Candied Nuts with Cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Nuts

Cinnamon Sugar Nuts

So simple, so tasty and so easy.  These are delicious and make a great holiday nibble.  I’m not sure the nuts still qualify as a ‘heart healthy’ snack after being coated in a combination of brown and white sugar but it’s worth a try.  Use whatever combination of nuts you enjoy most.  I used 2 cups of pecans with 1 cup of almonds but I would also use walnuts or even cashews.

If you prefer a little heat add in 1/2 teaspoon of cayene pepper or add a little citrus flavour with some grated orange rind.  I would definitely double or even triple this recipe!  Don’t wait until after you have made the first batch and it is gobbled up within a day or so.

For today’s recipe you will need:

Nuts, Cinnamon, Sugars, Egg Whites and Water

Nuts, Cinnamon, Sugars, Egg Whites and Water

1 large egg white (I used pasturized egg whites)

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups raw almonds

1 cup raw pecans

Preheat oven to 300F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white and 1 tablespoon water until frothy, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon.

Add nuts to egg white mixture and mix well until nuts are coated.  Sprinkle sugar cinnamon mixture over top and mix well until nuts are coated.

Nuts coated and ready to bake.

Nuts coated and ready to bake.

Spread the  nut mixture evenly over the parchment lined cookie sheet and place in oven.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes stirring about 1/2 way through.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Break up and store in an airtight container.

Gift Boxed - a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer.

Gift Boxed – a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer.

Caramel Sauce and Ice Cream Cake

Today’s post is easy Caramel Sauce.  What to do with the leftovers, if there are any, why make an ice cream cake.  So simple you won’t need to spend the $40 to purchase one at a specialty store again.

For the Caramel Sauce you need:

1/4 cup butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup 35% cream

2 Tbsp Corn Syrup

In a small saucepan melt the butter over a low heat.  Stir in the brown sugar, cream and corn syrup.  Cook and stir over the low heat until the mixture just comes to a boil (you will see small bubbles around the edge).

Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Serve when warm.  This will keep in a covered container in your fridge and can be warmed up in the microwave.

IMPORTANT:  This is one of those delicious items you cannot wait to taste.  DON’T, until it has cooled considerably or else you will give yourself a bad burn.  Hold off and then enjoy a spoonful.  It is worth the wait.

Now for the ice cream cake.  Use what you have in the house.  The one I made today was delicious but I would do a couple of things differently which I will suggest.  Each one you make can be unique for the individual you are planning to share it with.

I used a loaf pan and lined it with Saran Wrap to make it easy to remove and cut.  I used a crust of KitKat’s and Coffee Crisp as those are fav’s in my house and I did have a supply in my cupboard.  I would suggest using a chocolate wafer crust or graham wafer crust instead as you need a firm base but something easy to cut through.  Say 1 cup of crumbs with 1/4 cup melted butter mixed together and pressed into the bottom of the pan to create your crust.  Use a springform pan or pie plate, whatever you have on hand, if you don’t like the idea of the loaf pan.

Now top with softened ice cream of your choice.  Use your favourites or mix what you have left in the freezer.  Let the ice cream sit on the counter for maybe 15 minutes or so to soften up.  Scoop a generous amount of ice cream onto the base and gently spread.  I added a layer of caramel and spread it gently on top of my first layer of ice cream and then a layer of chocolate wafers.  Now this is where I would suggest adding the chocolate bars….but I would chop them up and sprinkle them over the caramel.  You could top the caramel with mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts or chocolate sauce.

Now add your next layer of ice cream and again top with whatever you like.  For this layer I just added the caramel. Cover lightly with Saran Wrap and put back in the freezer to set for a couple hours.

Remove before serving and cut into slices.

Don’t over think it.  Mine didn’t cut to well as I had the hard frozen chocolate bar crust but it was amazing.  Make it your own.  I hope you enjoy.

Sweet and Easy Toffee

Sweet and Easy Toffee

Today’s offering is Toffee.  Sweet, buttery and sprinkled with toasted nuts.

Toffee - Yum!Have you ever had a McIntosh Toffee Bar? This recipe brings back memories of summer days at the cottage. After a trip to McMurray’s store for pixie sticks and McIntosh toffee I’d come back to our rented cottage and whack the package of McIntosh toffee, in its red plaid packaging, on the counter and it would break into a variety of different size pieces. Then you would pop these pieces into your mouth and immediately experience the hit of buttery sweet smoothness.  macintosh toffee1Then you either chomped on the hunks of toffee and had them stick to your teeth or let them last by just melting away in your mouth.

The base of this toffee tastes just like that McIntosh bar.  Add the chocolate layer and a sprinkling of toasted nuts and you have a winner.  One tip though, no matter how tempted DO NOT lick off the hot toffee from the wooden spoon directly from the pot, unless you wish to remove all the skin from your tongue.  As tempting as it is just wait a few minutes to let it cool down enough and then sample the creamy base of this sweet treat.

Note:  You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

Toffee

8 ounces dark, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (or a mix of all three)

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts toasted

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a 10-inch square pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a heavy saucepan combine butter, sugar, water and salt over a medium heat.  Once butter is melted stir occasionally and bring mixture up to 305F on a candy thermometer.

