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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Candy for Mother's Day

Xmas Candy

Candies all wrapped up

A friend of mine asked me for some candy recipes that I used over the holidays and I realized that I had never done my Christmas candy blog post. I'm a terrible blogger. Just awful. Why on earth would any one come to such a woefully lapsed blog any way.

Whatever. Here's some just effing awesome candy recipes that are sure to get your Mom all fired up for Mothers Day. Or at least make her feel appreciated for, you know, bring you life, or something like that.

Sea Salt Caramels

if your mother is a salty dog, she'll love these!
1 cup heavy cream
5 tblsp UNsalted butter (very important here otherwise you will go insane, like drinking salt water)
2 tblsp sea salt or fleur de sel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup (this is not the devil high fructose corn syrup and can't really be substituted in candies. It helps the whole thing hold together)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (REAL, people)

You will need a candy thermometer for this. There's no bones about it.

Simmer cream, butter, salt and vanilla in a small sauce pan.

Put the sugar and water in a large sauce pan over high heat, stirring constantly until it's dissolved. STOP stirring, swirl the whole pan and bring it all to a boil rising to 240-248 on the candy thermometer.

Carefully and slowly stream in the cream. Simmer and stir frequently and lower the heat maintaining a temp of no higher than 250 for at least 15 mins or until you get the consistency you want. Drop a little into ice cold water to test.

Pour into an 8x10 butter pan and cool. Once it's almost totally set but not quite, sprinkle some large salt crystals on the top. Cool all the way. Cut and wrap each in wax paper for the best keep.

Bacon Peanut Brittle

Unless your Mom is a crazy vegan, she will love this. Everyone did. Except vegans and some other religious folks who don't worship at the alter of the smoked pig. Crazy folks right?

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (again, you can't make this without it)
4 tblsp butter or try subbing in bacon grease for that extra kick on bacony flavor
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1 lb of cooked bacon, chopped

Combine the sugars and corn syrup over high heat, stirring until dissolved, then stop stirring and swirl the pan if needed, bringing the temp up to 290-300.

Quickly stir in the flavors and baking soda.

Add peanuts and bacon, remove from heat.

Spread very fast on thin grease baking sheets and cool 15-20 until it's hardened. Then have fun breaking off big sweet greasy chucks of candy awesomeness.

Port wine and Hazel nut truffles

if you have an entire Sunday to kill making these for your mom, do it. But she'll never appreciate the tedium that goes into making homemade truffles

10 oz bittersweet chocolate
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate for the coating
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tblsp unsalted butter
1 tblsp light corn syrup
1/4 ruby port wine - you can swap this for brandy
1/2 cup roasted and chopped hazel nuts - you can swap this for cocoa powder, shredded coconut or other nut of your fancy

You really need a melon baller to do these right. I didn't think so, but trust me, you really, really do.

In a double boiler, or my version of one, a glass bowl over a pot of simmer water, combine 10 oz bittersweet chocolate with the butter and heat until lightly melted and the butter just combines. It should still be chunky, but stir it so the butter combines. If you heat it too much it will separate when you add the hot cream. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat the cream and corn syrup over medium heat until simmering. Pour this over the just melted chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Gently stir the mixture in concentric circles inside to out until the chocolate is melted into the cream and well combined. Slowly stream in the wine and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a 8x8 (should be at least an 1 1/2 inches high for best scooping). And refrigerate for at least an hour.

Using your handing melon baller, you thought it was good for nothing since who the hell balls melon now a days any way, scoop out the balls (heh, she said balls) on to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and put back in the fridge for 30 more mins. They are going to be dipped in hot chocolate so they need to be cold.

In your double boiler, heat up the 8 oz of semi sweet slowly and stirring until melted. Check the temp and never let it get over 92 degrees or it won't have that crunch when you bite into it. It will still taste totally awesome though, just don't get it too hot. You may even want to remove the heat and just use the hot water for this step.

Get you bowl full of chopped nuts ready, because you are going to put your balls in it! Take an ice cream scoop and load it up with melted chocolate , drop a cold ball in it and roll until coated (10 - 15 seconds to set), quickly roll in the nuts (same 10 - 15 seconds to set) and then set to cool on another sheet of fresh wax paper to cool. Let them cool in a cool dry place for at least an hour before wrapping or moving them to boxes!