Recipes

The hand-crafted candy edition

Earlier this week, when Carole posted about making candy, it reminded me of all the homemade candy recipes my family has. These are traditionally made during the holiday season and most of them are inherently gluten-free, although definitely not lactose-free!

Enjoy… and be brave and observant. Those old family recipes are often cryptic and filled with assumptions and odd ingredients. (Chocolate bark?!) My favorites are the peanut butter cups, bon bons, and can’t fail fudge.


Toffee
1 c chopped nuts
1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
6 oz chocolate chips

Butter 8″ square pan. Spread nuts on bottom. Mix butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil seven minutes on low heat. (You can boil the butter and brown sugar in a microwave instead. However, the recipe directions are a bit cryptic: #7 setting. 4:44. Stir. 3:33.)

Pour over nuts. Place chocolate chips on top and cover the pan for a few minutes to soften the chips. Spread chips with a knife. When the toffee is cool, break into pieces. (Check out Bridget’s toffee recipe, which has action shots!)


Nut Caramels
2 c sugar
2 c sweet cream
1 1/2 c dark corn syrup
1/4 lb butter (1/2 c)
3/4 – 1 1/2 c chopped walnuts
2 tsp vanilla

Butter 13×9 pan. Combine sugar, cream, syrup, and butter in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring every two minutes. Boil to soft ball stage or 242F. (The boiling business takes a long time.) Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.

For chocolate caramels, add 2 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate with the nuts and vanilla.

Microwave (no risk of scorching, but again with the cryptic)
Use a covered glass bowl that’s more than twice the volume of the ingredients (2 1/2 quarts works well). Times are approximate. Stir slowly and carefully since mixture bubbles up, almost flaring. Still easier than on top of stove.

First – High: 7:77, 5:00 (stir after each listed time)

Then on #7: 8:88, 8:88, 8:88, 8:88, 8:88 – may need more 8:88 or 5:55. Use candy thermometer the last four times.


Peanut Butter Cups
1 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c butter or margarine
2 scant c powdered sugar
2-3 pkg chocolate bark (you can use semisweet chocolate chips instead, but I’m mystified about the amount you’d need)

Mix together peanut butter, butter or margarine, and powdered sugar. Form into small, slightly flattened balls. Melt chocolate, place some in small paper cup (small cupcake papers), add peanut butter ball, press a little, and cover with more choc. These can be frozen.


Chocolate Cream Drops (Bon Bons)
Melt 1/2 cup butter. Add 2 lbs powdered sugar, 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, 7 oz finely shredded coconut, and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Chill until firm, then roll into small balls and chill again.

For the coating, melt 6 oz choc chips, 1/2 block paraffin wax, and 1 sq Baker’s chocolate in double boiler. Dip bon bons in chocolate and set on waxed paper. These can be frozen.


Can’t Fail Fudge
3 c semisweet or double chocolate chocolate chips (1.5  12-oz bags)
1 14-oz can fat-free Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla

Melt chips in microwave. (I do 2 1/2 minutes, stir, then 2 1/2 more minutes.) Stir chips – they should be smooth (i.e., no unmelted chips!). Add vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. Stir until well mixed. Using a rubber spatula, transfer to either individual containers, or to a greased 8″ pan with waxed paper on the bottom (if you want to dump out the fudge and cut it). Pat it smooth with rubber spatula.


Divinity Fudge
2 c sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/2 c water
2 egg whites
1 c chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla

Boil sugar, syrup, and water until mixture turns brittle when dropped into cold water. Pour slowly over stiffly beaten egg whites. Add nuts and vanilla. Beat until mixture is creamy. Pour in buttered pan.


Maple Cream Fudge
4 c brown sugar
2 tbsp gf flour blend
2 tsp baking powder
1 c unsweetened (evaporated) milk
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Blend dry ingredients together in a saucepan, stir well, and add milk and butter. (Chris: No idea what temperature you should use for this!) Stir constantly as mixture will scorch easily. Cook until soft ball forms in cold water. Add vanilla. Let stand about 5 minutes or until partly cooled. Beat until thick, then spread in buttered pan. (Chris: I’m guessing a 13×9 pan. Guessing!)


“I want candy. Tuna candy. Why didn’t you share that recipe, Mom?” -Mayhem

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Well, crap. I guess I’ll have to break out a recipe.

Yes, my project on my other notebook computer continues. I got an official backup (a very unimpressive 22 hours to backup 125 gb – ack!) and am in the process of doing some simple “copy all of the good stuff on to the portable hard drive for redundancy and simplicity.” Theoretically simple, at least. At one point, Vista 64 informed me that it would take 38,000 days to copy 50 gb. *blink blink* Um… Iz hatez Vista. And if there were drivers for virtually any other OS for that notebook, I’d probably be test driving a new OS right now. Anyway. Wish me luck, since I’ll soon (hopefully) be reinstalling Vista 64 to see if that improves things. I’ve seen the BSOD more times in the past month than in my life prior to using Vista 64.


Onward! Here’s one of my gluten-free recipes that I haven’t posted before. Mmmm… snickerdoodles…

Snickerdoodles
1 c butter
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 c GF flour mix (I used 1/4 c tapioca flour, 1 1/4 c sweet rice flour, and 1 1/4 c rice flour at the time, but Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour Blend would probably work well)

Beat together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir dry ingredients together and slowly add to butter mixture. Chill dough. Roll into walnut-sized balls, then roll in a mixture of 2 T sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Place 2″ apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F until barely browned but still soft, approximately 10-12 minutes.


Let’s see what I have in my uploaded but not used photo folder. *sound of rummaging* How about some scenery pictures from mid-October?

