Friday, December 8, 2017

Old Fashioned Homemade Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Every year my neighbor gives us a plate of goodies. She always includes the most amazing homemade chocolate fudge. I had not previously been a fan of fudge. It always seemed a bit dry and crusty. But not this fudge. No, this fudge is velvety, silky and smooth. It's rich and decadent. It's creamy with pockets of crunchy nuts. It's addicting. In short, this old fashioned fudge is happiness in a square.



Old Fashioned Homemade Chocolate Fudge Recipe
A few years ago, I finally asked her for the recipe. When I saw two kinds of chocolate, marshmallows and butter among the ingredients, I realized why it's so good. Today I'm sharing that recipe with you!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tips for Perfect Homemade English Toffee - plus Recipe

English toffee is one of those Christmas time treats that I cannot get enough of. Good toffee is crisp, yet it almost melts in your mouth. It's buttery and sweet. And of course, it's covered with chocolate and nuts.

Making toffee at home can be a bit tricky. But if you get it right, you can enjoy that crispy, buttery flavored, yummy goodness that's so much better than store bought. Today I'm sharing tips and tricks I've learned over the years to make the best toffee. Get ready to snap off a jagged piece of homemade English toffee. 

Recipe for homemade english toffee

Tips for Perfect Homemade English Toffee

Over the years, I've learned a few things about making toffee. I've made my fair share of mistakes. I've made chewy toffee. I've had my had the butter in my toffee separate into an icky mess. But the last few years, I've perfected toffee making. Here are some tips to making the perfect toffee at home. Keep reading - I'll share the recipe I use at the end.

Tips for Perfect Homemade English Toffee - plus recipe


Tip #1 - Keep the temperature constant. 

Avoid rapid temperature changes. No turning it up and down. I learned this several years ago. My oldest daughter was in school, but my younger kids were not. Now days, my kids walk home from school because they walk with each other. But back then, I had to pick her up. I started the toffee and soon realized that it was going to take too long - I needed to pick her up soon and the toffee wasn't done yet. I turned up the temperature in an effort to speed up the cooking process. Almost immediately after doing so, the butter separated from the sugar and the toffee was ruined. 

How do I prevent my toffee from separating?

Tip #2 - Stir constantly while making toffee. 

 

Keep the mixture moving, or it can scorch. This is also a cause of butter separation.

 

Tip #3 - Avoid humidity when making toffee.

 

Chewy toffee is bad toffee. One of the factors in creating chewy toffee is humidity. If it's a humid day it's not a good day to make toffee.

 

Tip #4 - Use a candy thermometer.

 

Toffee needs to be heated to the correct temperature {290°F} to avoid a chewy texture. The instructions in some recipes will tell you to "cook until the color of a brown paper bag".  One failed attempt at this technique was enough for me. Apparently my version of a brown paper bag was not brown enough and I ended up with chewy candy.  I'll stick with a thermometer. Be sure to calibrate your candy thermometer.

Don't have a candy thermometer? They are pretty inexpensive, so consider buying one. I've handpicked a few items, including a thermometer that might be helpful when making toffee. If you happen to purchase anything from the links below, I will get a small percentage. The cost to you is the same.

You may also use the cold water test to determine if the candy is done.

 

Tip #5 - Use salted butter

Not only does it result in a better {in my opinion} flavor, it also helps to stabilize the mixture. If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 t. salt per 1 pound of butter.

Tip #6 - Prepare pan and chop nuts and chocolate before starting the toffee

Once the toffee reaches the correct temperature it's important to quickly pour it into the pan. You don't have a lot of time before it starts to harden, so have your pan ready to go.

Tip #7 - Be sure to use a heavy bottomed pot that distributes heat evenly. 

I have an old pressure cooker pot. I inherited it from someone when I got married. The lid is missing and it's not very pretty, but the pot is heavy and perfect for candy making. I keep it around just for that.

Can I save my separating toffee?

