Peanut Butter Fudge

I did not have an opportunity to make much in the way of candy this winter. It was just so humid. But this is a recipe that works, is simple, and tasty. My mom used to make peanut butter fudge but I never had the recipes, so when one of my friends brought in her grandmother’s recipe – it was just like my mom’s. I have tried other recipes but this one is the only one I make any more.

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Hood was asking for a piece, so ….

This is also a treat I can share with the dog – though in very small doses.

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.

Amy’s grandmother

11 March 2018

Toffee Cookies with Chocolate and Cayenne

I hate Valentine’s Day. Wait, not quite correct. I hate all card-company made up holidays that make you think you need to purchase a (cheesy) card for someone and basically waste money. These holidays include both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days too. Ugh, so gross.

Valentine’s the the most egregious though made up holiday.  Overpriced roses that have no smell whatsoever. A meal out that is meh at best and again, overpriced. Pressure for the whole evening and lord help you if you have just started a new relationship. Just wait and ask her/him out in March or something. Go out for Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day – it worked for me.

That said, I took a recent cookie recipe and make sweet little heart cookies with chocolate and then did the perfect thing – added cayenne. Hey, why not, right?

D&D_260816 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon
cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel and a pinch or so of cayenne – let your conscious be your guide here. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies – all depends on your cookie cutter.

*It took more than 10 minutes – way more – just leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

Johnson Brothers – Old Britian Castles – pink.

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies

Most people think Mardi Gras is just a New Orleans thing, but that could not be further from the truth. Mardi Gras is huge in Mobile, AL and in Pensacola as well. I would list all the krewes we have here, but the list is long enough to make you bored.

Season starts on 12th Night, the day the 3 Magi brought their gifts to the baby Jesus and goes until Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday, when we all start trying to behave a little better. Carnival gives us something to do when it is cold and miserable outside – drink copious amounts of alcohol and be loud.

We won’t even get into the Moon Pies. I just cannot explain that to even my own satisfaction.

Well, I know I make these cookies every, um, yes, every year, but they are fun and this sugar cookie recipe is just the absolute best. As much as I hate roll-out cookies, these always work. Simple and done. I keep buying different colors of sugar all year long – hey, you never know when you will need them.

dd_11801 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer,  cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Sift flour into butter mixture, 1 cup at a time until just combined. Dump out onto plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Cover with plastic and chill 3 to 4 hours (*or overnight or even a day or two).

Roll out dough until 1/4 inch and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Brush and sprinkle with colored sugars. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 – 10 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

You do have to be careful with such large cookie cutters because those sized cookies can break easier than smaller, more compact cookies.

Here are the cutters. Reasonably priced from King Arthur Flour. They do require hand-washing and drying immediately, but that is not a huge deal since there are only 5 cutters. They are sturdy and easy to use.

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Smoked Almond Toffee Mini Milk Chocolate Kisses

Ever since I tried smoked almonds a few months ago I’ve been planning on making some kind of cookies with them. So here we are.

D&D_266016 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
8 ozs toffee pieces
5 ozs mini milk chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and blend well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add almonds, toffee, and kisses.

Scoop dough onto baking sheet with a couple inches in between. Sprinkle with a little Maldon salt if you’re in the mood. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, turning the pans half way through.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Mod Meals on Mendenhall & cute firefighter guys never hurt. Recipe modified by, um, me.

2 Feb 2018

Butterscotch Blondie Muffins

So how do you make a warning:

D&D_2651I pretty much love everything butterscotch. It’s a long time thing, but I have dedicatedly made these muffins twice now and they just don’t cut it for me. I hate to say that about any recipe, but this did not work.

The first time I made them in paper liners – well they stuck. Ugh. So I tried to fix the idea, foil liners sprayed with cooking spray and removed the muffins as soon as possible. Still within a few minutes the were just too hard to deal with.

The flavor was good, but, sad to say, I just could not get past the texture/hardness.

Yield: 12 to 15 cupcakes

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners (see notes above). Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt over a piece of waxed paper.

In a stand mixer*, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Fold in butterscotch chips by hand.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist (but not wet) crumbs, about 30 minutes. Transfer tin to a wire rack. Cool for a few minutes; remove cupcakes from tin and remove cupcake liners before serving. Cupcakes can be stored up to 5 days in airtight containers at room temperature.

Source: Redacted. 

* You do know that every time I say a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer and be fine. I just don’t have any idea where my hand mixer is, if I even have one. That said, it would be kind of nice to have one because cleaning a stand mixer is a big pita (pain-in-the-ass), but I do it just the same.

 

Pistachio Oatmeal Lace Cookies

I just cannot resist an oatmeal cookie – with one exception – no chocolate chips in an oatmeal cookie. That is just a very cruel joke – you know what I mean, right. Think it is a raisin and – groan – chocolate.

I know the oatmeal cookie is the red-headed step child of cookies, but it is one of my favorites. Besides, if you like them, you get lots of them when someone brings in cookies from the Publix. The chocolate chip goes right away and the M&M ones too. Leaving poor sad oatmeal cookies just for me (and my friend Dana). Then you can feel superior eating cookies for breakfast. Yes, indeed.

Cookies:
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

Icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt

D&D_2588Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt and then stir in oats.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and melted butter until combined. Crack in the egg and pour in the vanilla. Whisk one more time until the egg is thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring in between additions until combined. Lastly, fold in the pistachios.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough, spacing them about 2 1/2-inches from one another on a the baking sheets. These cookies read a lot, so be sure to leave enough room. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they spread and the edges are lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move the cookies onto a cooling rack.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and salt. When the cookies are cool, drizzle the icing on top.

Source: A Cozy Kitchen.com

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They are also good without any icing at all. Like a cool breakfast cookie – that makes it sound healthy, right? Yum.

Buttery Sugar Cookies

I have my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I make every Christmas and on a lot of other holidays (Mardi Gras, St. Pat’s, um, and other stuff, I’m sure – don’t do anything for the non-holiday Valentine’s Day – blech.) But it is always my favorite Christmas cookies and I’ll be damned if they do not stand the test of time.

That said, I wanted to give this new-comer a chance. And hello, and hell, yes. Excellent cookies – different, but still very very good.

D&D_255716 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse sanding sugar – more colours the better

Beat together butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Slowly mix in flour.

Half the dough and press each half into a disk, then wrap in wax paper. Put each disk in a resealable plastic bag and chill until firm enough to roll into balls, about 1 hour. I left mine in for 2 days – worked just fine. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheet with parchment

Work with 1 piece of dough at a time and roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll that ball in coarse sanding sugar in a shallow bowl to coat. Move fast and don’t let dough get soft – if it does – back the fridge it goes. Place balls 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. With the flat bottom of a glass, flatten balls into 2-inch rounds. Add more sugar. I did.

Bake cookies until bottoms are golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 2 minutes, then transfer with a spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled (important) baking sheets.

Source: Gourmet

I really liked these cookies. They were different than the typical roll-out sugar cookies and that, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. I love to bake, but rolling out cookie dough – not my favorite thing to do. I am kind of lazy that way.