christmas treats …

are fun to make, but man, does it make my sundays fly by. i started making candy this morning and some cookies to finish out some boxes i am giving to local family and friends and when i looked up, all of a sudden it was 2 p.m.! crazy, i tell you. there are a few things i always make every christmas. candy makes up the bulk of the treats and it surprised me, honestly, when i first attempted these recipes and they came out perfectly. so i guess i’m good at this candy making thing. especially the caramels. they are way too addictive, though. if i’m munching mindlessly and if i didn’t give the candy away, i’d eat a whole pan by myself.

Caramels
recipe adapted from SPECK03 on allrecipes.com

You Need:

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. in a heavy pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1 cup of the cream, and both sticks of butter. bring to a boil, stirring often. then stir in the other cup of cream. heat it but DON’T stir it, until it comes to about 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (mine crapped out on my this year for some reason that i probably have a lot to do with (don’t ask) so another way to gauge the right temp is if you drop a small amount of the mixture into a cup of cold water and it forms a pliable ball). remove this from the heat when it’s at the right texture (or temp), stir in the vanilla and the nuts, and pour it into the dish evenly. refrigerate it. let it cool and firm up for a couple of hours at least. once cool, remove from the fridge, let it come to room temp, then cut it into squares.

Nut Candy (this is a new recipe this year – i ran across this in Taste of Home like two years ago and decided this is the year to make them. other than being kind of hard, they’re definitely tasty)
recipe from Taste of Home magazine

a note: this was actually supposed to be Triple Nut Candy, but my candy supply shopping expedition did not yield the nuts i needed. for example, this recipe calls for 1 cup walnut halves, 1 cup pecan halves, 1 cup brazil nuts, halved. i only had the pecans and walnuts so i used 1 1/2 cups walnuts, 1 1/2 cups pecans. if you have all three types of nuts called for, by all means, use them.

You Need:

the aforementioned amount of nuts in the note above
1 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn syrup

toast the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350. make sure you stir these while you’re toasting them so they don’t burn. remove and let them cool. line an 8×8 pan with foil. grease it with butter and set it aside.

in a heavy pot, combine the sugar, cream, and corn syrup. bring it to a boil, stirring often. stir in the nuts. cook, without stirring, until about 240 degrees (soft ball stage, in other words). remove from the heat and stir together. spread into the pan and smooth it out. cover it, and refrigerate it. the recipe said to refrigerate it for 8 hours, but i only did so for about 2 hours. it made it easier to cut it into squares. store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

Cracker Toffee
recipe from Beverly, a family friend (and i finally found a copy of it in my notes – for the last three years i’ve been guessing at the amounts)

You Need:

a sleeve of crackers
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups chocolate chips (i use 1 cup semi sweet, 1 cup bittersweet)

heat the oven to 350. in a heavy pot, melt the butter with the sugar. let this melt together until the sugar is melted and it looks gooey and thick. spread your crackers out in a single layer on a large baking sheet. drizzle the sugar and butter mixture over the crackers. use a spoon to spread it out evenly over all the crackers. pop this into the oven and bake until the sugar mixture is lightly browned. turn off the oven and sprinkle your chocolate chips over the crackers. let it sit in the hot oven for a couple of minutes until the chips are soft. use a spoon to spread the chocolate out evenly over the crackers. let the pan cool before you pop it in the fridge. so uh refrigerate the candy until the chocolate has hardened, then break it into pieces.

this cracker candy i have eaten a whole pan of by myself. and i’m not sorry.

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4 Comments

Filed under Sweet Tooth

4 responses to “christmas treats …

  1. emily

    when making the cracker toffee, do you line the baking sheet with parchment? i’m thinking about making some later..

  2. rebekah

    Yes I line all of my baking sheets with parchment. Esp. with this candy. It gets sticky and such and you don’t want to be scraping that off your baking sheets.

  3. Pingback: a quickie | Food Food Food!

  4. Pingback: Christmas Treats Extravaganza part II | Food Food Food!

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