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Entries in Holidays (6)

Monday
Dec102012

Candy bar fudge

I will be ending my string of Christmas treats with my three favorites. I've been saving the best for last! This fudge is incredible and comes with a warning: If you take a bite, you will not want to stop taking bites. You will need to dig very deep inside of yourself for willpower to stop taking bites. It is so addicting that I have been storing my batch of crack, I mean fudge, in the freezer to make it more difficult to graze upon. 

As I type, I am drinking a green, juiced mug of veggies. My goal is to drink this for my breakfasts and lunches all week to counter some damage I have done over the past 10 days. Ok, I really need someone to come remove this fudge from my freezer. HELP!

Here is Day #10 of Twelve Days of Christmas Treats!

(recipe adapted from: desertculinary.blogspot.com)

Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

FIRST LAYER:

In a small bowl, combine:

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Heat in the microwave in two 30-second intervals, stirring after each. Stir until creamy and then pour the mixture in an even layer into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place the pan in the freezer.

SECOND LAYER:

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. 

Add:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup evaporated milk

Stir and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and add:

1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir until combined.

Add 1 cup of salted peanuts.

Stir until combined. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the mixture in an even layer over the chocolate layer. Place back in the freezer.

THIRD LAYER:

In a small saucepan, add:

14-oz. bag caramels, unwrapped

1/4 cup evaporated milk

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel is melted and smooth. You could do this step in the microwave instead, but for some reason I always prefer melting caramel on the stove.

Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the caramel over the top in an even layer. Place back in the freezer.

FOURTH LAYER:

In a small bowl, combine:

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Heat in the microwave in two 30-second intervals, stirring after each. Stir until creamy. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the mixture in an even layer onto the top. Make sure the caramel layer is firm before doing this.

Refrigerate for 1 hour (or perhaps you could cheat a bit and freeze for a shorter time like I may or may not have done).

Cut into small squares and serve! Store the uneaten fudge in the fridge. Or the freezer, depending on how addicted you become.

Enjoy!

Candy Bar Fudge

Get ready to become addicted. This fudge is INSANELY yummy.

Serves: 24

Total time: 2 hrs

Candy Bar Fudge



Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow crème
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 14-oz. bag caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Instructions:
  1. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. FIRST LAYER: In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips and peanut butter. Heat in the microwave in two 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Stir until creamy and pour in an even layer into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place pan in freezer.
  3. SECOND LAYER: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in marshmallow crème, peanut butter and vanilla. Add peanuts and stir until incorporated. Pour mixture over the chocolate layer from the freezer and spread evenly. Place back in freezer.
  4. THIRD LAYER: Add the caramels and evaporated milk to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until caramel is melted and smooth. Remove pan from freezer and pour caramel over the second layer. Place back in freezer.
  5. FOURTH LAYER: In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips and peanut. Heat in the microwave in two 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Stir until creamy and pour in an even layer onto the top.
  6. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and cut into squares when ready to serve. Keep refrigerated.

 

 

Saturday
Dec012012

Homemade caramels

This is the first of twelve Christmas treats I will post about in the next twelve days! Exciting! Or maybe it's just me. Part of the reason I love this season so much is because of the baking and stirring and cutting and wrapping and eating and delivering. This caramel recipe is possibly my favorite of all Christmas treats. I remember the first time I made these, back when I was the only one who lived in my then clean (but very boring) home. I stood over my stove stirring for what seemed like forever, thinking, THESE BETTER BE GOOD, DANGIT. When they were finished, I vowed to never complain about the cooking and stirring process again because they are chewy, buttery, sugary deliciousness at its very best. So here you go, friends..

Day One of Twelve Days of Christmas Treats!

Coat a 9x13 baking dish generously with cooking spray and set aside. You will be needing a candy thermometer for this recipe. Candy thermometers aren't as intimidating as they may seem. You can purchase a decent one for ~$10, and they are easy to use.

In a large, heavy-duty saucepan, combine:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup evaporated milk

1 pint heavy whipping cream

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 243 degrees F. 

At first the stirring speed can be fairly slow. You can, say, stir with one hand while perusing Pinterest with your other, if that is your thing. The entire cooking process takes me somewhere around 45-50 minutes. A little over halfway through, the stirring must become a little more vigorous, as you must make sure the mixture does not burn.

Occasionally dip the candy thermometer into the middle, being careful not to touch the bottom of the pan, until you get a reading. 243 degrees is my magic number. Any less and the caramels are too gooey. Any more, and they are too chewy.

When you reach the magic number, immediately remove the pan from the heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Stir until combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared 9x13 pan. Allow the caramel to cool completely.

Cut into 1/2-inch x 1-inch pieces and wrap individually in wax paper. 

You will love these! So will your neighbors, friends, children, you get the idea. ENJOY!

Printable recipe: Homemade caramels

Thursday
Feb092012

Heart-shaped eggs and toast

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, people! I've never been a huge V-Day lover, or hater for that matter. Until I met my husband, that is. For the past six years I have loved the holiday because he does everything possible to make it special for me. My favorite thing about V-Day is the food he makes. Every year since we have been together, he has made some sort of scrumptious surf-n-turf dinner that makes us both swoon. I am super excited for V-Day Dinner 2012! 

This year, since I am no longer working full-time and I now have much more time on my hands, I had the idea of making a special V-Day breakfast for my boys. Something cute and yummy. So here is what I came up with. A plate filled with edible hearts!

Generously coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Get the skillet nice and hot over medium heat.

One at a time, separate the yolks from the whites of 4 eggs. Lightly beat each yolk with a fork.

