To All Of My WordPress.com E-mail Followers

This week it was time to change to a new host.  Unfortunately, as you probably know my wordpress.com e-mail followers will not automatically be transferred to my new host.  Please go to my homepage and resubscribe with your e-mail at the top right hand corner.  www.recipesforourdailybread.com.  Blessings to all of you!  I truly enjoy hearing from you and your great support.  Thank you for resubscribing!  Diane Roark

Creamy Chocolate Fudge For Christmas

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

Growing up my mother always made fudge during Christmas time.  It was delicious and definitely a special treat.  Today, I also try to make fudge during Christmas time.  Except for one exception, I follow a basic recipe for Fantasy Fudge that is printed on the back of the 7 ounce KRAFT Marshmallow Creme.  My exception and secret for extra creamy fudge is to whip it up using an electric mixer while it is still hot.  This makes the fudge extremely creamy.  See recipe and directions below.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

FANTASY FUDGE RECIPE –  Adapted from the back of KRAFT Marshmallow Creme.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2) sticks butter
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk – DO NOT USE A 12 OUNCE CAN
  • 3 cups semi-sweet Ghirardelli baking chips – KRAFT calls for 12 squares of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, chopped. (for a change use butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, or another favorite type of chips).
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped – KRAFT calls for 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Line a 9 inch square pan with foil, parchment paper or grease it lightly with butter.  Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a boil in a large sauce pan or CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN on medium heat.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

Stir the fudge constantly.  It will stick to the bottom of the pan.  If it burns, you have to start all over.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

Boil until the candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F.  This is just before “soft ball” stage which is 235 to 240 degrees F.  Once the fudge reaches 234 degrees, remove it from the heat immediately.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

At this time, combine the chocolate chips and the marshmallow creme and mix with an electric mixer on low.  I use a hand-held mixer.  BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO SPLASH THE HOT FUDGE ON YOU.   Blend until smooth and creamy.  Stir in the pecans and the vanilla by hand. Yes, I forgot to add my pecans.  I layered them on top which made it a little harder to cut the fudge but it still tasted great.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

Pour into a the prepared pan.  Allow to cool completely and cut into small pieces.  Layer the fudge in an air tight container using wax paper or parchment paper between layers.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

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Pralines – A New Orleans Favorite Candy

Updated Picture Dec. 2012

Creamy New Orleans Pralines

Everyone knows that the New Orleans area is famous for its Pralines, which they pronounce “praw-leens”.  If you say “pray-leens”, everyone will know that you are not from the New Orleans area.  Pralines are a candy made with milk and sugar and cooked to a soft ball stage at 240 degrees F.  Pralines are a sweet, creamy, confectionary treat.  The six years that we lived on the northshore of New Orleans inspired me to learn everything I could about cooking the wonderful foods that New Orleans is famous for.  This includes Pralines, Beignets, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Creme Brulee, King Cake, BBQ Shrimp, Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo, Crab Bisque, and much more.  I still have a long way to improve on some of these things, but I love to practice.  My family does not mind me practicing either.

Pralines have become one of our family’s favorite Christmas candies.  I love to break them up and layer them in my banana pudding.  I also love to add Pralines to top off cheesecake or most any other dessert for a pretty presentation. The other way we like to eat them is to crumble some in a bowl of ice cream. They really kick up any dessert.  The secret to making great Pralines is using a cast-iron pot.  You know I love my cast-iron cookware.  It is not just for your grandma to use or for the rugged outdoors.  I use my cast-iron cookware almost daily, especially during the winter months when I make Christmas candies and soups.  You can read more about cooking with cast-iron in an earlier post.

New Orleans Pralines recipe www.recipeforourdailybread.com

Pralines – A New Orleans Favorite Candy

 Praline Recipe – Adapted from New Orleans Classic Desserts by Kit Wohl.

Printable Version of this Recipe

  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups pecans, lightly chopped
  • 1 stick real butter – 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR 2 teaspoons maple extract
  • pinch salt

Warm milk in a cast-iron dutch oven or a large pot.

Warm milk before adding sugar and brown sugar

Add sugar, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Add the sugars

Cook until it reaches 240 degrees “soft-ball stage”.   A good way to text “soft-ball” stage without a thermometer is to drop a small amount, couple of drops of the candy, into cold water it will form a soft ball.

