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Wow so I had originally started this post almost a week ago buttt… my roommate bought Goldeneye the night it came out and I’ve been playing it pretty much nonstop since. Yes… so I’m exerting some self control right now by taking a twenty minute breather to finally make this belated post.

I decided to make some homemade candy in the spirit of halloween but I chose candies that are fitting for gifts and cravings year round. Caramels, peanut butter cups and almond joys. Oh man they were really good; I don’t know which one was my favorite, it was pretty much a tie. I never thought myself a fan of caramels until I had them homemade. (the right way this time) They are on the more time consuming spectrum though, particularly the peanut butter cups because the chocolate has to be brushed on each cup, set, and so on. Even so, I will definately make them again.

 

The caramels;

You should have everything set up before you start cooking your sugar syrup because it needs your full attention. Measure everything out, have it all ready at arms length. It helped me to have the pastry brush in a bowl of water ready so that I could wipe down the sides of the pot when needed to get rid of the unwanted sugar crystals. You need to have a working candy thermometer; the first time I made these they turned out like glass; I had to get a new thermometer. Use a wooden spoon so you don’t melt any of your spatulas.

Recipe originally from here

5 Tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used fleur de sel)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup (or rice syrup)
1/4 cup water

Line a baking pan (loaf, brownie or small pie pans are good) with aluminum foil and grease lightly with oil.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the cream and salt bring to a boil on medium, stirring often. After it comes to a boil take it off the heat and let it sit.

Combine in a medium heavy bottomed pot the corn syrup, sugar, water. Heat over medium high heat. Keep your candy thermometer in the pot. The concoction should be stirred (with a wooden spoon so you don’t ruin your spatulas) at first to make sure the sugar has melted into a uniform syrup, but it cannot be stirred once it reaches the point of boiling or it will crystallize and become hard. This is where I used the pastry brush and water; when I would see the sugar crystals on the side of the pot I would wipe them down. When it boils I don’t move the pot to swirl as they suggest to do. Boil until the temperature reaches 310 degrees.

Take the sugar concoction off the heat for a minute.

Add the vanilla to the cream mixture and then add that to the sugar concoction, stirring until smooth. (It will bubble and boil crazily)

Bring the pot back on the heat and cook until it reaches 260 degrees.
Pour into the aluminum lined pan and let sit until firmed up enough to cut. (If you want you can sprinkle sea salt or fleur de sel on the caramels after you pour them in the pan)

*I wrapped mine in some wax paper really quick, hah. They’re fine if you’re eating them that night but the next day they’re awful. I’m not sure if parchment paper is the same.

Almond joys;



recipe originally from here

7 oz sweetened condensed milk

1 Cups powdered sugar

1 Tbs vanilla extract

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut

30 whole almonds

preheat oven to 350 degrees; toast almonds on a baking sheet for 10 mins, stirring around after 5 mins of baking

whisk together condensed milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the coconut and stir until evenly distributed.

Put in freezer for about 30 minutes or so to make more scoopable.

Bring the mixture back out and form into logs a few inches long that resemble almond joys. Or really, whatever shape you’re going for. Set the almond on top, lightly pressed into the top. Put back in the freezer.

In the meantime; chop about 16 oz chocolate of choice (possibly more; I halved the recipe and used about 8 oz…) Set up a double broiler and melt chocolate. You can use a pot filled slightly with water and a mixing bowl that fits it. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. The water should be brought to barely a simmer. Stir the chocolate constantly while it melts to keep from any burning. Take the chocolate off the heat when most of it is melted and there’s a few lumps, the residual heat will do the rest.

After the chocolate is all melted bring the coconut mix out of the freezer and dip in the chocolate or drizzle chocolate over. One way to do it is to hold one in a spoon and take another spoon pouring it over top and coating the sides. Another easier, but more messy is to place of a cooling rack with a pan underneath to catch the chocolate and pour chcocolate over top.

Peanut butter cups;

inspiration from here

For the filling (basically a homemade peanut butter with sugar added):

About 7 oz unsalted dry roasted peanuts (I hear spanish peanuts are better because of a higher oil content)

1 tbs peanut oil** (I had to use this to make the peanut butter creamy, perhaps if your peanuts have more oil in them you may not need to use any; or you may need to use more. It’s for texture purposes, so eyeball it)

Salt to taste 1/8+ tsp (I think I used almost a 1/2 tsp)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Grind up the peanuts in a food processor until smooth. If they don’t become creamy and are still dry add the oil and grind more until it becomes a paste. Add a small amount of salt and pulse for a few seconds; add more if desired. Put peanut butter in bowl and add sugar to taste; I added a lot less than most recipes called for, but I prefer mine less sweet.

Assembling:

16 oz chocolate

candy cups

Melt the chocolate in a double broiler (as explained above)

Spray the candy cups with a nonstick spray or brush the inside of the cups with oil. (Note: I found my candy cups at michael’s, but mini muffin papers will work too)

using a pastry brush, brush the inside of the candy cups with a layer of chocolate. Freeze until hardened.

Scoop little balls of peanut butter (desired amount) into cups and then spoon chocolate over them until filled. Freeze or refrigerate until hardened. (about 45 mins)

Mmm…

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