Saturday, December 24, 2011

More Last Minute Easy Candy Gifts!

Now don't tell me I am the ONLY one who waits till the last minute to throw gifts together?!? And what better gift to please a friend or neighbor than CANDY! Here are a couple of easy quick ones I made that are sure to please!

First is Pistachio Fudge

Pistachio Fudge

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 package (3.4 ounces) pistachio instant pudding mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups white baking chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, divided

Line a 9" square baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over
2 sides of pan; grease foil. In a heavy large saucepan, combine
sugar, pudding mix, evaporated milk, butter, and salt. Stirring
constantly, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat; boil 5
minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, baking chip, and
vanilla until smooth. Reserving 2 tablespoons pistachios, stir
in remaining nuts. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle
reserved nuts on top. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Use ends of
foil to lift fudge from pan. Cut into 1" squares. Store in an
airtight container.

The second is a similar recipe to one I already posted but I found an AWESOME simplified version using less ingredients but the exact same yummy results!! I found it at Recipe Girl, LoVe her recipes!! Check out her tutorials.
Almond Roca....have you ever tried it or made it yourself ? If not, YOU MUST!! A piece of heaven I tell you!!

Almond Roca
Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 18 min
Cook Time: 15 min
So simple and delicious, but it can be a little tricky. Please read all of the comments and tips before attempting your first batch! We've been making this recipes for years for the holidays and we love it!


1 1/2 cups chopped toasted almonds, divided
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
4 bars of chocolate (such as Hershey's Bars) (I just used chocolate chips bitter sweet)


1. Butter a 7x11-inch pan (or 9x12 for slightly thinner roca). Sprinkle 1 cup of toasted almonds on bottom of the pan.
2. In heavy saucepan at medium-high heat melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir until gently boiling. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low and boil 12 minutes exactly, stirring constantly. *Edited to add* I made mine without a candy thermometer with success, but since some readers have noted having trouble with this recipe- you might wish to stick and instant read thermometer in there just to make sure it's about the right temperature. Pull it off the heat when it has reached the hard-crack stage (300 degrees F)- if it gets higher than 320, it will not remain solid.
3. Remove the mixture from heat, give it a good stir to mix up that butter and sugar one more time, and immediately pour hot mixture into pan over almonds. (see *Tips below) Place chocolate bars on top. Let them sit a minute or so until melted, then spread chocolate around carefully. Sprinkle with remaining toasted almonds and gently press them into the chocolate..
4. Cool completely, and then break apart into chunks with a sharp knife. Store in a covered container.


*This recipe is gluten-free adaptable- just be sure to use a brand of chocolate that is known to be GF.
*If you like the sweet-salty combination in desserts, use roasted almonds that are salted (then you can chop them and toast them lightly in a dry frying pan). If you don't care to have much salt, use unsalted natural almonds. I went for the salty kind and LOVED it.
*If you don't have a 7x11-inch pan, it's okay to use a 9x12-inch pan. You probably won't want to go all the way to the edges with the almonds, toffee and chocolate or it will be thin. Leave about an inch all the way around.
*Speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in the refrigerator.
*If you are in a place where it is very humid, you will likely have trouble getting your toffee to set. Toffee doesn't like humidity. Try it on a dry day!
*Edited to add that some people have trouble w/ the chocolate separating from the toffee. This is kind of normal in almond roca since the toffee is so buttery. I've been told that one way to avoid that is to give the toffee a light dusting of cocoa powder before placing the chocolate bars on top. The powder apparently acts as an absorbent for the butter and allows the chocolate to adhere more easily to the toffee. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm told that it works!

I hope everyone has a Beautiful and Very Blessed Christmas!

Love In Christ,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Easy Does It Christmas Candy!

We all need a little easy shortcut option for Holiday treats and gift giving ideas! Here is a option that can be whipped up in no time but is every bit a yummy to eat! This recipe is very versatile, use any of your favorite add ins!

