Thursday, December 4, 2008

English Toffee

3/4 c. pecans, chopped

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 TBS water

1 tsp vanilla

8 oz good quality dark (bittersweet) chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Place pecans on ungreased baking sheet & toast for 6-8 minutes or until fragrant.

Line a 9x9 square baking pan with heavy aluminum foil.

In a heavy saucepan, cook butter, sugar & water over medium heat until temperature reaches 305 (hard crack stage) stirring occasionally. Careful! Once temperature reaches 290, it will increase VERY quickly!

Immediately remove pan from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla. Pour into the foil shell. Tilt pan to distribute evenly. Toffee may not spread all the way into the corners. Do not attempt to smooth with spoon, it never works!

Cool at room temperature until hard, about 45 minutes.

Break chocolate into pieces & melt in microwave. Spread evenly over toffee base; sprinkle with toasted pecans, pressly lightly to set the nuts.

Allow to stand at room temperature for at least one hour, or until chocolate is firm.

Break into pieces; store at room temperature in tightly covered container.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quick Fudge

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa (Dutch process)
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. low-fat evaporated milk (not condensed)
1 c. walnut, pecan or hazelnut pieces

Line square 8x8 pan with foil.

In medium micro-proof bowl, microwave butter on high until melted (1-2 minutes in mine). Add cocoa & stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar & vanilla; blend well. Mixture will be very dry & crumbly.

Stir in evaporated milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir well. Microwave an additional minute, or until mixture is very hot.

Beat with wooden spoon until very smooth. Add nuts, stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan, smooth evenly. Cover; chill until firm. Lift foil from pan, separate edges of foil from fudge. Cut into squares.

Store in refrigerator in tightly covered container.

Chocolate Walnut Clusters

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 squares unsweetened baker's chocolate

1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 c. broken walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet.

In large mixer bowl, cream butter; add sugar & beat until light. Beat in egg, vanilla & melted chocolate.

Blend in flour & baking powder. Add walnut pieces, stir to combine.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for a minute before removing to wire rack to col completely. Store in tightly covered container.

Chocolate Snowdrops

2 c. unbleached flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa (Dutch process)

3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. canola oil

powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together by hand until well blended. Form a well in the center. Add eggs, vanilla & oil. Mix together by hand until blended into a "brownie" consistency.

Scoop teaspoon-size amount & form into ball. Roll in powdered sugar until well coated. Place on ungreased cookie pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Do not overcook. Allow to cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.

Store in tightly covered container.

Nutmeg Logs (Eggnog Cookies)

3/4 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. rum (or rum extract)
1 egg
3 c. unbleached flour
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

2 c. powdered sugar
3 TBS butter, softened
3/4 tsp rum (or rum extract)
1/4 tsp vanilla
2-3 TBS milk

fresh ground nutmeg to sprinkle

In large mixer bowl, beat sugar & butter until light. Add vanilla, rum & egg; beat until light. Gradually stir in flour & nutmeg; mix well. Form into ball, wrap tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a long rope, 1/2 inch around. Cut into 3 inch "logs"; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes until very light brown. Immediately remove to wire rack to cool completely.

In small bowl, combine all frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread on top of each cookie log. Draw tines of fork along length of frosting to resemble bark. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Allow frosting to set. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

Rum Balls

1 c. crushed vanilla wafers (Nilla Vanilla)
1 c. finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 c. powdered sugar
2 TBS cocoa (Dutch process)
1/4 c. rum*
1 1/2 TBS light corn syrup

powdered sugar for rolling

In large mixer bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, nuts, powdered sugar & cocoa. Blend in rum & corn syrup; mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in powdered sugar to cover. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

*substitute spiced rum if desired

Toffee Squares

1 c. butter
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. unbleached flour

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup small walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Grease jelly roll pan (10x15x1).

In large mixer bowl, cream butter; add sugar gradually & beat until light. Blend in egg yolk & vanilla. Add flour & bend until combined.

Spread dough evenly into pan.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until edges just begin to brown. Do not overbake. Remove from oven to wire rack & sprinkle immediately with chocolate chips, allow to melt & spread evenly over cookie base. Sprinkle with nuts; press into lightly chocolate.


Cut into squares. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.