Well, it's Christmas Eve and after a change in plans, I am now happily entrenched at my sister's house. I wasn't supposed to come down until tomorrow, but there was a break in the weather and we decided it would be safest to travel today. I am so happy to be here and grateful that my sister was willing to take me a day earlier than planned so we could all be together...thanks Monica!
For the last few days I have been baking away. I'm not a big fan of making cookies. I think it's because you have to keep sticking batch after batch in the oven and it takes a while to be done. I'm much better with candy. It's done much more quickly. Plus I LOVE to follow directions. I've always loved to read directions and rules. Then you can break the ones that are dumb. Anyway, candy making is very persnickety and the better you follow the directions, the better it turns out. The only problem is that people get pretty annoyed when I don't bring them candy at Christmas. So I have to make over ten batches. So much for getting done quickly!
The fudge recipe I use is one I found online a few years back. I've had great success with it. Plus, the site has lots of helpful tips so it is pretty much fail proof if you read all the directions. I make Skaarup's Fantasia Fudge, just the standard recipe with walnuts. The peanut butter fudge is the same recipe, but it's listed on the variations page. You sub in peanut butter for the chocolate chips and cut out two tablespoons of butter. I use creamy peanut butter instead of the chunky because it's smoother. It's SO GOOD!!!!! The only bad thing about it is that I forgot to pack it, and now it is sitting in my fridge, not getting eaten by us. Poop!
I actually made this when it was still snowing and I feel like it came out a bit drier than normal. Usually our air is really moist and so is the fudge. I'm thinking that the drier air resulted in a less moist fudge. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.
I did remember to bring the toffee I've been making pretty much non-stop. There have been threats of leaving me out on the doorstep to freeze if I didn't bring it with me. The recipe is from my 1990 version of the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. It is fabulous!
Mmmm...doesn't that look good? My friends and family are lucky I don't eat it all before it ever makes it to them. This is even easier to make than the fudge. So if you're feeling so inclined, here's the recipe.
Toffee Butter Crunch
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with foil, extending foil over edges. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts in the pan. Butter sides of a heavy 2 quart saucepan. In saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.
Clip candy thermometer to pan. Cook and stir over medium heat to 290 degrees, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully after 280* to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and pour mixture into prepared pan. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or till firm; sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When softened, spread chocolate over mixture. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts. Chill until firm. Lift candy out of pan, break into pieces. Store tightly covered. Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.
How come I never make this for myself? What's that hips and stomach? Oh, yeah. Now I remember.
Happy Holidays everyone!!!!