Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Candy

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Sweet red strawberries dipped in dark, rich chocolate – simply scrumptious!

And they are perfect for Valentine’s Day! If Cupid’s holiday has snuck up on you and you find yourself in need of something delicious for the special ones in your life – this might be your answer. It’s easy and the results are delectable. So swing by the market, grab some fresh ripe strawberries and a bag of chocolate chips. Magic is within your reach!

When I was catering with my sweet friend Jane, we made hundreds of chocolate dipped strawberries and they were always a hit! I’ve read a lot about tempering chocolate but honestly most of us simply don’t have the time to become chocolatiers. (Though that would be a fabulous job!) This method of making chocolate covered strawberries is ridiculously simple and only requires a few simple steps. The ingredients are very basic – fresh strawberries and chocolate chips. Yep, that’s it. I use bittersweet chocolate but if you prefer semi-sweet or dark chocolate, by all means use your favorite.

When buying strawberries, look for berries that are ripe and really red, especially towards the top – this is the only part of the berry that will show once they’re dipped in chocolate.

Start by washing the strawberries then spread them out on a thick towel to dry. And before you start dipping them in chocolate gently dry each berry with a paper towel – you want to make certain they are really dry. This is the most tedious part of the process but it’s really important. Water is not a friend to melted chocolate. When water gets into melted chocolate it will cause it to seize and become a hot mess.

When melting chocolate go low and slow. Overheating can scorch chocolate turning it bitter and take away its smooth, glossy sheen. You can melt chocolate in the microwave, but the same rules apply – low and slow. Either way, keep an eye on it and stir it frequently. On the stovetop it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the berries are dry and your chocolate has melted, then gently hold those red beauties by their stem or leaves and dip into the chocolate goodness.

At this point you can leave the strawberries simply draped in chocolate or grab your kids – or the kid in you- and add your favorite sprinkles.

Give the berries a quick chill to set and they’re ready eat! 

A perfect sweet treat for any special person in your life this Valentine’s Day – young or old!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 package bittersweet, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, 10-ounces

2 quarts fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried thoroughly

Pour the chocolate chips into a small saucepan.

Place the pan over low heat, stirring as the chips melt. As soon as most of the chocolate chips have melted remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring and the remaining chips will melt in the warm chocolate.

Holding a strawberry by the leaves or stem, gently dip it into the melted chocolate covering about 2/3 of the berry.

Place the chocolate covered berries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. You can add sprinkles, dragées or sanding sugar to the chocolate dipped strawberries. Simply sprinkle them onto the chocolate as soon as you transfer the berries to the baking sheet, while the chocolate is still very soft.

Chill until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes to an hour. Makes 3 to 4 dozen chocolate covered strawberries. You can keep any leftover berries wrapped and chilled.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 13, 2019
: Makes 3 to 4 dozen chocolate covered strawberries.

Sweet red strawberries dipped in dark, rich chocolate. Scrumptious!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 package bittersweet, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, 10-ounces
  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried thoroughly
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the chocolate chips into a small saucepan. Place the pan over low heat, stirring as the chips melt.
  • Step 2 As soon as most of the chocolate chips have melted remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring and the remaining chips will melt in the warm chocolate.
  • Step 3 Holding a strawberry by the leaves or stem, gently dip it into the melted chocolate covering about ¾ of the berry.
  • Step 4 Place the chocolate covered berries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
  • Step 5 You can add sprinkles, dragées or sanding sugar to the chocolate dipped strawberries. Simply sprinkle them onto the chocolate as soon as you transfer the berries to the baking sheet, while the chocolate is still very soft.
  • Step 6 Chill until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes to an hour. You can keep any leftover berries wrapped and chilled.
Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

Glistening like the holiday lights with bright, sweet notes of citrus.

Candied citrus peel is a centuries old method of preserving every piece of the orange. Much like the art of making jam or marmalade was and still is used to preserve fresh fruit, processing the peel of citrus meant nothing went to waste.

The process of making the candied peel includes simply the orange peel and sugar, which has long been used as a natural preservative for fruits.

