Holiday Gift Ideas: Toffee

I watched the video below earlier today and decided it looked easy to make and I LOVE toffee.  I used pecans on the bottom and finely chopped almonds on the top. My chocolate chips were the Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chips I use in my cookies. They were the perfect complement to the super-sweet toffee. Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: Spicy-Sweet Pecans

I received this as an early Christmas gift. Yum. They are addictive. The rosemary is the surprise ingredient that takes it up a notch. This will make your gift boxes and bags really stand out.

Friends Mary and BJ included the recipe.  Here you go:

Mary and BJ’s Spicy-Sweet Pecans

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp finely crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 cups pecan halves

cooking spray, wax paper, bowls, baking sheet, parchment paper Continue reading

Holiday Gift Ideas: Santa Hat Brownies

This  cute photo was posted on my facebook page, but there was no photo credit.  If I track that down I’ll add it.   And here is the original link.  Thanks Daisy, these are incredibly cute!  Everyone, head over there to see her original recipe.   The recipe I cobbled together is below:


Okay, I’m just winging it here people. You can just use a box mix if you don’t want to make brownies from scratch. I suggest adding 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips to any box mix to up the quality. If you make the recipe as written, let me know how it turns out for you.

Santa Hat Brownies

  • Pan of Gooey Chocolate Walnut Brownies, cooled completely (recipe below)
  • 30 strawberries, washed, hulled with tops cut off to make flat, hat shape
  • Whipping cream (I’d use a Ready Whip style – real cream in a spray can – or you can whip up your own)
  • About 1-1/2 inch circle cookie cutter

Cut 30 circles (or as many as you can get out of the pan). Add whipped cream, strawberry – cut-side down, and a small dollop of whipped cream on top

I would use the Chinese Take-Out containers for gift giving to keep them intact.  Or take them on a platter to the office or a party to wow everyone. And I’d use the leftover brownie pieces as ice cream topping. You can freeze pieces in an airtight container for later use (no more than a week or so, or else they’ll be stale).

Gooey Chocolate Walnut Brownies0074759961274_500X500

  • 3 sticks plus 2 tbsps butter
  • 12 ounces 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

13×9 baking dish, greased

large mixing bowl, double boiler*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter and 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips together in double boiler (*I use a metal dish over a large saucepan, works great). In mixing bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add to the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the nuts and semisweet chocolate chips. Beat by hand to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into baking dish. Bake for 25 t0 35 minutes. You want the top to be a paler brown, slightly cracked even, and the center gooey, not runny. They’ll continue to cook after you take them out, so don’t let them dry out in the oven. Check continuously from the 25 minute mark until the desired consistency. Makes 24 to 30 depending on how big you want them to be. They are quite rich, so you may want to go with the 30 cut.