Chocolate Covered Cherry Fudge

The angels are singing.

I wanted to send Valentine love to my most favorite people in the universe and fudge is a family favorite.   This is so decadent.  5+ pounds of fudge-love.  When it sits for a couple of minutes before eating, I promise you the white fudge around the cherry gets kinda oozy just like a chocolate covered cherry.  Sublime.  Bad news?  I’m worried about shipping because one of its destinations is a place where a “cold spell” is 80°.  Hum, maybe my most favorite people in the universe need to come here to eat fudge-love.   I think if the white fudge gets too hot during shipping it will become runny because of the moisture in the cherries.  I really think know I did not dry them well enough.  It’s perfect for slicing straight out the fridge and eating, but shipping to a warm climate. . . .    Jiminy Crickets, what to do with 5+  pounds of fudge-love?  This is not part of my “a better me in 2011” plan.  I think I will call UPS and FedEx about dry ice.

This is embarrassingly easy.  I will never win a prize for an original recipe, but dang it, this combo is killer.  Better Half was losing his mind with fudge-love, which is strange because he’s a potato chip kind of guy.

I took 24 hours to make this fudge because I wanted to make sure my white fudge was set really hard.  Next time I’ll make sure the cherries have dried overnight in the fridge before incorporating into the fudge.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Fudge

(Bottom layer: White Cherry Fudge)

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. package white chocolate chips
1 7-oz. jar Kraft Marshmallow crème
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use homemade)
2 jars (approx. 10 ounces each) maraschino cherries, drained, rough-chopped, and dried thoroughly

Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to boil, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 234°.  Remove from heat, stir in chips, marshmallow crème and vanilla.  Beat until blended.  Gently fold in maraschino cherries.  Pour into foil-lined 9″ loaf pan.  Allow to cool at least six hours in refrigerator.

(Top layer: Milk Chocolate Fudge)

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. package milk chocolate chips
1 7-oz. jar Kraft Marshmallow crème
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use homemade)

Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to boil, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 234°.  Remove from heat, stir in chips, marshmallow crème and vanilla.  Beat until blended.  Remove cherry fudge from refrigerator and using a heat-proof spatula, gently pour and spread fudge (about ¼ cup at a time) on top of cherry fudge.  Allow to cool at least six hours in refrigerator.  Note:  you will probably have leftover milk chocolate fudge unless your loaf pan is extremely tall.  This is not a bad thing. . . .

Happy Valentine’s Day to those I love!


Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole-wheat cookie: why?

In my ongoing quest to eat (and cook) more healthfully, I’ve been perusing Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007.  When I saw these cookies I decided I would (as is typical in my world ) slightly tweak the already pretty darn healthful recipe and try out a batch with Better Half being the designated guinea pig.  He’s very truthful (as is my friend R) about telling me if something is thumb’s up or thumb’s down.  I gotta be honest; when I first saw the cookies come out of the oven I thought what a dud, but it turns out they’re pretty tasty!  My changes to the original recipe are in red and, seriously, eight hours in the fridge?  I like fairly instant gratification–two hours is sufficient!

If you’re on Weight Watchers, these little gems are only 2 points a cookie–not too shabby, eh?

Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c white whole-wheat flour
¾ c regular oats
½ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
¼ t salt
¼ c dried cranberries
2½ T finely chopped walnuts pecans
1 T sunflower seeds
2½ T semisweet chocolate minichips
¾ c packed brown sugar
5 T butter, softened
2 T honey
¾ t vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Cooking spray Parchment Paper

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flours, oats, baking powder, and the next 5 6 ingredients (through chips) in a large bowl.  Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add honey, vanilla, egg, and egg white; beat well.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate 8 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 12 minutes.  Cool 2 minutes on pans.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.  Makes 36 cookies.

I’m feel healthier already!

Autumn Soup

On cool days soup warms the soul.

While leafing through Food Network Magazine, a stew recipe caught my eye.  It sounded so yummy and delicious I knew I had to make it.  Immediately.  Problems:  1) it was for a slow-cooker and it was already noon—no time for dried beans to cook; 2) I needed to run to the store to get more ingredients; 3) I wanted pasta with the soup;  and 4) my local grocery store has never carried Swiss chard.

Hum…  Time is a-wasting… Aha!  I decided that I could still use the slow cooker, but I would improvise the ingredients.  The biggest bonus is that I could wait until 3:00 p.m. to put everything in the slow-cooker.  Dinner was ready by 6:00.  The original recipe can be found here: Slow-Cooker Squash Stew and my changes are:  1) I used two cans of cooked chick peas, drained and rinsed; 2) I used kale instead of Swiss chard; 3) I also used celery; 4) I roasted the squash, celery and onions for 25 minutes prior to putting the soup together; 5) I used chicken stock instead of water; and 6) Prior to serving I put in cooked cheese tortellini.  Everything else in the original recipe I kept the same.

The soup was simply a perfect ending to a perfect cool fall day.

Flounder with Pineapple Salsa

Fish night.  We’ve had enough red meat since Better Half returned so it’s time for some of the other, other white meat!  I had flounder in the freezer and the last of my yellow tomatoes hanging on for dear life, along with a luscious pineapple winking at me, so here’s the result.   I served it on top a simple rice mixed with two big cloves of sautéed elephant garlic from my garden.  FYI, Better Half was digging this fish and dish!

Flounder with Pineapple Salsa

(serves four)


(The first four ingredients should be chopped into approx. ¼” cubes)

½ cup pineapple
½ yellow bell pepper
1 yellow tomato, seeded
½ cup sweet onion
½ jalapeno, finely minced (w/ seeds)
½ cup loosely packed cilantro
½ lime, juiced
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt/Pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate at least two hours prior to serving.


Four flounder fillets, thawed and patted w/ paper towel
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter

Season flour with salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge flounder fillets in seasoned flour.  Melt butter in skillet over medium heat (approx. 350°).  Sauté (yes, I’m aware it’s really frying, okay?)  flounder (approximately 10 minutes per 1″ thickness of fish) on both sides until done.  Top with salsa and dig in.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Protein, must have protein.  This morning at 2:00 (yes, 2:00 in the morning) I was up with a spoonful of peanut butter in my pie-hole.  I don’t like peanut butter that much.  But the last few days I’ve been really lax in eating which, given my love of food, my body probably appreciated the break!  Nonetheless, I’m not up to cooking a huge meal since Better Half isn’t home, so beans and rice it is.  In honor of Better Half’s imminent arrival home and since he’s not too far from Cuba, I’m cooking Cuban Black Beans and Rice.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

1 pound black beans (cooked per package instructions)
4 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 cup chopped green pepper (mixed colors are great)
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 lime, cut in half
½ tablespoon cumin seed
1 jalapeno, sliced crosswise
Salt/Pepper, to taste

About 15 minutes prior to beans and rice being fully cooked, saute onion, peppers, and garlic in olive oil until just soft; add ground cumin, cook for one more minute, and combine mixture with beans.  Stir vinegar into beans.

Plate rice and top with beans.  Squeeze lime halves over entire dish.  Sprinkle cumin seeds and jalapeno slices on top.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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