Monday, December 14, 2009

From the kitchen...

Hello All!  I hope you had a GREAT weekend!!  I thought I'd share a few things from the kitchen today! 
This is my little Santa small german twig tree in one of my old crocks and its branches loaded  with lots of handmade Santa ornaments....

Homespun candlelight....wrapped red homespun and stained cheesecloth around a couple of old tin cups...

There are a few other things scattered here and there and I'll try to post more over these next few days!
If you are like me, when the holidays roll around, you do more making of sweets and treats than what you normally do.  I'm always looking for new recipes...especially cookies, candies or desserts!
Over the weekend, I spent some time with a stack of cookbooks, making notes of what recipes in which books I want to try and making a list of ingredients for the grocery store.
Something I've not ever tried making before but I do enjoy having just a couple of pieces each year, if/when I can find them on anyones holiday treat tray, is divinity.  There is a lady at church that used to bring it to the womens Christmas gathering and I remember my Grandpa Summers making it, however, I never got to see him make it, nor do I have his recipe, so now I'm on a quest to find it! Yes, I found a recipe in one of my books, and I may have to use it if I'm going to make it this year, but I still want his recipe!

A recipe I want to share with you today is for Caramel Corn....if I'm going to make it, it's usually at holiday time. I've made lots of it over the years but it wasn't until this recipe that I feel like I finally got it right!  It's a recipe from one of our church cookbooks so who knows where it originally came from.

Caramel Corn
5-6 quarts popped corn
1 cup butter or oleo
2 cups brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine sugar, butter, syrup and salt in heavy 2 quart pan, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Continue to boil to firm ball stage (248 degrees).  Remove from heat and add baking soda, syrup will form.  Stir to mix well.  Pour hot mixture over popped corn and mix well.  (Helps to have corn in large, long cake pan rather than deep pan.)  Put in 250 degree over, 45-50 minuets, up to 1 hour.  Stir now and then.  As it cools, continue to stir frequently.  Store in air tight container.

Cindy note:  I use 6 or 7 quarts popped corn and I use butter. I will also go ahead a salt it a little bit.
 I also add a can of mixed nuts. 
If you don't want mixed nuts, you can use peanuts or almonds...whatever you like.  I just mix them in with the popcorn right before adding the syrup mixture.

I like to put a generous amount in a cellophane bag and tie with holiday ribbon!   Or fill a bag then place in a tin, box or carton!  Makes for a nice little extra giftie!  Who doesn't like homemade caramel corn? And with nuts?!  YUM!

So what goodies are on your list for the holidays?  Even though my boys are 19 and 22 now, they still like the treats....decorated sugar cookies, special K treats and fudge...chocolate, peanut butter..... I'm going to try peanut butter fudge yet again....letting it boil just a little bit longer....seems it's always too soft!  I tried it once using the peanut butter chips as with the chocolate fudge recipe I use but it just didn't work for the peanut butter as it did the chocolate!  Anyone out there with a tip or two?  And speaking of fudge....I remember my Grandma Prewitt making a Boston Cream Fudge... searching the recipe files of aunts and cousins until I find her recipe for that!!  I tried a Maple fudge one year...same as peanut butter...needed to boil longer or something....Oh my!  I think I've gained 10 pounds just by writing about all this fudge and candy!
Happy Holidays!


Shanda said...

The carmel corn recipe sounds really good. I made one with white syrup and white sugar and vanilla around halloween time and I have made it about 5 times since. I was eating nothing but that for about 3 weeks, I finally got my fill on it.
My mom makes good divinity, she always says it takes a cold and clear day to make good divinity. I am trying to find my recipe for a homemade pecan log. I made some 2 years ago, I just can't remember in which of about 40 cook books it was in. Hopefully I can google it and come up with something. I got my goodie making grocerys bought today and I'll start tomorrow morning on the candy making. Your kitchen resembles mine in alot of ways from what I could see. I bet I could have a hay day with a large shopping bag in your kitchen!

Hope you have a merry one,
your friend,

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