CHOCOLATE "CHUNKY" CANDY

Are you old enough to remember the cube shaped, "Chunky" candy bar? I loved those things? Here is a way to sort of duplicate them and it's super easy. I believe the originals were made with peanuts and raisins.

INGREDIENTS: (Recipe made 8 chunks. Sorry there are fewer in the photo; I ate one!)

1 Tbls butter, organic
3/4 to 1 cup chocolate chips, your choice (my choice is Lily's Milk Chocolate chips)*
1/3 to 1/2 cup cranberries (apple juice sweetened), raisins, currants, etc.  Your choice of dried fruit.
2 Tbls raw cashews, or to your liking
2 Tbls toasted cashews (salted okay), or to your liking
1 Tbls cacao nibs
1/4 tsp almond extract (you could use rum, vanilla, peppermint or other extracts of your choice to go with the fruit and nuts you choose)

HOW TO:

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, add butter and melt, but do not allow it to brown.
2. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted and well mixed into the butter. Keep heat on low as chocolate can burn.
3. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well.
4. Quickly scoop out mixture onto a plate or small pan lined with parchment.
5. Spread out mixture until you arrive at the thickness desired.
6. Cut into shape(s) or leave whole to break apart later.
7. Refrigerate until hardened. This could take about an hour. For a quicker set up, you can freeze these, but it is best to later put them in your refrigerator in covered storage container.

Please note that you may use the nuts of your choice, both raw or roasted/toasted.  You may also choose your own dried fruit. This recipe is just to give folks an idea of how to do this. Candy molds may also be used.

*If you use other chocolate, depending on the brand, you may have to add a sweetener.  I recommned coconut sugar, but most sweeteners will probably work.

LAZY DAZE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup freshly ground flour (soft white or hard white wheat--organic only)
1 cup Sucanat or coconut sugar (or to taste)
3 rounded Tbls good quality cocoa
2 eggs, fresh
1 tsp vanilla extract (extract only, not flavoring) or more
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup organic butter, softened
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
5 oz. Sunspire 42% cacao chocolate chips (+5 oz. for topping, optional)

HOW TO:

Combine all ingredients except chips and nuts, in a mixer or food processor.  Mix thoroughly.
Add nuts & chips.  Gently fold in.
Pour into greased 8" square pan
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes (toothpick test)
OPTION: Sprinkle remaining chips on top of brownies.  When they have melted, spread thinly over the top with a spatula.  If you desire, refrigerate to harden chocolate.
Cool, cut into squares.

For BLOND BROWNIES just leave out the cocoa powder.

NO SUGAR HONEY CANDY

CAUTION: Due to the high heat of the caramel sauce, it is not recommended that young children make this recipe.  Original source of recipe:  NW NJ BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8O7S6SxEF8  This is a HOW-TO for the recipe below.

YOU WILL NEED:
4 or 6 qt. pot

candy thermometer (reaches 245 deg)
8 x 8 pan
parchment paper
cutting board
long blade knife
waxed paper to wrap candies

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup honey (wildflower is good)

3/4 cup heavy cream, organic
2 Tbls butter, organic (salted or unsalted)
1/8 tsp salt, optional (for top of caramels)
cocoa powder, good quality, optional
chopped nuts, roasted or natural, optional

HOW TO:

  • To the pot, add honey and cream.  Stir over high heat until mixture begins to boil, then lower heat to medium.  Continue to stir constantly until thermometer registers 245 degrees.  Remove pot from burner.
  • Allow the mixture to cool for a couple minutes.  Add butter and vanilla stirring until smooth and well mixed. (add optional cocoa and nuts here)
  • CAREFULLY pour the hot caramel sauce into the parchment-covered pan.  If desired, sprinkle with salt.  Allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Cool in the refrigerator for another hour.
  • Remove the parchment from the pan and place it on a cutting board.  Cut caramel slab into squares with a sharp knife.  Individual caramels may be wrapped in waxed paper.  Store in the refrigerator. 

