We're cooking stews and casseroles -- the sorts of things that taste much better when it's gray out. We haven't experienced this kind of weather (or this kind of food) much in recent years.
And whether because of the weather or because we're closer to family, I did more Christmas give-away cooking than I have for years. It was fun looking up recipes for old favorites that we'd almost forgotten about.
But I had the most fun making a new (to me) recipe for English Toffee. The recipe is on the Internet and I was directed to it through a visitor to this blog. This lady: HOOTIN' ANNI. She visited here and sweetly left a comment inviting me over for a bite of candy. Her blog was great to visit and virtual sharing was fun and certainly lower in calories, but I couldn't wait to try the real thing. And didn't somebody say that calories at Christmas don't count?
This recipe was so easy to make and turned out great. I haven't made candy in years and don't even own a candy thermometer any more -- it wasn't really at all necessary.
Here's the so easy recipe for what I am now calling:
Equal amounts real butter and white sugar (I used one cup each). But I've made it twice now!
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. I don't own a large baking sheet (because this is a tiny kitchen with a small oven). So I lined two glass pie pans.
2. Combine butter, sugar and salt in large heavy-bottomed pan. (I used my trusty cast-iron skillet!) (Do NOT melt butter first). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil and cook until the entire mixture becomes a dark amber color. (If you own a candy thermometer the temperature is 285 degrees.) But you don't need it because we all know what color toffee is supposed to be!
3. As soon as toffee reaches proper color (or temperature), pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let set for a couple of minutes to soften. Then spread into a thin even layer. Sprinkle almonds over and press in slightly. (Put a plastic bag over your hand.)
4. Place in refrigerator and chill until set. Break into irregular pieces; store in airtight container. Or put on plates, wrap with plastic wrap and give some of it away quick before you eat it all. If you are better organized than I am, your plates will have a holiday theme and the almonds will be more finely chopped.
Yummy stuff. Thanks Anni!