Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas...

and will have a Happy New Year...
My Christmas was perfect.. filled with family, friends, good food and lots of laughter...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Memories of Maple Cream Candy...

and the recipe...

I can remember every Christmas my Aunt Betty Jean would order a box of homemade Maple Cream Candy from a lady she knew. It was so creamy, so sweet, so rich.. and my favorite. I only got one or 2 pieces each year but I remember the taste, smell... even the box it came in.. Perfect.. a white box that "stockings" were put in and sold at Belk Department Store. Kiser Roth Hosiery was a big plant around here at the time. I remember Betty Jean opening the box, slowly pulling the tissue paper aside and there they would be.. Maple Creams. standing proudly all in a row. I'm not sure when the candies stopped coming to my Aunt.. I'm not sure if she stopped ordering them or if the lady stopped making them. Most likely I just grew up and didn't go around as much once my cousin, Debbie married.. you do tend to grow apart as you get older.. lives change, people change, times change.
I married in 1975, had my son Rik in 1979 and never gave those Maple Cream Candies a thought until I was working at Staley Hosiery Mill.. a friend who also worked there, brought in Maple Creams ... all the tastes, smells and memories came flooding back. I was thrilled when she shared the recipe with me. I have continued to make these candies as well as others for the past 31 years... and hope to continue for a few more years. It's a family tradition to get together and make candy once a year in December. I make much more than the one occasion and since my kids have married it's almost impossible to get them all together to make it at the same time.. So, Candy Marathon Day(s) began a few years ago.. I think this year I've had 5 or 6 Marathon Days.. some alone, some with family and friends ... it's wonderful.. fun & tiring.. but wonderful!!
I hope you make your own special memories with your family... document it if you do.. one day they will appreciate looking back at all the fun you've had.


1 box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter room temp.
Maple flavoring (1 - 2 tbls ... to your taste)

16 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 - 1/2 block parafin wax

Cream together butter and flavoring, add sugar and mix well.
Mixture should resemble play dough. If it doesn't, add 1 tsp water at a time, mixing well after each addition until the mixture does resemble play dough.
Pinch off enough dough to make a quartes sized patty.
Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill

Melt chocolate chips and wax in double boiler.
Dip candy into chocolate to cover completely. Top with pecan if desired. Chill until chocolate is set.

These are best if you make them a couple of days ahead so flavor will blend.

I make several batches of these candies and freeze them before dipping in chocolate. Can be quickly dipped and served when needed. These also freeze wellafter dipped... and ship well...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ugliest Christmas Tree in NC...

Rick said it wasn't the ugliest one on the lot but it was close.. I'm finding that to be a true statement... haha... however, I gave it my best shot and put the lights on, needles falling all over, ornamments on, needles falling faster, move one big ornamnet here.. move it there.... finally decide it's enough.. add icicles.. and light the sucker up.. to me.. it's still UGLY.. to the sweet angel babies, my grandkids, it's beautiful.. and in the end.. that's all that matters!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candy Marathon #2

Last Saturday we did the 2nd Candy Marathon.. actually, if I'm counting correctly it was the 3rd .. I'm not counting the one I did for myself.. haha...
At 9:00 AM sharp the cars rolled up... I'm thinking it's a good thing not everyone that said they were coming did ... we had people and candy supplies everywhere... I can not believe I didn't take pictures until the very end of the day.. sad..
My best friend, Becky, her daughter Sarah and the 2 grandkids came. April, Jamie and Jackson came, Susie, Shellie and eventually Sierra, Bradun and Taylor showed up. Of course, Maddie and Sophia were here because Rik had to go in to work. We decided to do his candy later..

I mixed everyone's candy.. they rolled, dipped and bagged it.. I'm so glad I thought to have them bring their own small crock pots. We would STILL be dipping chocolate if we only had my one little pot! In fast order we decided to make the Buckeye Balls first. After I mixed 4 batches some decided they wanted double batches.. yep.. these were the "first timers"... those of us that are used to candy making know about the rolling and dipping.. LOL.. Next came the Maple Cream centers, again, lots of rolling.. Dipped Marshmallows followed while the centers of the other candy chilled.... The girls were amazed by my "decorating skills"... using a marshmallow to drizzle chocolate over the tops of the marshmallows.. haha.. Yes, I have skills folks.. serious skills!

Susie learned a valuable lesson.. don't skimp on products... You can use Margarine.. but it doesn't soften the same way so you need to adjust your time.. also "chocolate bark" isn't real chocolate and doesn't work the same way.. each year something new is learaned..

We had to take a break and go to the Gibsonville Christmas Parade... Frankly, if Maddie wasn't in it I wouldn't have gone.. I don't need to see a bazillion mustangs in different shades of red... or black.. or white. I don't need to hear the fire sirens of every small community fire truck.. I do not need to smell or see the nasty dirty horses that follow Santa.. who does? seriously? I hope Maddie chooses to watch the parade next year.. haha...

