Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Almond Roca

Boxes of chocolates are synonymous with Christmas...We see those Pot O' Golds, After Eights, Turtles, Cordial Cherries....the list goes on, you gotta have them and take bites out of each one to see what filling it is and then spit out the yucky ones...Darn Pot O' Gold for taking away the strawberry filling ones....ARGGGGG.  Now I do refuse to buy Pot of Gold on that premise alone... Cheap business people...

OK, enough of my rant against bureaucracy..

 One of my all time fave chocolates is Almond Roca.  I went on line because I have a wee bit of an obsession to find out obscure facts about meaningless things, such as where a chocolate got its name...Almond Roca....This fact could come in handy one day whilst I play Jeopardy and win Million of dollars....

Anyways...Roca is Spanish for "rock" and the creators of said chocolate got that from a sweet neighbour who may or may not have had strong teeth...

I LOVE Almond Roca, so I decided this year to make some of my own and I LOVE IT.  So easy and so amazingly good you'll forgo the store bought stuff that was made in like 2010... I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen Website. Love that many amazing recipes.  I didn't change anythings so I give all the credit to Tasty Kitchen lady "mdatwell"  You rock sweet toffee form.  So enjoy this recipe and go an make for your next Christmas get together.  People will be loving you for it!

Almond Roca

- Tasty Kitchen

What you need:

  • 4 sticks Butter (American) ( 2 cups - or one package of butter to us in Canada)
  • 2 cups Sugar (rounded)
  • 4 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 cups Almonds, Chopped
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cups Almonds, Finely Chopped, For Sprinkling
  • What you do: 

  • Combine the first 3 ingredients and cook on high, stirring constantly through 3 stages:
    1. Runny
    2. “Cheesy”—it will look like melted white cheese
    3. Runny and smooth, caramel brown color
    Make sure you have the fan on your stove going, cause you’ll probably set off the smoke alarm towards the end. ;)
    When it is runny, smooth and caramel brown in color, remove it from the heat and add the almonds. Stir until combined and pour the mixture onto greased cookie sheets. Spread it into an even layer. It will harden as it cools.
    While it is still warm, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let them melt enough to get soft. Spread the chocolate in an even layer across the candy. While the chocolate is still “wet,” sprinkle the finely chopped almonds on top.
    At this point, while it is still warm and soft, you can score the candy with a butter knife to make it break evenly, or just let it harden and break it into rustic pieces.
    Store in airtight containers. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cherry Ice Box Sugar Cookies and One year Musings.

It has been one year of CoffeeBiscotti!  I have really enjoyed sharing recipes, trying my hand at food photography and the seeing the feedback that you guys have given me.  Thanks so much!  Here's to another year!

Yesterday I officially wrote out my "LIST".  I have perusing my favorite blogs - Lauren's Latest, Joy the Baker, Pioneer well as Pinterest, and a couple of foodie magazines (Canadian Living!) and I think I have it narrowed 8 things...  I sometimes think it is a lot to make and bake for Christmas, but I can't talk myself out of not doing it....So here it is!

1. Dave's favorite Cherry Cookies (recipe to follow list)
2. Gingerbread Men (boys request :)
3. Jello Candy PopCorn  Candied Popcorn
4. Monkey Munch
5. Almond Roca - PWoman
6. Maple Fudge - Canadian Living
7.  Butter Tarts - Company's Coming
8. Macrons - Canadian Living

So with the countdown started I better.....get started....Here is Number 1.  David's Favorite Cherry Cookies.  His mother has made these for him since he was a kid and they are GOOD!  I am glad that I learned how to make them too.  These are a lovely icebox sugar cookie filled with glace cherries. Yummy almond and cherry flavors throughout.  These go fast at our house so I make a double batch.  Also I buy my glace cherries at the end of the Christmas season and freeze them for the next year...WAY CHEAPER.  Enjoy!

Cherry Icebox Sugar Cookies

- adapted from my mom in law Michelle Death

What you Need:

1 cup of softened margarine or butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp of almond extract
1 tsp of cherry extract (If you don't have this don't worry just had an extra 1/2 tsp of almond extract)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup of chopped glace cherries ( I use red and green for a festive look)
 1 TBSP of milk
What you Do:

1.  Cream margarine and sugar until nice and fluffy.

2.  Add egg and extracts, blend in.

3.  Gradually add flour and salt and continue to incorporate.

4.  Stir in glace cherries.

5. The dough will be tender and a bit crumbly.  I add the milk now and with my hands form 2 balls of dough.

6.  Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap onto the counter and form dough into a log on top of it.  Wrap up.  You can form the log into a nice roll or bang the dough on each side to make a square.  I am a square fan.

7.  Chill in fridge for about an hour.

8.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Take out chilled dough and slice not too thin.  (1/2 inch) On a parchment lined cookie sheet bake cookies for 12 - 15 minutes, until the bottoms are JUST lightly golden.  Cool and enjoy.  Santa would really like these on Christmas eve and has already requested them at our house.  :)


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

M and M Sugar Cookies

The baking extravaganza is upon us!  I love Christmas baking. I start thinking about my "LIST" in like....October...  I love the homemade candies, squares, fudge,....and the cookies!  Christmas cookies are my favorite.  I love shortbread, sugar, gingerbread, all those fancy types.  I also like to try to make them. I mean, honestly....when do you really have a hankering for sugar cookie decorating other than Christmas....

Pinterest is giving me a gazillion ideas for Christmas cookies....some ladies out there have so much free time on their hands to create those masterpieces that look too fancy to eat.  (I still would....the principle of the is a cookie.....)  I will be trying to decorate sugar cookies this year, but I have to warm up my Christmas cookie palate...and this was the cookie I chose to make.

M and M sugar cookies...These are really good cookies that I will be continuing to make in the new year.  Seriously I was surprised at how good they are.  Sugar cookie goodness, with like...M and M's!!  the dough is rolled in sugar before you bake them. So you end up with a chewy, sugary, m and meeee cookie.  It will be a new family favorite for sure.  So if you looking for a crowd pleaser this holiday season, this cookie is a must.

Your Welcome!

M and M Sugar Cookies

adapted from: Joyful Momma's Kitchen

What you Need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of M and M's (or Smarties,  have a 1/4 cup separate for pressing on top of cookies)

What you Do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl.  Put the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a  plate and set aside. Pour the warm butter over the cream cheese mixture and beat on low to combine - the mixture won't be completely smooth yet.  Beat in the oil then the egg, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.

4. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet. When the dry ingredients are partially incorporated, add 3/4 cup of the M&M's to the dough. Continue mixing until a soft dough comes together.

5. Using a tablespoon scoop out some dough.  Roll the dough into a ball and then roll the ball in the sugar pie plate.  Flatten the balls of dough with a glass.

6.  Bake cookies 10 - 12 minutes, or until the edges are set (not browned!)

7.  Remove cookies from oven and press 3 more M and M's on top.  This makes them looked pretty!

8.  Cool and ENJOY with milk or hot chocolate!