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anyone making candy for the holidays? What are you making?

momskitchen Nov 29, 2009 01:24 PM

Just curious....tell me more!

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  1. mcel215 Nov 29, 2009 01:40 PM

    I am making a Toffee Bark, which is so simple. Layer one sleeve of saltines on a 1/2 sheet pan, covered with aluminum foil.
    Bring to a boil, 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of dark brown sugar, boil for 3 minutes until it's thickened, stirring it. Pour over saltines, you may need to spread to cover everything. Preheat oven to 400 F. and bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips over, let sit for 5 minutes. With a spatular, spread chocolate over entire layer. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped pecans over top. Let cool, refrigerate overnight. Peel foil off and break bark into pieces. It's amazingly easy, tastes heavenly and looks great in those little cello bags with a pretty ribbon tied to close it.

    I added a picture, because I made them for Thanksgiving. I wanted to try them out on my family before I gave them as gifts. Everyone loved them.

     
    5 Replies
    1. re: mcel215
      blue room Nov 29, 2009 02:32 PM

      This penuche -- http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/p...
      (I pronounce this PENOOKA-- is that right?)
      I've made successfully several times--it is a brown sugar fudge--heaven.
      Will make it this Christmas.

      1. re: blue room
        happybellynh Nov 30, 2009 09:49 AM

        Sounds great, Blue Room. Thanks for the link. (BTW, no idea if it's right, but I've always pronounced it "peh-NEW-chee," which is how we pronounce a bar by the same name in my town).

        1. re: happybellynh
          Becca Porter Nov 30, 2009 09:56 AM

          Yeah, that is how I pronounce it. The brown sugar fudge I discussed is really penuche. Crazy good.

      2. re: mcel215
        j
        jencounter Nov 30, 2009 09:28 AM

        I do this same thing with matzoh but instead of nuts I sprinkle sea salt over the top of the chocolate, a la David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives....

        My friends and family call it crack. Several have asked about it already, it's definitely a favorite.

        1. re: jencounter
          geminigirl Dec 5, 2009 03:34 AM

          graham crackers are great as well, it was "crack" now but with the sea salt it must be amazing!!

      3. l
        LauraGrace Nov 29, 2009 01:49 PM

        My mother and I always make peanut brittle and English toffee.

        English toffee is a little terrifying! Every year I think we've ruined it, because it's so dark it's smoking, but it turns out perfect.

        Both are family recipes.

        17 Replies
        1. re: LauraGrace
          Becca Porter Nov 29, 2009 02:09 PM

          I will likely make Cook's Country's Seafoam candy and their brown sugar fudge. The Seafoam is like divinity only with lots of toasted pecans,, they also add a bit of vinegar and salt to cut the sweetness. This candy is incredible and has worked every time.

          The br sugar fudge is also amazing. It is super creamy. I added toasted pecans to the last batch and it was even better. Like really creamy pralines.

          I also love the icicles recipes from Martha Stewart last year. Basically straight candy canes...
          I loved the winter bark recipe last year too. Simple as well.

          1. re: Becca Porter
            momskitchen Dec 3, 2009 03:25 PM

            I love seafoam...thanks for the idea. I just got this month's Saveur and there was talk of candy canes. Maybe I'll try that too this year.

            1. re: Becca Porter
              geminigirl Dec 5, 2009 03:36 AM

              could you post your sea foam recipie? i tried to make it once before but it turned into an ugly mess. I would love to make some for my dad for x-mas! thanks

              1. re: geminigirl
                momskitchen Dec 5, 2009 09:11 AM

                what went wrong? Did it not harden?

                1. re: momskitchen
                  Becca Porter Dec 5, 2009 09:43 AM

                  It is available at: http://www.cookscountry.com/default.asp

                  They even have a 14 day free trial.

                  1. re: Becca Porter
                    geminigirl Dec 5, 2009 12:51 PM

                    thanks, I will join when I'm near a printer...

                    1. re: Becca Porter
                      t
                      toveggiegirl Dec 15, 2009 08:29 PM

                      You can actually view this recipe without a membership.
                      http://www.cookscountry.com/recipe.as...

                      1. re: toveggiegirl
                        geminigirl Dec 16, 2009 09:44 AM

                        wow, you are the best! how did you do that? I was going to join but didn't feel like going through the bs of giving them my credit card info just to get a 14 day free trial. thanks again!

                        1. re: geminigirl
                          t
                          toveggiegirl Dec 16, 2009 09:52 AM

                          No problem! Anything to make prepping for the holidays a little easier is a good thing. :-)

                    2. re: momskitchen
                      geminigirl Dec 5, 2009 12:49 PM

                      nope overcooked...i don't have luck with my candy thermometer...I was using it today to make glaze (234) for a cake and used my digital meat one just to make sure it worked...I need to get a digital candy one, I'm assuming they are out there just haven't looked yet...

                      1. re: geminigirl
                        momskitchen Dec 6, 2009 03:57 AM

                        I use the same digital probe thermometer we use for smoking meat....http://www.amazon.com/RediCheck-Remot... ditched my old fashioned mercury one that was a pain to read and always fogged up in the pan.

