Archive for: candy
Fudge is a rich, easy to make candy that will always satisfy the sweet tooth of a chocoholic. I like to make it around the because it makes a good gift and is very easy to ship, since you don’t have to worry about anything going stale between the time you make it and the time that your recipient gets the package.
This is a plain dark chocolate fudge that uses sweetened condensed milk. The sweetened condensed milk is very sweet and creamy, and it makes for a fudge that is quite smooth and has none of that grainy texture that you will find in some fudge recipes. It is also a neat ingredient because it allows you to streamline the process of making fudge and eliminates the need for using a candy thermometer. I add a little vanilla and a pinch of salt to the fudge to smooth out the darker notes of the dark chocolate. The finished fudge has a great dark chocolate flavor, a very rich texture and a hint of vanilla in the finish.
The easiest chocolates to use for making a fudge recipe like this one are semisweet chocolate chips, which are a type of dark chocolate. Since you really taste the chocolate flavor in the finished fudge, however, I recommend taking a little time to make sure you are using a dark chocolate that you really like the flavor of (I used Callebaut, but have also used Guittard chocolate for this). You will notice a difference in the finished fudge when you start with a higher quality chocolate at the beginning.
This fudge keeps very well when stored in an airtight container. I prefer to stack the pieces with sheets of parchment paper in between the squares to keep them from sticking together until they can all be eaten. I recommend cutting the fudge into small squares, as it is quite rich and large, brownie-sized pieces might be a little too much.
Apples and candy bars are pretty much at opposite ends of the snacking spectrum, but sometimes opposites can work together in surprising ways to create something great. These Candy Bar-Stuffed Baked Apples are a lot like that. They are tender, oven-roasted apples that are stuffed with candy bars before baking so that they have a gooey, warm, indulgent filling when you cut them open.
The inspiration for the apples came from a chocolate and caramel covered candy apple that I had recently. The sweet coating was a great contrast with the sweet-tart apple inside. This baked apple is like an inside out caramel apple, where the candy is packed at the center of the fruit instead of wrapped around it. I used leftover snack-sized Halloween candy bars as my filling, stuffing them into the center of the cored apples. The candy bars hold up well during baking and just about all of my filling stayed inside of my apples.
My personal preference on these apples was to use Milky Way or Snickers’ type candy bars. The peanuts from the Snickers added some nice texture, and worked with the caramel apple theme because those apples are often dipped in nuts. The Milky Way seemed to have more caramel and the nougat was nice when it was warm. Milk chocolate seems to be a bit better than dark chocolate for me. Experiment a little bit with whatever candies you have – because I suspect a peanut butter and chocolate candy bar would be delicious – but I don’t think you could go wrong with either of these two.
The peels of the apples can become fairly tough during baking, but they give baked apples a much nicer finished look than completely peeled apples have. I usually cut some shallow vertical slits in the peel with my knife (as though I were going to cut the apple into sections), which leaves the skin intact, but makes the apple easier to eat when it is ready. Baking time will vary depending on the type of apples that you have and how large they are. Check the apples for doneness by poking them with the tip of a sharp knife. When the apples are tender, they are ready to eat. Serve them as-is, or with vanilla ice cream.
The day after Halloween, you will probably have a big pile of Halloween candies that you didn’t give out to trick-or-treaters, and you might have another pile that your kids collected while they were out. There is usually a lot of variety in Halloween candies, but they can still get boring after a while. Fortunately, if you look at them as ingredients that you can work with instead of just pieces of candy, there are a lot of options for to put them to good use. Some recipes transform them, while other recipes repackage them with a few other flavors for something more exciting than your average candy bar.
Halloween Candy Lava Cakes are absolutely irresistible, transforming mini chocolate bars into a gourmet chocolate dessert with a molten center. They’re easier to make than you might think, and the caramel and nougat centers that are common in bars like Snickers and Milky Ways are a great contrast with the rich chocolate.
Chop up those miniature chocolate bars and bake them into a Halloween Candy Bundt Cake. This brown sugar bundt cake is not too sweet, so sweetness from the mini candy bars really pops and balances the cake well. You can use candy bars that are all the same type, or mix things up with a variety so every slice will be unique.
Candied citrus peels have a lot of flavor in a little, sugary package and they’re a lovely treat to make after you’ve just juiced a lot of citrus fruit because they make good use of all those orange and lemon rinds. You can candy any kind of citrus fruit, but one of my favorites is lemon because it has a bright flavor and goes well with all kinds of recipes.
I use a paring knife to cut the skin off of the lemon, getting only a small amount of the pith (the white part beneath the skin) and try to keep the peels at a uniform thickness, even if they are unevenly shaped. I then cut each large strip into several smaller strips before candying. Candied orange peels are typically cut into uniform strips and are often served as a candy in their own right. I rarely see this with candied lemon peel. And while I like to snack on them when I make them, I don’t typically serve them on their own, either. As a result, I am a lot more casual about slicing my peels before candying. There is a lot of variation in the size and shape of my candied lemon peels, though I try to keep the thickness uniform, and they turn out just fine.
Once your peels are cut, the next step in candying lemon peels is to blanch the rind to remove any bitterness. Some recipes advise you to do this up to three times, changing the water and blanching again. I tend to only do this step once. I use organic lemons and meyer lemons and don’t find them to be too bitter, even with a small amount of pith still on the rind. So, I feel that this is a matter of personal preference and you can blanch your rinds up to two more times if you prefer when you try this recipe at home.
The peels are then cooked in a sugar syrup until they are tender and well-infused with sugar. The peels are dried, then rolled in more sugar to give them a crisp finish. The peels store very well and, once they are completely dry, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to several weeks. They can also be incorporated into other recipes or used as a garnish for desserts.
And don’t forget to save the leftover sugar syrup when making this recipe. It is very sweet and has a terrific lemon flavor, so it can be used to sweeten drinks or make a big batch of lemonade!
Once you have mastered the process of tempering chocolate, you are going to want to be able to do something with all of it. One of the simplest options for your tempered chocolate is using it to dip strawberries, homemade marshmallows or other goodies that you already have around the house that could use a layer of chocolate. The next simplest option is to make Chocolate Mendiants. Mendiants are a traditional French confection made with a disc of chocolate topped with dried fruits and nuts. They’re typically very colorful and they are so versatile that they never get boring.
Mendiants can be made with white, milk or dark chocolate and any combination of topping elements. Whole nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts, are traditionally the “anchor” of a mendiant and other nuts and dried fruits are added for color and flavor. The key to a good mendiant is to experiment with flavors that you like, but to try to chose combinations that look as good as they taste so that the candies are visually appealing, too. Whole
You can customize the treats to your own tastes, but you’ll get the best results by mixing up a variety of colors, flavors and textures. For a little inspiration, a few of my favorite combinations include:
- Almonds, pistachios and dried apricots
- Almonds, pistachios and cacao nibs (pictured)
- Walnuts, pistachios and cranberries
- Pecans, cherries and gingersnap cookie pieces
- Macadamia nuts, dried pineapple and coconut shreds
You will want to line your work surface with parchment paper so that it is easy to move your mendiants after they have set up. I prefer to put my parchment on baking sheets, so that the mendiants are easy to move around if I need more space, but you can just as easily place the parchment sheets on a table or countertop. Make sure that your toppings are close by; the chocolate sets up quickly once it is piped and you want those toppings to be easy to reach for! I recommend piping a few circles of chocolate at a time, then adding the toppings before piping another row. The chocolate will spread slightly, but you can put these fairly close together and fit a lot of chocolates onto one sheet of parchment.