Thin slices of orange peel are blanched then cooked in a simple syrup solution, soaking up all that sweetness.

The tender peels are tossed in sugar then slowing baked to aid in drying the peels and set the candy. The candied peels air dry until the sugar coating is completely set.

Candied orange peels are wonderful as a candy but can also be used as a gorgeous topping for desserts. Beautiful sweet treats for any holiday get together!

Candied Orange Peel

2 large oranges, such as navel or Cara Cara

1-3/4 cups sugar, divided

½ cup water plus extra for boiling

Cut the orange peel from the orange, cutting it into fourths from top to bottom. Carefully remove the peel from the orange.

Cut each section of peel lengthwise into thin strips, about ¼” each.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange peels and boil for 3 minutes.

Leave the water boiling and using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the peels to a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the orange peels to the boiling water and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the pan with the peels into a colander.

Return the saucepan to the stove and add ½ cup water and ¾ cup of the sugar. Stir to combine then add the orange peels. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

Cook for 30 minutes until the orange peels have soaked up most of the sugar syrup, stirring frequently.

Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl or pan. Using tongs drop the orange peels in small batches into the sugar. Toss the peels in the sugar to coat all sides.

Set the sugar coated orange peels in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Bake the peels in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to dry overnight or until the sugar coating is set.

Store in a sealed container. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Candied Orange Peel

December 17, 2018
: Makes about 1-1/2 cups of candied peels.

Candied Orange Peel - glistening like the holiday lights with bright, sweet notes of citrus.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 large oranges, such as navel or Cara Cara
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water plus extra for boiling
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut the orange peel from the orange, cutting it into fourths from top to bottom. Carefully remove the peel from the orange.
  • Step 2 Cut each section of peel lengthwise into thin strips, about ¼” each.
  • Step 3 Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange peels and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Step 4 Leave the water boiling and using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the peels to a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the orange peels to the boiling water and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the pan with the peels into a colander.
  • Step 5 Return the saucepan to the stove and add ½ cup water and ¾ cup of the sugar. Stir to combine then add the orange peels. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  • Step 6 Cook for 30 minutes until the orange peels have soaked up most of the sugar syrup, stirring frequently.
  • Step 7 Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl or pan. Using tongs drop the orange peels in small batches into the sugar. Toss the peels in the sugar to coat all sides.
  • Step 8 Set the sugar coated orange peels in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
  • Step 9 Bake the peels in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to dry overnight or until the sugar coating is set.
  • Step 10 Store in a sealed container.
Rum Balls

Rum Balls

Deep luscious tones of chocolate highlighted by the spirit of dark rum. Rich flavors that melt in your mouth!

Rum balls have long been a favorite of mine and I frequently make them for holiday gifts. This version creates a bite that is soft and a bit gooey – rolled in toppings and served chilled. Though you often see these tiny confections made with bourbon I tend to prefer rum. Much like the classic dessert tiramisu, the combination of chocolate and rum is magical.

This is a no bake candy with a short list of ingredients– vanilla wafers, toasted pecans, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, some corn syrup and a big splash of deep, dark rum. It’s a quick mix and then off to chill. Rum balls make a great dessert for guests and are the right size for an entertaining nibble on a holiday buffet.

As always, whenever using pecans in a recipe give them a quick toast in the oven. About 10 minutes at 350-degrees or just until you smell that nutty aroma and you’re good to go. Toasting pecans or any nut is a step that shouldn’t be skipped.

And to make quick work in scooping up this delightful candy, use a small ice cream scoop. Spring-action ice cream scoops come in several sizes and are great tools to have on hand for baking.

The mixture for the rum balls is a bit sticky making it perfect for rolling in delectable toppings!

Easy to make, these luscious little candies make a delicious holiday gift!

Rum Balls

3-1/2 cups vanilla wafers

1 cup toasted finely chopped pecans

½ cup good dark rum

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Toppings for rolling: Additional powdered sugar, chopped nuts or toasted coconut for rolling – one cup of each if you use all three options

Toss the vanilla wafers in a food processor and process until the wafers are finely ground.

Pour the vanilla wafer crumbs into a large bowl along with the chopped pecans and stir to blend together.

