Homemade Candy

Slow Cooker Candy

Today we are taking a break from the cookie countdown, but we are still focusing on Christmas treats!  This year for my co-workers’ holiday gifts, I am giving mason jars filled with two kinds of homemade candy inside.   I have given my co-workers Christmas cookies in the past, but I decided to change it up this year.  I have been bringing the cookies into work right after I make them to give us a little break from being surrounded by Christmas cookies 24/7.  I love the idea of mason jars and how they can be used for some many things.  Leftovers, soups, vases, glasses, and gift packaging!  I purchased my jars at Target for around $8 for 12, but they also sell them on Amazon for $9.99 with Prime shipping if you can’t find them around where you live.

Slow Cooker Candies

The first candy I made was one that I have been seeing all over Pinterest called “Crockpot Candy.”  This candy is made with a slow cooker.  It is really easy to make and is super addictive!  They are like a chocolate-covered nut cluster with a softer more tastier chocolate mixture.  I used mini cupcake liners to put the chocolate candies in instead of the regular sized liners called for in the original recipe.  I found Christmas cupcake liners at both Target and my grocery store.  The original recipe also asks for white almond bark, which they do not sell anywhere around here.   After googling some resolutions, I found out that you can use Candiquik vanilla melting chocolate in replacement of white almond bark.  I had seen this product at Target when I was looking for the bark.  If you can’t find either, just use white chocolate.

For a quicker hardening stage- stick your trays outside (if it’s cold out).  It has been record breaking cold over hear in the Bay Area, which would be regular cold everywhere else, but its considered cold here.  I know what M is thinking now- we grew up with Syracuse winters… toughen up K!  Right M?

Slow Cooker Candies
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 50-60 candies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dry-roasted salted peanuts
  • 2 oz. German Chocolate, broken into squares
  • 1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1¼ pounds Candiquik vanilla melting chocolate, broken into squares
Instructions
  1. In your slow cooker add peanuts followed by German sweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips and then topped with the candiquik vanilla melting chocolate.
  2. Cover slow cooker and turn on low. Cook untouched for 2½ hours.
  3. While the chocolate is heating, line a baking sheet with mini cupcake liners. You will need about 50-60 liners.
  4. After 2½ hour cooking time, stir the chocolate until all combined. Keep the heat on low while dividing.
  5. Using a teaspoon or a small cookie scoop, scoop candy mixture into each liner. Half way through filling. Tap tray against counter to force the chocolate to settle into the liners. Repeat when finished filling the remainder of liners.
  6. Let candies cool complete before eating. Keep in an air tight container.

Source- Adapted from Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood via foodnetwork.com

Peanut Brittle

The second type of candy I am packaging this year is my all time favorite holiday candy, Peanut Brittle.  My mom made this recipe growing up and I am such a huge fan.  I had posted this recipe when we first started this blog, but I didn’t have any photos of it and it is pretty buried in our history.  The key to this recipe is finding raw, blanched peanuts.  This, my friends, is not an easy task.  I have been searching for raw blanched peanuts for the last four years!  Wegmans used to carry then and Whole Foods has them occasionally,  but I haven’t seen them in either for awhile.  You can buy these on-line for sure, I just never got to ordering them ahead of time.  This year while  getting my produce at a store called Sprouts, I found the peanuts in the bulk nut section!   I couldn’t believe it!  I quickly filled a bag with the peanuts and knew I had to make my favorite peanut brittle again.

Peanut Brittle
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups raw blanched peanuts
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying with cooking spray and set aside. Also spray a heat resistant rubber spatula or regular spatula with spray; it will come in handy when spreading the sticky mixture.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and light corn syrup.
  3. Once melted together, add in raw peanuts. Stir constantly for 12-15 minutes, until peanuts start to turn brown (often the signal that it’s ready is a puff of smoke, but I am yet to see this puff.)
  4. Stir in vanilla extract and baking soda quickly before the candy starts to harden.
  5. Once all the ingredients are completely stirred together, pour mixture onto greased baking sheet, using greased spatula to spread it out. Spread candy out as far as you can without making holes so that there is a single layer of peanuts.
  6. After this is spread, leave for about 1 or 2 hours until completely hardened then break into small pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Source- A 2s2c original
sisterk (2)

 

 

P.S. Looking for more holiday edible gift ideas besides homemade candy?  Try our homemade hot chocolate mix!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Coffee and Caramel-Themed Gift Basket

June is such a busy month with the end of the school year, graduation parties, bridal & baby showers, and weddings.  I’m always racking my brain for creative gifts that would be appreciated and I came up with a coffee and caramel-themed gift basket.  While T doesn’t start school until September, I think this would make a great teacher gift for his future teachers next year (God bless their hearts already…they are going to have their hands full!)