SIMPLE VEGGIE STIR-FRY

You will need all the vegetables you like to eat.  Examples: Greens, cabbage, sliced Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, onions and/or scallions (green onions), peppers, pieces of broccoli, mushrooms, minced garlic, etc.  Cut or slice these in bite-sized pieces. 

Add a little good quality olive oil to a wok or large skillet and turn the heat to high.  

When the oil sizzles as a piece of carrot or other veggie is added, drop in the rest of your vegetables and stir them quickly so they won't stick.  You might have to lower the temperature a bit.

When the veggies are almost to the consistency you desire (careful--don't overcook), add some Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos.  (I no longer use any soy products.)

You can add a little good quality salt (not table salt) and if you like spicy, a few flakes of crushed red pepper. 

This can be served over cooked or fried rice or eaten simply as it is with meat or poultry. 

EASIEST WAY TO MAKE BREAD

The one thing I have heard from ladies for years about making homemade bread is that I DON'T HAVE TIME

I started getting serious about making bread from freshly-ground wheat back in the late 70s and early 80s.  I didn't have much time either.  But, that was just about the time the DAK bread machine was introduced.  I think I was one of the first in the nation to purchase one of these because that introductory offer hit the table and, at my husband's urging, I made a phone call.  A few days later I had the "R2D2" of bread machines and a wonderful recipe book. 

A bread machine is a wonderfully easy way to make bread.  However, I do not recommend baking in the machine.  My reasons are that the crust isn't as nice as when baked in the regular oven and most bread machine pans are coated with a non-stick something.  So, I use it to mix the dough and let it rise for the first time.  Then, I remove the dough and form it into whatever bread product I desire and allow it rise one more time.

My time spent for a simple loaf of bread is about 10 minutes.  The machine does all the work.  If I want rolls, pizza dough, stuffed sweet breads, challah, etc., I have to add a few more minutes.  The over-all time I allow for making bread is about 3 hours.  Most of this is in the machine or oven for rising and baking.

Here is my trusty recipe for basic bread. 

KATIE'S BASIC BREAD FOR MACHINES

You might have to adjust this recipe for your particular machine loading instructions.  The recipe can also be used the old-fashioned way by first making a sponge, etc. It makes one-2 lb. loaf or several rolls, 1 large pizza dough, etc.

INGREDIENTS: (add according to your machine directions)

1-1/2 cup water (distilled, well or spring--not city) heated to 115 degrees or according to your machine directions
1-2 Tbls honey
1 tsp salt, good quality
1 egg
1 Tbls olive oil, good quality
4 cups flour from freshly-ground whole wheat berries (white, red berries or a mixture)
1 scant Tbls bread yeast
Herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, etc are optional

Additional flour in case your dough it too sticky/wet and for rolling out the dough.

Set your machine for manual or dough cycle operation. 
At the end of the cycle, remove the dough and form into your desired bread product. 
Place on/in a greased pan and allow to rise in a room-temperature oven for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. 
Do not remove the bread, but turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes. 
Test for doneness. 
Cool bread on a wire rack. 
Wait at least 15 minutes before cutting. 
Wrap room-temperature bread for storage. 
Refrigerate after the first day. 
You can also freeze bread after cooling. I like to pre-slice the bread, lay it out on a cookie sheet, freeze the slices and then place in a plastic bag to go back into the freezer.

This recipe can be adjust to your desired bread item.  For challah, add more honey and maybe a bit of cinnamon.  If you have any questions about other types of breads, please contact me.

CITRUSY YOGURT-CHEESE CREAM

Need a cream sauce for your dessert or an enhancement for simple fruit platter?  This should do it and it's healthy.  You can also add whipped cream to this for a lighter cream sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup yogurt cheese
2 Tbls to 1/4 cup sweetener (I use coconut sugar)
1 tsp lemon, lime or orange zest
1 Tbls lemon, lime or orange juice to match zest
whipped cream, option

HOW TO:

In a medium bowl mix all the above ingredients, folding in the whipped cream, if using.

HOW TO MAKE YOGURT CHEESE?

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