Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Candies

I made holiday caramel and toffee candies inspired by Food and Wine Magazine over the holiday. It was a fun adventure, as I never made candy before. I wrapped them up and will be giving them out as gifts to help people get through holiday withdrawal over the next week.

Chocolate-Almond Toffee (from Food and Wine)
What You Need:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup salted roasted almonds—3/4 cup coarsely chopped, 1/4 cup finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, crumbled
- 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

What You Do:
1. Line an 8-by-11-inch baking pan with foil.
2. Spray the foil with vegetable oil.
3. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter.
4. Stir in the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
5. Cook over moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until a deeply golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 300° on a candy thermometer, 15 minutes. Note: if the sugar and butter separate, stir vigorously to blend (this happened to me, pretty scary and not sure the toffee truly recovered!).
6. Remove from the heat and add the coarsely chopped almonds, vanilla and salt.
7. Scrape the toffee into the prepared pan; let cool for 10 minutes.
8. Sprinkle half of the chocolate over the toffee and let stand until melted.
9. Spread the chocolate over the toffee and sprinkle with half of the finely chopped almonds.
10. Freeze the toffee for 10 minutes.
11. Invert the toffee onto a foil-lined baking sheet and peel off the foil backing.
12. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the remaining chocolate.
13. Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the toffee and sprinkle with the remaining finely chopped almonds.
14. Let the toffee cool, then break into shards.

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Caramels (from Food and Wine)
What You Need:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- Coarse sea salt, crumbled
- 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional)

What You Do:
1. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil; spray it with vegetable oil.
2. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter.
3. Add the sugar, corn syrup and cream and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
4. Add the vanilla seeds. (They smell so good!)
5. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, 1 hour.
6. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan.
7. Let cool and set completely overnight.
8. Lightly oil a sheet of parchment paper and line 2 baking sheets with wax paper.
9. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. (This is the easy part)
10. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips and then into 1-inch squares. (This is the hard part! It took me awhile to get these cut up!)
11. Dip the squares into the chocolate, tap off the excess and transfer to the wax paper on the baking sheets.
12. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
11. Alternatively, wrap the plain caramel squares in wax paper and tie with thread.

No comments:

Post a Comment