Tag Archives: Candy

Sea Turtles

From Charity Ferreira.

Sea Turtles

Yield: About 24 turtles

Butter, for waxed paper

8 ounces Vanilla-Sea Salt Caramels, or store bought soft caramels (about 24 caramels or 1 ¼ cups)

1 ¼ cups unsalted whole cashews (about 5 ounces), lightly toasted

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Step 1: Line a baking sheet with generously buttered waxed paper. Unwrap the caramels and place them in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir the caramels occasionally until melted and smooth, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cashews.

Step 2: Spoon 1-inch mounds of the caramels mixture onto the waxed paper. If the mixture is stiff, you might have to use your fingers to coax it into clusters. Refrigerate the clusters until the caramel is firm, about 15 minutes.

Step 3: Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step 4: Spoon about 1 teaspoon melted chocolate over the top of each “turtle.” Return the “turtles” to the refrigerator to harden the chocolate, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Marbled Peppermint Bark

From Charity Ferreira.

Marbled Peppermint Bark

Miniature candy canes, the ones that come individually wrapped, work best for this recipe. They are easier to crush, and, because they have more colored surface area, they break into nicer-looking pieces than larger candy canes. You can sift the larger pieces through a sieve to remove the fine white dust from the crushing process.

Yield: 1 ¼ pounds of bark

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1 cup finely crushed candy cane pieces

Step 1: Line a jelly-roll pan with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Step 2: In another bowl, melt the white chocolate as above.

Step 3: Stir ¾ cup of the candy cane pieces into the dark chocolate. Scrape the mixture onto the pan and spread out with a spatula to about ¼ inch think. Drizzle the white chocolate evenly over the dark chocolate; use the knife to gently swirl the dark and white chocolates together, leaving plenty of distant streaks. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy canes evenly over the top.

Step 4: Refrigerate the bark until completely firm, about 2 hours. Break or cut into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Dark Chocolate-Espresso Truffles

From Charity Ferreira.

Dark Chocolate-Espresso Truffles

For the best flavor, bring them to room temperature before eating.

Yield: 24 (¾-inch) truffles

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 ½ tablespoons instant espresso powder

¾ cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon Kahlua

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Fluted 1-inch paper candy cups (optional)

Step 1: Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the espresso powder in the cream and bring to a boil. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir gently with a flexible spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. (If the chocolate does not melt completely, place the bowl over a pan of hot water and stir until smooth.) Stir in the Kahlua. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to scoop, at least 3 hours.

Step 2: Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Scoop out tablespoon-size portions of the chocolate mixture; place them on the waxed paper. If the mixture is too firm to scoop, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften.

Step 3: Spread the cocoa on a plate. Dust your hands lightly with cocoa. Shape each scoop of the chocolate mixture into a ball, then roll it in the cocoa to coat. Place the truffles in paper candy cups, if desired. Refrigerate the truffles between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Macadamia Nut Brittle

Another great candy recipe from Charity Ferreira.

Macadamia Nut Brittle

Yield: 2 pounds of brittle

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for pan

½ tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups sugar

½ cup water

1/3 cup light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups macadamia nuts (about 12 ounces), lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Step 1: Lightly butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan. Dissolve the baking soda in the vanilla extract; set aside.

Step 2: In a large pot over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar, water, 6 tablespoons butter, the corn syrup, and salt until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Increase the heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, until mixture turns a deep golden brown and measures about 335˚F on a candy thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully (the mixture will bubble up) stir in the vanilla mixture and nuts.

Step 3: Immediately pour into the prepared pan. If necessary, use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread the mixture flat. Let stand at room temperature until cool and hard, about 1 hour.

Step 4: Bend the ends of the pan to release the brittle (run a spatula underneath the brittle to help release it, if necessary) and chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Marshmallows

I stumbled upon this recipe in a book on preserving by Karen Solomon awhile back. Great recipe! I’ve included a chocolate variation at the bottom.

