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Pins #34-#36 Christmas Goodies & Gifts

February 1, 2013

Ahh, Christmas baking and gift prep, loads of fun right?  I like to think so, but then, part way through I feel like poor Milo on Santa’s lap.  So much potential for joy, yet, trying new things for the first time, with big pressure to get it right is just too much for the small and weak (or in my case, stubborn, clumsy and forgetful).  Ok, I won’t beat myself up too much, there are some good take aways from this experience – so much potential, again, for next year.

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Pin #34, Lovely Carmel Sauce.  It was, indeed, quite lovely.  Sadly, two out of four of my batches hit the trash instead of the gift jar.  The bright side is I got it right the first and fourth times, I got a bit distracted in the middle by a visiting friend. (Always a great reason to be distracted)! Here’s how it went.

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Pin #34 Lovely Salted Carmel Sauce

This recipe came from Julie Takes Photos for “Always with Butter”.  The photos on this site are breathtakingly gorgeous!  The recipe was great and easy enough to follow: Water, sugar, cream, salt.  Easy right?  Well, you have to be pretty much to the nano second when it comes to taking the sugar water on/off  the heat as well as mixing in the cream at the end.  My first batch came out pretty good, perhaps a hit of burned flavor, but I was the only one who tasted that.  The next two batches came out just as was reported on the post’s comment section – one was hard as a rock candy and the other reverted to sand.  It was quite a cool chemistry experiment, one that I don’t get the ‘why’ or ‘how’, but neat none the less.  I’d recommend this pin and moreover, recommend visiting Ms. Julie’s site to drool over her photos!

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The water almost goes totally clear once you start to boil the sugar and water.

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First batch is a success!! It all went downhill from there!

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I always saw these pretty pink sea salts at Trader Joe’s, this was a great reason to buy them, even though you just need a pinch.

Pin #35 Chocolate Sugar Cookies.  This recipe was ok.  I take the blame, partly, for using regular cocoa instead of the dark chocolate version.  I jazzed it up by adding peppermint extract to the frosting.  I also did not take the time to do the super fancy frosting, just a typical sugar cookie frosting vs. the decorator’s special.  I’ll refrain from saying I’d recommend the recipe until I try it again following the directions correctly.  Again, this website has beautiful photos of yummy things worth checking out.  Click on the original pin photo below to get there.

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Pin #35 Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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This is when I knew I’d done something wrong – my cookies were brown not black.  That is the difference the regular vs. dark cocoa made.  The consistency for cut outs was really great though.
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I made these for a cookie exchange party. My little elf helper was glad to decorate a few to add to the offerings and to have for his dessert that day.
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Finished! My decorating.

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Luca’s decorating, I think I liked his better.

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Luca made sure the cookies were going to make it to the exchange very safely.  This is how I found the tin in my car after he asked if he could help me ‘load them in.’

Pin #36 Crock Pot Cinnamon Almonds – this was another really fun chemistry project.  Wow – do these have sugar and spice!  This was pretty fun and easy to make.  It, by no chance, turned out like the pinned photo below, but quite like what is actually on the blog where the recipe is given.  I’d say yummy, but next time I’d do this with literally HALF the amount of sugar.

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Pin #36 Crock Pot Cinnamon Almonds

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Mixing the nuts with the egg coating before drowning them in sugar, cinnamon and brown sugar.

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After getting three bowls dirty, I found one big enough to handle the job of the double recipe.

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Luca’s eyes were sparkling at the site of ALL THAT SUGAR.

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This is when I found Milo and Bailey (dog) licking the floor after Luca’s stirring attempt in the ‘too small’ ball lead to a sugar shower all over the kitchen…fun times!

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Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the nuts in the crock pot, it was amazing to see them go from sandy sugary to gooey goodness.  After cooking you spread them out to harden on parchment paper, then I broke them all up to put into gift bags.

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Yummy treats for friends and neighbors.

36 down….64 to go!

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