Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fudge Nuggets

Fudge Nuggets

We love Quick and Easy fudge. My 1st and 2nd daughters loved Spatulata when they were little. Big and small kids love sweets sometime, and especially around 3 o'clock you get a craving for something and usually it's your sweet tooth. These recipes are great because they set up within an hour after only spending around 5 min. to make! The beauty of them is you can mix just about any dried fruit, nuts, seeds or other hard candy. I love to experiment and taste the outcome.
I placed two recipes here for the vanilla lover too.
With all the different shaped molds and ice cube trays a person could have a party table setting ready in no time. All you need is pretty plates and trays with tons of sparkling water, fruit water or almond milk...
Let get into the kitchen and make some fudge.
Chocolate Fudge with M&M's
3-1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. candy coated chocolate

Combine and stir the sugar, cocoa and salt. Drop Butter into the sugar and microwave on 100% for 1-2 min. Until the butter melts. Stir in the milk until smooth then cook for another minute. Stir and pour in the vanilla and mix in the candies. Pour into the pan and spread out. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Cooks Note: Let me just say...sweetened condensed milk is one of the best inventions or innovations to make dessert making easy! Just because fudge uses dairy doesn't mean we can't convert it to Vegetarian or Vegan diets. Believe it or not it's really easy to make too. I love these kinds of projects and I'll set a day or days to do something, but this is so simple you can do it in minutes, once you gather all you need.

I'm including one of the Vegan recipes I found around the web to include the non dairy/vegan desserts.
For the Milk : 
*1 can (about 14 fluid ounces) canned (not low-fat) coconut milk 
*1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar (can be replaced with 1 1/4 cups (420 g) maple syrup, or 1 cup (336 g) honey) 
*1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
To make ... bring to a boil and allow to simmer fro 45 min. Until thickened.

Click the hyper link if you're interested in making your own coconut milk.

Cherry Vanilla Bean Fudge (Vegan option)
3 cups white chocolate chips
14 oz. sweetened condensed (non-dairy)milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp vanilla extract(optional)
1/2 cup candied cherries chopped
Line an 8 by 8 inch  with aluminum foil and set aside.
Melt the chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stirring regularly.
Once completely melted, stir in the vanilla bean paste, extract, and then the cherries.
Pour into the foil lined pan. Put in the refrigerator and let set overnight. Cut into square pieces and store outside of the refrigerator for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

½ c. butter
1 13 oz(one 12 oz. can, plus 2 Tbsp.) of evaporated milk
1 lb brown sugar
2 c. granulated sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
1 lb of confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Combine butter with milk and brown sugar in a 6 qt pan, over medium.
  2. Stir in the granulated sugar and salt as you bring the mixture to a boil. Test for the soft ball stage. When I reaches the soft ball stage take off the heat. let it cool in the pot for 20 min.
  3. Beat in confectionery sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until thick.
  4. use some butter spray to butter pan, use a 9 in. pan, and smear it all in.
  5. Cool in the fridge. for at least 1-3 hrs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cracker Worthy Snacks: Egg Salad or Peanut Butter and Jelly

The Quick and Easy Snacks 

Egg Salad, I like mine a bit sweet so I put in fresh relish, when I can. I always start with four eggs, chopped, then gauge the mayonnaise(1/4 c.) and relish 2 Tbsp. at a time)

Seasoning: rule of thumb not too many dominant flavors at cardamom or coriander...

  • Ground coriander (optional)
  • Ground cardamom (optional)
  • salt (fairy dusting, pinches)
  • pepper (fairy dusting, pinches)
  • minced sweet pickles/ or sweet relish in a jar, from the grocery
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise or 1 part yogurt and 1 part low fat sour cream.
After the eggs are chopped place them in a bowl and season with a fairy dusting pinch of s/p. Stir in mayonnaise adding more as needed and relish. Pinch a bit of coriander/ cardamom to season. Gently mix/fold, so you don't break up too much of the chopped eggs whites. Taste. Keep in mind if you want it cold, once it's cold the flavors of the seasonings are muted a bit. Taste before serving and see if it needs more seasoning and serve with crackers or on toast, a top leafy greens, in celery or fennel heart. Go crazy with it!

Whole Wheat the beginning of a beautiful Friendship

Sometime we are in a hurry to go out to an appointment or famished when we come in. Just something quick to knock the edge off while dinner is cooking.  My dd doesn't even like Peanut butter nor whole wheat...A young man heard her exclaim her distaste for whole wheat anything, on the way to school one morning and agreed with her. I gave him a motherly look, but they both just laughed!
I never give up and I usually have to sneak it in cake, cookies, tortilla or biscuits, but I finally hit on a winner with crackers! Just try them I say. Put whatever you want on them. Serve with apple sauce and chocolate coconut milk!
Maybe I can get them to like beets next time. Wish me luck!

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Easy Snacks: Caramel/Toffee Popcorn

In Baltimore on Eastern Ave. we live near a thrift store...on the same block. Too convenient, because almost on a daily basis I was in there...some days just to look around. It was like a museum. This of course was before the new management took over and well they raised prices...nothing like NY prices though, but still. I recall being in there on one of my excursions and I found this popcorn pot for popping popcorn...It claimed ease and perfect popcorn...almost aluminium type of pot. I took it home and the first time I burned myself on the pot I gave it up and went back to my old faithful heavy metal pot for popping popcorn. However I kept the popcorn recipes that came with the pot. There were so many easy to make recipes...Cheddar, Cheyenne pepper, Bar-b q, herbs and Caramel, you get the idea. I learned that aside from my favorite salty popcorn I could easily add a bit of flair to my go to snack in a snap.
I made toffee and caramel recently for Christmas to fill butter cookies and I still had quite a bit left so I thought I'd just use the technique to Rechel's Toffee popcorn and walla Toffee/Caramel Popcorn M's way!

Toffee Popcorn

Adapted from "Rachel Allen Home Cooking"
This version of Toffee is very liquid and careful. I used the toffee and Caramel from Mich Turner's book because it's thicker and I like the salty flavor of the Caramel better. We tried them and everyone liked the caramel best. See what you and your family or friends like best.

a really large heavy pot with a tight top (clear if you can)
 Large fork
tea or kitchen towel
measuring cups 1/3- 1 c.

Toffee Popcorn
(I use 1 c. popcorn kernels and about 3 Tbsp. or more of oil)

1/3 c. (75 g.) popcorn

2 Tbsp. sunflower oil

1/4 c.(25 g.) butter

For toffee
40 g. brown sugar
1 pinch of salt

To make
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, sprinkle in a kernel or two of popcorn and then coat it evenly in oil. cover the pot listen for the pop. Pour in the rest of the kernels. Cook until the popping "slows" down.  As soon as the popping quiets down, take it off the heat and uncover. Place in a warmed oven in aluminum pan or keep in pot.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar and golden syrup and stir over a high heat for 1-2min.

Tip: half of the popcorn out of the saucepan and toss with 25g. butter and a pinch of salt.
Pour the toffee over the remaining popcorn, replace the lid on the pan and shake to mix the toffee sauce. Pour out into bowls, cool a little and serve.

Salted Caramel-- I love this caramel...honestly the salt can be decreased to half...but it's so good either way! I melted this on low in the microwave because i kept it in the refrigerator. Then I poured spoonfuls of it over every ones bowl...

Makes 1# 2oz.
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
⅓ c. plus 2 tsp. golden superfine sugar
4 Tblsp. golden syrup or dark corn syrup
1 to 2 tsp. sea salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a pan. Heat over a medium heat until the butter melts and continue until the caramel comes to a boil. Cook for 8 to 10 min. until it has thickened and darkened. Transfer to a clean bowl and let cool. Storage keep in  the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Obviously I left out the Brandy for mine...not a fan of Alcohol anyways. Candy Tip: The same rules apply when working with sugar...let the phone ring...stay on top of it ...and watch it...when it looks beige consider stopping the heat and remove from the burner. It will continue to cook and get even darker...

Makes 10 ½ oz.
½ c. golden superfine sugar
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
⅔ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. brandy
Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the sugar with the butter dotted on top. Let heat, melt and caramelize without stirring. Add the cream and stir until it thickens and caramelizes. Let it cool. Stir in the vanilla and brandy;) Storage keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*cooks note... use a wooden spoon to get the toffee all over the warmed pop corn, if the shaking method doesn't satisfy.