Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Candy!

Every December, I make a whole lot of candy--all dipped chocolates, like you would get in a box of chocolates.  I learned how to do it from my mom, who has done it for nearly 40 years now.  It's actually a pretty insane project, but it does make us very popular in the neighborhood.  I thought I'd tell you a bit about it.

This is the fun, quick version.  If you want to try it for yourself, check out the instructions I just posted!  I've had these up for years on a page I designed for an HTML class waaaay back in library school, but someday the college is going to notice that there is some junk from 1998 on its server and get rid of it.  It's better to transfer it all over here.


First, you need 20 pounds of very good chocolate, a whole lot of sugar and cream, and some flavoring oils.

A 10 pound bar of dark chocolate is fun to whack with a hammer.

I make several kinds of fondant for creamy centers: cream fondant makes orange and raspberry creams and cherry cordials, water fondant makes peppermint patties, and brown sugar fondant makes maple creams and peanut butter fudge.  As you can tell, this is not the kind of fondant that is now popular for coating fancy cakes and molding shapes; that stuff is nearly inedible.  This fondant tastes great!

Cooking up a cream fondant
I also make truffles.  I usually make 4 flavors: mint, orange, raspberry, and amaretto walnut.

Then there are the extra things: caramels, marshmallow clusters, and almond clusters.

Every night for a couple of weeks I melt the chocolate, form a batch of fondant into lots of centers, and dip them one by one.  It has to be quite cold so the chocolate sets up nicely, and it's a bit of a fiddly job.  Luckily I can queue up a bunch of history podcasts on my tablet and listen to them so I don't die of boredom.  Watching a movie is good too, as long as I don't plan to pay too much attention.

Raspberry centers, ready to dip
Then I spend a few days boxing the chocolate; I put each piece of candy into a bonbon cup and fill up the candy boxes.  We deliver them all around, and everyone is happy.  Only then is anyone in my house allowed to eat any candy!

Marshmallow clusters: simple and yummy

This year it's been kind of tricky to get everything done.  I had a lovely early start, but constant rain has made it very difficult to get the dipping done well.  Fooey. In fact, I have one more night to go--I just want to do some more almond clusters--but it's raining again!




3 comments:

Ao Bibliophile said...

nom nom nom! i love chocolate. it's great with reading or blogging and any other occasion!
thanks for sharing this Jean! :)

Adriana @ Classical Quest said...

Looks delish!

And what a fun tradition!:)

Jean said...

Thanks! I just now finished for the year. Cleanup time. (To be honest, the crispy chocolate I make to clean up at the end is just about the best part.)