all :)

This year, I wanted to try this recipe for Coal Candy and give some to all the ?naughty? people in my life!

The recipe is quite easy and quick to make, although there are some important steps we need to pay attention to. It is important to have all the ingredients and tools ready. We will need a parchment lined pan or box (a shoe box is ok). There is where we?ll pour the final mixture to harden.

Ingredients

1 egg white
170 gr powdered/icing sugar
5 drops lemon juice
Cuttlefish ink or black gel food coloring
675 gr sugar
230 ml water

We?ll start by using the first four ingredients to make royal icing:
1. Place the egg white, lemon juice and powdered sugar into a bowl.
2. Mix well before adding food coloring. The mixture should have a thick consistency. If not, add some more sugar.

Candy Coal Printables

I used cuttlefish ink (you can use squid ink too) because it?s a natural way to color food. It should be quite easy to find at your local supermarket, and two small bags will be enough. If you can?t find them use black gel food coloring.

Now is time for the syrup.

1. Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan and mix them by stirring with a wooden spoon.
2. Place over medium-high heat and let it boil to 129?C (Soft-ball stage) without stirring. This will take approximately 11 minutes. Having a candy thermometer helps a lot, but if you don?t, you can drop a small amount of syrup into cold water. It is ready if it forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from water.
3. When 129 degrees is achieved, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the egg white mixture. Stir.
4. The mixture will rise (like double in size) then sink. Keep stirring and when it rises again immediately pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan/box.
5. Let it cool down completely. When it?s cool and harden break the candy into pieces.

Candy Coal Printables

If you want to give some of your coal away as gifts packaged in simple cellophane bags, then feel free to download and print the bag topper I created for mine.

Print the bag toppers on heavy card stock and cut out. Fold them in half and staple them to the top of the bags. Easy!

Candy Coal Printables

Conditions of use: artwork in the downloadable PDF is free strictly for personal use, not for commercial use. If you wish to link to anything on this article, please link to this page and not directly to a downloadable file. Thank you :)

CANDY COAL BAG TOPPERS (ENGLISH)
CANDY COAL BAG TOPPERS (SPANISH)

NOTE: Do not use Mac Preview to view or print the PDF, as colors may come out completely wrong. Use Adobe Reader instead.

Candy Coal Printables

Candy Coal Printables

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and New Years!

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

It might seems a little strange the fact that it?s already December and I?m posting a summer recipe. All I can say in my defense is that cravings know nothing about seasons.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I tried some different desserts in New York a few months ago. I even brought back with me a cheesecake on the plane! (It?s maybe the best souvenir I have ever bought). However, for some reason, Magnolia Bakery?s banana pudding was my favorite one. As soon as I tasted it I knew I would try it at home.

Cheesecake

So, as last week I felt an unstoppable desire to make some banana pudding, I wanted to post the recipe here.

First of all, I want to say that Magnolia Bakery has a cookbook where this delicious pudding recipe is included. Unfortunately, some ingredients are really hard/impossible to find outside the US. For that reason I adapted the recipe a bit by using the ingredients that I had on hand. Don?t worry, it will taste the same.

The original recipe uses a box of Nabisco Nilla Wafers. You can use ladyfingers instead or make them yourself. And that?s what I did, so here is its recipe too:

Vanilla wafers ingredients
(About 20 medium size wafers)

2 eggs
110 gr sugar
? vanilla bean
145 gr all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

These are the steps to follow: (I?ll explain below how to do it with a Thermomix)

1. Place the sugar, eggs and content of the vanilla bean into a pot.
2. Heat the pot in a bain-marie (water bath) and whisk slowly until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Remove the pot from the water bath and place the mixture into a different container. Whisk the mixture with an electric mixer until spongy.
4. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and then fold into the mixture in three batches. Stir.
5. Fill a pastry bag with the mixture (use a large round tip) and make small dots on a baking sheet.
6. Bake in a preheated 190C oven for 7-10 minutes. Wafers will be pale on top and slightly golden on the bottom.
7. Take out of the oven and leave them cool a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
8. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

Vanilla Wafers

You can skip the first four steps by using a Thermomix. You would follow these two steps instead:

1. Place the eggs, sugar and content of the vanilla bean to Thermomix bowl. Mix 2 minutes/temperature 37?/speed 3.
2. Sift together the flour and baking powder and add them in three batches. Mix 12 sec/2 ? speed. Then stir with the spatula.

