Cheap, simple and quick—three of my favorite words. Chocolate is a fourth!
In 1996, 14 ounces of simple toffee in a gift tin was selling for $17.95 plus tax and shipping.
½ pound (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
6 ounces, walnut pieces, finely chopped
12 ounce milk or semi-sweet chocolate pieces
Butter a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle chopped nuts over sheet. Set aside.
Place butter, sugar and water in large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until steam starts to pour out. Remove lid and stir mixture constantly until it starts to darken. Immediately pour mixture thinly and evenly over the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the chocolate chips immediately over the toffee and as they soften, spread them over the surface with a spatula. Refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces.
Note: Usually not all of the nuts stick to the toffee. I save the remaining in a covered container in the refrigerator for another use — like over ice cream!
In 1996, Turtles, a creation of pecans, caramel and chocolate in a gift tin sold for $19.95 for 14 ounces — plus shipping and handling!
120 pecan halves
30 square caramels, unwrapped
6 ounces chocolate chips
Butter a large cookie sheet. Place pecans, flat sides down, in groups of four halves so that their ends touch each other in the middle (these make the “legs” of the turtle). Place a caramel in the center of each of these nut clusters.
Place cookie sheet in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 3 - 5 minutes or until caramel softens slightly but still retains its shape. Remove cookie sheet from oven and flatten caramel with buttered fingertips or the back of a buttered spoon.
Melt the chocolate pieces, using preferred method, and spoon about 1-1/2 teaspoons chocolate on each cluster. Cool completely before removing. Makes 30 turtles.
In 1996, the year I priced them as I was writing one of my copy-cat "bookettes," Pecan Pralines sold for the following:
- 12 individually wrapped for $17.20
- 24 individually wrapped for $23.85
The recipe below makes 60 pralines. Again, in 1996, using the prices above, 60 would amount to about $65.00. Of course, you will need to wrap them yourself!
Pecan Pralines (using a microwave)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
2 cups pecans, halved (or large pieces)
½ tsp salt
2 Tablespoons butter
1 tsp baking soda
In 4-quart glass casserole blend buttermilk, sugar, pecans, salt and butter. Microwave on high for 12 - 14 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes. Add baking soda, stirring to foam. Microwave on high 1 - 2 minutes until mixture darkens. Whip with wooden spoon until mixture turns dull—approximately one minute. Quickly spoon onto waxed-paper line tray and let harden. Makes approximately five dozen.
The next post is the final post in this “...of several posts”. Until I decide to run another sugar-filled marathon.
‘til we eat again,