Salted Caramel Candies

caramels
We’ve created a monster. A non-living, sweet, sticky, and totally delicious one, but a monster none the least. The name of the horrifying beast? Salted caramels.Honestly, I’ve been snacking on these caramels everyday for the past week and have probably had at least fifty since Christmas.
My sister had her friend over last Sunday to whip these up. It was a bit of a mess due to their short attention span when boiling up confections but they’re addicting. Let’s just say I don’t think Anastasia will be getting her candy soon. Or ever.
We ended up bringing about thirty over on Christmas for the family and they were the first things gone. Luckily, we’d made a double batch so we had plenty left at home to tide us over until we make another batch. Which needs to be soon. The secret is the coarse salt. It brings out the sweet flavor. You can leave out the salt if you want to, but I’d advise you not to.

You’ll need:
-vegetable oil for the pan as well as parchement paper
-2 cups of heavy cream
-2 1/4 cups sugar
-6 tbls butter
-1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
-1 tsp coarse salt
-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Cover a 9 X 13 with vegetable oil, line it with parchment paper, then cover the paper with vegetable oil.
2. Boil cream, corn syrup, sugar, and butter in a LARGE saucepan on high. Reduce the heat to medium-high and let simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is exactly 248*.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour into prepared baking sheet and let stand overnight, uncovered.
4. Transfer caramel onto a cutting board and cut into 1-by1 pieces. Wrap caramels in waxed paper.

HINT: Instead of stirring in the salt, leave it out, and once the caramel is in the pan, sprinkle it over the top.
Enjoy!

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Colorful Name Tags

decorated
It’s almost here!!! With Christmas just two days away, my days are filled with baking, friends, family, and a whole lot of last minute gift wrapping. Due to my OCD qualities when it comes to presentation of gifts, I’ll spend hours mentally planning how each present will be wrapped and actually wrapping it. But I really don’t think you understand. I HATE tape on presents and so for people I know enjoy pretty wrapping (i.e. not my younger cousin who will rip it up in seconds), I’ll skip the tape and use quick-dry adhesive so the seams will be smooth. I know. I’m weird.
Other problems arise with the name tag. Ugh. I also hate it when you have a perfectly wrapped present ruined by a tag that doesn’t match. Because, honestly, the name tage is the first thing people look for.
Where can you find little pieces of thick paper in absolutely every color you’ll ever need? The paint store. After coming home with hundreds of those little strips, I realized I could only actually paint my room one color. Whatever was I to do with all the others? This is where the gift wrap comes in.
Paint Samples
Due to the immense choice of color and hue available and the small nature of the samples, you can use the samples as name tags, picking out the perfect one for your already marvelously wrapped gift. Merely cut out the sample from the strip, cover the back with thick white paper to cover up any writing, punch a whole in the corner, and voila! You’re done!
You can also dress up the front with different images. I’ll cut out pictures from magazine, use rhinestones, cut out different shapes from other colored paper, or even paint a cute design on the front to dress up a simply wrapped present.
I hope this reduces some of you holiday stress. God bless, and Merry Christmas!!!
-Margaret

P.S. I also tried my hand at Christmas card making. How do you think they turned out?
Joy, Hope, Love
Snow Card

Late Night Lavendar Cocoa

Finals….

It’s that time of year! Before we relax and stuff ourselves silly comes a period of darkness and despair which all students learn to dread. Not to mention choir’s “hell week” in preparation for the annual Messaih Concert this weekend, sleep has become a far away fairtale. Plus, with hours of studying all day and cramming late into the night, we all need a little pick-me up. And so we have…………….

LAVENDAR HOT CHOCOLATE!!!

While procrastinating on pinterest, I saw a pin for this delicious little drink and decided I had to try it. So, I improved my way to delicious relaxation. Stress free and simple to make as well as a calming chord from the theraputic lavendar, this recipe is my go to for the seasonal studying.

There are two ways to make this recipe: with lavendar sugar or lavendar sprigs. For single-sized servings, I recommend the sugar version; if you’re planning on a crowd, use the sprigs.

Lavendar Sugar: combine two teaspoons of the sugar and one teaspoon of cocoa powder in a mug. Add one tablespoon of milk and stir until a thick paste forms. Add another cup of milk and heat on high in the microwave for two minutes. Top with whipped cream.

Lavendar Sprigs: in a small sauce pan, heat milk and lavendar until the milk begins to simmer. Remove from heat and strain the mixture. Pour the milk into a mug with cocoa powder. Stir until fully disolved. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

*Use a ratio of one cup of milk to one teaspoon of cocoa powder per serving.