Classic Creamy Fudge

Classic Creamy Fudge

Classic Creamy Fudge

I was having a conversation with some friends recently, and the topic turned to baking. We started talking about what goodies we were going to make, or had already made for Christmas, and I mentioned that I was going to be making a batch of fudge soon. My friends looked at me with wide eyes and began remarking on how hard it is to make fudge, and how time consuming it is. It took me quite a while to reassure them that making fudge was not as laborious a task as they thought it was.

Take this Classic Creamy Fudge recipe for example. From start to finish, it took me about 15 minutes to whip up this rich and creamy confection. (not including refrigeration time) Very few pots and pans were used, a candy thermometer was not needed, and cleanup was a breeze.

Exactly the type of recipe we could all use about now, considering Christmas is less than a week away. :)

~Enjoy~
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Classic Creamy Fudge

2/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil. Butter the sides and bottom of foil.

Mix the dry milk powder and water together in a small bowl. Transfer the milk mixture to a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, butter, and salt to the saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Turn heat to low, and stir in the marshmallows, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the marshmallows are melted.

Remove from heat and pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Lift from pan and remove foil. Cut into pieces.

Store in refrigerator.

Spiced Spritz Cookies

Spiced Spritz Cookies

Spiced Spritz Cookies

I have got a busy cookie baking weekend ahead of me, and I’m starting it all off with these Spiced Spritz Cookies – Christmas Cookie #3. Now I ask that you please try not to laugh too hard at my spritz cookies; I’m not very skilled with a cookie press. Just kidding. Feel free to go ahead and laugh… I did. :)

I love spritz cookies, but I sometimes find that they can be a little lacking in flavor. This recipe includes ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, which adds tons of flavor to the cookies.

Later on today, I’ll be baking up a big batch of Eggnog Snickerdoodles (Christmas Cookie #4) for the annual office cookie exchange on Monday. Of course, I’ll have to be sure to make extra to add to my own Christmas cookie platter, or my family will never let me hear the end of it. (They are one of my family’s favorite holiday cookies)

If you’d like to view the recipe for the Eggnog Snickerdoodles, you can find it here.

Well, I think it’s about time for me to head on back into the kitchen.

Tis the season to be busy, fa la la la la, la la la la.

~Enjoy~
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Spiced Spritz Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer, beat butter, egg, powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, mixing until blended.

If desired, divide dough into sections and color each section with food coloring. (one section could be green, one red, etc…)

Push dough through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until cookies are set.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 48 cookies.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Wow, for the first time in several days, the morning temperature here is above zero. Granted, it’s only 5 degrees outside this morning, but since our high temperature for the past couple of days has only reached 4 degrees, the warmer morning temperature looks promising. They are forecasting that our temperatures will climb into the 20’s this weekend, and we’ll even get a bit more snow. I’m sure all the winter outdoor recreation enthusiasts out there will enjoy the snow, since we’ve only received about 3 inches of it so far this season.

Even though it’s still pretty chilly out this morning, at least I have my baking to help keep me warm. Today we have Christmas Cookie #2 – Christmas Pinwheel Cookies! These light, crisp, peppermint flavored cookies are perfect for the holidays. I think the swirls of red and green look so festive, and I just know these cookies are going to look great on this year’s Christmas cookie platter.

~Enjoy~
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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
red food coloring
green food coloring

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; approximately 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the peppermint extract. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.

Divide the dough in half. Add several drops of red food coloring to one half of dough, and several drops of green food coloring to the other half. Mix until well combined. Form red dough half into a 4″ x 4″ square; wrap in plastic wrap and set aside. Form green dough half into a 4″ x 4″ square; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate both dough halves for at least 30 minutes.

On parchment paper, roll red dough into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. On another sheet of parchment paper, roll green dough into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Place green dough over red dough; peel away parchment paper. Cut dough horizontally in half. Roll each half into a tight log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slice logs into 1/4 inch pieces. Space 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you a very happy and safe holiday season!!

~Enjoy~

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

One of our local grocery stores recently had a sale of 50% off a large variety of spices and extracts – which was terrific, since I still have a lot of baking I’d like to do before the holidays.

while looking over the selection, I spotted a small bottle of vanilla butter & nut flavor extract. It was the first time I’ve seen that particular flavor offered at the store, so I grabbed one of the remaining two bottles on the shelf and added it to my cart. After I got home, I did a little online research and learned that the vanilla butter & nut flavoring is a combination of vanilla, butter and almond extracts, which are pretty common flavors used in baking recipes.

I decided to try the extract in this Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge recipe. As I was adding it to the mixture, I suddenly realized that there was a real possibility that the mint flavor would overpower the vanilla butter & nut flavoring. I was right. Although the fudge is absolutely delicious, the mint is the dominant flavor. The next time I whip up a batch of this fudge, I’ll probably use plain vanilla extract.

Not to worry though, I have big plans to use the vanilla butter & nut flavoring in a batch of Cutout Sugar Cookies that I’ll be making real soon. :)

~Enjoy~




Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 (10 ounce) package Andes Crème De Menthe baking chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla butter & nut flavor extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Line a 9-inch square pan with a piece of plastic wrap that is longer than the pan. Leave the ends out to cover the finished fudge.

Combine all ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Place over simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour and spread mixture into prepared pan. Cover lightly with the ends of the plastic wrap.

Refrigerate until firm. Lift out of the pan and cut into small squares.

Store in refrigerator.

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