Try stirring in a tablespoon of very hot water into the toffee. It may come back together, if not, try another tablespoon or two, but no more than 1/4 cup. 


Tips for Perfect Homemade English Toffee - plus Recipe

Recipe for Perfect English Toffee


1 lb. salted butter
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water
4 T. corn syrup
1 lb. nuts
1 lb. Hershey's candy bar, chilled

Chop nuts and chocolate bar. Sprinkle the nuts onto a greased jellyroll pan. Set aside the chocolate for later. 

Combine butter, sugar, water and corn syrup. Place candy thermometer in pan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Continue stirring until temperature reaches 290. Pour quickly into pan on top of nuts. 

Working quickly, spread candy over the entire pan. Immediately top with chocolate, which will start to melt.  Once chocolate has melted spread it evenly over the candy. Cool completely. Break into pieces and enjoy! 


Notes: 
1 - Substitute chocolate chips for the candy bar if desired.
2 - Add additional nuts on top of the chocolate if desired.
3 - Do not double. But you can do 1/2 the recipe in a 9 X 13 pan.


Tips for Perfect Homemade English Toffee


Enjoy your toffee making adventures. I hope these tips help! For more tips see this Toffee Making post.


Want more homemade candy recipes?  You're in luck! Pretty much the whole month of December is dedicated to Christmas candies this year.

Homemade Fudge
Caramels
English Toffee
Candied Pecans
Caramel Chocolate Pretzels
Christmas candies - caramels, fudge, candied pecans, toffee, caramel chocolate pretzel bites.

**Pin this**

Perfect English Toffee RecipeEnglish Toffee RecipePerfect English Toffee Recipe









Thursday, November 30, 2017

Light the World Advent Calendar

This year my church is doing another Light the World movement. I'm excited to participate again. The focus is on the teachings of Jesus Christ and how we can apply them in serving others. I decided to use the same advent that I did last year, but update it with the new prompts. The following is my post from last year, with a few updates in red:


I love advent calendars! We have several at our house, but when I saw the movement my church is making this Christmas season, I knew I needed to make another advent calendar to help myself and my family get involved. It's called #Light the World. It focuses on doing as Jesus would do. Each day there's a new challenge to help motivate us to DO something good. See the full details at mormon.org 


This morning I stumbled across a couple free printables that gave me an idea to create an advent calendar. It's pretty easy - just print, cut, glue and find a place to hang them. It's a good thing it's easy, because the challenge starts Dec 1st! 

Light the World Advent Calendar

Begin by printing off the free printables. In order for the daily challenges to fit onto the back of the stockings I had to adjust the print size. I printed the stockings at 120% and the daily challenges at 85%. I opted to print the calendar in black and white.

Note: This year the daily challenges all fit on one sheet, you can print it at 100%, I would still print the stockings at 120%. 

Print the Light the World Calendar here. Scroll to the bottom of the downloads and you'll find "25 Ways, 25 Days Calendars" in color or black and white. These prompts just have the scripture on them.
Note: You can also find a "Leadership Calendar". This is what I am using. There are more pages because they have more detail and are larger. I am folding them to get them to fit behind the stockings.

Print the Stockings here. The download is towards the bottom of her post. You'll need to print multiple copies to have 25 stockings.

(This year's challenges look a little different, but I just don't have time to update pictures :)
Light the World Advent Calendar

 Next, cut everything out.

Light the World Advent Calendar

Then glue the calendar prompts onto the back of the stockings.

Light the World Advent Calendar

  I hung some twine on the fireplace and each day as we complete our acts of service we'll hang a stocking.

Light the World Advent Calendar
I'm always trying to figure out how to make Christmastime more meaningful for our family - to help the kids realize that it's not about the presents they want. It's about giving and serving others. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with big service projects, so I'm going to keep it simple and try to impact others in small but significant ways. I hope to teach my kids that they can help others. Even though they're young they can share what they have, they can be kind, and they can reach out to others. I think that participating in Light the World will help us to do this this year. Join me!