Watch carefully.  It will take a while to heat up but the temperature will quickly rise from about 270F to 305F very quickly.  Mixture will seem to thicken up and turn a light golden brown.

As soon as mixture hits 305F remove from heat and add in 1 teaspoon vanilla. (Careful it will spit and splash slightly!)

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread to edges if needed.  Let set for about 45-60 minutes. Once toffee has set melt chocolate and pour over toffee layer and spread.  Sprinkle toasted nuts over top and press down lightly to adhere the nuts.  Put in fridge to set.  Break into pieces and enjoy.

Can be stored for at least a month but I really don’t think it will last that long!

Any questions or comments….sweetenuf@bell.net

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

White Chocolate P.B. Bars

White Chocolate P.B. Bars

Hmmm, I seem to be on a bit of a peanut butter chocolate bend these last few posts.  So I will make sure to switch it up for the next one.  These 3 layer bars are definitely not for the faint of heart as it is a combination of all things sweet.  Although upon sampling a few I must say I didn’t get that ‘OMG my teeth hurt from all the sugar’ I was sort of expecting.  These treats are layered with chocolate crumbs, toffee bits, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and chocolate melted with whipping cream.

Entertainment Tonight was on while I was prepping for these bars and I am not sure about you but isn’t this Kim & Kanye stuff just a little too much.  I mean how much money do you have to spend to convince the world you are in love.  If you are really in love do you spend all your energy convincing everyone else you are?  Seems to me you are so busy being in the lovey dovey stage everyone knows you are over the moon in love.  I know the media gets blamed for snapping photos, etc. but did photographers sneak into the venue or were they allowed in to make sure this event was splashed all over the world. It is so out of proportion with what they actually do.  It’s not as if they are out saving the world or finding a cure for rare childhood diseases or even bringing attention to the plight of the homeless (although to be fair I’m sure they do give to charity).

For a man who is supposed to be so private Kanye certainly knew what he was doing when he released the photo of Kim in that shockingly horrible white swimsuit…if a photo of my butt looking that huge got out I’d be mortified.  I think the point of the photo and his comments were to convince us that he really is heterosexual.  His voice is a little high pitched for my liking, but hey, that’s just my opinion. It all seems way to staged and showy.  What a waste of time and money especially when we all know the odds of this union standing the test of time are slim to none.  ( Yes, I do realize we all need our entertainment and something to watch but I prefer the Real Housewife sagas.)  Do you honestly think 3 times will be the charm for Kimmy.   Perhaps this show of commitment and love takes the spotlight off the 2 disintegrating marriages in the Kardashian/Jenner family and keeps the revenue pouring in.  But to look at their extravagant spending in a ‘the jar is half full’  frame of mind they sure did have to spend a lot of money on all the little people to make their magic moments happen. And I suppose those thousands and milliions in turn fuel the economy, right.  So I guess really it is a win win.  I get to complain about them, you can be entertained by them and the U.S. economy gets a little kick start.

Well, it is time for my extravagant evening to begin with my sweet treat and a cup of tea.

Step 1-Chocolate crumbs, melted butter, egg, sugar, toffee bits

Step 1-Chocolate crumbs, melted butter, egg, sugar, toffee bits

For Base:

1/2 cup butter melted

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

1 cup toffee bits

9 x 9 square pan lined with parchment

Combine all of the ingredients except the toffee chips and spread into prepared pan.  Bake in 350F oven for about 12 minutes and remove from oven.  Sprinkle toffee chips over top and let cool.

Base layer topped with toffee bits. Ready to chill.

Base layer topped with toffee bits. Ready to chill.

Step 2 - combine and melt these 4 ingredients for filling

Step 2 – combine and melt these 4 ingredients for filling

Filling:

Combine 2 tablespoons of custard powder, 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips, 1 cup of white chocolate chips and 1 cup of peanut butter.  Combine and melt together, either in microwave or over double boiler.

Spread over chilled base and smooth.  Return to fridge to firm up.

Filling spread over base awaiting ganache

Filling spread over base awaiting ganache

Step 3-Chocolate Ganache spread over chilled bars

Step 3-Chocolate Ganache spread over chilled bars

Topping:

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)

Heat whipping cream to almost boiling and pour over chocolate.  Let sit a couple of minutes then stir until smooth.  Spread over bars.

Chill.  Cut into squares and enjoy.

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Today’s offering is simple, sweet and superb.  Oh, and very chocolatey. 

Dark, decadent and delicious!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Need I say more….with just 1/4 cup of flour in the batter they are mostly dark, delicious chocolate, a little sugar, a couple of eggs, some vanilla and a little more chocolate.  Not much more in the way of ingredients.  The most time consuming portion of the recipe is chilling them for about 15-20 minutes before baking.  They are worth the wait!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F.  Parchment line baking sheet and set aside.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups good quality dark chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter and 1 1/2 cups of chocolate together in microwave and whisk together until smooth.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  In another bowl stir together eggs and sugar and add in vanilla.

To the slightly cooled chocolate mixture add in the egg mixture and mix well.  Add in flour mixture and stir until combined.  Add in chocolate chips.

Chill dough for about 15-20 minutes.

Scoop dough onto prepared pan and bake for about 7-8 minutes until cookies look slightly cracked on the outside.  Remove from oven.

Options:  You could add in white chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips or even fold in a few nuts.