Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Success: Making Candy at Home

Raspberry Orange Lollipops
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 of a 3-ounce box orange gelatin dessert
1/2 of a 3-ounce box raspberry gelatin dessert
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
10-20 lollipop sticks
Candy molds, if desired

Butter or spray nonstick vegetable cooking spray onto a parchment-lined cookie sheets or candy molds. Arrange lollipop sticks a few inches apart on cookie sheet or place in mold. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add sugar, butter, and corn syrup together until sugar has dissolved. Slowly bring to a boil, stir frequently, and continue cooking until temperature reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Using a metal spoon and working quickly, drop heaping spoonfuls of lollipop syrup on the end of each lollipop stick on the cookie sheet or fill in the molds. Cool completely. Wrap each sucker in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container.

Kahlua Butter Caramels
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus
1 teaspoon Kahlua liqueur

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with oil. Bring brown sugar, cream, butter, salt, and 1/4 cup Kahlua to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 248 degrees Fahrenheit or firm-ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in remaining teaspoon of liqueur. Carefully pour into baking pan and cool completely until firm. Invert caramel onto a cutting board, then discard parchment and turn caramel glossy side up. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Store in an air-tight container.

Peanut Butter Truffles
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Heat cream and peanut butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring frequently with a whisk to melt evenly. While cooking the peanut butter and cream mixture, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. When both the chocolate and peanut butter mixtures are smooth, combine the two using a whisk. Press the combined mixture through a medium mesh colander or sieve into another bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir in vanilla. Let cool, then cover and chill 2 to 4 hours (or overnight).

Pour a moderate amount of cocoa in a small bowl. Line a large baking sheet or tray with waxed paper or 30 to 50, 1-inch paper candy cups. Let the truffle mixture sit out at room temperature 20 minutes (1 hour if chilled overnight) to soften. Using a teaspoon, scoop out small portions of the filling, press with your hands to warm the mixture and increase its ability to stick and form a ball. Roll truffle in cocoa mixture and place in candy cups. Keep chilled until ready to serve to maintain flavor and texture.