Addictive Candied Pecan’s

I apologize for not posting this recipe sooner as it would’ve been perfect to have set out for the holidays – however, they are good anytime!

These are easy to whip up, however watch out because once you start, you cannot stop!!! I made this as a hostess gift for a Thanksgiving dinner my friend Erica held & she just raved on how she could NOT stop eating them!

Ingredients:

1 large egg white

3c roasted Pecan halvs

3/4C packed brown sugar

1 1/2T ground nutmeg

3t vanilla

 

Directions:

Preheat oven 300 degrees

Whisk all ingredients, except the pecans, in a bowl. Once fully incorporated, mix in the pecans, coating completely. Then spread out on an ungreased sheet. Bake for 20 minutes without string. I have found I like then stir the nuts & put it in for another 5-10 minutes. Once it’s done to your desired doneness, remove from the pan spread out on cooling racks immediately. Allow to cool completely & then store in airtight container in a cool place.

 

You don’t have to be an Ohioan to enjoy a Buckeye!

Every Christmas Mama Nause, my best friend’s mom, would make these little bites of chocolate covered peanut butter candy. Being in Ohio, our front porch was our extra freezer, where all holiday goodies were stored when we weren’t entertaining or munching on the goodness. I remember how several times a day, barefooted, sometimes standing in little drifts of snow I would sneak out & snatch some of these buckeye’s out of a container. They were just too yummy & I could literally hear them call my name! Even years later, all grown up & have learned how to make these on my own, they still call my name!! Both my husband & I agree, whenever I make these, the bulk of the batch has got to be out of the house ASAP because we will literally gorge ourselves on them.

Tonight I introduced my daughter to her first Buckeye, let’s just say she’s proven she’s our daughter – she kept asking for more!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2c creamy peanut butter
  • 1c butter, softened
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 6c confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Baker’s Dipping Chocolate cups

Directions:

  1. In a largebowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla & sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1″ balls & place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. I use a small “ice cream” scoop to help keep the size the uniform & not get crazy big as my arms get tired towards the end of the task (believe me, you will be wishing you had someone helping you!!)
  2. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Sometimes I’ll put them in overnight – just to let my hand recover 😉
  3. Melt the chocolate per the instructions on the cup.
  4. Take a tooth pick & poke the frozen peanut butter ball & dip it into the melted chocolate. Leave a small portion of the peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like a true Buckeye nut. Put the dipped candy back on the cookie sheet & freeze until you serve.

**You can refrigerate them, I just prefer frozen – possibly because how I used to sneak them 🙂

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Mom’s “Danish” Puff

This pastry was a treat mom would make for wedding showers or baby showers, but it wasn’t uncommon if we were having a brunch at the house for this to show up too.  I don’t know where she got this from & I’ve never had this pastry anywhere else, however mom always called it Danish Puff. I call this yumminess 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2c butter, softened
  • 1c flour
  • 2T water
  • 1/2c butter
  • 1c water
  • 1t almond extract
  • 1c flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Powdered Sugar Glaze
  • Chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1/2 cup of butter into 1 cup flour until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over flour mixture & continue to mix. Gather pastry into a ball; divide into halves. Pat each half, on an ungreased cookie sheet, into 12″x3″ rectangles (mine usually end up being more 10″x5″. Yes, I keep a measuring tape in my kitchen junk drawer), about 3″ apart.

Heat 1/2 cup butter & 1 cup water to rolling boil & remove from heat. Quickly stir in almond extract & 1 cup flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minutes. Remove from heat & add eggs – beat until smooth & glossy. Spread half of the topping over each rectangle. Bake for an hour, until topping is crisp & brown. Spread with the powdered sugar glaze & then sprinkle with nuts. The topping will shrink & fall, forming the custardy top.

Powdered Sugar Glaze or Frosting

You can make this thicker to be more of a frosting on cookies or cakes or thin it out to use as a glaze.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2c powdered sugar
  • 2T buttered, softened
  • 1 1/2t vanilla
  • 1-2T warm water

Directions:

Mix the powdered sugar, butter & vanilla together. Stir in the water, 1 teaspoon at a time (you may not use all the water), until smooth.

Simple & Delicious Cranberry Sauce

A couple of weeks ago while my husband was off at deer camp working on bringing home some meat, Makena & I were invited to a early Thanksgiving at a friends. Erica had some friends in town from France who never had a true American Thanksgiving dinner so we were planning what all we could share with them. My mom used to make cranberry sauce, among other yummy items & immediately made me start thinking about how she always provided a loving home to anyone who didn’t have a place to go for dinner. We always had a house full of people – family, old friends, new friends. I always felt this was an awesome way to start off my favorite season of the year.

