Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I look back at 2009 and I see pieces of things that fell into place and I see pieces of things that have yet to fall to where they belong.  Isn't life just like that?  And so is cooking.  Sometimes I have no idea why certain recipes call for certain ingredients, and sometimes my learning mind desires to research and find, and other times, I am so content in knowing that the recipe just. needs. every component. to. work.

I've been a bit under the weather lately, and I've been spending all my time resting, watching movies, sleeping, and going to the doctor.  Oh, and eating. No exercise, no healthy food, and that was ok.  We all need a bit of rest, and we all need a bit of recovery.  I'm looking forward to being well again and starting on my favorite things: baking, running, and school but in a new light.  It will be balanced.  It will be ok when it doesn't all fit together, and when the plate is empty and there are still pieces left.  Because, who knows what pieces will go into the next day, week, month, or year.

2010. Piece away.  I welcome your unpredictable nature, yet comforting pieces.  Bring it, and thank you in advance.

Dad's Christmas Toffee

2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
6 oz. of chocolate {your choice: dark, milk, semi-sweet}
Large handful of nuts {your choice: tradition calls for almonds, I used pecans}

Melt Sugar and butter in medium saucepan until reaches 300 degrees.  This is the 'hard cracking point" for sugar.  Stir in vanilla and salt after the 300 degrees is reached, but before 320 degrees.  This is hard to "guess" so be sure to use a candy thermometer.  Pour mixture on cookie sheet that has been covered with wax paper.  Spread evenly and create a medium to thin layer, but be aware that it will not cover the entire cookie sheet.  It will only cover about 1/4-1/2 of the sheet.  Immediately place chocolate chips (or if you got it from a bar, then chocolate pieces that you have cut up in small pieces) on top of hot, poured mixture.  Wait about 30 seconds to one minute, and the chocolate will have begun to melt.  With a spatula or backside of spoon, spread the chocolate over the mixture, creating a thing layer.  Sprinkles nuts on top.  Place entire sheet into refrigerator and let cool completely for about an hour and a half.  Remove from fridge and break candy into pieces.  Enjoy!

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