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Archive for the ‘candy’ Category

Peanut Butter Eggs

Yesterday a friend called while she was grocery shopping and asked for my peanut butter egg recipe. I’m glad she did. I completely forgot about them! That’s usually how I roll. I remember Easter Day that I wanted to make peanut butter eggs but by that time, I’m a bit late. So this year I made them a whole 2 days ahead of time. I was on the ball thanks to Jennica!

I love these eggs. I can’t brag up their health benefits but popping a few of these certainly won’t hurt ya. In fact, I bet they’ll put a smile on your face. Happy Easter everyone!

Peanut Butter Eggs

Adapted from my friend Elise’s recipe

1 cup (8 oz) salted butter

1/2 cup (4 oz) cream cheese

1 1/8 cups (10 1/8 oz) natural peanut butter

1 t vanilla extract

5 cups (about 1 1/4 pounds) powdered sugar

1 to 1 1/2 pounds melting chocolate (dark, milk, etc)

Cream the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla and then gradually add the powdered sugar until it is well incorporated. Refrigerate the “dough” for several hours. Form into 1-inch balls or eggs and set on a cookie sheet. Freeze the balls for a couple hours. You want them frozen all the way through.

When balls are frozen, melt the chocolate in the microwave or using a double boiler, stirring often to ensure even melting. Dip the frozen peanut butter balls in the chocolate, one at a time, using 2 forks. Set them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate or freeze until set. Store in the refrigerator for freezer.

Yield: about 70 small balls or eggs

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Oh, I could just eat, eat, and eat this popcorn. It is the best I’ve ever come across. Not that I’ve had many homemade caramel popcorns other than this one but still, it is well received by everyone who tries it. And Jennifer likes it, too! Seems I’m just making all of her recipes this week, doesn’t it? (Please be sure to read her rendition of the recipe and the story that goes with it. It’s a good one!)

Now, I had to fiddle with the original recipe, of course. I can never leave well enough alone. I have not tasted the original next to the fiddled but we loved the fiddled recipe so I’m going to stick with it. Maybe even fiddle a little more. How many times can you say fiddle before your lips gets fuddled?

The only changes I made this time were switching the corn syrup to agave and using a little more popcorn to spread out the caramel a bit thinner. Next time? I want to try using Sucanat in place of the brown sugar. Then we’d be processed sugar free. The only reason I didn’t try that this time was because this batch of popcorn was for a party and I didn’t want to risk ruining it. But there will be a next time so don’t worry, I’ll fiddle some more.

Grandma Baer’s Caramel Popcorn, fiddled with

3/4 cup (6 oz) butter

2 cups (14 oz) brown sugar

1/2 cup (6 oz) agave (or corn syrup, if you are a purist)

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

7 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted and unbuttered (6 quarts, if you are a stickler for tradition)

In a heavy pot, bring the butter, sugar, agave, and baking soda to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat while keeping the sugary mass at a medium boil and continue boiling and stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Immediately pour the syrup over the popcorn and quickly stir to coat evenly. Divide the popcorn between two buttered cookie sheets with sides. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool before transferring to airtight containers or bags to store.

Yield: about 7 quarts

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Marshmallows

Light as a cloud and soft as a pillow…these are a tasty treat. And they really taste like marshmallows, but with a certain freshness that the ones from a bag never contain.

Marshmallows

Inspired by MamaJJ but this recipe came from Martha Stewart Living mag, Dec. 2003

2 slightly scant T unflavored gelatin

2/3 cup water, divided  use

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

pinch salt

1 t vanilla extract, I go slightly generous

Powdered sugar

Line a 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Pour 1/3 cup cold water into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle with the gelatin and let soften 5 or 10 minutes.

Place sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/3 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and then uncover. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.

Put the whisk attachment on your mixer. Turn it on low speed and slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the gelatin. If it splatters, try pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl. After all the syrup is mixed in, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick, white and about triple in volume. Add the vanilla and beat 30 seconds to combine.

Pour the fluffy white stuff onto the prepared baking sheet. Smooth out with a greased spatula. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until firm (at least 3 hours or overnight).

