Friday, December 14, 2007

Final Course Friday

Last Saturday found me in the kitchen from 11am-3:45 busy preparing for a scheduled cookie exchange party for that evening. My sister in law, "Meli-B" was in town from Florida visiting all of us, and was a huge saving grace for me, because originally I felt 'guilty' having to "leave" my family to the calls of the scheduled confectionery gratification within the place I call the kitchen.

With her in town, I was able to dedicate all of the good portion of the day, last Saturday, to the chocolate world of wonders without interruptions from my boys. I didn't feel guilty leaving Bigdogg to fend for himself with the craziness of our boys. He had his sister to hang out with, catch up with, talk about her wedding coming up in march (MANY MANY MAZEL TOVS!!) and it worked out fine!

You know those wind up soldiers with the big pins in their backs? That's how I have been seeing my boys lately, all wound up, wild and just completely out of their gourd with who's coming within the next 13days. It happens every year, and it's adorable to see how anxious they become as the near of Santa's arrival approaches us.

Each year they argue over who gets to set up Jesus in the nativity scene, and I really need to start making a chart because I can never remember who did it the previous year. Most likely Jackson, only because he's much older and remembers more than Sullivan naturally, but it never fails, they always want to be "the one" that plucks baby Jesus out of the golden wrapped papers that I have the figures delicately secured in.

Each year they argue over who gets to help set up "the people" of my Christmas Villages. My mom started giving us one a year a few years ago, and carrying that tradition on, my Bigdogg each year finds a present under the tree with my name on it, from "Santa," and it's always something unique that can be added to my little village. It never fails though with my boys, they want to be the one that sets up the little boy outside of the candy store. They want to be the one that sets up the boy skiing on my fake snow hill. Every year around this time they get extra anxious, they fight more, and it all usually settles down after they've visited Santa.

No clue how I just went from talking chocolate to Christmas Villages, but I shall return to the point of this post right now. Again, last Saturday with Bigdogg hanging out with his sister, "Meli-B," and our boys happily playing with their Hanukkah gifts, I set out on my journey of dipping and melting and smashing and rolling.

I made pretzel turtles, mini chocolate covered pretzels, and lastly, snowman cookies that turned out (in my opinion) not so great, and it's all my fault because it was a new recipe and I should know better than to try out something new on the day of a party. It was very frustrating because everything was made from scratch, and with the dough chilling for two hours, I had hoped it would settle better, but it was crumbly. I had followed the recipe exactly and Sullivan actually helped me with my sister in law, Meli B sitting watching she was my witness that everything was followed as directed. They turned out more like biscuits, so I melted some more chocolate, and after pushing my thumb print into the center of the cooling still soft snow man cookies, I poured some melted chocolate in the center of them and just said, "Genug already, I am over being in the kitchen."

Bigdogg and I came up with the name Biscookies. A sugary mixture of cookies with a flaky more cake like biscuit substance. All the little babies loved them. Go figure! The adults, not so much, which is understandable.

So, I will now leave you to begin my Friday as Jackson has his HOLIDAY concert at his school today, and I have already been informed that they will be singing about snow, and snowmen, and snow balls, and winter snow we go, you got to love the public school system.

(Art compliment of Sullivan.)

I leave you with pictures of last Saturdays chocolate creation. I don't have any of the "biscookies"-I'd hate to have your tummy turning so early in the morning! Have a great weekend for those that don't seek out this posting world on the weekends.

All you need to purchase are generic pretzels, the sticks, rods, and mini pretzel versions.
Hersheys kisses caramel and regular or with almonds.
A bag of Halved pecans.
"Glitter" if you don't have it.
Finally, wax or parchment paper.

You buy Hershey's Kisses and melt them in a bowl in the microwave in 30-15second increments stirring at end of each interval. I accidentally had the wrong bag with the almonds, but they separate when melted and it actually helps with the dipping having them in the bowl.
So buy and unwrap. I used two bags of Hershey's.

