Just in case anyone is wondering, as I’m sure everyone is (ha), I have decided something about French Fridays With Dorie, the huge group of people cooking and baking along in Dorie Greenspan’s latest book, Around My French Table. I still plan to cook and bake along when I can, but plan to post those things on a more rare occasion, at least for right now. There is no specific requirements for the group, so check it out on the French Fridays link and cook/bake along.
Now, it’s coming, I tell you, be ready. Be prepared. Even before Halloween was over, we were bombarded in the stores with Christmas. Are you ready? They sure want to make sure you are when you’re shopping. I’m here, along with a bunch of other bloggers, to help you in the holiday baking department. It’s the sixth week of the Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies!
Sixth week. Do you realize what that means? Don’t blink, the holidays are pretty much upon us. Now that it’s actually November, I can start to get excited. First there’s my birthday (What? You didn’t know that was a holiday. Well, it is here!) Mary at The Food Librarian has even declared a month long craze over it. Oh wait, she’s crazy about bundts, big bundts. My birthday just so happens to be on National Bundt Cake Day, November 15. For the second year now, Mary, who has an amazing love for bundts, has posted a bundt cake per day for the 30 days leading up to
my birthday National Bundt Cake Day. There are some great looking bundts over there.
So again, first there is my birthday, then Thanksgiving rolls around. Or is it that I roll on to Thanksgiving from eating too much birthday cake? After that, before you can even say ho, ho, ho it’s Christmas. So a group of us are sharing ideas for treats. I think it’s kind of fun to see all the ideas everyone is coming up with or even just all the good old traditional cookies and treats that are a good reminder of what people like.
What I decided to do this week is make candy. In the checkout line at the store last week, I picked up the Taste of Home holiday issue while I was waiting and flipped through the magazine. It was a quick flip-through, but I saw some interesting candy that caught my eye. You can get the recipe on the Taste of Home website for the Honey Almond Nougats.
The nougat was simple and took no time at all on the stove. The honey, sugar and cornstarch boils to the soft-crack stage very quickly. I might have even taken it slightly more than soft-crack. I hadn’t gotten my thermometer out when I started the sugar and by the time I fumbled around a bit and found it, it was already just past the soft crack stage. You can definitely taste the honey. Cinnamon and ground almonds are added after the sugar is slowly beaten into some stiff peaked egg whites and left to beat for 10 minutes. And just like that you have a bowl of nougat. Once it is cool enough to touch (which also was in no time), you roll it into balls and roll them in some chopped almonds. That’s it.
But if you know me, I couldn’t stop there. I decided these just HAD to have chocolate. So I melted some dark chocolate and added a little bit of shortening and dipped some of the balls of nougat into the chocolate. These are really good!
I am certain I will be making these again.
I ended up with some leftover melted chocolate. It was only natural that it was used in making some chocolate covered nuts. I used some deluxe mixed nuts.
I think a few pieces of homemade candy are great to have on holiday cookie trays and this was actually easier than I thought it was going to be.
Note—if you’re wondering what those cookies are on the tray with the candy, I also made Almond Roca Cookies that I saw on Donna’s blog, My Tasty Treasures. I made some bigger ones with a drizzle of chocolate but also tried some much smaller, almost bite-sized with mini chocolate chips added to the dough.
Do there you have it, I’ve given you TWO ideas instead of just one this week. Bake on!
Check out all the links below for even more ideas and happy baking (and shopping!).