Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all!

I hope that everyone is having a fabulous holiday season!

Angie’s Bookmark…

I made this lovely tatted cross bookmark for my friend Angie for Christmas.  Her favorite color is purple, so I made with two different purples, one solid and one variegated.  The pattern is “Maria” from Tatted Bookmarks -Cross Shaped by Lene Bjorn.  I changed up the tassel a bit, and I am very pleased with how it turned out.  Angie loved it!

Yummies…

This year for Christmas I whipped up some homemade Turtles and Rum Balls.  These are recipes that my Mother handed down to us kids.  She used to make tons and tons of homemade candies every Christmas.  I was very pleased with my results this year.  They were such a big hit that I decided to share them with everyone (well, share the recipes that is)…

Turtles:

  • Pecan halves
  • Caramel (about 1 lb of good quality caramel)*
  • Milk Chocolate buttons (small bag)*

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and grease with real butter.  Arrange pecan halves on the parchment in groups of three, spacing about an inch apart.  Cut the caramel into bite sized pieces and flatten into wafer shapes.  Lay one wafer on top of each group of pecan halves, making sure that the center is covered and part of each pecan are showing.

Place the cookie sheets in a 200 degree (F) oven for a few minutes just until the caramel starts to melt and shape around the nuts.  Remove from oven and cool in the refrigerator while you melt the chocolate.  Place the chocolate buttons in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 second intervals until just almost melted, stirring well in between.  Stir to make sure the remaining chocolate is melted and smooth.

Spoon the chocolate on top of each piece, covering the caramel.  Be sure to leave the tips of the pecans uncovered as this is what makes the candy look like a turtle.  Chill again until set.  Peel away from parchment and wrap individually in store-bought candy bags.

*Note about ingredients.  Please, please, please go to your neighborhood candy supply store (or the cake/candy isle of Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc) for the caramel and the chocolate.  A few years ago before the candy supply store opened up in town I attempted to make these using ingredients I found at the grocery store.  It took forever for me to shape the individually wrapped caramel candies and they just did not melt over the nuts right.  And as for the chocolate chips I used, well, they are made for baking cookies and not for covering candies.  The resulting turtles were hard to chew and the chocolate stuck to the bags.  This years batch made with real candy-making supplies turned out wonderful and was much easier to do.

While you are making Turtles, you might as well make Rum Balls at the same time.  Afterall, there are bound to be broken pieces in your bag of pecan halves, you should make something yummy with those too.  Beware of Husbands and children as you do this though as I spent a while carefully sorting my pecan halves, in one bowl were all the best looking halves and the other had the broken pieces… guess which bowl everyone kept snacking from!  This reduced the amount of Turtles I was actually able to make.

Rum Balls:

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/8 cup rum (I prefer spiced rum)
  • 1 lb powdered sugar (plus some extra just in case)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of margarine

Soak pecans in the rum overnight in the fridge in a covered container.

Using a stand mixer and the dough hook, to the sugar add salt, margarine and the pecans.  Mix until it forms a thick fondant.  Add more rum if the mixture is too dry, add more powdered sugar if it is too moist.  Knead by hand if needed to get the right consistency, it should be like a clay… When you roll a ball and set it down on the work area it should hold its ball shape and not sink into a bon-bon shape.  Roll into small balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, chill thoroughly.

Melt chocolate (use remaining chocolate from making the Turtles) and drop the chilled Rum Balls into the chocolate a few at a time, rolling with a fork to coat evenly.  Place on the parchment, while still wet top with chopped pecans or quins if desired.  Return to refrigerator to set. Place Rum Balls into paper candy cups and store in a covered container.

Note:  Freshly made Rum Balls have a strong alcohol content.  The candies improve with age, so try to make a week ahead of time to let the flavors mellow.  Even still, I do not recommend these candies for children.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 12:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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