M&M Holiday Bark

1 package white chocolate bark
1 package baking M&M's
pretzel pieces or almonds...or both :)

Melt bark in microwave, stirring to get smooth consistency, then stir M&M's into bark. Pour thin layer on wax paper to cool.
When completely cool and hard, break up into pieces.

Add to your cookie tray or give away in clear goodie bags to neighbors and friends!

Cute Holiday Idea for keeping Christ in Chistmas: Santa's Key

Source: Pearls,Handcuffs,Happyhour 

Santa's key for Jesus- Dear Santa, This magic key works just for you, Please open the door and come on through. Thank you for coming to our house tonight. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Thank you Santa for the gifts you bring. Thank you Lord for everything

Blessings In Christ!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Countdown.....Russian Tea Cakes

These cookies are SO tender and light and just melt in your mouth!

Russian Tea Cakes

2 Cups of Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
2 Sticks of Butter, softened
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
powder sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together all dry ingredients. Add butter and vanilla. Mix well until dough forms, if needed, add more flour.
Form dough into 1inch balls and cook for 10-12 minutes. When done, let cool for about 2 minutes.
**Be very careful lifting the cookies off of the pan**
Dust cookies in powdered sugar. Promptly stuff your face.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Countdown 2 Days in one...and am I tired!

My good friend drove 3 hrs just so we can make a family tradition of hers that I absolutely LoVe! It's a Polish desert walnut bread called Potica. My dear friend usually makes it for Christmas and shares some when  she visits but this year I wanted to learn to make it so one day I could teach the process to my girls....and believe me it IS a process! But it is oh so worth it!!
She came down yesterday so we could start on the dough since it then needs to rest over night. It is indeed alot of work but the recipe makes alot and there is just something that adds to the flavor when you know the treat is a labor of love!
Thank you dear for teaching and sharing this yummy treat!

Betty Valencic’s recipe from 1975

(This recipe makes (2) 12” and (3) 6”-8” poticas)
What makes it so good?
• The dough handles so nice after the slow rise in the refrigerator. You can roll it thin without tearing.
• The chilling of the dough immediately after mixing “slows the fermentation activity in order to draw forth
more flavor from the dough through extended enzyme activity.” (from: The Bread Bakers Apprentice)
• For dough, bring butter and sour cream to room temperature
• You can double the dough recipe but I suggest making the filling one recipe at a time.
½ Cup Sugar
2 Cakes of yeast (or 1 large cake) (4 teaspoons Instant Yeast)
1¼ Tablespoon Salt
½ Cup lukewarm water
8 Cups Flour (all purpose)
2 teaspoon sugar
½ lb. Butter (2 sticks)
6 Egg yolks, beaten
2 Cups Sweet or Sour Cream (16 oz)
• Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water(110-115F) and add the sugar. Let stand until it foams. (Add instant
yeast to flour. No proofing required)
• Measure flour and sift with the sugar and salt (and Instant Yeast) - Cut in the butter as you would for making pie
• Mix egg yolks and cream then add the foaming yeast mixture
• Make a dent in the flour and add the liquid mixture – mix with wooden spoon as long as you can
• Knead into a smooth dough, about 15 – 20 minutes
• Place in an oiled bowl, grease the top, cover with wrap and put in the refrigerator over night.
• Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before rolling. Use this time to prepare the filling and set-up your work space
2 lbs. Walnuts, ground fine 1 ¾ Tablespoons Vanilla
½ lb. Butter (2 sticks) 2 Cups boiled milk
2 Egg yolks 2 Cups sugar (maybe more if you need it)
½ Cup egg whites, beat until stiff 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Lemon rind, grated ½ Cup Honey
• Pour scalded milk over ground nuts. Add butter and stir until the butter melts.
• Add sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla and honey and stir until blended.
• Fold in stiff egg whites - don’t over mix as it will break down the egg whites.
• Divide dough in half – will make two or three loaves
• Roll the dough long, wide and thin on a floured cloth (table cloth). Spread filling to within ½ inch of edge.
Sprinkle with sugar. Roll up potica using the tablecloth (lift and let potica roll ahead of you). Stop half way and
pierce roll many times with skewer (will let gas out while rising).
• Divide into loaf sizes using a coffee saucer! Roll ends. Skewer again when potica is placed in each pan.
• Place in well-greased pan. Let rise 1 ½ hours or double in size. Spread the egg yolk on top before baking at
325 F for 1 hour or a little longer.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!!

