While the number of snow days we have had is getting out of control, I must look on the bright side and say that it allows me time to make a better breakfast. I love breakfast and usually in the rush to get out of the house for school I don’t have time for my favorites. Today I got to enjoy a Honeybell, strawberries, tea and a yummy baked egg (with leftover sourdough under heaps of Parmesan cheese!).

Another Snow day of cooking

More time in the kitchen, more snow day cooking projects! My husband had been asking for a repeat of the samoa cookie bars and instead of getting in the car (in the snow?!) we decided to make a batch of caramel. Candy always seems to intimidate cooks, but really it is very scientific and just requires some attention: easier said then done when there are four crazy kids in the kitchen! Anyway, much to my delight our caramel came out really well, in fact it tastes just like one of my most favorite treats- Thornton’s from England. Yum!

Caramel Candy

1 2/3 cup cream

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs light corn syrup

3 Tbs butter (at room temp)

1/2 tsp salt

Butter an 8x8 or 9x9 pan and line with parchment, butter the parchment too.

In a small pan heat the cream and vanilla over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to very low to keep the cream hot.

In a large saucepan (4 quarts or larger) heat the sugar and corn syrup. Stir with a long handled wooden spoon until the sugar is mostly dissolved and starts to boil (4-5 minutes). Stop stirring and brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent the formation of crystals. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and let the sugar mixture get to 305F without disturbing it.

Clean off your spoon, drying it completely. Add the 3 Tbs butter and salt to the sugar. Slowly stir in the cream- it will boil vigorously and bubble up a LOT, just keep stirring and slowly adding the cream. After adding the cream give one more stir then let the temperature climb back up to 250F. Immediately take the pan off the heat on pour into the prepared pan, WITHOUT scrapping the pan. Let caramel cool for several hours then cut into squares. Store in an air tight container (if you don’t eat it all!)

Snow, Snow and more snow!

Holy Cow! It just doesn’t stop! We have almost 2 feet of snow and it is amazing! Needless to say this has become a baking day. First up is chocolate chip cookies to thank the neighbor who helped me finish snowblowing my driveway and for the wonderful neighbor’s son who shoveled the berm at the end of the driveway after the plow came! These are my favorite cookie, crispy and just the right amount of chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion)

2 sticks butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla

3/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs cider vinegar

1 large egg

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups AP flour (I used half white whole wheat)

12 oz bag of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. In a large mixer, cream butter, sugars, vanilla, salt and vinegar. Add the egg. Combine the flour with the baking soda and then add to the creamed mixture. Stir until blended. Add the chips and stir in by hand. Drop by spoonful onto sheets and bake 12-14minutes. Cool on a wire rack (if you can wait that long!)

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