Adventures in Candy Making, Part One

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I’ve got a few savory recipes up my sleeve, and now and then I like to share them.  However, one thing I have never done (until this week) is made candy.  I’ve made brownies and fudge.  I’ve even made a ganash.  But never ever in my life had I ever dipped my toe into the pool that is candy making, whether it be truffles or caramels.

Several months ago, I stumbled across this recipe for salted caramels at Smitten Kitchen, and ever since I’ve had caramels with sea salt on the brain.  Some of you may be thinking, how do sweet caramel and salt even go together ?  But I assure you, there’s something about the competing flavors of sweetness and saltiness, and when blended together, it forms the perfect medley.

Making caramels requires a tool that I previously did not possess: a candy thermometer.  Since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I thought I’d try my hand at actually making some caramels and chocolate candies for friends.  So I bought a candy thermometer for $15 dollars at Michaels and thus began this little adventure into making caramels and other chocolate candies.

centsational girl candy box

Oh yes, I know what you’re thinking.  What a darling little carton of candy !  Do not be fooled.  Yes, it’s true, all’s well that ends well, but I must confess it was a somewhat rough journey to get to this blissful box.

Originally, when I glanced at the simple ingredients for caramel candy, I was emboldened.   Butter, sugar, cream and corn syrup.  What could go wrong ?

Little did I know that complexities and complications lurked around the bend.

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Fiesta of Flavor: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I’m a sincere lover of Mexican food – I crave it at least twice a month.  When I was in college, I would indulge at the local taquería in muy grande burritos and never gain a single ounce.  These days, if I so much as look at a burrito sideways, I gain five pounds.

Two years ago, Mr. CG and I were dining at our favorite local Mexican food restaurant.  He ordered the chicken tortilla soup.  I tried it for the first time, and fell in love.  All the flavor of a delicious taco, in a bowl, but healthier and lower in calories ?  Sign me up, señor.  Since the restaurant was reluctant to share their recipe, I spent over a year trying to capture the same flavor by tweaking my own recipe for sopa de tortilla de pollo.

On a cold winter day, there’s nothing I want more than a hot bowl of soup  And a nap.  But the latter is not happening.  Here’s my recipe for ‘taco in a bowl’.  It’s yummy yummy to your tummy.  Muy bueno.  Enjoy.

Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup crop

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Christmas Cookies for Chocolate Lovers

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Whenever we’re invited to Christmas parties, I try to bring something sweet, homemade, and chocolate.  On Christmas day, I also prefer to serve a medley of Christmas cookies with coffee, instead of one single dessert after the big feast.  I spent this past weekend frolicking with my family, attending holiday parties, and making four of my absolute favorite cookies to give and share.  Here are two of those cookies I make that are sure to please any chocolate lover on your list !

Chocolate Dipped Handmade Biscotti

chocolate dipped biscotti

and Chocolate Wafers with Peppermint Buttercream Filling

chocolate wafers on plate


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