Showing posts with label Candy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Candy. Show all posts

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cream Cheese Mints #SundaySupper

I had great plans for this post.  I even ordered the cute little molds to make roses and leaves.  I had planned to get fancy.

Well, you can see these are not shaped like flowers, no leaves in site and there is nothing fancy about this post...LOL

I have been so sick for the last three weeks.  Barely hanging on to be exact.  Two weekends in a row trying to "rest and sleep" this beast away.  No go!

Sometimes life takes over and I have to just say, "oh well".

I am heading to the doctor today to get something to help with the cough and hopefully exile this thing from my body.  It has really messed up my schedule. (Turns out I had bronchitis and my asthma made it worse...the meds are finally kicking in and working).

I was asked to do an interview for a local TV station on Wednesday and was able to muddle through that with the help of a few cold and sinus tablets.

This recipe is special to me because it was given to me by a woman I met 25 years ago.  I met her through church and as we would sit and visit once a month, she would be busy making these cream cheese mints.

Her fingers worked so fast!  This is what she would do for the bride and grooms in our area as part of their wedding gift.  The mints were always a hit at each wedding reception.  How could they not be?

Made with love, each one pressed into the mold and then flipped out onto the table.

Her home smelled so good on the days that she made the mints---minty fresh and clean!

I wrote this recipe down on an old napkin and have kept it this whole time.  When our Sunday Supper group was deciding on Valentine Day recipes I knew this is what I wanted to make.

You don't go through this much work (referring to the fancy molded mints) for just anybody, you do it for the ones you love.   This is my first batch that is pictured and I went the easy route of rolling the dough into long ropes and cutting them into bit size pieces.  A practice run you could say.

Well, when this bug is all said and done, I will add a few more pictures of the mints in the shapes that I purchased--leaves and roses.

Keep in mind that you can make the mints any color or keep them white.  This batch I have had sealed in a bag for two months and they taste just as fresh as that first week that I made them.

They are buttery, creamy and minty morsels of love.  See below the list and recipes of the Sunday Supper group sharing their LOVE with each of us today.

Recipe:  Cream Cheese Mints

3 oz. cream cheese, soft
3 cups of confectioner's sugar
3 teaspoons of peppermint extract
food coloring (optional)
confectioner's sugar to help with the molds

Combine cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, extract and food coloring until well blended.

The dough should be kneadable (not too sticky).  If this happens, add more sugar.

Knead dough for 3 minutes.

Sprinkle parchment paper with confectioner's sugar and roll  sections of the mint dough into a snake, about a 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes, remove and cut into tiny candy segments.

If using the molds:  Pinch off a piece of peppermint dough, dip in sugar and press into mold. Gently pop them out and store on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

The mints will become harder the longer they sit (7-10 days is recommended).  I stored mine in large bags until I was ready to use and share them.

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape:  A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Date Nut Roll Candy


I spent my twenties and thirties trying to be hip and stay current with hairstyles, clothing trends and life in general.

I hit my forties and suddenly everything is about my childhood…LOL  Go figure.  

The "remember when" moments are everywhere. Trends do tend to repeat themselves and maybe this is why I feel so nostalgic suddenly.

It used to be the music.  I would hear a song and was immediately sent back to 1985 and the homecoming dance or 1988 on my wedding day.

Now it's with almost everything I do and see, especially food.

Digging through some old recipes I found two date nut roll recipes; one with a name of Virginia Washam.  This used to be my grandmothers best friend a long long long time ago.

With this one name I was taken back to my days spent at the lake (Lake Isabella in CA), to the Washam's home (they lived below my grandparents) and a whole slew of memories came flying back.

This nut roll was made every year. I fondly remember the rolls in the refrigerator each holiday season.  My grandmother would wrap them in cotton towels and pull them out at night so that we could each have a slice.

It was sweet.

It was nutty.

It is a wonderful memory.

