Baking Time!

December 9, 2008 at 12:21 am | Posted in Candy, chocolate, Cookies, Dessert | 3 Comments

I love, love to bake for Christmas!  It’s been a tradition of my mom and mine for awhile now and I started on it yesterday.  I just did a few easy things but it got me in the mood to bake Christmas things so I can’t wait until next weekend when I really go at it!  Yesterday I baked:

Peanut Brittle

Chess Squares

Puppy Chow

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Mint Chocolate Cookies

I had baked everything before except for the mint chocolate cookies.  They are AMAZING.  My coworkers kept eating them today more than anything else.  They truly do taste like a Thin Mint so if you like those, then you will LOVE this.  Here is the recipe from allrecipes.com:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 36 chocolate mint wafer candies (I used Andes mints)
  • Directions

    1. In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
    2. At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    4. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

    Pig Rating:  The pig loves chess squares, but he isn’t a mint fan so he didn’t try the cookies.

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  Everything was so good!  The chocolate mint cookies truly do taste like a Thin Mint and fresh out of the oven these are AMAZING.  This recipe makes about 40-45 cookies.

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    Peanut Brittle

    December 16, 2007 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Candy, nuts | Leave a comment

    My Granny makes the most awesome peanut brittle – it is on the things I always look for when I go home for Christmas. I decided I would give it a shot this year. I thought it would be really hard – it wasn’t that bad at all really! : )

    Ingredients
    1 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup water
    1 cup peanuts
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 teaspoon baking soda

    Directions
    Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
    In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
    Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter or margarine and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14×12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.

    Tip – make sure that you have all of your ingredients measured out beforehand – there is not time for you to measure ingredients between steps – this one moves fast!

    Mrs. Pig Rating: This is really good!!! Maybe not as good as Granny’s but she does have a few years on me. And everything always tastes better when a Granny makes it right?? : )

    Pig Rating:

    Recipes from allrecipes.com, picture from my kitchen

    Chocolate Truffles

    December 16, 2007 at 9:05 pm | Posted in Candy, chocolate | 1 Comment

    I love the rich taste of a truffle – I can never eat that many at a time, but the chocolate is always so yummy! My friend Clara has been into making truffles this year so I thought I would give it a shot. I found a good, easy recipe that I wanted to try. I love truffles because you can coat them with so many different things according to your tastes – sprinkles, cocoa, coconut, nuts, etc. So fun to make!!!

    Ingredients
    3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    Coatings (optional):
    Finely chopped toasted nuts, flaked coconut, chocolate sprinkles, colored sprinkles, unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar or colored sugars

    Directions
    In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with EAGLE BRAND®. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Chill 2-3 hours or until firm.
    Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in any of the listed coatings.
    Chill 1 hour or until firm. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
    Tip – Quite a few people that used this recipe felt that the chocolate was too hard after chilling for 2-3 hours and they just left it out at room temperatue. I refrigerated for about 1-2 hours and I didn’t have much of a problem.

    Mrs. Pig Rating:

    Pig Rating:

    Recipe from allrecipes.com, picture from my kitchen

    December Baked Goods Exchange – I got my goodies!

    December 15, 2007 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Fun, pizza, SBGEX | 1 Comment

    Another month, another baked goods exchange! I got mine early in the month this time so that was very exciting for me! : ) My girl kept saying that she had sent them and I still hadn’t received them and she was getting worried about the goodies thinking they might not be good when they got here. But alas! Today I finally received them which was perfect because it was right in the middle of my baking spree.

    And my secret baker this month was….ALANNA!! Thanks fellow wine-o!!! : ) : ) She sent me 3 really awesome things – Pepperoni snacks (because I’m always wanting pizza), chocolate peanut butter swirl fudge, and chewy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
    Pepperoni Snacks – This one is from Clara’s blog so I will kindly direct you to that link

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge – From allrecipes.com

    Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – From allrecipes.com

    Recipes from allrecipes.com, etc., pictures from my kitchen

    Chocolate Covered Cashews

    December 15, 2007 at 10:08 pm | Posted in Candy, nuts | Leave a comment

    We love cashews so much so I figured I should make some chocolate covered ones this holiday -when else can I get away with that?? : ) So easy to make and so yummy.

    Ingredients
    1 bar of Ghirardelli bakers chocolate bar
    1 can of cashews

    Directions
    Melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot simmering water. Stir occasional. Pour cashews into a medium sized bowl and pour the chocolate over them once it is melted. Put in refrigerator to cool so chocolate hardens.

    Recipe from me, picture from me
    Mrs Pig Rating: I LOOOVE these! I will definitely be making another batch soon.
    Pig Rating: He really likes these. He said make sure and keep some of them at home and don’t give them all away. HA! : )

    Spiced Nuts

    December 15, 2007 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Candy, Dessert, nuts | Leave a comment

    My mom and I have been making spiced nuts for a few years now and they are one of my favorite treats around Christmas time. They smell awesome when they are cooking and I love to just snack on them.

    Ingredients
    1/2 c. brown sugar
    1/2 c. granulated sugar
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. ginger
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1 tbsp. water
    1 egg white
    4 cups of nuts (I use pecans. You can use pecans, walnuts, etc.)

    Directions
    Combine first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Beat egg white and water in medium bowl until frothy. Add sugar mixture and stir.
    Add nuts and stir.
    Spread on greased baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes stirring occasionally until golden. Cool thoroughly. Store in airtight container.
    Makes 6 cups.

    Mrs. Pig Rating: I love these!!! So easy and so good. They smell wonderful baking!

