Mesa Book Festival, Candy Making, Next Appearance: Monday Blog Post


Newest News:

Saturday I shared a table with author MarshaWard at the Mesa Book Festival. The weather was pretty good though got cold after the sun went down. We met so many people who just love books and even sold a few ourselves. If you were able to stop by and say hello, thank you. I loved talking to you. If you didn’t get to come down, I’m sorry. The day was gorgeous and there was a lot to do in downtown Mesa on the 7th. Hope to see you at my next event.

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Part of my Christmas prep is to make candy. I like to make peppermint patties ,almond butter cups, and everyone’s favorite, chocolate truffles. What’s your favorite Christmas candy? Anyway, I haven’t started any of the candy making yet, so I’ll have to get on that. What’s next on your Christmas to do list?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been posting further adventures of my western, GoldDreams. I finished the story and sent it off to my editor. I’ll post some more episodes, just know that they’re raw and sometimes, with my editor, I make somesignificant changes before actual release. I hope to have this done in time to sell the books at the Black Canyon Heritage Park Winter Fest on January 26th. Black Canyon is north of Phoenix off of I17. Check it out, and if you’re in the area, stop by. I’ll have several of my other books there as well.

In other writing news, I did a first pass edit on Slave Elf. I haven’t put out a fantasy book since Lost Rainbows so I’m pretty happy with getting the edit step started. Now to get it into an editor’s hands for a 2019 release.

There’s a new interview from me up on Ellwyn Autumn’s site and you can read it here. I hope you enjoy it. Follow Ellwyn’s site for lots more interviews with authors you may come to love! She can also be found on Lemondrop Literary. Another great place to find new to you authors and stories. Enjoy!

Giveaways:

There’s still time to get in on the Christmas Giveaway! We have $120 in PayPal cash as the Grand Prize and from the individual authors, 81 books and 81 prizes. Hoo! Get in on it quickly! You can go here to check it out. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/

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Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for mynewsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books arecoming.

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Newest Book Release:

The Gulliver Station ebook box set released July 30th, 2018. It is finally up on all of my other retailers in ebook format. You can buy it at AmazonAppleBarnesand Noble, Kobo,and Smashwords today.You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short,honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s criticalto help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Basic Water Fondant: Chicklets in the Kitchen

Finished Peppermint patties and Truffles by Connie Cockrell

Finished Peppermint patties and Truffles by Connie Cockrell

Mid-November, I start thinking about Christmas. A bit of thought is required because I like to make candy and ship packages of it back to my family in New York. The problem is timing. Mail slows down, a lot!, in December. So I want to get it in the mail as soon as possible after Thanksgiving so it can reach its destination in time to be enjoyed for the holiday. That means candy-making is competing for time with National Novel Writing Month, garden clean-up, conferences and Thanksgiving.

One thing I can do to help myself is to make some of the candy in advance. A family favorite is homemade peppermint patties. Fondant is the key to that creamy filling. Since I don’t live near a baking/candy store where I can buy packages of it, I make it myself.

This recipe is taken from the book, Homemade Candy by the food editors of Farm Journal and edited by Nell B. Nichols. Copyright 1970.

So, here’s how you do it.

Hardware and Ingredients for Fondant by Connie Cockrell

Hardware and Ingredients for Fondant by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Liquid and glass measuring cups

1 cookie sheet

2-quart stainless steel pot

Silicone spatula

Bench Scraper

Food Ingredients

2 cups white sugar

2 T light corn syrup

3/4 cup boiling water

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 tsp almond extract

 

Directions

Almond extract is the traditional flavoring for fondant. Since I’m using the fondant for peppermint patties, I use peppermint extract. You can use any flavor you like: strawberry, maple, lemon, it’s all up to you.

All Ingredients combined and stirred

All Ingredients combined and stirred

Combine all ingredients, except the extract and chocolate, in the 2-quart heavy saucepan and stir gently over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. I say stir gently because like all candy, you want to keep as much sugar crystallization off of the sides of the pot as possible.

 

 

Bring sugar mixture to a boil.

Bring sugar mixture to a boil.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and Boil 1 Minute

Cover and Boil 1 Minute

Cover and boil for 1 minute. (This gives the steam inside a chance to wash any sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan.)

