Soft Homemade Caramels

Homemade soft caramels should never be made when you are home alone.  These may possibly be the most dangerous thing that has ever been cooked in my kitchen.

Not because it will hurt, although it could if you aren’t careful playing with molten lava temperature melted sugar, but because you need to get them wrapped and out of the house as quickly as possible.

Do not send more than a few of these at a time to friends, as these will also be dangerous at their house.  Do bring them to work for brownie points! Should be worth at least a few of those.

You and everyone else who eats these will not be able to stop eating them until either your teeth hurt, your stomach hurts, or you have eaten all of them.  Once they are all eaten, you will be thinking of them for days to come.

After reading several caramel recipes, I settled on starting with this one from Land O’Lakes and tweaking it ever so slightly.

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Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jelly is not anything I ever gave much thought too.  If you needed or wanted grape jelly you just went to the store and bought some right?  Well, after making this, my mind has been forever changed about that.  I don’t know that I can ever eat grape jelly from the store again.  I tried to eat some that I had in the refrigerator to see if I could actually tell a difference.  Let me tell you, they difference is undeniable.

One of my neighbors, and occasional reader of the blog – Hi Rick! – has been growing Concord grapes in his backyard for a few years.  This is the first year there were enough grapes for the birds and for jelly.

Having never seen or eaten a Concord grape, I was a little taken aback by the texture.  It tasted just like grape jelly, but the skins are tough and you need to pop the insides into your mouth.  The texture is kind of rubbery, but slippery.  I have never eaten a raw oyster, but this is what I suspect a small raw oyster might feel like in your mouth if you tried to chew it instead of swallow it.

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Snickerdoodles

If I had to choose the one cookie recipe that I think would please everybody, it would be Snickerdoodles.  Soft, buttery, and covered in sugar and cinnamon.

No worries about someone who doesn’t like chocolate, or those who may have a tree nut allergy.  These are great with coffee, tea, warm cider, on winter days, on warm days, well they are great no matter when or how you serve them.

Snickerdoodles are one cookie you can bet will always be on my Christmas cookie gift platters.

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Cinnamon Pie Crust Pinwheels aka Rollie Pollies

I heard it again today. Actually I didn’t hear anything, it was a text.

DD: How long do I bake these things.

Inner voice: What things?

Me: Huh?

DD: The roly things with pie crust.

Inner voice: Haven’t we talked about this at least a dozen times?

Me: “Until they look done.” I was driving and that was the best response I could give based on stoplight time – driving and texting is bad, bad, bad!

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Grandma Hunt’s Tomato, Cucumber, & Onion Salad

This is one of those rare recipes my mother made well. But she made it all the time. The recipe for Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad stayed taped to the inside of her spice cabinet. I don’t remember a time not seeing it anytime I went for a salt shaker.

It was always present at her parties by the pool. There would also be the required steaks on the grill, mushrooms, cucumbers and onions, boxed scalloped potatoes, and those little sponge cakes you can buy in the produce section of most stores alongside sweetened strawberries and vanilla ice cream (my mother’s version of strawberry shortcake).

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