Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ho Ho Ho...Merry Christmas Cooking

 Love this time of the year....trying new recipes and sharing with family and friends. Where should I begin??

This is a fun recipe and was a huge hit at school. 

 Are they not cute? They are made from Bugles (yes, that corn snack from General Mills) and red vanilla favored melting chips (found in cake decoration aisle). And no, I did not think this up myself. Shelly at Cookies and Cups shared this recipe last year. So simple and so easy to toss into a snack mix.

Santa Party Mix 

Red Melting disks
White sprinkles (nonpareils)

3 cups mini pretzels
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup salted peanuts
2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups holiday colored M&Ms
8 oz. white chocolate for melting

1. Melt candy melts, along with a tablespoon of shortening in 30 second intervals on half power in microwave until melted. Immediately start dipping the Bugles. Let them set up for 10 minutes or so on wax paper or parchment paper.
2. Remelt the red candy (if necessary) and dip the wide end of the Bugle into the red candy. Dip into the white sprinkles. Allow to set up.
3. Mix together pretzels, cranberries, peanuts and Chex.
4. Melt white chocolate according to package directions and drizzle over the mix. Spread out to allow chocolate to harden.
5. Add M&Ms and Bugle Santa hats.

This time of the year also calls for making recipes handed down from mothers, grandmothers and aunts. This peanut brittle recipe is one given to me by my mother-in-law many, many years ago.

She made batches of this candy every year at Christmas and is loved by my husband and son. 

It took me several attempts when I first tried this recipe. Either I cooked the raw peanuts too little or too much. Ugh! Nothing is worse than burnt tasting peanuts or chewy raw peanuts. After several attempts, my mother-in-law shared the secret. Cook the mixture until the peanuts make popping sounds. Be patient. They will begin to pop around the time the mixture begins to turn a golden burn.

Peanut Brittle
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups raw peanuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. In a heavy skillet (iron skillet works great), combine syrup, sugar and peanuts. Heat on high until you hear the peanuts popping and the mixture begins to turn  a golden color.
2. Remove from heat and add salt and baking soda. Mix completely. The mixture will begin to foam.
3. Pour onto a greased or parchment paper cookie sheet to cool. 
4. Once cooled, break into small pieces.


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