You can roll the pretzels in "glitter,"
after dipping them in the chocolate for a festive look to them.

Using wax paper or parchment paper after rolling them, stick them on paper but don't make the mistake I did because they settle better chilled, so remember to CUT UP the wax paper BEFORE you stick the pretzels on the paper! Cookie sheets not greased and plates also work fine, but you'll still need to have wax paper placed on top of them. Remember, BEFORE you stick the pretzels on the paper. Obviously from the picture below I didn't remember that, and to compromise with time, and with the time of year, I actually stuck them out on my porch to "chill out" for 20 minutes-

While the mini-sticks were chilling out, I began making the turtles.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Using the mini pretzels, and Hershey Kisses Caramel lay out the pretzels on a non-greased cookie sheet.
Open all the kisses wrappers, and place the kisses on top of the pretzels.
Bake for a max of 4 minutes.
Remove immediately!!
Using a bag of halved pecans, push down on the tips of the kisses in a light manner to "push the softened kisses into the pretzel" with a few halved pecans (the bag of pecans was about $10)
Chill for 20+minutes.
I enjoyed them both warm and chilled.
It's okay if some of the caramel seeps out from underneath the pretzel when you chill them, it hardens back up and tastes just like those Fannie May Turtles!!

The finished product below, along with some homemade Hanukkah Gelt that the boys and I had made last week and the remaining Hershey's chocolates!

Welcome To Crustybeef~
I Love chocolate!!!

You can also use Hershey white chocolate Hugs and instead of the pecans, push down on the melted tips with m&ms..Nothing like white chocolate covered pretzels with a plain m&m!! YUM!!!


Kelly Jene said...

I'm going shopping as soon as hubby gets home! How fun is that! I'm sorry your biscookies didn't turn out so well, I screw up in the kitchen all the time.

I think it's adorable that your kids love putting up the village and Jesus. It's a tradition they'll always remember and cherish when they get older.

I told my hubby about your school post from yesterday and he agreed. But he kept laughing every time I said Crusty! :) LOL

Cheryl said...

A lot of work but a lot of fun, huh? I've never made any of those delights, but I want a turtle, OK? My friend Kit once wanted to make something she saw in a magazine. You blow up balloons really small, smaller than a tennis ball. You melt that melting kind of chocolate that melts at a low temp. Then you dip the bottoms of the balloons in the chocolate, let them harden, pop and peel the balloons off and you have a little basket to put candy in. Only, as soon as the balloons were coated, they popped. All over the place. We had to try it a few times and it happened each time. Emily and the other kids had chocolate all over their clothes. I swear the melted chocolate was barely warm. It was pretty funny. So, if you ever see this recipe, ignore it.

Tex said...

The warden makes all that stuff too.....miracle that I'm not 400 lbs....although if you don't wanna eat all that, I'll gladly take some of it off yer hands.


Kelly Jene-I can see how seriousness and Crusty don't go well together..and I am more of the hectic, I'll sleep when I die type personality avoiding conflict and trying to keep things normal or sane! :) Yea for the weekend!!

Cheryl: here I was thinking wow! I LOVE THAT IDEA! What a great idea! Blah blah blah..and than...don't try it..see, that stuff happens to me all the time, but I'm so glad that you gave me that heads up!! :)
Feel better!

Tex: If I send you the goodies I would fear that the Bigdogg would be sent out for you and turn on you for taking his desirables away. :) I think you should bake something for the warden! snicker!


abbagirl74 said...

Yummy! Looks so good!

Palm Springs Savant said...

Oh, I'm so coming to your house! Those look delish!

SOUL: said...

this made me want cookies!
and guess what--i just so happen to have some...woo hoo.
c ya

KYRIE said...

Alright, I cant even read your post straight after eying all these goodies :) Yummy!
How did the concert go? Happy Winter Holidays!LOL.

austere said...

I WANT your biscookies- they sound ravishing. WANT WANT WANT.
Yeah, I know it sounds like I'm five years old or something. :)