I want to do candy gift boxes this Christmas and would appreciate your favorite candy recipes and any accompanying tips and tricks. Then I'll just be hoping for nice dry weather!
CHOCOLATE NUT TOFFEE (about 12-15 pieces)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 stick butter (8 TBL)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips
Spread the nuts in the bottom of a well-greased 8" baking pan. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the sugar & boil the mixture for 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour immediately over the nuts; let stand a few minutes. Spread chocolate chips on top. Cover with a bread board to keep in the heat. When the chocolate has softened, spread evenly. Refrigerate. When cool, break into pieecs.~~
8 oz soft caramels
2 TBL heavy cream
1 cup pecan halves
Melt caramels in heavy cream in top of a double boiler. Arrange pecans in groups of 5 (a head & 4 legs.) Spoon caramel in a small mound in the middle of the nuts to make the body. The caramel should partially cover the nuts to keep them in place. Let stand until hard. Coat body, head & legs with dipping chocolate.
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Stir with a spoon while chocolate is melting. Be careful not to drip ay water into the chocolate or the chocolate might "seize." Spoon melted chocolate over body, head & legs of turtle.~~
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLES
1 1/3 cups + 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tBL heavy cream
1 TBL butter
2 TBL seedless raspberry jam
Confectioners' sugar to taste
Combine 1 1/3 cups of the chocolate chips with the cream & butter in the top part of a double boiler. Cook over hot water until smooth, stirring constantly. Stir in the jam. Allow the mixture to cool, then freeze, covered w/Sarann wrap for 20 minutes. Shape into balls. Place on a cookie sheet. Freeze until firm. Melt the remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in a double boiler over hot water, stirring occasionally. Using a toothpick, dip the candy balls 1 at a time into the chocolate. Place on a cookie sheet. Chill until set. Dust w/confectioners' sugar.~~
CREAMY PRALINES (about 18)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups granulted sugar
3 TBL light Karo syrup
1 cup milk (evaporated makes richer pralines)
4 TBL butter
2-3 cups pecan halves
2 tsp vanilla
In a heavy pot, combine the sugars, Karo & milk. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, over moderately high heat. Add 1/2 the butter when the candy first comes to a boil, then continue to cook until it reaches 236Â° (soft ball). Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter & beat, using about 150 vigorous strokes. Add the vanilla & pecans & continue beating until the candy becomes slightly lighter in color & is more creamy. This is the most important step. While the candy is still hot, drop onto buttered waxed paper so that it will form smooth creamy pieces about 2" in diameter. Allow to harden before serving.~~ (From A Cook's Tour.)
I use a toffee recipe very similar to Ginger's and I definitely recommend it!! It only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and everybody loves it. The only difference between her recipe and mine is that I use a full cup of brown sugar and milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.
Here's a spiced nut recipe I got from a neighbor years ago, I make it using pecans. It always goes in the Christmas boxes. Tried & true. Be sure to have that tinfoil spread out before you start, I usually get dd to help me separate the nuts (with her own pair of forks).
SoniaÂs Spiced Nuts
3 cups nuts (toasted)
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons Pet evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Boil all except nuts together until mixture forms soft ball when tested in cold water. Pour over nuts and mix well. Pour onto tinfoil and separate using two forks. Serve when cool.
This is my "most requested" recipe at Christmas. My husband loves it. It is very rich, so a small piece goes a long way.
Maple "Bun" Bars
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. creamy peanut butter
Microwave until melted. Stir well. Spread 1/2 mixture on wax paper lined 9" square pan. Put in freezer till set. Add 1 c. dry roasted peanuts to rest of mixture and cool.
Mix 1/4 c. milk, 2 T. cook & serve vanilla pudding mix, 1/2 c. butter. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Add 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. maple flavoring. Spread over first layer, and pour peanut mixture over top. Spread evenly. Let cool and cut into small pieces.
2 c. marshmallow cream
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 14oz. bag caramels
2 T. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. butter flavoring
Combine marshmallow cream, sugar, butter flavoring, and vanilla. Knead until all sugar is thoroughly combined. Shape into 8 rolls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze. Melt caramels and heavy cream in top of double boiler. Dip frozen rolls in melted caramel and roll in chopped pecans.
Both of those sounds good. The spiced pecans with evaporated milk is interesting.. Never heard of anything similar.
Almost forgot these!
CHOCOLATE PEANUT CLUSTERS
2 TBL peanut butter
1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups salted Spanish peanuts
Melt peanut butter, butterscotch chips & chocolate chips in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Stir in peanuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.~~
Here's another Nut Cluster recipe you might like:
CHOCOLATE NUT CLUSTERS (3 1/2 dozen large)
1 lb milk chocolate
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups unsalted peanuts, almonds or pecans
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat & stir in milk. Blend in nuts until well-coated. Drop by taspoonfuls onto buttered cookie sheet. Refrigerate several hours.~~
Here's another candy that will definitely go in the box. Bengal Lily used to post at Garden Party some years back, that's when she posted this. This is a tried and true.
Bengal LilyÂs Turtles
2 c evaporated milk
2 c sugar
1 c dark corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c butter
12 oz pkg choc chips
1 1/2 lb pecan halves
Before you start anything arrange groups of pecans on a buttered cookie sheet (I use 3 halves per turtle). Put 1c of evaporated milk into a pot, add sugar, salt, and sytup. Cook on medium high, stirring until mixture boils. Add second cup of evaporated milk slowly so the mixture does not stop boiling. Cook 5 min stirring, stir in butter a tablespoon at a time. Reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly until a small amount of the caramel forms a firm ball when dropped into very cold water (248 on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and gently stir in the vanilla, cool slightly. Put about 1 T of caramel mixture on each group of nuts. Let stand about 5 minutes. Melt chocolate chips in microwave and spread on each turtle. If white spots appear on the chocolate donÂt worry, it just means the humidity was high when you melted the choc. Microwave helps to eliminate that.