                        1. re: momskitchen
                          chef chicklet Dec 20, 2009 08:31 AM

                          You used tthe meat prove therm for candy and it worked?!!! Now I'm so mad I bought a new candy thermometer. Pinchin pennies. oh well. I guess I have a backup plan.

                          1. re: chef chicklet
                            geminigirl Dec 20, 2009 09:53 AM

                            Hi, yes the meat probe saved me yesterday. My candy one fogged up after cleaning it the last time, I was clumsy and got it too wet, but then it unfogged and I thought it was fine..not so, as I was making chocolate caramels yesterday it wouldn't go past 225 so I realized I had a potential disaster on my hands, used the meat probe and although it wasn't perfect temp as it kept fluctuating (but at the temp it needed to be) the caramel was saved....I need a better system...I was glad for the back up plan...

                            1. re: geminigirl
                              momskitchen Dec 20, 2009 01:59 PM

                              Glad to help! I never use an old fashioned candy thermometer any more. Digital meat thermometer works great for everything, as long as it can go high enough, like mine can.

                              1. re: momskitchen
                                buttertart Dec 21, 2009 05:53 AM

                                Which one, if I may ask?

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  momskitchen Dec 21, 2009 04:07 PM

                                  See my post a couple lines above...Redicheck....

                                  1. re: momskitchen
                                    buttertart Dec 22, 2009 05:05 AM

                                    Aha, the post was collapsed when I posted my question. Thanks.

              2. elfcook Nov 29, 2009 02:19 PM

                I make fudge for the holidays. I made chocolate fudge this past week, and will do both chocolate & peanut butter fudge for Christmas.

                my kids will make the easy, cheap, but oh-so-yummy pretzels with a chocolate kiss and M&M on top. Nothing fancy, but they always go fast.

                1. t
                  tullius Nov 29, 2009 02:38 PM

                  I make toffee too & I know what you mean. At one point before its done all the butter separates out & you have to stir like crazy & as soon as you get it reincorporated its done.

                  Then to use up all the nuts that fall off the toffee I make coconut haystacks,

                  I also make fudge (the cheater type with sweetened condensed milk & chocolate chips, much more like old fashioned cooked fudge than the marshmellow creme or powdered sugar type)

                  1. m
                    mickeygee Nov 30, 2009 08:44 AM

                    I've made truffles in the past and will probably do them again. Earl Grey, Orange and Mint are my favorites. I would like to attempt sea salt carmels again. I had some amazing ones a few years ago at a pot luck and have since been trying to recreate them but each year is a new disaster (to hard, to soft, burned, bland). yet, I keep trying.

                    1. t
                      The Cats Other Mother Nov 30, 2009 09:58 AM

                      I am going to attempt chocolate covered cherries and homemade caramels this year. It's my first try at any kind of candy making, so wish me luck!

                      1. toodie jane Nov 30, 2009 10:48 AM

                        Doing toffee again this year but will flavor the toffee with a sachet of Vio instant coffee.

                        Also will try to duplicate my most recent addiction, the chocolate-dipped Nutty Bits from Trader Joe's. The roasted assorted nuts and seeds are held together with rice-syrup (will use plain sugar), pressed into a pan, then cut into squares and dipped in dark chocolate.

                        Will make some marshmallows with my new stand mixer. How to judge how much peppermint oil to add? Anyone have a specific peppermint marshmallow recipe? Or other flavors?

                        Might try some Turkish Delight too, with nuts. Mom always made it. As a kid, I didn't see the attraction, but I love Aplets and Cotlets now.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: toodie jane
                          chef chicklet Dec 12, 2009 05:15 PM

                          Is Turkish Delight a nougat candy using pistachios? I think I do if it is. I love nougat, and too love aplets and cotlets, do you make those also?

                          1. re: chef chicklet
                            MsMaryMc Dec 12, 2009 05:33 PM

                            Turkish Delight is more like Aplets and Cotlets, but when you say a nougat candy using pistachios, I believe you may be thinking of Torrone. I found this recipe in Martha Stewart Living and I've made it the past few Christmases--very tasty!

                            http://www.casagordita.com/torrone.htm

                            1. re: MsMaryMc
                              chef chicklet Dec 13, 2009 07:25 AM

                              That looks interesting, I wonder if you have to use the rice paper?

                              1. re: chef chicklet
                                Becca Porter Dec 13, 2009 07:28 AM

                                Yes, the rice paper is pretty important in torrone. I get mine from www.sugarcraft.com

                                1. re: Becca Porter
                                  MsMaryMc Dec 13, 2009 10:20 AM

                                  Agreed--the rice paper is necessary (otherwise the candy will be impossibly sticky and hard to handle). I've ordered it from Sugarcraft, too, but if you have a good cake decorating store where you live (Seattle has Home Cake Decorating Supply on Roosevelt Way--terrific resource!) you may find it there, too. Note that it's not the same as the rice paper eggroll wrappers you may find in an Asian food store--it's actually made from potato starch, not rice. It's also called wafer paper.

