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Almond Roca – English Toffee

Just a few days before Christmas and I finally got the break in the weather I’ve been daily checking for the entire month of December. Oh joy!! It’s a Festivus miracle!!

Weather is always my biggest obstacle when trying to make almond roca (English Toffee). I remember as a kid, my mom would check outside every day to see if it was going to be cold and dry. She never made almond roca unless the sky was clear, the temperature cold and the humidity low. Which, in Seattle is sometimes just one day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When the conditions were right, my mom would drop everything and make this recipe. I’ve learned to do the same – otherwise, it doesn’t get made. For more details on the science behind weather conditions and the effect they have on candy, see the * at the end of this post. [Read more…]

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Russian Tea Cakes

These cookies have many names. People call them Mexican Wedding Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterballs, Snowdrops, Viennese Sugar Balls and Snowballs. They are pretty much the same thing. Nuts and butter…with a little sugar and flour to hold them together. You can make these delights with any nut you like, I prefer the slightly bitter walnuts as an offset to the richness of the butter and sweetness of the sugar. Whatever nut you use,  the key is to grind up the nuts as finely as possible. The bigger your nut chunks, the harder it will be to get the dough to hold together. Pulse them in the food processor until they are about the size of couscous. Maybe just a wee-bit smaller. Like this: [Read more…]

Eggnog Vanilla Candied Nuts

It’s an awesome day today! MOPS this morning was fantastic, making up Dutch Apple Pies with my girls. Tonight I’m going to see Harry Potter at midnight. Well, actually – I’m getting in line at 7pm. Obviously I will need some snacks while waiting. I was in the mood to try something new that I could put a bag of in my purse. Wait, doesn’t everyone smuggle snacks into the movie theater? No? Just me? Hmmmm.

You may have noticed, I don’t put nuts in my baked goods. Not sure what it is, but I just don’t like eating something deliciously soft and then finding a hard nut in there. However, I adore nuts on their own merits.  The grocery store nearest my home has a nut bar and I absolutely LOVE their vanilla cinnamon coated macadamia nuts. But, they are $16 a pound. Seriously? I found a recipe for candied nuts and thought I’d put my own spin on it. Voila. Eggnog Vanilla Candied Nuts. Oh goodness they are so delicious. And way less expensive than purchasing them. I got a pound of walnuts on sale at WinCo (have I mentioned how happy I am to have one nearby now?) for $3.50 and threw together this recipe. Gonna try them next with macadamia nuts. I’m sure this would be amazing with whatever nut you particularly love. [Read more…]

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