In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar.

Pour in the rum and the corn syrup and stir to blend together.

Add the rum and chocolate mixture to the vanilla wafers and pecans. Stir to mix the ingredients until well combined.

Chill at least 3 hours to let the mixture firm up. Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream scoop, gather up small rounds and shape into balls. You want them to be “bite size”.

Place the toppings for rolling into small bowls. Roll each rum ball into one of the toppings. Place on a rimmed baking lined with parchment paper. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Keep chilled and stored wrapped or in a sealed container. Makes about 3-1/2 to 4 dozen Rum Balls.

Rum Balls, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 14, 2018
: Makes about 3-1/2 to 4 dozen.

Deep tones of chocolate highlighted by the spirit of dark rum. These rich flavors melt in your mouth!

By:

Ingredients
  • 3-1/2 cups vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup toasted finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup good dark rum
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Toppings for rolling: Additional powdered sugar, chopped nuts or toasted coconut for rolling – one cup of each if you use all three options
Directions
  • Step 1 Toss the vanilla wafers in a food processor and process until the wafers are finely ground.
  • Step 2 Pour the vanilla wafer crumbs into a large bowl along with the chopped pecans and stir to blend together.
  • Step 3 In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar. Pour in the rum and the corn syrup and stir to blend together.
  • Step 4 Add the rum and chocolate mixture to the vanilla wafers and pecans. Stir to mix the ingredients until well combined.
  • Step 5 Chill at least 3 hours to let the mixture firm up.
  • Step 6 Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream scoop, gather up small rounds and shape into balls. You want them to be “bite size”.
  • Step 7 Place the toppings for rolling into small bowls. Roll each rum ball into one of the toppings. Place on a rimmed baking lined with parchment paper. Chill thoroughly before serving.
  • Step 8 Keep chilled and stored wrapped or in a sealed container.
Dave’s Sugared Pecans

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

Crisp pecans with a delicate glaze of sweet coating – looking like they’ve been frosted by the spirit of the holidays!

I have numerous recipes for sugared and candied pecans, as any good Southern kitchen should. But without question this recipe is my favorite for two reasons. One, they are absolutely delectable; and two, the recipe comes from dear, dear friends and one of my favorite couples. For years ever Christmas I’ve celebrated the holidays with two special women in my life, Pat and Diane.

We exchange small homemade gifts of food and Pat always brings bags of these sugared pecans. Pat’s husband Dave whips these tasty bites up every holiday season and has done so for as long as I can recall. Pat delivers them in a clear cello bag to showcase the decadent nuts, cheerfully tied with a holiday ribbon all the while providing easy access to the goodness inside.

The list of ingredients is surprisingly short. Start with beautifully toasted pecan halves. Then sugar, pure vanilla extract and one interesting addition, sour cream is added to create the glorious coating.

I almost always toast nuts before tossing them into anything I’m making. (Pecan pie would be the exception!) Toasting nuts brings out a crispness and depth of flavor unique to each variety.

Toasting pecans deepens the color and the flavor profile plus adds a crispness to the nut.

And you’re using a hefty dose of pure vanilla extract in the coating so you want the best. My favorite extracts and flavorings are produced by Nielsen-Massey and available at fine food and kitchen stores.

These sugared pecans are divine so if you’re looking for a special holiday treat then look no further! Thank you Dave for sharing!

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

2 pounds pecan halves

½ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups sugar

Spread the pecan halves into single layers on two large rimmed baking sheets. Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set the baking sheets aside.

In a small saucepan combine the sour cream with the vanilla extract.

Stir in the sugar, mixing well.

Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Turn off the heat and let the coating rest for 3 minutes. Pour the sugar coating over the toasted pecans and stir to cover all the pecans completely.

Pour the pecans onto the two rimmed baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Do not spray or coat the pans with a cooking spray!

Allow the nuts to dry completely, preferably overnight. Store in a sealed container.

Makes 2 pounds of sugared pecans.

Dave's Sugared Pecans, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 7, 2018
: Makes 2 pounds of sugared pecans.