                                  1. re: MsMaryMc
                                    chef chicklet Dec 13, 2009 01:21 PM

                                    msMM& Beca, thanks, glad to check with more experieced candymakers when it comes to these things.Can make or break a good result.

                                    I was going to start doing a run through on candy next week, some will be gifts, and of course I'd like those to be wonderful.
                                    Sure hope we see pictures from all the terrific ideas being made on this thread!

                          2. re: toodie jane
                            q
                            quof Dec 15, 2010 12:21 AM

                            Toodie, I realize your post is a year old! but I found it when searching for Nutty Bits, which I just discovered this year. Did you have any success replicating them and, if so, would you mind sharing your recipe?

                          3. l
                            LJS Nov 30, 2009 12:44 PM

                            Maple cream fudge...this was such a hit last year, we have been asked, even begged, to do it again. I got a gallon jug of the dark Grade B syrup especially for the task. My daughter (thinking ahead this summer) found a dozen pretty antique-style, side-plates for gift-giving. Each little plate will hold 6-8 generous chunks of the golden goodie, all wrapped up in a Christmassy clear wrap with a festive bow! So much more fun than socks and it travels nearly as well!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: LJS
                              j
                              jencounter Nov 30, 2009 03:33 PM

                              Do you have a recipe?

                              1. re: LJS
                                l
                                LauraGrace Dec 1, 2009 05:39 AM

                                That sounds fantastic! I'd love the recipe too if you wouldn't mind!

                              2. MsMaryMc Nov 30, 2009 08:31 PM

                                I was always afraid of making caramels, until I tried this recipe (after someone posted it on Chowhound)

                                Salted Caramels
                                http://www.hungrybrowser.com/phaedrus...

                                They're easy, and to DIE for! They were a huge hit last year, so this time I'm making a ton of them (so we'll have some left for us!

                                )

                                Since the caramels were such a success, I've decided to tackle real fudge next. I've always made the marshmallow creme kind, but I want to try a real old-fashioned recipe. I'm using one from Cooks Illustrated. I also have a sour cream pecan praline recipe clipped from some unknown magazine that I'm going to try.

                                Of course, that's in addition to six or seven different kinds of cookies...

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: MsMaryMc
                                  t
                                  tweetie Dec 4, 2009 05:20 AM

                                  I'm making caramels too. Any tips on wrapping them?

                                  1. re: tweetie
                                    l
                                    lexpatti Dec 4, 2009 06:34 AM

                                    i had great luck with wax paper, sooooo good!

                                    1. re: tweetie
                                      MsMaryMc Dec 4, 2009 07:12 AM

                                      I bought some of these Caramel Wrap Sheets from SugarCraft

                                      http://www.sugarcraft.com/catalog/can...

                                      They're clear, so you can see the candy, and they don't stick at all.

                                      1. re: MsMaryMc
                                        j
                                        jeanmarieok Dec 4, 2009 10:11 AM

                                        Cool link - I had never heard of SugarCraft, and I usually just cut waxed paper squares, with not great results!!

                                        1. re: jeanmarieok
                                          MsMaryMc Dec 4, 2009 04:21 PM

                                          Be careful--they can sell you all kinds of things you never knew you needed (or that they even existed) before you saw them there!

                                  2. a
                                    AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 1, 2009 06:31 AM

                                    I make almond buttercrunch, candied fruit rinds, craisin pistachio white chocolate bark and vats of caramel corn. This year I might try my hand with fudge.

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                      l
                                      lexpatti Dec 3, 2009 03:42 PM

                                      ok, I'm sold - the almond buttercrunch sounds fantastic as does the bark. Do you have recipes to share? Would love to try them.

                                      1. re: lexpatti
                                        a
                                        AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 4, 2009 04:33 AM

                                        This is what I call a "some" recipe. You determine the proportions.

                                        White Chocolate Craisin Pistachio Bark

                                        some good quality white chocolate, chopped some craisins, some shelled pistachios (if you can only get salted rinse the salt from them and dry in a 200 deg oven) a parchment lined baking sheet

                                        Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a hot water bath or slowly in a microwave. The idea is to just melt the chocolate.

                                        Place pistachios on parchment lined baking pan and warm in 200 degree oven until slightly warm.
                                        Add craisins to baking pan until the pan is just about covered by fruit and nuts.
                                        Pour white chocolate over fruit and nuts and spread it so that there is one layer of craisins and pistachios covered by white chocolate.
                                        Let cool completely. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

                                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                          l
                                          lexpatti Dec 4, 2009 06:34 AM

                                          can't wait, combinations are awesome - thank you

                                          1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                            chef chicklet Dec 12, 2009 05:28 PM

                                            Those crasins and pistachio sound vaguely like a Donna Haye recipe I've seen and love, in one of her older magazines. I love her candy recipes they are always so beautifully done. Your White Chocolate Craisin Pistachio Bark sounds beautiful, would you share what white chocolate do you use? TIA!