I recently gave my little sister a “working girl” graduation present since she will be starting a real office job this summer.  I filled a clear acrylic tray with items that I have always found helpful to have at my work desk.  I brainstormed with K about our favorite cubicle essentials- we came up an iced coffee mug, Starbucks Via iced coffee packets, tissues, antibacterial hand gel, cleaning wipes, lip balm, Altoids, and a Charlie Ticket (which is used to pay for busses and subways in Boston.)  The tray I used to hold all the stuff wasn’t necessarily for work- I figured it would be fun to use as a serving tray while entertaining or organize small household items, such as make-up or stationery.

I was recently asked by International Delight to come up with a craft project using an International Delight creamer bottle.  Since a creamer bottle snowman isn’t very seasonal for this time of year (seriously, Google it- there are a lot of creamer bottle snowmen out there,) I decided to come up with a coffee and caramel-themed gift to give to teachers for the end of the school year.  I picked the caramel part of the theme because my favorite International Delight creamer is the Caramel Macchiato flavor.

coffee and caramel‐themed gift tray

I included the following in my themed gift tray:

  • A bottle of International Delight Caramel Macchiato creamer
  • A large bag of Starbucks coffee beans
  • Copco iced coffee cup (I love this cup so much…I just bought a second one since I use my first one so much.  I usually fill it with water or decaf iced tea since I’m still pregnant, but I plan on filling them with large quantities of iced coffee in a few weeks once this baby is born!)
  • Starbucks Via iced coffee packets
  • Fleur de Sel caramels from Trader Joe’s (regular caramels would work as well, but these are extra special!)
  • Caramel Layerer Brownies while I was pulling this gift tray together.)
  • A special thank you note

If this is above your gift budget, it could easily be simplified to just an iced coffee cup filled with iced coffee packets, caramels, and an ice-cold bottle of I.D. Caramel Macchiato Creamer.

coffee and caramel‐themed teacher gift

You could also mix the gift theme up a bit if you knew the recipient preferred a certain flavor.  Just swap out the Caramel Macchiato creamer and Fleur de Sel caramels for any of these combinations:

  • French Vanilla International Delight with a packet of vanilla beans and a recipe for your favorite vanilla bean ice cream
  • Southern Butter Pecan International Delight with a batch of Mini Pecan Pie Bites
  • Hershey’s S’mores International Delight with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, and wooden skewers
  • York Peppermint Patty International Delight with a big bag of Peppermint Patties
  • Cinnabon International Delight with a Cinnabon gift card

Tie it up with some ribbon matching the school colors.  Your gift recipient will be able to kick off their summer and enjoy their caffeine fix with some special treats!

What’s Your ID? International Delight is looking for their most passionate flavor fans. Put your ID on the map to enter to win a Magical Trip, play games and discover more unexpected delight. Share your ID flavor at http://whatsyourid.com.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

sister m signature

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Today is just one of those days…I’ve been feeling seriously back-logged and have been in a bad mood all day.  My to-do list is miles long and the piles of laundry to be folded are mountain high.  I have no groceries for dinner and every room needs to be cleaned.  And the cold, rainy weather outside is not helping either.  However, this homemade hot chocolate mix was able to seriously change my mood around!

