Saturday, December 10, 2011
Not sure what to give someone for the holidays? Do you have a lot of small gifts you want to give but not sure what to do? I make candy.
Have you ever tried to make your own candy? Its a lot easier than you might think, and its fun, and it makes great Christmas gifts. I started out with the molds but I didn't care much for them. They're fun and maybe you will like them. I suggest you at least try it to decide for yourself. I prefer making turtles and they are usually met with high praise and looked forward to each Christmas.
You can buy chocolate to melt at Michaels and I've seen some at Walmart. I get mine from a cake decorating store. I'm not sure if they all sell candy making supplies but I'll bet they do. They have white, milk and dark chocolate, caramel and all other kind of crunchy bits in different flavors you can add into your candy - as well as cute little boxes and candy molds.
For turtles I use pecans, chocolate and caramel. From the photos you can see that I arrange three pecans and cover them with a bit of caramel, arranging them on a piece of waxed paper. I've also used peanuts, walnuts or other nuts you might want to use. My gifts usually contain a mix of nuts and white and milk chocolate.
The trick is melting the chocolate. You can use a double broiler which I used to use at first but I've since learned the microwave works a little better. The trick in melting the chocolate is that you don't let it get too hot or when it sets it loses its shine. You also want to avoid getting any water in it. Both with make the chocolate look old. You should be able to get chocolate melting instructions wherever you buy the chocolate or it will be on the bag if you get it at Michaels. Here is a link I found: http://www.wilton.com/candy/melting-candy/ways-to-melt-candy.cfm
The great thing about melting chocolate is that there are so many things you can do with it. Make baskets or tins with a variety of your chocolates. Make turtles, brittle, dip cookies, just cover nuts, or make chocolate suckers or molds. If you're feeling really clever, just get on your computer and make your own little "From the Candy Kitchen of" cards or labels to go on your gifts.
And here is something extra special. THEY MAKE CHOCOLATES AND CARAMEL IN SUGAR FREE!!! I make them for people I know who are diabetic so they can still have their sweets around the holidays.
One more really easy candy to make - Brittle.
This is not one of my photos. I borrowed it and hope its okay. The link below the photo will lead you to better instructions on how to make this candy cane brittle or bark along with some other nifty ideas.
You simply take candy canes, break them up into small pieces, mix them in with the melted chocolate and pour it onto a sheet of waxed paper. Let it set, then refrigerate. When hard, you simply break it up into small pieces and you can place them in small plastic bags and tie with a bow!