Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day of Candy Making & Giveaway Winner!

Today was a day (morning) spent in the kitchen here at Rose Bud Cottage. We were making preparations for a Christmas gathering tomorrow with my Mom's side of the family. Each year about 36 of us gather together to celebrate Christmas, catch up on family tales and what is happening in everyone's lives. It is always a great time.

This year my Mom is the "Host", so we will all be gathering in her home. She has asked each home represented to bring a dessert and an appetizer. Since Michele (DD) and I like to cook, we tend to go overboard. We prepared a Cherry Chiffon Cake, Pecan Pralines (Mom's favorite), Divinity Candy, and a Italian Pizza Cup Appetizer.

Making candy is always a favorite thing for DD and I to do during the holiday season. Plus, homemade candy just taste so much better. I have the proof from, a 16 year-old food critic, my son. so, I thought I would share the candy recipes with you we made today.

Pecan Pralines

1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla

In heavy saucepan combine sugars, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. Stir over low heat until sugars are dissolved. Boil over moderate heat until candy thermometer registers 230 degrees F. Remove from heat. Add butter, nuts and vanilla.  Beat candy until it starts to become thick and slightly sugary. Then place saucepan on low heat to prevent candy from becoming to hard before it is dropped into patties.  Dip by tablespoonful onto waxed paper, forming patties about 3 inches in diameter. Cool. Remove from paper and store in air tight container. Makes about 15.

 Divinity Candy

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (opt)

Heat sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook without stirring until syrup when dropped in cold water forms a hard ball (250 degrees F). 
Beat egg white. Pour syrup slowly into them and continue to beat until candy is stiff enough to hold its shape. Add nuts and vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or turn into buttered pan and cut in 1 inch squares when firm. Once cooled keep covered because it dries out quickly.
Cherry: Prepare recipe as above. Color delicate pink with food coloring. Add 1/2 cup chopped candied cherries.
Chocolate: Prepare recipe as above. After syrup and eff whites have been combined, add 2 squares ( ounces) melted unsweetened chocolate.
Maple: Use above recipe, but decrease water to 1/4 cup. Add 3/4 cup maple syrup.
Orange: Use recipe above. Add 3 tablespoons coarsely grated orange rind with vanilla and nuts.

Do you do a lot of baking or candy making during the holidays? If so, what kinds of items do you like to make or that you make for you family. One other item we will be making is Peanut Brittle. My husband loves the stuff, but the store bought is so hard. I make it so that it is a softer texture and more easily eaten.

CONGRATULATIONS go to DebDoo!!!   She was the closets guess to the number of Home-canned (jarred) items that I have in my pantry inventory last week. I have a total of 527 jars.  DebDoo  give me a shout so that I can get your jar of Banana Split Preserves to you.

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