                                            1. re: chef chicklet
                                              a
                                              AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 13, 2009 06:04 AM

                                              I used a block of Callebaut that I got in the Stop & Shop. I would suggest using the best white chocolate you can find rather than something like the white chocolate chips that Nestle puts out.

                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                chef chicklet Dec 13, 2009 07:26 AM

                                                great thanks for the tip!

                                            2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                              l
                                              lexpatti Dec 17, 2009 07:21 PM

                                              sooo awesome, made it twice now - thanks so much, love the salty sweet thing going on AND it's pretty!!!!

                                            3. re: lexpatti
                                              a
                                              AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 4, 2009 04:54 AM

                                              I got this from one of my favorite cookbooks-Better than Storebought. I have paraphrased here.

                                              Almond Buttercrunch

                                              Makes about 1 3/4 pounds

                                              3/4 cup whole, unblanched almonds
                                              1 cup finely chopped, unblanched almonds
                                              1 1/4 cups sugar
                                              1/3 cup light corn syrup
                                              1/3 cup water
                                              1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
                                              1 stick (8 tablespoons) margarine
                                              1/2 teaspoon salt
                                              1/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                              8 ounces dark sweet chocolate
                                              4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate
                                              2 teaspoons tasteless vegetable oil

                                              Toast whole almonds in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes until barely colored.

                                              Butter a baking sheet and keep it warm while the candy is cooking. I use a jelly roll pan. Butter a metal spatula as well.

                                              In a heavy pan, bring the combined sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil, stirring. Simmer covered for 2 minutes to wash the sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Add the margarine and butter then stir until melted. Stirring occasionally, boil over moderate heat until it reaches 240 degrees. Then stirring constantly cook until the mixture reaches 300 degrees.

                                              Move the pot from the heat and add the salt and soda. It may foam up a bit. Move the toasted almonds to the buttered baking sheet and pour the candy mixture over it. Using the metal spatula move the toffee to cover all the almonds. Let cool completely.

                                              Toast the finely chopped almonds (I use almond meal from Trader Joe) in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes until barely colored.

                                              Just melt half the chocolate in a microwave with 1 teaspoon of oil (I don’t use the oil and generally use just chocolate chips) –don’t let it get too hot. Pour it over the bark and spread with a metal spatula (an icing spatula is perfect for this). Then cover with the finely chopped almonds pressing them lightly into the chocolate. Let cool and turn over the toffee and repeat the chocolate process on the other side. When completely cool break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                buttertart Dec 4, 2009 05:09 AM

                                                "Better than Store-Bought" is one of the best cookbooks of all time. Everything I've made from it has been spot on. Deserves to be much better known.

                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                  a
                                                  AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 4, 2009 05:30 AM

                                                  I agree. Have you looked at Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty. Another keeper.

                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                    buttertart Dec 4, 2009 05:34 AM

                                                    Yep, have that one too. Don't find it quite as useful but it's also very good. I find I'm returning to my 70's-80's cookboks more and more these days for some reason.

                                                2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                  l
                                                  lexpatti Dec 4, 2009 06:33 AM

                                                  thanks so much, can't wait

                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                    Katie Nell Dec 15, 2009 10:40 PM

                                                    Margarine and butter? I've never seen a recipe call for both! I never buy margarine... I wonder what would happen if you just used butter?

                                                    1. re: Katie Nell
                                                      a
                                                      AGM_Cape_Cod Dec 16, 2009 05:32 AM

                                                      It is the only thing I buy margarine for. If you try all butter let me know how it works.

                                                    2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                      m
                                                      mvi Dec 17, 2010 12:50 PM

                                                      I made this last week with chocolate on just one side and it was so good that I am making more this weekend. Big hit and very easy. Had the almond meal on hand, with lots more...Thanks for sharing this recipe.

                                                  2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                                                    d
                                                    DivaSheila Dec 17, 2009 10:46 AM

                                                    I don't know if I'll make it this year or not, because I'm getting a late start, but I made Kahlua caramel corn a few years ago - it was SO good! Got the recipe from a recipe booklet Kahlua gave out.

                                                    1. re: DivaSheila
                                                      chef chicklet Dec 20, 2009 10:04 AM

                                                      oh i have that booklet somwhere.... the search is on!

                                                  3. h
                                                    HillJ Dec 1, 2009 08:44 AM

                                                    http://formerchef.com/2009/11/29/how-...

                                                    After reading, reading, reading all of the amazing choices for candy making & gift giving I'm done taste testing and have chosen this praline recipe. Simple. Beautiful. I plan to dip half a batch in good dark chocolate and leave the other half plain (but oh so good) and bag up gifted with a pint of homemade caramel ice cream. I bought lunch bag size freezer bags at the dollar store as gift holders to contain everything easily and plan to host a party for my gal pals mid December. Should be fun.

                                                    Thanks for all the ideas and inspirations above. I had a challenge making a final decision. So many choices!

                                                    1. tommyskitchen Dec 3, 2009 04:22 PM

                                                      Saveur Toffee - Insta-Hit at home and in the office:

                                                      http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                      Tried it with Almonds and Hazelnuts also - All good but mix of almonds and pecans is perfect. I have people start asking me in the summer when I will make it again.