Unfortunately I didn’t know how mom used to prepare her cranberry sauce, I just remember eating & eating & eating it! She was always saying it wasn’t difficult at all so I started looking to see what recipes out there were simple. I found the site Simply Recipes had the perfect simple cranberry sauce recipe! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do – I’ve got several bags of cranberries stored in the freezer so over the year I can enjoy this again & again!!

Ingredients:

  • 1c sugar
  • 1c water
  • 4c washed fresh or frozen cranberries

Directions:

Combine sugar & water in a pan & bring to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, add cranberries & return to boiling. Let boil, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes then reduce heat & simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat & let cool in the fridge. As it cools it’ll thicken.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Last year at Christmas, my cousin Joanne & I enjoyed our time together for a week of cooking & baking & eating. Golly, all the food we prepared would’ve been more than enough for a huge feast – thankfully we had plenty of family around to help us eat it all.  We had several requests of what people would like for us to make & we tried to accommodate everyone, kinda like our Christmas gifts to everyone 🙂 One day my husband came home from work going on & on about a cake someone brought in & said we really needed to try & make it. Instantly we hopped on the internet searching for Chocolate Eclair Cakes & going over the ingredients with Jimmy to see if it would match up with what he had. Below is what we found to be the closest & let me tell you…..YUM!

Unfortunately my cousin & I can’t be together this year for Christmas but I do plan on making this cake – we may have to Skype & have a Chocolate Eclair Cake eating party….hmm, that’s an idea!

**UPDATE**

Over Thanksgiving weekend I make this cake at the request of my husband. While I was at the grocery store picking up the ingredients, I saw sitting next to the vanilla pudding, a white chocolate pudding flavor. We decided to give it a whirl & let me tell you, we aren’t looking back at the vanilla!  The white chocolate flavor just complimented everything all the more. So, I’m going to update the ingredients list below with white chocolate listed & strongly recommend you use it as well! I doubt you’ll regret it 😉

Ingredients:

  • 2 (3oz) packages of INSTANT white chocolate (or vanilla) pudding mix (yes Joanne I am making sure you notice the INSTANT part)
  • 3c milk
  • 1 (8oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (16oz package) chocolate graham crackers
  • 1/4c milk
  • 1/3c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1c white sugar
  • 2T butter
  • 1t vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix & 3 cups of milk; mix well. Fold in the whipped topping and beat with the mixer for 2 minutes
  2. In a buttered 9×13 baking dish, spread a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the dish
  3. Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the crackers, then top with graham crackers. Spread the remaining pudding mix over the crackers. Top the second pudding layer with another layer of crackers.

For the topping:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1/4 cup of milk, cocoa & sugar. Allow to boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and add butter & vanilla. Mix well & cool.
  2. Once cooled, pour sauce over graham cracker layer and refrigerate until set.

This is where we originally found this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-eclair-cake/

Candied Orange Peels

The first time I made this was my senior year at Principia Upper School. I was doing a cooking class that wasn’t an accredited, but after 4 years of boarding school I needed to cook so I was willing to do this class. My aim was to start off cooking foods I had grown up with but never made. Eventually I wanted to try making foods from around the world (um, yeah, that backfired – peanut butter & eggplant do NOT belong together in my book!! YUCK!) One of my good friends had talked about a candy she remembered her mom making when she was younger & it just sounded like it would be so delicious. I didn’t realize how much work would go into it, but when I was done, I realized it wasn’t terribly hard at all & the reward was well worth it! Thank you Megan!

Ingredients:

  • 5 Oranges (if you have x-ray vision, make sure you get the kind with thick rinds!)
  • 1/4c water for every cup of orange peel
  • 1/2c sugar for every cup of orange peel
  • Powdered sugar, enough to roll the boiled peels
  • Melted chocolate – I do a short cut & use the chocolate cups where after 2 minutes you suddenly have melted chocolate 😉

Directions:

Grate the outside of the rinds to roughen them up. Carefully peel the rinds off the oranges keeping them in-tack as best as possible – this is what you are going to use for the candy (enjoy the orange insides or make some juice). Cut the peels into wedges. Put in water, enough to cover with an inch over the peels & bring to a boil for a minute, then drain. Repeat this process 4-5 times (this gets rid of the bitter taste).

Once you are satisfied you’ve boiled out enough of the bitterness, combine the water & sugar & pour over the peels. Boil until absorbed, stir constantly. Roll in powdered sugar right afterward & then place on a cooling rack. Let they dry for 24 hours. Once the peels are dry, dip them in melted chocolate & place them back on the rack to cool/dry some more.

**These might make a nice gift this coming Christmas or just to enjoy for a party 😉