So, now that we have our vanilla wafers, it?s time for baking the pudding.

Ingredients

50 ml whole milk
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
75 gr sugar
40 gr cornstarch
Vanilla wafers
2-3 bananas

Banana Pudding

Directions:
(What we’re going to make is essentially a cr?me p?tissi?re).

1. Place the milk, half of the sugar and content of the vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally.
2. In a bowl add in the other half of sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Then cream together using a wire whip until cream is free of lumps.
3. Stir the milk. Once the milk is just below boiling pour a little into the egg mixture and stir.
4. Once incorporated, pour everything back into the saucepan. Then stir until it thickens and firms up.
5. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream. This will prevent it from forming a skin while it cools down outside. Once it reaches room temperature, put it in the refrigerator till its cold (2-3 hours).
6. Now you just have to layer your bowl or individual glasses. Place a layer of vanilla wafers on bottom, a layer of sliced bananas on top and then cr?me p?tissi?re. Continue with this pattern of layering and end with a top layer of cr?me p?tissi?re.
7. For the pudding topping you could use the remaining 4 egg whites to make meringue.
8. Refrigerate until ready to serve, or go ahead and serve immediately if you can?t wait :)

Home Made Blackberry Jam + Free Printable Labels

Home Made Blackberry Jam + Free Printable Labels

The month of September brings with it the beginning of the blackberry picking season. One of my favorite memories as a child is of us picking blackberries with my mother from our local woods. We used to make a delicious jam with them, so they didn’t spoil.
Unfortunately, at one point, this tradition came to an end and it went on to become a distant memory. I was feeling a little nostalgic and missed it so much that I decided to take it up again this year. So this September I armed myself with courage and faced my ?dangerous? mission. And the thing is that, for some reason, nature sometimes acts maliciously posing complicated challenges. This helps to explain why the biggest and more attractive blackberries were always in areas that were hard to reach, while the ones I had closer were all quite small. I ended up risking my life waging a battle against thorny bushes that were protecting the blackberries from predators like me.
Despite all the branches snagging on my clothes, the weeds sticking on my legs and the thistles pricking me without mercy I got home with 2 kilos of blackberries.
I almost had forgotten how relaxing it is to pick blackberries and spend time outside in the fresh air. (I know it seems a bit contradictory, but the truth is that I had a really good time!).

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Making and canning your own jam is quite easy. These are the ingredients:

Fresh blackberries (2kg)
Juice of half a lemon
Sugar (375gr)

The amount of sugar depends on how sweet you want it. Although sugar adds volume to jam I prefer not using too much.

These are the steps to follow:

1. Sterilize a glass jar and its lid by boiling them in water for 10-15 minutes. Let them dry on clean paper towels.

2. Prepare the blackberries by washing gently and removing the stems or dirt, if any.

3. Place the blackberries into a juicer and separate the juice from them. Toss the seeds and impurities when you’re done and keep the juice for the jam. By doing this, the volume of the jam will be considerably reduced but, in exchange, you will get a jam with a smoother texture. If seeds don’t bother you, then skip this step and use later a conical strainer or a food mill to remove most of the seeds. This won?t be as effective as using a juicer but it gives good results too.

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Homemade Blackberry Jam

4. Place the blackberry juice, sugar and lemon juice into a pot. Bring the mixture up to boil over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the jam has reached the setting point, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Leave to cool for 20 minutes before putting the jam into the sterilized jar.

5. Put the jam into the jar and let it cool, then screw on the lid. Store in a cool and dry place.

Note: To know if the jam has reached the setting point, place a small plate in the freezer for 5 minutes. Then grab the plate and put a small spoonful of the hot jam at the center. You should hold the plate vertically. If the jam slides across the plate and seems very liquid keep cooking it and test again a few minutes later. Don?t overcook.

