CASHEW TOFFEE

When it comes to homemade candy, I love traditional recipes. This one is a slight variation on the traditional toffee recipe~ but it’s just so good! The candy isn’t difficult to make, although it does require all your time and attention for about 30 minutes, so plan accordingly. Trust me though- it’s easier than you think!

One thing I always use when making candy is a thermometer. I use this one- it’s digital and very accurate. I’ve used several other types of candy thermometers and I really suggest using a digital one! {Translation- I’ve burnt many a batch when using a mercury thermometer!}


Cashew Toffee

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cashew Toffee

  • 1 cup cashew halves and pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vanilla baking chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with parchment paper or foil. {I adore parchment paper! Get it at Costco and it’s super cheap!} Spread cashews in pan. I smashed mine just a bit with the bottom of the measuring cup to have some smaller pieces. Bake 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Divide in half and set aside. Keep parchment paper for use later on!

Meanwhile, in 2-quart heavy saucepan, cook sugar, brown sugar, butter and water over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Mixture will come to a full boil after about 5-7 minutes. Boil at that same heat 10 to 15 minutes, , until candy thermometer reaches 300°F or small amount of mixture dropped into cup of ice water forms a hard brittle strand. Stir frequently! Mixture will darken as it gets closer to 300 degrees.
Stir in 1/2 cup of the cashews; immediately pour toffee into same foil-lined pan. Quickly spread mixture to 1/4-inch thickness with rubber spatula. Sprinkle with baking chips. Let stand about 1 minute or until chips are completely softened. Spread softened chips evenly over toffee. {It’s ok if they don’t spread a lot.} Sprinkle with remaining cashews.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until topping is firm. Break into 2×1-inch pieces. Store in tightly covered container.

Cinnamon-Chipotle Crinkles

Warm spices give these cinnamon-chipotle crinkle cookies a rich, earthy flavor and a subtle spicy kick!

The weekend before last, Shawn and I were out for a drive and ended up in Stockbridge. We spent the afternoon walking around and doing some shopping (um, hello general stores with penny candy and gorgeous locally made pottery!). Just when it was starting to get a little too cold to be out anymore, we stumbled across the cutest little chocolate shop. The sidewalk chalkboard announcing that the daily special was peppermint hot chocolate was what originally caught my eye, but once we got inside it was really hard to make a selection because they all sounded so amazing. I eventually settled for the cinnamon-chipotle hot chocolate, and I knew I made the right decision as soon as I took my first sip.

I also finally knew what flavors I wanted to play with for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I had been stressing over my contribution for weeks – cooking for other bloggers is always a little intimidating and I really wanted to do some sort of a modern twist on a traditional cookie.  As i suspected, the cinnamon and chipotle that was so perfect in my hot chocolate was even better when mixed into chocolate crinkle cookies, giving them a rustic, earthy taste with a little kick of heat.

I packed my cookies up and sent them out to the bloggers I had been paired up with. In exchange, I got Reese’s peanut butter cup cookies from Aly (Cooking in Stilettos), biscotti from Aubrey (Real Housemoms) and cranberry swirls that reminded me that it’s been waaaay too long since I’ve made cranberry bread from… someone? I didn’t see a card so I’m not sure who sent me these… if it was you, let me know. They were all amazing! It’s fun to swap with other bloggers, since you always get something really good.

I’m so excited that this year, thanks to generous matching contributions from OXO, Gold Medal Flour, Dixie Crystals, and Grandma’s Molasses, bloggers participating in the exchange raised a total of $13,778.40 for Cookies for Kids Cancer! Now that’s pretty sweet!

Cinnamon-Chipotle Crinkles

Chipotle chile powder, made purely from ground chipotle peppers, gives a smokey heat to these crinkle cookies. Don’t confuse it with regular “chili” powder, which includes additional spices like garlic and cumin.

Author: Lauren Keating

Serves: 36

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups Gold Medal al purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for rolling

Preparation

  1. Add the chocolate chips and butter to a small saucepan set over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
  2. Beat the sugar and eggs until thick and smooth. Add the melted chocolate; mix to combine.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm – about 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350ºF. Line your cookie sheets with parchment or a silicon mat. Pour the powdered sugar into a shallow dish.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll the balls in the powdered sugar, coating them completely. Arrange the balls on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until just set.

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DONUTS WITH HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM & WHITE CHOCOLATE

DONUTS IN LESS THAN 20 MINUTES? YES, YES, YES!  THANKS TO PILLSBURY!!! THIS RECIPE IS A COPYCAT OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT DESSERTS SERVED AT BLACKSTONE STEAKHOUSE!!!

BUY SOME GRAND BISCUITS-CUT OUT THE CENTERS AND POP THEM IN SOME HOT OIL! BOOM! DONUTS!  I TOPPED MINE WITH HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM BUT YOUR FAVORITE STORE BOUGHT JAM WILL WORK JUST AS WELL. THEN I USED A CARROT PEELER TO GRATE SOME WHITE CHOCOLATE ON TOP FROM A SMALL BAR.  YUM! ADD SOME WHIPPED CREAM AND INDULGE!

1.  FLATTEN OUT EACH GRANDS BISCUIT A BIT AND CUT THE CENTERS USING A SMALL, ROUND BISCUIT CUTTER.


2.  POUR OIL IN A DEEP POT AND LET IT GET HOT, HOT, HOT!


3. ADD DONUTS-JUST TWO AT A TIME AND BROWN ON BOTH SIDES.  REMOVE TO A PLATE.


4.  GARNISH WITH HOMEMADE JAM (CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE) OR STORE BOUGHT.


5.  GRATE WHITE CHOCOLATE ON TOP AND ADD SOME WHIPPED CREAM ON THE SIDE!

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