Crisp pecans with a delicate glaze of sweet coating – looking like they’ve been frosted by the spirit of the holidays!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pecan halves
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the pecan halves into single layers on two large rimmed baking sheets. Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set the baking sheets aside.
  • Step 2 In a small saucepan combine the sour cream with the vanilla extract. Stir in the sugar, mixing well.
  • Step 3 Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Step 4 Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let the coating rest for 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour the sugar coating over the toasted pecans and stir to cover all the pecans completely.
  • Step 6 Pour the pecans onto the two rimmed baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Do not spray or coat the pans with a cooking spray!
  • Step 7 Allow the nuts to dry completely, preferably overnight. Store in a sealed container.
Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

Decadent caramel sauce, drizzled over puffed, fluffy popcorn then baked to a sweet crunch – absolutely divine!

Making homemade candy and confections has become somewhat a lost art. Admittedly, making most candy takes a fair amount of time and effort but the results can also be amazing.

Caramel corn is one of the easier confections to make. You don’t even need a candy thermometer. And the ingredients are simple – popcorn, butter, dark brown sugar, a bit of corn syrup and a splash of pure vanilla extract.

Finish with just a touch of salt – for a subtle hint of sweet and salty –  and baking soda to add some lift to the caramel sauce.

This candy coating is a bit easier to work with than the syrup you use with popcorn balls, which sets up quickly. The caramel sauce stays soft giving you time to cover the popcorn before popping it in the oven. A little stirring while it bakes in a low oven and you’re all set for a sweet treat.

There are some holidays that just scream candy and none more so than Halloween! No little goblin will be spooked by this treat!

Caramel Corn

6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

¾ cup popcorn kernels

1 cup butter, 2 sticks

2 cups dark brown sugar

½ cup white corn syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the popcorn:

In a large, heavy stockpot, preferably with a wide-bottom, heat the oil over medium-high until the oil begins to shimmer. Toss in about 3-4 kernels. Once they pop, add the remaining kernels and remove from the heat for about 30 seconds.

Return to the heat and partially cover the pan to allow the steam to escape. You don’t want soggy popcorn! Cook over medium-high heat until the kernels begin to pop. Shake the pan to keep the kernels moving and prevent scorching. Once the popping slows, remove from the heat and let the pan sit for a minute or two allowing the kernels to finish popping. Remove any kernels that didn’t pop. Transfer the popcorn to two large rimmed baking sheets that have been buttered while you make the caramel sauce.

In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring to completely dissolve.

Bring the butter and sugar to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Then stir in the kosher salt and baking soda – the sauce will foam up so don’t be alarmed.

Ladle a portion of the caramel sauce over the popcorn. Using a large wooden spoon mix the popcorn and the sauce together. Continue mixing the caramel sauce and the popcorn until all the popcorn is coated. You can also butter your hands and mix the caramel sauce with the popcorn.

Spread the popcorn into a single layer and bake in a 200-degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Turn the popcorn out onto sheets of parchment paper to cool completely.

Makes about 6 quarts of caramel corn. Store in a sealed container.

Caramel Corn, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 31, 2018
: Makes 6 quarts

Decadent caramel sauce, drizzled over puffed, fluffy popcorn then baked to a sweet crunch - absolutely divine!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • ¾ cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup butter, 2 sticks
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup white corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large, heavy stockpot, preferably with a wide-bottom, heat the oil over medium-high until the oil begins to shimmer. Toss in about 3-4 kernels. Once they pop, add the remaining kernels and remove from the heat for about 30 seconds.
  • Step 2 Return to the heat and partially cover the pan to allow the steam to escape. You don’t want soggy popcorn! Cook over medium-high heat until the kernels begin to pop. Shake the pan to keep the kernels moving and prevent scorching. Once the popping slows, remove from the heat and let the pan sit for a minute or two allowing the kernels to finish popping. Remove any kernels that didn’t pop.
  • Step 3 Transfer the popcorn to two large rimmed baking sheets that have been buttered while you make the caramel sauce.
  • Step 4 In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring to completely dissolve.
  • Step 5 Bring the butter and sugar to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
  • Step 7 Stir in the kosher salt and baking soda – the sauce will foam up so don’t be alarmed.
  • Step 8 Ladle a portion of the caramel sauce over the popcorn. Using a large wooden spoon mix the popcorn and the sauce together. Continue mixing the caramel sauce and the popcorn until all the popcorn is coated. You can also butter your hands and mix the caramel sauce with the popcorn.
  • Step 9 Spread the popcorn into a single layer and bake in a 200-degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Step 10 Turn the popcorn out onto sheets of parchment paper to cool completely.
  • Step 11 Store in a sealed container.
Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

