Thursday, December 16

Holiday Sweetness

I know this is isn't a cooking blog, and I leave that stuff up to my sister, but as I was whipping these up for a cookie exchange recently, I thought of you. And, how you might need the perfect gift for friends who stop by during the holidays. Plus, this recipe is super delicious (and, super easy), and it's sad that I only make it once a year.

Making holiday candy and cookies is another tradition in my family. One of the things I remember most about the holidays are all of my mom's Christmas tins overflowing with all sorts of holiday goodness. Chex mix (trash, in my family), butterscotch haystacks, divinity, and of course, this toffee.

The Toffee's cast: 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp karo syrup, 2 Tbsp water, 1 cup chocolate chips, 2 cups whole nuts, 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans work, I used walnuts)
Bring the butter, sugar, water & Karo to a boil and cook about 7-8 minutes. If you want to use a thermometer, you want the mixture to be at 290 degrees. If you don't want to use a thermometer, we've decided that if you start a timer for 7 1/2 minutes as soon as the mixture starts to boil, you're pretty much perfect. Just make sure the mixture is brownish, and not butter colored.
Remove from heat and stir in nuts. (See how the mixture is more "caramel" colored?)
Spread the toffee onto a cookie sheet with the back of a wooden spoon, and pour your chips over the mixture.
Let them sit for 2 minutes and then spread them over the toffee with the back of a knife. (Little bit of trivia: chocolate chips don't lose their shape when they are heated!)
You can top the toffee with chopped nuts, or leave as is. Sometimes a little time in the freezer helps before you break them apart.

For the perfect little gift, break your toffee apart, put a few pieces in a cute bag, and tie it with a festive holiday tag for all your nearest and dearest friends. (There's the design piece, right?! Gift Tag!)
Or, throw some wax paper in one of your Christmas tins, and keep them for yourself to enjoy over the holidays as an anytime snack.

Hugs & Happy Holidays to you all!

Friday, December 10

15 DAYS??!!

Can you believe there are only 15 days left until Christmas?! What tha?! Really, where does the time go?

Well, around here, the time has been going to creating holiday works of art for you all. This is just a sampling of what's been riding out of the workshop on Santa's sleigh.

And, I'm here to tell you, it's not too late. You have a few more days to order Christmas cards, and if you just can't get your stuff together for those, you have plenty of time to order New Year's cards. Oh, and one more thing - if you want to make your card do double duty, I've done a baby announcement/holiday card and a 1st birthday/holiday card this year.

So, order up your cards by December 16th, or the sleigh's leavin' without ya!

OK - back to it. I see an elf slacking on his ribbon duties.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 1

It's Christmas(carol)time

So, it was reeeeeeally hard for me to wait until December 1st to post the December playlist, since I started listening to it the day after Thanksgiving. I love Christmas carols, holiday songs, all the new, fun songs by today's latest and greatest. Having a decorated house with carols piping out the speakers just makes me happy!

This playlist has all my favorites (that I could find), so it's quite long. Perfect for you at work, when you don't want Pandora sucking up all your computer bandwidth. If you are a holiday song lover like me, here are a few CDs not to miss: Sarah Maclachlan's Wintersong, George Winston's December, and Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics. Of course, the Very Special Christmas CDs (I don't love anything past the third one, but...) are always good.

Is there anything on your holiday song list that I should be listening to? Let me know. I love new holiday songs.