    Pig Rating: He really likes these a lot. He loves pecans by themselves so he thought this was a really good additive. : )

    Recipe from my mom, picture from my kitchen

    Hard Candy

    December 15, 2007 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Candy | 2 Comments

    This weekend is my offical baking weekend of the holidays. I have been so excited about it!!! I am making quite a few different things but today is candy day. : ) I started with hard candy. I LOVE hard candy but had never made it. I was nervous to make it for some reason but it turned out really easy. The key is having a good candy thermometer and having patience : )

    Also, thanks to Nikki for all of the great tips for my during the cooking process – she is like a 24 hour baking help hotline!

    Here is a picture of the hard candy actually right after I poured it onto the cookie sheet to cool.

    Ingredients

    3 3/4 cups white sugar
    1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoon orange, or other flavored extract (I used strawberry for this particular batch)
    1/2 teaspoon food coloring (optional)
    1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting


    Directions
    In a medium saucepan, stir together the white sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Without stirring, heat to 300 to 310 degrees F (149 to 154 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads.

    Remove from heat and stir in flavored extract and food coloring, if desired. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet, and dust the top with confectioners’ sugar. Let cool, and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.



    Tips: Some Nikki tips – do not add the flavoring until the bubbles have gone down in the boiling mixture. Also, if you get some of the mixture in your pan and it gets hard before you clean it, run really cold water over it to make it crack and it will come off. I had to actually pick at mine with a butter knife to get some of it off, but it’s not so bad.

    Pig Rating: (Hasn’t tried it yet)

    Mrs. Pig Rating: I love it! : ) I think it is so pretty and it is such a great Christmas candy. I am going to make strawberry, butter rum, peppermint, and root beer. Mmmm…..

    Recipe from allrecipes.com, pictures from my kitchen

    November SBGEX – Thank you Clara!

    December 2, 2007 at 3:25 am | Posted in Candy, chocolate, Cookies, Fun, SBGEX | 2 Comments

    Another month, another baked goods exchange with my Facie/Foodie friends. And my secret baker this month was….Clara!!! Totally funny because she kept giving me updates on what my “secret baker” was saying about the mailing progress, etc. and I totally thought it was someone else because everyone goes to Clara with updates. Sneaky sneaky!!!
    Anyway, I was so excited when I saw the box on the doorstep – so was Tommy! LOL
    Lots of yummy goodies….I had 4 different kinds of cake truffles – white chocolate with rainbow sprinkles, white chocolate with cocoa powder, cocoa powder, and white chocolate with dyed white chocolate stripes. Also, she made me chocolate cream cheese cookies! YUMMO!
    See links for these recipes on Clara’s blog – I’m too lazy to type them out. LOL : )
    http://iheartcooking-food.blogspot.com/2007/11/cake-truffles.html
    http://iheartcooking-food.blogspot.com/2007/11/homemade-chocolate-sandwich-cookies.html
    THANK YOU CLARA!!!!!! Now you might be Sheridan’s favorite friend…if the goodies last long enough for her to see them! : )
    Recipes from Clara, picture from my kitchen

    Time for Christmas Baking!

    November 28, 2007 at 10:15 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Fun | 1 Comment

    I love to bake for Christmas. My mom and I have an annual baking day/night where we just find all kinds of recipes that we like and we bake all day and night. It is SOOO much fun! We love giving all of our baked goodies as gifts for co-workers, family members, and some for ourselves of course! : )

    I have started my list of things that I really want to make this year – I am sure that the list will grow but this will be a place for me to at least keep track as I add to it/

    Chocolate Truffles
    Chess Squares
    Chocolate Oreo truffles
    Chocolate chip coffeecake (for Christmas morning breakfast at mom’s house)
    Chocolate crackletop cookies
    Gingerbread men
    Puppy Chow
    Peanut Brittle
    Spiced Nuts

    More later! : )

    My baked goods arrived!!!

    November 10, 2007 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Dessert, Fun, SBGEX | 1 Comment

    My wonderful foodie/Facie friends and I decided to do a baked goods exchange every month since we are all so into cooking now. It is so much fun! Anyway, mine arrived today from Lori and they are so yummy looking! She said she was making enough for our family and I know she had to have thought of the kids as well when she made these treats which is so sweet. 🙂 They arrived at the door and Sheridan looked in the box and said, “Which friend sent you these?!” and I said, “Lori did,” and she said, “Well, Lori is my favorite friend of yours now!” LOL : ) So whoever gets my name in next month’s exchange has something to live up to according to my kids!
    Goodies were:
    Rice Krispie Treats
    Ingredients
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1 pkg. jet puffed mini marshmallows
    1 pkg. (13 oz) of Rice Krispy Cereal
    Directions
    Microwave – butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows. Toss to coat. Microwave 1 – 1 1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 seconds.
    Add cereal, mix well…(it may look like it is never going to stick together, but it will). Press firmly into a greased foil lined 13×9 inch pan.
    Cool completely to firm and cut into squares.
    Wrap leftovers tightly and store cool
    Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
    Ingredients
    1 bag of chocolate chips
    Sprinkles
    Pretzels, fruit or anything you want dipped in chocolate
    Directions
    Microwave one bag of chocolate chips in a small bowl on high for about 1 1/2 minutes stirring at the 45 second mark. Chocolate should be completely melted. Dip in pretzels one at a time. Drip off the excess chocolate and immediately sprinkle. Lay to dry on piece of wax paper.
    Snickerdoodles
    Ingredients
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
    1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
    2 tbsp. sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    Directions
    In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup of sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees after the dough has been chilled. Combine 2 tbsp. of sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar – cinnamon combination to coat. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are golden, transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
    I’ll update the ratings once we eat some of this awesome stuff!!!
    Pig Rating:
    Mrs. Pig Rating:
    Little Pigs Rating:
    Recipes from Lori, pictures from my goody box! : )

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