Tag Archives: holiday gifts

Day 11 of Baker’s Dozen: Sugared Cranberries

Only a few more days till Christmas! I hope you are all enjoying the season and aren’t getting too frazzled by last minute shopping and baking. If you are, this is the easiest holiday treat yet! Takes about 10 minutes hands on time. Can’t beat that right?

This is the first year I’ve seen sugared cranberries, but I can tell you that I will be making them every year now! They are so pretty and really tasty. Tangy and sweet with a burst in your mouth.

From my research I found the original recipe came from Cooking Light, but you can adjust this recipe to your liking and it is very easy to make more or less. Just follow the 1:1:1 ratio and add whatever additional spices you have! I made two cups, so I used 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups cranberries. I also added a cinnamon stick and a vanilla bean for extra spice. But you can omit the extras or add different extras. Totally up to you! I love recipes like this.

These will make great holiday gifts and/or a great addition to your holiday spread with very effort. Enjoy!

Sugared Cranberries

Adapted from Cooking Light

Yield: 2 cups

Difficulty: Very easy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries or frozen, thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1/3 cup additional sugar for coating

Directions

1. In a sauce pan dissolve the water and sugar to make a simple syrup over medium low heat. Add spices if using. Let syrup cool.

2. Rinse cranberries and place in bowl. Once syrup is cool (if it is too warm the cranberries may burst) pour over cranberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, strain the cranberries. You can reserve the simple syrup for another use, like using in coffee or tea. (Or putting on a sponge cake!). Place a tablespoon of sugar at a time in a bowl and a few cranberries. Toss to coat and place on sheet pan to dry. Repeat the process until all cranberries are coated. You can sprinkle more sugar over the cranberries if it looks like they need more. Let dry a couple of hours and then store in an airtight container.

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Day 6 of Baker’s Dozen: Candy Cane Bark.

Candy cane bark is everywhere these days, but, amazingly, I just had it for the first time last year. And of course, I love it. I love chocolate and I love candy canes. And this treat just screams “Happy Holidays!” don’t you think?

I know I’ve posted a lot of stuff that I’ve said is easy, and I promise all are, but this is one of the easier ones amongst the easy treats. You don’t even really need a recipe. Just melt some chocolate, add peppermint, add crushed candy canes and you are done! See, easy!

I accidentally made mine thinner than I had planned. Got a little carried away spreading out the chocolate. But, turns out, I like it better that way! It’s more delicate and more pleasant to eat than a thick chunk. I planned it that way…right…

This makes a pretty small amount, but is easy to double. Adjust the candy cane and peppermint extract to your liking.

 

Candy Cane Bark

Adapted loosely from King Arthur Flour

Yield: A couple of cups, depending on how thin your chocolate is

Difficulty: Easy!

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces chocolate, semi-sweet or dark (not chips)
  • 4 ounces white chocolate (not chips, preferably)
  • 2 to 3 candy canes, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1. Chop both chocolates separately. Bring a pan of water to a simmer. Set up a double boiler: set a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Line a half sheet pan with parchment or silpat and set aside.

2. Melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate first. Spread onto sheet pan making chocolate as thin or thick as you desire. Set into refrigerator for about 5 minutes to help set. Don’t leave the chocolate in the refrigerator or it will make your chocolate spotty.

3. Meanwhile, melt your white chocolate. Add peppermint extract to white chocolate. Once chocolate is mostly set, spread white chocolate over the chocolate. If it isn’t set yet, you may have swirls, but it looks pretty, I think.

4. Spread candy cane over white chocolate before it sets and gently press candy into chocolate.

5. Let set at room temperature until firm. It was rainy when I made this, so it took awhile to set up. Don’t be surprised if it has to sit overnight. Once set, break into pieces and enjoy!

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Day 5 of Bakers Dozen: Caramel Corn

I should not have made this caramel corn. Shouldn’t have done it. Why? Because I can’t stop eating it! It’s worse than the peanut brittle. Sweet, salty, and crunchy. I should also mention that popcorn is an addiction of mine.  I have an air popper that cooks my lunch for me often. Cause, you know, sometimes I just feel like an easy lunch. And popcorn is perfectly acceptable in my book. Then I had to go and add caramel to the mixture, which is probably making my dentist cringe.

This recipe is very easy. You don’t want to use microwave popcorn – the extra flavors might not work with the caramel. You do need a candy thermometer again, but you don’t have to babysit this caramel. Just cook it, toss with the popcorn and eat! Well, give it a second to cool off. Trust me on this one.

If you want to add nuts I’m sure it would work great. Maybe cut out a little of the popcorn for the nuts added. In Hawaii you can find caramel corn with macadamia nuts. So. Good. Personalize it and enjoy!

Caramel Corn

Recipe from Joy of Baking

Yield: 8 to 10 cups

Difficulty: Easy

Prep time: About 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (110 gr) popcorn kernels, or about 10 cups of popped corn, plain
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 gr) packed dark brown sugar (I only had light and it worked fine)
  • 1/2 cup (120 gr) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 2 TB (28 gr) butter
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to the lowest setting it will go (mine goes to 170F). Lightly spray a large stainless steel bowl. Pop the corn into the bowl and place in oven to keep warm. Lightly spray two wooden spoons and set aside. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment or silpat and set aside.

2. Measure your salt and baking soda and set aside. In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, stir together the sugars, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a boil. Place a lid on pan for just a minute to reduce sugar crystals from forming. Uncover and clamp candy thermometer to pan.

3. Cook to 240F. Add the butter, stir only once, and then bring mixture to 300F. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and salt. The mixture will foam up.

4. Quickly pour over popcorn and toss with your prepared spoons. Pour onto sheet pan and spread out. Let cool and break into pieces.

5. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. But it won’t last that long. Yum.

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