No picture of the next step. Sorry.

Remove the lid and cook to the soft ball stage, 238 to 240 degrees F. If you live in a high altitude area as I do, you’ll have to modify the temperature range to fit your altitude. See note below about my mistake. That step goes here!

Pour Mixture onto a cool, moist baking sheet

Pour Mixture onto a cool, moist baking sheet

Pour at once onto a cool, moist baking sheet, platter or marble slab. Let cool until lukewarm.

Work with Spatula until smooth and creamy

Work with Spatula until smooth and creamy

Work with a broad spatula or wooden paddle until fondant is white and creamy. Add your extract of choice. Knead until smooth.

Place in plastic bag to mellow

Place in plastic bag to mellow

Put in a plastic bag and close tightly. Place in refrigerator to mellow at least 24 hours or for several weeks!

 

 

 

 

Now, here’s a note. I tried three times to make this fondant.

Fondant is not turning creamy and white

Fondant is not turning creamy and white

You can see pictures here of the fondant not becoming creamy and white. It wasn’t until I was typing up this post that I see where I made my mistake. So if the fondant doesn’t come out, one fix is to add confectioner’s sugar.

Confectioner's Sugar to Fix

Confectioner’s Sugar to Fix

Poured mix into a bowl for easier mixing

Poured mix into a bowl for easier mixing

Close to correct consistency

Close to correct consistency

I added half a pound of sugar before it became the correct, well, close to correct consistency. I tried again a couple of days later and made the same mistake. That time I let the fondant sit on the cookie sheet, working it every half hour until it was close to the correct consistency.

Working the Fondant

Working the Fondant

What was my mistake? I skipped the cooking to soft ball stage step. Color me red! I wanted to share that fail with all of you. Not everything done in the kitchen comes out right. Laugh, and keep on going.

When you’re ready to make your patties, pull the fondant out of the fridge, and divide into 4 equal portions. Knead the fondant until soft then press into shape. For me, this would be one inch balls that I then press into a disk shape. I put the disks on a cookie sheet and let the fondant develop a skin. This will allow the discs to hold their shape when I dip them into warm, dark chocolate. Place the dipped candy on a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to harden in a cool place.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite candy recipe or biggest kitchen disaster in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.Share this:
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Candy Making Madness

Christmas, Chocolates, Peanut Butter Cups, Home made

Christmas Chocolates – Homemade peanut butter cups by Connie Cockrell

I’m in full Christmas swing. The outside decorations are up and have been since the 1st. I like to send candy and cookies to family and they need to be in the mail soon! So, I’ve made peppermint patties, peanut butter cups and truffles. Today I’ll make the cookies. They’re my daughter’s favorite and go by a few different names depending on your cook book. They’re snowballs or Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Tea Cakes. They’re easy to make, ship well and are very tasty.  I’m hoping to get them in the mail by Wednesday.

The garden has to wait so I can get the candy mailed out. It looks so sad out there. I promise, poor garden, that I’ll get you cleaned up soon.

My book, The Downtrodden, book two of the Brown Rain series is up on Smashwords and it’s  up on Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble. I’ve just put it on Kobo as well. All of the links are below. I’m still featuring a special for newsletter recipients. Sign up for my newsletter and tell me you’d like to do a review and I’ll send you a free ebook. Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. If you’re already a newsletter recipient and you’d like to review a copy, drop me a comment or an email and I’ll send you the secret code!

I have moved the loveseat into the garage so there’s room for the Christmas tree. I still need to get all of the totes full of interior decorations down from the garage shelves and into the house. Right after I get the candy mailed.

I’ve been talking to my Mom nearly every day. We’ve painted her room a light lavender, hung the curtains, and shampooed the carpet. I’ll paint the chest of drawers I got for her today and we still need to get her bed assembled. It arrived a few days ago. Eight days to go!

I talked to my daughter today. She lives in Flagstaff, AZ. With any kind of luck she’ll be able to come here for Christmas. That will be good. I won’t have to mail her gifts. She’ll be here to open them. I’m standing by for further developments.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

The Downtrodden: a Brown Rain Story released November 22nd! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!Share this:
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