Friday, December 08, 2006

Two favorite candy recipes

Hehehe, haven't accidentally clicked on my much ignored (blush) recipe blog. I promise I will soon be adding lots of good stuff there. I wanted to share two favorite candy recipes this morning because they are so yummy and easy.

It can be difficult to find a candy recipe to make with kids. This first recipe is one they will enjoy helping you make. It is a Beverly Nye recipe, I think from her first book in the early 1970's. I have a link to her website on the sidebar. Since I used to see her on television when I was a teenager (and we won't say how long ago that was), she is older and doesn't update her site much. However, there are still great recipes there and you can purchase some of her cookbooks.

She called this recipe "Homemade Mounds" after the Mounds candy bar. You can also use it as the base for Easter basket candy by using the white dipping "chocolate" that has been tinted with a small amount of food colorings.

Homemade Mounds (and variations)
Knead Together:
8 oz. Package cream cheese (room temperature)
2 lb. Bag powdered sugar
Coconut (as much as you can knead in)
(You will also need two packages dipping chocolate later)

I mix these together with my stand mixer and get about half a large package of coconut mixed in.*

1/2 teaspoon almond extract -or-
1 teaspoon vanilla extract -or- (and this is what I often do)
Put in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to the mixture, take about 1/2 of the mixture out of the bowl, add 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of mint extract to the mixture remaining in the bowl.

You can experiment with other extracts. I've used maple extract and kneaded in some chopped nuts. I've also used orange extract. (I wonder what cherry extract would taste like...yum.)

Roll mixture into balls and dip into dipping chocolate. I use a spoon and a fork for this (or you can use professional candy equipment). I bring up the ball from the chocolate and "roll" it onto a fork where the excess can drip through a bit. Then I place it on parchment paper (foil will do just fine, too, you just need something easy to peel off the candy). The dipping chocolate hardens quickly so I find it best to melt just half a package in a small bowl at a time.

*If Beverly was just making mint candy, she would leave out the coconut. Since this recipe makes a large amount, I like to make it all at once and just add the mint extract to the remaining "Mounds" ingredients and make them into patties instead of a round great, too.

You can really use your creativity with this recipe by changing the extracts around, mixing in finely chopped nuts, before dipping the ball in chocolate you can push a walnut or pecan half in the ball, you can knead in dried or candied fruit (chopped finely)...lots of great things to do with the Mounds recipe as a base.

The base recipe can be made one or two days in advance, just keep it in an airtight container or a bowl that has been tightly sealed with plastic wrap then form and dip into the chocolate when you have time. I made my base on Saturday and wasn't able to form them and dip them until yesterday (Thursday).

You can also make the candy into the balls or patties, place undipped candy on a plate (or cookie sheet if your freezer is big enough), set timer for thirty minutes. Take out the candy and pour into zip-lock bag and freeze. (Ask me why you have to set the timer???) This recipe makes a lot of candy so I dipped only part of them yesterday (using only one package of dipping chocolate) and froze the rest to use as gifts later. All you will have to do is dip them into the chocolate.

You can make these look like a fancy gift by placing individual candies in tiny paper cups and placing them in a tin. It looks uptown for a very small price. I have never had to refrigerate the candy, even with the cream cheese base. It's probably the two pounds of confectioners sugar that preserves it.
Here is my other easy candy recipe It is from a Rachel Ray Christmas program a couple of years ago. She make it into a wreath by putting the condensed milk can (washed) into the middle of a round cake pan and forming the fudge around the can, into a wreath. She added green and red candied fruits to the top of the "wreath". I have made it as a wreath, in an 8" square dish, in a small loaf pan and (by working quickly) into round balls and placed in the small paper cups. Except for making them into the round balls, the entire recipe takes about ten minutes!

Rachel Ray's Fudge
1 Pkg. Semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz.)
1 Pkg. Milk chocolate chips (12 oz.)*
1 Can Sweetened condensed milk
1 t. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Currents**
1/4 Cup Chopped nuts (optional)

Heat condensed milk in saucepan, add chocolate chips until melted. Add vanilla, then currents and nuts (if using). Pour into a dish as the options described above.

Chill. Work quickly as fudge sets faster than you would think!

*I always use the semi-sweet chocolate chips as a base. Sometimes, instead of milk chocolate chips I will use another type--mint chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc.

**I've tried variations and the smaller currents really do work better than raisins. However, you could also use chopped raisins, dried cherries, or dried cranberries.

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