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.
Shakespeare's language
English / Español

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!

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! ;-)