Not Quite The Farmers Daughter

Not Quite The Farmers Daughter

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cookies and Cream Bites and Salty Toffee Nut Candy

The holidays are fast approaching!  Thanksgiving is tomorrow and everyone is on high speed to start dinner preparations and get ready to travel.  Need a last minute dessert that will be done in a flash and look spectacular at the same time?  Read on my friends, I have something special for you!

So many of us are looking for the last minute treat that we can take or put out prior to dinner that will have everyone's mouths watering.  The following two recipes can be done in less than 30 mins.  This is definitely one for your personalized cookbook and should be placed in the front pocket of the dessert section.  I promise you will use these over and over again every year!

Cookies and Cream Bites

1 pkg (1 1/2lb) Oreo cookies crushed in your food processor, divided
1 8oz pkg softened cream cheese

Mix 3 cups of Oreo crumbs with the softened cream cheese.  This is easiest with your hands.  Use a melon ball scoop or tiny ice cream scoop and make balls.  Place them on a foiled cookie sheet.  Once done rolling into balls, roll in the leftover cookie crumbs and put tray into the freezer for about 30mins until firm.  I recommend keeping in the freezer in a tin until ready to serve to let the flavors mingle.  This makes about 2 dozen Bites.

Salty Toffee Nut Candy

1 sleeve honey graham crackers broke into bit size pieces
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
Sea Salt for sprinkling

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Using a 13x9 baking pan lined with foil, place evenly as possible your graham cracker pieces.  Cover with your chopped pecans and then sprinkle Sea Salt over the top.  In a sauce pan over medium-low heat melt your butter and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until bubbly and no butter fat is floating on top.  Take off heat and pour over graham crackers and nuts.  Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before handling.  Once completely cool, break into pieces and put in a tin for storage.  Keep in fridge.  I usually make double batches of this because it doesn't last long in my house!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gingersnap Christmas Balls

Ahhhh it's that time again!  Time to start making all those wonderful Christmas time desserts that we all crave this time of year.  From Cookies to Candies what more could anyone ask for during the holidays.  So this year I have managed to get started a little bit early.  I am taking a momentary break from all that is savory and have begun my sugar plum journey as we approach the Christmas Holiday.  Now for all you Black Friday shoppers, this is a great time to stock up on your cookie tins and other sweet treat gift giving containers.  Most craft stores like Michael's and Joanne Fabrics will have these on sale early Friday morning as well as some of your bakers chocolates and hard to find bakers tools to make that extra special treat!

So this year I have decided to branch out and make some new recipes along with our traditional family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.  My goal is to make a recipe a day while on my vacation this week.  So here we go, let's bring on the fun and yum!

Gingersnap Christmas Balls

1 box white or yellow cake mix (make according to package directions)
1 container white frosting
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
2 bags white chocolate chips
1 bar cooking paraffin
1/2 cup demera sugar

Make cake according to package directions.  Let cool slightly and crumble into a bowl.  Add your gingersnap crumbs until well incorporated.  Let completely cool.  By mixing the cookie crumbs with the slightly warm cake will allow the moisture to soften the crumbs and will help the mixture stick together later.  Once cookie and cake mixture is cool, take your container of frosting and place in a microwave safe bowl and put in microwave for 1 minute to liquefy.  Pour into your cake crumb mixture and stir together thoroughly.  I used a small cookie dough scoop the size of a melon ball scooper and start making your balls and put on a foiled cookie sheet.  Once your sheet is full put in the freezer for at least an hour.  Once your hour is up, start melting your white chocolate chips over a double boiler.  Use 1/2 paraffin bar per bag of chips to make the chocolate thin for coating your cake balls.  I recommend using a spoon for dipping to avoid cake breakage into your dipping chocolate.  Once your cake ball is dipped return to your cookie tray and sprinkle with demara sugar.  When done return your tray to the freezer to let your Christmas Balls harden.  Store in pretty Christmas tins in your freezer until ready to use!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey Safety 101, Let's Have A Healthy Thanksgiving!

Food safety is important all year round.  As we head into the holidays everyone with various levels of experience is in the mind to impress family and friends.  So I thought the best way to start the week is to talk Turkey!  If you haven't started thawing your turkey you need to get that bird out of the freezer and into the fridge today.  And depending how large your bird is, you may need to prepare a cold water bath Wednesday if it is not completely thawed.  Below is a great Turkey Tool from the USDA on Turkey Safety that is great for the beginning cook and a great reminder for the pro that may be prone to distraction with a busy cooking schedule.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking

A food thermometer should be used to ensure a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.

Many variables can affect the roasting time of a whole turkey:

• A partially frozen turkey

requires longer cooking.

• A stuffed turkey takes longer

to cook.

• The oven may heat food


• Temperature of the oven

may be inaccurate.

• Dark roasting pans cook

faster than shiny metals.

• The depth and size of the pan

can reduce heat circulation to

all areas of the turkey.

• The use of a foil tent for the

entire time can slow cooking.

• Use of the roasting pan’s lid

speeds cooking.

• An oven cooking bag can

accelerate cooking time.

• The rack position can have an

affect on even cooking and

heat circulation.

• A turkey or its pan may be too

large for the oven, thus

blocking heat circulation.


1. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Preheating is not necessary.

2. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on fresh or thawed birds at a refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below.

3. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep.

Optional steps:

• Tuck wing tips back under

shoulders of bird (called


• Add one-half cup water to the

bottom of the pan.

• In the beginning, a tent of

aluminum foil may be placed

loosely over the breast of the

turkey for the first 1 to 1 1/2

hours, then removed for brown-

ing. Or, a tent of foil may be

placed over the turkey after the

turkey has reached the desired

golden brown color.

4. For optimum safety, cook stuffing in a casserole. If stuffing your turkey, mix ingredients just before stuffing it; stuff loosely. Additional time is required for the turkey and stuffing to reach a safe minimum internal temperature (see chart).

5. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a food thermometer.

The temperature of the turkey and the center of the stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

6. Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.


(325 °F oven temperature)

(time in hours)

4 to 6 lb breast........ ..1 1/2 to 2 1/4

6 to 8 lb breast....... ...2 1/4 to 3 1/4

8 to 12 lbs.......................2 3/4 to 3

12 to 14 lbs......................3 to 3 3/4

14 to 18 lbs................3 3/4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 1/2

20 to 24 lbs......................4 1/2 to 5

STUFFED (time in hours)

8 to 12 lbs.......................3 to 3 1/2

12 to 14 lbs......................3 1/2 to 4

14 to 18 lbs......................4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 3/4

20 to 24 lbs................4 3/4 to 5 1/4

More Ways to Cook a Turkey

For other cooking methods, read the publication "Turkey: Alternate Routes to the Table" at

Call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline


For automated responses via the Internet 24 hours a day and a live chat during

Hotline hours.

Year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET (English or Spanish). Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Send E-mail questions to

The USDA is an equal opportunity

provider and employer.

Reviewed September 2011

FSIS encourages the reprint and distribution of this publication for food safety education purposes. However, USDA symbols or logos may not be used separately to imply endorsement of a commercial product or service.