Monday, June 20, 2011

It Can Be Done

One of the reasons I wanted my mom to contribute to my blog is because of her candy-making. I think candy-making is a lost art. When I tell people my mom does it, they stare at me in disbelief. Now, I am not the greatest at candy-making....actually, I am not good at it at all. I know it's possible, because I have seen my mom do it, but it is definitely not my passion, and I need some work in this area.
You may have seen my button on my blog "I took the handmade pledge". If you are not familiar with this concept, it is expressing that I am striving to give, and hoping to receive, only handmade gifts. Of course that will not only work, but it encourages people to support small, local businesses and business owners, and I truly believe it places value on valuable things. Instead of feeling like we have to spend X amount of dollars on family and friends at Christmas, I want to find or make them unique gifts that are special to them.
This is one of those things that makes a great gift. I don't know about you but I love giving and receiving baked/handmade goods at Christmas. I know, sometimes it can be scary...especially if you don't know people, but I feel like it so much more personal and endearing.
Alright....all romanticism aside, here is my mom's recipe:

I enjoy baking and find that most of what I do bake is sweet! If I spend time in the kitchen I’m usually working on something that most people would consider a dessert or treat. When it comes to edible preparations, if I had to choose one thing that I’m passionate about, I would have to say ‘candy-making’.

I love making candy! I love trying new recipes and finding ways to copy-cat a favorite candy that seems impossible to re-create at home! If you follow me around long enough, you’re going to hear me say, “Someone made it, somewhere.” This is just my butchered attempt at explaining that this item doesn’t grow in a garden, or appear by magic....someone, somewhere… made it! I understand that most candy isn’t hand-made any more, but it was at one time. I guess I figure if they can do it, so can I! Usually the worst thing that happens is the item doesn’t look as good as I’d like…..but it always tastes great!

The following recipe is a new one for me, but definitely a keeper!

Peppermint Pattie

1 egg white

4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

½ tsp. peppermint oil or extract

Cornstarch for dusting

1-12oz bag semisweet chocolate chips

1. In medium bowl, beat the egg white until frothy but not stiff. Don’t use a plastic bowl.

2. Slowly add the powdered sugar while blending with an electric mixer on medium speed.

3. Add corn syrup and peppermint oil or extract and knead the mixture with your hands until it has the smooth consistency of dough. Add more powdered sugar if necessary, until mixture is no longer sticky.

4. On a flat surface heavily sprinkled with cornstarch, roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness.

5. Using a cookie cutter or similar circular item measuring 2 ½” in diameter, punch out circles, laying them on a cookie sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper. Refrigerate approximately 45 minutes.

6. Melt chocolate in microwave 30 seconds at a time (2 minutes maximum) until stirred smooth.

7. Take only a few cold candy centers out of the refrigerator at a time. (You may need to work with two trays in order to switch off.)

8. Slide a dinner fork under the cold candy center and submerge the candy into the melted chocolate. (This takes about 1-2 seconds.) Remember to work quickly. The centers will immediately start to soften, then melt, within 3-4 seconds of being in the hot dipping chocolate. Lift out of chocolate, tapping fork 3 to 5 times on side of bowl with fork tines and candy still above the bowl. As you tap you are allowing the dripping chocolate to fall back into bowl.

9. Set your dipped candy on a waxed paper or parchment covered cookie sheet, angling the fork so that the candy slides off onto the paper. You may need to use another fork to ‘help’ slide the candy off, but keep in mind that the more it’s handled, the messier it will look once it has hardened.

10. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

11. Store in an air-tight container. I cut a sheet of waxed paper into squares and placed a square between each of the patties as I stacked them into the container. ENJOY!

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