12/13/11

Candy Box Caramels

  • Ingredients
    12 ounces chocolate- and/or vanilla-flavor candy coating*, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup toffee pieces, crushed; finely chopped pistachios; and/or nonpareils
  • 48 short plastic or wooden skewers (optional)
  • 1 14-ounce package vanilla caramels (about 48), unwrapped
  • 2 ounces chocolate- and/or vanilla-flavor candy coating*, coarsely chopped (optional)
Directions
1
In a microwave-safe 4-cup measure, place the 12 ounces candy coating. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 3 minutes or just until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
2
Place toffee pieces, nuts, or nonpareils in a shallow dish. If desired, insert a skewer into each caramel. Dip one caramel into melted candy coating; turn to coat as much of the caramel as desired, allowing excess coating to drip off caramel. (If not using skewers, use a fork to lift caramel out of candy coating, drawing the fork across the rim of the glass measure to remove excess coating from caramel.) Place dipped caramel in toffee pieces, nuts, and/or nonpareils, turning to coat. Place coated caramel on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat with remaining caramels. Let caramels stand about 1 hour or until coating dries.
3
If desired, microwave 2 ounces of a contrasting color of candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl on 100% power (high) for 2 minutes or just until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Transfer coating to a small, heavy plastic bag; cut a small hole in one corner of bag and drizzle additional coating over coated caramels. Let caramels stand until set. Makes 48 pieces.
4
To Store: Layer caramels between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
5
*If desired, substitute milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and/or white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter for candy coating.

12/12/11

Frosty Snowballs

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softenedOn Sale
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugarOn Sale
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flourOn Sale
  • 1 cup chopped pecansOn Sale
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugarOn Sale
  • Green, pink, and purple edible cake sparkles or colored sugar
Directions
1
In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in water and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the chopped pecans.
2
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3
Bake in a 325 degree F oven 20 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely.
4
In each of three bowls place 1/3 cup of the sifted powdered sugar. Add a different color of edible cake sparkles or colored sugar to each bowl. Gently roll and shake cooled cookies in desired powdered sugar mixture. Makes 36.

DIY Truffles

Ingredients
    GANACHE
    • 1 quart heavy cream
    • 3 pounds bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
    • 1 pinch of salt
    TRUFFLE FLAVORINGS
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
    • 4 teaspoons pure peppermint oil
    • 2 teaspoons instant espresso dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
    • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    OPTIONS FOR COATINGS
    • Finely crushed toffee bits
    • Mint candies
    • Pretzels
    • Dehydrated raspberries
    • Amaretti cookies
    • Malted milk balls
    • Chocolate cookies
    • Finely chopped toasted almonds
    • Chocolate covered espresso beans
    • Toasted coconut
    • Roasted salted peanuts
    • Candied ginger
    • Cinnamon-sugar
    • Confectioners' sugar mixed with cocoa powder and large pinch kosher salt
    Directions
    1
    MAKE THE GANACHE: In a large saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. In a large bowl, combine the chopped chocolate with the butter and salt. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk the ganache until smooth and shiny.
    2
    Divide the ganache into 4 bowls. To flavor it, add either the rum, peppermint oil, espresso, or cardamom to each batch. Cover the ganache and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
    3
    Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1-tablespoon-size ice cream scoop, drop level tablespoons of the ganache onto the baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
    4
    COAT THE TRUFFLES: Spoon the coatings into small bowls. Moisten your hands with ice water and roll the ganache into balls, then roll in the coatings. Package the truffles in decorative bags or boxes.

    MAKE AHEAD
    The coated truffles can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

    NOTE
    Truffle ideas: Peppermint filling with powdered sugar; chocolate cookie crumbs or mint candies; espresso filling with cinnamon-sugar, amaretti, or cocoa powder-salt mixture; rum filling with coconut, candied ginger, or toffee; cardamom filling with cinnamon-sugar, amaretti, or candied ginger; plain chocolate filling with raspberry, malt balls, or peanuts

    Chocolate Orange Truffles

    Ingredients
    • 1/3 cup whipping cream
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange flavoring
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into chunks
    • Cocoa powder
    • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
    Directions
    1
    Heat the whipping cream and butter together just to a simmer, then add chocolate. Remove from heat while chocolate melts. Add flavoring. Stir until glossy and pour into a chilled bowl. Set aside until firm.
    2
    Once firm, use a small melon baller and scoop ganache out. Roll by hand, using cocoa powder to reduce stickiness. Chill until firm.
    3
    Melt 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir until melted; microwave additional seconds as needed. Drop each ball individually into chocolate, roll with a fork until coated, then use the fork to lift out and place on parchment paper. Chill and keep refrigerated.