Christmas Candy (How Sweet it Is!)

MiscDec2013 140I have to really be in the mood for this…and TODAY IS THE DAY!

Forget for a moment that candy making doesn’t have anything to do with baking. It’s still sweet and good and sometimes challenging. Right up my alley!

Most of my recipes were handed down from my Aunt Pat. We could always count on a big tin of homemade candies on Christmas Eve – the highlight of the evening! She’s gone now, but her torch will be carried on as long as I can wield a wooden spoon and candy thermometer.

Before I start throwing recipes and photos at you, there are a few recommendations I’d like to share.

  • Make sure your candy thermometer is accurate. A couple of my recipes just go by time (boil for 5 minutes) but most candy needs to reach a very specific temperature to come out right.
  • I usually just let ‘er fly in the kitchen, but this is one of those times when you need to be prepared before you turn on the stove. If your pans need to be buttered or lined, do it first. Measure out everything, because there will be no time to be looking for the vanilla or measuring the butter when your candy is at the correct stage.
  • Be careful! This stuff is HOT. Wear oven mitts when you’re pouring candy onto a pan or dish.
  • Above all, this is not the time to use store brand ingredients. Quality counts when you’re making candy! Good butter, cane sugar…very, very important. I usually avoid corn syrup like the plague, but there are times when it really is necessary. This is one of them! I’ll go back to being conscientious after the holidays.

MiscDec2013 101My favorite – absolute favorite of Aunt Pat’s recipes is her peanut brittle. If you look online, you’ll find many recipes, with a few variations. This is my standard. I’ve tried the microwave brittle, and it was OK, but nothing compares to this. In my opinion, peanut brittle needs to be so thin it melts in your mouth. If you don’t agree, just don’t stretch it out as much. You probably won’t burn your fingertips as often as I do!

Peanut Brittle
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups white Karo corn syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter (NOT margarine!)
  • 1 pound raw Spanish peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Before beginning, generously butter at least 3 cookie sheets or flat pans.
  2. In a large pot, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Boil until 250 degrees, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add peanuts and butter. Stirring constantly, continue to cook until mixture turns color (310 degrees).
  4. Remove from the burner and stir in vanilla and soda. It will foam up! Stir until most of the foam disappears. Pour onto cookie sheets. Spread as thinly as possible. (Hardens rapidly!) As it cools, pull the edges of brittle with buttered fingers or forks, to stretch thin. After a few minutes you should be able to lift one side and pull and stretch the whole piece even more.

 

Ingredients for Peanut Brittle

Ingredients for Peanut Brittle

And....310 degrees!

And….310 degrees!

Pour  it out on buttered sheets and quickly start spreading!

Pour it out on buttered sheets and quickly start spreading!

Lifting and stretching (Oh, boy...I sound like Richard Simmons.)

Lifting and stretching (Oh, boy…I sound like Richard Simmons.)

HPIM1611.JPG
Almond Roca   er… Chocolate Almond Toffee (don’t want to get in trouble with the copyright patrol) was probably my least favorite Christmas candy as a child, but I can’t get enough of it now. The homemade version is much more tender and delicious than the storebought kind – trust me on this. And it’s so very simple. Just remember: use good butter! The times I’ve had this candy separate (a total “fail”) I used cheap butter. I use a heavy skillet – I guess because Aunt Pat did. This is a little challenging with a candy thermometer, so if you want to use a heavy saucepan, that’s fine.

I have no in-process photos, since I forgot to put the card in my camera and there was no time to remedy that situation.  If I make another batch, I’ll add them later.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND TOFFEE

1 lb. salted butter (quality counts—buy the best!)
2 cups white sugar
1 12-oz bag milk chocolate chips
Chopped raw almonds (approx. 4 cups)

  1. Generously butter a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle in enough chopped almonds—approximately half—to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Melt butter and sugar in a heavy pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until hard crack stage (290 degrees). The mixture should just be turning a light caramel color. Immediately pour toffee over the almonds in the pan. Smooth with a spatula.
  3. Sprinkle on the chocolate while the toffee is still hot. Wait a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, then spread evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle remaining almonds over the chocolate. Let harden and break into serving pieces. This keeps well in a covered container for at least two weeks.

MiscDec2013 106

How can you resist this?

And…it wouldn’t be Christmas without DIVINITY!

MiscDec2013 111Divinity is the bane of my existence. My kryptonite. And yet, each year, I make the stuff because it’s so…so…well, DIVINE!

It’s tricky stuff! Basically, you will be successful if you follow these three rules:

  • Don’t make it on a day with high humidity. If it’s raining outside, make something else!
  • Make sure to cook the syrup to 260 degrees (or a hair higher.)
  • DO.NOT.UNDERBEAT!

One time I beat the mixture until it was a dry, crumbly mess, so I tend to shy away from mixing it as long as it needs to set up properly. Big mistake.

If you drop the freshly made candy on parchment or waxed paper, it should hold its shape…like a haystack (only prettier!) but my batch today fell a bit flat, like a thick pancake. It still tastes wonderful and the texture is correct, but with just another minute or two of beating it would have been perfect. I don’t have it in me to try another batch, so you will just have to imagine what these confections should have looked like.

Don’t even attempt this recipe unless you have a sturdy stand mixer. My first batch today was a fail because I tried to use a hand mixer so that I could get better photos. My brand new hand mixer. My brand new hand mixer that may have a burned-out motor now.

Have I scared you? If so, I’m sorry – it’s tricky, but certainly not impossible. Give it a try. One bite of this candy will make you SO glad you did!

DIVINITY

2 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup white Karo
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use Wilton’s clear vanilla for this)
1 cup chopped walnuts

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the sugar, water, Karo, and salt to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture has come to a boil, stop stirring and let it cook until it reaches 260-262 degrees F.
  2. While mixture is boiling, beat the egg whites in a large bowl, until stiff peaks form. Use a stand mixer for this!
  3. As soon as the temperature of the syrup reaches 260-262 F, pour the hot syrup in a very thin stream over the egg whites with the mixer running. Hold the pan up high so the syrup doesn’t get added too quickly. You don’t want to fry those eggs!
  4. Beat the mixture on medium high until it begins to lose its gloss and gets very thick. This could take 10 minutes or more. Don’t give up! Depending on your mixer, you may need to finish stirring it by hand. If you aren’t sure the candy is firm enough, drop a little bit onto a piece of waxed paper. If it holds its shape, it’s done. If it flattens into a puddle, keep mixing!
  5. When the mixture is thick, add the vanilla and chopped nuts. Mix to combine.
  6. Drop spoonfuls onto parchment or waxed paper. Let the candy dry for several hours before putting into a container.
Pouring hot syrup in a thin stream over egg whites.

Pouring hot syrup in a thin stream over egg whites.

Almost ready!

Almost ready!

This is one time when I’d trade my beloved Bosch mixer for a Kitchen Aid. It’s a lot easier to scoop the candy out if it’s in a normal bowl. But…there’s more left over in the bowl for me to eat with a spoon this way. Yay!

Here is a candy that makes a lovely gift. (Merry Christmas to ME!)MiscDec2013 133

Chocolate caramels are chewy but not too chewy – just right. You can wrap them up in parchment and twist the ends, wrap them in waxed paper like a package…ribbons and all, if you wish, or you can dip them in chocolate. I put a little coarse salt on the top of the dipped ones and painted them with gold powder. (This can be found at a cake supply store or online.)

Instead of vanilla I used Kahlua, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it really made much difference. If you have Kahlua, by all means use it, but vanilla is just fine. These are very easy to make, and delightful to receive.

CHOCOLATE CARAMELS

2 cups sugar
1 cup half & half
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white Karo corn syrup
1 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 2 teaspoons Kahlua)
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (see below recipe for toasting instructions)

  1. Line  an 8×8 or 9×9 inch square pan with parchment. Butter lightly.
  2. In a 3 quart pan, combine sugar, half & half, espresso powder, salt, corn syrup, butter, and chocolate.
  3. Using a candy thermometer and stirring constantly on medium-low heat, boil until 248 F.
  4. Remove pan from burner and let the mixture cool until it is approximately 230 degrees (about 5 minutes.)
  5. Stir in the vanilla (or Kahlua) and the pecans. Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool until very firm – 2-3 hours.
  6. Lift the block of caramel out of the pan and set on cutting board. With buttered knife, cut into 1-inch strips. Cut strips to make 1-inch squares.
  7. Wrap individually in parchment or waxed paper, or dip in chocolate and refrigerate just until chocolate is set.
Line pan with buttered parchment. (Just one direction is fine.)

Line pan with buttered parchment. (Just one direction is fine.)

You can tell it's ready - see how thick it is?

You can tell it’s ready – see how thick it is?

Cut into squares.

Cut into squares.

Wrap 'em in parchment...

Wrap ’em in parchment…

Or waxed paper

Or waxed paper

Or dip 'em in chocolate!

Or dip ’em in chocolate!

Gussy them up for that "Wow" factor.

Gussy them up for that “Wow” factor.

One more recipe for you…MiscDec2013 141

Maple Nut Fudge is creamy and crunchy at the same time. How irresistible is that?
*Update* I found the fudge is firmer if cooked to 235 F. And I tried a batch with lots of toasted pecans, and it tasted just like maple nut ice cream. SO good!

MAPLE NUT FUDGE

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (Karo)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
12 ounces white chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon maple flavoring (like Mapleine)

  1. Line a 9-inch by 9-inch pan with buttered foil or parchment.
  2. In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, milk, corn syrup, and salt.
  3. On medium heat, stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil and cook until 235 F. (about 5-6 minutes)
  4. Remove pan from the burner and stir in the marshmallows, chips, and walnuts. When the chips and marshmallows have melted, add the maple flavoring and stir for one minute.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and let set until firm. (Once it’s cool, you may refrigerate it to speed up the setting process.)
  6. Cut into squares.

There are so many wonderful candy recipes waiting to be tried, but tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I am officially out of the kitchen! I hope you won’t wait for next Christmas to enjoy some of these; Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, you know!

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Lorinda

Fly on the Wall – December

Fly on the Wall

Have you ever been curious about what goes on in other people’s homes when they think no one is watching? (hint: you might need a little help, if you know what I mean.) Here’s your chance to give in to your voyeuristic tendencies and be a fly on the wall as a group of brave bloggers opens the screen to let you in once a month. Watch and learn, my buzzy little friend! After you’ve read my post, click on the links at the bottom and fly over to to read the others.

fly1gifcropped

There have been so many things going on this month, I’m afraid you’ll drop from the wall and land with your little feet in the air, buzzing pathetically in circles by the time you read through this post. (Cheery thought, huh? Fa la la la la.) I don’t have kids to throw me little one-line humorous lines, so I have to resort to telling you all the fun stuff I’ve been up to.

Before I start listing all the festive fun stuff, there was an interesting conversation at Thanksgiving. Youngest son (Lord Voldemort) was here, and it was just the three of us. This would usually make The Man very happy, since he detests confusion and noise and people – especially on holidays. He had the house and all that food to himself, but was still a bit grumpy and…well…bossy.

Me to The Man: “Well, YOU woke up kind of bossy this morning.”
Lord V chimed in: “Yeah, about 5 decades ago.”
The Man: “That’s because there are so many people in this world that are intellectually unarmed. They need guidance.”

What can you possibly say to that?

fly1gifcropped

If you’ve read my blogs in the past you’ll know I’m just a wee bit OCD. I like to count stuff. I count dishes as I load them in the dishwasher. I count laundry as I fold it. I guess it’s just a way to relieve boredom and keep me on task. So all of the December countdowns I’ve been involved with have been so.much.fun!

