Creamy Caramel Fudge

There’s not an ounce of chocolate in this fudge so if you’re looking for chocolate move along. If you’re a caramel lover, you’ve come to the right place! Kids love this fudge and so do the grown ups! Its super rich but oh so wickedly delicious.

I started experimenting with this recipe when I was a ‘poor’ graduate student and buying extras like chocolate cocoa powder were just not in the plan.

I’ve heard this called Russian Fudge (guess Chocolate was an issue for them too) but the recipe calls for corn syrup, which I cannot stand. And I think this is probably similar to what some call RedHead Fudge (sorry Vicki)(though I’m not sure). What I do know, is that this is incredibly rich and delicious. Caramel lovers will gobble it up! My recipe here is a little extended from my original version, which included melting the brown sugar with the white sugar milk mixture. The candy came out a little grainy, which I think was the sugar never being melted enough. So, I did the simple syrup and it worked! I use real butter, real vanilla and half and half. I’ve not tested this with margarine or skim milk so I couldn’t tell you the results. But you’re making candy, not diet food, so go ahead and make the full on recipe!
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Southern Christmas Fruitcake

This fruitcake recipe has been around our house since Noah was a first mate. More cake than fruit, and the added Grand Mariner makes it extra yummy. Might want to keep the cake away from the small ones. They’ll love the fruitcake cookies from earlier! Mind you, this ain’t ya mamma’s fruitcake and certainly not the one you’ll find in the grocery store. You know the one, the little bricks from the Claxton Company are southern staples, but this is the real deal and good enough to convert even the staunchest  anti-fruitcake member of the family!

Ingredients

For the Simple Syrup:

For the Cake:

  • 1/2 pound mixed dried fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, cherries, raisins, and chopped apricots
  • 1/2 pound, (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces almond paste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier, or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

Directions

Make a simple-syrup by combining the sugar and water in a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the lemon zest and juice and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.


Combine the dried fruits in a large mixing bowl. Pour the simple-syrup over them, toss to coat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve the syrup.


Cream the butter, sugar and almond paste together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle at low speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat until the mixture is fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing in between each addition on low speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1/4 cup of the Grand Marnier and mix to incorporate.


Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium-size mixing bowl and blend well. Add this mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed, each time mixing until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The batter will be thick.


Add the warm fruit and all of the nuts a little at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Lightly grease a bundt pan with butter or non-stick baking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and bake until golden brown and the top springs back when touched, about 45 to 50 minutes (turning the pan to ensure even browning after 30 minutes.)


Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove and continue to cool upside-down on wire racks.


Make tiny holes with a toothpick randomly on the rounded end of the cake. Combine the remaining simple syrup with the remaining 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier and the bourbon. Wrap the cake in a layer of cheesecloth and pour 1/4 cup of the syrup over the top of each cake. Store in a plastic zip bag for 3 or 4 days until the cake is slightly stale. Sprinkle syrup over cakes once every 2 to 3 days until all of the syrup is used. Let the cakes age for up to 3 weeks before eating.

For the Whiskey Sauce:

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup bourbon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch


Combine 2 3/4 cups of the cream with the bourbon and sugar in a medium-size nonstick saucepan over medium-heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.


In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/4 cup cream. Add this to the cream-and-bourbon mixture and simmer stirring often, until the mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve warm with the fruitcake.


The sauce may be stored, after it has cooled, in an airtight container for 24 hours. When ready to serve, warm over low heat.

This Is How Ya Do The Watermelon Crawl

Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Summer in The South? Yep, hot, sweltering hot days. And most of my childhood, those sweltering hot days were usually accompanied by, you guessed it WATERMELON. Here are my favorite 3 great summer coolers for the adults and a couple of family favorites. Enjoy!

 

Kudzu Queen’s Dream (fit for Royalty)
 
Sexy and Fresh take on an old favorite drink
Author:
Recipe type: Adult Beverages
Cuisine: Southern
Ingredients
  • 2 oz. Reposado* tequila
  • 2 scoops fresh watermelon
  • 1 mint sprig 1 oz. simple syrup
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. Muddle mint and watermelon.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Shake and strain into a rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with mint sprig.

*Tequila Reposado

A Reposado Tequila is the first stage of “rested and aged”. The Tequila is aged in wood barrels or storage tanks between 2 months and 11 months. The spirit takes on a golden hue and the taste becomes a good balance between the Agave and wood flavors. Many different types of wood barrels are used for aging, with the most common being American or French oak. Some Tequilas are aged in used bourbon / whiskey, cognac, or wine barrels, and will inherit unique flavors from the previous spirit.

 

 Watermelon Martini

  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice or ½ ounce sour mix
  • 1 ounce melon liqueur
  • 1ounce citrus-flavored vodka (use the good stuff)
  • 1 ½ ounce freshly pureed watermelon
  • Crushed ice
    Sprig of mint, for garnish
    Small slice of watermelon with rind, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine lemon juice, melon liqueur, vodka and watermelon puree over crushed ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with mint sprig and watermelon slice and serve.

 

Watermelon Margarita (Frozen)

  • 5 cups watermelon, cubed, seeds and rind removed (about 1 3- to 4-pound melon)
  • 1 cup silver Tequila
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
    Watermelon slices (optional), for garnish

Preparation:

Place cut watermelon in airtight container and put into freezer overnight.

Put the frozen watermelon and remaining ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into margarita glasses and garnish with a wedge of watermelon if you like.

 

 

Watermelon Pickles

  • 2 quarts water
  • Rind from 1 large watermelon
  • 1/2 cup(1 dL) salt
  • 2 1/2 cups(6 dL) cider vinegar
  • 2 cups(400 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 small stick cinnamon, in pieces
  • 2 tablespoons whole allspice

Remove the pink pulp from the watermelon and cut the rind into manageable pieces. Cover with boiling water and boil for 5 minutes; drain and cool. Cut off the green outer skin of the watermelon rind and remove any remaining bits of pink pulp. Cut the rind into 1-inch strips or squares or any shape you prefer. You should have 8 cups of cut-up rind. Mix the salt with 1 1/2 quarts cold water and pour over the rind. Let stand at room temperature for about 6 hours. Drain, soak in several changes of fresh, cold water, and drain again. Cover with fresh, cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer just until tender when pierced with a fork; drain. Mix the vinegar, 1 cup water, and the sugar in a pot, then add the cloves, cinnamon, and allspice tied in a cheesecloth bag. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the watermelon rind and simmer until it is clear, adding more water only if necessary. Remove the spice bag. Pack in hot, sterilized jars and cover with the boiling liquid, leaving 1/4-inch headspace, and seal. If you wish, process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.

Ginger Watermelon Pickle: Add 1-2 tablespoons chopped preserved ginger to the vinegar mixture


Watermelon Salad

  • 1 (5-pound) watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.
In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.
To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves