Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some Christmas Traditions

I know this is quite a few months late, now that is April, but I want to put some of my favorite recipes that I made over Christmas time. Some of my favorites include Caramels, Sugar Cookies, Oyster Stew, and Scones.

I love that three out of the four are more treats, than a main dish. Even though these are some of my favorite things to make at Christmas time, they can be easily made any other time of the year. It was my first time making caramels and they turned out perfect, thanks to the help of Devin's parents, they knew exactly when it was time to take them off of the heat. We were able to enjoy lots of them and even give some away to friends and family.

Sorry it is flipped, but this is what it looks like before you cut them up! 

Caramels Recipe

1 1/4 C. canned milk (Evaporated)
1 lb butter (4 Cubes)
4 C. white sugar
3 1/2 C. light Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped nuts if desired
Ice cold water

Mix canned milk, butter, sugar and Karo syrup in heavy pan. Bring to a boil. After boiling, turn down heat to medium low and continue cooking while stirring constantly. Cook to medium-hard ball stage. Test by dropping a spoonful into cold water. Caramels are done when the ball is chewy, but not crackly. The ball will have trails of caramel which form. Pour into a well buttered 9 by 13 in. pan. Let cool. Cut caramels into 1 in squares. Wrap individually in wax paper. 

**Some adjustments that I made: Instead of using a 9x13 in pan, I used a jelly-roll pan or 12x17 in. pan. I also added the vanilla after the med.-hard ball stage.  

What I feel makes my mom's recipe of Sugar cookies so wonderful is the almond extract in the cookie and the coconut flavoring in the frosting! This recipe makes lots and lots of cookies. You can freeze the dough very easily as well as freeze the cookies once they are baked. :)

Oyster Stew is an aquirred taste for most people, but growing up we had it every Christmas Eve at our annual Christmas Eve party! It is always served in a styrofoam cup with oyster crackers. I was brave and asked Devin's parents if I could make it as part of our dinner on Christmas eve, and they gladly excepted. I did not make a very large batch of it, but most everyone enjoyed it... even Devin (who hasn't enjoyed it in the past).

New England Oyster Stew

4 C. milk
1 C. heavy cream
1 stick butter (1/2 C.)
3 pt. fresh oysters with 4 c. liquid OR 4 cans oysters
2 tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Oyster Crackers

Combine milk and cream. Heat to scalding. In another pan, melt butter and add oysters with liquid. Cook gently, just until oyster edges curl. Add to scalded milk-cream mixture and season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Serve immediately with oyster crackers. 

** I cut this recipe in half when serving my family this year. 

The very last thing on my list today is Scones. Growing up we had these Christmas Morning at my house. They were served with yummy jams and jellies or honey. This was the first time I made this recipe and it turned out great. It is so nice to have a little fryer to do it in. These are not the traditional baked scones that you might get in Europe, but they are fried!!!

Christmas Morning Scones

2 C. hot water
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1/4 C. oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. flour
Oil for frying

Add sugar to water. Stir well. Sprinkle yeast on top; let set for approximately 5 minutes. Add oil, salt and flour. Mix well and knead. Let rise until double. Break dough off into golf ball size. Pull out really thing and deep fry until golden brown, turning once. Serve with honey, apple butter or your favorite jams and jellies. 

**For about 20 people or so, I doubled the recipe. I loved having extra to snack on after breakfast. Just a warning making that many scones may effect your eyes because of the oil... But so worth it! 

I feel pretty impressed with myself that three out of the four recipes I had never made until Christmas break. I will make them all again.  Though it may be worth every bite of chewy sweetness, I have decided that candy making may take a little too much time for my own enjoyment, so I will limit the times that I make caramels.

 I am sorry that I only have pictures for my caramels.. I guess I got too involved with the cooking, before taking pictures of them.  So for your enjoyment, here are just some of the pictures that I took of things we ate over Christmas Break. :)

Rolls (Left), Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies (Center), Cod Fish with toast (Right)

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