Christmas Candy

This is a month too late, but better late then never, right? This year was the year of candy. I bet I had at least 20 pounds of candy in my freezer at one point. I spent 2 days making candy with a friend and then with my family.

Conversions can be tricky when dealing with candy making. Here are a few tips:

  • Peanut Butter: 8 oz =  1 cup
  • Butter: 1 stick = 1/2 cup
  • Chocolate: 1 pound = 4 cups
  • Granulated sugar: 1/2 pound = 1 cup
  • Powdered Sugar: 1/4 pound = 1 cup

Here are some of the recipes we used:

Tiger Bark by Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white chocolate, cut into pieces or use white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 4 teaspoons half-and-half cream (I don’t use this I just melt the choc. by itself)

Directions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, white chocolate and peanut butter on medium for 2-3 minutes or until melted; mix well.
  2. Pour onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray and spread into a thin layer.
  3. In another microwave-safe bowl, heat dark chocolate and cream on high for about 30 seconds or more or until chips are soft; stir until smooth.
  4. Pour and swirl over peanut butter layer. Freeze for 5 minutes or until set. Break into small pieces. Yield: about 1-1/2 pounds.

 

Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Clusters by Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 12 soft caramel candy cubes
  • 1.5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, broken into 12 pieces (ideally 70% coca)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven (leave oven on). If desired, set aside 36 pecans on baking sheet and then finely chop the remaining pecans for a decorative topping.
  2. When pecans are cool enough to handle, make 12 clusters by arranging 2 pecans vertically, side by side, below 1 pecan placed horizontally. Gently flatten each caramel; place 1 on top of each cluster. Bake clusters 5 minutes. Remove from oven (leave oven on).
  3. Place 1 piece of chocolate on top of each cluster. Return to oven; bake until chocolate begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven.With the back of a spoon, gently spread chocolate over caramel without completely covering it.
  4. Sprinkle clusters with reserved chopped pecans. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Peanut Butter Balls by twotwenty-one.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3.75 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cup crushed crisp rice cereal (use a food processor)
  • 1 pound dark chocolate

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil, wax paper, or parchment paper. Mix peanut butter and butter together in a stand mixer. Add powdered sugar and crushed cereal. Once combied, roll mixture into balls.
  2. Melt chocolate. Drop balls into chocolate and remove with a toothpick. Place on prepared pan and let cool.

 

Homemade Mounds Bars by Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Ingredients

  • Two 14-oz bags of coconut (unsweetened is ideal but hard to find)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 pound dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp butter,

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer, add coconut, milk, 1/2 cup butter, and powdered sugar. Mix well.
  2. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 2 hour (or put in the garage if you live in WI).
  3. Melt 1/2 pound of chocolate and 1 tsp butter. If doing this in the microwave stir every 30 sec to prevent burning. Spread over chilled coconut mixture. Chill until chocolate is set.
  4. Flip bars over and peel off parchment paper. Melt remaining chocolate and butter and spread over the coconut later. Chill. Once firm, cut into squares. They may be easier to cut at room temp since frozen chocolate can be tough.

 

Chocolate Angel Food Candy by taste of home

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp butter or cooking spray
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup (I only had light and it worked fine)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 pound dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp shortening

Directions

  1. Line  9″ baking an with foil and grease with butter or spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, combined sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar. Cook and stir over medium heat until the thermometer reads 300F (hard crack stage).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Immediately pour into the pan. Do not spread candy. It will foam up very high and may spill over a bit.
  4. Cool . Use foil to life candy out f pan. Gently peel back foil and break candy into pieces. Make 2 piles – large candy pieces and remaining crumbs/small pieces.
  5. Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper. Melt chocolate with 1 tsp butter. Dip large pieces in chocolate  and then set onto the prepared pan. Let cool completely.
  6. Stir the remaining crumbs/small pieces into the remaining chocolate. Pour mixture onto the other cookie sheet. You can pour it as one large piece that you will cut up later or scoop it out into cluster-size pieces.

 

Peppermint Patties by Blue-eyed Bakers
*our patties didn’t turn out all that great. I am not sure what went wrong. I did use some granulated sugar, which made them gritty – bad idea. I also must have added too much corn syrup because the mixture was very sticky. I was wondering if I could add some oat flour to the picture when it was too sticky or to cut the sweetness. If I do this in the future, I’ll post an update.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup peppermint candies, crushed

Directions

  1. Beat 2 1/4 cups of confectioners sugar together with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract and butter until just combined in a large stand mixer with paddle.  The mixture will be very crumbly.
  2. Dust a work surface with remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar.  Empty contents of bowl onto work surface and knead until smooth (this will take a few minutes).  Shape dough into a log, about 2 inches by 8 inches long.  Wrap tightly in parchment paper and freeze until very firm, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove dough and slice into rounds using a sharp knife.  Place rounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze again until firm, for at least 15 minutes.
  4. While dough is chilling, melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals.  Cool slightly.  Chocolate should be warm but not so hot that you cannot put your finger into it.
  5. Cover another baking sheet with parchment paper.  Remove patties from freezer one at a time and submerge into melted chocolate. You can use a toothpick or large spoon to help with this.  Coat quickly and allow excess chocolate to drip off.  Place on parchment paper lined pan and sprinkle with crushed candies.  Repeat, covering all patties with chocolate and candy.
  6. Let patties stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour.  Store in fridge, between wax paper in an airtight container.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Trail Mix Bark 
adapted from Bite-Sized Party Bark by Happy Hour Projects

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp craisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1/2 pound white chocolate

Directions

  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients except the chocolate together.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the ingredient mixtures from step 2.
  4. Scoop out the mixture into clusters using a large metal spoon that has been sprayed with cooking spray (to prevent sticking). Let cool.

 

Nutella Fudge

I made this with my friends Megan and Steph last December and it was amazing! Very rich and easy to make. The sea salt adds a special something, so be sure not to leave it out! I first found this at Two Peas and Their Pod, but it directs you to Tasty Kitchen for the recipe.

Nutella Fudge
Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (we used Mexican vanilla extract and I highly recommend it)
  • 8 oz high-quality bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Nutella at room temp.
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Sea salt

Directions

  1. Spray an 8′ x 8″ baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving overlap on each side.
  2. Set-up a double boiler*. Keep the water just simmering.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and stir until almost melted. Stir continuously to prevent burning.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla, nutella, and butter, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
  6. Once the fudge is firm, try to lift out the parchment paper and fudge. STOP if you notice and resistance – run a knife under hot water and then run it along the edges of the pan to loosen the fudge. Once it is lifted out, peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 3/4: squares. Store in the refrigerator.

*To make a double boiler, take a large pan and fill the bottom with a few inches of water. Bring to a simmer. Place a glass or ceramic bowl on top – it should be slightly bigger than the pan so it won’t fall in, but not too big that it could roll off. This allows you to melt chocolate or heat milk without it burning – you should never melt chocolate directly in a pan. The water in the pan should NEVER touch the bottom of the bowl – if it does you either used too much water or too small of a pan.

Nutella Fudge

I made this with my friends Megan and Steph last December and it was amazing! Very rich and easy to make. The sea salt adds a special something, so be sure not to leave it out! I first found this at Two Peas and Their Pod, but it directs you to Tasty Kitchen for the recipe.

Nutella Fudge
Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (we used Mexican vanilla extract and I highly recommend it)
  • 8 oz high-quality bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Nutella at room temp.
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Sea salt

Directions

  1. Spray an 8′ x 8″ baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving overlap on each side.
  2. Set-up a double boiler*. Keep the water just simmering.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and stir until almost melted. Stir continuously to prevent burning.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla, nutella, and butter, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
  6. Once the fudge is firm, try to lift out the parchment paper and fudge. STOP if you notice and resistance – run a knife under hot water and then run it along the edges of the pan to loosen the fudge. Once it is lifted out, peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 3/4: squares. Store in the refrigerator.

