Archive for the 'Candy' Category

Pipe Dream #321: To Make a Time Investment – Angostura Rock Candy + Botanical Chocolate Cupcakes

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These ballerina beauties took a good two weeks to procure. They are the longest cooking patience experiment of my life. Observe them well. It is well worth it.

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Bitters.

Questions I had at the outset of this project: Why does this Angostura brand look like it is from the seventies? Something about that font. But I love the way it plays off the…Helvetica? There are like 16 fonts on this label. And why does the paper come halfway off the bottle?

 

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I may never know, but what I do know is that I can make rock candy of my very own flavored with bitters and used for all sorts of nefarious and delightful purpose such as, I don’t know, a twist on the classic champagne cocktail?? Imagine rock candy in a champagne coupe!

 

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Imma skip the technical instructions on this one, the link above was the best method I found in my research. I added in a tablespoon of bitters at the end and really did use a whole three cups of sugar instead of two.

The growth process was somewhat MacGyver-ed. I used these tiny plastic cups as the greenhouse growth place for the sticks because I wanted to not have to make gallons of the sugar solution, but I left the sticks a little too close to the bottom of the glasses, and they sort of grew crystals into the bottom of the glass. So when you go for it, I recommend using larger glasses and keeping your sticks about an inch from the bottom.

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You can also dangle strings into the glasses. My major MAJOR happy idea was to grow rock candy on the ends of sparklers and stick THAT in a champagne glass. IMAGINE.

I let these grow for two weeks? I think? Maybe a little less.

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You can save the extra sugar that crystallizes on the glasses for decor, and save the extra simple syrup for drinks/recipes. It’s interchangeable like maple syrup or honey and will last at least a few weeks in the fridge.

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To use up the bitters syrup, I decided to try a floral chocolate cupcake, replacing the sugar in the normal recipe with the syrup. The end flavor result was real subtle, kind of like bitters in drinks, but the idea is worth fleshing out in future. And the rock candy leftovers made decorating a no-brainer.

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Stalaciting,

L

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Emily & Oreo Truffles

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This is my cousin, Emily. She bought this sweet new pro-grade Canon, and let me help her break it in one day. It was raining, and there were mosquitoes as big as my fist hiding near the creek.

As an added bonus, I’ve posted the recipe for the Oreo truffles I did for Wades’ grad below. I always think of Emily when I make them because she made the first I ever had.

Thanks, Em! You’re beautiful, and if people don’t tell you that enough, then I am really sorry, because it is so so so true.

L

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emily dress 1      mad grad 2

Oreo Truffles

Adapted from everywhere

1 package Oreo cookies (about 30)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks

10 ounces almond bark or vanilla candy coating (alternately, you could use melted chocolate chips with a 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil for dipping)

Pulse the Oreos in a food processor until finely ground. Add the cream cheese chunks and pulse until well-combined. Scoop the mixture into small balls and roll until they are smooth. At this point, you can stick the truffles on candy sticks if you like. Set the truffles on a lined baking sheet, cover and freeze for at least a half hour.

Melt the candy coating in a bain marie or in the microwave, being careful not to scorch it. If you want to stir in food coloring at this point, you can do that. Dip each truffle in the coating and gently shake off the excess coating. Place the truffles on wax paper, sprinkle and let cool until hardened. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Pipe Dream #199: To Triple End – Cake Batter Truffles

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Truffles that taste like cake batter. Not cake. The batter. Plus white chocolate and sprinkles. The end. I ate six of these at about 9 pm. The double end.

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It’s fun to bake with ma friends. Especially when making candy. Candy is so detailed and stressful for me that it is nice to have someone to help decorate, or at least to DJ and chat cheerfully while I agonize over whether my chocolate is tempering correctly.

I cheated and used almond bark this time though. And I didn’t even have my camera, so this confectionery experience was just fun friends time.

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Hi, Sprinkler.

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Make these immediately, eat six, and then bring the rest to work. The triple end,

L

Cake Batter Truffles

Adapted from everywhere via The Messy Cook

½ cups butter, softened
½ cups white sugar
1-½ cup flour
1 cup yellow cake mix + 2 heaping tablespoons yellow cake mix
⅛ teaspoons salt
1-½ teaspoon vanilla
4-6 tablespoons milk
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) almond bark or candy wafers + sprinkles

Beat the softened butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add in the flour, cake mix, salt and vanilla. The mixture will be very dry at this point. Add in the milk until the mixture comes together into a firm dough. I had to add more milk to make things come together.

