Monday, December 24, 2007

Quick Fix

Awwww. Don't you just love it when the kids get excited over the jolly elf?

Here's something I got all excited about just a little while ago and now I've got to share it with you. I've been goofing around all day, taking my time, fixing different things for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The idea, of course, is to do up as much ahead as possible, right?

Well, it's all been coming along nicely but when I took a break to listen to the Broncos and the Chargers play tonight (Eeeuuu! Didn't Denver take an awful whuppin'?) I got to thinking about the fact that I haven't made holiday candy in years. Candy making always seems fairly fussy to me. I know -- there are lots of easy-peasy recipes but, as a general rule, it's just not my thang.

Still, for whatever reason (I blame it on the very dull second half of the game), I just really, really wanted to fix some candy. I spent most of the fourth quarter doing a Google cruise for easy candy recipes, emphasis on easy. It also helped if the recipe called for ingredients I actually had on hand. And then I found one for peanut butter candy that was so simple, I could hardly believe it would be worth doing. On the other hand, peanut butter struck a resonant chord in my Sweet Tooth gland and it didn't call for all that much either in the way of time or ingredients. This am the way it goes ...


The first thing you do is haul out a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour in 1/2 cup of honey. Then grab a teaspoon and glop in 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Put it in the microwave and nuke it on high for 40 seconds. Lick the spoon while you're waiting.

When you pull the measuring cup out, the honey will be hot and the peanut butter will still be gloppy. Not a problem. Whup it a bit with the spoon -- okay, get a clean spoon -- and the peanut butter will blend right in.

Now you take 1 cup of instant dry milk and stir it in to the mix 1/2 a cup at a time. Blend it good. I don't know if different kinds of dry milk have different textures. Mine is granulated so the mixture looks all nubbly, and that's perfectly okay.

Lay some waxed paper or foil across a plate and spread the candy out to about -- I dunno -- a quarter of an inch thickness. It starts to set up pretty fast so you might not want to dilly dally too long. When you have a nice patch of candy formed, put the plate in the refrigerator and lick the spoon again. And the measuring cup. It's good to clean things up as we go along.

Roughly half an hour later, pull the candy out of the fridge. It will be nicely firmed up and will still have the nubbly texture. Turn it over onto a smooth surface, peel off the waxed paper (or foil) and cut it into pieces with a table knife. I guess I did them an inch or so square. I ended up with somewhere close to 50 pieces -- counting the ones I ate. It didn't take long to notice, as I laid them out on the plate, that the honey content was going to make the pieces stick together, meaning the candy was going to have to be kept in the fridge. I thunk on that for a bit and came up with what I'm convinced is a perfect solution.

Just happen to have some honey-roasted, sesame-coated cashews. And I also just happen to have a dandy little chopper but a coffee grinder or even a blender will do the same job. Tossed maybe a quarter-cup of the nuts in the chopper and pulsed it until they were ground down to the consistency of, say, corn meal. (I'm assuming you could do the same thing with just about any kind of nut you have handy.) Dumped the lot in a small bowl and took it to the table where the candy pieces were trying to meld themselves back together again.

While it's true the honey makes them a bit tacky, the oil in the peanut butter keeps them from sticking to your skin -- so I took each piece and rolled it into a little ball about the size of a big hazelnut. Then I took half a dozen balls at a time, dropped them in the cashew meal and tossed them a bit until they were thoroughly coated.

Shazaam! It seems to be working. I put the plate of peanut butter balls back in the fridge -- just in case -- and brought three of them in here, all tucked in together in a small dish. They show absolutely no indication of melding behavior. And now I'm wondering how it would be to toss them in some cocoa, like you do with truffles. Hmmm ... I'll have to think on that.

Oh! There's quite a bit of the cashew meal left so I put a lid on it and I figure I can sprinkle it on top of something later. Like baked squash or green beans or a casserole or ... whatever.

And now I have to get back to my goofing around. Christmas is fast approaching and -- wait! Do I hear Santa?


Anonymous said...

Happy Santa Day, Dee!

John B.

Anonymous said...

You really do need a cooking show since you won't open a dinor. :-)

Merry Day today Dee.

anon B again/still. rotfl

Bonnie said...

fooling around just to see if I could beat out the two google comment pages that open.

Didn't work btw. so now I have another blog. wonder if they will close it for non use? lol

The Old Guy said...

Dee, did you borrow that recipe from a bear or a squirrel? Up until now, I thought they were the only ones who could make a meal out of nuts.

Best Xmas ever to ya, anyway.

Jo said...

I do believe you have made a new candy recipe. Sounds more appetizing to me than the original. Happy Hollydays to you.

Anonymous said...

Blessings on ya, Pal. A friend brought a little plate of sweets yesterday and I was a bad girl and ate a little of it. My blood sugar is back to normal today, so I suppose there wasn't much harm done. It sure was good.

I hope you are having the best Christmas ever.


Gloria said...

This is great! Now I know what to do with that jar of Christmas honey I received. Thanks, honey. :-)

Mage And George said...

You do you do.......and I was working that game. So many left mid third quarter too. Sold out stadium, many drunks from the git go. Joy here when I got home safely. Stay safe this holiday yourself. Enjoy. Hugs......

Gordo The Geek said...

OH, that's great, Dee! Unfortunately, pushing 11pm is a tad late in the evening for me to be whipping up candy .. hmmm .. Breakfast, maybe?

Mage And George said...

Santa has come and gone. I hope he left you a bag filled with happyness. Now it is New Years. I'm sending you hugs and know you will have an interesting year to come.