recipes

Holiday 13 December 2016

Wrap Up the Season With Buttery, Homemade Candy

(Family Features) Homemade candy is a year-round treat, but it’s especially delicious during the holidays. Stir up sweet family traditions in the kitchen this season with a few simple tools and the perfect candy ingredients. Gather a heavy saucepan and wooden spoon, along with plenty of real butter, pure sugar and high-quality chocolate.
These recipes are easy to make, from melt-in-your-mouth caramels to crunchy, nutty toffee. If your candy-making technique could use a refresher course, visit butterisbest.com for a short video demonstration of the Pistachio Toffee recipe, along with helpful hints for using a candy thermometer and testing candy temperatures.

Sweet Tips for Candy Success

  • No substitutions — real butter, not margarine or spreads, gives candy the best flavor and texture.
  • Don’t double up — make only a single batch of candy at a time. Extra ingredients may prevent the mixture from cooking properly.
  • Temps on target — the bulb of the candy thermometer should be completely covered by liquid, but don’t rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan.
  • Be patient — candy takes a long time to cook — don’t rush it by turning up the heat.
  • Measure up — measure all ingredients before beginning a recipe.
  • Keep it fresh — store finished confections in an airtight container in a dry location. Use wax paper to separate layers of candy.

For more holiday recipes and tips for cooking and baking with butter visit butterisbest.com.

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Chocolate Cherry Fudge

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
  2. Remove from heat; add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until smooth.
  3. Add, almonds, cherries and almond extract; mix until well blended.
  4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Refrigerate until cool; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

 

Eggnog Fudge

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans,
  • 1 teaspoon rum or rum extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
  3. Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme, pecans and rum; mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool completely; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Sea-Salted Caramels

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Butter sides and bottom of heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add butter and melt over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrups and cream; mix well. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (firm ball stage).
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool at room temperature until caramel begins to set, sprinkle with sea salt; cool completely.
  3. Use foil to lift caramel out of pan. Butter a large chef’s knife and cut caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap caramels individually in plastic wrap or store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Pistachio Toffee

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place pistachios in single layer in pan; toast 3 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and coarsely chop; set aside.
  2. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugars, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil until mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage), stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup pistachios; mix well and pour into jellyroll pan lined with buttered foil. Spread mixture into large rectangle. Cool completely.
  4. In microwave-safe container, microwave chocolate 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving in 10-second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth, but not hot. Using spatula, spread over toffee, covering it completely. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and gently pat into chocolate.
  5. Place pan in refrigerator for 5 minutes, or until chocolate has set. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Source: America's Dairy Farmers

Snacks 19 December 2016

Add Some Pop to Your Party

(Family Features) No matter the occasion, every celebration is better with snacks. Whether you’re hosting game day with the guys, catching up with girlfriends, gathering for family movie night or inviting your kids’ friends over for a grade school sleepover, you can’t go wrong with popcorn treats.

Popcorn is the perfect partner for a broad span of flavors, especially when they’re sweet or salty – or both. You can make each mouthwatering bite pop even more by adding texture with crunchy nuts or silky melted chocolate.

Even if you simply serve plain popcorn to your guests, you can feel good about serving healthy, whole grain, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free.

Find more ways to pop up more fun for your next party at popcorn.org.

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Caramel-Nut Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 225° F. Spray 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In large bowl, mix popcorn and almonds.
  3. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Over low heat, stir mixture until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, almond extract and baking soda.
  4. Pour over popcorn and almonds, immediately stirring gently to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  5. Bake 1 hour. Cool completely. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

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Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, divided
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2/3 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line jelly roll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes, or until ends of bacon start to curl. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
  4. Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread popcorn mixture in jelly roll or roasting pan. Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.

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Poppy Chow

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In microwave safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave 2 minutes; stir until smooth.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir until well coated. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over popcorn and stir until coated.
  4. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.

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English Toffee Popcorn Bars

Yield: 20 bars

  • 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Toffee:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) chocolate pieces
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  1. Heat oven to 200° F.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and toasted coconut. Cover bottom of buttered 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan with half of the popcorn mixture. Keep filled pan and remaining popcorn mixture warm in oven.
  3. To make toffee: In heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and blend well.
    Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches full boil. Add water and corn syrup; mix well.
  4. Wash down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar granules.
  5. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches soft-crack stage on candy thermometer (280° F). Immediately pour mixture over warm popcorn in jelly-roll pan, making certain all popcorn is covered. Quickly spread and press remaining popcorn mixture into hot toffee. Set aside to cool.
    For topping, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Spread over popcorn mixture, making certain any loose pieces are held in place.
  6. Cool. Cut into bars. If bars will not be served immediately, wrap in plastic wrap for storage.

Source: The Popcorn Board

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