Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas II

These are our Christmas plates from 2009.

Fudge Brownies

(Feel free to 1/2 this recipe. It makes a ton!)

1 1/2 cups margarine

3 cups sugar

3 tsp. vanilla

6 eggs

3/4 cup cocoa

2 1/4 cups sifted flour

1 cup chopped nuts ( never add nuts)

Melt margarine and add sugar and cocoa. Add eggs one at a time when mixture is not hot.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes in a jelly roll pan... a big one! I line the bottom with aluminum foil so they come out easier. You could also just grease it.

For the Mint Frosting mix:

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

5 drops green food coloring

(I always add a dash or two of milk to get the right consistency.)

Spread on brownies while hot.

Then make the fudge frosting.

In a medium saucepan mix:

1/2 cup margarine

3 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa

1/3 cup milk

Heat slowly and bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and add:

1 lb. powdered sugar (I just add cup after cup until the desired consistency.)

1 tsp. vanilla

Spread over mint layer on brownies while still hot.

Add chopped nuts if you want. I never do.

MY Favorite Fudge

From my Grandma Jensen

In a heavy bottom saucepan mix:

4 cups white sugar

1/4 cup non-sweetened chocolate cut up into small pieces

2 cups heavy cream

3 Tbsp. Karo Syrup

STIR all in the same direction. I'm not joking. Pick a direction... clockwise or whatever and stir only that way!

Place on high heat and stir until it boils, wiping sides of pan often. Cook to Soft Ball 226 degrees or 228 if its raining or snowing.

Stop stirring when it starts boiling.

When it reaches soft ball take it off heat and let it cool for an hour.

Then add:

1 tsp. vanilla and a cup of nuts if you want.

Beat until it lightens and becomes more like dough. This will only work if its cool enough, but you don't want it too cool or it won't beat.

Roll in wax paper and refrigerate so they are little tubes. Mine didn't turn out as well this time so I just poured it into a pan, but it tastes amazing!

My mother-in-law gave me her old sucker molds so I had to try making suckers with my son. My mom used to do this with me all the time.

My lesson from this is: spray the wax paper with non-stick spray or powdered sugar before pouring the sucker syrup in!

This is my mother's recipe. I don't know who Gloria is.

Gloria’s Hard Candy

2 c sugar

¾ c white corn syrup

1 c water

five drops food coloring

½ tsp flavoring- raspberry, butterscotch, coconut, root beer

Bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add candy thermometer and bring to hard ball stage- 260 degrees. Add food coloring.Boil to 270 degrees.Add ½ tsp flavoring. Cook to 290 degrees.

Pour on powdered cookie sheet or in sucker molds. Let cool.



For this you need:

1 recipe Caramels


milk chocolate chips for melting

Make caramels and allow to cool until they are workable.

Place waxed paper on your counter or a cookie sheet. Arrange pecans halves, points together. Top with some caramel.

Half of the turtles I did this way and the other half I put down some melted chocolate first and then put the pecans on that. Both work. It just depends on how much chocolate you want in the party. Either way, end the turtles by topping them with melted chocolate so you cover the caramel, but not all of the pecans.

Allow to harden.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. These are so good! Enjoy.

Thick and Chewy Caramels

I was determined to make real caramels for Christmas this year, but I didn't realize how long they take to make. An hour!
I seriously nursed, burped, and rocked a baby while stirring this stupid things. Don't make these unless you have a big chunk of time to do them.
But that being said. They are really good!
(I got this recipe from the Alaska stake cookbook. This one was by Coleen Scifres)
2 cups sugar
1 pt. (2 cups) cream
2 cubes butter
1 1/2 cups Karo syrup
1 cup nuts (optional)
1 dash salt
Make sure you have a pretty big pot for this. Mine wasn't big enough and it boiled over repeatedly.
Bring sugar, salt, butter, syrup, and 1/2 of the cream to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Put the mixture on low and slowly stir in the rest of the cream. Then place a lid on the pot for one minute to get all the sugar off the sides of the pot.
Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes longer to firm ball stage. I think that's like 250 degrees. Pour into a buttered dish, cool, cut, wrap, you get the gist.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Plates I

I've been asked for ideas for Christmas plates for friends. Here's a few ideas.

Brownie Tart:

1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped into pieces (I used pecans)

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 ounces semi-sweet or chocolate

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 ounces regular cream cheese, cut into pieces

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt


2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. They smell so good! Let cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Put muffin liners in muffin tin.

On stove, melt the butter and chopped chocolate. When the chocolate has melted transfer the mixture to a larger bowl.

Beat the cocoa, then the sugar, into the chocolate mixture, beating until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and then beat in the cream cheese, until small pieces remain. Add the flour and salt and mix by hand just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the nuts.

Pour the batter into the muffin tin.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the batter has set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, with the end of a wooden spoon (1/2 inch diameter) (1.25 cm) that is well greased (I spray it with Pam), make holes (spacing them evenly about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart) into the top of the brownie tart. (We used toothpicks and made a bunch of holes in each cupcake.

As you insert the end of the wooden spoon into the tart twist the spoon to prevent the tart from tearing. You should have about 25-30 small holes. Then, with a small spoon fill the holes with the ganache. The ganache will sink as it cools so add more ganache, as needed. Let the tart cool completely and then cover and refrigerate. It is best to make this tart the day before serving to allow the flavors to blend. This tart will keep in the refrigerator for about two to three weeks.

While the tart is baking make the Ganache:

Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Makes 1 - 9 inch tart or about 16 cupcakes. The ganache makes this so use it!

This recipe is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible.

Then I realized with this recipe that the muffin tart thing has been done. Oh well.

Blueberry/Raspberry Cream Cheese Tarts

by Paula Deen


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese , softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 eggs

12 vanilla wafers

1 (21-ounce) can blueberry filling, or other pie filling (I used raspberry)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.

Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, or pie filling of your choice.

We accidentally got the mini vanilla wafers and just put four of them on the bottom of each cup and it turned out great. Everyone asked me what the crust was and wouldn't believe me when I told them it was just a vanilla wafer. Definitely a great trick!

We made a chocolate pudding tart but the so called foil liners I bought weren't that sturdy and they didn't turn out great. We put a grasshopper cookie on the bottom for a crust and then froze it so it would be more solid.

Then we just made rice krispie treats and ginger snaps to put around the plate.