December 2019


Saltine Toffee

(Christmas Crack)

December 25:Christmas

During the holiday season, Islander participates in many cookie and treat exchanges through her cake and culinary clubs. At different meetings every year, someone has brought “Saltine Toffee”, which are salty crackers topped with toffee, chocolate and nuts. It is also nicknamed “Christmas Crack” because it truly is an addictively sweet-salty-crackly treat. They are popular to give as foodie gifts for family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, to take to holiday potluck parties and to snack on them throughout the Christmas festivities. Bring joy to everyone’s world and make Saltine Toffee!

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Living Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers (as many pieces to fit in a jelly roll pan)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 package (12 ounces) chocolate chips
  • ½ – 1 cup nuts (we used pecans)

Directions

Line a jelly roll pan with foil. Generously mist with cooking spray. Arrange the crackers to fill the pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter slowly over medium low heat. Slowly stir in the brown sugar.

Keep stirring the brown sugar until bubbling and thickened (about 3 minutes). Pour evenly over the crackers. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the chocolate chips on top while the crackers-toffee are still hot.

Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the top (return to the oven for a minute or two if needed to melt more). Sprinkle with nuts. Let cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator to set until firm. Slice or break into pieces. Store chilled in airtight container.

Notes

  • Avoid stacking the Saltine Toffee to avoid sticking and melting together. Place the pieces between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Or layer them loosely on a serving platter.
  • Merry Christmas to our blog readers!

Christmas Morning Punch

December 25: Christmas

Boozy beverages like egg nog or Christmas cocktails are popular at parties for grown-ups. But on Christmas morning, kid-friendly fruit juice is a festive alternative for the whole family. Serve this punch while everyone gathers ‘round for breakfast or brunch, before going to Christ’s mass or church service or during the opening of presents under the tree together. Make this morning merrier with a sweet and simple Christmas Morning Punch recipe. Merry Christmas!

Recipe

(From Steve A.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup ginger ale soda
  • orange slices, frozen whole cranberries and fresh mint leaves (optional garnishes)

Directions

In a large pitcher, pour the orange, cranberry and pineapple juices. Stir in the ginger ale soda. Refrigerate. Serve chilled in glasses. Garnish with fruit and mint leaves (optional).

Notes

  • Lemon-lime soda may be used as a substitute for ginger ale.
  • Search our blog for other Christmas/winter beverages.

Coquito

(Puerto Rican Egg Nog)

December 24:National Egg Nog Day

Egg-less egg nog? We were skeptical at first, but after tasting Puerto Rican Brother Jose M.’s recipe for coquito, we were hooked! Coquito features two kinds of rum from his island—clear (white) and gold or spiced—and sweetened with a tropical flavor, cream of coconut—hence, the name is translated as “little coco”. Brother Jose makes and bottles coquito and gives them away to his campus ministry staff. From him we received his recipe as a great gift to share with our blog readers during this holy holiday season and on National Egg Nog Day. Gracias, Jose, and Feliz Navidad to everyone on Christmas Eve!

Recipe

(From Jose M.)

  • 1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut
  • 2 cans (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • ½ can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cups white rum
  • ½ cup gold or spiced rum
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Nutmeg to taste

In a large container, place the cream of coconut, evaporated milk, sweetened condense milk and white rum.

Pour in the gold or spiced rum. Season with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (start with ½ teaspoon each). Pour into a blender and stir until well mixed but not too foamy. Place in a glass pitcher and chill for at least an hour to thicken. Before serving and pouring into glasses, mix to break up any thick liquid.

Notes

  • Some coquito recipes do add eggs to this Puerto Rican egg nog, which make this drink thicker. But the fats in the cream of coconut, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk help to thicken the coquito over time as it chills in the refrigerator.
  • Try the recipes for egg nog white Russian, egg nog ice cream and Mexican egg nog gelatin for more National Egg Nog Day deliciousness!

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