There was 12 Cakes of Christmas, where a group of bloggers each chose a day to present a festive cake. Mine was a Brownie Bombe. What a fun bunch of ladies to work with!

There is my “24 Shirts of Christmas” countdown I’m currently doing on my personal Facebook page. Yes, I actually own 24 Christmas Shirts. Here are a few of my favorites:
MiscDec2013vixenshirt dec 11

 

 

 

And there was a fun virtual advent calendar a bunch of us did for Karen, of Baking in a Tornado (the organized genius behind Fly on the Wall.) We each picked a day to post something fun or sentimental for her to “open”. I created a cake recipe for her using hot cinnamon liqueur. You can see it here on Day 16.

Add in an Orange Cranberry cake for my Yummy Northwest Column and one for the Homemaker’s Club luncheon, and flour has been flying.


Orange Cranberry Cake

fly1gifcropped

Then (cue Johnny Mathis singing “We Need a Little Christmas” ) I saw a really cool log cabin made out of pretzel rods on Facebook. The reasonable version of this creation can be found on Worth Pinning’s awesome blog.

I, however, don’t like to do things the easy way. I prefer to stay up until 3:00 a.m. swearing like an ironworker. I had to complete my cabin by the next morning because my friend and fellow blogger Stacia, of the blog Dried-on-Milk, had challenged me to a pretzel cabin competition, and I’m not one to back away from something like that! To hell with the grandkids’ presents…the cabin came first!

I invited anyone and everyone to join in the fun on my Rowdy Baker web page, but….crickets. I think that made it official: Stacia and I were the only nutcases willing to throw reason aside in the middle of December and work on a totally non-essential project!

Here’s how it looked when I started. Um -the wine was just to get the creative juices flowing. And to lessen my frustration when trying to notch the brittle pretzels.

Ready, Set, GO!

Ready, Set, GO!

And…later. Much, much later:

Making a huge mess.

Making a huge mess.

How can you build a log house when the logs all look like this?

How can you build a log house when the logs all look like this?

The final result.

The final result.

Was it worth all the time, money, and patience? Hell, yeah!

For Stacia’s – ahem – unique take on the competition, check out her blog! Virtual Challenge

The man tolerates my messes because he has no choice. The kitchen looked like Christmas had exploded, and he just walked around looking dazed. We had our 35th anniversary this month…but this mess almost sent him over the edge. It can’t be easy living with me!

fly1gifcropped

In case anyone thinks I just ruined my chances for Grandmother of the Year, I want it known that after two all-nighters I managed to get both of the girls’ presents done and shipped JUST in time. A few years ago my youngest granddaughter, Taunee, was given an enormous candy cane for Christmas by her auntie and uncle. Taunee hates peppermint, but they didn’t know that. They got her a nice gift too, but her reaction was priceless and will always be repeated every year by the whole family:

“Whyfor you think peppermint is a good present? This is the most ruinist Christmas EVER!”

I did not want to be responsible for making any Christmas worse than that for the poor child! However…and this was The Man’s idea…we decorated our granddaughter’s presents with packages of Sixlets (you know, those little fake chocolate candies in the bright, toxic, food coloring shells) and then in the hopes that they would sneak and eat them before they were allowed to actually open the gifts, we included this photo inside one of the presents.nose candyHopefully they won’t read this and spoil the “surprise”!

fly1gifcropped

Now buzz off and check out these other blogs. And, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you!

Baking In a Tornado
Just a Little Nutty
Menopausal Mother
The Sadder But Wiser Girl
Follow Me Home
Spatulas on Parade
Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others
The Momisodes
Moms Don’t Say That
Juicebox Confession
Writer B is Me
Dates 2 Diapers
Kiss My List Adventure into Domesticland

Chocolate Nonpareil Cookies

MiscDec2013 013

I brought home one of my husband’s favorite treats the other day – nonpareil candy. You know, the little flat chocolate wafers with the crunchy white sprinkles on top? I love ’em too, but after sampling a few just to make sure they were fresh (ahem) I satisfied myself with staring at them and wondering if I could make a cookie that would have the same eye appeal.

MiscDec2013 011

Yes, yes...this is JUST what I envisioned!

Yes, yes…this is JUST what I envisioned!

They’re pretty and festive, and pack a lot of crunch! You can NOT go all frugal and just sprinkle the little nonpareil sprinkles on them. The crispy, rich (and I mean rich!) cookie has to be dunked in chocolate and then pressed into the sprinkles to look right. I’ll tell you right now that you’ll need at least 2 bottles, maybe 3 of the nonpareil sprinkles. I can’t tell you for sure because I ran out of them part way through! I had no idea it would take that many. Plan B was to dip the remaining cookies in chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy cane. Ta Da!

Nonpareil Cookies
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Author:
Makes approximately 60 small cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cups unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag (12 oz) chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
  • LOTS of nonpareil sprinkles. 2-3 large bottles.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla, milk, and egg, and beat well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (slow down there, Tiger...the cocoa will fly everywhere! Beat it on low until it's incorporated) and mix together well.
  5. For best results, roll out between two pieces of parchment until it's about ¼" thick.
  6. Cut with a small round cookie cutter, or improvise with a shot glass or a plastic cap. With a spatula, lift the rounds carefully and place ½"-1" apart on ungreased bafking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. The cookies should be fairly firm. If they're still soft, give them another minute or two. They'll harden a bit as they cool.
  7. Allow the cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cool, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave at 15 second increments, stirring each time. Dip the tops of the cookies in the chocolate, gently shake off excess, and then press into a separate bowl of sprinkles. Place on waxed paper and move to the refrigerator to set. (Approximately 15 minutes.)

This is a wonderful basic cookie recipe to have on hand. The cookies keep their shape very well, so they’re perfect for a sandwich cookie. Fill them with peanut butter frosting, marshmallow fluff, mint ganache…wherever your imagination takes you!

Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment

Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment

Cut out small circles (I used a shot glass)

Cut out small circles (I used a shot glass)

Dip them in the chocolate...

Dip them in the chocolate…

And then dip them into the nonpareil sprinkles.

And then dip them into the nonpareil sprinkles.

MiscDec2013 010

Next week will be the big push to make and bake for Christmas platters. Stay tuned…lots of goodies are in the works.

Chocolate Peppermint Soufflés

IMG_0824There is no culinary experience as sensual – as sinfully decadent – as dipping a spoon into a warm chocolate souffle and raising it to your lips. I’ll admit my body betrayed me, and I went back for more.

For a spectacular and satisfying finish to your holiday meal, make a warm Chocolate Peppermint Soufflé for each guest. The top is encrusted with sugar and crushed candy cane, and the inside is a heavenly blend of dark chocolate, espresso, and peppermint.

Be prepared to bring the soufflé straight from the oven to the table, because even though this version has a little more density than most, it’s still the nature of the soufflé to deflate quickly. Enjoy them while they are warm and fluffy!

Oh, and you can make them ahead and keep them in the fridge. Just remember to bring them to room temperature before baking.

