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Christmas Candy

My family has reached the point where until someone starts reproducing the youngest in our group is myself and sister at 22. We have also reached the point to where if we want something we tend to buy it ourselves, when we want it which makes gift giving a problem. We have also reached the point were no one wants more STUFF, so this also causes gift giving issues.

And then there were the years of everyone just asking for money for this or that so Christmas became a time of everyone opening their wallets and exchanging money (not, literally of course, the money was in cards).

So a few years ago we more or less decided that unless you see something that just fits the recipient perfectly, don’t bother buying someone something for the sake of giving them a present. I however, like to share things around Christmas and it’s the perfect excuse time to make obscene amounts of candy and then give it all way. It always seems to go over well and everyone enjoys it, and it has a more personal touch than a box of See’s Candy.

Although by economies of scale See’s would probably be less expensive. But that’s a) not the point and b) another nerdy topic entirely.

So what did people get this year?

Going clockwise from the Top Left Corner: toffee dipped in chocolate, peppermint bark, chocolate covered almond clusters, lemon truffles dipped in white chocolate, caramels dipped in chocolate, Jr. Mints/York Peppermint Patties, and chocolate truffles dipped in chocolate.

This year wasn’t nearly as stressful because I saw Alton Brown’s chocolate episode, where he makes truffles (Darkness III or something), and keeps his chocolate in temper while dipping lots of truffles by putting a heating pad in a larger bowl and placing the bowl with chocolate on top of it. This seriously was so nice, I didn’t have to worry about the chocolate getting to cold while dipping anything and I always had problems putting the bowl back over a pot of simmering water to warm back up. The only thing I did have to keep an eye on was how high the pad was set to.

When I first started I had to have the pad on medium as I had more chocolate to keep warm, but as I got towards the end I had to switch to low because there was less to keep warm. About every six truffles I’d check the temperature, just to keep an eye on it, but I never had a problem.

For the sake of space (and since I didn’t take pictures of the individual pieces) where I used someone else’s recipe I’m just going to link to it.

Butter Toffee: Crunchy toffey goodness from Lia’s Butter Toffee via The Pioneer Woman

Lemon Truffles: Surprisingly light and refreshing perfect after a heavy Christmas Dinner from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Caramels Dipped in Chocolate: Chewy, yet not overly hard caramels from Chocolates and Confections by Peter P. Greweling

Chocolate Truffles Dipped in Chocolate: Sinfully chocolate from Garret McCord via Simply Recipes

Peppermint Patties

1 egg white
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, shifted
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint extract if you want less peppermint flavor use 1/2 tsp
Corn starch for dusting
1 Trader Joe’s 74% Dark Chocolate Pound Plus Bar plus more for the seeding method when tempering.

Line 4 cookie sheets/jelly roll pans/sheet pans (a pan with a lip) with parchment paper. You may not use them all but better to have too many than too few.

Whip the egg white to firm peaks, then slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar. You will want a stiff rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of your mixing bowl. After about 3 cups it’s going to look horrible, don’t worry just keep adding the sugar. After the 4th cup is added scrape the bottom to make sure nothing is stuck then add in the 1/3 cup light corn syrup.

Add in the 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.

On a work surface dusted with corn starch knead the “dough” until it becomes shiny and has the texture of playdough. Then, if needed, redust the work surface with corn starch and dust a rolling pin with corn starch. Roll the “dough” to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired sized circles. Or maybe peppermint stars are your thing. You can reroll the dough to get more shapes. Just work quickly because these suckers absorb the corn starch and stick the work surface.

Place your circles (or other shapes) of “dough” on the parchment lined pans and let sit for 45 minutes.

Dip in tempered chocolate and allow to fully set.

Peppermint Bark

Equal portions dark chocolate and white chocolate
1 box candy canes

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper so the paper is hanging off the sides of the pan. Unwrap candy canes and place them in a bag break them into small pieces. About half way through you might want to put it into a second bag.

Temper the white chocolate and pour it out on to a baking sheet. Temper dark chocolate and pour onto white chocolate. Immediately evenly distribute candy canes over the dark chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Almonds

I made these as a way to use up left over tempered chocolate, so there are no real numbers. I just went until I had no more chocoalte

Left over tempered chocolate

Place 4 almonds in a small group and, using as spoon, place a small dollop of chocolate on the almonds making sure to cover at least parts of all four almonds (so they stay together).

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