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Homemade Blackberry Jam

If you’re giving your home-made jam away as a gift then feel free to download and print the labels I created for my jar.
Print the labels on sticker paper and cut out. You can also use regular paper and glue the labels down. For the tags you can use heavy card stock and attach them with string to the top of the jar.

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Conditions of use: artwork in the downloadable PDF is free strictly for personal use, not for commercial use. If you wish to link to anything on this article, please link to this page and not directly to a downloadable file. Thank you :)

BLACKBERRY JAM LABELS (ENGLISH)
BLACKBERRY JAM LABELS (SPANISH)

NOTE: Do not use Mac Preview to view or print the PDF, as colors may come out completely wrong. Use Adobe Reader instead.

Enjoy! ;-)

New York, New York

New York, New York

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of visiting the Capital of the World (I have to hold Woody Allen partially responsible for that). And I made that dream come true last May, which by the way is ideal for visiting NY. It’s been a while now but I?d like to use this post to share some pictures and impressions from there.

Usually, we, the newly arrived in the city, are distinguished by the straight posture of the head and neck that allows us to look up while walking the streets (sometimes mouth open included). You feel as tiny as an ant among tall buildings on wide avenues. However, despite appearances, I didn?t find the Big Apple that stressful. Maybe seven days are not enough to feel it or it?s just that I had imagined it excessively stressful.

Grand Central Terminal New York
(Carmen the ant, at Grand Central Terminal)

I have to say the itinerary for those days, which covered Manhattan, including Harlem, and Brooklyn, was pretty ambitious. This, coupled with the fact that walking is the best way to experience NYC, gives you as a result a strong pain in your feet!
As a consequence of the physical exhaustion and lack of sleep I couldn?t make the food tasting tour that I?d have love to do. (There’s no doubt that a few days are not enough for New York). Even so, I didn?t miss the opportunity to taste the famous cupcakes and banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery, a couple flavors of rice pudding from Rice to Riches, as well as the fabulous cheesecakes from Junior?s and Eileen’s among other tasty treats.

Of course, I had traditional food from the region. Hot dogs, huge sandwiches, and big hamburgers with French fries, onion rings and salad were a must-try. I should add I never ate the whole thing!

Central Park is the ideal place to let the food go down and enjoy peace and calm in quiet areas. It?s easy to get there from most of Manhattan.

View of Central Park from Rockefeller Center
(View of Central Park from Rockefeller Center)

Several appearances in movies and TV shows have made of it the most iconic and famous city park in the world. In fact, there are walking tours to visit more than 30 movie locations in Central Park (it’s difficult not to remember Macaulay Culkin feeding pigeons in Home Alone 2!).

I guess when you grow up watching New York in movies and on TV, it’s no wonder then that after your first visit you just felt you had been there before.

New York
(One of those places where I had that feeling)

So, like any tourist worth her salt, I didn?t miss the opportunity to see the shooting locations of some of the most famous movies and TV shows.

New York
(The Ghostbuster’s Fire Station)

New York
(Left: Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in ?Sex And The City?. Right: The building used as the exterior for the apartment on ?Friends?)

Olsen twins It takes two
(Yes? haha, here I?m recreating a scene from one of my favorite movies as a kid: ?It Takes Two?)

Manhattan is open-minded and very welcoming to visitors, exciting, fun and safe. However, Brooklyn is not far behind. It is the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs and is currently enjoying a period of growth. I think the first thing I did when I got there was dropping by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. I tasted one of their delicious ice creams and walked around while gazing at the beautiful Manhattan?s skyline. The next day, I came back to Dumbo at night. Dumbo is a tiny neighborhood chosen by artists, architects and designers where you can find art galleries, interesting shops and restaurants. I wanted to try out the famous pizzeria Grimaldi’s but unfortunately there was a long queue forming outside (we were too hungry to wait for dinner!). However, this was made up for when we went later to a nearby beach for a beautiful view of the sunset over Manhattan. The peace and serenity of that night were maybe, the best thing about those days in NYC.

