Friday, December 12, 2008

What I Learned

Everybody should have an Aunt Clare.

I was lucky to grow up with her living right next door. She had four kids all younger than me, but she always seemed to have plenty of time to teach me something new or listen to my problems.

The only reason I can make pie crust and home-made candies is because of her. She also taught me how to knit and crochet. And along the way, I also learned some interesting card games.

She'd been an elementary school teacher, and when I first started school, my mother would show her my book report. Between them, they decided I would be a writer. This was first grade. Their support never wavered. Aunt Clare has read every one of my books before it was published.

Both my parents are gone, as well as my uncle, so Aunt Clare is who I call on Mother's Day and holidays now. I dedicated Teaser to her. That was my gift to her. Here is her gift to you:

Aunt Clare's English Toffee recipe (easy and delicious)


24 unsalted saltines

1 cup butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

6 ounces chocolate chips

preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease a 13 by 9 inch pan

array saltines right side up in a single layer in bottom of the pan

melt butter and sugar in pan over medium heat on stovetop and bring to a boil.

Boil three minutes, stirring repeatedly.

Remove the pan from the heat stir in the vanilla

Pour over the crackers, spreading carefully with a spatula.

Bake five minutes.

Pull out of oven and cool one minute.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips and spread with spatula as they melt.

Let cool another ten minutes.

Cut them into pieces and remove.

If mixture gets hardened in pan, place pan in a larger pan of very hot water and candies will come out.



  1. I love people like Aunt Claire. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey Amy,
    I have finally gotten a chance to start reading Tethered and it kept me up until nearly 1 a.m. last night. You are a fabulous writer.

  3. I love English toffee, Jan.
    I usually have to be dragged into the kitchen to cook, but I'm going to try this one. (Or better yet, persuade my husband, the cook, that he might like to try this one)

  4. ANd I always hope I'll be someone's "Aunt Clare." An intern maybe, or the little girls who live next door. (They actually call me "Aunt Hank.")

    You never know what you do or say that can make a difference...I've had lots of letters from former interns, for instance, saying they decided to go into journalism because of working with me. Ah, I'm an Aunt Clare.

    And I don't even have to make delicious candy.

    Love it.

  5. I always wanted to be someone's Auntie Mame, the outrageous free spirit....I think it was that old Rosalind Russell movie..

  6. Oh, RO, I LOVE that movie. Gloria Upson?

    I think of it often, actually...