                                                      I'm going to make another batch tonight - And try it with Bacon Bits (don't laugh!) - I make my own Bacon and if it works it might just be fantastic. I might have to omit the Kosher salt though....

                                                      The base recipe is slightly salty - Which people seem to like. I use unsalted butter and the required amount of Kosher Salt.....

                                                      Last year I went to Michael's Crafts and bought some cute little red and green chinese-style takeout boxes, lined them with tissue, and filled with Toffee - Instant Gifts!

                                                      1. g
                                                        gardencub Dec 3, 2009 04:32 PM

                                                        I am making home made marshmallows - peppermint, chocolate and citrus flavors.
                                                        I am also making a marblized peanut butter and dark chocolate bark type thing - old family recipe.
                                                        Truffles
                                                        chocolate covered apricots
                                                        chocolate coconut nests

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: gardencub
                                                          kattyeyes Dec 12, 2009 01:35 PM

                                                          While you're dipping things in chocolate, consider dipping Pretzel Thins.
                                                          http://www.chow.com/photos/374291

                                                          I am excited to try some of the recipes on this thread--maybe even caramels. Yummmmm!

                                                        2. r
                                                          rockycat Dec 4, 2009 06:19 AM

                                                          I'm thinking of making this Choco-Mallow recipe from KA:
                                                          http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                          It's really just Rocky Road but it's dead simple and great for making with kids. I use half and half white and pink marshmallows for a more "festive" appearance. I'm really pressed for time this year so this recipe will be ideal. I keep meaning to make fruit pates, but I somehow never seem to get around to it.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: rockycat
                                                            jmckee Dec 4, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                            I skipped this last year because of a terribly busy son's chorus schedule, but we felt the lack so I'll resume the 20 year tradition. Champagne chocolate truffles, from Camille Glenn's "The Heritage of Southern Cooking." Basically, you marinate diced glazed apricots in champagne / sparkling wine, drain and pat dry (reserve some marinade), then make a buttercream filling out of confectioners sugar and unsalted butter with some of the marinade beaten in. Fold the apricots into the buttercream, let ripen in fridge overnight. Make centers, let harden in fridge overnight covered with waxed paper. Dip in tempered chocolate (lately I've been using Scharffen-Berger and like it a lot). They're sensational.

                                                          2. mochi mochi Dec 5, 2009 12:25 PM

                                                            I usually make Dark Chocolate dipped Honeycomb, toffee, Toffee popcorn and this year I want to make Almond nougat dipped in dk. chocolate.

                                                            1. Chocolatechipkt Dec 10, 2009 09:08 AM

                                                              I'm making buttercrunch (have to make a lot -- my niece put it on her list, lol)
                                                              maybe caramels and maybe truffles ... depends on how much time I have! :)

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                                                                momskitchen Dec 12, 2009 02:34 AM

                                                                Gotta get motivated...maybe I'll make some candy today!

                                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                                                                  Chocolatechipkt Dec 14, 2009 07:43 PM

                                                                  Ok, I've made three batches of almond buttercrunch and one batch of fleur de sel caramel, in addition to a bunch of cookies. There's a lot of other stuff I'd like to make ... but I think for now I'm done.

                                                                2. c
                                                                  casey30 Dec 12, 2009 08:33 AM

                                                                  I'm doing truffles and toasted coconut marshmallows. The marshmallows aren't really a holiday treat, but my mom loves them (so do I), so I'll be making them for her (~me). Also the bark, but I use graham crackers and milk chocolate.

                                                                  The caramels sound great, so I'll be giving them a try too. If I make them tomorrow, will they still be fresh by Christmas. If not, how soon can I make them?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: casey30
                                                                    MsMaryMc Dec 12, 2009 09:48 AM

                                                                    I've never had caramels around for very long--they get devoured pretty quickly! I think they were fine for a week once, wrapped individually and stored at room temperature.

                                                                    1. re: casey30
                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Dec 12, 2009 11:06 AM

                                                                      I would not make them more than a week out. They won't go bad or anything, but in my experience, the texture begins to suffer when they get older.

                                                                    2. Caitlin McGrath Dec 12, 2009 07:58 PM

                                                                      Two things I have made in the past that were very well received are caramels (both the plain butter caramels and the chocolate variation from How to Cook Everything, which is straightforward and easy) and peppermint patties, using this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                      I notice that in some of the reviews, people had problems with the filling, but as I recall, I made it a day ahead and refrigerated it, and had no problem cutting out the shapes or dipping it. The key to getting that "cool" peppermint patty flavor is using peppermint oil rather than the extract called for. You don't need much, and I just added a tiny bit at a time until it tasted right.

                                                                      1. alliedawn_98 Dec 13, 2009 06:16 AM

                                                                        I made Martha Washington candy and peanut butter balls (buckeyes) last week. I plan to make an icebox fruitcake, cookies and Seven Layer Bars over the next 2 weeks.

