Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chocolate, Santas and Christmas Houses

Wow - what a start to the new year...already behind. :) But better late than never. Here's one of several Christmastime posts I never got around to because of the holiday craziness and the waves of colds and flus that have been making their rounds this winter. Late last year, I had the opportunity to pick up some candy training! I haven't melted chocolate in such a long long time and it's amazing and fun to see what they've come up with lately and man - it's cool! I actually went to a candy class - but that's for another post since that happened AFTER my intro to the whole melting chocolate thing given to me by my dear girlfriend who graciously opened her house to me and shared her chocolate melting candy secrets! She was awesome...and an avid Christmas Village House collector also! I cannot start this post without showing you some of her houses...she has MILLIONS of them! Okay - maybe not MILLIONS but she has a lot. Two rooms full and several shelves high. It was very cool to see them all.

Christmas Houses (The Village)Christmas Houses (Candy House)
Christmas Houses (Ice Castle)
An Ice Castle!
Christmas HousesChristmas Houses
Christmas House (Coke Village)Christmas House (Coke Guys)
Look! It's even the coke guys!

Okay - onto the you'll see my friend's staging area for the chocolate. She's got the chocolate in microveable safe plastic bowls for easy heating and a not so cheap warming tray. This tray looks a lot like a tray sold at Bed Bath and Beyond, but unless the tray has temperature controls on it - you should be careful what you buy. A warmer tray without controls for melting chocolate could be a disaster!
Chocolate Melting Staging Area
On the warming tray there's some Butterscotch Chocolate at the top, some white at the bottom and some white tinted red in the middle. What will she be making with all this?

Santa CookiesSanta Cookies
Aren't they CUUUUUUTE??!!!!!!! Here's what they look like on a nice foil platter, ready to be wrapped for a gift.
Santa Cookies

And this below was so interesting!
"Caramel Popcorn"
It's "Caramel Popcorn" made with mixing butterscotch melted chocolate into a bowl of pre-popped popcorn. It really tasted just like caramel corn! The texture is a little different - but it's so much easier on the teeth and yummy because it's CHOCOALTE! You gotta try this.

After melting down some milk chocolate, she made these Peanut Clusters.
Peanut Clusters
Notice the cute Red and Green Christmas Tree decorations on them? The sprinkles this girl had were soooo cute!

And last but not least, here are some amazing no bake fudge's that she made with a plastic mold that she had. I've been told by my co-workers that it looks so polished and perfect that they could not believe it was not store bought!
Christmas Fudge (Christmas Trees!)
The one above is decorated with Christmas tree sprinkles and the one below with cute Candy Canes!
Christmas Fudge (Candy Canes)
But man, do you need your sweet tooth for this one! Between the two I believe there is a pound of chocolate between them! Yum-e!

Well, hope you liked the very late but deliciously filled with chocolate post. Thanks to my girlfriend for her wonderful hospitality and for sharing all her chocolate secrets! It was fuuuun!

Cool Beans! It's a real saying...for real...

I do not lie...okay - maybe just sometimes, but not THIS time. :) I picked up a saying somewhere right before college and ever since, I've been ridiculed for saying it. "What's the saying?" you say? It's "cool beans!" as in "cool beans dude" or "that's cool beans!"



Okay - so this is a totally stupid post only those who knew me back then would understand.'s still proof that the phrase exists and is even used by the highly popular food network. So...SO...THERE! Ha! ha!




(This is me not believing the proof and double checking what the network called it. haha - me of so little faith!)