On the road again, we’re on the road again. I tell ya, this past month and traveling has just been down right crazy.
Between visiting my grandpa, fall break, Thanksgiving, my grandma’s 80th birthday bash, my grandpa’s funeral, and Christmas vacation, we will have been gone almost every weekend through the end of the year. Our poor neighbors are most likely getting sick and tired of us asking them to take out our trash
We actually really lucked out this year with all of our traveling arrangements. We are literally flying to Utah for Christmas for $19 a person. Nineteen dollars! Who even has tickets that cheap??? Frontier does. All I can say is I love Frontier.
Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited about this smoking deal?! Christmas, here we come!
One of the best parts about going home for the holidays is all the Christmas goodies that will be waiting our arrival. My parents get dozens of treat deliveries every year and we are fortunate enough to sample each and every one.
The delivery I anticipate the most is from Janet at Simply So Good who lives in my parent’s neighborhood. She makes an entire box of assorted homemade chocolates that are to die for, with flavors ranging from crystallized ginger to lavender.
Now, Janet is amazing. She tempers her own chocolate and prepares weeks in advance for her holiday deliveries, and through her perfection comes major goodness. I, however, cheat and get by.
This year I made these Salted Caramel Cashew Clusters that are delicious. They are soft caramels packed with chopped cashews, dipped in chocolate, and drizzled with white chocolate.
Ben almost made me hide these. He ate a caramel every time he walked past the kitchen. By the second day, and with the absence of about 10 caramels, I started to think he was making excuses to walk by the kitchen counter.
These really are the perfect treat to deliver to your neighbors for the holidays. They last for almost two weeks instead of all the other Christmas goodies that need to be eaten within a day or two. Plus, they’re just that darn good.
Santa may even prefer some of these, too, in substitution to cookies and milk. Well, on second thought, keep the milk.
What goodies do you feed Santa?
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup light Karo syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dash to ¼ teaspoon salt (depending of if cashews are salted)
- ¾ cup chopped cashews
- 1 lb. dipping chocolate (such as Candiquik)
- ½ cup white chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- 25-36 cashew halves for garnish
- Line an 8 X 8 baking dish with foil. Grease pan liberally.
- Add butter, Karo syrup, sugar, half and half, vanilla, and salt in a medium sized pot. Bring to medium heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium high and stir until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to a low rolling boil and cook for 13-15 minutes until mixture reaches a soft ball candy stage*, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
- Remove pot from heat and add chopped cashews. Stir to distribute evenly. Pour mixture into greased pan and allow to cool completely.
- Remove foil from pan. Cut hardened caramel block into 25 or 36 squares (5 X 5 or 6 X 6). Shape into squares with fingers if needed. Set in fridge to solidify shape.
- Begin melting candy coating. Follow melting instructions of package. Using a fork, set one caramel at a time at the end of the prongs. Dip in melted chocolate and slide off onto wax paper to harden.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips and shortening at 50% heat for 30 seconds. Stir for 30 seconds. Repeat in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted. Pour into a Ziploc plastic bag and cut a tiny slit in one corner. Squeeze white chocolate out of bag corner and drizzle over chocolates. Immediately place a cashew half on top.
- Allow chocolates to completely harden (you may put them in the fridge to speed up the process) and serve at room temperature.
- You may freeze for up to 6 months, store in the fridge for up to a month, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.