Repost: Easy Fudge

Reposting this as I made a batch of this yesterday. I’ve updated some of the measurements to include weights on the dry ingredients based on my measuring cups and spoons. Still working on trying to get something for the liquid measurements (though there are a few places online that can convert those).

This fudge recipe is super easy. I always make up 2 different kinds, peanut butter and chocolate espresso. It used to be full batches, but it makes so much, I finally figured out how to do a half batch.

Fudge - Ingredients

Unless you can get a jar of marshmallow fluff/creme in just the right size, halving this recipe really does require that you have a scale. I’ve discovered in all my years of baking that there are just some things that really should be weighed rather than use any kind of measuring cups and this is one of them. You also should really use a candy thermometer. My original recipe uses time rather than temperature, but if you go too long or not long enough, this just doesn’t come out quite right.

Easy Fudge, Full Recipe – Peanut Butter & Chocolate Espresso

3 Cups Granulated Sugar (600g)
3/4 Cup Butter – cut into chunks (172.5g)
2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk (1 -5oz can)
12oz Chips (Chocolate or Peanut Butter)
7oz Marshmallow Creme
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)
2 tsp. Instant Espresso Granules (For Chocolate Espresso) (5g)

Mix sugar, butter and evaporated milk in sauce pan (add espresso if making the chocolate). Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a metal or wooden spoon until comes to a full, rolling boil. Continue stirring and cooking for 5 minutes (candy thermometer should read 238­°). Remove from heat. Stir in chips and marshmallow creme until mixture is smooth, scraping the side of the pan. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Spread into lightly greased pan (size will determine thickness, 13 x9 will give a thinner fudge, if you want a thicker, taller fudge, use 9×9). Cool and cut into squares.

Makes about 3 pounds total.

You need to use a pan that doesn’t have a non-stick coating. No matter how good those pans are, with the amount of stirring that gets done with this, you will have flecks of that coating end up in your fudge and you will be wondering when you added pepper.

This really isn’t a fussy recipe and is actually kind of hard to mess up. I’ve played with a few different flavors, using things like Khalua instead of the vanilla. You may end up with a slightly softer fudge (my chocolate always ends up softer than my peanut butter), but it will still set up.

While this doesn’t take all that long to make, you do have to stir it the whole time. Making two batches, your arm may be a bit tired by the time you are done.

I always coat my pan in butter to grease it that way it doesn’t add any other flavor to the fudge by accident.

Fudge - Setting Up

Once it is completely cooled, it is ready to cut. Fair warning, this is stupidly addictive. I barely had any of this cut before both the kids and Hubby were hanging around, snatching pieces.

Fudge - Finished

Snickerdoodles

I’m going to fess up, I completely spaced taking pictures along the way. I very nearly forgot to get the ingredients photographed. Basically, I am being a bit of a goof the last couple of days (my other cookie didn’t even get those). That said, the main point is the recipe and that, I DO have!

Snickerdoodles - Ingredients
Snickerdoodles – Ingredients

This is actually one of my favorite cookies, but everyone always wants the standard peanut butter or chocolate chip when I ask what they want me to make. Because I don’t want 50 different kinds of cookies hanging out and tempting me to eat them all, I just opt to not make this one. Not this year!

Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

1/2 C.  Real Butter – Softened (115g)
1/2 C. Vegetable Shortening (98g)
2 Eggs
2 3/4 C.  Flour (372g)
2 tsp.  Cream of Tartar (12g)
1 tsp.  Baking Soda (10g)
1/4 tsp.  Salt (just shy of 1g)

2 T.  Sugar (14g)
2 tsp.  Cinnamon (8g)

Heat oven to 400°F. Mix together butter, shortening the 1 1/2 cup of sugar and eggs. Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, then combine with the butter mix. In a small bowl (big enough to hold a couple of cups), mix together remaining sugar and cinnamon. Form dough into balls (about 3/4 of an inch) and roll in sugar mix to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and chill in fridge for about 10 minutes (you want the dough to firm up before baking). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack after a minute or two (or eat right away!)

One of the things I love about this recipe is that these have a slightly crispy edge and a soft, chewy center when it first comes out of the oven. It is probably one of the best straight out of the oven cookies. Putting these in the fridge to firm up before baking helps to keep the cookies from getting too crispy and helps that center stay on the fluffier side. They do tend to be on the crispy side if you over bake (even if they don’t look quite done), so try to bake to the low end of the time.

Snickerdoodles - Dough
Snickerdoodles – Dough

The cinnamon and sugar ratio that you roll these in can be adjusted if you like a lighter or heavier cinnamon flavor. This recipe tends to lean on the slightly heavy side. Just enough to add a lingering tingle after you’ve eaten one.