Make something special for your little goblins this Halloween! Popcorn balls were always around at Halloween when we were kids. Mom made them most every Halloween. They were always in abundance at the annual carnival at our school and when we went out trick-or-treating it wasn’t uncommon to find these slightly salty and sweet treats wrapped up and handed out by one or two very special neighbors.

Popcorn balls are a simple concoction and really not difficult to make. As with making any candy a heavy pan, a sturdy wooden spoon and a candy thermometer are keys to success. Keep in mind, if it’s humid day the candy will be a bit sticky.

To make popcorn balls, you’ll start with about 3 quarts of unsalted popped popcorn. Making popcorn the “old-fashion” way by popping the kernels on your stovetop takes about 10 minutes. It’s super simple.

This recipe makes 6 large popcorn balls, or 10 smaller ones. The candy will set and become stiff as it cools, so if you need more popcorn balls it’s best to make the candy coating one batch at a time.

A wonderful old-fashioned treat for the kids, both young and old!

Popcorn Balls

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

¼ cup butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

½ cup popcorn kernels

In a large, heavy stockpot, preferably with a wide-bottom, heat the oil over medium-high until the oil begins to shimmer. Toss in about 3-4 kernels. Once they pop, add the remaining kernels and remove from the heat for about 30 seconds.

Return the popcorn to the heat and partially cover the pan, allowing the steam to escape but keeping the popcorn from popping out. Cook over medium-high heat until the kernels begin to pop. Keeping the pan partially covered, shake to keep the kernels moving and prevent the popcorn from scorching. Once the popping slows, remove from the heat and let the pan sit for a minute or two allowing any unpopped kernels to finish popping.

Using your hands, gently scoop the popped corn into a large mixing bowl, removing any unpopped kernels. In a heavy saucepan, add the corn syrup, the water, sugar, butter, kosher salt and cider vinegar.

Cook over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Raise the heat to medium. Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and set it for soft crack or 270 degrees.

Cook, stirring occasionally until the candy reaches 270 degrees.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour about half the candy mixture over the popped corn, stirring with a large wooden spoon. Add the remaining candy mixture and stir to coat as thoroughly as possible.

Using either butter or a cooking spray, coat your hands. Scoop up a handful of candy coated popcorn and quickly press into a ball. Place the popcorn balls onto parchment paper to cool completely. As the candy on the popcorn cools completely it will set to a soft crack.

A fun and delicious Halloween project!

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle

Making candy at home is somewhat a lost art. Many are intimidated by the process and have never given it a try. With the right tools and a trick or two making candy is really not a daunting process. This peanut brittle recipe is a favorite of mine and was given to me by my lovely Stepmom. It differs slightly in ingredients and techniques from other brittle recipes. And the result – beautifully toasted peanuts encased in a light, almost fluffy brittle.

There are some items to have on hand before you start. First, make sure you have a good candy thermometer. I use a digital thermometer which is easy to set and read. You’ll want a heavy saucepan and a sturdy wooden spoon for cooking the brittle; both are essential. The heavy saucepan will help prevent the sugar and nuts from scorching while they cook. A sturdy wooden spoon holds up to the heat and thickness of the brittle. Finally, a heavy rimmed baking sheet is the perfect vessel to pour the brittle on for cooling.

Now some tips. Avoid making any confection on a rainy day! Humidity is not a friend when making candy. Before you start, butter the baking sheet along the bottom and slightly up the sides. Place it on the stovetop near where you’ll be cooking the brittle or on a cutting board with hot pads. Don’t place the pan directly on the cutting board or your countertop; the heat from the brittle could crack them. Trust me on this!

