Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Goodies

Part of this Christmas I plan on making some inexpensive goodies for the kids, thought I would share some recipes:


12 c. popped corn
1 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. sugar
1 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry or lime Jello

In 1 quart saucepan combine corn syrup and sugar. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Without stirring, bring mixture to a full boil. Remove from heat and add Jello; stir until dissolved. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn and toss to coat well. With lightly buttered hands, form into balls. Place on waxed paper to set at room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen balls. Will keep for several weeks.

Sea Glass Candy:

2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
1/4 to 1 teaspoon flavoring oil(see Note), depending on strength of flavor
Liquid or paste food color(paste colors are more intense)
Confectioners' sugar

Make an assortment of fruit or spice flavors in a variety of colors. A candy thermometer is very helpful, but not essential.

1.Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Place on a wire cooling rack.

2. Stir sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat just until sugar dissolves.

3. Without stirring, boil until candy thermometer registers 300 degrees F. to 310 F.(or test by dropping small amount into ice water; syrup should seperate into threads that are hard and brittle). Immediately remove from heat and wait a minute or two for boiling to stop.

4. With a wooden spoon, stir in flavoring oil and
food color until blended. Immediately pour onto prepared cookie sheet. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Lightly dust slab of candy on both sides with confectioners' sugar, brushing off excess sugar. Break into small pieces. Store airtight. Makes 1 pound, 6 ounces(4 cups)
Note: Flavoring oils are available at most cake and baking-supply stores

Chocolate Caramels (Yummy)


* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
* 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, stir the sugar and corn syrup together until the sugar is completely moistened. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until it turns a very light caramel color, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and very slowly pour the cream into the hot sugar (be careful-it will bubble up) and stir to combine. Return the mixture to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer inserted in the pot reads 238 degrees F, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate and butter until smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased 8-by-8 inch square baking dish. Allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours) before cutting into 1-inch squares.
How to Temper Chocolate:

* From Dessert Circus, Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make at Home, by Jacques Torres

Chocolate is tempered so that after it has been melted, it retains its gloss and hardens again without becoming chalky and white (that happens when the molecules of fat separate and form on top of the chocolate). There are a variety of ways to temper.

One of the easiest ways to temper chocolate is to chop it into small pieces and then place it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time on high power until most of the chocolate is melted. Be very careful not to overheat it. (The temperature of dark chocolate should be between 88 and 90 degrees F, slightly warmer than your bottom lip. It will retain its shape even when mostly melted. White and milk chocolates melt at a temperature approximately 2 degrees F less because of the amount of lactose they contain.) Any remaining lumps will melt in the chocolate's residual heat. Use an immersion blender or whisk to break up the lumps. Usually, chocolate begins to set, or crystallize, along the side of the bowl. As it sets, mix those crystals into the melted chocolate to temper it. A glass bowl retains heat well and keeps the chocolate tempered longer.

Another way to temper chocolate is called seeding. In this method, add small pieces of unmelted chocolate to melted chocolate. The amount of unmelted chocolate to be added depends on the temperature of the melted chocolate, but is usually 1/4 of the total amount. It is easiest to use an immersion blender for this, or a whisk.

The classic way to temper chocolate is called tabliering. Two thirds of the melted chocolate is poured onto a marble or another cold work surface. The chocolate is spread out and worked with a spatula until its temperature is approximately 81 degrees F. At this stage, it is thick and begins to set. This tempered chocolate is then added to the remaining non-tempered chocolate and mixed thoroughly until the mass has a completely uniform temperature. If the temperature is still too high, part of the chocolate is worked further on the cold surface until the correct temperature is reached. This is a lot of work, requires a lot of room, and makes a big mess.

A simple method of checking tempering, is to apply a small quantity of chocolate to a piece of paper or to the point of a knife. If the chocolate has been correctly tempered, it will harden evenly and show a good gloss within a few minutes.

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