I wasn't sure if my own kids would enjoy this treat.  They have had dates before and so I thought they would not mind the combination. I was right. The first log was gone.  I gave the second log to a dear friend because she too had a memory of this being made in her home.

Once again, I am reminded of the connection that holidays and food has on a family.  Most of us have long forgotten the toys that were brought to us by Santa but somehow we can remember the scents of the home, the smells coming from the kitchen and our favorite cookies and candy.

Enjoy your time with the families and friends that fill our home this season.  

Recipe: Date Nut Roll Candy

1 cup of dates,  chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a small sauce pan add sugar, milk, dates and sugar.  Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads Soft Ball Stage or 234-236 degrees.

Remove from heat.

Add nuts and stir.  Candy will get thick.

On a clean cotton towel or a piece of wax paper, sprinkle confectioner's sugar on one side.

Plop candy in a row on one side (like a log).

Using your hands, flip over the wax paper or towel and form the candy into a log.

Roll up candy and store in the refrigerator.  Candy will become firm after cooling.

Slice and serve. 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge

I grew up with my Grandmother making fudge for every Christmas.  She shared it with her neighbors and friends and family.  When she passed away a year ago, we went through her things and I found this recipe that I had hand written for her.  I must have been 9 or 10 years old at the time and I vividly remember making it often.

The recipe on the left is one that my grandmother had written out in her "short-hand" method, but it was a recipe for Pecan Balls that I had given to her years ago.
With time and many moves, I had misplaced the original recipe and soon forgot about this once treasured treat.  Finding this mixed in with her hand written recipes was very special to me.  I must have learned my short hand approach to cooking from her too, because the recipe with came with only a few instructions.

I thought, what the heck, I am going to make it and see if it is as good as I remembered it to be.  I followed along and supplemented techniques that I had learned along the way and the fudge turned out perfect.

We gave this out this year in our neighbor baskets.  Today I heard a knock on my door and to my surprise there stood Rick, our next door neighbor.  He loved the treats but especially named the peanut butter fudge as being "the best they had ever had".  This made me smile.  He continued to say theat the plate reminded him of his grandmother and something that she would have baked.  I seriously thought I would cry at that moment.

Recipes and food tie families together forever.  Something as simple as a few cookies can easily flood your mind with memories of time gone by…this is a treasured gift to each of us.  I am thankful that my grandmother saved this recipe and that I was able to share it with a friend to remind him of his grandmother.  I hope that in the years to come that my own kids will make this peanut butter fudge with their kids and they will remember me.

Recipe:  Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of milk
dash of salt

Cook the above ingredients to a soft ball stage.

Cool and add:

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup of peanut butter
1 T. vanilla

Beat until thick…it will be very thick and crumbly looking.

Line your baking dish with parchment paper and butter the inside of the paper.

Pour into a baking dish.  Mine is 7x11.  If you use one that is smaller or larger, this will affect the thickness of the fudge but not the flavor.

Pat down the fudge into the dish.  Use the parchment paper to cover the top and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

Written by Sherron Watson

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Recipe at the end. Below is a short story about our adventure with an earthquake in Maryland.

Yesterday will be a day that my family won't soon forget.  Our day started out fresh, early and filled with anticipation.  It was the first day of high school for Drake and the first day of college for my daughter in two of her classes...they are both freshmen.  I was impressed at how each of them appeared to be cool, calm and very together, as they headed out on this day to what would prove to be very memorable and a little bit "shaky" or "rattled" or a "moving" experience.

OH DID I HAVE PLANS too!  I made a list of the things I wanted to do, in fact, I even took pictures. I thought this will make the best post tomorrow because I can be creative, thoughtful and have a little time to myself and share my deep and inner thoughts...WELL, we know how that turned out...LOL

I got to spend the whole day with a cute princess!  And oh what a day it was...LOL

Oh, I had thoughts and I had to dig deep to not completely implode with fear.  Silly right? I wanted yesterday to be special for the kids so I made peanut butter cups and had planned on Beef and Peppers...two things we all love.  I thought this day is going to be perfect.

