The countdown begins…

Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel peanut filling and caramel frosting.


With the Holidays speeding towards us like a freight train, getting all the baked goods done in time to give out is a challenge. I tried my hardest to stay organized and spread out the work over a week but I still ran out of time to do everything I intended. I am happy with what I did get done and if time permits I may try to squeeze in another treat or two. I put together pictures of some of the items I have made, please excuse the terrible pictures, it was late and I was happy to just remember to take them.

Four days left to get all my wrapping done, the massive pile in the spare bedroom looks like Everest. Tonight we have to visit the local Santa at the mall and the mere thought makes me want to crawl under my desk and lay in the fetal position. My child is going through quite a phase of tantrums right now and I am sure like everything else, tonight should be a blast. I actually offered to sell her at the daycare this morning for $10 after she refused to get out of the car. Sigh…it’s never good when you wish you had a drink at 7am. Its days like this when I am actually happy I have to go to work! Drop her off, apologize to the teacher, whish her luck and get the hell out of there.

But it’s the Holidays and we always have sugar and booze to get through it.


salted peanut caramel filling


Undecorated cake pops


boxed up and ready

Golden Caramels


Right now everyone is making caramels and there are more recipes on the web than ever before. The majorities are for salted caramels, they are the current trend but for me these caramels are the bomb, nothing compares. I will warn you, they are not for the faint of heart; it’s a two hour long commitment requiring your full undistracted attention. Kids need to be asleep or away; you will need a chair and a book and don’t even think about making them if you don’t have a candy thermometer that you can trust and that clips onto your pot. You will be stirring for a minimum of an hour, so doing a double batch is not recommended, unless you would like the challenge of stirring two pots at a time for over an hour (been there done that). I would not use anything less than an 7.5-8 quart pot because when you add the butter and cream it will froth up a lot. I recommend having everything ready before starting, pan prepared, butter and cream on the stove, and vanilla measured out and set aside. *(Note: I did end up adding salt to the caramels while wrapping them, the taste was fabulous, so yes I am a sell out but why the heck not!)

Ok, now that I have scared you off, let me just say these are VERY worth the work, these are the first caramels I ever made, they are not difficult (not that I didn’t have some so-so batches but that was more due to not paying attention or a bad thermometer), as long as you follow the directions you will have success. I have been making them for years and everyone loves them and fights over who gets a box.

You also could make your own variation by adding salt on top or chocolate or anything that sounds good.

Golden Caramels
Makes about 150
• 4 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 4 cups light corn syrup
• 4 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt ( I use sea salt)
• 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ( I use vanilla bean paste)
• Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1. Spray an 11 3/4-by-16 1/2-inch baking pan (this is a half-sheet pan) with vegetable-oil spray. Set aside in a spot where it will not be moved (yes it will have to sit there for 24 hours, don’t forget to put pot holders under it). In a 2-quart saucepan, combine cream and sweetened condensed milk; set aside.
2. In a heavy 6 to 8-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup, 1 cup water, sugar, and salt. Clip on candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring with a wooden spoon, 8 to 12 minutes. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals (I never do that).
3. Stop stirring, reduce heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250 degrees (hard-ball stage), 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, cook cream mixture over low heat until it is just warm. Do not boil. When sugar reaches 250 degrees. Slowly stir in butter and warmed cream mixture, keeping mixture boiling at all times.( so one piece of butter at a time and add the cream very slowly) Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage), 55 to 75 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into prepared pan without scraping pot. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours without moving.
4. To cut, spray a large cutting board generously with vegetable-oil spray. Unmold caramel from pan onto sprayed surface. Cut into 1-by-1 1/4-inch pieces, or other shapes. Wrap each in cellophane or waxed paper (I use parchment paper.) The cutting and wrapping process is tedious, so if you can solicit help do so.
Recipe from: Golden Caramels - Martha Stewart Recipes

Note: I will add the finished product photo once I have them cut and wrapped.

7.5 Quart dutch oven

Who gets to lick the pot?

Whew, now that Thanksgiving is over…


make yourself a batch of these. I don’t know too many people who don’t find comfort and joy in a chocolate chip cookie. I realized for whatever reason this weekend that I have never made chocolate chip cookies with my daughter. She has helped me with lots of other things but never cookies. I can remember so many fun days of baking cookies with my mom, I knew I just had to share this with her. She was more than eager to go to work, helping me with all the measuring and operation of the mixer. She even refrained from licking her fingers, which is a big step for her. At 2 1/2, kids are very in the moment, sticky yum on your fingers, you lick it off. But I promised her the beater when we where all done is she could hold off on licking everything. I was pretty proud of her. She is going to be quite a baker in time, she loves all things baked and is even willing to do the dishes! ha ha.

As far as this recipe goes, it’s just one of a billion out there. Nothing particularly special about it, although it suggest resting the dough in the fridge for 24-36 hours, ha. That isn’t going to fly in my house. I cooked a sheet that day and another the next day, I will say the ‘ripened’ batch did have a more caremely flavor and browned a bit more when cooked as noted by other bloggers. So if you can wait I would say its worth it  but either way these are good. Although they were too cakey for my husband, he likes thinner chewy cookies,  these were right up my alley. So take five and enjoy these with a glass of milk.

I am just including the link, since I didn’t change anything about the cookie.


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