Marshmallows

These light, fluffy, and flavorful clouds kick the butt off anything jet-puffed by a wide country mile. They will stand up to stick and flame on your next campout and are dreamy when paired with a slab of chocolate and graham crackers.

Yield: about 36 medium (1 1/4 inch) or 16 large (2 inch) marshmallows

Ingredients:

2/3 cup water, divided
3 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Lightly oil the inside of an 8 by 8-inch pan with vegetable oil. Generously coat with confectioners’ sugar; set aside.

Pour 1/3 cup of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until the gelatin has softened.

In a saucepan, off heat, combine the remaining 1/3 cup water and the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and make sure it does not touch the bottom. Cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees F. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush, dipped in water, to gently wipe away any residual sugar crystals.

With the mixer on low speed, very carefully add the hot syrup to the softened gelatin. Add the vanilla, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat for 8 to 13 minutes, until the mixture becomes very white, stiff, and sticky.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan using a lightly oiled spatula. With wet hands, press the batter evenly into the corners of the pan. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture is firm and cool.

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into  shallow dish or bowl. Run a wet knife around the edge of the cooled pan to loosen the marshmallow sheet. Remove the marshmallows from the pan. Cut into 16 or 36 pieces, wetting the knife often to keep it from sticking. Toss each marshmallow in the confectioners’ sugar until completely coated.

Storing:

Store marshmallows in a single layer or in layers separated by wax paper. They will keep for at least 1 month when stored airtight at moderate temperature.

Chocolate Variation:

Substitute sifted unsweetened cocoa powder for the confectioner’s sugar used to coat the marshmallows.

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Buttery Almond Toffee

Another candy recipe from Charity Ferreira.

Buttery Almond Toffee

Yield: 3 pounds of toffee

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for pan

3 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup water

¼ cup light corn syrup

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups whole almonds (about 9 ounces), toasted and chopped

12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Step 1: Lightly butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan.

Step 2: In a large pot over medium heat, stir together the sugar, 1 ½ cups butter, water, corn syrup, and salt until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted and bubbling. Increase the heat and boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, until the mixture turns a deep golden brown and measures 290˚ to 300˚F on a candy thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully (the mixture will bubble up) stir in half of the almonds and the vanilla.

Step 3: Immediately pour into prepared pan. If necessary, use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread mixture flat. Let stand at room temperature until cool and hard, about 45 minutes.

Step 4: While the toffee cools, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a par of hot water (see Melting Chocolate), stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step 5: Pour the chocolate over the cooled toffee, spreading it to the edges with a knife or spatula. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the chocolate. Refrigerate to set the chocolate, about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Bend the ends of the pan to release the toffee and chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Marzipan Filled Dates

These make wonderful winter hostess gifts, Christmas presents, etc. Definitely give these a go. You can also roll them in sugar for an extra treat.

Marzipan-Filled Dates

Soft, sweet California Medjool dates are at their peak during the winter months, and this quick snack or dessert is a great way to take advantage of them. This recipe is for one pound of dates, but it’s easy to make them in any quantity. Marzipan is sweeter and has a more pronounced bitter-almond flavor than almond paste, but both are delicious with the dates.

Yield: 1 pound stuffed dates

1 pound Medjool dates

6 ounces marzipan or almond paste

Step 1: Cut the dates almost in half lengthwise and remove the pits without completely separating the two halves, if you can. Break off ½-inch chunks of marzipan or almond paste (a little smaller than 1 teaspoon) and shape them into an oval with your fingers. Place the marzipan in the center of each date and press the halves together, leaving a little of the marzipan showing.

Step 2: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Mocha Hazelnut Truffles

Here’s a great candy recipe from Charity Ferreira. I love to make these around the holidays or for Valentine’s Day. They also make a nice hostess gift or party favor.

Mocha-Hazelnut Truffles

Espresso and Frangelico flavor these creamy white chocolate truffles. To skin the hazelnuts, bake them in a 350˚F oven until golden brown under their papery skins, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the nuts cool and then rub them vigorously in a clean kitchen towel to remove the loose skins.

