Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day Eleven: Let there Be Calories!

I am uber cranky this morning---- for some techy reason I don't know, many of the photos that were part of the Knitting Contrisstmas posts have disappeared. ACK! I'm busy rebuilding them but if you are as organized as I am during the holidays you will understand that it is harder to do than it sounds. Especially the very photo heavy post for the Haute Sock Knitting Bag----- dang it.

The holidays tend to be bad for me when it comes to food. I don't eat wisely. And I eat too often. Especially when it comes to items from the treat category. So it goes. Please do not feel bad if you find yourself absolutely compelled to tell me to stop chewing and get to the gym! I do love the fabulous candy creations, they're an excellent food group unto themselves, I wish I didn't but that's just the truth of it.

I have a cabinet full of recipes, and I'm pretty organized. Manilla file folders each labeled with the type of food. Such as soups, salads, desserts (this is a BIG file), Pacific Rim, Asian Cuisine and the like. Candy and Confections are a pretty fair sized folder as well. But my favorite recipes reside in a wooden file box. It was my homework project when I was in third grade. We still had home economics in school then and my assignment was to assemble a collection of recipes in some sort of container. I found the wooden box and stained it with my very own hands, very home eccy if you ask me. The stain was "provincial", I remember it clearly as if it were yesterday--- and most assuredly it was not. My Mom was a crafty sort of gal and she had been stripping and staining a chair, actually an antique sewing rocker. So with my finished recipe file box I set to copying favorite recipes from my mothers' stash. I still have the handful of recipes that were in my hand back then, they've been joined by others over the years. But the rules are strict! To reside in the recipe box you have to be really, really good! When I reach for the wooden recipe box you know that there will be something fabulous on the horizon!

My candy recipes in that box are wonderful and because I'm feeling particularly generous these days I'd like to share a couple with you. They've both been fiddled with a bit over the years, as all favorite recipes tend to be. They're awesome. I hope you add a few calories to your own holidays! I'm going to share some of my favorite wooden box cookie recipes before the end of Contrisstmas. Just in case you start feeling weak and puny that is--- we can't have that!

Chocolate Pecan Turtles

  • 3/4 pound of pecans, carefully shelled
  • 1 can of Eagle Brand condensed milk
  • 1 cup of White Karo Syrup *Karo has undergone some sort of label revamp in the past couple of years and those of us with old and yellowed recipe cards have to stand there quite a long time staring at the many kinds of Karo. Choose the syrup that is clear.
  • Good quality chocolate bar, plain & nice and thick * When I first made this recipe, and for years actually, I chose good old Hershey bars. This is still a great choice but today I might use a dark chocolate or even one of those schmancy brands. It's your choice entirely!
On a sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the pecans in little clusters of 3 or 4 pecans. It will depend on the size.

In a medium saucepan over a low flame (or heating element) combine the Karo and the condensed milk. This needs to cook nice and slowly until it is thick and caramel colored. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. This step usually goes through several kind of ugly phases where you wonder just what in the world is going on.

When the caramel is done (and if you are unsure try to make a turtle, you'll know right away if it needs a bit more time) pour a nice puddle of caramel over the pecans, slowly. Working in small batches, place a square of chocolate onto the HOT caramel and let sit while you make more turtle clusters. When the chocolate is melted, smooth it gently over the turtle.

Let cool and remove from the paper. So good..................

And some fudge because it isn't the holidays without a good pan of fudge or four!

Easy Rocky Road Fudge
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar (I like to use vanilla sugar** if I have it)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of marshmallows (the little ones)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
**Vanilla Sugar is simply a screw top jar (think peanut butter) filled with sugar in which there has been a vanilla bean or two split and inserted. You can even use the sticky little black vanilla beans in another dish and use the leftover pod for the sugar.

Rocky Road Additions:
  • 1/2 cup of Golden Graham cereal and very slightly broken (you can use real graham crackers like I used to, but I find the cereal holds up nicely in the fudge.
  • 1/2 cup of marshmallows, again the small ones
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans *you can use any nuts, pecans are just my favorite
  • 1/2 cup of dried cherries (You can omit if you like, but why would you?)
In a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat combine the butter, milk, sugar and salt and boil. Don't stop stirring for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the marshmallows, the chocolate chips and the vanilla and beat. It will take some elbow grease, beat it like a person removing all aggression from life! After a few minutes when it is all melted together and smooth, add the rocky road additions but don't beat until it melts. Pour into a buttered, foil lined 8x8 pan. Let cool and then remove from pan and peel off the foil. Cut into squares. Make sure you eat any immediately that are not pristinely pretty. You can't serve those, it wouldn't be fitting!
Oh thank heavens the last hat is done! Finished! I was so excited to get it finished I was almost giddy with glee! The Knitty hat joined all of it's friends and now to haul out my blocking bowl and give it a bit of a final pat and putter. I am quite glad they are not all the same hat----- even though there is not a huge amount of difference. One "Unoriginal Hat", Two Knitty Hats, One earflap hat, and four rolled brim hats of varying degrees. My favorites? Well they all were actually! The folled brims were my favorite because they were so fast to work up, the Knitty hats were my favorites because the peace sign in the earflaps and the great colorwork pattern were such fun, and the "Unoriginal Hat" was lots of fun because it was fast and the cables were a joy to work.

I need to finish my scarf today from the fabulous Byzanz yarn and I have a couple of projects to finalize so I can share them with you! Does the list ever get smaller? Actually, I don't think so!

Officially two weeks until Christmas for those of you who celebrate! That is really 13 days because Christmas Day doesn't count, you should be done by then! :)

Don't forget to comment on the Haute Sock Knitting Bag if you want a chance at it!

I have spent the past X hours very crankily adding the photos to the pattern again so all is well. I still don't know if Blogger is being argumentative or if the stars just lined up against me. I was thinking about moving the blog after the first of the year and perhaps this just solidified it for me. Oh well. I'll be late getting in to the studio today, which means late coming home. Sigh...........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you for sharing these recipes. I know my daughter and I will enjoy making the turtles together, and who doesn't like eating those anyway? Would make lovely gifts. So thank you.
I hope you have an uber-blessed, knitterly day.
Thanks, too, btw, for the interviews. I discovered your blog through Grumperina, who posted notice of the interviews there. They've all been delightful!