Scribes, Sugar High, Molasses and Feathers

December 18, 2013

toffee-mounds barsOk, so you’ve been writing like good little authors, and you’ve hit a dead end. The perfect antidote to writer’s block is sugar, and I have to say these little beauts more than fill the bill.

Anyone who knows me knows that I avoid the kitchen like a participle looking for its dangle. However, I’ve had these two foolproof…and I do mean foolproof…recipes for English Toffee and Mounds Bars. I used to make candy every year for Christmas, but somewhere between editing and book distribution, the candy making went the way of the dinosaur.

Until this past weekend, and I went nuts. Ok, I’ll admit that I couldn’t find my original English Toffee recipe, so I used another one and proceeded to burn two batches. Yes, smoke and fire alarms are the quintessential Pricey. Then I found my old recipe, and voila…perfect toffee.

The Mounds bars were a new addition, and they’re killer. So I’ll share with you, so you can have some fun in the kitchen while that plot twist rummages around in your brain.

Oh, and don’t forget to buy a candy thermometer.

ENGLISH TOFFEEMakes a buttload

2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds (I used crushed walnuts)

Directions

  • Get a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Now I didn’t respect this enough and burned two batches. It’s gotta be a heavy pot in order to avoid burning. Who knew? I used my La Crueset – it’s one heavy mother.
  • Melt the butter first, then toss in the sugar and salt.
  • Stirring constantly (not vigorously) cook over medium heat so the sugar melts. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally. This take awhile, so don’t freak out. And DON’T LEAVE IT. Left on its own, the candy gremlins come along and burp in the pot. Avoid this.
  • While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  •  As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it onto the baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.
  •  Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container

Idiot-proof English Toffee. Holy garbanzo beans, it is fabulous. Go cook now.

MOUNDS BARS – also makes a buttload

Another insidiously easy candy to make. It’s so easy, I’m almost ticked off at the fortune the Price family has spent keeping the Head Price Kahuna well-stocked in Mounds Bars – the only candy he’ll eat.

  • 2  14 ounce bags of unsweetened coconut (I bought a 1,000 pound bag of sweetened coconut at Costco, and it worked great)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups of chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons of butter

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl mix together the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup butter, and powdered sugar.  Mix well.
  • How you shape these suckers is up to you. You can spread the slop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, fridge for a couple hours, then cut it up.
  • However, that didn’t float my boat, so I dug my little fingies into the slop and shaped them in little blobs and put it on one of those silicone baking mats. I nearly fainted when I saw how expensive it was, and told the saleslady it better rock my cookery world or I’d come back and filet her. My cookery world was duly rocked, and the saleslady will live to sell another day.
  • Chill those little suckers down so it’s easier to roll in melted chocolate. You can refrigerate for  2 hours…or freeze for 15 minutes. I froze. Worked like a charm. In fact, I ran out of chocolate, so I kept the undunked mounds bar filling in the freezer for a couple days. They were quite happy there.
  • Melt 3 cups chocolate chips and 2 teaspoon of butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
  • Cut bars and dunk in melted choccie, and put on your new magic silicone mat, or parchment paper. Stick in the fridge to set up.

So there it is, my dear little scribblers. A fabulous sugary high. And the best part is you figured out how your protagonist was able to knock Mr. Hunkypants off his feet while covered in molasses and feathers.


No rest for the wicked

January 17, 2011

Whazzis? More work? I need a margarita

Some of the goodies Consortium had us bring home to study. We gots lotsa work to do.


A Christmas Story

December 4, 2010

No way, that's just coke in there...

When four of Santa’s elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the
door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great
big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, ‘Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?’

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Not a lot of people know this.


Yah, that’sa niiiice

November 4, 2010

Just when I think I’d love nothing more than to nuke this entire whacked out state I live in because everyone is so damned insane, along comes a day like this and it makes me channel my inner Nirvana. 95 degrees and slight breeze…Ohhhmmm…ohhhmmm…


Buh by for the weekend

October 20, 2010

I have a number of posts just sitting up my sleeve, waiting to blast out on the blog, but I’m off to Orlando for the Florida Writer’s Conference, where I’ll see Behler authors Donna Ballman and Kim Petersen. Le yay!


My week…

February 5, 2010

Ayup…pretty much sums up my week…


Oh thit

April 1, 2009

I have paper cut on my tongue. It hurths like a mo’ fo. The minute my tongue thlipped acroth the envelope, I knew I wath in trouble. I gueth ith payback for a rejethun letter. Whath worth ith I ate a thalad lath night at dinner. Ow ow ow. My morning cuppa ithn’t feeling tho great either.

I really love the envelopeth where you peel off the little paper thtrip. From here on out, I’ll have the beagle lick the envelopths.


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