Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Candy - Irish Cream Caramels and Crystal Cut Candy

Irish Cream Caramels
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp butter or margarine
1 tsp Watkins Irish Cream Extract
1 tsp Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Combine cream, sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a large heavy saucepan. Using a candy thermometer, heat to 245 degrees F, stirring constantly. Remove from heat at once. Stir in extracts; pour into a buttered 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan. Cool just until firm. Loosen candy around edges with a knife; invert on cutting surface. Cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife. Cool completely and wrap each in waxed paper. Store in a cool place.

Crystal Cut Candy
2 cups white sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
Dash of salt
Few drops food color
Watkins extract or flavor of your choice

Combine sugar, syrup, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook to 290 degrees F (soft-crack stage) on a candy thermometer. Add food coloring, choice of extract or flavoring, and allow to set for a few seconds before stirring. Mix well and pour into lightly greased 8x8x2 inch pan. Let stand a few minutes until slightly cooled and a film forms over the top. Mark candy into “puffs” ¾ inch square (because the candy is cooler at edges, start marking at the outside and work toward the center using spatula or pancake turner). Press a line across pan ¾ inch from edge. Be careful not to bread the film. Repeat around pan, intersecting lines at corners to form squares. If lines don’t hold shape, candy is not cool enough. Retrace lines, pressing spatula deeper but do not break film. When spatula can be pressed to bottom of pan on all lines, candy will be shaped into square puffs. Cool thoroughly and break into sections. Store loosely covered in a cool, dry place.

Makes approximately 100 candies.

Extract Suggestions
1 teaspoon Watkins Peppermint Extract
2 to 3 teaspoons Watkins Fruit Flavor Extracts
1 teaspoon Watkins Wintergreen Extract
2 to 3 teaspoons Watkins Anise Extract


Friday, December 11, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Watkins Pumpkin Bread Mix was such a favorite that it sold out before Christmas. This Pumpkin Bread recipe makes a delicious substitute. Bake in 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch or mini loaf pans.

I made this recipe with and without chopped walnuts but did not add raisins. If is a moist bread with lots of flavor.

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 can (14 ounce) pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Watkins Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Cloves
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup raisins (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust with flour three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch or 5 or 6 mini loaf pans. In large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin, water, and vanilla. Blend in flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in nuts.

Pour into pans. Bake 50 to 70 minutes depending on size of loaf pans used. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly and then remove bread from pans and cool on rack. Slice and eat while warm or at room temperature. This bread tastes delicious with whipped cream.

Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and then in plastic freezer bags to freeze. This insures freshness. Wrap in decorative plastic wrap or bags for holiday gifts. Or use clear plastic wrap and tie with colorful ribbons.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Chocolate Rum Balls

Place Chocolate Rum Balls in decorative holiday tin to serve, give as a hostess gift, or give as a holiday gift for a neighbor.

Chocolate Rum Balls

3 pkg. (8 oz. each) semi-sweet chocolate
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp. Watkins Rum Extract
2/3 cup finely chopped Pecans

Melt chocolate as directed on package. Stir in milk and extract. (Mixture will be very thick.) Let stand 5 min.

Roll into 84 balls, using 1 teaspoon of the chocolate mixture for each. Coat with nuts.

Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Substitute 6 OREO Cookies, crushed, or 16 NILLA Wafers, crushed, for the chopped pecans.

Order Watkins Rum Extract at

Holiday Cheese Truffles

The holidays bring friends and family together to share good food and good company. If you are planning a holiday party these Holiday Cheese Truffles are a savory and elegant yet simple appetizer.

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Watkins Garlic Powder
Dash Watkins Ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 green onions, sliced
1-2/3 cups chopped pecans
Sociables Savory Crackers or other crackers of choice

Beat first 4 ingredients with mixer until blended. Divide in half. Add roasted peppers to half and onions to other half; mix each until blended.

Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.

Shape into 24 (1-inch) balls. Roll in nuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers. Use holiday picks to add to the festive look and make serving a breeze.

Other coatings for these tasty truffles - sesame seeds, finely chopped red bell pepper, chopped fresh parsley or Watkins Dried Parlsley, Watkins Omelet and Souffle Seasoning, Watkins Paprika and your favorite shredded cheese. Experiment with your own favorite ingredients.


Festive Wreath: Alternately arrange different flavored truffles in a large circle on platter to resemble a holiday wreath. Create a decorative bow out of green onion strips. Use to garnish wreath.

Cheese Logs: Roll each half into 6-inch log. Roll in desired coatings as directed.