Spray the inside edges of 2 heart-shaped cookie cutters (one small and one large). Place them onto the heated skillet. Pour an egg white into the center of the large heart and a beaten yolk into the center of the small heart. Cover the skillet and allow the eggs to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Use a spatula to transfer the cookie-cutter-encased eggs to a plate for cooling. Carefully remove the cookie cutters from the eggs (they will be hot!). Repeat this process with the remaining eggs.

Cut hearts into toasted bread with the cookie cutters and top with desired topping, such as some delicious apricot-raspberry jam!

As an alternate option, crack an entire egg into the large cookie cutter and allow it to cook in the same manner. It turns out just as cute, and you can cook the yolk to your liking. Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Dec282011

Sugar cookies

You might be inclined to ask me, "So Megan, are you ever going to get back to making normal foods? You know, things that don't contain a ton of sugar?" And my answer would be: Yes! I honestly don't know what has gotten into me this holiday season. I have always loved making holiday treats, but never this much. The only thing I can think of is that it has been an exceptional year (as in: "deviating from the norm"; not as in: "better than average"). In so many ways. So to carry on with this theme, why not make exceptions on my blog, too? Two months of crazy sugary delicious baking? Awesome!

I love this sugar cookie recipe. It is a holiday favorite of mine, and that was proven by the number of them that I ate over Christmas weekend. It is OBSCENE how many sugar cookies I am able to consume. Obscene, but mmmm, irresistible and delicious!

In a large bowl, combine:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

Using a hand-held mixer, beat mixture on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Add:

2 eggs

2 teaspoons almond extract (I adore almond extract, as opposed to vanilla, in sugar cookies)

2 teaspoons salt

Beat until just combined.

Gradually add in 4 cups of all-purpose flour, again until just combined.

Shape the dough into two separate disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out with a 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Decorate with colored sugar, if desired.

 Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown.

If you wish to decorate your cookies with icing, allow them to cool completely before doing so. 

This is a large batch. It makes somewhere around 50 cookies. More, if you use small cookie cutters. Cut the ingredients in half if you aren't someone who plans to eat TWENTY-FIVE COOKIES ON YOUR OWN.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Monday
Dec262011

Spiral sugar cookies

These colorful cookies from Sprinkle Bakes caught my eye last week as I perused for something festive to bring to Christmas Eve dinner. Aren't they pretty? The green swirl was fun for Christmas, but any color would be just as fun. Bright yellow for a spring-time cookie? Orange for a Halloween cookie? A swirl of colors for a birthday cookie?

Not only are these pretty, but they are also deliciously tasty. They were by far my favorite of all the cookies I brought to our Christmas Eve gathering. And you can imagine how much the kids enjoyed them! I heard someone say, "Ooo, look! A Grinch cookie!" The green swirls do strangely remind me of the Grinch's long, swirling fingers.

In a food processor, combine:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Process until combined.

Add 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (cold and cubed) and process until the mixture has a cornmeal consistency.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and process until the mixture just forms a ball. It will still be somewhat crumbly at first.

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the food processor.

Add to the food processor:

1/2 teaspoon almond extract 

1 tube gel food coloring (any color)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Process until just incorporated.

Roll out each half of the dough between sheets of wax paper into an 8x11-inch(ish) rectangle, with a 1/4-inch thickness. I used a piece of paper as a guide. Leaving the wax paper on the dough halves, stack on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Pour 1 cup of multi-colored sprinkles in a shallow rectangular dish.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top pieces of wax paper from each half of dough. Flip the colored dough half over onto the white dough half so that dough is touching dough. Remove the top sheet of wax paper and trim the long edges with a sharp knife so that the sides are straight and parallel with one another.

When the dough becomes just pliable, roll it into a log beginning with a long edge. Gently curl the edge with your fingertips and do your best to avoid creating air pockets. Carefully lift the log into the decor-filled dish. 

Gently roll it around until the outside is completely cooated with color.

Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice, at least 4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Slice the cookie log into 1/4-inch-thick discs and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the cookies are no longer shiny.

Enjoy these! And thank you, Sprinkle Bakes, for such a fun and delicious recipe!

 

Spiral Sugar Cookies

Use different colors to match your occasion! Red for Christmas, pink for a girl party or blue for pool-side snacks. (recipe adapted from: sprinklebakes.com)

Serves: 24

Total time: 1 hr plus 6 hrs chilling time

Spiral Sugar Cookies



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tube gel food coloring, any color
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup multi-colored nonpareil decors
Instructions:
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugars in a food processor and process to mix. Add butter and process until the mixture has a cornmeal consistency. Add the vanilla and process until mixture just forms a ball.
  2. Divide the dough in half and return one of the halves to the food processor. Add the almond extract, food coloring and 2 tablespoons of flour to the processor and process until just incorporated.
  3. Roll out each portion of dough between sheets of waxed paper into an 8x11-inch rectangle, with ¼-inch thickness. Stack the dough, leaving in the wax paper, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  4. Pour the decors into a shallow rectangular dish. Remove the dough from refrigerator and peel off the top pieces of wax paper from each dough half. Lift one and flip it over onto the other half so that the doughs are touching. Remove the top sheet of wax paper and trim the long edges with a sharp knife so that the sides are straight.
  5. When the dough becomes just pliable, roll the dough beginning with a long end into a log. Gently curl the edge with fingertips and try to avoid creating pockets of air. Carefully lift log into the dish with the decors and roll until outside is completely coated. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice, at least 4 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice log into ¼-inch-thick discs and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 15-17 minutes, or until the cookies are no longer shiny.