When I was a freshman in college, I remember there was a cafe in Harvard Square that had the most amazing hot chocolate.  It was so rich and creamy- the perfect cup of chocolate on a cold winter day.  I don’t even know if it exists anymore, but I often think back to that cup of hot chocolate.  I’m happy to report that this hot chocolate mix is up to par with my nostalgic memory.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Since it’s in powder form, this homemade hot chocolate mix would be a great gift to make for the upcoming holiday season.  I would say this mix would make 5-15 bags, depending on how small or large you bag the mix.  Or you could just keep it all to yourself to enjoy!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 45
 
Ingredients
  • 16 oz. high-quality semisweet chocolate (I used 3 large Ghiradelli bars)
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate
  • 2 and ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 and ¼ cups Dutch process cocoa (I used a blend of natural and Dutch process cocoa)
Instructions
  1. Using a food processor, pulse the semisweet and dark chocolate until finely ground (I first processed the chocolate using the mandoline attachment, and then finished off using the metal blade.) Add the ground semisweet and dark chocolate in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar and cocoa. Whisk hot chocolate mix together to blend.
  2. To serve, mix 2 tablespoons of mix with 8 oz. of milk over medium heat. Alternatively, you can heat up the milk for 2-3 minutes in the microwave.
  3. The homemade hot chocolate mix can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to six months.

Source: Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

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Chocolate-Covered Strawberries and Valentine’s Day Menu

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I had hoped to make heart cut-out cookies like Sara did at forever and a recipe, but I ran out of time.  I did decide at the last-minute to make chocolate-covered strawberries to go on the side of the dessert planned for tonight.  This is a very simple recipe, but I have a couple warnings:

1.  If you don’t have a double-boiler and are just holding a pot over another pot of boiling water, don’t freak out if the water bubbles out at you and fling a chocolate strawberry all over yourself and the kitchen.

2.  If you have already flung a chocolate strawberry all over yourself and kitchen, don’t answer the door for the dry cleaning delivery man.  I did not realize I had spilled chocolate all over my shirt.  Everywhere.  I must have looked like such a hot mess when I answered the door.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Ingredients:
-1 pound strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
-8 oz 70% cacao chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces
-1/2 inch square paraffin
-1 tablespoon butter
-Any other ingredients you want to dip in chocolate (I used bananas and pretzels)

Directions:
Combine the chocolate, paraffin, and butter in the top portion of a double boiler (or a small sauce pan if you don’t have one).  Allow the water in the bottom portion of a double boiler (or a larger sauce pan) to boil.  Hold the small pan over the boiling water (don’t let it touch the bottom of the larger pan) and continually stir the chocolate mixture until everything is fully melted.

Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the strawberry into the melted chocolate and roll it around until 85% of it is covered with the chocolate.  Place the strawberry on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.   Once the strawberries are done, dip any other ingredients you want in the chocolate. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for an hour or until chocolate has set.

I also made some chocolate-covered pretzels and bananas.  When I think of chocolate-covered bananas, I always think of the Bluth family banana stand on Arrested Development:

Tonight’s V’day dinner menu is:
-Whole Foods pre-made crab cakes with homemade tartar sauce
-Moroccan-spiced rack of lamb with pomegranate reduction (from the Bon Appetit Fast Fresh Easy cookbook)
-Couscous with pine nuts and mint
-Baked acorn squash with yogurt and mint
-Molten chocolate cake with chocolate-covered strawberries on the side

Do you have any plans for tonight?

-m

Three Easy Edible Stocking Stuffers

Still looking for some stocking stuffers or gift ideas for Christmas?  Check out these 3 holiday gifts you can whip up in your own kitchen:

1. Caramel corn- Check out this recipe for caramel corn from Annie’s Eats.  It will change your world.  I’ve already made it several time and this stuff goes fast!  I packaged some up in holiday Chinese take-out containers for an easy holiday gift:

2. Spice rub- There are some great spice rub mixtures to make in bulk and split out into small glass spice jars.  Personalize it by using a printable label that lists out the ingredients and recommended uses for the spice rub.  Top it off with a festive ribbon!  For recipe ideas, try Martha’s All Purpose Spice Rub or one of the many at Simple Mom.

3. Spiced nut mix- For this stocking stuffer, you just need a slightly larger glass jar (perhaps a Mason jar?)   Feel free to be creative and name your concoction with a fun name!  I’ve made this recipe from Cooking Light for a few parties and it has been a hit- Peanuts with Indian Spices.

What edible gifts do you like to give (or receive!) during the holiday season?  Check out The Naptime Chef for more homemade gift recipes!

-m

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