Toffee is one of my favorite candies. Last year I used a candy thermometer and everything to make Homemade Toffee, but it didn’t work out like I’d hoped. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t eat it, but it was a little burnt. I think I learned from that and had everything ready this time. Plus, I saw this recipe, which caught my eye because it said “easy.” All-in-all, it didn’t take too long, just a lot of stirring. Making Homemade Toffee can seem intimidating, but you just have to keep an eye on the color and remove it from heat before the color gets too dark and is on the road to being burnt.
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup (201 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and spread almonds on baking sheet with edges lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. You don’t necessarily need the paper or mat for this step, but it’ll make the toffee step easier to just pour it over the almonds already on one of those so they don’t stick. Bake for about 12 minutes or until they are toasted. Set aside
- In a medium/large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt over medium heat. Melt the mixture, stirring constantly to avoid burning the toffee. The toffee is ready when it is an almond brown color, about 10-12 minutes. If you see it change color earlier, remove it from heat so it doesn’t burn.
- Spread the toffee mixture evenly over the toasted almonds (on the parchment paper or silicone mat). Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let the chips melt for 1-2 minutes and then spread the chocolate chip layer over the toffee until it’s smooth. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
- Let it cool completely, about 2 hours. Break it into pieces. A scraper/chopper is helpful, but a sharp knife could work too
This recipe is from DamnDelicious.
I was making a dessert platter for a Christmas party and I wanted to add something with a little color. I’ve never made anything with cranberries, but since it’s cranberry season, this seemed like the perfect time to bake these Cranberry Bars. The powdered sugar balances out the tartness of the cranberries. The crust is sweet with a slight crispiness, and the center is nice and tender. These Cranberry Bars are definitely on my list to make again!
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups (302 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups of cranberries
- Powdered sugar (optional for topping)
- Preheat oven to 350º and line 13×9″ pan with parchment paper
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined
- Add flour and baking powder, and then fold in cranberries
- Spread evenly in pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
- When bars are still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar (you can use a sieve or a duster to make it prettier)
This recipe is from Nessa Makes.
Mason Jar Snow Globes
These Mason Jar Snow Globes were a really fun craft to do with my 5 year old. We used two different sized Mason Jars to make the Snow Globes. We picked a couple of ornaments and other Christmas decorating accessories to make some winter scenes in the jars. You can find the little trees at most craft stores. I got the presents at a craft store also- I think they were meant to go in a flower arrangement, but I just took the stems out to make a stack of presents. We never put all of our ornaments on the tree, so if you have extra ornaments you don’t hang on the tree, there’s a free idea to use them in another way. I had some fake snow left over from a previous Christmas, but you can also purchase that at craft stores.
To make the Snow Globes, first plan out the decoration placement and make sure the Mason Jar will fit over it. I trimmed the bottom of one of the trees that went with the snowman in the smaller Mason Jar to make them fit. Use a hot glue gun to attach the bottom of the decorations. If you have never used a glue gun before, it works really well to make things stick, but you don’t have a lot of time to maneuver things once they’re on there. Let the glue dry fully before assembling the Snow Globe. Put some snow into the Mason Jar- you won’t need a lot; if you put too much in, it will cover your decorations. Tighten the Mason Jar lid and turn it upside down (the Snow Globe will be right-side up). If it’s too much snow, take some out and try again. One thing I would do next time is that if my Snow Globe decorations are on the shorter side, I would prop them up with a little stand of some kind, like a little piece of wood. The stand will be covered with the snow, so you won’t see it except for when you shake it. You could paint the stand white so it’s not noticeable. For the Present Mason Jar Snow Globe, I would’ve especially done this because the snow almost covers the bottom present. No matter how they turned out, they are a nice Christmas decoration and a fun project to do with kids.
Mason Jar Snow Globes
Another variation of this would be to make little snow globes with baby food jars. You’ll need smaller ornaments and decorations, but the same principles apply, and they would be practically free if you’re already buying baby food anyway. If the lids are a color you don’t like, just spray paint them.