Salted Caramel Mocha Fudge

Christmas baking is in full swing around here and I don’t know about you, but I can’t let the season pass without making some fudge! In the past I’ve made plain chocolate and peanut butter fudges for our annual family goodie gifts, but I wanted something a little fancier this year. Enter this little beauty of a recipe. I’m a big fan of the salty/sweet combination lately and I looooove the Starbucks drink of similar flavors. This fudge was no disappointment! Super rich chocolate, a sweet drizzle of caramel and a little sprinkle of sea salt. Are you drooling yet? Bonus- this recipe makes a HUGE batch, so you’ll have plenty to share… If you really want to share. πŸ˜‰

Ingredients:

Makes (1) 15 in x 10 in x 1 in pan, or ~ 5 pounds

  • 4 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate 
  • 25 (almost 1 bag) marshmallows 
  • 1 bag (2 cups) soft caramels
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

First, line your pan with wax paper- enough that some hangs over the sides. In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and espresso powder over medium-high heat.

 Stir continuously and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat slightly and keep at a rolling boil for about 2 minutes (keep stirring!).  

 
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of the chocolate and the marshmallows. 

  Pour the boiling hot mixture over the top… 

 Then beat with the whisk attachment for 2-3 minutes. You’ll have to stop and scrape the bowl a couple of times- it’s pretty sticky!  

 While your fudge is mixing, combine the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until completed melted and smooth.  

 Now, the fun stuff. 😜 Pour that big ol’ bowl of chocolate into the pan, spreading evenly. Then take the caramel and drizzle over the top…  

 And swirl into the chocolate with the top of a knife.  

 Then sprinkle with sea salt. Oooooh, mama.  

 Resist the urge to eat spoonfuls of this piping hot tray of deliciousness and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, then slice into squares. I got between 60-70ish per pan and could have gotten more… The squares honestly don’t need to be huge; this fudge is RICH. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  

  

 

 Recipe from Shugary Sweets.

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Almond Crescent Cookies

Do you have a particular item of food in your family that holds sentimental value? I definitely equate certain things with certain family members… Brownies and my dad, fresh bread and my grandma, and (for some reason) chicken noodle casserole and my mom. Before I went to my husband’s family Christmas for the first time, I remember him talking about Grandma Peewee’s almond crescent cookies and how they’re his ABSOLUTE favorite. She didn’t disappoint- these cookies are buttery yet crunchy, almond-rich in flavor and coated in powdered sugar. She passed away several years ago, and I know Mark misses her… And those cookies. While I don’t have the shape quite right yet, I sure hope I’ve done Peewee proud with these.

Ingredients:
Yields about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1 almond flour/meal
1 cup powdered sugar, for coating

Directions:
As so many recipes start… πŸ˜‰ preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line some cookie sheets with parchment. Beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add extracts and beat until incorporated. Slow mixer speed to avoid a mess and add flours to the mixture. Mix just until combined and a slightly crumbly dough has formed.
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Now, to do this properly (according to Mark), you probably only need about a tablespoon of dough. I, however, just eyeballed some scoops of dough. Roll the dough into a small ball, then shape into a crescent.
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Bake for about 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.
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Now for the fun part! Dump your powdered sugar into a large ziplock bag…
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Toss a couple of those delights in the bag…
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Zip it up and give a good shake. Like shake and bake but for cookies! Kinda. Repeat with remaining cookies, adding more powdered sugar need be. You want the cookie fully coated!
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A perfectly decadent cookie, excellent with some coffee or tea. Consider these for your last minute cookie swap! Merry Christmas! πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ„πŸŽπŸͺ

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

Peppermint Patties

Now that we’re well into December, I’m getting the Christmas baking urge. Around Christmas time, my baking focus tends to shift away from cupcakes and more towards cookies, bars, and recently, candies. I love a good chocolate and mint combo and when I saw these, I knew I had to give them a try. Guys, you will not be disappointed. Cool, creamy peppermint filling surrounded by a slight crunch of chocolate… Perfection. You can use whatever chocolate you like or have on hand, but these have always turned out best for me using dark chocolate. They’re a bit time consuming but it’s mostly wait time. A perfect make ahead project!

Ingredients:
(Makes about 32 patties)
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
3 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
12 oz dipping chocolate
1 tbsp shortening

Directions:
Add sugar, milk, butter, oil and extracts to the bowl of your mixer and beat until smooth.
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Cover and chill in refrigerator for an least 1 hour. When mixture has firmed, scoop some filling (I used a heaping measuring teaspoon) and form into small balls.
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Using the heel of your hand or the smooth bottom of a glass, slightly flatten the balls.
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Place sheet with disks into freezer and chill for another hour, until nice and firm. You don’t want them to melt into the chocolate!

Once your patties are solid, place chocolate and shortening in a deep bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between. I like to add that little bit of shortening to thin out the chocolate some. There- smooth and glossy!
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Dunk patties in with a fork, covering completely…
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Then lay on wax paper to dry. Those extra pools on the side snap right off, no worries. ☺️
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Repeat with remaining patties. You can put these in the fridge to expedite the drying process if you wish.
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Voila! Homemade peppermint patties, perfect for Christmas gifting. (Hint hint!) These can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for 1 week, and you could even add some food coloring to the filling to make them festive. Enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is.