College Boy is home and I am a happy mom! (Happy to have his presence in the house, happy to have his technical expertise on all the computer issues I have been saivng up for him, happy to have him helping me pack orders, happy, happy, happy!) I know he’s glad to be done with Finals and home for a couple of weeks of spoiling. 🙂
Today’s recipe is from one of my good friends and I highly recommend it. Monica used to make this for the teacher gifts every year, and this recipe had a reputation all of its own. She makes lots and lots of batches every year. This year, I’m making it for our neighbors. I alternate between cinnamon-pecan rolls, and candy/cookie trays. They put up with all of my UPS deliveries and people stopping by all year long, so I want to stay on their good side! Do you have anyone you need to butter up? This toffee just might do the trick.
1 cup unblanched (skin on) whole almonds
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 12-oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips (2 cups)
¼ c. pecans, finely chopped (optional)
uToast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving on high for 3 minutes (stir after each minute).
uOn a foil-lined baking sheet arrange almonds in a single layer over an area measuring approx. 12×7 inches.
uIn a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry, wooden spoon till butter is melted. Continue cooking and stirring for 5-7 min. till candy is the color of the unblanched almonds. (It will start smoking slightly.) Immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts.
uSprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy. Wait 1 minute and spread the melted chocolate until it is smooth. Sprinkle with pecans.
uLet cool and break into pieces. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.
uMakes 2 pounds or 25 pieces.
Let me know how you like it!
I’m in rather a bit of a spot. The Gift Knitting? It’s not done. And honestly, there wasn’t much on my Gift Knitting List to begin with. I probably shouldn’t admit that my list was short and it’s not even done. I’m thinking that I will have to really let the needles fly this weekend and next week, to accomplish what I need to accomplish. I was thinking today how nice it’d be to wrap up several pairs of handknit socks for several good friends and send them off. In 2007, I am SO going to stockpile knitted gifts early. Someone please remind me of that often, next year. Do any of you knit up ahead of time – like certain things every month, starting in the summer? Or is that a total pipe dream? Every year I say I’m going to knit more. Every year, I blow it. sigh. If you have a surefire plan for gift knitting, please share it. (If you blow it every year like I do, please share that, too. You’ll make me feel better.)
In case you need to do your own gift-purchasing for your own sweet self – I just headed over to The Loopy Ewe and put up a few new Yarn Pirate colors that arrived yesterday afternoon. Hawthorne – a wonderful limited edition holiday colorway, Malamute, Isobel (hello – Isobel? You just have to get a skein of Isobel!), Black Water, and Loopy Blues. (Loopy Blues is our own exclusive Yarn Pirate colorway in honor of my love of Vera Bradley’s Java Blue pattern. I’m thinking I need socks AND a scarf knit out of this. How cool would it be to have a scarf to match my bag?) Also back in stock – String Theory and Paris from Yarn Pirate. How is a person ever supposed to finish twinless socks when the new stuff coming in is so ding-dang beautiful?? Also, just added today – Soak Wash. I love this stuff! It is biodegradable, phosphate-free, and has a wonderfully subtle scent. It’s so gentle on your fibers (and hands) that you don’t even have to rinse it out. Go check it out!
*giggles* I always plan to knit gifts for everyone…and then put off casting on til the first week of December, in a panic. I end up knitting a LOT of hats!
I’m only knitting 2 gifts this year. 1 is finished, and the other is 1/2 finished.
I need the Yarn Pirate in the Loopy Blues color, it’s gorgeous!
I am only knitting 2 gifts this year. The first one is done, and the second is 1/2 way done.
BTW, I LOVE the Loopy Blues colorway from Yarn Pirate. I may have to get some of that. 🙂
No gift knitting for me. I have knit for my family and they just don’t appreciate it so I knit for me and the husband. My friends (I wrote fiends first, heh) who would appreciate handknitted items already knit and we have vastly different tastes. Gift knitting sounds so good in theory but, for me, not so good in practice. Yes Sheri, all that sock yarn from The Loopy Ewe is mine, all mine! Well, maybe a pair or two for the husband…
Maybe you could give your friends needles, yarn, a pattern, etc to make their own thing, along with a coupon for knitting lessons in one of the Loopy bags. You are off the hook for knitting, you gave them a nice gift (which they could re-gift if they decide they don’t want it but have other friends who might want it), and you might get some new customers. Nothing like really fab yarn to encourage someone on the fence about learning to knit.
Love the snowman! And how did College Boy do on his finals?
You are right, Starbucks cards make perfect gifts for everyone. I will have to try out your recipe for toffee for my fire company holiday party.
I had to buy two – how many times do you have a colourway with your name on it, never mind the absolute correct spelling (which is the least common of all the variations of Isobel). I was looking for an excuse to buy 2 more “itty bitty” socks – I have 5 away as stuffing stuffers to my knitting circle and did not have one for myself, now I do and one to spare.
I knit all year and put away, mittens and socks are the easiest and I think the most appreciated to receive. I try for a pair of each each month, sometimes doesn’t work out that way – but the socks are great for stocking stuffers. I did volunteer this year to complete charity knitting (for Connie at Pick Up Sticks) – I sent a box off last week and still owe a pair of socks and mittens in early January – once I am finished with my Claudia socks (in fondant – love the colourway) for my neice I will whip them up.
Thought of you this morning – on the way to have a hair cut I stopped into Starbucks and grabbed a skim peppermint hot chocolate/no whip – it made my morning – I didn’t realize until 3:40 today that was all I had to eat or drink all day.
If I could just add a little note – if you are really looking for a truly meaningful gift this year (besides giving something hand knitted), please look at Heifer International (www.heifer.org). They provide livestock (big and small) to villages in third world countries that really need them. They have a Knitting Basket – my husband and I bought one, it’s expensive but you can also buy part of a knitting basket. As a knitter I really wanted to give back and this is such a wonderful way of doing it. (4 fleece bearing animals to a community allowing them to make their own yarn).
Warm thoughts for you always.
Mmm, toffee sounds delicious.
My gift knitting isn’t done either…(glances at pile of almost finished lace.)
Oh yeah, gotta say–good thing for you that Wendy said sock yarn doesn’t count in her “Year of the Stash” thing. From her blog it sounds like she became a Loopy Groupie a long, long time ago.
I gift knit on a somewhat flexible timeline. Many of my friends knit, used to knit, or date someone who knits so it is easy to say that their gift is “in progress”. Think of it as Christmas in January. Others get their gifts early or on time, depending on if they live in cold climates. The recent snow in St. Louis coincided with a gift hat being sent to my best friend at Wash. U. to keep her smart head warm.