When we got back from the parade and everyone washed up it was on to the pretzels and cookie dipping. April discovered the most amazing taste for her oreos dipped in Andes Mint chips and semi-sweet chocolate. I will be borrowing that one.. for sure. I made spiced pecans for Becky and Sarah.. helped Susie with her peppermint bark... which didn't set right for some reason.. again.. I'm thinking it's the chocolate bark and not the chocolate chips that caused the problem... either way.. I manged to save it.. I hope..

I had such a good time.. but was so exhausted by the end of the day.. I think it's taken me until today to get over it.. ha!
Cindy had to work so we did her candy on Sunday night.. over a period of a couple of days she's made truffles and buckeye balls. I'm thinking she's done. Susie wants her "own" day.. so, we're making candy again Sunday afternoon... she'll have to share her day with Michelle.. I think after this we'll be completely candided out.. at least I will be. I'm pretty sure I've mixed, or helped with 200 lbs of candy this year..
It's a wonderful Christmas tradition I hope my family will continue after I'm long gone.. I love making these wonderful memories with them all...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles
1 pack Oreo cookies, that’s around 24 pieces
8 oz cream cheese softened to room temp. {I used Philadelphia}
1 cup white and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips, separated
1/2 block of parafin wax, shredded
Chocolate chips, crushed oreos or sprinkles for decoration {optional}


Use a food processor to crush oreo cookies.
Beat Cream cheese in mixer bowl and add crushed oreos.
Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for a few minutes to chill. Cold truffles are easier to dip.

While truffles are chilling melt your chocolate and parafin in a double boiler or
the microwave. Stir to mix well. If you use the microwave watch it carefully. It will BURN.. F.A.S.T.!
I use a mini crockpot that I've had for 25 years. It tempers the chocolate just right. Newer crockpots tend to get too hot so, if you do use one, watch it, keep stirring every little bit so the chocolate doesn't stick and burn..

I use toothpicks to pick up the candy and dip them into the melted chocolate, you can use a fork or a candy dipper if you choose. I prefer the toothpicks.

Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with toppings of your choice or leave plain.
Refrigerate until set. Store in tight container in refrigerator.

Do you see the marshmallow in the background? The one dipped in white chocolate? That's my secret KITCHEN TOOL for drizzling the white chocolate over the chocolate coated truffles. Works like a charm! hahaha...

Monday, December 5, 2011

I have finally accomplished a goal...

My goal was to go from this...

to this...

well.. maybe even a bit better than this.. but I haven't completely finished reorganizing the bins.. I have however, finished sorting and emptying bins, cabinets and closest of extra Christmas "stuff".. you know the "stuff"... it accumulates every year.. pre-holiday sales, after holiday sales and of course those "somebody will want it" spotted items you just can't pass up.. well, let me tell you... no one.. and I mean, NO ONE will "want it".. so.. DO NOT BUY "IT" ... whatever it may be.. just... don't... or you'll end up with ... well.. this...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Candy Marathon, Round 1

we make lots and lots of candy around here during the holidays. It began 32 years ago.. and has grown every year.. it's an annual event and I look forward to it! When Courtney married and moved to Wake Forrest Susie and I drove down, supplies in hand and made candy in the tiny kitchen of her apartment.. Courtney wasn't feeling well.. later we found out she was pregnant with Zeke.. Now days Courtney is in Durham and we've started doing our marathon in stages.. with 2 boys and a very active weekend as the wife of a small groups paster... as well as being so involved with her church family weekend time isn't too available.. however, today, Courtney came in for a visit with the boys. We jumped at the opportunity to do our candy marathon !! YIPPEE.. mixing, rolling, chilling, dipping, chilling, tasting, bagging... on and on and on.. through Buckeye balls, Maple Creams, several different truffles, barks, and cookies.. we marched on.. until finally the last piece was dipped and ready to take home.. I don't know what I was thinking.. I never snapped a picture until Ben came to check out the end result. I will do better next weekend when round 2 of the annual candy marathon takes place...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2 more wreaths...

My special helper, Sophia!

Red/Green/White plaid wreath: 11 plaid bows made from geo mesh ribbon, 1 green bow made from geo mesh ribbon, 1 swim noodle, held together with duct tape and E6000 glue, ribbon of co-ordinating color wrapped around noodle to cover it.

Ornament wreath: one coat hanger, 36 shatter proof ornaments

I decided I'd make new bows for my green wreaths that I put in each window.. once I made them.. Eleven in all... I decided I didn't like them on the wreaths.. you couldn't see them from very far off.. so, I removed them ... all.. again... I hear third times the charm so.. I set about making new bows again today.. *photos will come later...* I think I finally settled on the one I like.. guess I'm just a traditonal kind of gal after all.. Red geo mesh won out! LOL..
Anyway, here are 2 more wreaths I made this morning... sold the red/green/white plaid one today!! YIPPEE!! I had a special helper with the ornament wreath..
Now to get orders for more!!