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Archive for February, 2011

Divinity

I have always been more of a baker than a candy-maker, but this candy is my favorite.  It is light and sweet, but it is not over-powering.  Making divinity is a delicate procedure that requires my full attention or candy disaster will strike!

I love to make this around the holidays if the weather allows.  It did this past Christmas and I got to make it twice.  The first attempt was a little sticky because the humidity was just a little too high, but the second attempt was just perfect!

I hope you try this.  The time it take to make it is more than worth it, just remember to watch the weather.  The drier the air the better the divinity!

4 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup water

3 egg whites, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

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Lay out sheets of wax paper for the candy to dry.

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Combine sugar, syrup and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Over low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Clip on a candy thermometer and cook without stirring until it reaches 255 degrees (hard ball stage).  This will take about 20 minutes.

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When the syrup is about 250 degrees, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Remove the syrup from the heat.  Pour very slowly into the egg whites, beating constantly on high speed.  This previous step is very, very important.  You must pour slowly and do NOT turn off the mixer while you are doing this.

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Continue beating on high sped until the mixture holds its shape and loses its shine.  I know this sounds vague, but I promise it will happen.  When you first pour the syrup in the egg whites, the candy is extremely glossy.  After you beat it for about 10-15 minutes, it becomes matte.  Depending on the humidity, you may have to beat the mixture for a longer period of time. The first batch I made, I beat for 20 minutes and it was still a little glossy.  Too much humidity!  The candy still tasted good but it was too sticky.

Add vanilla and pecans.  Working quickly, drop by tablespoonfuls onto the waxed paper and allow the candy to harden and cool.  Here is the first batch that I made.

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See how shiny it is.  Here is a photo of candy from the second batch.  You can definitely see the difference!

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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Beanilla.

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Menu Plan Monday

Another week has passed and it is STILL WINTER!!!!  Our area has a chance of snow almost every day this week, but luckily we are not supposed to have much accumulation.  I feel so sorry for the folks in the Chicago area and the Northeastern part of the country.  As soon as they start to dig out from one storm, another one comes down on them.  I am so glad that I live as far south as I do!

This week’s menu is a little strange because this week is a little strange.  I have to go to the grocery one night so we will probably eat out. We have tickets to watch a local university play basketball one night, so we will probably make use of a steakhouse gift card that I received at Christmas.  There are also multiple days of court at my job this week, so I might use takeout one of those nights, too.  There won’t be much home-cooking this week which means no new recipes.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I am usually short one night of dinners each week.  We live out in the “boonies” to use a local term and there is actually a restaurant just a couple of miles down the road that serves the best fried fish ever!  We usually eat there every Saturday night so that is why I am always short one dinner, just so you know that we are not fasting that night!  🙂

Cheesy steak sandwiches and oven fries

Sausage bake and salad

Pizza night

Mandarin orange cake (This is also a Southern Plate dish, but since I have been making it for years, I am not including it in my “project”.)

Shredded pork bbq

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Faux Red Lobster Biscuits

Red Lobster is one of my all-time favorite restaurants.  My mom & I used to eat there on shopping trips and on her doctor appointment check-up days.  We called it our “good news” restaurant.  I really miss getting to go with her, but I have continued the tradition of “girl’s day” with my grandmother and aunt and we eat there when we go shopping.

One of the best things there are the cheesy garlic biscuits and I have tried and tried to duplicate them with no luck.  However, I recently purchased a bottle of garlic bread seasoning and decided to try these biscuits again.  Eureka!  The taste of these is very, very close to the real deal.

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 self-rising flour

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tbsp garlic bread seasoning

2 tbsp unsalted butter

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the whipping cream and 1 1/2 cups flour to form the basic biscuit dough.  Stir in the cheese and seasoning just until combined; don’t over mix this or the biscuits will be tough.  Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet or a pizza stone.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are just starting to brown.  At about the 15 minute mark, melt the butter and set aside.  When the biscuits are done, pull them out of the oven and immediately brush the melted butter over them.  Let the butter soak completely into the biscuit and enjoy!

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Thoughtful Thursday

One of the best books I have read in the last couple of years was Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell.  It is a funny and poignant book written by a lady who felt down on her luck and decided to turn her life around by cooking her way through Julia Child’s venerable cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking Volume 1.  If you haven’t read this, please do.  The movie is good, but the book is so, so much better.

Anyway, I received a cookbook as a Christmas gift from my wonderful in-laws.  It is Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family, and yes, it is written by the lady who has the awesome website, Southern Plate!  It is a collection of classic southern recipes that she has gotten from family and friends throughout the years.  Many have been passed on through multiple generations and this is the first written version available.  So many recipes have been lost due to the fact that they weren’t written down; they were just taught to the next generation in the kitchen.

When I finally had time to sit down and really start to read through this book, I was amazed.  Some of the recipes I had cooked before, but the majority I had not and they all sounded delicious!  I had an epiphany..I need to do a project of my own:  A Picture Perfect Cooking/Southern Plate Project. 

Now, don’t get too excited.  Mine is going to be a little more low-key since I have already used a few of her recipes on my site, I am just going to use more and post them as part of my “project”.  I don’t plan on running myself crazy trying to get them done in a certain amount of time, and I won’t be able to fix any of the chicken or turkey dishes.  Why?  Oh, that’s right, I have never shared this with you.  I am deathly allergic to poultry.  Yep, you heard right, poultry of any kind.  That means no chicken or turkey for this gal, and I am not just a little allergic to it, I am full-on anaphylactic shock allergic!  One time, I brought home a chicken dinner for C, and I accidently got a little grease on my finger.  I touched my face and a big hive popped out almost immediately just from that little bit of contact.  Now you know my kryptonite.

Please keep reading.  I will let you know when the project begins!

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