My daughter the day before had asked for Fried Pickles and around 1:30 I decided that I would surprise her and make a batch to have ready.  She would be home in an hour and these would be awaiting her return, with the Wicked Awesome Sauce of course...LOL

Cory was working in the basement, Isabella was playing a game on my computer and I was busily cooking...we were all settled.  Working and playing to our heart's content.  Looking back, it's hard to remember everything that was going on at once.  They say time stops and things move slowly when fear, adrenaline, and chaos take over...and I guess it did.

I felt the very subtle beginnings of a sifting.  Like when you are gently sifting powdered sugar.  It's slow, easy and with a light touch.  I stop.  I think.  You question.   Maybe it is....and then at that moment, you realize that it's not stopping.

I ran to the basement door, yelled for Cory to get out of the basement that we were having an earthquake.  I froze.  Then time started moving so slow.  I yelled (maybe screamed) for Isabella to run to Mommy..faster...faster...our house was rocking, groaning and the floor was like walking on ice.  FEAR!

We ran from the house as fast as we could...not thinking that oil was boiling on my stove, not knowing what was to come and worried.  Two of my kids were gone, at school and no way to reach them.

I immediately tried calling my Mom and my daughter ( Drake would not have a phone in HS) , I was shaking, crying, FEAR had set in.  When it stopped I ran and posted on my page...I thought someone needs to know what just happened.  FB phone did not.  All lines were down.  At that moment I got a message from my Mom saying she had just seen the news.  I could get messages but not call out. You feel trapped when you cannot reach someone.

We love to skype back and forth and this was our only form of communication for a while on this day.  When I heard their voice, I lost it.  I can't explain it...I just could not stop crying and shaking.  Isabella would not leave my side.  She was worried the house was going to "dance" again.  The mind of a 4-year-old is amazing.  I am feeling fear and anxiety.  I see and hear disaster and through her eyes, she sees dancing.  I love that.  What would I give to be a child again....such innocence?

It took a minute for me to gather my wits.  We talked with the grandparents and things calmed down.  We met our son walking home from school.  Cory went and got Rye from the college.  In the end, we were all safe and together.

I have to say we ate those peanut butter cups and passed on dinner.  Our stomachs were too upset to eat a tasty and delicious meal.  That night we gathered our family and talked.  We each had a different tale to tell.

Drake was in the cafeteria with about 600 freshmen.  He said that everyone thought the initial shaking was from a group of kids running down the stairs, then it HIT and the teachers realized what was going on.  Drake said he remembers the floor being like running with your socks on cardboard.  It was hard to walk.  They had large bleachers and other items stacked very high and as they ran out, everything was swaying.  The kids all made it out...but the freshman class will never forget their first day.  He said that seeing the cafeteria today will be weird because it won't be moving.

Rye was on the third floor of the Fine Arts building sitting in a chair with rollers.  She said they all stopped, it got quiet as everyone tried to process what was happening and then the rolling of tables and chairs started.  She actually was not afraid and the kids were all able to exit the school with very little problems.  Her biggest worry was us.   We could not communicate and so she imagined the worse. She knew I would be cooking and was afraid that maybe I had gotten hurt in the kitchen or her Dad in the basement.  Fortunately, she was able to get our text finally and we arrived at the school. Our 10-minute drive took 45, traffic was terrible as everyone was trying to get kids.

A moment, an unexpected event in time.  A memory we will carry with us forever.  The emotion, the reliving it, the coming together.  As I sat in my living room last night with my family, I was grateful and realized that this day is perfect.   We are together and we are safe!

 Peanut Butter Cups 

The filling will make enough for about 20-24 cups.  This depends on what size of cup you get and how full you make the center in each one.

