Christmas goodies

December 18, 2009

Well, I’m prepped and ready; it’ll be Christmas goodie-making time tomorrow.

On the agenda:

  • Three batches of fudge (chocolate walnut, white chocolate pecan, peanut butter)
  • Two batches of “hot” chocolate bark (one dark, with chile powder, currants and walnuts, one white, with wasabi, candied ginger and almonds or peanuts, whichever I decide on)
  • Toasted chickpeas with wasabi
  • Toasted black-eyed peas with paprika and cayenne
  • Chocolate covered cherries
  • And maybe some cookies
  • And maybe some pralines

The fudge recipe is my old standby:

  • 3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 2/3 c. (5 1/3 fl. oz. can) evaporated milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 c. Kraft marshmallow creme
  • 1 c. chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. Makes approximately 3 pounds. (Note: I use a 7-oz jar of MM cream per recipe; it’s close enough to two cups for gub’mint work.) For peanut butter fudge, omit the chocolate chips and nuts, and add a cup of crunchy peanut butter.

For the toasted chickpeas, soak a one-pound bag in water overnight; drain and dry on paper towels. Toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and spices of your choice; I’ve used curry powder, I’ve used a mix of cumin and paprika, I’ve used a mix of ginger and garlic and sweet paprika. This time, I think it’s wasabi, mostly because I have some. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes, stirring and shaking every five minutes or so.

The black-eyed peas will be a new attempt, but we’ll give it a whirl. The recipe actually called for deep-frying them, but I’m thinking roasting would work better for something that’s going to be packaged as a snack in a gift box. The deep-frying is what creates the signature dish of Capitol Hotel’s bar in Little Rock: see recipe and detailed instructions here: http://newamericanacuisine.stationx.tv/?p=328. These things are just freakin’ addictive. (The Capitol Bar is also the first place I ever had buttery edamame, which is a nice touch for edamame. And they do a fine Reuben.)

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