Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Treats

I decided to make some goodies and put them in a basket for the teachers at the girls' daycare. We made spritz cookies, English Toffee, and Fudge. I decided to share the pics and recipes here. I love baking and making things for people! There's something really satifying about it. It's also nice doing all this at my parent's house because they have an enclosed patio that is like having a second refrigerator to keep things in. Here's the basket:

And here are the treats


1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. almond flavoring/extract
2 1/2 cups flour

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix butter, sugar, egg yolks, and flavoring thoroughly. Work in flour. Using 1/4 dough at a time, force dough through cookie press on ungreased baking sheet in desired shapes Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until set but not brown. Makes about 6 dozen.

Cookie tips:

DO NOT use self rising flour. Dough must be pliable, chill if too warm but if too cold it crumbles. If the baking sheet is too warm the fat in the dough will melt and cookies will pull away from the sheet when press is lifted. For a festive look divide dough and add food coloring to dough to make different colored cookies.


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 6-ounce package semisweet chocoloate chips
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Butter well a 9-inch square pan. Combine butter and sugar in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 310 degrees F. At this point the candy should be a caramel color. A small amount of the syrup should form a hard ball when dropped into cold water and be brittle when removed from the water. Remove the candy from the heat while testing. Quickly pour the candy into the greased pan and spread evenly with a spatuala. Cool until hardened. Melt the chocolate chips in the top part of a double boiler over hot water and spread over the surface of the hardened candy in the pan. Sprinkle the nuts over the top. Cool again until the chocolate is hardened. Break toffee into pieces and store in a tightly covered tin for at least 2days to develop the flavor. Makes one pound.


4 cups sugar
1 large (12 ounce)can evaporated milk
1/4 lb. butter
12 oz. (3/4 of 16 oz jar) marshmallow fluff
1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla
2 large (12 oz)packages semi-sweet chocolate pieces (Giardelli is best)

Butter a 9 x 13 pan well. Combine first five ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir over low heat until blended. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Then boil slowly, stirring constantly until fudge sticks to itself (240 on a candy thermometer), this is the soft ball stage. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until melted. Pour into buttered pan and cool. Makes 5 pounds.