*To make a double boiler, take a large pan and fill the bottom with a few inches of water. Bring to a simmer. Place a glass or ceramic bowl on top – it should be slightly bigger than the pan so it won’t fall in, but not too big that it could roll off. This allows you to melt chocolate or heat milk without it burning – you should never melt chocolate directly in a pan. The water in the pan should NEVER touch the bottom of the bowl – if it does you either used too much water or too small of a pan.

Christmas Candy

Last year Jason and I spent an entire weekend making Christmas candy to give as gifts to everyone we knew. We went through pounds of chocolate and in the end we had more candy than we knew what to do with. While we haven’t made any yet this year, I figured I would post the recipes for those of you who may be planning to make candy this year. Everything turned out except the truffles…those had to stay in the freezer and ended up being more of a headache than a tasty treat.

Sorry there are no pictures, but these were all made last year when I wasn’t into food blogging yet. If you make any of these please send a picture my way!

Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 full size muffins
(we used mini muffin tins for a more realistic size)

  • 12 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Fill muffin tins muffin cups. Pour melted chocolate into the bottom, about 1/6 of the way up. Coat the sides with the chocolate as well. Put in the refrigerator or set out side to harden. While hardening, mix peanut butter, sugar and salt. Once chocolate is hard, add desired amount of peanut butter. Refrigerator about 1 hour until peanut butter is harder. Top off with dark chocolate.

Peppermint Bark
12 servings

  • 20 starlight mint candies
  • 1 cup small salted pretzel twists
  • 1 pound white chocolate

Unwrap candies and place in a zip-lock bag; smash with a hammer. Do the same with the pretzels in their own bag. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the white chocolate and pour over parchment paper. Sprinkle the crushed candies and pretzels. Cool for 3 hours.

Peanut Butter Bark

  • 1 pound dark chocolate
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup dry roasted nuts

Warm the peanut butter in the microwave until a thin consistency. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and pour 3/4 of it over parchment paper. Pour peanut butter on the chocolate in a wave-like fashion. With a spatula, create a swirled pattern. Sprinkle the peanuts on top and top with the remaining chocolate. Cool for 3 hours.

Holiday Truffles
36-40 servings

  • 10, 1oz squares of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz milk chocolate, separated
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ cup maraschino cherries, finely chopped and well drained
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopping
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Chop all but ½ the milk chocolate and set aside in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over low heat until bubbles begin to form. Remove from heat immediately and add the chopped chocolate, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Allow mixture to cool. Stir in butter and almond extract. Cover and refrigerate about 8 hours. Grate remaining chocolate, sir in nuts and set aside. Remove the chilled chocolate mixture and allow it to warm slightly. Mix the chopped cherries into chocolate and form into 36-40 balls. Roll balls in the chocolate-nut mixture and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 2 months.

Sugared Pecan Halves
10 servings

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp green sugar
  • 2 tbsp red sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F. Mix egg white and water until frothy. IN another bowl mix the sugars and salt. Dip the pecans in the egg and then roll in sugar mixture. Place on an un greased shallow baking pan and bake at 300F for 30-40 minutes, stirring and turning every 15 minutes.

Peppermint Patties
8 dozen

  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp peppermint extract
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 6 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 ½ pound dark chocolate

In a large bowl, mix milk, peppermint, and food coloring. Add sugar and beat on low until smooth. Turn onto a surface sprinkled with sugar. Knead lightly and shape into 1” balls. Place 2” apart on wax paper and flatten into patties. Let dry 1 hour, turn over and let dry 1 more hour. With a fork, drip each in the chocolate and let stand until solid.

Pecan Balls
72 servings

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Powdered sugar to coat

Preheat over to 350F. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and salt; beat until combined. Beat in vanilla. Ass a much flour as you can and stir in remaining flour with wooden spoon. Stir in pecans. Shape slightly rounded teaspoons. Place 1” apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!