Coat a 1 to 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter with powdered sugar. Sprinkle the top of the marshmallow with powdered sugar. Have a bowl of powdered sugar standing by. Cut the marshmallows with the cookie cutter, re-dipping it in powdered sugar as needed. Coat each individual marshmallow with more sugar and throw them into a container. When you are finished cutting, add a little more powdered sugar to the container of marshmallows, put the lid on, and give it a good shake to coat them a bit more.

Serve with mugs of piping hot cocoa or store for about a week in the container. Don’t forget to save all the little scraps from between the cutouts! They are just as tasty.

Yield: about 4 cups of cute marshmallows

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Gingerbread Houses

Every December, I have my youngest brother over and we make gingerbread houses together. He loves it. Asks about it all year long. Come December, he BEGS to come over every time I see or talk to him. I’ll have to set the date pretty soon. And I guess this year Jada will get her own little house. We’ll have a sugary fun time together. Read on if you want to celebrate the beginning of December with me!

Gingerbread Houses

I forget where I got this recipe from, probably somewhere on the world wide web.

Here is where I got my house template. Of course, you can cut any windows and doors you like and you can choose where to place them. I put my door on the side of the house instead of the end. I’ll include all baking instructions here in this post but the template site has lots of tips for assembling so you can read them there. Oh, I also added the chimney and the trees. For the chimney, make 4 rectangular pieces of gingerbread and then cut out a V on two of the pieces (these are the ones that sit on the peak of the roof). For the trees, draw a Christmas tree shape. For each tree, you’ll need two gingerbread tree shapes. In the one, you cut a slit from the top, half way down and then other,  a slit up from the bottom to the middle. Make sense? Okay, so I tried creating a document to upload for you to see the tree and chimney patterns but I couldn’t upload it. Let me know if you don’t understand the above instructions.

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup molasses

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1 t ginger

1/2 t cloves

2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/3 cup water

Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the molasses. Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the creamed mixture alternately with the water. Divide the dough in 3 balls and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

When ready to roll out dough, remove 1 ball from the fridge. It may need to sit at room temp a few minutes until it’s roll-able. Place the ball on a piece of aluminum foil and put a piece of wax paper on top. Roll out to 3/16 of an inch (I know, so specific!). Remove the wax paper and cut out the basic shapes. Do NOT cut out little details like doors, windows, the slits in the trees or the chimney V. Keeping pieces on the foil, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

IMMEDIATELY upon removal from the oven, use a paring knife to trim the edges of each side and end piece so they are nice and square…makes assembly easier and more clean looking. Then cut out the windows, doors, tree slits, and chimney Vs. This all needs to be done while the pieces are still warm. Once it cools, the cookies are rock hard and you’ll just crack your pieces. Cool the pieces on the cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have all the pieces you need. Any leftover scraps can be rerolled and cut into gingerbread men. Bake these a few minutes less so they remain edible and don’t become bricks.

Icing

2 egg whites

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 t cream of tartar

Beat egg whites, one cup of powdered sugar and cream of tartar until smooth. Add remaining sugar slowly while beating until you have a nice, creamy icing. It shouldn’t be runny but you also don’t want it too stiff or it’s impossible to work with. Note to self: do NOT freeze this for later…it’s useless after thawed.

Yield: 2 6-inch gingerbread houses and a few trees

Have fun assembling!

Year 2008

Year 2009

Here’s a fun little game. The first person to correctly answer all of the questions below will win a batch of my whole wheat peanut butter cookie mix, packaged neatly in a little cloth bag. Be sure to include your e-mail address when you comment so I can contact you. Winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

1) Do cows have upper teeth?     A) Yes     B) No

2) How many gallons of milk does the average cow produce in one day?     A) 3     B) 4.5     C) 8     D) 12

3) What is the average percent of the price of a gallon of milk that goes back to the farmer?   A) 20     B) 72     C) 50     D) 30

4) How many bones does a cow’s body have?     A) 220     B) 264     C) 293     D) 320

5) What is the record number of calves a single cow has birthed?    A) 21     B) 39     C) 48     D) 62

Seeing as how we are a dairy farming family, I’ll be featuring our very favorite dairy recipe tomorrow when I announce the winner of this game. Seriously, it’s our favorite. We fight over it. It’s the first recipe my daughter ever requested that I make.

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