Butter / Egg Usage – December 2016

December started out for me on the 16th. This does not a good month of cooking/baking make. I mean it is December after all, but sometimes after Thanksgiving, you just do the best that you can do. Sad, but true. That and my dishwasher died – serious impediment to doing anything in the kitchen. It is surprising how much so.

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Southern Toffee

16 December 2016 – 12 Tbs / 2 eggs – Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars

18 December 2016 – 24 Tbs – Southern Toffee 

22 December 2016 – 2 eggs – M&M Cookies

26 December 2016 – 8 Tbs unsalted butter- Chex Mix

26 December 2016 – 16 Tbs / 2 eggs – Sugar Cookies

26 December 2016 – 4 Tbs – Real Macaroni and Cheese

27 December 2016 – 2 Tbs – Sautéed Apples

30 December 2016 – 12 Tbs – Pecan Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cook’s Country

30 December 2016 – 5 1/3 Tbs – Sausage Cheddar Scallion Biscuit Bread
Eggs = 6

Butter = 83.3 Tbs = 10.4125 sticks – 41.65 ozs – 2.603 pounds.

Eggs = 2 +2 +2 +6 – math is involved. = 12 large eggs.

 

 




Vanilla Taffy

I have never posted this recipe. It is a family recipe that is so special to me. It may mean nothing to anyone else – probably will not. But this is one of those handed-down recipes for something not many people make at all … and there is a story to it.

My mom made this every winter, not every Christmas because this recipe depends on the weather. There has to be low humidity and in the South that usually will only happen sometime between late December and late February. So this did grace the Christmas Eve party on occasion -yes, but there was no guarantee. It is North Florida after all. We oftentimes wore shorts on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This was a recipe from my mom’s mom, Daisy, and my mom would describe how Daisy made it in the winter* and then to get the taffy hard they would toss it in the snow. We never were able to do anything like that, but it is kind of cool to understand where a recipe really comes from.

To be honest, I have never seen a recipe like this. Most people, when they think of taffy, think of salt water taffy which is soft,  but this is not. We (me and the Boy) have taken to calling it crack because when you pull it right and put enough air in it, it gets opaque and, well, looks like crack – at least the kind I have seen on Cops  (read: have no practical experience in the real stuff, but from TV, I can totally see it).DD_9068

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla

Necessary – candy thermometer – not kidding. Necessary.

Place sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Then cook without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 266 degrees.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter and stir until dissolved. Pour onto sil-pat lined baking sheet. When still hot, but cool-ish enough to pull, pull small bits in cords until opaque – you will burn at least your thumbs, but probably a couple of other fingers in the process. Twist into ribbons and lay on wax paper-lined baking sheet. When hard, break into pieces (just drop on baking sheet and see what happens) and wrap in cut waxed paper, or if you want to be fancy, wrap in pieces of parchment. We used waxed paper growing up, but I have taken a liking to parchment in the last few years.  

*They also butchered a pig each winter. Something I completely understand, but an not likely to be involved in.

2016 – Tomato Soup with Spinach and Mozzarella

Toffee

I first started making toffee when I was pregnant with the Boy – and that is a long time ago. My favorite candy to make in winter, basically the only time we can do it here, is my grandmother Daisy’s Vanilla Taffy. That recipe though required the cooperation of mother nature in the form of really really low humidity. So far, this December that has been few and far between, so I satisfy my candy making desires by making toffee. This is a new recipe to me, but, in the grand scheme of things, I think it turned out very well. A few notes – you must have a candy thermometer. The old methods of figuring if you have heated your sugar enough may have worked 70 years ago, but in this day, that just seems a recipe for a disaster. Buy the damn candy thermometer – they are not that expensive. Or if you have a good digital instant read thermometer, those work too. I finally bit the bullet and got a Thermapen this year. I love it. It was probably last year’s model, but it is nothing short of amazing. And yes, it really works for candy too. dd_1692

So here are the details:

1 cup chopped pecans, or more if that works for you – Renfroes Pecans
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs corn syrup

1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 12 oz bag of Ghirandelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a skillet, dry roast the pecans until they become fragrant. Do not wander away or they will burn, it is inevitable. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle half the pecans on the baking sheet forming a single layer. Reserve the rest for the top of the toffee.

Put the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Clip the candy thermometer to the pan, but do not let it touch the bottom of the pot – that will mess up your reading. Heat mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasional, until the sugar has melted. The toffee is ready when it reaches 295 – 305 degrees F.* This make take 15 minutes or so.