Chocolate Peppermint Soufflés
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 candy canes (1/2 oz. each)
  • ⅔ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (good quality, no chips!)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup half & half
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature!
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature!
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Place the rack in the lowest position.
  2. Finely crush the candy canes and move to a small bowl. If necessary, sift the crushed candy through a strainer. Larger pieces may be re-crushed or saved for decorating the soufflés.
  3. Add ⅓ cup sugar to the bowl and combine well.
  4. Prepare the ramekins by buttering generously and then adding sugar and candy cane mixture, tipping the ramekin to entirely cover the butter. Pour excess back into the small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
  6. In a small pan, whisk the flour, remaining ⅓ cup sugar, espresso powder, cornstarch, and salt together until well blended.
  7. Turn the burner to medium heat and slowly add the half & half, whisking continuously. Continue to cook until it begins to thicken. It can just start to bubble, but don’t allow it to boil.
  8. Pour over the chocolate and let it sit for one minute. Gently stir until it is combined. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add the vanilla, peppermint extract, and egg yolks. Stir well.
  10. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  11. Divide between the 4 ramekins. Ideally, the ramekin should be ¾ filled. A little more or less is just fine.
  12. Sprinkle generously with some of the remaining sugar and peppermint mixture. Add a few larger pieces of candy cane if you’d like for more color. Not too many, or it won’t rise properly.
  13. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and put into the oven. Close the oven door and turn the heat down to 375 F.
  14. Bake for about 16-18 minutes. Serve immediately!

 

Folding egg whites into chocolate mixture

Folding egg whites into chocolate mixture

Spoon batter into ramekins

Spoon batter into ramekins

Sprinkle generously with sugar/candy cane

Sprinkle generously with sugar/candy cane

Dig in!

Dig in!

Brownie Bombe

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

bombe

Printable recipe at the bottom of the post!

A Brownie Bombe with a chocolate brownie shell, three kinds of ice cream layers of dark chocolate ganache, and a whipped cream icing.

Hey. Sometimes I just crave ice cream!

When Amy from Crumbs in My Mustachio came up with the brilliant idea to post a Christmas cake each day made by twelve different bloggers, I jumped right in. I may have even muscled other people aside in my enthusiasm. What a blast!12 cakes I dithered over this to a ridiculous degree, considering and discarding all different kinds of recipes. And even though my final choice wasn’t technically a cake, it’s a refreshing and crowd-pleasing dessert for any time of the year! I used pistachio-almond, vanilla, and peppermint ice cream for a traditional Christmas color scheme. You may use any flavor or color that appeals to you, of course.

I also put ganache between the ice cream layers because…well…because I love ganache! This is optional. It’s one more step, but I love the way it delineates the colors.

It isn’t a hard dessert to make, but you do have to give yourself a lot of time. Like at least a day ahead of the occasion, because it gets popped in and out of the freezer countless times. This was made in a 4 quart mixing bowl, so it’s huge. I’m guessing it will serve 16-18 people. Scale it down if you’d like. You’ll need:

  • 3 half-gallons of ice cream. (I know…they aren’t half gallons any more. Do they really think we haven’t noticed this???)
  • 2 batches of brownies. Guard them with your life; you will need ALL of the brownies. Trust me on this – I had to make a third batch because I let the guys “test” them.
  • 10 ounces of dark chocolate. Good dark chocolate, not chips!
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • A large tub of non-dairy topping. I usually avoid this stuff like the plague, but it holds up so much better than whipping cream that I caved it this time.

Begin by baking the brownies. Chewy or cake brownies? Doesn’t really matter. Cool them thoroughly. Line a bowl with foil, smoothing it out as much as possible. Don’t lose any sleep over this; the weight of the brownies and ice cream will flatten out most of the little ridges.

Line bowl with foil.

Line bowl with foil.

Firmly press large brownies all over the bowl, covering the foil completely, and bringing all the way to the top of the bowl. Save enough to cover the top when you’re done!

Press brownies along sides and bottom of bowl.

Press brownies along sides and bottom of bowl.

Stick the bowl in the freezer for an hour. This is the perfect time to make your ganache if you’re using it.

  • Chop 10 ounces of dark chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.
  • Heat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream until it’s beginning to bubble but not boil.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then stir gently until it is blended. Cover and set aside to cool. Give it a stir occasionally.

