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Friday, December 9, 2011

Recipe Friday: Candy Gifts

The holiday season is upon us and that means lots of parties. Can’t decide what to give the hostess as a gift? Consider making one of these decadent chocolate creations as a special holiday gift.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped 
8 (1-oz.) sqs. semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
6 (1-oz.) sqs. white baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Red food coloring
1/3 cup peppermint candies, crushed

  • Line an 8"x8" baking pan with aluminum foil. Spread almonds in pan; set aside. 
  • Place semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high one minute; stir until smooth. Microwave 10 to 15 more seconds, if necessary. Pour semisweet chocolate over almonds. Allow to harden.
  • Repeat microwave melting instructions for white chocolate.
  • Stir peppermint extract into white chocolate. Pour half of white chocolate mixture into another bowl and tint pink using red food coloring. Slowly pour white and pink chocolate over semi-sweet chocolate; gently swirl with a knife. Sprinkle top with crushed candies. Chill until firm, about one hour.
  • Use foil to lift candy from pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Chocolate Almond Fudge

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Pinch salt 
1/3 cup sliced almonds

  • Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan and line bottom with waxed paper.
  • Melt 12 oz. chocolate with cream in a heatproof bowl set over a medium pan of 1 1/2 inches of simmering water, whisking until smooth (do not let bottom of bowl touch water). Remove pan from heat and whisk in vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  • Melt remaining chocolate in another bowl set over same pan of simmering water, whisking until smooth. Pour plain chocolate into prepared pan and spread to coat bottom evenly. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to set chocolate.
  • Spread chocolate and cream mixture over set chocolate. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and gently press into chocolate. Let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate, covered, until very firm, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Run a thin, sharp knife around edges of pan. Turn mixture out onto a cutting board and peel away waxed paper. Turn fudge right-side up and, with a sharp knife, cut into 64 (1-inch) squares. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Double Chocolate Covered Toffee Grahams

2 sleeves graham crackers (18 whole crackers)
6 (2-oz.) vanilla candy coating squares, cut in half
4 (1-oz.) white chocolate baking squares, chopped
4 tablespoons shortening, divided 
6 (2-oz.) chocolate candy coating squares, cut in half
4 (1-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking squares, chopped 
1/2 cup toffee bits

  • Break each graham cracker in half.
  • Place vanilla squares, white chocolate squares, and 2 Tbsp. shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until white chocolate is soft; stir until smooth.
  • Dip 18 graham cracker squares entirely in melted white chocolate.
  • Place dipped grahams on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill 20 minutes or until white chocolate is firm.
  • Repeat procedure with chocolate squares, remaining 2 Tbsp. shortening, and remaining graham crackers.
  • Drizzle any remaining semisweet chocolate and white chocolate over dipped grahams; sprinkle with toffee bits. Chill until firm.

Triple Chocolate Nut Clusters

1 (16-ounce) jar dry-roasted peanuts 
1 (9.75-ounce) can salted whole cashews
2 cups pecan pieces
18 (2-ounce) chocolate bark coating squares, cut in half
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels 
4 (1-ounce) bittersweet chocolate baking squares, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon shortening 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  • Combine first 7 ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW 2 hours or until chocolate is melted. Stir chocolate and nuts; add vanilla, stirring well to coat.
  • Drop candy by heaping teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand at least 2 hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container.

Have fun making your candy gifts and make sure prepare lots of extras to enjoy yourself!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue