Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All The Candy You Need :)


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted, ground almonds

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan (I used a 3quart one), mix the sugar, salt, water and corn syrup together. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then cover and cook for 2 minutes. Take the lid off and add the 1 cup butter, stirring to combine. Continue to boil over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard rack stage). Take off the heat, add the vanilla and baking soda. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let melt. Spread with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon and immediately sprinkle with almonds. Let cool completely and break into pieces.

Chocolate Drop Candy

1 cup butter
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 (12 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon flavoring of your choice
1-2 cups mix ins (nuts, candy, dried fruit, etc)
Almond bark for dipping

Cream the butter. Alternately add the powdered sugar and condensed milk. Mix well. Add in flavorings and add ins and refrigerate overnight. The next day, roll into small balls and freeze on a wax paper lined sheet. When frozen firm, melt almond bark in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dip and place back onto wax paper to set up. This recipe makes approx 150 pieces of candy and can be divided to make multiple flavors from one batch.

Peanut Brittle

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cu water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw peanuts
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

IN a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan mix the sugar, salt, corn syrup and water together. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add peanuts and continue to cook until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Remover from heat, add vanilla, butter and baking soda. Stir well. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and spread out. If you want thinner brittle, you can stretch it out with two forks. Let cool completely and break into pieces.

The fudge I make is the Fantasy Fudge off the back of the Marshmallow fluff jar, except I substitute chocolate chis for the bakers chocolate they call for. It used to be chocolate chips that the recipe on the back listed, but they have changed it in the last couple years.

Any, or all, of these candies make a great gift and aren't too difficult. They look nice and everyone appreciates them! :) Just another small way to make it Homemade for the Holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bake Your Heart Out Recipe Review and Giveaway

The wonderful folks over at Lucky Leaf have given me the chance to sample some of their products and review a recipe. I received one of their new cookbooks, "Bake Your Heart Out". It's a full color, 43-page cookbook that is brimming with recipes that are as easy to make as they are to eat. I was so impressed with not only their products, but with the cookbook as well.

Here is a picture of the cookbook:

Isn't it nice? Love it. Now, Lucky Leaf also sent me a few different pie fillings to try out, and boy let me tell you~ there are so many good looking recipes in there to choose from. Deciding what to make was like torture. Should it be Cherry-Chocolate Macaroon Pie? It's the one pictured on the cover. How about Layers of love Choco Trifle? Hmmm.....Simple and Sweetie Blueberry Cobbler?

I had the hardest time trying to pick but I finally settled on Sweet Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal. I've been wanting to try baked oatmeal for quite some time and this seemed like a good time to try!

This stuff right here folks?

This is the stuff dreams are made of. My kids gobbled it up, I love it and I actually think it's quite tasty now that it has had some time to cool off.

Sweet Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

3 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (21-ounce) can Lucky Leaf Premium Pie Filling
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Milk or half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

IN a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in Lucky Leaf Premium Apple Pie Filling.

In a second large bowl stir together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into oat mixture until combined.

Pour mixture into a 3 quart (I used a 9x13 Pyrex pan) rectangular baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until oatmeal is set.

Serve warm in bowls with milk or half-and-half.

So easy and so good! Down in the corner of the page it says, "For a different taste, try substituting Lucky Leaf Premium Peach or Blueberry in place of the apple." Yum!

You can bake this up for breakfast on a busy school day the night before and re-heat it, or make it on the weekend as an easy but delicious breakfast. What about Christmas morning? This could be baking away while you tear into your gifts :)

Because the folks over at Lucky Leaf are as amazing as their products, they have graciously offered to provide me with 2 of these fantastic little books to give away.

How to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this blog from now (December 17th) until December 21st 2011 telling me that you would like the cookbook. You can leave ONE COMMENT PER DAY.
For additional entries you can:
  • "Like" Cooke's Frontier on Facebook
  • Subscribe to Cooke's Frontier RSS feed
  • Post a link to this contest to your Facbook page.
Just leave me a SEPARATE comment for each entry. So, if you leave your comment saying you want the cookbook, like us on Facebook, subscribe to RSS feed and share on your facebook page you will leave a total of 4 comments. After that you can comment every day during the contest for an additional entry :)

THE WINNERS ARE: Danyel Wolf and Jami Evans Brazille! Congrats! Send me your mailing addresses to cookesfrontier (at) yahoo (Dot) com! Thanks to everyone who entered, we'll do another one soon :)
Lucky Leaf provided me with product at no charge to me to use and review, but the opinions expressed are always my own.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Turning Sugar Cookies into Christmas Ornaments

In my post yesterday, I mentioned making Christmas Ornaments out of some of our sugar cookies. I got a lot of questions about it so I here is how I did it.

Bake your cookies, making sure to poke a hole for hanging later, and let them cool. While they are cooling mix together the flow icing.

Cookie Ornament Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon corn syrup

Mix the powdered sugar and corn syrup together. Start adding water a FEW drops at a time. If you are going to use liquid food color add it at the beginning. Since it's made out of water, it can thin your icing too much if you add it towards the end.

You want the icing to be thick, but not so thick that you have a hard time pushing it out of a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with the corner barely snipped off. Put some of you icing into a bag and leave some in the bowl for thinning out to flow into your outline later.

Out line all of your cookies with one color first. If you have a cookie (like a candy cane) that are going to have more than 1 color, pick one and outline those areas first. Let it dry, the outline the other color(s).

While the outlines are setting up, thin the icing you left in the bowls to the consistency of glaze. You want it to be thin enough to easily spread but not so thin that it's going to run everywhere. It's really going to be trial and error until you get the hang of it.

To flow the outlines full, you can pipe the icing into the outlines, or you can soon a small amount in with a spoon and spread it out with a spatula. Make sure to get into all the corners (a toothpick works well for the little spots. Kind of push it around). Let them air dry for a few hours (overnight is best) hang them on your tree and be proud of how good they look!

I wish I could give you some hard and fast rules on this one, but it really comes down to being really stingy with the liquid and thinning it out slowly. However! it is so easy that once you get started you'll see what I mean and it will be a simple craft that you'll have fun doing.

We're adding to the ways you can do a little more Homemade for the Holidays this year!