Yield: 36 (¾-inch) truffles

12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 ½ cups hazelnuts (about 6 ounces), toasted, skinned and finely chopped or ground

1 tablespoon Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)

Powdered sugar, for dusting hands

Fluted 1-inch paper candy cups (optional)

Step 1: Place the chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the espresso powder in the cream and bring to a boil. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir gently with a flexible spatula until the chocolateis melted and smooth. (If the chocolate does not melt completely, place the bowl over a pan of hot water and stir until smooth.) Stir in ½ cup of the hazelnuts and the Frangelico. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to scoop, about 3 hours.

Step 2: Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Scoop out tablespoon-size portions of the chocolate mixture; place them on the waxed paper. If the mixture is too firm to scoop, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften.

Step 3: Place the remaining 1 cup of hazelnuts on a plate. Dust your hands lightly with powdered sugar. Shape each scoop into a ball, then roll it in the nuts to coat. Place each truffle in a paper candy cup, if desired. Refrigerate the truffles between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Milk Chocolate Praline

Milk Chocolate Praline

To crush the praline neatly, seal the pieces in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or mallet. This recipe makes about 3 cups crushed praline, and you will only need 2 cups. Store the remaining praline airtight at room temperature, and use it to sprinkle over ice cream, in between cake layers, or mix it into shortbread or chocolate chip cookie dough.

Yield: About 80 (1-inch) squares

Butter for the pan

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup water

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 ½ cups almonds or hazelnuts (about 8 ounces), lightly toasted and finely chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Fluted 1-inch paper candy cups (optional)

Step 1: Lightly butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan.

Step 2: Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until golden brown (335˚ to 340˚F on a candy thermometer), 10 to 15 minutes. When the sugar begins to brown around the edges of the pan, swirl it gently so that it caramelizes evenly.

Step 3: Remove from the heat. Quickly and carefully stir in the nuts and salt and spread the mixture onto the prepared pan. Let it stand at room temperature until cool, about 1 hour. Break into pieces and chop or crush the praline very finely.

Step 4: Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil (if you use a disposable aluminum pan, there’s no need to line it). Melt the chocolates together in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in 2 cups of the crushed praline and spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm enough to cut, about 1 hour.

Step 5: Invert the pan to remove the candy and cut it into 1-inch squares with a sharp, sturdy knife. Place the squares in paper candy cups, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Striped Butter Mints

Here’s another great candy recipe from Charity Ferreira.

Striped Butter Mints

If your only experience with butter mints has been those little rock-hard pastel pillows at bridal showers, these delicate, creamy candies will amaze you. Red and green stripes make them great for Christmas, but use other colors to make them appropriate for different occasions. Gel food coloring and peppermint oil are available at stores that sell candy-making supplies. You can substitute regular food coloring and peppermint extract, but neither the flavor nor the color will be quite as intense.

Yield: About 1 pound of candy

4 ¼ to 4 ½ cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil

Gel food coloring

Step 1: With a mixer on low speed, beat together the sugar, the butter, cream, and peppermint oil until well blended. The mixture will be stiff; when it becomes too stiff for the mixer, turn it out onto a surface lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and knead by hand, working in more powdered sugar as necessary, until the mixture is soft and smooth but not sticky.

Step 2: Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (cover the remaining pieces with plastic wrap while you work, to prevent them from drying out), add a few drops of red and green (or other) food coloring to different spots, and work the piece gently in your hands until the color is distributed in irregular streaks (to tint the mints a solid color, just mix the food coloring completely in until no streaks remain). On a surface dusted with powdered sugar, roll each piece into a rope about 10 inches long and ¼ inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the rope into 1/4-inch squares. Place the mints on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.

Step 3: Cover the mints loosely with a second sheet of waxed paper and let them stand at room temperature until dry, about 8 hours. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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