When the hour is almost up, bring out your first carton of ice cream and allow it to soften. I can tell you through experience that you don’t want to try to flatten lumps of frozen ice cream. Let it soften, and maybe stir it around in a bowl first. It will make the next step a LOT easier! Press the ice cream (yes, the whole carton) over the brownie layer, bringing it almost to the top. Leave a generous 1/2″ at the top, because there will be a brownie “cover” added at the end. Smooth the ice cream as much as possible with a spoon, rubber spatula, or (brrr) your fingers. Return the bowl to the freezer.

Add ice cream flavor #1.

Add ice cream flavor #1.

When the ice cream layer is firm, pour enough ganache into the bowl to coat the ice cream. Tip and rotate the bowl to spread the ganache, or use a pastry brush. Work quickly so the ice cream doesn’t melt! Return to the freezer.

Add ganache.

Add ganache.

Soften the second tub of ice cream. Spread over the hardened ganache in the bowl and (you guessed it) return it to the freezer. When firm, repeat the ganache layer and freeze again. Fill with the remaining ice cream. (You’ll have a little left over. Grab a spoon; you know what to do with it, right?) Return the bowl to the freezer. Cover the ice cream with the remaining brownies, pressing firmly. Cover the bowl with foil, and freeze until solid. (Overnight is best.) When you’re ready to serve, remove the foil from the top, cover the top of the bowl with your platter, and flip it over. Peel the foil off of the bombe and frost it with whipped topping.

Frost it with whipped topping.

Frost it with whipped topping.

Sprinkle with sparkly edible glitter, add chocolate shapes, cookies…whatever is appropriate for your theme, or just leave it a beautiful fluffy white. Slice and serve! Use a knife that’s been dipped in warm water if your bombe is hard to cut. IMG_1139 If you have any left over, put it in the freezer until the whipped topping is firm, and then cover well with heavy foil.

bombeslicedbest

Brownie Bombe
Print
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 half-gallons of ice cream
  • 2 batches of brownies, baked and cooled
  • 10 ounces of dark chocolate (the good stuff, not chips!)
  • 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • Large tub of non-dairy topping (16 ounces) softened
Instructions
  1. Line a large mixing bowl (mine was about 4 quarts) with foil.
  2. Firmly press brownies over the inside surface of the bowl, reserving enough to cover the top at the end of the process.
  3. Put the bowl in the freezer for an hour. While it's freezing, make your ganache.
  4. Ganache:
  5. Chop 10 ounces of dark chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.
  6. Heat 1¼ cups heavy cream until it's beginning to bubble but not boil.
  7. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two, then stir gently until it is completely blended. Cover lightly and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the hour is almost up, put your first tub of ice cream on the counter to soften. You may want to stir it in a bowl so it is evenly thawed. You're looking for soft, not runny!
  9. Remove bowl from freezer and press the entire carton of ice cream over the brownie layer, bringing it almost to the top. Leave at least ½ of brownie showing around the top of the bowl. Working quickly, smooth the ice cream as much as possible.
  10. Return the bowl to the freezer.
  11. When the ice cream layer is firm, remove from freezer and pour enough ganache into the bowl to coat the ice cream. Tip and rotate the bowl to spread the ganache, or use a pastry brush. Return to freezer for at least ½ hour.
  12. Bring the second tub of ice cream out to soften. Spread over hardened ganache. (You may have a little ice cream left this time.) Return to the freezer.
  13. When firm, repeat the ganache layer and return to the freezer.
  14. Soften the third tub of ice cream.
  15. When the ganache is firm, fill the rest of the space with ice cream and return to the freezer.
  16. When the ice cream is firm, cover with the reserved brownies, pressing firmly. Make sure all of the ice cream is covered.
  17. Cover the bowl with foil and freeze until solid (overnight is best)
  18. Remove the foil from the top and turn the bombe over onto a serving platter. Peel off the foil and frost with whipped topping.
  19. Cut with a knife dipped in warm water.
  20. To freeze remaining bombe, put it uncovered in the freezer until the whipped topping is firm, and then cover with heavy foil.

 

Here are the links to the first five cakes. I’ll add a link for each new cake, so make sure you come back and visit each day!cakes of christmas

December 1st: Lemony Thyme’s Chocolate Truffle Pirouette Cake December 2nd: Cooking From a SAHM’s Strawberry ‘n Cream Cake December 3rd: Moore or Less Cooking Blog’s Coconut Tres Leches Cake December 4th: 365 Days of Baking’s S’mores Cake
December 5th: it’s yummi’s Pomegranate Lime Bundt Cake
December 6th: My Brownie Bombe.
December 7th: Hun What’s for Dinner’s Chocolate Roll with candy cane whipped cream.
December 8th: Chocolate, Chocolate and More’s Eggnog Pound Cake.
December 9th: Manila Spoon’s No-Bake White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake.
December 10th: Baking in a Tornado’s White Chocolate Peppermint Cake.
December 11th: Crumbs in My Mustachio’s Hot Cocoalicious Cake.
December 12th: Tampa Cake Girl’s Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our twelve cakes as much as we enjoyed presenting them!

Maple Bacon Pockets

IMG_0861Okay, I’m kind of cheating here, since I already posted a Maple Bar Recipe a while back, but this is a little different.

Maple Bacon Pockets are mini maple bars with a chewy piece of bacon in the center. For anyone who has ever dipped a piece of bacon in maple syrup, this is a flavor combination that is irresistible.

They are delicious when fresh, but also freeze well. They disappear quickly, so you might want to consider making a double batch!

Maple Bacon Pockets
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Author:
Makes about 30 pockets, depending on the thickness of your dough and size of the bacon!
Ingredients
  • 6-7 slices of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or shortening
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • ......
  • Icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Slice bacon into 1" pieces and fry until cooked but not crispy. Drain well between paper towels and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter (or shortening.) Add the milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and stir until the mixture is lukewarm. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the warm water, yeast, and ¼ teaspoon sugar. Let sit until bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the warm milk mixture, egg, and 1 cup of flour. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Dough will be very soft, but should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If dough is sticky, add additional flour a little at a time until it can be easily handled. If kneading by hand, drop dough on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes. Dough should be very soft and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise until double, approximately 1 hour.
  7. Punch down dough and roll it out to a thickness between ⅛" and ¼" on a floured surface. Cut into strips a little wider than the pieces of cooked bacon. Cut each strip into rectangles long enough to fold easily over each piece of bacon. Pinch the edges to seal. HINT: Once the bacon is folded up in the dough, neaten up the sides of each pocket with a pizza cutter; they will seal better and look nicer when cooked. As each pocket is formed, place it aside on a lightly floured surface.
  8. When all of the pockets are made, cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour at least 1½ inches of oil in a large pot and heat to 350 F. Watch the heat carefully; it can spike quickly. Reduce heat if necessary to maintain a 350 F. temperature.
  10. Beginning with the first pockets you formed, drop a few in the hot fat. They will puff up quickly, so don't put too may in at a time...they need room to move. When the bottom of the pastry is a rich golden brown (approximately 1 minute), flip each one over with a spoon. When both sides are brown, use a slotted spoon to move them to paper towels to drain.
  11. Combine all of the ingredients for the maple icing, whipping until light and fluffy, and spread on slightly warm pockets. You can also add a little more liquid to the icing and dip the warm pockets.
  12. Keep loosely covered.

 

Prettiest dough ever!

Prettiest dough ever!

Cut up the bacon

Cut up the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Wrap that piece 'o bacon up nice and snug!

Wrap that piece ‘o bacon up nice and snug!

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Frying in peanut oil.

Frying in peanut oil.

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Is there anything that I haven’t already said about maple? If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ve heard me wax eloquent on the subject over and over, and I think I’ve finally run out of new ways to praise it.

Did I mention I could just sit and eat the icing with a spoon, as long as I had a nice strong cup of coffee to go with it? True story.
Addictive little buggers. Betcha can’t eat just one!