I hope that everyone had a great Christmas. My husband made it back from his trip on Christmas Eve despite the crazy weather so I was very glad that we were all able to spend Christmas together. I can't believe that it is all over and that we are starting a new year. Where does the time go? Remember when you were a kid and it seemed like time went so slow. It always took so long to get to your birthday and to Christmas. Now you turn around and another year has passed.
Enough of that, I should get on to the food. I have been baking up a storm this season but unfortunately I didn't take pictures of most of it. I know, what was I thinking? A friend of mine paid me to make her holiday treats so I made 150 mint chocolate brownies covered with a mint chocolate ganache. Absolutely delicious, but I only took one measly picture. They were delicious though and it was really nice to have someone pay me to bake.
While I was making the brownies, I got a call from my mother-in-law who asked me to make her 160 cookies for some treat bags that she was putting together. My mother-in-law is an amazing cook and baker so it was an honor for her to ask me to bake for her. She had run out of time and needed them the next day so I had to put together those quickly. Yet again, one measly picture.
After all that baking, I still needed to put together my treats. I decided to make these delicious pretzels that I dipped in chewy caramel, rolled in chopped cashews and then drizzled them with dark and white chocolate. Can I say if these were a drug, I would be an addict. I love the combination of salty and sweet and this one worked perfectly. The sweet, creamy, chewy caramel and the salty nuts and pretzel were amazing. Can you believe that after making these that I took not one picture?! I think that I was just tired or something. But, luckily, I needed to make some more today because I didn't get around to everyone before Christmas. It's never to late for treats though, right?!
Caramel Cashew and Chocolate Covered Pretzels
40 pretzel rods
One batch caramel (recipe follows)
1 ½ pounds chopped cashews
10 oz dark chocolate
10 oz white chocolate
1. Dip the pretzel rods into the slightly cooled caramel and then roll into the cashews. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to set up. After a few minutes, turn the pretzels over and reshape the caramel that has pooled on the bottom. Allow to cool completely.
2. Melt the dark chocolate over a double broiler, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when it is almost all melted. Stir until completely melted. Pour into a Ziploc freezer bag and clip a small hole in the corner. Drizzle the pretzels with the dark chocolate. Repeat with the white chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set up.
1-pound box dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipping cream (if necessary)
Combine all ingredients except for the whipping cream in heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan (about 3 inches deep). Stir with wooden spatula or spoon over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves (no crystals are felt when caramel is rubbed between fingers), occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 15 minutes.
Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook caramel at rolling boil until thermometer registers 236°F, stirring constantly but slowly with clean wooden spatula and occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 12 minutes. Pour caramel into glass bowl (do not scrape pan).
If caramel becomes too thick to dip into, add 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream and briefly whisk caramel in bowl over low heat to thin.