last minute christmas treats, pt II

I don’t know how I know so many people to give treats to. Truth be told, my subconscious probably invented the idea of making a list of every person I could possibly give a Christmas treat plate or box to just so I won’t eat every recipe I’ve been testing. That’s a good idea – my body has good ideas, sometimes.

I froze the rest of my leftover cranberry sauce around Thanksgiving time fretting over how to use it up. It’s not exactly ice cream weather, so ice cream topping was out, I made all the cranberry butter I could stand, and then ran out of ideas totally. I ran across this recipe in Sunset magazine and thought it was utterly brilliant. It’s got cinnamon and allspice and that meshes well with the cranberry sauce (the same spices are essentially in the sauce). Plus thumbprints are always good. Always.

Cranberry Thumbprints
recipe from Sunset magazine

You Need:
2/3 cup cranberry sauce
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
3/4 cup pecans (optional)

Heat the oven to 350. In a food processor, whiz the cranberry sauce until smooth. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Mix on low until blended. If you’re using the pecans, stir them in. Form the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and place them 1 inch apart on a greased (or lined with parchment) baking sheet. Use your thumb and press a small well into the dough. Dollop some cranberry sauce (how much varied for me according to how big the cookie I’d made was). I didn’t use all of the cranberry sauce, by the way. Bake until light golden brown. Let cool.

And then there are these and they are awesome and I don’t know that much of this is going to actually make it into any of my treat boxes. I might just eat it all and not feel a bit bad about it.

Almond Roca
recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

You Need:
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 three-ounce package of slivered almonds, toasted
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 three ounce package of sliced almonds

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Butter it.

In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter and the sugar together on medium-low. Stir it occasionally and let it just do it’s thing until the sugar is melted. Once it has melted, turn the heat up and let it boil gently. Clip on a candy thermometer and stir gently while the mixture comes up to 300 degrees (hard crack stage). The mixture will turn darker in stages – light golden yellow first, then darker brown. Watch it carefully though because you do not want this mixture to burn. Once it has hit 300 degrees, remove it from the stove and stir in the toasted slivered almonds. Spread it out quickly onto the greased baking sheet because it hardens up pretty fast. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and tent the whole thing with foil. Let it sit for a few minutes. The chips should look all soft and glossy. Use an offset spatula to smooth the melted chocolate chips out in an even layer. Sprinkle all this with the sliced almonds. Let it sit out or in a fridge until it has set. Break apart in pieces.

There is some troubleshooting advice on the link above – at one stage of the candy making process, some of the butter separated and formed a layer on top of my candy. The site suggest blotting it off with paper towels. That’s what I did and just moved on.

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4 Comments

Filed under Sweet Tooth

4 responses to “last minute christmas treats, pt II

  1. Pingback: World Spinner

  2. jewelboxer

    i have NEVER made candy before. this stuff looks lovely. i might need to try it…it’s a good excuse for a new toy (candy thermometer) ;)

  3. rebekah

    sounds good, but don’t blame me if you become addicted and lose all your money and stuff trying to buy more butter and sugar to feed your addiction to it. just saying.

  4. jewelboxer

    hehe. i can totally see myself trying to sell shit on craigslist to afford butter and sugar in superbulk.

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