Roll 1″ balls of dough and drop them in the freezer to firm up. Melt the almond bark in the microwave or in a bain marie, stirring until smooth. Remove the frozen dough from the freezer and drop them in the melted bark, rolling around until they are coated. Remove with a fork, tapping off the excess bark and remove to a parchment-lined counter. Slide the truffles off the fork with a toothpick and clean up the bottom of the truffle so you don’t get those flat edges. Work in batches of about five truffles at a time, decorating with desired sprinkles.

Let cool until the almond bark is hardened. Store in an airtight container.

Pipe Dream #183: To Single-Serve Splurge – No Bake Nests

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Do you ever buy Mini Cadbury Eggs in single-serve packages even though you know it would be a better deal to buy them in bulk?

Ok, me neither. Phewfta.

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Ok, I can’t carry on like this.

Confession: I bought Mini Cadbury Eggs in single-serve packages. they were like 84 cents! Mini Eggs are my delight. Even more than regular Creme Eggs. Hay-eck, I can make regular Creme eggs from scratch. But I will pay someone to make Mini Eggs.

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Seeing Mini Eggs in-store means that it is Easter time. I thought it would be cute to stick little candies in a classic no bake cookie, making little nests for a themed treat. I thought this was an #lhoriginal thought, but after a quick Google search, I’d been scooped once again.

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No bake cookies are literally the easiest cookie on the earth. And they take no time (exaggeration). And they are high in fiber. And they are so chocolaty peanuty nom nom.

One thing to heed is the amount of time that you boil the sugar/cocoa mixture. Boiling for a short minute will give you soft, shiny cookies. If you boil it for longer than a minute, your cookies will be a little crumbly. I couldn’t tell if the mixture was boiling–it was kind of a slow glurg at the edges of the saucepan–so I think I boiled them for a little too long. This turned out to be good, though, because they set up a little stiffer into their nest shape.

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Happy Easter! Guys, spring is tomorrow today! And don’t forget Jesus!

L

No Bake Nests

Adapted from Food Network

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups quick oats
Cadbury Mini Eggs or other candies

In a heavy saucepan bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute (I let mine go maybe two minutes so they held up better for the nests, but next time I would boil them for just one minute), then add the peanut butter and the vanilla, stirring well until combined. Stir in the oats. Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Let cool for a minute, then use the back of a spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie so it looks like a bird’s nest. Once the cookies have cooled for about 30 minutes, fill each cookie with a Cadbury egg or two. Makes about 18 cookies.

Pipe Dream #168: To Be A Guilt-Free Addict Instead – Peppermint Meringues

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Here is how I could start this post:

“Peppermint Meringues: An Guilt-Free Addiction. These little buggers can be the spice of your life, especially in January, month of sugar overdose cleanse. Seriously, they’re like 15 calories a pop, perfect if you need a sweet but don’t feel like busting out a butter cake.”

But here is the thing. When you eat these, it won’t necessarily erase any post-holiday guilt you may be feeling. Party after party of canapes and cookies? Yeah, don’t act like you didn’t indulge a bit. Actually, I won’t act like I didn’t indulge a bit, because I did, and I won’t put words in your mouth. :]

Guilt is basically the result of feeling like we don’t measure up quite well enough, right? We all have different ways of coping with it. None of them are really healthy, because nothing we can do can really make us measure up to perfection. One thing I am really glad about today is this verse in Isaiah 6:

“With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

It sounds super obscure and weird, right? And it kind of is, unless you read the story, but the thing that is blowing my mind is this: Not only does Jesus take away my imperfection, he actually takes away my guilt too. Imperfection gone, guilt gone, so I don’t have to live under it anymore.

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Some days, I wish that I could let these peppermint meringues touch my lips and be completely guilt-free, but that’s not how it works. I still deal with self-inflicted guilt over what-have-you. Verses like that help to remind me that I don’t have to.

So point of the story, you can make these to try and relieve post-holiday guilt, but they are a very poor substitute. A very delicious, poor substitute that looks like Whos from Who-ville.

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This is the first time I have baked my meringues in a true low ‘n slow fashion. (Usually I’m too impatient.) Instead of a quick-baked version that turns out hollow and a little chewy, these meringues are solid all the way through and light as air. Combined with the cool little food-dye party trick, these turned out to be pretty successful, yeah?

That’s all for now, folks,

L

Peppermint Meringues

2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup regular or superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar and peppermint extract, and beat mixture until it holds soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually, beating the batter until it is stiff. Drop a few drops of red food coloring (gel or liquid) on the top of the meringue, but don’t stir it in. Spoon meringue into a piping bag, then pipe batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until light and crispy , but not brown. Let cool on baking sheets on a wire rack.

Pipe Dream #163: To Not Squeeze Ya Too Tight – Pumpkin Tiramisu & Pumpkin Spice Fudge

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All right.This is it. This is the new year. We are all supposed to be turning over new leaves. And here I am trying to squeeze in more pumpkin posts. I just apologize. And by way of apology, I present you with two recipes that are probably a bit too holiday to handle. So, a bad apology on all counts. Just don’t call me lazy, ok? Because these are actually pretty swell.

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At least, the fudge is. The tiramisu, meh. It was an experiment on my part, and I would have preferred that the pumpkin-mascarpone be a little smoother. The method wasn’t exactly like traditional tiramisu cream. Plus, instant coffee that I soaked the ladyfingers in was cheap and too strong and awful. At least the cookies were homemade. If anyone can tell me how to remove a tiramisu from the bottom of a springform pan without wrecking it, I would be most grateful.

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Like a good wine, this dish does get better with age, so try it, and if you don’t like it, stick it in the fridge for a month. Maybe it’ll come out amazing. Oh! And you can tots make this in advance. It’s a great party dessert.

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My only suggestion on the fudge is to cook it for a little less time than I did. I followed the recipe, but I think my candy thermometer may be off because it took ages for the fudge to reach the correct temp.

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Still it was a total winner. Nuts or no. I’ve literally had this recipe in my “To Try ” folder for a year. Finally!

Don’t go nuts, now. No more pumpkin. Except if I decide to post a pumpkin pull apart bread that I made. It’s in the works. If you have strong objections, you can let me know.

Recovering still,

L

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Adapted from Italian Food Forever

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
a bunch of ladyfinger cookies, maybe 30
1/3 cup light rum + a shot of strong espresso, cooled + 1/3 cup maple syrup
Mix together the espresso, rum and maple syrup in a shallow bowl.
Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then add in the powdered sugar gradually near-stiff peaks form. Remove to a bowl. Beat the mascarpone on medium-low speed until creamy, then stir in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Take one quarter of the whipped cream and fold it into the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture, then fold in the mascarpone mix to the whipped cream.
Dip each ladyfinger in the rum-espresso mixture, coating both sides, then lining the bottom of a 9 inch or 10 inch springform pan, cutting to fit as needed. Top the first layer of cookies with 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture. Repeat twice more, ending with a final layer of the pumpkin mixture. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu at least 8 hours or overnight.
To unmold, first run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the side. If you want, you can sift some dark cocoa powder over the top for effect. I did.

Pumpkin Spice Fudge

You can find the recipe here. Thanks, C.

Pipe Dream #153: To De-Frag – Creamy Peanut Butter Desert Fudge

I had a few concerns about posting this recipe. Ok, I had just one concern.

I felt that the visuals were below par. You may note the extremely fragged top of these fudge squares. FraggED due to my impatience and disinterest in being perfect.

But here’s the thing. I got over my concern pretty quickly, given the fact that this recipe is  a must-make for your next holiday gathering. Must. 1) It is super simple and no-fail. 2) It is highly, highly addictive, which means that you have to make it for an occasion or you will be eating all of it alone. I took mine to work, and people kept shooting me nasty emails like, “Lauren, why did you bring this in??? I’m on my third piece. I’m dying.” Or something like that.

Besides, I figured posting it would be good for my humility.

These are a few of my favorite things. White on white on white, which I hear is “fresh” these days.

And of course, my most favorite things. Combined. I am smiling just looking at those two together. Everyone knows they are such a great couple. Made for each other, probably.

Wonk-esque.

Now, all you have to do in order to make vast improvements on my fail of this recipe is to wait until the fudge is all the way set before you cut it. Just wait! Unless you are somewhat attracted to the arty cracks. You could, like, build a food landscape or something. Ooh! You could also dress up this fudge a little bit, sprinkling the tops with pralines or chocolate or drizzling with peanut butter before it is set. Wild.

Humbled ever and anon,

L

Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

Adapted from Shugary Sweets

3 cups white sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups white chocolate chips
7 ounces marshmallow cream
¾ cups creamy peanut butter

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang of foil/paper on two sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the sugar, butter, salt and heavy cream until combined. Bring to a rolling boil and stir continuously for 4 minutes.

While that mixture is heating, mix the white chocolate, marshmallow cream and peanut butter until well-blended.

After four minutes, immediately remove boiling mixture from heat.  Whisk in white chocolate/marshmallow cream/peanut butter mixture. Pour fudge into prepared pan and refrigerate for 3 hours. Do not be like me and become impatient, or you will have desert fudge on your hands.

Remove fudge from pan using the paper handles. Cut into pieces and store in an airtight container between wax paper layers.


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