Friday, December 21, 2012

Caramel Pie

So, I am going to a Dirty Santa Ornament Exchange snack party tonight. I am taking boneless bbq wings, caramel pie and my ornament. I couldn't decide on what kind of crust to put the caramel pie in. I went to Save-a-lot and was looking for graham cracker crumbs, no luck. They had pre-made graham cracker crusts, but I wanted to do my own. OK, I decided to get graham crackers and crush them. As I was looking at the graham crackers, the vanilla wafers caught my eye. Hum. Vanilla wafer crust? Yep! That is what I did. Before I left home, I placed 2 cans sweetened condensed milk in a pot, covered the cans well with water, got the pot to boiling, then reduced the heat to keep it simmering. Boil the cans for 4 hours for best results, mine was 2 1/2 hours, and while the caramel made and tasted good, it needed to be a bit firmer. Go for the four hours. Cover the pot and keep it boiling for the entire time AND KEEP THE CANS COVERED WITH WATER, then cool the cans completely before opening. IF YOU OPEN THEM HOT, THEY WILL "LAVA OUT" hot caramel all over you and YOU WILL BE BURNED!!!!! 

Now, for the crust:
crush one box vanilla wafers in a food processor or blender on the crushed ice setting, pulsing until cookies are crushed. Do 1/3 box at a time until all are crushed. This will yield about 2 cups crushed cookies.
Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar
Melt one stick butter and pour over crumbs, stir to combine well.
Press mixture into deep 9" pie plate, as evenly as possible. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes until crust is set, cool and use. This is a great crust for lemon meringue pie as well.

When caramel is cooled, pour into crust and chill. Top with homemade whipped cream.

Whipped Cream
desired amount of whipping cream
sweeten to taste, use powdered sugar, it incorporates more quickly
whip to desired consistency, careful not to make butter.

Homemade whipped cream should be kept chilled until ready to use and generally doesn't hold together well for a second day, so make in small amounts. Also, for best results, chill bowl and beaters before whipping and use a stand mixer with whisk attachment rather than paddle, but a hand mixer will easily work, just may take a bit longer.


Saturday, December 15, 2012


So I have been having lots of memories creeping to the surface lately. One memory this time of year is from my childhood, visiting my cousin Vickie. Vickie is a cousin I grew up with, one who we spent a lot of time together when we were growing up. Her mom, my first cousin, makes divinity candy. I had never tried to make it until tonight. It turned out pretty well. I will post the recipe I used from Paula Deen. I will be taking it to a dinner after church tomorrow. Hope they like it. The last dinner I went to a few months ago I took vanilla fudge which was "introduced" as divinity by a friend there. It really wasn't, just a recipe I got off Pinterest. I haven't made that one since. I may make this divinity again though. Use a heavy saucepan for cooking your syrup mixture. And be careful, the hot syrup will burn you!

You will need:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup cold water
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.

  • Add 3 egg whites to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until stiff peaks form. Do this while your syrup is cooking to 250 degrees

Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. 


  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in 1 to 2 cups chopped pecans.

Photo: I've been wanting to try homemade divinity. It's not bad. Not as good as Elsie makes. But not bad for a first-time ever try!

Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy your candy!

Merry Christmas!