One thing my younger sister and I have never gotten to do together is duplicate my mom's recipe for her Christmas goodies. We got a chance when my son and I drove down to Texas. I always stay at my oldest friends Cheryl, so we all decided to do some candy making- Peanut Butter Fudge, Rocky Road Fudge, Gingerbread Squares, Caramel, and something we had not had since our childhood- Date Nut Roll. I had to hunt far and wide for this recipe.
The recipe was incomplete, so I had to alter it as it cooked. A Few recipes of Date Nut Roll Candy called for-
2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of milk (I used heavy cream and milk), some called for a hunk of butter, which we laughed; begin to dissolve the sugar in milk and bring to a slow boil (will become grainy if too high). After the candy thermometer reaches 'soft boil' or 234 degrees, remove from heat and stir in 1 cup chopped dates, 1 cup chopped pecans or black walnuts, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour onto butter wax paper and form into logs, wrap and let cool. Some things we learned- Do not cool in fridge, stir too long, use fresh dates over dried, and clean up pans and equipment as quickly as you can, or you have a sticky mess. Enjoy!
Cutting the caramel into pieces and wrapping is better when you have others to help, otherwise its like surgery my friend and I decided.
What childhood goodies do you remember that you either make now, or think about making?
My little sister Mary and I have always been close. We talk almost everyday on the phone. I am flying her up to New Jersey from Texas for her Christmas Present in February.
I have had the pleasure of having sun and warm weather in Texas, lots of snowing in St. Louis, and now am flying home to snow storms in New Jersey.
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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