Candy-making…. Nowadays, we can easily come across candies of all kinds all throughout the year. Candy shelves line the check-out lanes at the grocery stores. Quarter candy machines stand beside the doors of barber shops, restaurants, and big box stores. We even have entire stores dedicated solely to candies and confections. It’s not often, anymore, that we get into our kitchens and actually cook candy. And, often, when we do, we mix up a concoction of almond bark, cereal, and nuts: melt, mix, harden, break. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy some “white trash” candy, as it is often called, but there is something about standing over a pot of bubbling sugar and milk with a thermometer that really makes a person feel as if they have conquered the kitchen. If baking is an art, candy-making is a science. That sugar and milk has to boil at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time, or the candy won’t set properly when it is finished. And then, there’s the waiting for it to set up or harden. (Of course, we are blessed with refrigerators and freezers, so we can speed that process up a bit, these days.) Now, I do not say all of this to scare you away from candy-making. By no means! Get in there, and make some candy. The funny thing about candy, even if it doesn’t set up right, it often tastes just fine, even if you have to eat it with a spoon. 😉
Happy candy-making and Merry Christmas!
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. butter (or coconut oil)
- 12 oz. (1 pkg.) chocolate chips
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Butter a 4-quart saucepan.
- In the pan, combine: sugar, milk, evaporated milk, corn syrup, and salt.
The milks, sugar, salt, and syrup heating up. Thick pans and wooden spoons work best for candy-making.
- Over medium heat, cook until boiling.
- Once it’s boiling, cook until you reach soft ball stage (238-degrees). Stir only to prevent sticking. The mixture should boil gently over the entire surface.
Place the tip of the thermometer in the center of the liquid you are trying to measure. Do not set it on the bottom of the pan.
- Once it has reached the soft ball stage, remove the pan from the heat. If you have an electric stove, this means moving the pan entirely off the burner because the coils will hold heat for quite some time after you’ve turned the burner off.
- Add chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla. Stir only enough to melt and mix in the chips. Don’t worry about the mixture being lumpy; you will beat it later.
- Allow the mixture to cool, without stirring, until it is lukewarm (about 110-degrees.)
While you’re waiting, take a picture of your assistants because they are too cute not to. 🙂
Say “Hi!” Zachary.
- If you have a hand mixer, use that for the next step. If, like me, you only have a stand mixer, then butter the bowl, and transfer the fudge to the bowl.
- Now, beat the fudge vigorously for about 10 minutes or until it becomes very thick and loses its gloss.
I mixed mine on a medium-high for several minutes using the paddle attachment.
- Spread into a buttered 9×13 pan. Allow to cool for several hours on the counter or 2-3 hours in the fridge.
Press the fudge out to an even thickness. This recipe makes about 2 1/4 lbs. of fudge.
***Every time this recipe called for using butter, I used coconut oil, and it worked perfectly.
***A recipe by my step-mom and sister Deanie Y. and Dawn R.
I made these a few days ago for breakfast. Connor loves them, and I’m mighty fond of them myself. I’ve even gotten Nic to say he will try them tomorrow morning. 🙂 They are just a basic muffin with chocolate chips mixed in the batter. Yummy and simple. Mmm!
- 1 3/4 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 beaten egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cooking oil
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center.
- In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil.
- Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just till moistened.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Fill greased or paper lined muffin tins 2/3 full.
- Bake at 375-degrees for 18-20 minutes.
- Makes about a dozen muffins.
From Better Homes and Gardens Quick Breads Cook Book, copyright 1975.
Do you like chocolate? Do you like granola? Then, you will like this tasty treat. It’s an incredibly unhealthy, chocolate-ly granola bar. I made it recently for a pot luck at church, and it was lapped up. Thankfully, it’s a big recipe, and I had a whole pan still waiting for me at home. 😀 I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans*
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Set aside 2 tablespoons of butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat remaining butter for about 30 seconds.
- Add brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla until combined.
- Beat in as much flour as you can, and mix in the rest with a spoon.
- Stir in oats.
- For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine reserved butter, chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Stir in nuts* and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
- Press 2/3 of the oat mixture (about 3 1/3 cups) onto the bottom of an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. (I don’t have one, so I actually used two 9-inch cake pans and one 8-inch cake pan.)
- Spread filling evenly over the oat mixture.
- Dot remaining oat mixture on top.
- Bake at 350-degrees for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate filling will still look moist).
- Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Makes about 60 bars. (I told you it was a big recipe.)
*I forgot to add the nuts, so they’re optional.
>> From Better Homes and Gardens Our Best Recipes Cook Book
Easter was several weeks ago, and my husband and I had some of my family over to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Time to fellowship with them over a feast that could have fed a small army was wonderful. Among other things, I made this pie, most especially for my Uncle Buddy whose birthday had been a couple of weeks before and who also loves chocolate pie. I’m not much of a fan of the chocolate pudding pie, but I can chow down on some French Silk Pie, it’s more like a mousse than pudding and oh so delicious! Mmmmm!
Now, let me warn you, this pie takes a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it. It’s not necessarily difficult, but it does have many steps and requires some careful stove-top cooking. Don’t get intimidated, though; just take a breath and dive right in.
I got this recipe, along with the crust recipe (because it was right across the page and only made one crust) from the Better Homes and Gardens Our Best Recipes cook book, page 262-263.
Pie Crust Recipe:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 4-5 tbsp. cold water
- Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
- In a medium bowl combine flour and salt.
- Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening.
- Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water; gently toss with a fork. Push to the sides of the bowl.
- Repeat with additional water, until all is moistened. (If you need more than 5 tablespoons, use it.)
