Friday, December 21, 2012

Soft Caramels

This is another recipe I found on Pinterest that is a keeper for sure.  I love caramels and always wanted to make them but steered away because of the whole candy thermometer thing. This recipe I adapted from Last Night's Dinner is easy peasy, foolproof and you don't even need cream or a thermometer! Instead of drizzling with chocolate I sprinkled with Fleur de Sel.  Everybody just raves about them and you can't eat just one so make plenty!

Salted Caramels
(printable recipe)

1 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
fleur de sel

Prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish by lining with foil, and spraying liberally with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until butter is melted, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium high, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring constantly, until caramel has turned a rich amber color and thickened slightly. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes then sprinkle with fleur de sel and return pan to fridge until completely cooled.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

This is going on my list of Christmas baking.  Every year I try to add something new and this year these Cherry Chocolate Kisses have made it to the list.  I found this cookie on Pinterest.  I have a few things from Pinterest that didn't turn out at all (like the mac and cheese in a cup)  but this one is a keeper!  They turned out just fabulous and were so easy to make.  They are basically a shortbread cookie with cherries added to the dough and you can whip them up in no time. Just make sure when you add the kisses when the cookies come out of the oven let them cool completely until they harden again, 'cause one little touch and they loose their form.  Come on, cherries and chocolate?  What's not to love! 

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, but still cool*****very important!
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry “juice”
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling the cookies
36 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
3. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and slowly add the powdered sugar and salt.
4. Add the cherry juice and the almond extract until combined.
5. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the cherries.
7. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place the balls on a baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.
8.  Using your thumb, gently press each cookie in its center until the cookie is about 1/2-inch thick.
9.  Sprinkle each cookie with a little granulated sugar.
10.  Bake the cookies until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 14 minutes.
11. Once removed from the oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie’s center.
12.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Servings: approximately 36 cookies

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot