Showing posts from December 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Truffles

"Wow, Dena!  You must have made a million different types of candy this year!"

No, and I told you a million times not to exaggerate.  The actual number is about 14-ish, and I intend to share them all with you.  Virtually, anyway, since virtually all of it is going to theHubby's clients.  Any dregs leftovers will be shared with my co-workers.  Assuming that, when youngerSon comes home from college next week in time for Chanukah, he doesn't eat them all.  Sorry ...

Especially these peanut butter balls.  Or, as I call 'em, nature's most perfect food.  Peanut butter has lots of protein.  Chocolate is heart-healthy.  And calories in powdered sugar don't count if you eat quickly (or standing up ... I forget which).

I used smooth peanut butter because that's what is stocked in my house.  Feel free to use crunchy if that's how you roll (truffles).  Likewise, I prefer to use natural peanut butter in this recipe.  Try experimenting with two separate batch…

Cinnamon and Sugar Almonds

Time to go nuts ... for candied almonds.  Or as we call it, almond crack.  Be forewarned -- you will need to make two batches, one for gift-giving, and one for you if you make the "mistake" of testing a few before packing them up. 

In the out-of-focus background is one of the gift trays I made.  Several of these trays, along with 15 (!) 1-pound boxes of candy, will be divvied out to theHubby's clients as Chanukah or other holiday gifts.  I'll show more photos eventually (this is called a teaser, to get you curious and to increase the odds of you visiting this blog more often.  Hope it works ...).

Candied almonds are (is?) another confection where a silicon baking mat is much more mucho better than greased foil.  I've made candied almonds on separate occasions using both, and boy, there's no comparison.  With foil, the spatula scrapes along the foil, eventually shredding it, forcing you to  pick out all those micro-shreds  ... unless you prefer listing it as …

Almond-Flavored Lollipops

Ever wanted to make lollipops, but thought you needed a special mould to make them?  Me, neither ... until I spotted this recipe.   You can pour these lollipops freehand and they will pretty much self-form nice circles, with only a few less than perfect (as you can see above in the bottom lolly).

This is a recipe that  (according to Oh! You Cook!, not an authoritative source) the silicon baking mat was invented for. The lollipops will *pop* off so easily,  you will kiss yourself (or whoever gave one to you) for owning this miracle of a mat.

Despite the massive amount of Amaretto required (1/4 cup plus a little extra), the taste remains mild.   I suggest not giving one to your favorite child.  Not because of all that booze (almost all the alcohol boils off from the long boil-time and the small amount added after is equivalent to using extract), but because these babies are too good for the kiddies.

Almond-Flavored Lollipops
based on  Leite's Culinaria
yield: 16 lollipops

1/4 cup plu…

Chocolate-Coated Marshmallows - Easy

Chocolate-dipped marshmallows, just like chocolate-dipped pretzels, are very easy treats to make with the kids.  Unlike chocolate-dipped pretzels, though, it's a bit easy to squish the marshmallows, so caution them (the kids, not the 'mallows) to be gentle.  Keep a washcloth or five handy because no matter how careful you are, someone is eventually gonna stick a hand into the melted chocolate.

Leave the silicone baking mat in the pantry drawer.  No atomic heat is involved, except for nuking the chocolate.  

If you prefer, substitute chocolate chips mixed with a couple tablespoons vegetable shortening for the melting chocolate.

As for the nuts, you will use very little if you buy them pre-chopped/sliced/slivered; so freeze leftovers for a future project.  If you are nut-allergic but still want a showy result, sprinkle on a few shreds of coconut or jimmies.  Or squiggle on some white chocolate for really fancy-schmancy results.

Chocolate-Coated Marshmallows
adapted from myrecipes

Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle is an old-fashion candy that is still popular today. According The Food Timeline, a real authoritative source for a change, recipes for candy made with groundnuts (as peanuts were then called) first appeared in 1847. The term brittle, however, wasn't used until almost 50 years later.

I have been using this peanut brittle recipe for almost 10 years. It's more peanut than brittle. If you want something resembling the boxed stuff made who-knows-how-long-ago that you find at the supermarket, reduce the amount of peanuts by a half-cup.

Many recipes call for buttering a foil-lined baking sheet, which can result in a tasty but greasy brittle. That is, unless you missed a spot while buttering. In which case you have peanut-and-foil brittle. Or as Snidely Whiplash puts it, "Curses! Foiled Again!".

Some recipes suggest blotting the brittle with paper towels to remove all that grease, but I have an even better suggestion (TIP ALERT!): invest in a sili…