Any room on your holiday to-do list for whipping up a few batches of candy? These are sure to please and a great gift idea, many are easy to make too!
I’ve handpicked a nice assortment of goodies from around the ‘net for this week’s Recipe Hit List…try preparing one, two or a handful of assorted candies and wrap simply for a lovely gift this Christmas. I’ll update this collection again next year so you may want to bookmark this page…Enjoy!
You’ll also find a bunch of candy making tips at the bottom of this page (including a temperature chart). Have fun!
*Note: Descriptions below are quotes from the sources
- Peppermint Popcorn: This gift idea that doesn’t cost much and is so easy to make. From Make It Do.
- Caramel Wrapped Marshmallows: These candies require some patience, so be prepared to clear an afternoon to prepare and individually wrap them. From Not So Humble Pie.
- Peppermint Icicles: From Martha Stewart.
- Buckeyes: Chocolate and peanut butter bonbons, famous especially in Ohio where they are dipped in a way to resemble the nut of the buckeye tree. From Smitten Kitchen.
- Chocolate Pretzel Bites: Sweet and salty, peanut butter and chocolate, smooth and crunchy, this one could not be easier to make or more addictive to have on your counter. From Design Crush. Also see these easy chocolate covered pretzels.
- Last Minute Peanut Brittle: The one is adapted from Serious Eats and it’s super quick to make (the whole shebang can be done in about 20 minutes!) so it’s perfect for last-minute gifting. From Everybody Likes Sandwiches.
- Hot Chocolate On A Stick: Turned out to be so simple, and the results so delightful. Stir one of these sticks into a cup of steaming milk or cream and in two minutes you will have transformed it into a cup of rich hot chocolate, the blessed stuff. From Giver’s Log.
- York Peppermint Patty: So I set out to make a much more nourishing, high-fat, low-sugar version. And it is delicious. From Joyful Abode.
- Mint Chocolate Marshmallows: A homemade marshmallow is a rare treat, and worth the time and effort. From Sugar Plum.
- Maine Potato Candy: You would never ever know that this sweet coconut treat has potato in it. The recipe for the middle is perfect. From Sweet Cheeks.
- Salted Caramels with Orange Scented Sugar: If you would like a stronger orange flavor, adjust the extract accordingly. These aren’t meant to be orange caramels, but just have a small hint of flavor in the background. From Craftzine.
- Mock Almond Crunch: This batch makes plenty so whatever I don’t give right away I have stashed in an airtight bag in the freezer. That way I have a gift at the ready and out of sight out of mind – which means I won’t be eating it all day long (in theory). From Not Without Salt.
- Ferrero Rocher: They turned out fabulously and are more then worthy of the title Ferrero Rocher Clone! From My Food Obsession.
- Gingerbread Caramels: Heady with ginger, clove, and nutmeg, these gingerbread caramels make great stocking stuffers and party favors. From Martha Stewart.
- Saltine Toffee aka Christmas Crack: I love the sweetness of the brown sugar mixed with the saltiness of the saltine crackers and topped with melted chocolate. Um it really is the perfect combination. From Mommy’s Kitchen.
- Stained Glass Window: This recipe is a version of one that Sue Raye, SAVEUR Kitchen Director Liz Pearson’s mother, clipped from a neighborhood newsletter in the 1980s. From Saveur.
- Chocolate Topped Sea-Salt Caramels: Sweet and salty flavors are combined in these delicious chocolate coated caramels- perfect dessert to treat a crowd. From Betty Crocker.
- Candy-Cane Marshmallows: Give out homemade treats that are great in hot cocoa — or straight from the bag. Peppermint marshmallows are easy to make; they get their red swirl from a quick marbleizing technique. From Martha Stewart.
- Sea Glass: This recipe calls for a candy thermometer. If you do not have one, you can still make this simple hard treat using the cold water test to monitor the temperatures. From Not So Humble Pie.
- A Better Buttercrunch: This crunchy treat, based on a top-secret family recipe from someone else’s family, is my answer for the cookie-averse recipients on my holiday baking list. From Jess Thomson.
- Grandma’s English Toffee: English Toffee. In it’s simplest and most refined form it is the perfect marriage of butter, sugar and chocolate. And my Grandma’s toffee is toffee at it’s best. I’m not bragging. I’m stating a fact. The toffee itself has only two ingredients: butter and sugar. She tops it with a layer of good chocolate and occasionally showers the top
with a coat of finely chopped, toasted nuts. It is sublime. From Foodie With Family.
Here’s a collection of tips I have for making treats and homemade candy, don’t miss the handy temperature chart at the bottom too…
Prevent Crystals: First butter the sides of the saucepan before adding the ingredients. When the mixture starts boiling and bubbling up, the grains of sugar can’t cling.
Saucepan Choice: Use a heavy saucepan that has high sides and the inside is smooth.
Stir: Always stir until the sugar is dissolved. One sugar crystal can cause the whole mixture to be grainy.
Beating: Beating is made easier by first cooling cooked mixture without stirring to lukewarm (110°F.). Use a buttered pan or platter. Always have pan ready before getting started.
Testing: It’s best to use a candy thermometer, but if you don’t have one you can do the cold water test.
Cold Water Test: Drop a few drops of syrup into a small bowl of very cold water (not ice-cold). Form drops into a ball. The firmness indicates temperature of syrup.
Thermometer Test: Clip the thermometer to the pan after syrup boils. The bulb of the thermometer must be covered with boiling liquid. Read thermometer at eye level. Check accuracy of thermometer by placing it in hot water. When water boils, thermometer should register 212°F. If it is above or below, add or subtract degrees to make allowance in recipe.
|TEST||TEMPERATURE||COLD WATER TEST|
|Thread||230°F. – 234°F.||Syrup forms 2″ thread when dropped from spoon|
|Soft Ball||234°F. – 240°F.||Syrup forms a soft ball which flattens on removal|
|Firm Ball||244°F. – 248°F.||Syrup forms a firm ball which does not flatten on removal|
|Hard Ball||250°F. – 266°F.||Syrup forms a ball, hard enough to hold its shape, yet plastic|
|Soft Crack||270°F. – 290°F.||Syrup separates into threads which are hard but not brittle|
|Hard Crack||300°F. – 310°F.||Syrup separates into threads which are hard and brittle|
Source: Notes come from an old Five Roses Flour cookbook (1962?)