Brooklyn New York
(A park in Brooklyn)

Because I don’t want this to be too long, I?m going to share with you some pictures I took. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. But before I end, I ought to mention the kindness of New Yorkers. I never encountered so many polite people!
Every time my friend Raki and I were at the subway station with a confused look on our faces someone reached out and helped. Also some (NYPD) officers approached us and asked us if we were lost. Actually, we were just moving around a free wifi connection we had found!

Hanging out with the NYPD
(Hanging out with the NYPD, Who doesn’t love a man in uniform? :3)

Not to mention random strangers high-fiving or talking to us in the street haha.

I just hope to be back soon.

Subway New York

Central Park New York
(Central Park)

Central Park New York

Central Park New York

Central Park New York

Central Park New York

Central Park New York

Central Park New York

Enjoying views from Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center
(Left: Enjoying views from Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. Right: View of the Empire State Building)

Manhattan New York

Me at FAO Schwarz playing the big floor piano
(Right: Me at FAO Schwarz playing the big floor piano from the movie ‘Big’)

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

FAO New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

Chinatown New York
(Chinatown)

New York

New York

View of Manhattan from the Empire State Building
(View of Manhattan from the Empire State Building)

The New York Public Library
(The New York Public Library)

The New York Public Library

Broadway New York

The Flatiron Building
(My favorite building in NYC: The Flatiron Building)

The Flatiron Building

Apple New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

Inside The American Museum of Natural History
(Inside The American Museum of Natural History)

New York

Inside The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
(Inside The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA))

Times Square New York

Times Square New York
(Times Square)

Times Square New York

Brooklyn New York
(Brooklyn)

With my friend Raki in Brooklyn New York
(With my friend Raki in Brooklyn)

Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan
(Left: Me on the Brooklyn Bridge. Right: Manhattan Bridge)

Manhattan New York
(Manhattan)

Manhattan New York

New York

New York

Carrot cake with white chocolate frosting

Carrot cake with white chocolate frosting

I had been obsessed with carrot cakes for quiet a long time. I always felt like baking one, but I usually need some good excuses to do it, since if it were up to me I would eat cake almost every day. So when my mother suggested me to bake a carrot cake for her birthday party I couldn?t hide my joy :)

For this recipe I counted on the help of my lovely friend Thermomix, however I wanted to adapt it for all those who don?t have one.

Carrot Cake

INGREDIENTES (for a 8 inch / 20 cm cake pan)

Cake
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 250gr sugar
- 3 eggs
- 350gr peeled carrots
- 280gr cake flour
- Zest of one orange (outer orange skin)
- ? tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 teaspoon fine cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Frosting
- 30gr butter (at room temperature)
- 180gr cream cheese
- 80gr icing sugar, sifted
- 30gr orange juice
- 80gr white chocolate

Decoration
- Walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Peel, cut and blend the carrots.

Put the eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat well until well blended.

Add the oil and orange zest and keep beating. Then add the blended carrots without stopping beating.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and then fold into the mixture and mix well.

Pour batter into your cake pan and bake at 180C for 35 to 40 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean).

Remove the cake from oven, and let it cool 10 minutes in the pan. Cool completely before icing.

FROSTING

Chop up some good quality white chocolate, and put it into a microwave safe bowl.
Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds and stir until is melted. If it?s necessary continue heating in 30 second increments, and stirring afterward. Set the bowl aside and let it cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, with an electric mixer or a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.

Fold the (cool) chocolate into the butter and then add the cheese, juice and sifted icing sugar. Cream it together with a hand mixer until it gets homogeneous and tic.

With a long serrated knife cut the cake into two layers and trim tops off both cake layers to make flat surfaces.

Use a cake spatula to spread the frosting between layers and on top of the cake.

Keep the cake refrigerated for up to 2 days, but serve at room temperature.

Don?t forget to decorate the top of the cake with some walnuts! :)

Carrot Cake