                                                                        1. NYCkaren Dec 13, 2009 01:06 PM

                                                                          I made caramels last night but I think I took the mixture off the stove a hair to early. It looked like my thermometer was at 248 _ firm ball stage _ but the candy was not that firm. But I cut it into squares and wrapped them. I think they'll still taste good. I keep changing my mind about which candy _ and cookie _ recipes to make. Right now I have my eye on a Gale Gand recipe for peanut butter fudge from the Food Network site. Smitten Kitchen's coffee toffee sounds good too. And I bought macadamia nuts to make brittle. And I've thought about divinity.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: NYCkaren
                                                                            Chocolatechipkt Dec 14, 2009 07:42 PM

                                                                            I had that problem too -- 248 was too early, and when I cut into them later, they sliced but then mushed. So I salvaged as much as possible, put it back on the stove and cooked til 266 (which was from another recipe) ... couple of hours later, and all is good and wrapped up nicely. :)

                                                                          2. amyzan Dec 14, 2009 09:12 PM

                                                                            Green tea white chocolate almond butter cups. No family coming this year, so no divinity, panforte, or torrone. Boo hoo. I did candy some chestnuts I'm thinking of putting in a pannetone. I also saw a fantastic looking chestnut pie on Martha Stewart's show last month, but doubt I can locate chestnut creme here.

                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                            1. re: amyzan
                                                                              kattyeyes Dec 15, 2009 04:55 AM

                                                                              <<Green tea white chocolate almond butter cups.>>

                                                                              Wow. You can't just drop that description and run. Please do tell us more. ;)

                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                amyzan Dec 15, 2009 07:50 PM

                                                                                Easy peasy, kattyeyes. Melt good quality white chocolate (like Callebaut, one with cocoa butter) in the microwave or on stovetop. Mix in matcha powder to desired flavor. (I like it pretty dark green, because white chocolate is so sweet. I'd guess a tsp per four ounces?) Mix thoroughly, until no lumps or flecks of powder remain. Spoon quickly into candy cups, a couple tsp. to a tablespoon per cup, and spread with a spoon up the fluted edges of the cup. Jiggle a bit on a flat surface to smooth the bottoms and place in the fridge to harden. Meanwhile, mix 4 tbsp. smooth or crunch almond butter with a tbsp. of salted butter, then mix in enough confectioner's sugar to make a paste that will form a ball and barely hold its shape. (The amount will vary on whether you use a natural or homogenized almond butter. I recommend natural, which will require about an ounce of sugar, but YMMV.) Taste and add fine ground salt if you like. Divide the almond butter mixture into equal amounts as many cups as you have filled, and roll into balls. When the chocolate has hardened, remove from the fridge and pat the almond butter balls into the cups. War the remaining chocolate mixture as needed to spread, and distribute among the cups, spreading the chocolate to the edges of the cups. Return to the fridge to harden, then store airtight in a cool spot, or refrigerated. White chocolate shouldn't bloom if these are eaten within a few weeks. No tempering of the chocolate necessary.

                                                                                1. re: amyzan
                                                                                  kattyeyes Dec 16, 2009 04:49 AM

                                                                                  Thanks kindly! Sounds delicious and easy (one of my favorite combos--delicious and easy)! :)

                                                                                  1. re: amyzan
                                                                                    kattyeyes Dec 20, 2009 07:18 AM

                                                                                    Miss Amy, if I don't hear from you, I'm gonna wing the amount of white chocolate and start with 1/2 #. But I'm not too proud to ask...for the amounts you've mentioned above, how much white chocolate do you usually use? I have plenty. :) And how many cups does it usually yield? I also have plenty of little candy cups. Just curious.

                                                                                    Thank you and happy, happy holidays! *<:) HO HO HO!

                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                      amyzan Dec 24, 2009 05:11 PM

                                                                                      It's roughly an ounce of chocolate per mini candy cup (i.e. not the flat short muffin cup shape of a Reese's cup, but the mini size.) So, half a pound of white chocolate would yield about 8 cups, maybe one more if you're stingy. ;)

                                                                                      You're most welcome! Sorry I didn't get back here sooner.

                                                                                      1. re: amyzan
                                                                                        kattyeyes Dec 24, 2009 05:55 PM

                                                                                        Glad to see your response. I knew if I held out, you'd show up eventually. :) It was worth the wait to have a better clue about this. Thanks again!

                                                                                2. re: amyzan
                                                                                  buttertart Dec 15, 2009 05:44 AM

                                                                                  So how did the candied chestnuts go? Interested because of souschef's thread on the topic. And the green tea etc sounds...wow! Creme de marrons (usual brand Clément Faugier) is available at Kalustyan's in NYC as well as a lot of other places, also if you have access to the Turkish chestnuts in syrup you can puree them with about half the syrup and have effectively the same thing.

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                    amyzan Dec 15, 2009 07:55 PM

                                                                                    The broken ones taste great, and the whole are beautiful to behold, glistening little dark jewels. I did have a little trouble with crystallization, but was easily solved with a minute or two in more boiling syrup. I was wondering what to do with the leftover syrup, so I'm glad you mentioned making your own creme de marrons. The shops here have stopped carrying it this year, probably because of the economy. But, the chestnut trees bore well, what with the wet summer, so I have no complaints except that I wish I had more time for cooking and baking!

