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Posts Tagged ‘Candy’

Normally for the holiday’s I make chocolate covered popcorn. This is popcorn that is mixed with pretzels, peanuts, and M&M’s (I try and find the seasonal bags), and all of it is coated in white chocolate and drizzled with milk (or dark) chocolate. It is so good!

However, for St. Patrick’sDay, I did something a little different. How about some Leprechaun Crunch? It’s just as good as the popcorn, and it’s easy to add in whatever you prefer!

This starts with mint cookies. I used a box of Andes Creme’ de Menthe cookies, but you could use Thin Mints (if you bought extra during Girl Scout cookie season!) or Grasshopper cookies (made by Keebler). I added chopped up Andes mints, pretzel pieces, and green M&M’s (I just used regular milk chocolate M&M’s, but you could use whatever flavor M&M’s you want, as long as it’s green!). All of this is covered in dark chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. A few shamrock sprinkles for good measure, and you have a fun St. Patrick’s Day candy!

Leprechaun Crunch/Bake, Run, Live

Leprechaun Crunch

1 box Andes Creme’ de Menthe cookies, roughly chopped
2 cups mini pretzels, lightly broken
15 Andes mint candies, finely chopped
1 cup green M&M’s
1 pound dark melting chocolate
1/4 pound white melting chocolate
Shamrock sprinkles (optional)

Line a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch pan with wax paper. Place the cookies, pretzels, mint candies, and M&M’s on the wax paper. Spread everything out so it is an even layer. Melt the dark chocolate according to your favorite method, then pour it evenly over everything. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle that over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle on the shamrock sprinkles (if using). Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and break the candy into pieces. Enjoy!

Leprechaun Crunch/Bake, Run, Live

Leprechaun Crunch/Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: Flour Me With Love, Mrs. Happy Homemaker, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Or So She Says, Make Ahead Meals, I Heart Nap Time, Craftionary, The Frugal Girls, Create With Joy, The Chicken Chick.

Made with love, not calories!

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

October 31st is National Candy Apple Day!

I’m not a big fan of candy apples, just for the simple reason that they are hard on my teeth. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have fun making them and giving them away! Let others enjoy them (and break their teeth- geez, I hope not!).

Candy apples are easy to make, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First off- this is not a recipe that young kids should be helping with. I’m not trying to be mean. You will be working with a sugar mixture that is 300 degrees. Even once you start dipping the apples and the sugar mixture has stopped boiling, and it looks safe- it isn’t. Also, the cinnamon oil that you use to add flavor, is very strong. You will be adding this once the sugar comes to temperature, and there will be a lot of fumes. If you are standing over the pot (which I highly suggest that you Do Not) you could hurt your sinus cavities from the fumes. Believe me, I learned the hard way years ago when I first started making the sugar mixture for hard candy. If this is your first time making hard sugar candy, having a bowl of ice water nearby would be beneficial in case you get any hot sugar on your skin.

Ok! If I haven’t scared you off, let’s make some candy apples!

Cinnamon Candy Apples

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
Red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil (.125 fl. oz.)
8 small apples (I used Gala apples)
8 popsicle sticks

Remove the stems from the apples and insert a popsicle stick. Place the apples on a silpat mat. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Clip on a candy thermometer and continue stirring until the temperature reaches 300 degrees. *If you have an exhaust fan over your stove, turn it on now (or open a nearby window)! Remove the pan from the heat and add in the food coloring and cinnamon oil (be careful not to stand over-top the pan), stirring well to combine. Working quickly, tilt the saucepan to pool the sugar mixture, and dip your apples. Let the excess drip off for a few seconds, then place the apples back onto the silpat mat. After all the apples have been dipped, any extra candy can be poured directly onto the siplat mat (on an open spot). The apples will set up very quickly, but wait 30 minutes before eating them. Note: if you had extra candy, once it hardens, break it up and toss it in a little powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

*I purchased my Cinnamon oil at a  local candy supply store, however, I have also seen it at Wal-Mart. Make sure it says oil- extract isn’t strong enough for the recipe.

Made with love, not calories!

