I have a weakness for candy …

… but not chocolate. Just cheap suggary candy that I have loved since I was a kid of 10 or so. I have heard there are two types of sweet thing you can favor. One is chocolate which happens when you are older, or if you are like me, you keep that sugar tooth – the one that never grows up. So, if you are like me, you can give chocolate, the big whatever, but you still want all that sugary candy you grew up with and in my case that is amazingly true. And sad at the same time. Very sad.

The things I love in the candy department are truly weird. Let us just start with Swedish Fish – which are not Swedish or Fish, but when I was young I was very allergic to seafood my father said “I just brought you some fish” – ha ha I thought – and then there were Swedish Fish from a department store and I was happier than you can imagine. Every time I eat a Swedish Fish or two it makes me think of my father. Especially now that the come in more “flavors” than red. Not sure what that is flavor that is supposed to be, but i kind of like the lemon and the lime ones the best.

I also love sweet tarts, jelly beans, licorice (black only – the red kind is, so, not licorice), lemon drops, life savers (if they are the flavors I like), Juju Bees (don’t think I am spelling that correctly), Ju Ju Fruit – yes, a very immature palette.

D&D_2099But one of my favorite candies is Zotz – but only the grape ones. Oh, lord this is such a long story, but since it is amazing late, I will save it for a day or two later.

But I do have a grape Zot* now and it is just pretty much amazing.

Just realized I am writing this while Elvis Costello is singing “So Like Candy.” Irony much from Mighty Like the Rose (1991.)

* Do not have the singular and/or the plural of this candy figured out at all. Maybe I am over thinking once again.

Brickle bits of Snicks

I think we all love the idea of a recipe that we can make with the things we have on hand. That said, it is so very annoying when you think you have something that you always have on hand – and then you don’t have it at all. Damn it.dd_img_0450-edit

I had that happen tonight. I was making Snicks for a good friend because I remember he liked them and I just knew I had everything. Crisco – check, butter – check, eggs – check, brickle – check, and the rest … sugar, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, blah blah. Oh, holy crap – why do I not have ground cinnamon. I mean I looked everywhere in the pantry  and nada, nope, nothing. It cannot be a Snick without cinnamon. Thank goodness my dear mother-in-law lives around the corner and she bailed me out. Once again.

I guess I am not as good as putting things on the grocery list as I thought. Although cinnamon is typically one of those ingredients that I order from Penzey’s or the Spice House, but I can manage with grocery store cinnamon. Then I realized I needed to refill my supply of cream of tartar too, and hell, looking around the kitchen I need several other things. I think this just may be the pre-baking season clean up and restock.

8 Tbs of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of brickle bits (Heath’s – it is in the baking aisle)*
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2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt over a piece of waxed paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture in thirds and mix until just combined. Mix in brickle pieces.

Use a #40 disher to make cookies, rounding them in your hands before rolling them in the 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup of sugar sifted together. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes**, turning half way through. Cool on the baking sheet for a minute and then remove to a cooling rack to cool.

Made 36 cookies.

* If you want this to be easy, one bag equals 1 1/3 cup of brickle pieces. I prefer a bit less so that is why I go for a scant one cup. Your call. But please do not try to store the brickle in the fridge – humidity and brickle does not go well together. I store mine in the pantry in a zip top bag and it has worked out well.

** 9 minutes worked perfectly for us.

Modification of a recipe from Cookie Madness.

 

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies

D&D_1180These really are the simplest and best sugar cookies. The Boy and I made them for Christmas Eve (my favorite Christmas Holiday, perhaps my favorite holiday, period) but a few years ago I had so much to make at Christmas that I put these off until January and then it fell into Carnival season.* It worked on so many different levels.

So this year I finally decided to order Mardi Gras cookie cutters, because, well, it is a thing for me now. So I did it – I ordered special cookie cutters for this “holiday.” King Arthur Flour had the cutest set. There are two crowns, a mask, a music note, and the most important one, in my opinion is, a fleur de lis. Carnival season is a big thing here in the Gulf Coast.

* The season is Carnival, the last day is Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday. Please do not confuse the two. After Mardi Gras comes Lent. I really think next year I need to do crepes for pancake Tuesday (Mardi Gras by a less interesting name) but I will probably make potato pancakes (latkes) because I just love to mix up religions and traditions. It’s me.

But for now it’s just really pretty sugar cookies. Purple, Gold, and Green.

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

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift in flour, a cup at a time. Blend until just mixed. Pour onto a surface and mix til it just comes together. Press into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 – 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough to about an 1/8 inch and cut with cookie cutters. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the pan half way through. Let rest on baking sheet for a minute and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Snicks

Okay, this is going to come as a great surprise. I have never had or made a snickerdoodle until the first time I made them in 2009. Not sure how I missed this bandwagon, but I did. Completely. My mom never made them and I’d love to be able to ask now if she even knew what they were, but I can’t, and I’m betting she had no earthly idea.

When I made these in 2009 both the Boy and the MotH really liked them. I think it is because they are not too sweet. Neither are huge on sweets, unless you count the Boy’s thing with M&M cookies – can’t say I blame him though.

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Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture (or stir in by hand) until well combined.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.

Shape spoonfuls of cookie dough into 1″ balls, then roll in raw sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Place 2″ apart on ungreased (parchment-lined, if you prefer) cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove to a wire cooling rack.  They will be slightly puffed when removed from oven but will flatten completely as they cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Recipe Notes: For softer, chewy cookies, take the cookies out of the oven at 8 minutes (or maybe earlier depending on your oven). For crisp cookies, allow them to bake longer.  If you like an extra spicy cookie, add extra cinnamon to the sugar mixture (some recipes call for a ratio of 2 tablespoons sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon).  Save the leftover cinnamon/sugar for cinnamon sugar toast. But butter will be involved.  Yep.

This is from one of my favorite blogs Pinch My Salt. I really like finding out what Nicole is up to – you never know and to me that’s the best kind of cooking blog. I think I may have to get out of my cookie rut, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. There is nothing wrong with a rut as long as you are enjoying yourself. In my opinion, anyway.

 

Pecan Sandies

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Pecan Sandies

When you have really great local pecans, as we do, well there is no excuse for not making pecan sandies. They are basically a shortbread – lots of butter and no eggs. The sweetness of the pecans really comes through and the crunch topping of sugar just seals the deal. I made these at the request of a friend that I was going to see for about a day in Tallahassee. She’s a huge chocolate fan, and I, am not. But she mentioned liking pecans and I just knew what I had to make. I had this recipe for years and sort of misplaced it, but thanks to the wonder that is google, I found it again a couple of years ago. It is truly amazing and really simple. Make it one day, let it refrigerate over night and bake the next day. Mine are never round.  None of my refrigerator cookies/crackers are. They are odd rectangular-ish things, but who cares? They taste great!

16 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and 1/3 cup sugar and salt at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, and in low speed, scraping down the bowl until the dough just comes together. Add the pecans and beat just until the are incorporated and lightly broken up. Divide dough in half and form into 2 inch thick logs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut dough into 1/4 inch thick slices, arrange on baking sheet, and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown, turning half way through. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Source: Food & Wine via Angie Mosier with modifications.