New Orleans Pralines recipe www.recipeforourdailybread.com

Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking and burning.  If the candy burns, you have to start over.  If you are using a thermometer attached to the side of the pot, make sure that it does not sit on the bottom of the pot.  You will not get an correct reading.  Once the candy reaches 240 degrees, remove from the heat.  Next, add the butter, vanilla, maple extract, and the pecans.  Allow the candy to sit for 10 minutes.

New Orleans Pralines recipe www.recipeforourdailybread.com

Next, stir the candy about 50 strokes to incorporate the pecans.  The pralines will be thin at 50 strokes.  If you want them a little thicker, stir closer to 100 stokes.  Spoon the candy about 1 to 2 TB size onto a sheet of wax paper.  Allow them to cool and dry.  Then, carefully turn them over to dry the other side.  Store them in an air tight container or wrap each one in plastic wrap.  You can layer them in a plastic container with parchment paper or wax paper between them and freeze them.  They will last for months.

*Please be extremely careful when cooking candy. It can be really dangerous if it gets on your skin.  It is a great idea to keep children and animals out of the kitchen while cooking candy. 

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I Found Another Christmas CD I Truly Enjoy – Christmas with Scotty McCreery

O.K., this post is short and sweet. I love this new Christmas CD from Scotty McCreery.  If you have never heard of Scotty McCreery, he won American Idol in May 2011. He recently sang “Holly Jolly Christmas” at the 2012 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. He has a very manly, deep, deep, DEEP voice. He also has a great country accent. The combination of these things produced a really terrific Christmas CD. He sings some favorite Christmas songs like Let it Snow, Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, O Holy Night, Mary Did You Know?, and more. To me, a couple of his songs sounded a little like Elvis. If you enjoy a deep manly voice and Christmas music, you have to check out Christmas with Scotty McCreery.

Listen to samples of his Christmas songs on this link to Amazon. I in no way get paid to recommend this CD. I just really, really enjoyed it. I hope you do to.

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A Beautiful Layered Lettuce Salad Will Impress Any Guest

My husband and my 16-year-old sons will not eat a girly salad.  You know what I am talking about.  My favorite “girly” salads have things like sweetened pecans, almonds, apples, pears, strawberries, and more. This layered lettuce salad must NOT be a girly salad because they love it.  In fact, this is my husbands favorite salad.  It is a staple at our house for any get together or potluck dinner. The ingredients in this salad are very simple.  You would find these ingredients in most any garden or house salad.  This salad is layered and beautiful.  It is usually presented in a large glass bowl, so that you can see the beautiful layers.  I normally layer this salad in my large glass trifle bowl.  A trifle bowl sets up higher than a regular glass bowl and makes for an even more stunning presentation.  I said normally because this time, I did not layer this salad in my trifle bowl.  It was chipped so I used a 9×13 glass baking dish.  It was still pretty and very delicious!

Layered Lettuce Salad - Dress up the salad with sliced almonds just before serving it.

Layered Lettuce Salad – Dress up the salad with sliced almonds just before serving it.

INGREDIENTS FOR LAYERED SALAD – Adapted from Southern Plate cookbook by Christy Jordan.

  • Head of lettuce (I use leaf lettuce) torn into bite size pieces, washed and drained first
  • 1-15 ounce can peas, drained (you can also use a 10 ounce bag of frozen peas, drained and thawed)
  • 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp granulated garlic, and Cajun seasoning to taste
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked hard and crumbled
  • 1 small red or purple onion, diced small
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (I usually just add these around Thanksgiving and Christmas)
  • Dressing – Mix 1-1/2 cups real mayo and 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds (All Natural Almond Accents) Add the almonds to the top of the salad just before serving.

OTHER INGREDIENTS I USE OFTEN IN THIS SALAD 

  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • chopped green onions
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms

In a clear glass large bowl (a large trifle bowl is beautiful), layer the ingredients in the order listed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least a couple of hours.

LAYERED LETTACE SALAD www.recipesforourdailybread.com

Layer the lettuce, peas, and onions.

LAYERED LETTACE SALAD 2

LAYERED LETTACE SALAD 3

Next, layer the mayo and sugar dressing.

Layer the mayo and sugar dressing.

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