Wednesday, December 21, 2011

3 minute 3 ingredient Fudge

This is straight from V and Co via MADE.  We aren't mint people here, so when V and Co posted it, I wasn't interested, but when Dana suggested how to be creative with it, I had to try it out.  Who doesn't like lots of chocolate and nuts that doesn't take more than three minutes to make?

It really is as simple as it looks.I used 4 ingredients:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag Milk Chocolate Chips
1 bag some other kind of chips (peanut butter, butterscotch, dark chocolate, etc.)
Nuts of your choice.

Pour the chips and milk into a bowl and microwave until the chips are melted. Dana suggested doing it in 30 second bursts so as to not burn the chocolate, and she did have me scared, but after the first batch, I wasn't patient enough, so I did it for a minute and then twenty second bursts.

I dropped just one chocolate chip when opening a bag, and immediately Xena Warrior Princess was there to pop it in her mouth.  How did it get all over her clothes?

When the chips are melted and it stirs up rather smooth, pour it into a casserole dish. If you like it thick, use your 9x9 pan. They're pretty rich, though, so I think the larger pan would work too. I had a difficult time cutting into the first batch, because I'd waited until it was hard. The next batch, I let it cool for about ten minutes, and then pressed lines into it with a cutting board. Then I let it harden up completely so that it was easy to pull those little squares out.

Sorry, no more pictures of the finished product.  They have this strange ability to call my name, and if I look at them any more, the neighbors won't get any.

TOTALLY RECOMMEND! (and I'm not usually an all caps person.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

English Toffee (known in my family as Almond Roca)

Someone needs to explain to me the difference between toffee and roca, because I couldn't.  Growing up, this was my signature Christmas treat.  I was the expert and I always made it for the family.  And the family loved it.  My sister would beg for me to make some, as soon as the hint of Christmas was in the air.  I don't know why it's only a Christmas treat either, but maybe because it's indulgent to eat this much sugar, butter and chocolate, and Christmas is a time to indulge.  Something about this mixture makes it impossible to eat just one piece.  Mmmmm.

It's super simple:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 T corn syrup (makes it all stick together better, but it's not necessary.  I rarely make it with corn syrup because I don't have any.)
About 1 bag of chocolate chips or four squares of baker's chocolate.
as many nuts as you'd like.  We prefer walnuts, but the recipe calls for almonds (hence the name, Almond Roca.)


Some things that are helpful to prepare ahead of time are the chopped nuts.

Here's my setup:  I prepare a pan with wax paper spread over it. I use my largest cookie sheet.  I also have a small glass of ice water next to my stove. (I'll explain why in a moment.)  Then I'm ready to get started.

Combine the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a pan and bring to a boil on low. Boil on medium stirring constantly until it turns amber colored.

This is where the ice water comes in.   Whenever you think/hope it's done, drop a few drops in the water. If, after a few seconds, those drops are crunchy, then it's done. If they're still chewy, keep stirring.

When it's done, act quickly. Spread quickly over the wax paper until it is as thin as you can get it. It will harden quickly. Then set it aside.

Melt your chocolate. I usually melt 1/2 bag of chocolate chips at a time by pouring it in a bowl and microwaving it for 30 seconds and then stirring and microwaving it 30 seconds more and then stirring until it's smooth looking. (Best not to burn your chocolate in the microwave.)

Then I can dump the whole bowl onto the toffee and spread it around until it's the desired thickness (the thicker the chocolate the better in my book.) Quickly sprinkle the nuts over it, and then put the pan into the freezer. (The more quickly to harden the chocolate.)

Once the chocolate is hard, flip the whole slab over. I do this by placing another sheet of wax paper on it and flipping. Then I melt the second 1/2 of the chocolate chips, dump them on, sprinkle with nuts, and return to the freezer.

As soon as the chocolate is hardened, break into small pieces and eat.

I made this on a date with a dentist once, and he kept going off about how bad this is for your teeth. I didn't care, because it is SO GOOD. Needless to say, we had different priorities, and the relationship ended there.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scrappy Pants

My mom has lots of fabric scraps.  She's the kind that hates to throw things out.  So she saves little scraps from things she's made.

I came upon scraps of this great green cordoroy that I just wanted to use.  But none of the scraps were big enough to use.  Not even for my little baby.

But I didn't let that get me down.  I pieced them together.  Then I used a pattern to cut them out.  Once you've cut them out, pants are so easy. Three seams and they're together:  two to sew the sides together and then one long seam around the inseam.

I used a wider elastic for the waist because wider elastics are easier on tummies. (Pregnancy taught me this.)

I simply serged the hem.  Next time I'll give it a real hem because I could have used the extra fabric when she grows.  They seem to grow longer before they grow wider.

I really like how the seams turned out.  It's kinda fun.