                                                                                  2. re: amyzan
                                                                                    kattyeyes Dec 25, 2009 04:06 PM

                                                                                    Miss Amy! I finally made your green tea white chocolate almond butter cups today. In your honor-- Zan/Zen--and the spirit of green tea, I've dubbed them Zen Bites. They're too good NOT to have a name. :)

                                                                                    I measured, so now we both have a recipe.

                                                                                    AMYZAN'S ZEN BITES
                                                                                    Just over 1 pound of white Callebaut (1.07)
                                                                                    2 tablespoons matcha powder
                                                                                    2 tablespoons of salted butter (instead of just one)
                                                                                    1/4 cup of powdered sugar
                                                                                    approx. 7 turns of the grinder of coarse ground salt

                                                                                    I used a little demitasse spoon to portion out the almond butter pasted (about half a spoon is plenty for the miniature cups I had--about the size of Reese's PB cup minis). I had a handful of larger ones, too...I wound up with 30 total.

                                                                                    THESE LITTLE GREEN ZEN BITES ARE INTENSE! Thank you for teaching me how to make them!

                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                      kattyeyes Dec 26, 2009 04:55 AM

                                                                                      Zen Bite food porn here, step by delicious step:
                                                                                      http://9liveskatseyes.shutterfly.com/61

                                                                                      Happy holidays, fellow candymakers!

                                                                                      P.S. To maximize your viewing pleasure, view as slideshow and select "full screen!"
                                                                                      P.P.S. I forgot to note the 4 tablespoons of almond butter to complete this recipe. I used natural smooth/unsalted.

                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                        buttertart Dec 26, 2009 06:29 AM

                                                                                        Brava kattyeyes and amyzan, these look wonderful. Will try sometime when I have more patience and more fridge space (can barely get the door closed at the moment).

                                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                        amyzan Nov 26, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                                                        Almost a year later, here I find your photos. They look delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

                                                                                        1. re: amyzan
                                                                                          kattyeyes Nov 26, 2010 02:48 PM

                                                                                          Thank YOU for showing me how--I have to make these again! :)

                                                                                        2. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                          o
                                                                                          omnomnompizza Dec 19, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                          I just made these last night and I just wanted to come say thank you to you and to amyzan for a great recipe! The measurements you added and the instructions really helped and they are DELICIOUS! I even tried to temper the white chocolate (I was drizzling some on biscotti first) and I think it worked (I've had questionable results tempering chocolate in the past) because they're sitting out at room temp and they look great!

                                                                                          Thanks again. I ended up using regular size muffin cups because the mini ones I bought were really floppy but they worked great. Using a halfed recipe of what kattyeyes posted I ended up with nine cups (about a third full.) I think they'll make great gifts!

                                                                                          1. re: omnomnompizza
                                                                                            kattyeyes Dec 19, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                                                            ♥ Your post made my day. I had forgotten about these--and they really are special treats! Behold the power of collaboration on CH. It's a beautiful thing! ♥ HO-HO-HO to you and amyzan! P.S. Love your screen name!

                                                                                      3. JEN10 Dec 15, 2009 06:15 AM

                                                                                        I too made a white chocolate bark with dried cherries, toasted almonds, and mint. Today we will be making mint chocolate meringues. While they bake we will do a couple of bathces of coffee toffee. I did the cranberry and almond biscotti last week, and then a dried fruit pinwheel with Brandy cookie Sunday. After today I am putting the mixer to rest!!!

                                                                                        1. f
                                                                                          Fuser Dec 15, 2009 11:22 PM

                                                                                          I'll be making everyone's favorite: buckeyes -- chocolate covered peanut butter balls. These are HUGE in Ohio and everyone had a favorite recipe. Many call for adding paraffin to the chocolate, but it's much better without it. I also make that easy Kraft furge that is derided by many. Of course I never use margarine and have been know to flavor it with bourbon.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Fuser
                                                                                            kattyeyes Dec 16, 2009 04:54 AM

                                                                                            Agree 100%--buckeyes ARE everyone's favorite! DEEEEEEELICIOUS! What is not to love about chocolate and peanut butter. And I'm not even from Ohio. ;)

                                                                                          2. legourmettv Dec 16, 2009 05:18 AM

                                                                                            After spending loads of time making what I would consider 'real' candies ( I know I have a food snob problem...) What my close family and distant relatives all crave are these easy to make substitutes:
                                                                                            Microwave Peanut Brittle
                                                                                            Chocolate Marshmallow 'Fudge'
                                                                                            Coconut & Jell-O Strawberries

                                                                                            Always a hit, always the first to disappear from the sideboard.

                                                                                            G.

                                                                                            1. a
                                                                                              aekbooth Dec 16, 2009 05:25 AM

                                                                                              I made dark chocolate pecan buttercrunch for teacher gifts and my friends went wild over the remains. I'll have to make another batch.

                                                                                              http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2...