Ah, a lovely guardian fruit basket, protecting the inhabitants from… scurvy?

I’m fond of this house and its boulder scaping. Personally, I think they should just have eliminated the grass entirely and gone with a boulder field.

Whoops – some Halloween decoration pictures I forgot to post…

Here’s a detail from the house above. Embiggen for full effect!

*more rummaging* Aw, look at Mayhem enjoying the sun back in… September 2007.

“Sunshine on my toes makes me happy! Sunshine in my eyes makes me blink!” -Mayhem

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Tales of the Neighborhood

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Random for a rainy (and possibly snowy?!) Friday

I’m actually going to get out and do some interesting things this weekend! (Sure, I can wait a minute while you all recover.) Tonight Jeanne and I are going to see the play Stitch, Bitch n’ Die, then tomorrow night Jess and I are going to see Cloud Cult at First Avenue.

This lolcatz gave me the giggles – maybe because the feline face looks almost familiar.

KnitOwl is having a contest – finish the sentence “The night was…” and you could win one of her cute handmade toys if you make her husband laugh. You can submit as many sentences as you like by May 15. (Not limited to knitters! Anyone who has a kid or knows a kid should give this a shot.)

Knitting patterns and copyright seem to generate a lot of brouhaha – if you’ve read enough such to last you a lifetime, you’ll definitely enjoy Fleegle’s humorous take on the subject.

Keep Knitting Infinity Wendy in your thoughts, as she just lost her lovely kitty Samantha to cancer.

The Boston Globe had a nice article about celiac disease plus some gluten-free recipes in Wednesday’s edition. Speaking of gluten-free recipes… ;)

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars
Heat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with parchment paper.

Crust
3/4 c butter, softened
1 c + 1/2 c sweet rice flour or rice flour (or gluten-free flour mixture)
1/4 tsp xanthan or guar gum
3/4 c powdered sugar

Mix butter, 1 c flour, xanthan/guar gum, and powdered sugar. If dough seems too sticky, add the additional 1/2 c flour in small amounts and mix well after each addition. Pat dough into lined pan. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until crust is very lightly browned. Remove crust from oven and cool.

Filling
2 T lemon juice
zest from one lemon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t xanthan or guar gum
2 T cornstarch
1 c sugar

Mix filling ingredients and spread on cooled crust. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle warm bars with powdered sugar. Let bars cool thoroughly before cutting.


“Hey Mom, don’t start counting your gluten-free beers today, ‘k? *belch*” -Mayhem

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Some reading, a recipe, and several warnings that you will probably ignore

Careful – if you follow this link, you could get a cute burn… Didn’t I warn you?! ;)

Jeanne posted about our adventures on Saturday, including my picture! Hmm, apparently she felt some pressure to post that picture…

Reading Update
Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead. The sequel to Succubus Blues, this is a well-written and at times rather steamy *fans self* paranormal romance featuring succubus and bookstore assistant manager Georgina Kincaid. Definitely recommended.
Working for the Devil, Dead Man Rising, The Devil’s Right Hand, Saint City Sinners, and To Hell and Back by Lilith Saintcrow. These five books comprise the well-written and very compelling Dante Valentine series. (So compelling that I read the entire series in a week, even though I did spend much of books 3-5 being annoyed at Dante.) This is part futuristic urban fantasy and part paranormal romance.
Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues: A Dixie Hemingway Mystery by Blaize Clement. The latest Dixie Hemingway mystery was a good read – much, much better than so many of the “niche” mysteries.


I’ll continue to randomly post the gluten-free recipes I’ve adapted from “regular” recipes until I run out of them. You’ll be surprised at how quickly that happens! :)

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
2 tsp vanilla (or so – I just kinda dump it in there…)
2 eggs
1 c sweet rice flour, 1 c rice flour, & 1/4 c tapioca flour (or you can just use a total of 2 1/4 c of Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour Mix)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 -1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 c chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips. Bake for about 10 min at 350F, or until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown. Do not overbake. Let sit for a few minutes on the cookie sheet so they can set. These cookies don’t warm up well in the microwave – they get a bit crumbly. Also, I tend to bake a pan at a time and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge, as these cookies dry out faster than the traditional kind.


Here’s May with one of her beloved hot pink furry mice (HPFMs). Shhh… don’t make eye contact… she’s a leeeeeetle bit obsessive about playing fetch…

“Hmph. I don’t think being on the other side of the computer screen is a good reason to not play fetch with me. So there.” -Mayhem

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Kureyon-Chan revisited, a recipe, and a visit from Ceiling Cat

What with MagKnits being removed yesterday, I made a new page for my Kureyon-Chan felted bag pattern. I’ve updated the link in the sidebar and Ravelry should be updated soon.

“Dah-links! Don’t you think I look simply smashing with this bag?” -Chaos

Work totally ate my brain yesterday (I blame the meeting that was scheduled for one hour but stretched to three). I think the most amusing thing that happened yesterday was when the windshield replacement company arrived to replace my car’s windshield and their van had… a broken windshield.

Hmm, it’s been a while since we had a recipe around here, hasn’t it? Here’s the world’s easiest peanut butter cookie recipe, which also happens to be gluten-free (as long as you use crumb-free peanut butter):

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar if using unsweetened peanut butter, or 1/2-2/3 cup if using sweetened pb
1 egg
chocolate chips (optional)

Mix ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls on to cookie sheet and press flat with a fork. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Do not overbake! Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before you try to remove them.

“Yes, Ceiling Cat? I am to go forth and spread the word? And the word is… supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Ummmmm… could you write that down for me, please? ‘K thx, bye.” -Mayhem

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