Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post-Holiday Goodies

How were your Holidays?  Was is full of delicious (fattening) holiday food? Yup.  But after the Holidays is a great time to make and buy Christmas stuff. Then there is no big rush, and you can pack up your holiday crafts and bargains for next year.  I have however, been slacking on my blog in the process. So here we go.
 I made a double batch of macarons (which makes a whole lot) and they were eaten very, very fast. Plus they're gluten free. Here's the recipe. I also made a crouquemouche (pronounced crow-kem-boosh, I think) which turned out awesome, although it dirties so many dishes. Here's the recipe I used.

Sorry I haven't posted in forever, I took kinda took a long break. But I have some good posts coming up, so no harm done! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Only 10 More Days!

Only 10 more days till Christmas! And I've barely started on presents. Whoops! Here is our advent calendar for this year:
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Homemade Twix Bars

Yes, they exist. And they are delicious. And they are expensive to make (but not too expensive, about 5 bucks for 40 Twix Bars).  But that's only if you count the cost of the chocolate, butter, and sweetened condensed milk.  And, as a side-note, I haven't really been slacking off on my blog, it's just my brothers hog the computer (and lap-top, and I-phones, and I-pod) all the time. Anyway, this recipe uses microwave caramel, which is way easier to make than regular caramel. And it is just as good. I was really surprised, because I didn't know it existed.

We'll start with Martha's Basic Shortbread Recipe (slightly adjusted):
Important Note: This is the doubled version of the recipe. When I made them, only 40 got covered in caramel because the rest were eaten. So feel free to save 40-60 (my caramel was too thick) and eat the rest.
  • 2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a cookie sheet. Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, cream butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture, and beat on low, scraping bowl if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed.
  2. Pat dough and softly roll until desired thickness. Use a paring knife to score dough into bars; prick all over in even intervals with a wooden skewer or fork.
  3. Bake until firm in the center and just starting to color, about 50 minutes (more or less, depending on your oven). Let cool completely and cut into bars. Cookies will keep, in an airtight container, at room temperature 3 weeks.
Cook's Note The dough (and its variations) can be prepared and refrigerated overnight or frozen up to three months, covered tightly with plastic wrap; thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. The baking time for each variety of shortbread will vary depending on the kind of pan and cutters used.

Microwave Caramels From Gourmet Mom on the Go:
Before Making: notice that 1 can of sweetened condensed milk makes 2 batches of caramel. The caramel in my bars was too hard because Twix caramel is softer than regular caramels. You can use the first batch to test how long you need to microwave it (microwaving longer = harder caramels).
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup (not dark-doesn't set right)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla
Grease the foil barrier on the shortbread. Melt butter in large microwave bowl. Stir in Karo syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until dissolved. Microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir down and scrape sides of bowl. Microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour onto shortbread carefully and let cool until set.
If the foil is not wide enough to guard both sides, use the side of a cookie sheet.

Chocolate Time!
I'm not sure how much chocolate we used, we bought it in bulk and I didn't measure, so buy extra and use the rest for chocolate chip cookies or something.
  1. Melt your chocolate, or temper it if you know how.  I tried tempering but I don't think it worked (I didn't use a thermometer or anything)
  2. Set up your dipping station left to right: Twix Bars, then chocolate, then cookie sheet with parchment.
  3. Dip the bar on the edge of a fork scraping the bar on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. I learned how to dip chocolates here and it is very useful (there are also interesting taste tests on that site)
  4. Make designs with a fork or toothpick, or drizzle chocolate on.
And now you have your very own Homemade Candy Bars!
      And now some history on the Twix Bar (found here on Wikipedia). There is a possibility that none of this is true, as it is from the internet.  Twix stands for Twin Sticks and was called Raider in parts of Europe.  Apparently there were limited editions of flavors that I had no idea existed, including mint, orange, triple chocolate, coconut, dark and white chocolate,  cookies and cream, and a whole bunch of other products. Wow. And I was sitting here thinking "I wish they had different flavors like white chocolate."
    Enjoy your homemade Twix Bars!