I am about to post a fruitcake recipe. Now..don’t click the X yet ….
I grew up loving fruitcake and i could never figure out why people didn’t like it..To me, there was nothing more delicious than a piece of the moist and chewy cake, slathered with cream cheese or butter and resting next to a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmm – Christmas! Continue reading
My mom didn’t cook much except around the holidays. For some reason, during the Christmas season she pulled out all the stops making dense, moist fruitcakes, cookies, date nut bread, and fudge.
Mmmm, fudge. Traditionally she made the first batch of fudge while we were watching Rudolph and it was usually test-tasted by my dad and myself before it had even set up. Creamy, chocolaty and sprinkled with just the right amount of pecans for a perfect creamy – crunchy ratio, her fudge was something to anticipate all year. All year because she only made it for Christmas.
Candy is fun to make anytime of the year but I don’t usually take the time until the holidays. It seems silly to buy the kids HFCS laden candy bars for a treat when I can make them as well myself without all the junk in them – I just don’t take the time.
100 Grand bars have been a favorite of mine since they were created. I love anything with chocolate and caramel, and if you add a little texture to it? Yes please!
These are so simple and they will only take about 30 minutes of your time – if that.They look beautiful on a cookie or candy tray or served with an after dinner espresso.
No Cook Chocolate Billionaires
- 1 (14 ounce) package caramels, unwrapped
- 3 tablespoons water (or bourbon)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cups Rice Krispies
- 3 cups chocolate chips; milk, dark, bittersweet, or a combo
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Heavy cream as needed to thin the chocolate
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
- Combine the caramels and water (or bourbon) and stir over low heat until smooth.
- Stir in pecans and cereal until coated.
- Use a melon baller or teaspoon to form balls with the hot mixture.
- Cool in the refrigerator until firm.
- Meanwhile melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan until smooth.
- Using a fork, dip the pecan ball mixture into the chocolate, covering it completely.
- Place on prepared baking sheets and chill.
Makes 3 dozen or so.
Candymaking Made Easy
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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Normally I have my menu done and even a few things finished by now but not this year! The wedding has overshadowed everything! I guess they made June the wedding month for a reason, huh?
I am still not sure what we will be doing but if you are looking for some recipe ideas here are a few side dishes from past years that I have loved. I will post desserts in another post. They deserve their own post, don’t ya think?
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Make Ahead Bourbon Sweet Potatoes
Sauteed Lemon Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios
Pumpkin Gnocci with Smokey Chipotle Sauce
Green Bean Casserole without the Canned Stuff
Roasted Onion, Apple, and Thyme
Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
Artichoke, Portabella, and Potato Gratin
Smoky Smashed Potatoes
One of the traditional dishes on our Thanksgiving and Christmas menu is Green Bean Casserole. I grew up on it the way you probably did: canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, Durkee onions. I don’t know what it is about this simple dish that just makes us love it, but we do.
I just didn’t like the additives, preservatives, massive amount of salt, or the funny canned flavor. There has to be a way to make it better….. And there is.
What happens when you substitute fresh, organic ingredients? Magic, that’s what! The cream sauce infused with garlic and bacon, made with portabella mushrooms and half and half becomes succulent, sweet and rich, meaty with mushroom flavor. The true flavor of the green beans shines and the texture is tender yet with some tooth.
Did I mention the portabellas?
Don’t save this for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is simple, delicious, and inexpensive.
Green Bean Casserole
- 2 lbs of fresh green beans, trimmed, washed, and cut
- 1 lbs baby portabella mushrooms, sliced thickly
- 1 onion (I used purple) peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 strips of bacon, applewood smoked or peppered
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 tbs sherry or vermouth
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup butter, cut in chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups sliced onions sauted until golden OR 2 cups Durkee Onions
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 13×9 inch casserole dish
- Cook green beans until crisp – tender. They will cook more in the oven, so don’t get them too mushy
- Drain green beans well and spoon into prepared pan
- Chop bacon into a small dice, add with onions to the pan
- Saute until the bacon is crisp and brown and the fat is rendered but the onion is not scorched
- Add garlic and mushrooms
- Saute mushrooms in the bacon fat until tender, remove the contents of the pan to casserole dish and mix into the green beans
- Add the sherry ( or vermouth) and the balsamic
- Add the cream and bring to a boil
- Once it reaches a boil turn heat down and maintain a simmer until the cream is reduced and coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes
- Whisk in the butter, small pieces at a time and whisk until the butter is melted and the sauce absorbs it
- Taste and adjust seasonings
- Pour over the green bean mixture, top with sauteed onions or Durkee and bake for 20 minutes
images: marye audet