Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Merry Cherry Fudge

One of the best parts of the season for me is the Christmas baking!  I absolutely love going to the store and stocking up on chocolate chips of every sort, white and chocolate bark, cocoa powder, brown sugar, sprinkles, butter, vanilla extract, ginger, cloves and allspice, oranges...  These are all the classic  flavors of the Christmas season!  
Every year I try out a new recipe I've never made before.  I'll scan through my Gooseberry Patch and Southern Living Christmas cookbooks and find one or maybe two new desserts to try!  Several years ago it was the raspberry linzer cookies, a couple years ago was the toffee cracker candy, last year were Martha Washington and the chewy molasses cookies. Yuuum!  Mind you, all of these have seriously become new favorites!  Of course there are still my classic favorites I adore making and eating that stir up familiar memories of childhood.  (Peppermint bark, decorated sugar cookies, and gingerbread boys!)

This year I found a delectable sounding recipe in my favorite Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbook that I've never really noticed before.  The recipe was of a fudge, which I've never made, but with chopped pecans and the cutest ruby red cherries planted in the top of each square!  

Chocolate cherry fudge, what a delicious idea!

As you can see, I whipped up a 2 lb. batch and it was every bit as easy as it looked! (It's not often I can say that.) The cherries in the fudge make them look like they came out of a cute fairy tale chocolate shop, but the flavor, oh the taste... Is heavenly!!!  I'm not a candy maker expert, and I've never made fudge in my life, but this recipe is so easy that it turned out just right.  They are not dry at all, but not gooey either so they're what I would consider to be some of the best fudge I've eaten!  They would be perfect for a festive party or you can place in a pretty tin as a delicious gift.  You can keep them a couple of weeks to munch on with the family over milk or a cup of dark coffee while movie watching and game playing over the weekend.

Chocolate and cherry, my favorite combination of flavors, now in a cute homemade Christmas candy must be why I've fallen in love with them so!  If there is one new recipe I'm truly thrilled to share this holiday season it's this fudge!  

Tis the season for our favorite things!

Merry Cherry Fudge
Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookbook

36 maraschino cherries with stems, juice reserved

12 oz. pkg. Semi sweet chocolate chips

6 (1 oz.) squares bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet chips)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 c. chopped pecans

Tear two strips of foil and line a 8x8 baking pan crossways (does that make sense?) and then spray with baking spray.  This make the fudge so easy to remove from pan.  Blot cherries and set aside.

Combine chocolates in a double boiler of a large bowl over simmering water.  Heat slowly until melted and very smooth, whisking occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in sweetened milk, and about one teaspoon of reserved cherry juice.  Stir in pecans.  (I toasted these first in a dry skillet and let cool.)  

Pour out fudge mixture into a pan and smooth out.  *Immediately dot with cherries in neat rows.  Press them down enough for only the tops and their stems will show.  

Cover and chill for 2 hours.  Gently lift the overhang of foil out of the pan and into a cutting board. 

 Using a sharp knife cut the fudge into 36 squares.  

Store in an airtight container in fridge. Makes 2 pounds.

*Note:  I didn't use all the cherries because I know my husband doesn't like to eat them, but that's up to you.  The fudge itself has a nice subtle cherry flavor!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmastime is Here!

Happy December!!!!

Christmastime is here, and I'm not done decorating but our house really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  *wink wink. An old fashioned kind of Christmas--filled with red and green, plaid bows and wooden ornaments, gingerbread men and snowmen, berries and garland--just the way I like it.  (I'll do a little Christmas tour blog post when all the decor is up!)

I'm up early before the rest of my family, only to enjoy the first cup of vanilla coffee as I stare into our newly decorated tree.  While the pretty lights are dazzling and I get caught up into their magical glow, I'm reminded how this Christmas I want to be centered on Jesus' birth.  How he came to earth as a baby and born to a (virgin) girl who was young but willing and ready.  Jesus is King of Kings like the crown ornament on our tree reminds us, and I want Him to remain Lord of Lords in our hearts and intentions this Christmas season!   It's easy to get caught up in the bustle of doing and going as a wife and mom of two busy ones, but I pray I can implant the truth of the season deep in my little one's own hearts more than anything else.  It's really all about Jesus!

Tomorrow is my Love's birthday, but today I'm making a special delicious breakfast since he is off work.  

Cinnamon rolls are rising in pans on the stove and ready to bake.  I can't wait!  I'm adding a buttery maple glaze with toasted pecans to the top of these delicious splurge-worthy rolls!  I used the easy semi-homemade method using Rhodes frozen bread dough, and when I made these last Christmas they turned out amazing!!!  I hope to be posting some more Christmas recipes soon for you see what I've been cooking.

(Here is an updated picture of our little birthday breakfast table decorated in snowmen. Our dining table is being used to set out Christmas decor.)

Christmas is in the air and I hope you and yours have an extra special season filled with your own traditions and lots of love!

Luke 1:26- 2:1-21
I'm rereading this passage in the mornings this month.  What a beautiful story and a humble way for the Savior to come to earth!