Holiday Candy 2017

Now that some snow has fallen, it’s time to start making Christmas Treats.  Three types of candy, including two new recipes, was the goal for today – Fudge, Truffles and Caramels.

Chocolate Truffles IMG_2549
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
5 Tbs butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs shortening
1  cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. In an 8 cup microwave bowl, microwave semisweet chips uncovered on medium in 1 minute increments for 3 to 4 minutes until melted and smooth, stirring well after each minute.  Stir in butter until melted. Stir in heavy cream until well blended.  Refrigerate until thickened enough to hold a shape.  The original recipe suggested that this step would take 10 to 15 minutes.  It actually took me about 90 minute before I could shape the mix. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto the parchment paper.  Shape into balls. Freeze 30 minutes.

Heat shortening and dark chocolate chips in microwave until melted. Stir until smooth.  Dip each ball, one at a time, into the chocolate.  Place on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Heat the white chocolate until melting.  Drizzle over the truffles.  Refrigerate until set.  Serve at room temperature.

This was my first time making truffles.  I always thought that they would be a bit tricky to make.  However, this recipe is actually very easy.

Source: this recipe is a modification of a Betty Crocker recipe.

Apple Cider CaramelsIMG_2551
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
6 Tbs butter
1/2  cup Boiled Cider
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.  Combine the cream, syrup, sugar, butter and cider in a deep saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 245 degrees on a candy thermometer, approximately 45 minutes. This will give soft caramels.  If you want firm candies, then heat longer until the mixture reaches 248 degrees.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and spices.  Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan.  Let stand until slightly set before transferring to the refrigerator to cool completely.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2″ – 1″ pieces.  Wrap in waxed paper.

The apple flavor and spices make these caramels very tasty!

Source: King Arthur Flour.

Holiday Candy

Last year I discovered a couple recipes for making candy the easy way – in the microwave. So, this year, I decided I would try to find a few more recipes.  And, since fudge is a traditional holiday treat, I thought I would try a few microwave fudge recipes. I found two different types of recipes – one using sweetened condensed milk and the other using evaporated milk and marshmallow fluff.

Peanut Butter Fudge
3 cups Peanut Butter Chipsimg_1999
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup finely chopped, salted peanuts
1  cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Line a 9″ pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  In an 8 cup microwave bowl, microwave chips uncovered on medium in 1 minute increments for 3 to 4 minutes until melted and smooth, stirring well after each minute.  Stir in milk, peanut butter, and peanuts until blended.  Press mixture evenly into pan.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, microwave chocolate chips and cream on high for 60-90 seconds, stir until smooth.  Spread evenly over fudge.  Refrigerate for one hour. Cut into 8 rows of 8 pieces. Store in an airtight container.

White Chocolate Fudgeimg_2004
3 cup sugar
1 (6 ounce) can Evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
12 ounces Premium White Chocolate Chips
1 (7 1/2 ounce) jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 tsp vanilla
1  cup toasted chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Line a 9″ pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In an 8 cup microwave bowl, combine sugar, milk and butter and microwave uncovered on high for 3  minutes.  Stir and microwave for 7 additional minutes, stirring every minute.  Add chips and marshmallow fluff and stir until melted and creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until blended.

Press mixture evenly into pan.  Refrigerate for one hour. Cut into 8 rows of 8 pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Both recipes turned out well.  Although traditional fudge is much fluffier.  So, I will probably return to those in the future.

I did make the Microwave Peanut Brittle and English Toffee (recipes found here:Microwave Candy – English Toffee and Peanut Brittle) that I had tried last year.  Those were very tasty again!

Microwave Candy – English Toffee and Peanut Brittle

With three boys living out-of-state, I have started making my holiday treats a little early this year. Candy and Cookies really make Christmas tasty. And, I know they will appreciate receiving a box with some holiday treats.

Growing up, my mother and grandmother taught me how to make candy. I continue to do so as an adult with my own children. However, the recipes that I was taught were – lets face it – a pain in the butt.  They were messy and required lots of attention to time and temperature.

Last year, I came across a recipe for Microwave Toffee and gave it a try.  Wow, the recipe was super simple, made little mess, required no candy thermometer and tasted great. So, I started my holiday baking by making that recipe again this year.

Microwave English Toffee

Makes: approximately 2 pounds
Calories: TMTC

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup Light Karo Syrup
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

In an eight-cup mixing bowl, microwave the butter and sugar on high for 1 minute.
     Note: you really do need this size bowl – the mixture bubbles a lot!
Remove the bowl from microwave and stir to blend. Add syrup and stir again.
Return the bowl to the microwave and cook on high until the color turns the color of a brown paper bag (approximately 8-10 minutes).
While cooking, measure out the baking soda and 1/2 cup of nuts.  Also line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the mix from the microwave.  Quickly stir in the  baking soda and nuts (be careful not to over stir or your candy will start to setup too quickly).
Spread the candy mix over the parchment paper in the pan.
Wait 1 minute and then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the mix.
Wait another minute, then spread the chocolate.  Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.
Cool.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy.

I cannot remember where I say the toffee recipe.  But, there are now many sources on the internet. Having found the toffee easy to make, I sought out a recipe for making peanut brittle the same way.  King Arthur Flour has a really nice recipe that I tried and was equally surprised with the outcome.

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Makes: approximately 2 pounds
Calories: TMTC

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla extract

In an eight-cup mixing bowl, mix the sugar and syrup until combined.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Remove the bowl from microwave and stir in the peanuts and butter.
Return the bowl to the microwave and cook on high until caramel colored (approximately 4 minutes).
While cooking, measure out the baking soda and vanilla.  Also line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the mix from the microwave.  Quickly stir in the  baking soda and vanilla.
Spread the candy mix over the parchment paper in the pan.
Cool.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy.