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Baking Day

December 19, 2010

toffee close up

Today was the beginning of holiday baking. I’ve been wanting to make candy and treats since the first day of December, but it just has not happened.

2010 found me not only going back to work part-time after being a stay-at-home mom for almost fifteen years, but it’s also the year that I turned Sewhooked from humble blog and website into my own pattern publishing business. It’s been a crazy, exciting and very busy year!

The new (and exciting!) demands on my time have kept me out of the kitchen. With Linus over for the year and my kids out of school, I decided today was going to be The Day.

I broke out my favorite old cookbooks and hand-scribbled recipes and started cooking. These are today’s accomplishments.

english toffee

Toffee, adapted from a recipe found in and old church cookbook.

Chocolatey Butter Toffee

  • 1 c butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c pecans

Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, sprinkle pecans on the paper.

Cook butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan until it reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour over pecans. Spread the mixture with a non-stick spatula. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of hot toffee. All to sit for several minutes and then spread with the spatula. Move cookie sheet into the refrigerator for 1 hour to set chocolate. Remove, break into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temp.

drying mints

Holiday Mints, from a company cookbook found at a thrift store. This is a new-to-me recipe.

No-bake Holiday Mints

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbs room-temp butter
  • 3 1/2 Tbs evaporated milk or 1/2 & 1/2
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • a few drops of food coloring

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (I have upright mixer – it worked a treat!); knead mixture in bowl until smooth. Shape mints in candy molds placed on a baking sheet. Cover with a towel and allow to air dry.* Remove from molds and store in an airtight container.

*note – there is no time listed for how long these take to dry. I’m going to try overnight and I’ll get back to you!

ETA – These tasted like toothpaste…I even tried dipping them in chocolate to save the batch, but then it tasted like chocolate-covered toothpaste! If I did this again, I would omit the almond extract.

cracked ginger cookies 2

Cracked Ginger Cookies from Reader’s Digest Cookies – 1001 Mouthwatering Recipes from Around The World, another new-to-me recipe!

peanut brittle

Jennifer’s Best Peanut Brittle – Yes, I did name this after myself. Follow the link and you’ll see why!

fudge

Fantasy Fudge, right off the back of Kraft’s Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme. I’ve been making fudge my entire adult life and this always, always gives me the best results!

Am I done for the holidays, you ask? Not by a long shot! I still have bon-bons and cookies for Santa to make!

Add your Sewhooked-related photos to my flickr group and you might be featured in a future post.

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