“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From my home to yours ~ Wishing you a very Merry Christmas...

Each and every one of you, whether you left a comment or not, has contributed to this blog. You have inspired me, brought beauty to my life and cultivated the creative side of my nature. I wish you and those you love a most happy of holidays and a very Merry and Blessed Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

♥Black and White Peppermint Bark♥

This doesn't last long so be sure to have the ingredients on hand to make a second - maybe a third - batch!

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate
14 ounces white chocolate
½ cup candy canes, crushed
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt and temper the bittersweet chocolate. YouTube is loaded with videos to help you with this. Not a biggie.
  • Pour the bittersweet chocolate onto the baking sheet and spread it to about ¼ inch thick. Let it set, about 30 minutes. Temper the white chocolate white the bittersweet is hardening.
  • Pour the white chocolate layer over the bittersweet chocolate layer and spread it evenly.
  • Sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces over the white chocolate. Press them lightly so they stick. Let the white chocolate set, about 30 minutes.
  • Break into small, irregular (I did a great job with the irregular part) pieces.
Makes about 24 pieces.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Decadent Cashew Thumbprint Cookie with Dulce de Leche Stars

Beautiful to look at - better to eat - these may appear as though you took all day to make them but that is only an optical illusion. Just a few different ingredients than the traditional thumb-print cookie, these will surely have you taking bows long after the last cookie has been consumed by happy guests.

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose
1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 ½ cups salted cashews, chopped
1 ½-2 cups dulce de leche (depending on how much you fill, see recipe below)
  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add egg, vanilla extract, and salt to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until fully combined.
  • Add in flour, beat on low until fully combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a fork, beat together egg white and water in a small bowl. Place cashews in a separate bowl.
  • Remove dough from fridge and shape into 1-inch balls. Dip balls in egg white, allowing excess to drip off. Roll dough balls in cashews to coat.
  • Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Using a 1-tsp measure, or your thumb, make an indentation in each cookie.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set, 12-13 minutes. I like to at this time repress my thumb or tsp measure to make the indentation really big in the cookie when the cookies come out of the oven. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

When cookies are cool, pipe dulce de leche into the indentations. I like to make little stars for the holidays.

Dulce de Leche

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Fill a large stockpot with cold water. Remove the label from the can of milk, and do not open the can. Place the can in the center of the pot; be sure that the water completely covers the can.

CAUTION: The can becomes pressurized when cooking, so for safety reasons, don't allow the water to boil vigorously. Simmer gently for about 1 1/2-2 hours for runny dulce de leche, or up to 4 hours for more solid consistency, adding more water, as necessary, when the water level decreases.

Remove the can with tongs, and cool 15-20 minutes. Carefully pierce the top with a can opener. The tan or brown caramel will ooze slightly from the can when opening. Transfer to an air-tight container, with the lid off, to cool completely. Store refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Monday, December 21, 2009

♥Not for the dairy shy Buttery Coconut Chex Mix♥

Not for the dairy food challenged or the calorie challenged but BOY, IS THIS GOOD! A once a year treat that can't be beat, honest. I ♥ this stuff so much but can't make it often or I'd be so round I'd give Santa a run for his money in the bowl full of jelly department!

* 12.8 oz. box of Rice Chex
* 12 oz. box of Golden Grahams
* 1 (7 oz.) bag of shredded coconut
* 1 (4 oz.) package slivered almonds
* 1 1/2 cup butter (Yes that is right! 3 sticks at 1/2 cup each)
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 cups corn syrup

1. Combine Rice Chex, Golden Grahams, coconut, and almonds in a large pot.
2. In sauce pan, cook butter, corn syrup, and sugar to soft ball stage.
3. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until well coated.
4. Pour mixture out on to 2 cookie sheets to cool. Stir occasionally as cooling to prevent clumping.
5. Store in an air tight container.