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Dec 24 / Michael

Merry Christmas Candying and Baking

For the last several years, we’ve made confections and candies during the holiday season.  This year, we’re a little late, waiting until Christmas Eve to get started, but better late than never!  We have some parties to go to, so we’ll be bringing treats.

This year we’re making peanut brittle, candy decoration with pretzels, homemade snickers and two types of cookies (thumb print and snickerdoodle).  We got the idea for homemade snickers because I’d bought a giant snicker bar to wrap and put under the tree, but one of our dogs sniffed it out and ate about half of it.  He seems ok, but it gave me the idea to look for a homemade recipe.  I found this pretty easy one.  While I was making the homemade snickers, Jamie was doing candy decorations with the kids.

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Fluff for the nougat, caramels and evaporated milk for the caramel.

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Cooking the nougat

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Building the snicker bar in layers

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Chilled and cut into squares

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

They’re delicious and oh so sweet (almost too sweet!)

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Pretzel and candy decorations

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

So creative!

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Thumbprint cookies

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Snickerdoodles

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Butter, baking soda, vanilla and peanuts (plus sugar and light corn syrup). The basic ingredients for peanut brittle.

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

The brittle must be cooked to 300° F (hard crack stage).

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

The brittle was exceptionally fluffy this year.

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

The homemade snickers was delicious, but honestly I thought it was a little too sweet — definitely sweeter than a regular snickers.  I might leave the some of the sugar out of the nougat layer next time.

I varied the peanut brittle a little bit this year.  It calls for vanilla, butter and baking soda at the very end.  I’ve usually added them all at the same time and then spread the brittle out in the pan with a spoon.  This time, I added the vanilla and butter, waited for that to be mixed in, then added the baking soda and dumped it into the pans without spreading with a spoon.  It stayed higher and the internal bubbles were a lot bigger — it’s definitely different (kind of like aero bars in Britain).  I’m not sure if I like it better at the moment.

We also took the opportunity to make some treats for tomorrow’s breakfast — blueberry muffins (from berries we picked and froze last summer) and raspberry pain au chocolat pastries (with our raspberry jam).  We cheated on the latter with store-bought puff pastry.  Oh what a time to be alive!

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Rolling the puff pastry.

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

Filling the puff pastry with nutella and raspberry jam.

Christmas 2016 baking and candying

All set for Christmas morning breakfast treats.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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