In His Name,


Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Goodie Countdown: Snickerdoodle Blondies = YUM!

Sorry for missing a day but it was for a VERY good reason! I was Baptized yesterday and I wanted to let that be my focus and not the computer :)
But for tonight I am posting my VERY favorite that I often make for parties when asked to bring a desert.
There is just NO WAY to get tired of these babies and that my friends is DANGEROUS!



2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup cinnamon chips, optional
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Glaze (optional): VERY RECOMMENDED!
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup heavy whipping cream (I sometimes use reg milk and it works fine)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9×13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment and let it hang over the sides. Spray parchment with nonstick spray too.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream of tartar and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer (3 to 5 minutes). Mix in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Keep beating until mixture is smooth.
4. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. If using cinnamon chips, stir them in now. The batter will be thick. Spread it evenly into the prepared pan. Spray your hands with cooking spray and use them to pat the mixture down evenly.
5. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly on top of batter.
6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Let pan cool completely.
7. When ready to cut, use ends of parchment paper to lift out baked bars. Place on a cutting board. If you’re adding the glaze, whisk the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl and drizzle onto the bars in decorative fashion. Let glaze set (this will work more quickly in the refrigerator) then use a large, sharp knife to cut into bars.
Makes 20 to 24 bars
Baking Tips:
*You don’t have to use parchment paper in your pan if you don’t have any.  You can always just bake them in the pan and then cut them and lift them out.  Baking w/ parchment though will help you to get the cleaner cuts seen in the photograph because you can take the whole thing out of the pan and work directly on a cutting board.
*This is a very sweet treat.  Leave off the glaze if you wish, but it adds a good flavor to the top (and you can get a nice design out of it).  Put the glaze in a little zip bag, snip off the end and you’ll have a way to squirt the glaze on in whatever decorative way you’d like.
*If you have chunky, white, sparkling sugar, add that to the top too for extra sparkle

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 3 Christmas Goodie Countdown: Almond Roca COOKIES!

YUM! Does it get any better, take my favorite candy and turn it into a cookie!

Almond Roca Cookies

Almond Roca Cookies
2½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temp
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 package toffee bits
1 cup coarsely ground almonds
4 ounces milk chocolate
½ tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 300. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend sugars together on medium speed, add butter to form a grainy batter. Add eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and the toffee bits. Mix just until just blended. Place ground nuts in a small bowl. Using hands, roll balls of dough into 1 to 1½ inch balls, then roll in the ground nuts. Bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Melt the chocolate along with the vegetable oil in microwave. Drizzle this over the cooled cookies. Place in fridge until chocolate is firmly set.

Enjoy and have a Blessed Weekend!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2 Christmas Goodie Countdown! Sliced Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

These are my all time favorite cookies to make for the holidays because it makes SOOO many and you can prepare the dough months ahead of time and freeze it, once you are ready for them, you take them out  to defrost a bit, slice them and bake them. No mess no fuss but awesome flavor!! I would get about 4 long rolls of dough out of this recipe to store for seperate batches.

Sliced Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Sliced Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

1 cup crisco
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
11/2 quick rolled oats
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
In a mixing bowl cream together crisco and sugars till light and fluffy. Addeggs 1 at a time, beating well after each, add vanilla. Combine the flour,baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and walnuts.
Shape dough into 2 8" inch roll, wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill for 3 hrs or freeze for future use.
Preheat oven to 350 cut dough into 1/4" slices. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 mins.Cool on rack.
Makes about 60 cookies.

This year I plan to drizzle them with a Cinnamon Glaze that I LoVe! The glaze hardens as it sits on the cookie.

Glaze (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract