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Candy Suited For A Chirstmas Gift

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Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock is full of ample ideas as well as interesting concoctions.It's a wonderful cookbook to introduce this month,since it includes many treats that would be splendidly suitable for gifts this season or feautured at a Christmas party.

So if you have a fondness for homemade candy and need a recipe that is sure to impress,then I say you must try "Marry Me Toffee" It's definitely a candy that everyone will love you for.A homemade toffee that is similar to store bought almond roca,but is ten times better in flavor as well as freshness.A treat that is layered with roasted almonds,draped in hot toffee and topped with smooth milk chocolate and more roasted almonds.Its a combination that you cannot go wrong with.especially with that fresh toffee crunch and smooth milk chocolate. 

Its a recipe I highly recommend everyone to try.So choose your favourite milk chocolate and discover how toffee is truly made.A small ingredient list that will create a beautiful piece of candy.So as along as you have the patience to create your own candy then this recipe will come out great and many will come back for more.

So keep on baking and venture into the candy making world with me.

Marry Me Toffee
300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes By Jane Sharrock
Yields: 2 1/2 lbs
Option: Can be doubled, Highly recommend a Candy Thermometer

2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped roasted almonds,divided
6 bars milk chocolate (44 grams/1.55 oz each) 9.3 oz/264 grams total
1lb (500g) salted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Roasting Almonds:

I scattered the almonds over a large baking sheet and roasted them until fragrant and slightly browned.I let the almonds cool and then placed them in a large Ziploc bag and used a rolling pin to create bite size pieces.

Then I scattered about half of the almonds on the large cookie sheet and medium sheet,dividing proportionately.Setting aside chopped almonds for topping.

Then I chopped the milk chocolate into pieces,setting aside.

Using a large heavy bottom pot,over medium heat.I brought the butter,sugar, and water to a boil.Stirring the sugar till it dissolved and the mixture began to boil.

Then I let it cook,stirring constantly,reaching the hard crack stage,using a metal encased candy thermometer (300F/149C)

Then I quickly removed the pot off the heat and stirred in the vanilla.Then I quickly poured a layer of hot toffee over the almonds on each baking sheet.Then I scattered the chocolate pieces on top,letting melt for a few minutes and then I used a flat metal spatula to gently spread evenly over the hot toffee.

Then I sprinkled the rest of the almonds over top and let it cool in the refrigerator ,until the chocolate was firm.Then I broke up the toffee into pieces and stored them in a Christmas tin layered in wax paper.Always store on its own. 

Option: Can store in airtight container at room temperature or store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Brand New Cookbook!!

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Received my brand new cookbook titled "300 Best Candy Making Recipes" by Jane Sharrock a few days ago!! I am super excited to review some of these delicious homemade candies and its also the best time to start, since its December.

Homemade candy will cover my Christmas baking this year and I guess lots of people will get some samples as well.So stay tune!!!

Apple Cranberry Compote,A Great Holiday Dessert!

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Need a refreshing, warm winter dessert that is fitting for the up and coming holidays? Well,If you answered yes! Then this delicious fruit compote certainly has your name on it. It's a simply prepped dessert made with your very own slow cooker and includes fresh fruit to deliver the best overall flavor.

Apple cranberry compote comprises of tender pieces of tart apple, along with soft plump cranberries and just a hint of orange.Then to topped it all off just a splash of heavy cream when served to create a sweet and refreshing dessert.

Overall,this recipe is simple to follow,quick to make and all the while using very little ingredient.So try this recipe out for yourself and maybe include it in the next holiday feast. I even recommend getting creative and trying some different fruits,especially your favorites.

So now that I have a delicious dessert to share with all of you,we have also come to the final recipe review of Slow Cooker Desserts Cook book from Jonnie Downing.Although the recipe testing has come to a close,it has also opened up a whole new wonderful world of experimenting with our slow cookers.We know now that many ideas are possible because of this cookbook.Therefore, I highly recommend everyone to start their own adventure into slow cooker recipes and see what you can come up with.Plus, if you know someone that loves their slow cooker just as much, then this cookbook would be an excellent gift idea.

Overall,I highly enjoyed the testing process and would like to thank Jonnie Downing for her creativity as well as Ulysses press for their wonderful  generosity.Thank you.

P.S: New Cook Book Review,coming soon!

Apple Cranberry Compote

Yields:4-6 servings

6 Granny Smith apples,peeled,cored and sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries

 1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp orange juice
Heavy cream,for serving

I placed the sliced apples in the bottom of the slow cooker and sprinkled the cranberries on top.

In a small bowl, I mixed together the sugar and orange peel.I slowly sprinkled the mixture over top of the fruit in the slow cooker.

In a bowl, I mixed together the fresh orange juice and water. Then I slowly pouring it over the fruit and lightly stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon.

I then covered it with the lid and put the dial to low.I cooked the mixture, until the apples were tender.It took about 2 and half hours.Recipes did say 4-6 hours on low.This time will vary especially with the size of crock pots and the thickness of apple sliced.

Then I served it right away in a dessert dish and poured heavy cream over the compote.

