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Dec 23 / Michael

A very sweet holiday

Last year, we made some awesome treats for the Holidays.  It was such a hit (both the making and the eating) that we decided for another iteration this year…with a few adjustments. For instance, we had the wonderful assistance of our friend Amanda and our children being just that much older were able to enjoy things just that much more.

We ended up making marshmallow fluff (for use in the chocolate fudge), marshmallows, spicy and candied almonds, coconut bon bons and peanut brittle.  We left out the ribbon candy (a simple hard candy) and chocolate covered cherries.

Marshmallow fluff

We started with the marshmallow fluff (or creme), which we’d need for the chocolate fudge–rather than using store-bought fluff.  We made a double batch, which turned out to be not quite twice the amount we’d need for our quadruple batch of fudge (see below).

Fluff is a lot easier to make than traditional marshmallows because you don’t need to cook anything and it doesn’t take any gelatin.  The basic recipe consists of egg whites, corn syrup, a bit of salt and powdered sugar.


Marshmallow fluff, © terrabytefarm

 

Here’s the marshmallow fluff recipe we used, same as last year.

We used Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe.  It’s the best we’ve found.

Chocolate Fudge

The main reason we made the marshmallow fluff was to use in the fudge.  We ended up quadrupling the fudge recipe, but even that didn’t use all of the fluff we made.  Oh, well, now we’ve got two jars of fluff in the fridge for fluffernutters.

The quadruple batch was pushing the limits of our pots and pans.  Luckily it all fit and the batch turned out to be the best we’ve ever made.  It was close to 10 pounds of finished fudge.


Making chocolate fudge, © terrabytefarm

 


Chocolate fudge, © terrabytefarm

 


Finished chocolate fudge, © terrabytefarm

 


Finished chocolate fudge, © terrabytefarm

 

We used the same recipe for fudge as we did last year, a pretty straightforward cooked budget which has given us excellent results.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows are only a little more difficult than fluff, in that you have to “cook” the syrup first and it also includes gelatin to make the finished product firmer.  We plan to use these as yummy additions to our Holiday hot chocolates.


Cooking syrup for marshmallows, © terrabytefarm

 


Homemade marshmallows, © terrabytefarm

 


Homemade marshmallows, © terrabytefarm

 


Homemade marshmallows, © terrabytefarm

 


Our big helper and little helpers, © terrabytefarm

 

Spicy and Candied Almonds

Last year our spiced and candied almonds were very popular.  We decided to go larger this year with double batches of each.


Spicy almonds, © terrabytefarm

 


Candied almonds, © terrabytefarm

 

Here are the recipes for the spicy almonds and candied almonds, same as last year.

Coconut Bon Bons

My mom loves coconut and these treats are delicious.  Think of it as a Mounds bar, but homemade and without the sodium metabisulfite.  Granted, ours probably aren’t as shelf stable as the Peter Paul/Hershey product.


Coconut bon bons, © terrabytefarm

 

Here is the recipe for the coconut bon bons.  We do have to say that we think we’ll make some revisions to the recipe in the future: perhaps the addition of coconut extract for extra flavor.  They tend to taste “sweet” and not as coconut-y as we’d like.

Peanut Brittle

If it could be said that we have a tradition, it would be our brittle.  We’ve been making it, with little variation, for many years.  We use a lovely recipe of uncertain provenance that has turned out gorgeous results in our Calphalon stock pot time after time.


Peanut brittle, © terrabytefarm

 


Peanut brittle, © terrabytefarm

 


Peanut brittle, © terrabytefarm

 

The recipe is recorded on pg. 31 of our personal cookbook of collected recipes (begun in 1997), transcribed here (this is the exact wording, I feel obliged not to alter things):

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • Put in covered pot and cook on high heat
  • Swirl, do not stir until reaches boil – approx. 5 min
  • Bring to 230º F – approx. 2 min
  • Add 4½ cups salted roasted peanuts
  • Stir with metal spoon
  • Cook until 300º F, stirring constantly – approx. 20 min
  • 2 cookie sheets w/ sides sprayed w/ pam
  • Stir in 4 tbsp butter, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp baking soda
  • Spread onto sheets, spread thin, allow to harden & crack
We use an anodized aluminum Calphalon stock pot to make brittle, which distributes the heat evenly and quickly.  Note: the Calphalon is also excellent for making fresh, hot popcorn.