                                                                                              I also made quick mint fudge and butter toffee pretzels. I am tempted to make marshmallows if I get time.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: aekbooth
                                                                                                amyzan Dec 16, 2009 04:08 PM

                                                                                                Curious about the butter toffee pretzels, if you have a minute. Is that pretzels pieces in toffee, or do you somehow get the toffee to adhere to a pretzel? Sounds like an inspired combo.

                                                                                              2. l
                                                                                                lexpatti Dec 17, 2009 07:24 PM

                                                                                                might be doing Paula Deen's bark with pretzels and peanuts. - just love that salty sweet. It would look sooo nnice next to the white bark with pistachio and cran raisins that AGM Cape shared above!!!!!

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: lexpatti
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  lexpatti Dec 20, 2009 07:37 AM

                                                                                                  now I have both, and both are fantastic - I think I do prefer the white choco with pistachios and cranraisins over the dark choco with pretzels and peanuts. They look nice together though for gift giving.

                                                                                                2. geminigirl Dec 22, 2009 04:15 PM

                                                                                                  made peanut butter cups with this post as a guide, including adding peanut butter to the chocolate which I would recomend - this is the type of "candy" that is soo easy to make yet people are extremley impressed...

                                                                                                  http://havecakewilltravel.com/2008/08...

                                                                                                  also made both caramels (plain and chocolate) from how to cook everything and they were both very easy (and I am not a candy maker) and people loved them. thanks for whoever suggested the caramel recipie. It was good for a beginner!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: geminigirl
                                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath Dec 25, 2009 12:19 PM

                                                                                                    That caramel recipe from HTCE turns out great without much fuss and people looove homemade caramels. I think for all homemade candy, people think you're a rock star - as you say, so easy, yet people are so imressed.

                                                                                                  2. j
                                                                                                    jenn Dec 25, 2009 03:46 PM

                                                                                                    yes. We made sugared walnuts yesterday--one batch turned out well and I forgot one so it was quite overcooked. Also made provencial honey nouget candy which is good but a filling KILLER. I think I cooked the honey mix too long---its not really soft as described.

                                                                                                    I'd like to make some toffees and take a second stab at the honey nouget.

                                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                                      Butter Is Better Dec 10, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                                                                      Fudge, roses Mahgoney Butternut crunch, pralines, Turtles and truffels

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Butter Is Better
                                                                                                        momskitchen Dec 10, 2010 03:25 PM

                                                                                                        All right....I would love to see the recipe for the butternut crunch. Do share

                                                                                                        1. re: momskitchen
                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                          toveggiegirl Dec 11, 2010 11:04 PM

                                                                                                          I think Butter is Better is probably referring to the Mahogany Butter Crunch Toffee recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's cookbook, "Rose's Christmas Cookies".
                                                                                                          http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...

                                                                                                      2. j
                                                                                                        jbsiegel Dec 10, 2010 04:39 PM

                                                                                                        Going stupid simple - Oreo & Nutter Butter balls and Buckeyes!

                                                                                                        1. l
                                                                                                          L987 Dec 10, 2010 04:43 PM

                                                                                                          Im gonna make

                                                                                                          ice chocolate (the easyest candy ever just coconut oil and chocolate)
                                                                                                          microwave toffee (also easy to make)
                                                                                                          turkish pepper (liquorice) fudge with sea salt
                                                                                                          coconut bars (like bounty or mounds bars)
                                                                                                          while cocolate truffles with lime cant decide if im gonna do the onece with coconut or without.. made those with coconut last year, kinda cute, looks like little snowballs.. found a pic, lets see if it works.. sorry for the bad light they rn't that yellow
                                                                                                          candied almonds
                                                                                                          maybe some marshmallow banana fudge
                                                                                                          maybe rocky road

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          1. sarahjay Dec 11, 2010 11:17 PM

                                                                                                            I'm thinking about making Elderflower marshmallows, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I have elderflower syrup and think maybe I could sub some for the sugar in the recipe (gelatin, no egg white) I usually use. Does anyone have any ideas?

                                                                                                            1. h
                                                                                                              HillJ Dec 17, 2010 06:23 AM

                                                                                                              I am going to give gingerbread caramels a try this year:
                                                                                                              http://technicolorkitcheninenglish.bl...

                                                                                                              Has anyone given this flavor a try? Is the spice ratio accurate?

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                weezieduzzit Dec 19, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                                                                                That sounds delicious! The spice ratio looks like that of the gingerbread men I'm making except it's missing the black pepper my recipe has.

                                                                                                              2. weezieduzzit Dec 19, 2012 12:21 PM

                                                                                                                I made a test batch of these chai tea caramels and had a few people try them- they've been a huge hit so I'm making lots of them... once I walk to the store for another candy thermometer, that is. I just broke it while cleaning the kitchen. :( I thought I was done having to go to the store.....

                                                                                                                http://www.showfoodchef.com/2011/12/f...

                                                                                                                1. PotatoHouse Dec 19, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                  my wife is the candy maker in our house. This year she made peanut brittle, peppermint patties, and peanut butter balls.

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