Creepy Crawly Creatures Of The Night

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Need a quick and spooky treat this haunting Halloween?? Then how about designing an unique creepy crawly spiderweb of your own.A delectable white chocolate candy that can be decorated as scary or as gruesome as you desire.The human imagination is limitless with this recipe and would be a marvelous treat to serve at any Halloween party.

These spiderwebs are super simple to prepare that even a beginner candy maker will breeze right through it.The kids will also love these as well and will certainly enjoy the decorating process.I believe that everybody involved will get in the Halloween spirit when creating these unusual webs.

These spiderwebs also include a pretty simple ingredient list such as white chocolate,semisweet chocolate as well as decorative sprinkles of choice.The white chocolate creates the base of the web,which helps with creating a glossy finish and a smooth texture. The semisweet chocolate of course is the star of the show with generating the bold outline of the spider web pattern it self.Then finally, we have the decorative sprinkles that really tie everything together.Because you really cannot go without a spider on a web,especially when they are the ultimate makers.This creature is always fitting for the Halloween season.

So try these spider web candies for yourself and see what I really mean by how fun they really are to make.Everyone will enjoy making them as well as devouring them at the same time.Plus if you really want to get a little more crafty for this Halloween.Then try wrapping these lollipops individually in treat bags to display at a party or to pass out to family and friends as a take home treat. No one would dare resist such an extraordinary masterpiece. 

Overall, I must give these frightening treats a two thumbs up and  I wish everyone a safe Happy Halloween!

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 Adapted from Spiderweb Candies
Yield:About 18

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
12 ounces bakers white chocolate,chopped
2 tsp shortening
Decorative sprinkles

1.Grease and line two large baking sheets with wax or parchment paper.You can also use  aluminum foil,but be sure to grease the top to prevent sticking. 

2. Now fill a medium pot less then half full of water.Turn the heat to low and place a large glass bowl over top.If you have a double boiler,use that instead.

3. Once prepped,add the chopped white chocolate and shortening to the bowl.Slowly melt the chocolate, until smooth and when ready to use be sure to keep the bowl over low heat to prevent setting.

4. Melt the semisweet chocolate chips in a small glass measuring up or microwave safe bowl.Microwave in 30 second intro volts,until completely melted.Let slightly cool.
(No picture available)

5.Using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter as a guide.Place the cutter on the prepped sheet and spoon 1 tbsp of white chocolate inside the cooker cutter. Gently spread the chocolate evenly and remove the cookie cutter to place the lollipop stick,use about less then a tsp of white chocolate to cover the stick.

6.Then place about 2 tbsp of the melted semisweet chocolate into a piping bag and cut a small hole at the tip.Proceed to pipe thin concentric circles on top of each candy,its about 3 to 4 circles.

7.Using a toothpick,begin with the center circle and gently pull the toothpick through each circle towards the outer edge.Clean tooth pick end every time and continue the process to complete a web pattern. 

Tip:The semisweet chocolate may have to warmed up in the microwave during the process.So always keep most of the chocolate in the small glass measuring cup or microwave safe bowl and only use a small amount in the piping bag.

8.Then decorate any way you wish.For example you can use spider sprinkles, black sprinkles or orange sprinkles.Then repeat steps 5 though 8,until white chocolate is completely used.

9.Then chill for 30 minutes or until set.Then store in airtight container.


10.Instead of storing in an airtight container, wrap each spiderweb candy individually, by using a treat bag.This way you have the option to give out some to friends and family for Halloween.These treat bags can be found in most stores with a stationary/craft department in the cake decorating section. These kits include treat bags along with twist ties.For example I used Wilton's shaped treat bags.Even Jack likes the treat!

Slow Cooker Banana Bread

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Banana bread is a beloved dessert by many and just the aromatic scent from baking it in the oven is enough to sway anyone. It's also one of those recipes, that is mastered early on as well as everyone has their own favourite versions. However, has anyone ever made a banana bread loaf in a slow cooker? Yes, It does sounds strange to think about and it has fascinated me since I've come across the idea with how it would actually be done. Would it cook evenly? What would it taste like?

Well I took on the recipe and discovered that baking a banana bread in a slow cooker is a pretty simple concept. It's essentially taking your favorite recipe and cooking it in a crock pot for 5-6 hours on low,until done. The loaf pan does actually sit in the slow cooker itself while it to surprisingly bakes very evenly. Although, don't expect that aromatic scent,since it seems that this can only be accomplished with baking it in the oven. Also,a bread made in a slow cooker will give a varied result and might not be what were all use to.So you definitely need to keep an open mind when taking the first bite.

If you are someone that loves banana bread and doesn't want to mess with a good thing. Then this recipe is probably not something you want to venture into.So, it would be best to keep this recipe for one's that like to try new ideas.

For someone that likes to try out new ideas.When I took the first bite,I was quite surprised with how different it was compared to baking it. It was similar in the sense of texture with it being a moist and dense bread.However, It did not have that strong banana scent as well as the flavor of banana was pretty mellow. Overall, it reminded me more of a caramelized flavor bread and less of a banana bread.Although I still very much enjoyed this delicious bread and its own unique differences.

So, we did find out that it is possible to bake a banana bread in a slow cooker.Although it will vary in flavor, appearance and texture. Maybe next time I will add more banana and add my own favorites.

So go on and try his recipe for yourself and bring your own creative ideas into the mix.Always keep an open mind on any recipe since its simply just a guide line for your own creativity to blossom.

Slow Cooker Banana Bread
Recipe Adapted From Slow Cooker Desserts By Jonnie Downing
Makes: One 8 inch loaf
Used: 8 inch oval(non digital) Crock pot

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana(about 2 medium over ripe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Using my electric mixer, I blended together the softened butter, eggs,sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. As well as adding the mashed bananas.

2. With a large bowl, I combined the flour, baking soda and salt. With a rubber spatula, I slowly folded in the banana mixture without over mixing the batter. Optional:add the chop nuts now.

3. Then I prepared the pan by spraying an 8-inch bread pan with cooking spray. Then slowly poured in the bread mixture into the prepared pan and set into the 8-inch oval slow cooker.(Note: If it doesn't sit evenly in the slow cooker, layer the inside the crock pot with aluminum foil to keep the pan stable and help cook the banana bread evenly.)

4. Then I set the slow cooker on low for six hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean. I turned off my slow cooker earlier than six hours and let the bread cool before removing it from the slow cooker. Once able to touch the bread pan, I let it cool completely on a cooking rack.Once fully cooled, I removed it from the bread pan and cut it into even slices. Serve.

Note: Each recipe from this book will vary in its cooking times. So always check and alter time when baking. It will also vary with brand of crock pot as well as size and if its digital.

Classic Summer Treat :Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Its essential during the summer months to have a cold drink in hand along with a cool spot to appreciate it. Although, the baker in me feels the most important part of these days, is to find delicious recipes that will help everyone beat the heat. Therefore, the rules to go by are finding recipes that do not use the oven at all or only at short increments, all the while creating treats that will cool everyone down.

So,for me I have found a dessert that settles in the category of short heat duration as well as extreme cool down.A recipe that brings back memories of childhood nostalgia, of sitting on the sidewalk enjoying an ice cream treat all the while listening to the melody of the ice cream truck.We of course all miss those days;but what if I said you can now have a piece of that in the home to introduce to your own family. Of course, you would say "Yes"

Well I have your answer.A simple recipe for homemade ice cream sandwiches are really all that you need ,especially when its the most classic summer time treat from every ones childhood. Although, as any adult, you can make as many as you desire and for cheaper the cost.It is also a very versatile dessert where you too can choose anything in the recipe from the cookie all the way to the ice cream filling.Its whatever will help create your own dessert masterpiece.

 Homemade is always the way to go with any baking,but with ice cream sandwiches it is the best choice. With a version like this,you will definitely receive the classic taste that you all remember and love.A soft chocolate drop cookie with a creamy vanilla ice cream.Although,a recipe is just a loose guide and it will always give you the opportunity for new ideas to be born. So, its all in good fun with creating these ice cream treats and even better in taste testing.

So, go ahead and try this recipe, so that you too can have a pile of delicious ice cream sandwiches to enjoy all summer long.Although, with how good these versions are,they may only last a couple days with a crowd.Go on and create your own treats today.

Chocolate Drop Cookies
 Adapted From Betty Crocker Cookbook 2006 Edition
Yields about 24 ice cream sandwiches

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine,softened
1/3 cup + 1/3 cup buttermilk
(Alternative: Mix 160 ml milk + 2 tsp lemon juice= buttermilk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate,melted and cooled
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1.Preheat oven to 400F. Grease cookie sheets with shortening or spray with cooking spray.

2. Replacement to buttermilk.Mix 160mls of milk with 2 tsp of lemon juice in a medium liquid measure.Let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Chop 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and place in a small glass liquid measure. Microwave,at 30 second increments.Stirring after each, until completely melted.Let cool.

4. In a large bowl,beat together granulated sugar,butter,buttermilk,vanilla,egg and melted chocolate.Use a handheld mixer on medium speed.Then stir in the dry ingredients,all purpose flour,baking soda and salt.

Tip:If butter is still too cold,Use a grater to grate the butter.

 5. On cookie sheet,drop dough by tbsp and place about 2 inches apart..Bake for 8-10 minutes or until almost no indentation remain when touched in center.Remove from cookie sheet right away and cool completely on a wire rack. Bake an even amount of cookies.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

2L Vanilla Ice Cream (Used Chap mans)
Parchment or Wax paper
Twine (string) or elastic bands

1. Be sure to match up cookies to create ice cream sandwiches.Then cut up pieces of paper to wrap the sandwiches and cut pieces of twine,if using.

2. Scoop vanilla ice cream to one cookie,place another cookie on top and gently press together.Then wrap the sandwich with the parchment paper and tie with the twine gently to help secure the paper.Then place in the freezer,until set.

3. Tips: Make about about 6 at a time and if the ice cream gets to soft,place in the freezer and wait for about 30 minutes. Prep everything ahead of time before taking the ice cream out of the freezer and work quickly.Let ice cream sandwiches sit overnight to completely freeze.
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