KrisandLarry.com presents 6 different Christmas cookies/desserts for your cookie exchanges – Chocolate topped Toffee
Another tasty treat in our house, Although we do not make it terribly often as it is very rich.
It is a GREAT gift wrapped up in a bag with a bow for a last minute gift for someone this Christmas.
1-1/4 Cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter
1-1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan)
2 Cups semisweet chocolate chips
Optional: 1 Cup toasted chopped almonds, pecans or peanuts (or a mixture – )
Pink Himalayan or Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not skip this step or you will be stuck to everything!!!!
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let butter melt and sugar dissolve and bring to a boil, then cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, so the butter and sugar don’t separate, until mixture turns a medium amber and is thick, 12 to 15 minutes.
Pour toffee mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and immediately top all over with chocolate chips. Let sit 2 minutes so chocolate begins to melt, then spread chocolate all over with a spatula to create a layer on top of toffee.
Sprinkle all over with almonds and pecans (use chopped crumbs too for nice texture!) and salt.
Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, then cut or break into pieces and serve.
I love having my freeze dryer. My favorite item that I love to freeze dry is not Ice cream (Although “Astronaut Ice Cream is Delicious – Remember Astronaut Ice Cream from the 1980’s?? check out this link if you have a minute: https://amzn.to/2OU33ai Yes, I literally make this now with my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer and my kids love freeze-dried ice cream).
Fruit is not my favorite either, although the kids go GAGA over the fruit snacks that we make.
And it isn’t the leftovers that I freeze-dry for Larry and Shelby to take to work for their lunches. These are SO convenient and don’t take up any freezer space because these are SHELF SAFE!!
I have freeze dried green bean casserole, lunch meat (yes, lunch meat when I can get it on a SUPER SALE), veggies out of my garden. We have made homemade “cup of noodles” with organic healthy ingredients and a lot less salt. Soups and stews have been dried and later eaten as well as Alfredo! I even freeze-dried beef liver sliced up for my doggies for treats! We have even freeze-dried excess eggs, (Raw and whisked) and goats milk right off of our homestead.
Of all of the things that I have used my freeze dryer for, I think that freeze-dried baked chicken has been the best item that I have made (you can purchase canned freeze dried chicken as well). When I can pick up boneless skinless chicken for less than $1.50 a pound in my area, you can bet that I am buying extra and cooking in my crockpot or roaster oven for later.
So what do you make with freeze-dried chicken? ANYTHING that you make with fresh baked chicken – Fajitas, alfredo, chicken with sauce, casseroles, tacos, chicken salad sandwiches…. literally ANYTHING!
So, HOW does this work?
This is very simple. Depending on the item, you can either choose to reconstitute with hot water by submersion (Either in water or thrown into soups), you can use a spray bottle to reconstitute (I use this method for things like kale or spinach that I am not added into a soup), you can wrap an item in a wet paper towel (think tomatoes) or you can leave as is and use on items or eat it CRUNCHY THe kids LOVE to eat strawberries like this and I have found that if I crumble up guacamole – yes, I did make and freeze-dry this as an experiment – it tastes GREAT on salads.
OK, My friends here is the down low – This is EASY! Do not be intimidated by freeze-dried foods!!
My children know that when they are starting to feel yucky, they can just go into the fridge and get out the elderberry syrup. And all they need to do is to take a spoonful. We have been making this for years.
I love the taste and the smell of Chai Tea… I hate the price tag at coffee shops…. So, Let’s make our own!!
Chai Tea: a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk.
I simmer 3 black tea bags in a pot with 4-6 cups of water. I add my spices in a cheesecloth or flour sack wrap that I tied close
Spice bag is filled with several cinnamon sticks, and about a Tablespoon of whole allspice, whole cloves and whole coriander, 3 or 4 whole star anise. I also add about 1 teaspoon of ginger and cracked black pepper. This mixture gives a yummy spice flavoring. Sometimes I will add some licorice root as well to change the flavor.
I cut a flour sack to a 6x6in square and place all of my spices in the center and then tie the top.
Once brewed, let the tea sit and seep for about an hour to meld all of the spice flavors.
Fill a glass 2/3 with the tea mixture and add ice and top with milk. I sweeten mine with liquid stevia or local honey.
I love having a wood stove. I grew up with them at my parent’s house as well. When Larry and I looked for a stove to have put into our home (Yes, our huge house only had “fake” heating fireplaces – Propane burning ones and a chimney for a pellet stove.) We had to get something in that was more economical for our family size. And not letting us run through our propane every winter.
I love the fact that the woodstove that we got has 2 cooking burners on top. I keep a water kettle on there all of the time. I even fixed some elderberry tea with that heated water this morning from off of the woodstove. That is a different story altogether.
We have already simmered soup on the coldest rainy day so far this season. Our season has not gotten cold during the day, however, when you are up at 3 am and the temperature outside is at freezing or so, a nice fireplace is well worth it especially when I have turned the heater OFF!!!
Since as far back as I can remember, I always try and simmer some potpourri on my stove or in a mini-crock. This season, I have an old pot that I have been putting goodies in on the wood stove on the other
burner. This has worked out great and when I want to simmer something else, it is simple to jest set the potpourri pot to the side.
This morning, I added cloves, dried lemongrass and dried eucalyptus.
For each of the following recipes, I add about 4 cups of water in my stove pot or mini crockpot and then the plants/herbs/fruit.
1/4 cup eucalyptus
2T whole cloves
Fall is HERE
1 orange (Peel and Fruit), sliced
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon cloves, whole
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Open your Mind
1 lemon, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon vanilla
Apple Harvest Spice
1 apple, sliced
1 tablespoon cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
Fresh and clean
1 lemon, sliced (peel and fruit)
1/2 cup of eucalyptus leaves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chai Tea Potpourri
1T Vanilla extract
1/2 t black pepper,
1/2 t ginger,
1/2 t coriander seed,
1 star anise
If you want, you can throw in a few black tea bags and use this as a chai tea base too. Strain and mix with milk.
One of my favorite snacks is pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or roasted pumpkin seeds (whole). I eat them on salads, in my homemade granola or just as a snack. You can salt them and roast, or roast plain. You can flavor with lime and chili or with cinnamon and sugar. I obviously only make this is the fall and hopefully it lasts for a while. 🙂
To start, I separate the seeds from the pumpkin string pulp. This is not an exact science. But I do have a ton of little hands (and kunekune pigs who love the pulp) and toss those seeds into a strainer and rinse.
Next, lay seeds out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. And let air dry for a few hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Once dried, toss with a tsp of olive oil and spread back out. Sprinkle with your topping/ flavor of choice.(or leave plain) This can be garlic powder, sea salt, chili and lime juice etc.
Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir and back in for 10 more minutes.