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Blog

Filtering by Category: christmas

English Toffee

Patricia Reitz

 English Toffee - ButterYum

English Toffee - ButterYum

Seriously, is there anything better than caramelized sugar?  Ok, maybe caramelized sugar, a stick of butter, lightly toasted almonds, and a glorious robe of melted chocolate.  Heaven help me, this stuff is amazing!  

Before beginning, have ready a half sheet pan lined with a silpat liner.

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Also, make sure you have chopped chocolate ready to go.  I'm a huge dark chocolate fan, but you can certainly use milk chocolate if that's your thing.

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And another thing you need before you start is toasted, sliced almonds.  I place the almonds on an unlined half sheet pan and pop them into a cold oven.  Then I turn the oven on to 350F and slowly toast them until golden brown and fragrant.  

Allow the almonds to cool completely, then chop them into smaller bits in a food processor, being careful not to chop them too much.  You still want to recognize they are sliced almonds.

Alternatively, you can place the almonds in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Ok, now that the half sheet pan is prepared, and the chocolate and almonds are ready to go, it's time to start cooking - in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan, heat butter, water, corn syrup, and dark brown sugar over medium-high heat.  

Have an instant read digital thermometer, pure vanilla extract, and baking soda nearby.

The toffee mixture should be stirred occasionally until it reaches the proper temperature.  Note that I used a nonstick pan for easy cleanup.

Stop cooking when the toffee reaches 285F.

 English Toffee recipe with lots of how-to photos - ButterYum

Stir in the vanilla and baking soda; stir vigorously to combine.

Pour mixture onto silpat lined half sheet pan.

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Spread mixture with an offset spatula.  I like my toffee on the thin side so I spread mine out more than directed by the recipe. 

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While the toffee is still hot, evenly sprinkle the chocolate bits all over.

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Allow chocolate to rest on the hot toffee for 5 minutes.

Use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee.

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While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle the toasted almonds evenly all over.

 how to make English Toffee from scratch - recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Pop the whole tray into the fridge until the toffee and chocolate set.  Break into pieces and enjoy.


English Toffee

makes 12 servings

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled completely
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (light or dark), packed
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Begin by lining a half sheet pan with a silpat liner (I have 6!) and measure out all the ingredients.
  2. Place toasted almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to break into smaller bits, being careful not to make the pieces too small.  Alternatively, you can place the toasted almonds in a resealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
  3.  In a 3 or 4-quart heavy bottomed, preferably nonstick, saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, corn syrup, butter, and water; heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 285F.
  4. Remove mixture from heat and vigorously stir in the vanilla and baking soda.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a silpat lined half sheet pan; use an offset spatula to spread thinly over the silpat.
  6. While the toffee is still hot, sprinkle the chocolate bits evenly all over; allow chocolate to soften from the residual heat for a few minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer (I like to stop just short of the edge of the toffee).
  7. Immediately sprinkle the almond pieces evenly all over the melted chocolate.
  8. Place the toffee in the refrigerator for 10 minutes; remove from fridge and break into serving pieces.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers.

Note: To toast almonds, spread in a single layer on an unlined half sheet pan and place in a cold oven; turn the oven on to 350F and allow the almonds to toast for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant (watch them carefully).  Cool completely before using.

adapted from The Baking Bible

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail

Patricia Reitz

 Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail - ButterYum

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail - ButterYum

Here's a festive mocktail that everyone will enjoy.

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail

makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups pomegranate juice, chilled 
  • 1 liter lemon-lime soda (or ginger ale), chilled 
  • optional garnish - fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)

Directions

  1. Combine one part pomegranate juice to three parts lemon-lime soda per glass.
  2. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds if desired.

Awesome Gingerbread Cookies

Patricia Reitz

  The Best Little Gingerbread Cookies Ever - ButterYum

The Best Little Gingerbread Cookies Ever - ButterYum

Christmas is just around the coorner and it occurs to me that I've never shared my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe with you so here it is.  These cookies are soft and flavorful, but not too spicy and not too sweet.  They pair well with royal icing if you choose to add it, but they're perfectly tasty without.  The cookie dough is a dream to work with and it holds its shape beautifully when baked.  It's flexible too - good for small or large cookies.... and the dough can be made well in advance.  Love this recipe!  I hope you give it a try.

This cookie recipe starts in a very uncommon way - on the stove top. 

Sugar, molasses, water, and spices are brought to a rolling boil.  I do this in a heat tolerant "caramel pot" (see what I mean here).  The mixture is removed from the heat and butter is stirred in until completely melted.

While the molasses mixture cools a bit, flour, baking soda, and salt are whisked to combine.

Then the molasses and flour mixtures are combined just until combined.

My BeaterBlade makes quick work of the job and I don't have to stop to scrape down the sides of my mixing bowl. 

The mixture is soft and sticky - too soft and sticky to work with.  It needs to chill out in the fridge overnight before rolling and baking.  Place the mixture into a gallon-size zipper bag and pop it in the fridge.  The cookie dough will darken in color and firm considerably.

 To-Die-For Gingerbread Cookies - recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

The next day (or week), roll the cookie dough between 2 layers of wax paper to 1/4-inch thickness (I love using these Pastry Wands - all my cookies are exactly the same thickness).  I've also found these rolling guides very helpful.  Using wax paper eliminates the need to dust the cookie dough with excess flour, which makes subsequent cookies tough.  

 how to make the best gingerbread cookie dough - recipe with how to photos - ButterYum

Cut desired shapes.  Here I'm using an adorable mini gingerbread house cutter.

I can't wait to see it assembled. 

 This gingerbread cookie dough is a dream to work with - recipe and how to photos - ButterYum

Here are other mostly Christmas shapes.  I have a young nephew so I had to include a dinosaur or two

 how to make gingerbread cookies from scratch - recipe and how to photos - ButterYum

And my favorite snowflake and frosty/gingerbread shapes.  Can't let a year go by without these little cuties. 


Awesome Gingerbread Cookies

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Directions

  1. In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat sugar, molasses, water, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.  
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.  
  4. Cool for 15 minutes
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  
  6. Pour flour mixture into cooled molasses mixture; stir until combined. 
  7. Place dough in a gallon-size zipper storage bag; refrigerate overnight (or up to a week).
  8. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  9. Roll dough between two layers of wax paper or parchment until dough is 1/4-inch thick.
  10. Cut desired shapes using cutters that have been dipped in flour.
  11. Place shapes on parchment or silpat lined sheet pans; bake 8-10 minutes for small to medium cookies (12 minutes or more for very large cookies).
  12. When cookies are cool enough to handle without distorting, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Note:  Cookie dough can be stored in the fridge for up to a week before baking.  To make cookie dough even further in advance, freeze well wrapped in plastic.  Thaw wrapped cookie dough overnight in the fridge before rolling and baking.  

recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen