Monthly Archives: December 2014

Dorista Holiday Recipe Exchange {ffwd}

Karen's Cracker Candy

Happy Holidays!!!! As part of this year’s holiday card exchange for French Fridays with Dorie, participants optionally included a recipe for a favorite holiday cookie, cocktail or other confection. In addition to the lovely exchange with our faraway friends, this week’s challenge is to try out any of the recipes that arrived in the mail.

There were so many delicious choices, but I decide to try the Cracker Candy from Karen of Our Crazy Blessed Life and the Apple Cider Sidecar from Guyla of Clementines and Cocktails.

Karen’s Cracker Candy is a treat is a chocolate coated toffee confection. Her mother gave her the recipe 17 years ago, but it originally came from her grandmother. I’ve enjoyed this many times before when other people have made it, but I’ve never made it myself. I’m not sure why because it is so simple. Butter and brown sugar are boiled together to make the toffee, which gets spread over the surprising base of saltine crackers and popped in the oven to make sure it saturates the crackers. Then, a bag of chocolate chips is scattered over top where the residual heat melts it. You spread the chocolate to cover the toffee. Karen’s recipe invites some tinkering on top of the chocolate, so I sprinkled a cup of finely chopped almonds on top. Once everything cools and hardens, you have an irresistible (at least to me) nibble.

Melting Chocolate

Karen’s Cracker Candy

40 saltines
1½ cups butter
1½ cups brown sugar
1 12 oz package chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place saltines side by side on a foil-covered cookie sheet.

Bring the brown sugar and butter to a boil. Very important: boil for 3 minutes. Spread the mixture over crackers. Bake for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crackers. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread chocolate evenly.

At this point, you can have some fun and sprinkle a topping like crushed peppermint, toffee bits, or sprinkles.

Refrigerate until solid. Remove foil and crack into pieces. Keep refrigerated.

I also couldn’t resist Guyla’s festive cocktail, the Apple Cider Sidecar. It was a breeze to mix together. The fresh lemon juice and the Cointreau infused the drink with citrus flavors, tasting like a cold cup of spiked mulled cider. Cheers, Guyla!

Apple Cider Sidecars

Apple Cider Sidecar
Makes 4 cocktails

10 oz best quality apple cider
4 oz brandy
5 oz Harlequin or Cointreau
2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Stir together all ingredients and shake over ice. Pour into cocktail glasses that have been rimmed with raw sugar.

As my final French Fridays post of the year, I wanted to share a remembrance of all the meetups I had with my Dorista friends in 2014. Though unphotographed, I also saw Dorie Greenspan at her book signing at the Harvard Book Store in November.


Clockwise starting from left corner: I shared dinner with Mardi of eat. live. travel. write. when she visited Boston in March, Thanksgiving weekend, I spent the afternoon with Adriana of Great Food 360. I met Susan of Create Amazing Meals and Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva for lunch during my Southern California vacation with Howard in June, In July, I spent the weekend in New York City with Kathy of Bakeaway with Me, Diane of Simple Living and Eating, and Cher of The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler.

I am so happy about these friendships that started over food shared over the internet and have forged over meals shared in person.

To see other Dorista creations for this week, check other links here.

Orange and olive salad {ffwd}

Orange and Olive Salad

I was unexpectedly under the weather this week, so was happy that this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie turned out to be one of Dorie’s non-recipes. Not only was it super simple to put together, but without any planning on my part, I had all of the ingredients on hand. After last week’s tagine, this week’s orange and olive salad offers another glimpse into the tastes of Morocco.

As one might expect, I made a single serving because Howard had zero interest in this orange salad. All I needed was an orange, an onion, some olives, and olive oil. The orange is peeled and sliced. The onion first soaks in an ice bath to remove its bite. Then, all the ingredients are composed for a colorful, festive salad.

Simple Ingredients

If had were a better meal planner (2015 New Year’s Resolution?), this would have been a nice accompaniment to last week’s tagine. Alas, I just ate it as a side with our regular meal (roasted winter vegetable pot pie).

I wasn’t sold on this salad. The citrus was refreshing, but I might be in Howard’s camp on this one. The rest of the flavors didn’t meld for me. It could be because I used a yellow onion, which was all I had on hand. I’m not a fan of raw onions, and though Dorie’s taught me that an ice bath helps, I might have enjoyed red onion better. It would have added a nice touch of extra color as well.

To see what the other Doristas thought of this salad, check their links here. This hardly needs a recipe, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

I’m loving the Dorista holiday cards and recipes that arrive in my mailbox daily! Thanks to Alice for organizing this now-annual card exchange as a lovely way share holiday wishes with our cyber-friends (and in many cases, now, real friends). Whether I sent you a card or not, I wish you and your family a magical holiday season and a delicious new year in 2015. I look forward to continue cooking with you next year!

2014 Holiday Cards