I began my holiday baking last night! I decided to start with the things that could be refrigerated or frozen first, and later this week I will move on to the other items (cookies, muffins, rice krispie treats) that aren't as resilient to time later so they will be fresher when I deliver the plates!
I like to start my baking with a clean kitchen.
Next, I gather all the ingredients listed in one spot so there won't be any mid-baking store runs for something I'm out of.
Next, you will want to butter your 9x13 pan FIRST to make transferring the fudge quicker. To do this, wipe a paper towel on a stick of butter and rub a light coating onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mix your butter, chocolate chips, vanilla, and marshmallow creme. Set aside and forget to take a picture for your blog.
Then, in a large pot, mix sugar, evaporated milk, and salt.
Place the pot on the stove and turn to medium heat while stirring mixture together. Gradually turn up the heat until it reaches a high heat. Have a timer ready to set! Once the mixture is boiling, set the timer and boil for 6 minutes.
If you don't have a timer literally at your right hand, turn the temperature slightly down (or grab a friend or husband to watch the mixture).
This next step is optional.
Turn your back to set the timer behind you, then scramble to get the boiling over pot off the burner as quickly as possible. Turn on the vent fan, ceiling fans, turn off the heater, and open all the windows to let the smoke out. Then transfer boiling mixture to another pot that doesn't have burned sugar on the bottom and reset the timer for 4 minutes to boil, since 2 minutes of boiling was taken up by the scramble to fix the boil over. Determine that the only reason that it decided to boil over is because you decided to blog about it.
After the mixture is done boiling, CAREFULLY pour the mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
Stir ingredients together.
Once the butter and chocolate chips have melted, the mixture should look like this:
Pour mixture into the buttered 9x13 pan.
Place in fridge until solid (at least 4 hours) - I usually leave it overnight.
Clean up the kitchen. Fill the used sugar pots with water to soak in the sink, and put all ingredients away. Finish like you started - with a clean slate.
Ingredients for fudge:
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-8oz jar marshmallow creme
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
Peanut Butter Balls tutorial
Start again with a clean kitchen. This time, grab your iPod to listen to Christmas music while baking. My choice - the *NSYNC Home for Christmas album.
Set out all of your ingredients you will need.
Using a hand or stand mixer: cream together the peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar.
Add in the rice krispies, and "fold" in with a firm spatula. Some of the krispies will crunch, and that's okay.
Your mixture should be very crumbly and look like this:
Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Place chocolate chips in a medium saucepan and put heat on the LOWEST setting. Allow the chocolate chips to melt, stirring occasionally. This takes a while, but it is very easy to burn the chocolate (unless you're using a double boiler - then you can do this on high). Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat.
Take the peanut butter mixture out of the fridge. Lay a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Scoop individual balls using a small cookie scoop like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond:
Lay them out on the cookie sheet. The scoop will allow all of them to be about the same size. Roll each scoop between your palms to form into a ball. Warning - about 1 in 5 of them will crumble apart, so place those back in the mixing bowl and scoop out a new one. Any leftover "dough" should be placed back in the fridge to chill.
Once chocolate is cooled enough to touch, drop each ball in one by one until coated in chocolate and place on the cookie sheet. Do this step gently. Going the toothpick route does not work - I tried. You have to use your fingers or a paintbrush. :) Once they are all coated, place cookie sheet in fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Repeat scooping, rolling, and dipping process on another cookie sheet until all the "dough" is used. Then clean the kitchen again, start the dishwasher, and relax.
Ingredients for peanut butter balls:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp butter, softened but not melted
2 1/2-3 cups rice krispie cereal
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
That's all for today, folks! Happy baking!