Place the butter in a small dish, the baking soda and salt combined in another and both within easy reach. When the candy reaches the desired temperature you’ll need to act quickly. And be careful, while the brittle is in liquid form it is extremely hot and sticky!

Making this wonderful peanut brittle is not as difficult as you would think and it takes less than two hour of your time. Worth every minute!

Peanut Brittle

1 cup white corn syrup

½ cup water

3 cups granulated sugar

3 cups raw Spanish peanuts

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

Add the corn syrup, water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stir to combine and cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Raise the heat to medium. Attach the thermometer to the side of the pan and set it for 295-300 which is the hard crack stage. Make certain the tip of the thermometer is not resting on the bottom of your pan. Add the peanuts and cook, stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches the 295-300 degree mark.

Remove the thermometer from the pan. Working quickly add the butter, stirring until completely melted and combined.

Then add the salt and baking soda mixing well into the brittle. The brittle will foam up and change color so don’t be alarmed.

Pour the brittle onto the buttered baking sheet and leave it until cool. Do not spread!

Once the brittle is completely cool, cover the pan with a large sheet of plastic wrap, flip over and remove the brittle from the pan, Then cover the other side with plastic wrap. Using the heel of your hand, break the brittle into smaller pieces, taking care as the edges can be sharp. Breaking the brittle between sheets of plastic wrap keeps the mess at a minimum.

Toasted peanuts in golden brittle!

Divinity

Divinity

Luscious and fluffy… Well worth the time!

I’ve made candy during the Christmas holidays for years, and it occurred to me that Valentine’s Day is a perfectly appropriate excuse to pull out these recipes. Peanut brittle and divinity are about as Southern as it comes, and what better way to show your Valentine a little love than homemade candy? Who needs Russel Stover?

Peanut Brittle

This peanut brittle recipe is legendary and comes from my “other” mom, Jackie. This brittle is light in texture and its salty-sweetness is completely addictive. When it comes to candy-making, equipment is crucial, but not necessarily pricey. Three things you’ll need for this: a heavy saucepan, a candy thermometer (digital is the easiest to read), and a rimmed baking sheet.

1 cup white corn syrup
3 cups sugar
½ cup water
3 cups raw peanuts
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter

Combine corn syrup, sugar, and water in a heavy saucepan over low heat, cooking until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Add peanuts and cook until a candy thermometer reads 295 (hard crack).  Meanwhile, place the butter in a small dish and in a separate small dish combine the baking soda and salt.

As soon as the mixture reaches 295, add the butter and stir until melted and combined.  Add the butter, stirring until melted, then add the soda/salt mixture, stirring quickly to mix thoroughly, but just until combined. Pour immediately onto a buttered rimmed baking sheet.  Don’t spread or touch it!  Allow to cool completely and break into portions.

 

Once the sugar is completely dissolved, raise the heat to medium and add the raw peanuts.

 

When the mixture hits 295 degrees, add butter, soda, and salt, then pour onto a buttered pan… and DON’T TOUCH IT!

 

All tied up and ready to give!

 

Divinity

This is my grandmother Tassie’s recipe for an old, beloved Southern candy.  It requires patience but is well worth the effort…  It tastes like a sweet cloud!

2 cups sugar
½ cup water
½ cup white corn syrup
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Combine sugar, water, and syrup in a large, heavy saucepan and cook to 252 degrees.  While mixture is cooking, beat egg whites and salt until stiff.  A stand mixer with the whisk attachment is ideal and highly recommended; switch to the paddle attachment for the next step.

Once the mixture hits 252 degrees, allow to cool for 2 minutes. Then with mixer running, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites.  Add vanilla and beat on medium high until candy begins lose its gloss and stiffen, 20 to 30 minutes.  Add the nuts, combine and drop by teaspoons on a buttered or Silpat-lined baking sheet.  Allow to cool and store in an air tight container.

A stand mixture and a lot of patience are helpful tools!
Once the mixture stiffens, drop it by spoonfuls onto a Silpat-lined pan to set up.