Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Candies

For the past few years now, I've been joining my coworker Marge, candy maker extraordinaire, in her annual "Willy Wonka" day, as I like to call it. Before I joined Marge in making the candy, I used to be a recipient of a box of beautiful homemade candies each year from her. Now, I help her make them and I give them out to my family and friends as a "from the heart" gift for the holidays. :)
Today we made all sorts of candies...chocolate covered oreos (plain and mint flavored!), chocolate covered toffee with almonds, chocolate covered caramels, chocolate covered creme-filled nutter butter squares (woah!), etc... Phew, that was a lot of chocolate covered items! There's also peppermint bark, plain milk, white, and dark chocolates in various shaped molds - and a few others. I can't remember them all! Marge makes several of the candy items ahead of time too. If she didn't, this would surely be a two day affair as opposed to just one 8 or 9 hour day! One item that I made from start to finish today was the toffee covered in chocolate and crushed almonds, pictured below.
Toffee is actually pretty easy to make even though it actually feels rather intimidating (at least I thought it did at first). I didn't take any pictures of the process today, but you can find out exactly out to make toffee here. You make the actual sticky toffee part only with sugar and butter - 1 cup of each. Easy! It's important to monitor it the whole time while on the stove though. If you let it cook just a tad too long, it's no good! I did that last year - oops. I learned my lesson last year, and it came out well this time around. :) Before the toffee hardens completely, it's important to score it so that it's easier to break into squares later on. Once I had the individual squares, I dipped each one in melted milk chocolate and then immediately sprinkled (liberally) crushed almonds on each one. Voila! Nothing to it.
I am sworn to secrecy and can't give out all the essential secrets to making delicious
homemade candies, unfortunately. But, I can show you a picture of what a finished box looks like... So pretty! If you're lucky enough, you may even get a box of your own someday. ;-)

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