We have some traditional Christmas favorites at my house. With my new diet, some of them are not going to happen this year. But my kids are willing to skip some treats if it means Mom feels better. The new diet is not for weight loss, it's for a medical condition called IC (interstitial cystitis - extremely sensitive bladder). Not fun being in pain all the time. Diet is the best and least invasive treatment. It's chronic, so I'll never get better. I'd better get used to the diet. If you suffer from it, you know what I'm talking about. I'm trying to find substitutes for some things, like salad dressing. I'll post the recipes when I get them working. Meanwhile, here are links to some Christmas treats that I'm making this year.
I read I'm a Lazy Mom regularly. She's funny and offers some great tips. She shared this recipe for caramel corn
a few days ago. Oh, my, goodness. Easy and so delicious. I doubled the
recipe, because we love our caramel corn, and it turned out delicious.
So fast and easy. The hardest part is popping the corn and picking out
the unpopped kernels.
And my version of candied popcorn, that isn't caramel, but can be whatever you want. We like rum or almond flavoring.
One word - divinity. Skip the colors to keep it IC friendly. Most oil flavors and extracts should be okay. I am shocked, shocked! that I haven't posted this recipe yet. This is one of my favorite treats to make. Here you go, with variations.
You need a very sturdy mixer for this recipe.
2 2/3 c. sugar
2 /3 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. water
3 egg whites
1/2 t. flavoring (vanilla, almond, anise, rum, peppermint, etc.)
1/2 t. food coloring
Cook sugar, corn syrup, and water in 2 qt saucepan over medium heat, stirring until all sugar dissolves. Continue cooking to 260° on a candy thermometer (hard ball stage). This takes about 8-12 minutes.
To test candy syrup - This isn't as accurate as a thermometer and takes some trial and error. Be prepared for some mistakes. Get a small mixing bowl or large cereal bowl. Fill with cold water, add ice cubes. You want very cold water for this. To test syrup, wait until it's been at a hard boil for at least 5 minutes, drop a small amount into the hard water. Fish it out and see what texture it is. If it feels like taffy, soft and squishy, that's soft ball stage (234°-240° F). For this recipe, you want it to make a hard ball, almost like hard candy but you can still stretch it a bit. Don't undercook the syrup or you'll end up with gooey marshmallows. Still tasty, but not the crumbly puffy deliciousness of divinity.
While syrup is cooking, beat egg whites until stiff in large mixing bowl. Continue beating while pouring hot syrup slowly into bowl. Do not rush this step. Add flavoring and coloring. Continue to beat until mixture holds it shape and becomes slightly dull. This can take up to 15 minutes.
Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Work quickly before it sets up. Let cool completely before removing from waxed paper. Turn over and let the candy dry completely, about 4 hours. Store in airtight container.