Throughout the year I go through phases of wanting to bake and cook and then periods when all I want to do is run through the drive through for every meal. Usually at Christmas I am baking up a storm, but it would seem this year my baking button is off. I tried making some spritz cookies the other day and they flopped. Seriously, I don’t know what I did wrong. Then I started making some oatmeal cookies…I measured the flower and stopped. I just don’t feel like baking. I better get in the mood soon!
So, because I don’t really feel like baking, I have found some super easy, super fast recipes. Candy can be so easy!
I first made some Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy. It took all of 5 minutes to make and it is super easy. And pretty!
Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy
I followed this up with some candied walnuts, which were almost as quick and easy. I really do need to make some cookies though.
This morning we were going to head on out to the Firefly Play Cafe for a play date. If you haven’t been there I highly recommend it. It’s a nice alternative to Chuck E Cheese, they can run around, and it encourages creative play. Plus, it’s only $5 and grownups can get coffee and there are healthy snacks for the kiddos instead of candy. However, as we were eating breakfast the munchkin said, “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” And then it came, and came and came…so gross. Being a parent is not for the weak stomach, that’s for sure.
Now that we’re in for probably the rest of the day, I guess we’ll watch Shrek Happily Ever After, wrap some more presents, maybe play some Chutes and Ladders. I’m pretty much done shopping, but I LOVE to go shopping in December. Everyone is jolly, the decorations, the smell of spices. Maybe we’ll sneak out to a store or two.
Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 3 (4-oz.) bars bittersweet chocolate baking bars
- 3 (4-oz.) white chocolate baking bars
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt*
1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.
2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
3. Line a 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Break each chocolate bar into 8 equal pieces. (You will have 48 pieces total.) Arrange in a checkerboard pattern in jelly-roll pan, alternating white and dark chocolate. (Pieces will touch.)
4. Bake at 225° for 5 minutes or just until chocolate is melted. Remove pan to a wire rack. Swirl chocolates into a marble pattern using a wooden pick. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans and salt.
5. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.
*3/4 tsp. kosher salt may be substituted.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars and Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bars.
Dawn’s Candied Walnuts
- 1 pound walnut halves
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread nuts in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts start to turn brown and the smell of roasting nuts fills the kitchen.
- Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage of 236 degrees F (113 degrees C). Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately. .
- Add walnuts to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon nuts onto waxed paper, and immediately separate nuts with a fork. Cool, and store in airtight containers.