Snickerdoodles
Snickerdoodles

*Please note that all weight measurements are based on my measuring cups and spoons and may not match universal conversions exactly. I will be doing my best to add these types of measurements to all of my recipes so that my non-US readers can play as well. I’m working on developing a conversion chart and will add that to my recipe section when I have a bulk of them finished.

Nougat Candy

I had absolutely forgotten about this candy until I saw the recipe shared online. It wasn’t until I dug a little deeper that I figured out exactly where I remembered it from. Brach’s candy makes these and I remember my great grandmother having them in a candy bowl with other old fashioned hard candies when we were over for the holidays. I remember loving these, but that memory is pushing 40 years old at this point, so I don’t really remember exactly what they tasted like. I’m pretty sure these come close, but I don’t think they are exact. I don’t think those candies were quite as chewy as these, but these are amazing.

Nougat Candy - Ingredients
Nougat Candy – Ingredients

This recipe was… interesting. I love the end results and this has become a hit with everyone in my family. I just didn’t expect it to behave the way it did. That and the issue I ran into with not being able to find basic fruit flavored gumdrops made this a fun learning experience.

Nougat Candy Recip

1 T.  Butter
250g  Mini Marshmallows (a little less than a 10 ounce bag)
235g  White Chocolate Chips (a little less than an 11 ounce bag)
1 C.  Gumdrops (aprox. 231g)
Butter for spoon and hands

Prepare pan by lining with parchment paper. Best size is a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Prep gumdrops if necessary.

Coat a wooden spoon with butter and use this to stir. Melt together butter, marshmallows and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Stir in gumdrops. The mix will be very stiff and sticky, you will need to work quickly as this sets up fast. Put into prepared pan. Will most likely need to press into place to fill the pan. Coat fingers lightly in butter to prevent sticking. Mixture may be hot, so use caution. Allow to cool in refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight for best results. Cut into bite sized pieces after set.

Because I didn’t find traditional gumdrops, I used red and green bells (cherry and lime flavor) and cut them into quarters, making them the perfect size for this. Since gumdrops are naturally sticky, they are lightly coated in sugar. When you cut them, you expose some of that sticky, so I rolled my cut pieces in sugar so I could work with them.

Nougat Candy - Prepping
Nougat Candy – Prepping

The original recipe I found, tells you to microwave this to melt. There weren’t instructions on how long or when to stir or anything. My first batch still turned out, but I don’t think I really got the marshmallows and white chocolate fully mixed so certain sections of that batch felt chewier than others (almost like a soft taffy). This sets up so quickly once everything is melted, it makes it difficult to keep stirring and you still have to mix in those gumdrops.

Nougat Candy - Stovetop Melting
Nougat Candy – Stovetop Melting

I did a second batch on the stove, mixing up the marshmallows and the chocolate before it even started to melt to make sure everything was more evenly distributed. I’d also learned to coat my spoon in butter before stirring. It doesn’t completely prevent sticking, but it does help. Also, use a VERY sturdy spoon. I tried to use a rubber spatula with my first batch and this was just too thick for that to work.

Nougat Candy - Ready to Refrigerate
Nougat Candy – Ready to Refrigerate

The original recipe was really easy to halve so I could do the two test batches, but it called for using a 9 x 13 pan for a full batch, so I opted for a smaller square. It didn’t even come close to filling the pan. This is also where I learned to put a little butter on my fingers so I could press this mostly flat in the space without having half the batch stick to my hands. This really does have a similar consistency to taffy. Having your pan ready before you even start to melt everything is essential because you will NOT have time afterwards.

Nougat Candy - Ready to Refrigerate
Nougat Candy – Ready to Refrigerate

For the second batch, I actually goofed a little when adding the white chocolate and used the weight I’d figured for my gumdrops. It really is only a small change, but between doing the second batch on the stove and the slightly higher amount of chocolate, the second batch came out better than the first batch (though they both taste amazing). The recipe I’m posting is for what I did on the second batch.

Not only is this really yummy, it is so pretty! When I was looking around after doing the first batch to see if their were other recipes for this that did things a little differently (trying to see if I’d done something wrong), I noticed that there are a lot of different versions that use things like dried fruits and nuts instead of the gumdrops, so this seems to be pretty versatile as well.

Nougat Candy
Nougat Candy

This does make a smallish batch, but that makes it perfect for holiday baking when you are making lots of other things. That and this is really pretty sweet, so a little goes a long way. It is also pretty simple to double if you want a bigger batch. I’m not sure I would personally because the small amount here is hard enough to stir and blend in those gumdrops, a bigger batch would present and even bigger challenge. If you’ve got the arms and the ambition, then I say go for it!

Crab Dip & Filling

This is probably one of my family’s favorite recipes. When I make it, it never lasts long and I can never seem to make enough to satisfy everyone.

It is also a recipe that is kind of all me. It is extremely versatile and can be modified for all kinds of other things and came into being in part because of how crazy picky I am when it comes to food. I have used a version of this that added some bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in my stuffed mushrooms. I’ve used a similar version in a stuffed chicken breast. One version used just the addition of Parmesan as a filling for omelets. The base of this is also the base for my tuna salad (replacing the crab with tuna and adding a couple of other things).

Crab Dip: Ingredients
Crab Dip: Ingredients

Up until today, I didn’t actually have a recipe for this. I’ve always just done what I often do and thrown it together based on how it looked and tasted. For the most part, this is really hard to mess up, unless you add too much of the garlic or the lemon juice. Even then, if you have more cream cheese, you can just add more of that and it fixes things.

Crab Dip

8 oz.  Cream Cheese – Softened
1 T  Lemon Juice
2 T  Water
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp.  Garlic Salt
6 to 8 oz.  Crab Meat (imitation is perfectly fine)
*Green Onion – Optional (I do not use)

Mix together cream cheese, lemon juice, water and garlic salt until well combined (I use a fork, but be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate all the cream cheese). Cut crab into smaller pieces and then blend together with fork. If mix is still too thick for your preferences, add a little more water. Flavors get stronger as they set and is better after sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

I have always made this based on taste as I go. The numbers above are pretty spot on, but feel free to adjust to your preference. If you don’t want the added salt, use a granulated garlic instead. The recipe I modified to get this calls for green onions as well, but picky me can’t stand them and never use them. This is a pretty thick dip, but you can make this thinner if you prefer. Just add a little more water or even milk until you get the consistency you want.

Crab Dip: Mixing
Crab Dip: Mixing

I have tried a couple of different types of crab and prefer either real crab or the flake style imitation crab. Most other types tend to do something weird to the texture of this and it just isn’t as good. Using a fork to mix it in to the cream cheese also helps to break the crab down into smaller pieces yet keeps them big enough that you know you are getting crab when you get a bite.

When making just the dip, I almost always serve and eat it with Wheat Thins. I’ve tried several other kinds of crackers and they work, but again, they just aren’t the same. The Wheat Thins seem to be a perfect pair to this.

Anymore when making this, I’ll make sort of a modified triple batch using 3 blocks of cream cheese and two 8 ounce packages of the crab. It makes the ratio a little less crab to the cream cheese, but it also goes farther. I do it this way to ensure I get at least enough to have some left over because the kids go nuts over this and snack on it for a couple of days. I also really LOVE getting to have an omelet with some of what they leave me.

I have done so many things with this recipe and it always goes over exceptionally well.

Crab Dip
Crab Dip

*This was so fun to type up. I can’t tell you how many times I had to go back and fix the word “crab”. I don’t think anyone wants crap dip.

Maple Cupcake With Maple Buttercream

These turned out amazingly well. When I asked BG where it ranked in comparison to the other two that everyone loves, she said it tied with the others. This is very high praise, since she compares almost every cake I make to either the pumpkin or the chocolate cream cheese.

Maple Cupcake Ingredients
Maple Cupcake Ingredients

The recipe calls for pure maple syrup in both the icing and the cupcake. Preferably grade B. And a lot of it on top of that. When I saw the jug of the grade A at Costco, I decided to just go with it. I don’t know enough about grades and maple syrup to tell you how that impacted the final product. I just know that we all really liked it. It is a subtle but noticeable flavor in both the cupcake and the icing. Sort of like a normal vanilla cupcake with a little hint of interesting.

Maple Cupcakes

2 3/4 C  All-Purpose Flour
1 T  Baking Powder
1 tsp.  Salt
1/2 C  Unsalted Butter
2 C  Pure Maple Syrup (pref. Grade B)
3  Eggs, Room Temperature
1 C  Milk
1 tsp.  Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flower, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add maple syrup and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add flour mix and beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Fill baking cups 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes for regular size, 10 to 13 for mini.

Makes 24 regular cupcakes or 66 mini

*source – Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cook book

Maple Cupcake - Making
Maple Cupcake – Making

It is kind of rare that I pull a recipe wholesale from anything. I almost always make some modifications to it along the way to make it mine. Since this was the first time making these and there wasn’t anything obvious that I wanted or needed to chance, I’m giving credit where it is due. I did not use the icing recipe for this that is noted in this cookbook because I love my buttercream recipe and already know what to do to modify it for different flavors so that is what I used.

I took about a cup and a half of the maple syrup, cooked it for a few minutes to thicken it up to a heavier consistency (similar to a thick caramel syrup) and allowed that to cool. I mixed up a standard batch of my Marshmallow Buttercream and once the syrup was cooled, I mixed that in. If this makes the icing too thin, add another cup or two of powdered sugar.

