Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spices and holiday cooking so far

While we are waiting for Will to post the Carmel Apple Pecan Pie recipe, I thought I'd show a picture of the spices I won! I stumbled upon the website iLunchbox last summer and have occasionally entered to win some contests. I won last month and got all these spices (including real vanilla!) some mulling spices, hot chocolate mix, brining mix for a turkey (not sure if I'll ever use that one), hot buttered rum mix, two dry instant soup mixes and an apron from The Spice Hunter.

It was pretty fun opening and unwrapping all the spices tonight - like an early Christmas. So many spices - it's going to take a long time to use them all up!

Happy holiday cooking!! What have you all made so far? I made some of Grandma's peanuty white chocolate candies/cookies with rice crispies and marshmallows inside (I don't know the name of them). I got the recipe this past summer when we were there. It was funny because the first time I bit into one I immediately felt like I was back on the farm, since that is the only place I've ever eaten them. Also, I made some fudge last night. It turned out almost right, just a tad bit too crumbly when I cut it. I don't think I have the right size pan for my recipe. Anyone else have trouble with it getting a little too crumbly? And I made some microwave peanut brittle that is super easy. That's it so far - what about you guys?


G said...

No christmas goodies so far. I made chocolate chip cookies last night though. Always good.

Why aren't you going to use that Turkey brine? Have you ever brined a bird? I've done chicken, and it turned out great.

Kate said...

The turkey brine sounds good, I just am not sure I'd have room for a container with two gallons of brine and a 14lb bird in the fridge overnight. And what sort of container to use?

Maybe it will be used some day, but the logistics will need a little work. It looks good though - big chunks of salt, herbs, dried cranberries, etc.

G said...

Hmm... I'd say a 5 gallon bucket, and leave it covered outside (in your garage?) overnight, if it won't freeze. I'll be thinking about this problem. We'll work through it. I want some brined turkey.

Kate said...

Well, I suppose if I could leave it in the garage I could use my plastic pickle container. It's probably big enough. I guess it would just depend on the temperature outside then. As long as it was cold enough it would probably be fine - with all that salt I doubt it would freeze unless it was -20 or something. You want to volunteer to help me and make it for Christmas dinner?

weareNOTamused said...

This is my baking weekend! Gonna do some caramels, a couple cookies (not sure what yet - looking through the recipes tonight), give divinity a try (first time on that one, so we'll see), and make my yearly variable-result-fudge attempt.

Kate, I have the same problem with brining whole poultry - no space! But I never skip it with chicken pieces or pork chops anymore, it just makes things too good (and, you gotta love the temperature cushion it gives you - no more choking down dry meat because you overshot it by five degrees).

I'm hoping the candy making goes well this year, I just upgraded to a digital candy thermometer. Here's to hoping!

Kate said...

Aaron, I should have gotten your caramel recipe. I totally overcooked my first try at caramels tonight. Ended up about like those sugar daddy pops or whatever that extremely hard caramel candy was called.
Tried again and did better. Also did another batch of fudge - this one my best yet, I think. I've completely given up on my candy thermometer. My pan is too big, I think so it doesn't work right. Cold water testing it is, that way works so much better.
Anyone ever successfully made toffee? I want to try this year, but everything I've read says it's possibly the most touchy candy to make.

Anonymous said...

Kinda scary, venturing into this world of nieces, nephews, and offspring, but I had a couple comments; brining turkey: according to my big Weber Grill Cookbook, a dry, salty rub, applied to the big bird the night before, said bird placed uncovered in fridge overnight, has the same effect as brining (here it would be appropriate for WNA to comment on Morris 2009 turkey!) and as far as Toffee, I have a friend whose Gma taught her to make it, no thermometer, just by how it looks, she makes a lot, it is fantastic, she taught me, w/ or w/o a thermometer, I have wasted #'s of sugar, and never had it turn out!!!

aunt Jane

Kate said...

Did lots of research and reading about toffee making on the internet the past few weeks and made my first batch tonight: success!!

I'll make it one more time before I post a real post on it - just to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

Merry Christmas everyone!