Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010!

Hope all of you got a visit from Santa and are in good shape to ring in the New Year! Please pardon my tardiness in posting my pre Christmas goodies...I had the best of intentions all year that Christmas on my blog would be filled with frequent sugary and cheery holiday posts. Well LIFE gets in the way sometimes!!! lol or maybe a broken ankle...hehe Well Randy is doing well..still not weight bearing, but he is on the mend and I've got a bit more time on my hands so I will roll all of my Christms baking into this one post! I know you will all forgive me :-)

I found the cutest plates after Christmas last year and I knew thatI'd use them this year to give as gifts. Their smaller size was also the perfect excuse for my having baked less this year! The plates still looked full. Sneaky eh?

Some got Santa

And some got Frosty

And some got paperplates and got to share with everyone else...

I got pics of most of the individual goodies, except the divinity for some reason..its the white snowman poop looking stuff on the bottom left of the plate. Doesn't taste like poop though! I use my MawMaw Nezat's No Fail Divinity recipe and I've never really failed..except like maybe once when they didn't set up and I salvaged those by rolling them into balls! But that was just once out of the many times I've made its nearly No Fail! You just have to be really ready to devote all of your attention to candy making when you decide to make these.

Get the recipe HERE.

Next up are the common but oh so yummy Peanut Butter Blossom, Recipe found HERE.

Oreo Truffles
..... If you have one candy in your repertoire let it be this. They are always a big hit and I even have some recipients that say I don't care what else you put on the plate just make sure I get some Oreo Truffles. Get the Recipe HERE.

This is a new one I tried this year, although I've made something similar. Get the recipe for Pecan Caramels HERE. I'm saving some to make caramel apples.

Another can't be beat recipe is this Soft Peanut Brittle which will remind you of the insides of a Butterfinger. So what that the name doesn't make sense...this is insanely good. Here's the Recipe.

Cinnamon Bun Cookies..similar to those I posted earlier, but a bit different. Get the recipe HERE.

And finally, Buckeyes...those little peanutbuttery balls dipped in chocolate. They can be found HERE.

I'm going to be out of pocket for a week or so while I visit my family in Louisiana and to celebrate my Mom's 75th birthday. I may or may not get to blog during that time, so I'd like to wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year! May 2010 surround you with good food and beautiful flowers!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday is on hiatus for the holidays! Please join me back after the New Year for more flashes to the past. Until then please feel free to post a flashback of your own below. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday ~A Taste of the Tropics

So maybe my post title is a little deceiving..but bear with me til the end and you might get a little inkling of truth. We are experiencing very frosty temps here in the Pacific Northwest. The thermometer registered a whopping 10°F when I left the house for work this morning. Luckily (from a commuting perspective) we have been precipitation free, so snow or icy roads to contend with. There has been some pretty frost though.

Now I know some of you that grew up in or live in areas that get tons of snow and very cold weather every year are saying whats the big deal!

But there is something magical to me to see all of the icy sparkles

The crystal formations are pretty cool too

The green beneath the frost seems so unlikely

And the contrast with red is stunning

The most amazing are the signs of summer trying to hang on

Just barely......

So are you shivering yet??? How about that taste of the tropics I promised to warm you up...or at least a taste of a really good candy bar (coconut lovers turn away). This hot chocolate featured in this months Food Network Magazine is like a Mounds in a rich and coconutty. A little of this stuff goes a LONG beware and look for your tiny cups.

Cocoa Colada

1 14 oz can coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 oz chopped milk chocolate
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Bring milk and water to a simmer over low heat. Add sugar and chocolate and whisk to melt. Spike with coconut rum if desired (I didn't have any but did add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla) Top with toasted coconut.

These were great with a few shortbread cookies! I used a recipe shared by my friend Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen. Its utterly amazing what 3 simple ingredients can be transformed into. Don't skip the sugar sprinkling step...I think it makes the cookie!!

Shortbread Recipe

1 cup soft salted butter
1/2 cup Baker’s Sugar (superfine)
2 cups all purpose white flour (you can substitute ½ cup of rice flour and 1-1/2 cups AP flour for a different texture)

Cream the butter until very light and fluffy. Cream in the sugar a little at a time until the sugar dissolves (this takes a while).

Mix in about 1-1/2 cups flour gently by hand. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead in only as much flour as is needed to make soft shape-able dough that holds together well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out about 1/3 inch thick and cut into shapes with a knife or cookie cutters, or pat into a 1/3 inch thick round (or rectangle) pan by hand (I use a 9x9x2 pan), prick with a fork every 1-2".

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 300 degrees for 30 to 50 minutes, (depending on the size you are making...cut-outs will take less time, pan shortbread will take more time) until pale golden brown all over. I like to sift more superfine sugar over the top when they come out of the oven. Let sit for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. If you are making pan shortbread, cut into small squares with a very sharp knife right away, then allow to cool.

Check out all of the other Outdoor Wednesday posts over at A Southern Daydreamer
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