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I have entered a recipe for the infamous White Chocolate Haystacks  to be included in a recipe book being created by Foodista. These haystacks are a favorite on mine and anyone that I share them with! They have shown up in this blog multiple times even though the blog hasn't even celebrated it's 1st birthday yet. So please help me out and vote for this recipe. Thanks!


Candy! and lots of it

Shortly after Halloween I started compiling a list of all the holiday candy that I wanted to make this year. It's a long list and at first I thought I was being a bit over zealous, but it turns out not only was I able to do it (well, almost, I still have a few more to make this weekend for my family's christmas) but I had enough gatherings to attend to get rid of most of it and not have an abundance sitting around the house.

I also have to note that the candy making itself is not hard, just tedious, BUT it's been impressive that I have stuck with it in lieu of baking since I am the proud owner of a beautiful new kitchen aid mixer that I have only used once since all of my candy making just has me utilizing the heck out of my double boiler and candy thermometer.

Here is the list of candy that I suggest you all try, SO delicious, and I think I will be on a sugar high until Valentine's Day.....

Nutella Kiss Cookies

This is becomoing an old favorite of mine that I could devour year round, but they always remind me of the holidays.

-1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (I used world market's brand, super tasty!)
-1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-red and green sugar sprinkles
-1 package Hershey's Kisses (I used candy cane, milk chocolate, and caramel)

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2.In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3.In another medium bowl, place the chocolate hazelnut spread, butter, and both sugars. Using a hand mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and blend until incorporated.

4.Stir in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.

5.Shape the cookie dough into 1/2" balls with a table spoon. Rolls the balls in the sprinkles. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. Quickly place a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 2 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

These were one of the first treats I made for the holidays so after they cooled completely I stored them in an air tight container and put them in the freezer. When I was ready to serve them I place them on the counter overnight with a slice of bread in the container to help soften them up and they were perfect.
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Triple Chocolate Turtle Fudge

This recipe is near and dear to my heart because it is the first candy I ever made by myself while I was in college. It was such a success and definitely sparked my interest in getting creative in the kitchen.

Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.com:

-4.5 Cups Sugar
-1/2 Cup Butter (1 stick)
-1 12oz can evaporated milk
-12 oz sweet baking chocolate, chopped
-2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup chopped pecans
-1 14oz package caramels
-2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1. Line a 9"x13" baking pan with foil, spray with non-stick spray. In a double boiler over medium heat combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Without stirring, boil over medium heat until thermometer reads 234°. Remove from heat.
2. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, sweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. Stir until all chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
3. Stir in the vanilla and 1/2 Cup pecans. Quickly spread mixture into the pan.
4. In a double boiler melt caramels and heavy whipping cream. Stir frequently until completely melted and combined. Drizzle over fudge and sprinkle remaining pecans on top.
5. Cool overnight. Lift foil from pan and cut into 1" squares.
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Caramel on Foodista

Almond Butter Balls

Even though I have pretty much discovered that if I crack open a new jar of peanut butter to eat or make some treats with I won't end up with a migraine I am still in a constant search for tastey recipes that use an alternate for peanut butter, so I thought I would attempt making peanut butter balls with almond butter instead and I think I like them even more than the original!

2 Cups Almond butter- I used trader joe's creamy sea salt variety, YUM
1/4 C unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-2.5 Cups powdered sugar- I may have used a bit more to get them to the right consistency
12oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 T butter

1. In a double boiler combine almond butter, butter, and salt until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and add vanilla and powdered sugar until the mixture has the consistency of cookie dough.
2. Roll the dough into 1/2" balls, place on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper and chill for 2 hours.
3. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and butter until smooth.
4. Dip the balls in the chocolate one at a time. Place on a wire rack or baking sheet and place back in the refrigerator to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. These also freeze really well.
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Chocolate Caramel Candies aka homemade snickers bars

I historically have made myself sick over eating an abundance of these rich little candies every Christmas and I still haven't learned my lesson. These are SO delicious. I suppose for the average person these are extremely rich and half a piece is probably sufficient, but I could eat these all day all season long!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home:

Bottom Layer
-1 Cup Milk chocolate chips
-1/4 Cup butterscotch chips
-1/4 Cup peanut butter
-1/4 Cup Butter
-1 Cup sugar
-1/4 Cup evaporated milk
-1.5 C Marshmallow creme
-1/4 peanut butter
-1 teaspoon vanilla
Caramel Layer
-1 14oz package caramels
-1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Top Layer
-1 Cup milk chocolate chips
-1/4 Cup butterscotch chips
-1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter

1. line a 9"x13" pan with foil sprayed with non-stick spray.
2. In a double boiler combine the 'Bottom layer' ingredients until melted and smooth. Pour into the pan and place in refrigerator to set.
3. In a double boiler melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar and evaporated milk until gently boiling. Reduce heat to medium low and boil and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in marshmallow cream, peanut butter, and vanilla. Spread over first layer, refrigerate until set.
4. In a double boiler combine the caramels and cream. Stir over medium low heat until melted and smooth. Pour over marshmallow layer and refrigerate until set.
5. In a double boiler combine all 'Top layer' ingredients and stir until melted and smooth. Pour over caramel layer and refrigerate until set. Once set, cover and refrigerate over night.
6. Remove foil from pan and cut into 1" squares.
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Angel Food Candy, Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles, White Chocolate Haystacks

We had a lovely work holiday party last night and I of course offered to make some candies for the occassion. In addition to a copius amount of chocolate caramel candies I also brought some other old favorites, Angel food candy and White Chocolate Haystacks (that my Grandma Vi had at every Christmas) and a new endeavor/favorite- chocolate hazelnut truffles.

Angel Food Candy- recipe from Allrecipes.com
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Dark Corn Syrup
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (or any white vinegar)
1 Tablespoon Baking soda
1 12 oz package semisweet chocolate chips (i also threw in some leftover butterscotch chips)

1. Butter a 9"x13" baking dish
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 300-310° or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Pour into prepared pan and do not spread. Allow to cool completely
4. In a double boiler melt chocolate chips stirring constantly until smooth. Break candy into pieces and coat with the chocolate. Place pieces on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles- recipe from Taste of Home
-3/4 Cup powdered sugar
-2 Tablespoons cocoa
-4 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55oz each)
-6 Tablespoons butter
-1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
-1 Cup ground hazelnuts

1. In a large bowl whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa. Set aside. In a double boiler melt the butter and candy bars. Add heavy cream and reserved sugar/cocoa mixture. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until mixture is thickened and smooth. Pour into an 8" square dish. cover and refridgerate at least 5 hours.2. Using a melon baller or spoon, shape candy into 1" balls and roll into crushed hazelnuts. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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