Category Archives: Christmas

Acme Baking Company’s Addictive Toffee

I don’t send Christmas cards but I receive many every year. Acknowledging the effort people put into remembering me at the holidays is important. So, each year in January (or early February if my birthday celebrating takes over) I make a special candy treat, write new year well wishes on cards and send off a little something to everyone who sent me a card. 

This year I opted for toffee. Super easy, always reliable toffee crack! 

  

 Addictive Toffee

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans (or whatever you want) 

In a microwave safe 8 cup glass bow (I use a glass measuring cup type batter bowl) heat the butter and sugar in 1 minute increments – stirringn after each session. 

Critical note – use a wooden spoon to stir. I have tried other utensils but they always break the mixture.

My microwave takes a total of 8 and 1/2 minutes to get to the beautiful caramel color you want. 

Spread pour onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat (or greased aluminum foil). I generally take a big offset spatula and spread it out. Work quickly and then top with loads of chocolate chips. 

I generally toss it into a 350 degree oven for a couple minutes to help the chocolate melt. Then using an offset spatula, I spread the delicious melty chocolate over all of the toffee. 

Top with finely chopped pecans and let cool completely. Break into bit sized pieces and enjoy! 

I typically package in cello bags with a cute ribbon. 

  

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Acme Baking Company Vanilla Marshmallows

The Acme Baking Company Christmas box for 2012 contained traditional
treats like ginger thins, fudge, chocolate chip cookies and some more
unique offerings. But, every year new things have to be tried and
included and this year was the year of the marshmallow. Boozy and
traditional graced boxes prepared for families with short people (ie
kids).

Boozy marshmallows are a little challenging to make but I promise to
post a recipe and how to instructions eventually. For now, here is my
favorite, simple vanilla marshmallow recipe. Whip some up, toss them
into hot chocolate, on the end of a stick to toasting or just eat them
straight out of the container.

Vanilla Marshmallows

As with all candy making you want to prepare your pan beforehand. We
used an 8×10 pan, you can use something smaller you will just have
slightly thicker marshmallows. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and
wipe most of it out with a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar;
make sure to coat the pan well.

1/2 cup very cold water
3 packets of gelatin (found in your grocery store near the Jello)

Place the cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the
gelatin over it before you start making the sugar syrup on the stove.
Let stand.

2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Combine in a 6qt heavy sauce pan. Heat on medium heat and stir until
the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring once the sugar is dissolved and let
the mixture come to a boil – no need to increase the heat. Once the
mixture comes to a boil, let it go for 1 minute and then remove from
the heat.

2 teaspoons vanilla (or other extract)
Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer and with your mixer on low,
slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Once
combined increase the speed of your mixer to medium high – after a few
minutes add the vanilla and continue to whip for about 12 minutes
total.

Once the mixture if fully whipped it will be fluffy and incredibly
sticky. Coat a rubber spatula or large offset knife with non-stick
spray and scrape out your bowl into your prepared pan. Be patient but
continue to work the mixture until it is spread in evenly in the pan.
Top with a generous coat of powdered sugar and let stand on your
counter for 3 hours or overnight.

There really is not anything you can do to expedite this process, it
just takes this long to firm up. Once firm, lift your marshmallows out
of the pan and place on a cutting board. I used a greased pizza cutter
to cut squares, but you could use shaped cookie cutters for fun
shapes. Toss cut marshmallows into a bowl of powdered sugar to
eliminate sticky edges.

Package in airtight containers. These marshmallows will last about 1 month.

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Acme Baking Co – Fleur de Sel Caramels

At Acme Baking Company we don’t claim to be candy makers, before this year our attempts were limited to fudge and this amazing pecan roca that can be made using a microwave. Sure a candy thermometer graces our kitchen gadget drawer but it had never seen the inside of a pot of boiling sugar until now! It can be intimidating but if you follow our instructions you should have success.

We should note, that we typically use a 6qt hard anodized non-stick pot but we think we will graduate to a heavy stainless steel pot soon. The other thing  worth mentioning is that candy making is really easy to clean up. It sounds like it would present a sticky mess but remember sugar dissolves in hot water so with a little patience your mess will be cleaned up.

Fleur De Sel Caramels

Before you start it is important that you have your pan prepared. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray. (I generally spray and then gently wipe it mostly off with a paper towel)

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (this can be purchased at Williams Sonoma or online – you can also use a whole, split vanilla bean. Just remove it before adding the hot milk to the boiling sugar)
1 1/4 tsp sea salt – finely ground
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, butter, vanilla, paste and salt over medium low heat. Do not boil this mixture but make sure you get it really hot and stir it frequently.

In a large, 6qt, sauce pan heat the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved continue to heat the mixture, occasionally swirling the pan until the mixture becomes  a light amber color. This will take some time so be patient and don’t try to rush it by increasing the heat of the burner.

Once the mixture is a nice golden color, stir in the cream mixture. Pour slowly and stir constantly – the sugar mixture will boil up so don’t go too slowly. Once the cream is all added you will not be stirring anymore. At this point you should insert a candy themometer without letting the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches “firm ball” stage or about 248 degrees.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your prepared pan – avoid the temptation to scrape the pan. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle the top with a coarsely crushed sea salt. Cool completely and then cut. I typically use a lightly oiled pizza cutter. Wrap the pieces in wax paper, cellophane or foil 4” squares – you can buy these or make your own.

A little lemon in your honey – uniquely flavored frosted cookies

Lemon Honey Dough Cutout Scraps

At Acme Baking Company, we are always trying to find unique flavor combinations that result in delicious baked goods. This recipe was less of a “find” and more of a “I guess it is time to share it” treat. I have been making these cookies since I was a little girl, they are a staple at Christmas in our family and I have never come across anyone else who makes them.

A big plus, you can make the dough, roll, cut, and bake weeks in advance because these cookies freeze perfectly – when you are ready to finish them up take them out of the freezer, allow them to thaw and frost as desired. I typically use a thick buttercream frosting which is flavorful and rich but if you prefer more refined decorations the flavor in this cookie would shine equally with a basic royal icing.

Lemon Honey Cutout Cookies

Ingredients:
2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon extract
1 1/3 c. honey
5 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

Cream together the shortening and sugar, add the eggs, lemon extract and honey. Sift together the dry ingredients and add the creamed mixture.

Divide into 4 balls of dough, flatted to disk shapes and wrap in cling wrap. Chill at least 1 hour, then, on a floured surface, roll each dough disk out to about 1/4″ thickness. It is important that your thickness is consistent because you want all your cookies to bake in the same amount of time. Cut out in desired shapes. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until  you can gently touch the cookie and no fingerprint remains. Cool completely and either freeze or frost as desired.

Recipe yield will vary based on the cookie cutter size, but on average you shoudl get about 5 dozen cookies.