Pour the toffee over the pecans and spread evenly with a heatproof (read: Get It Right) spatula and tap the pan to get any bubbles out.

Let the toffee cool for a couple of minutes and the spread the chips evenly over the surface. Wait 3 minutes, until chocolate looks slightly melted and use and offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and press them lightly into the surface.

Let cool at room temperature for at least an hour and put in the fridge overnight to cool completely. Once cooled, pull off the foil and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Can be kept there for three months, but do not expect it will be.

*This is when my OCD kicks in and I pretty much hover over the pot and stir the whole time. Well, off and on anyway.

Source: Simply Recipes

 

Butter Usage – by month – May 2016

11 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Pretzel Toffee – Did not work – need to use a thermometer for the temp of toffee. Damnation

12 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Shortbread with mini chocolate chips & Heath pieces – just saying damn skippy – And my birthday – the 50th. So where do we go from here? Being old that’s where I go anyway. Just something I have to do. I have always said it is better than the alternative.

21 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Pretzel Toffee – again. This time I got it right. It is stupidly good. Yep. Stupid. D&D_1465

This was not the best month for me. My Fred died and I miss him so. But I also miss my Mom and my little Bering and my big dog Duke. I am kind of tired of people and dogs I love dying.  Yep tired of all this.

Will do better next month – really need to get back into the kitchen and do something useful.

The kitchen always makes me feel better.

2015 Butter Usage (by Month – August)

1 August 2015 – 3 Tbs – Peanut Butter Fudge
1 August 2015 – 8 Tbs – Peanut Butter Cookies

6 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Everyday Orzo
6 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Rutabega

7 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Peanut Butter Fudge – AB

14 August 2015 – 8 Tbs – Peach Cobbler

15 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Blueberry Cookies

19 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Peach Clafoutis

20 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Gruyere Orzo (again)

22 August 2015 – 3 Tbs – Rice Krispy Treats
22 August 2015 – 8 Tbs – Gruyere Crackers
22 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Lemon Sour Cream Cookies

28 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Peanut Butter Fudge  – AB

Total 102 Tbs = 12.75 sticks = 3.1875 pounds

Finally, a respectable number. Damn Skippy!!

Peanut Butter Fudge – AB

So I made my friend Amy’s peanut butter fudge that was her Grandmother’s recipe a couple of weeks ago. It was good, but I saw this recipe from Alton Brown which seemed easier and needed (gasp!) no candy thermometer and only used the microwave. Nice for the summer, if you ask me.

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Peanut Butter Fudge – Alton Brown

I had taken Amy’s first batch to split between work friends and other friends, but had had a request for it again which gave me the perfect opportunity to try AB’s version. I trust AB implicitly. I used his roasted turkey recipe for the first time I ever made the whole Thanksgiving dinner – that is how much I trust him.

Because it is still scorching hot here – it is only early September after all, basically, still friggin’ summer – I stored this in the fridge, but it can be left out at room temperature, I was being cautious.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Alton Brown

8 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. (Use caution when removing this mixture from the microwave, it will be very hot.) Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. The mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen. Spread into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes: I really like the texture of this fudge. It was very creamy. It went over very well, especially with The Boy. That always makes me happy. It is funny neither he or I like “real” fudge, but we both like this. One warning: it is sweet enough to make your teeth hurt. Small price for great flavor and texture. Just make the pieces really small. That helps.

Peanut Butter Fudge

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Peanut Butter Fudge

This recipe is from my favorite student staff member … from her grandmother. So excellent.

2 cups sugar
3 Tbs butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

Prep an 8 x 8 glass pan with cooking spray.
Put sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to minimum and stir continuously until the mixture is caramel brown and the candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees (use the thermometer – no really, do it!)  Remove from heat, add vanilla and peanut butter. Stir until completely mixed. Place in a 8 x 8 glass pan and let firm up. Then cut into bite-sized pieces.

New refrain in my house: “No, you are not getting any fudge.” This, you must understand, is being said repeatedly to our dog Hood regarding peanut butter fudge. It is my fault, I stared by giving him a little, now I have created a monster.

My mom made us a great breakfast thing and it was based on the fact that her family was poor. How to extend peanut butter for a very large family? In this case you boil sugar and water and add vanilla extract. And then stir it into peanut butter. It makes a smooth spread, slightly sweeter than peanut butter and with a hint of vanilla flavor. We would spread it on toast for a great Saturday breakfast in front of the television watching cartoons. When I was a kid, that was the only time cartoons were on – oh, how things have changed. Sometimes when I’m in the mood for a late night snack, I still make this. But only if I give Hood some peanut butter too.