1 bag of milk chocolate chips
1 cup of crackers, broken into small pieces (not smashed) You can use Saltines or Ritz.
1 cup of peanut butter, smooth
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp. of vanilla

Mini cupcake or candy wrappers

I used a Pyrex 2 cup glass measuring holder to melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.  This is a slow process because you do not want to ruin the chocolate.  I started with 1 cup of chips and in increments of 35 seconds (4X's), I heated and stirred the chocolate.  The melted chocolate will help the others to melt when you stir in between each heating.  If you have a double boiler and prefer to warm and melt your chocolate this way, please do so.  I don't own one of those.

I put my crackers (GF Glutino Table Crackers) into a plastic back and broke them into small pieces.  You want pieces and not crumbs.  The crunch adds a lot to the filling.

In a bowl combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and broken crackers.  Mix well.

I lined up my cups on a cookie sheet and fill the bottom of each cup with a little bit of melted chocolate.  I made these a few weeks ago and added too much chocolate on the top and bottom and we did not like this.  We like a little bit of chocolate with our peanut butter.  I put the cups in the fridge for a few minutes, about 5, to get firm.

On top of the chocolate, add your peanut butter filling.  I used my hands and shaped the filling to fit on top of the chocolate.  I would say that the filling was about a 1/2 inch, here or there.

Melt more chocolate as needed to have enough for the top of your peanut butter cup.  Once your cups are made with: chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate return to the fridge to set.  You can leave them in the fridge or take them out.  We like our candy cold, so they are still in the fridge.

I had some leftover filling and this is what I did with it.  I rolled them into balls and dusted them with powdered sugar.  OH MY!  Next time I will make enough of the filling to make more of these babies.  They were so good.  ENJOY!

Written by Sherron Watson

Sunday, July 24, 2011

English Toffee Candy

I am sharing a recipe that we usually make at Christmas time.  We make it for neighbors, friends and family.   Once they try it, they really REALLY want to remain our friends and stay close to us...LOL

I know it's not Christmas, but it is July and I have heard a thing or two about Christmas in July.

Making candy can be tricky and so it does take patience and time.  You cannot speed up the stages and expect to have a quality product. I cannot express enough that GOOD candy comes from the BEST products.

If you are unfamiliar with the stages of making candy, I have found a site that can tell you and show you this process  here.  Understanding the difference between soft boil and soft crack are what you will need to know for this recipe.

You also must have several kitchen tools on hand.  A candy thermometer is a must.  The pan you use is also something to consider.  I use a small, heavy sauce pan.  It has a copper lining  between two sheets of steel.  This allows the heat to cook more evenly.  I have made this before in a cheap pan and it does not turn out as well.

Use exact measurements.   Cooking is a science that does offer a lot of room for adaptations to our own style and taste buds. Candy making is more sensitive to alterations and should not be modified the first time you make a recipe.

I have made this recipe at high altitudes, sea level, in dry conditions and in the humid air.  The humid air will make it sticky if not left in an airtight container.  This is my only recommendation when making this toffee, keep it in a cool place. I keep mine in the freezer and it stays dry and crunchy.  I know some have had problems with it getting sticky, I have never had this problem in 24 years of making this.

English Toffee

2/3 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups blanched almonds
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 -1 cup of pecans, chopped.

Cook over medium heat the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan, stirring constantly until it boils (5-7 minutes).

Once it starts to boil,  stop stirring and add a candy thermometer and let it cook until it reaches 236 degrees (softball stage).

Add the 2/3 cup blanched almonds, continue cooking until the temperature reaches 275 degrees (soft crack stage).  You must stir constantly at this stage to prevent overcooking.

Remove from heat and add 1/4 tsp. baking soda.

I used a cookie sheet that I greased with butter first.  Immediately spread the toffee to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Immediately add chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute.  The chips will melt and you can use the back of a spoon and spread the chocolate over the toffee.  Add the nuts and gently push the nuts into the chocolate with your hands.

Put your cookie sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes or until hard.  Remove and break into bite-size portions.  Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Written by Sherron Watson

Donut Breakfast Casserole

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