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Buckeyes (candy)

I’m not a big football fan. Oh, I’ll watch it, and I’m even getting better at asking intelligent questions, but if it wasn’t on- I wouldn’t miss it. Wait. I would miss the band. I LOVE watching the marching bands. Professional football sucks at this. It’s half-time, and they cut to the Half-Time Report. WHY? Didn’t I just spend the last 2 hours watching the 1st half- now you have to tell me what I saw? I know, the half-time report covers all the rest of the games, blah, blah, blah. I still would prefer to watch the marching bands.

Yup- you might have guessed that I was a band nerd in school. Marched with the bass clarinet or saxophone, depending on the music we were performing. Loved it. Hated being out in the cold, but loved the marching band.

I think I got lost on a tangent there. I actually wanted to talk to you about Buckeyes…candy. Not marching bands (like the Ohio State Buckeyes)! Oh, silly me! (Welcome to my crazy thought process)

Buckeyes, the candy, is a peanut butter center that has been dipped in chocolate. Read that carefully…dipped in chocolate- not covered in chocolate. You still want to see some of the peanut butter center peeking through- so it looks like a Buckeye! I know- cool concept :)

Buckeyes
Makes 30 candies

1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 pound melting chocolate*

In medium size mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. The mixture will be thick.
Using a small-sized ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet. Roll into balls. Note: if the mixture is sticky (say the weather is warm), place the buckeye centers in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until cool enough to roll.
Melt your chocolate, according to your favorite method…being careful not to burn it. Stick a toothpick into a buckeye center  and dip it in the chocolate…making sure not to cover the whole thing. Place back on cookie sheet (remove toothpick), and continue. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator to let the buckeyes set. Serve cold or at room temperature.
*Note: You can use whatever melting chocolate you have on hand. I used Merckens milk chocolate for one batch, than Merckens dark chocolate for another batch.

Enjoy!

Peanut butter mixture

Peanut butter mixture scooped...

and rolled

Buckeyes (milk chocolate and dark chocolate)

Made with love, not calories!

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Chewy Homemade Caramel

I love caramel. I don’t love how most commercial caramel sticks to my teeth. So what’s a girl to do? MAKE HER OWN! Yeah! Ok, can you tell I’m excited here?

Making your own homemade caramel is easy- you just dump all the ingredients in a large saucepan, and away we go! HOWEVER- it is time consuming…like don’t walk away for a good 45 minutes…time consuming. It is worth it though, I promise. And once you make this recipe, you can use it for so many yummy treats (caramel dipped apples, homemade snickers, turtles- the list goes on).

Are you ready for a story? No? Read it anyways (please)- it’s cute!

Picture this: mid December and my decorated Christmas tree was in the living room. Lights shimmering and reflecting off the ornaments, while snow was falling gently outside the bay window (ok, ok, I’ll get on with the story). I am standing at my stove, making a batch of caramel while my kittens were sleeping peacefully…or so I thought. The caramel had just come up to a boil- this is a point that you CAN NOT walk away- when all of a sudden I hear ornaments hitting the ground. It was like they knew I couldn’t walk away! All I could do was yell at them while still stirring the caramel. Looking back, I could have turned the heat off or moved the pot, but I wasn’t thinking. Oh well, it did make me laugh afterwards, and I think of it every time I make caramel.

Chewy Homemade Caramel
Makes 8×8 inch pan
Time: 35-45 minutes, from start to finish

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream (heavy whipping cream can be used also)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, optional

In large heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients, except vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously (you can use a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula). Once it reaches a boil, do not walk away- you need to keep stirring.

Caramel- boiling

Full boil. Do not walk away!

Caramel burns very quickly. Once the mixture looks like it’s subsiding and starting to thicken up, attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Be careful not to let it rest on the bottom of the pan, as it will throw off your temperature readings.

Caramel- almost done

It's almost there. See how it's gotten thicker?

You are looking for a temperature of 240-245 degrees (depending on how chewy or hard you prefer). Once it reaches 240 degrees, take it off the heat and add your vanilla extract, if using. I like to continue stirring the mixture, as it helps cool it down a little (this mixture is hot and will cause serious burns).

Finished caramel

We're done! Doesn't this look gorgeous?

Pour caramel into a foil lined, buttered, 8×8 inch baking dish. Let cool to room temperature (this will take a few hours). Cut into serving size pieces. Enjoy!

Oh, just a quick note to go with the story above… I was smart this time (No, I don’t have Christmas ornaments out), I fed the cats their dinner right before I started making the caramel! :)

Dinner time!

Made with love, not calories!

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