I have a feeling these cupcakes are going to get added to my stable of cakes I bake. We’ll see how well they do at the bake sale.

 

It’s A Banana Bread (Muffin) Kinda Day

My family actually left me some bananas to work with again. I am stunned. And obviously in the mood to bake. I decided to do the mini-muffin version just for something different. The recipe is still the same, I just changed the cooking time to about 20 minutes. They do lean towards the lighter color side than the bread because of that shorter time, but they are still just as tasty. Needless to say, these are already getting gobbled up.

*My base recipe for bread makes about 3 1/2 dozen mini-muffins.

Recipe: Banana Bread

I had to double check and was floored that I hadn’t already posted this recipe. BG has been on a banana kick lately and the topic of banana bread came up and the fact that I’m never allowed to make it because no one ever leaves me any bananas to ripen. They always get eaten. In an effort to prevent this from happening, I had to buy 3 large bunches last week. Even then, I only had enough because I had a lonely, solitary banana hanging out in my freezer for just this purpose.

Continue reading “Recipe: Banana Bread”

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Just dropping in real quick while I take a moment before I dig back into this latest cake project.

Like fondant, buttercream icing/frosting can be finicky. It took me a while to find a recipe that I like. Both to use and to eat.

Continue reading “Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting”

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

Fondant is something I have a love hate relationship with. Basic, store bought fondant, while technically edible, tastes nasty. For me, if I’m going to go to the effort of making a cake, I want it to taste good. Every part of it. After my first couple of times using the store bought garbage, I started to do some research and found a recipe I really like. It is still crazy sweet, but it actually tastes good. My kids love it. MC often eats that and the icing and leaves the cake.

Continue reading “Marshmallow Fondant Recipe”

Pineapple Orange Jello Cake

I knew I wasn’t going to have time before my birthday to do the big cool ballet cake I want to do so I just didn’t think about doing anything this year. I kind of decided last minute that I wanted something and dug around in my cabinets to see what I could come up with, which wasn’t much as I really needed to get to the store. I saw my box of orange Jello and decided that was perfect, but I didn’t have a cake mix. I had pretty much everything else, but not that. The recipe I was modifying used a box mix and I wasn’t sure what would happen if I tried to do the whole thing from scratch, so I begged Hubby to make a quick run to get my mix.

Continue reading “Pineapple Orange Jello Cake”

Sugar Cookies

My baking for this year finished up on a batch of Sugar Cookies, which I rarely ever attempt because I have just never gotten them right. Either the cookie is wrong because I’ve rolled them too thin or over baked them, or the icing turns out like crap. This year, I wanted to play and decided to try again. I think I did them right this time.

Continue reading “Sugar Cookies”

Jack Daniel’s Sauce (Chicken)

For anyone familiar with TGI Fridays, yes. This is THAT Jack Daniel’s sauce. It used to be a favorite restaurant for us, but we lost all the locations in our area a few years back so this became a must have in our house. Continue reading “Jack Daniel’s Sauce (Chicken)”

Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

I had planned on doing my usual with this and taking pictures along the way, but… me being a crazy, stressed out, busy me over the last several days managed to forget that was the plan until the cake was baked, iced and served out onto plates.

I’ve only done this one a few times, but we all really love it. It is very similar to banana bread, but just a little lighter in texture and just a touch sweeter, because… cake.

Continue reading “Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Icing”

Repost… Death By Chocolate

I’m reposting this as this is, again, what MC has asked for and what I spent my evening working on putting together. No real creativity required, but it is still, and probably always will be, a family favorite. I did not take the time to make the individuals and just did this in a large 9 x 13 pan because I’m serving Hubby’s sister and dad this time and the individuals are just a ton of work that I didn’t have time for today.

Continue reading “Repost… Death By Chocolate”

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake Pops

This is only the second time I’ve made this specific recipe, though I’ve played with cake balls for a while trying to get the ratios and chocolate correct. I know I’ve done something different as the first batch of these I ever did came out perfect, but this time, my outer chocolate layer never quite got as solid as it is supposed to. That said, they were still really good. Continue reading “Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake Pops”

Pumpkin Cupcakes

This is probably my second most requested cupcake. Years ago, my SIL brought some pumpkin cupcakes to Thanksgiving and I fell in love. It surprised me since I am NOT a pumpkin fan. I spent some time after that trying to figure out what I thought went in them and then digging around for recipes that sounded close. When I finally found one and tried it, it was just a bit too much. Too much pumpkin, too many spices. One of the things I loved about the ones my SIL brought were the fact that all of the flavors were on the lighter side and subtle, balancing each other out rather than competing against each other. Continue reading “Pumpkin Cupcakes”