- Form into a ball.
- On a slightly floured surface (or between two pieces of parchment paper), slightly flatten dough. Roll from center to edge into a circle about 12-inches in diameter.
- Wrap around rolling pin, unroll in a 9-inch pie plate. Ease into pie plate, being careful not to stretch the dough.
- Trim pastry to about 1/2 an inch from the edge of the plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge. Do not prick.
- Line with a double thickness of foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes more or until golden.
- Cool on a wire rack.
French Silk Pie Recipe:
- 1 baked 9-inch pie crust
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz.)
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 3 tbsp. whipping cream
- 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped (optional)
- chocolate curls (optional)
- Prepare pie crust; set aside.
- In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate chips, butter, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Gradually stir half the hot mixture into the egg yolks. (This is called tempering the eggs. You do it so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your pie.) Return egg yolk mixture to chocolate mixture in saucepan.
- Cook over low-medium heat heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and begins to bubble (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. (Mixture may appear to separate.)
- Stir in 3 tablespoons of whipping cream (or crème de cacao – I’m not sure what that is.).
- Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water; stir occasionally until the mixture stiffens and becomes hard to stir (about 20 minutes).
- Transfer cooled mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Spread in the cooled pie crust.
- Cover and chill for 5-24 hours.
- Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls to serve.
I have a yummy recipe for you today! It’s, again, been some time since I last posted anything, but you mamas know how busy you get being “Mama.” I was recently asked if I get to bake much anymore. The answer: I’m starting to pick back up on it some. Just this week, I made two loaves of bread (one recipe’s worth), hamburger buns, spaghetti sauce (which I used to make lasagna), baby food, and play-dough! Whoo-hoo! Okay, so you wouldn’t want to eat the play-dough, but I did have to cook it. 😀 I will post the recipe for it soon.
For today’s post, however, I have a Marble Pound Cake. I saw it on Pinterest, and you can find the original recipe here: http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2013/02/27/marble-pound-cake/. I made it for a Ladies’ Luncheon that I went to last Saturday. I may have mixed mine a bit too much because it’s not quite as pretty as the one on the above site, but it still tasted good. I came home with just a couple of slices left. Believe it or not, it’s simpler than you might think to make. It is a little time consuming, but simple. If you know how to make a checker-board pattern, you know how to make this cake.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup cake flour (If you don’t have cake flour, use about 1 5/8 cups all-purpose flour and 3 tbsp. cornstarch.)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or 2 tsp. imitation vanilla flavoring)
- 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature (or 2 tsp. white vinegar and enough milk to make 2/3 cup of liquid)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark.)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. boiling water
- butter or spray for loaf pan
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Generously spray or butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Scoop 1/3 of batter into a small bowl and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa and boiling water until smooth.
- Add cocoa mixture to the small bowl of cake batter; stir well.
- To assemble the cake – Start by creating a checkerboard pattern in the bottom of the pan by spooning dollops of each batter on opposite sides of the pan. (I did six dollops of batter, three on each side of the pan.)
- Continue to make layers with the cake batter, alternating the pattern on top of itself (chocolate on white, white on chocolate). *Note: The original recipe only does three layers of batter, but my batter was thin. I had several layers, so many I didn’t even bother counting. I just repeated the pattern over and over until I used up all the batter.
- To marblize the cake, use a knife or a skewer to swirl the batter together. Make a couple of figure 8s and run it back and forth until it is swirled and pretty.
- Bake the cake until a toothpick comes out clean, anywhere from 40-60 minutes. I needed about 55 minutes for my cake to be completely cooked.
- Transfer pan to a rack to cool about 10 minutes. Turn out cake and cool completely on the rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Oh, warm biscuits and chocolate gravy…..If you haven’t had it, you haven’t lived. I’m sorry; it’s just the plain truth. Growing up, I had chocolate gravy on occassion from my mom and my step-mom. Personally, I always liked my mom’s recipe better (not that your’s isn’t good, Deanie), but that’s a moot point because I don’t know either of their recipes, which means I’ve been chocolate gravy deprived for several sad years (because as previously discussed, life without chocolate gravy now and then just isn’t really living). [You do know I’m exaggerating, right? But only by a hair.] Anyway, back to my lack of a recipe….Fast forward to my discovery of Pinterest. Thanks to this rather incredible site (Seriously, it’s almost like having a pictorial index for the internet!), I now have a delicious recipe for this decadent breakfast sauce. You can find the original recipe here: http://varmintbites.com/2007/10/21/chocolate-gravy-yes-chocolate-gravy/. I, however, didn’t use the actual recipe from the site. Some previous pinner had quoted the ingredients on the comment line of the pin on Pinterest, and I wrote that down and went from there on my own, which may make a tad bit of difference in the outcome of the gravy. Whether it did or not, doesn’t really matter, though, because I thought this gravy was wonderful!
Now, I guess you can put chocolate gravy on lots of stuff, but nothing beats warm biscuits fresh from the oven. Several in my family add a dollop of butter on top of the gravy, which is generously covering the palm-size biscuits, and it’s always washed down with a tall glass of cold milk! Mmmmm! My dad would say something along the lines of “That’ll make your tongue slap your teeth out of your mouth trying to get to it!” By the way, if you need a good biscuit recipe, I can personally vouch for this one: https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/biscuits/. 😉
That’s enough tantalizing. Here’s the recipe!
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over high to medium heat.
- While you wait, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add milk and vanilla to melted butter. Whisk well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients, whisking constantly as you pour it in.
- Continue to whisk the gravy until it thickens. This will only take a minute or two.
- Remove from heat immediately, and serve warm!