I was inspired by Valentines day, and a wonderful blog that I was reading, to make Valentines Day candy for my neighbors… and really, who am I kidding. Chocolate anytime of the year is perfect.
So, after scrounging Micheal’s for the perfect candy molds and boxes to pack the goodies in, and hitting up the grocery stores for the rest of the ingredients, I was ready to start my foray into candy making.
I planned on making Salted Caramels, Raspberry Chocolate Squares, and Chocolate Toffee Bites. Now mind you, I have never made caramel before (shoot, I didn’t even have a candy thermometer until yesterday!), and it seems like every time i try to melt chocolate I end up breaking it! But none of that mattered. I was going to make the candy…. even if it killed me, or drove me insane (which is the more likely outcome).
I started with the Salted Caramels, and followed the recipe to a T… at first. Everything was going well, I had melted the chocolate (60% Cocoa) in to the warmed milk,
boiled the sugars until golden,
and then added the chocolate to the sugars.
Then it boiled, and boiled, and boiled. It was supposed to boil until it reached 255 degrees, the perfect temperature (or so I’ve read) to make the caramel firm, but not hard. The recipe stated that it would only take 15 minutes to reach that temperature. Uh, nope. Not quite. After about 30 minutes, it finally reached 225 degrees. (The thread stage, for those that know what it means. I don’t. I just knows that is what it said on my candy thermometer.) I debated on continuing cooking the candy, but wasn’t quite sure if heating twice as long (or longer) then the instructions would be a bad thing… so I pulled it out and poured it into the prepared pan.
After two hours, the caramel was supposed to be hard enough to cut. It wasn’t. Guess I should have tried to force the temperature up higher! The caramel was very soft and sticky. It stuck to everything. The knife I was trying to cut with, the parchment paper, my fingers…. everything! There was no way that it would go into the box and not be a disgusting mess. I was so disappointed! It had looked so pretty in the pan, and was not going to work! But wait. What if I rolled the caramel into balls, and dipped it into chocolate. The chocolate should coat the caramel so that they won’t stick together in the box. I tried it, and it worked!
Yippie! One candy down!
The next one I attempted was Chocolate Raspberry Squares. This had to be one of the easiest candies to make. I melted a mix of semi sweet and dark chocolate, and combined it with a mixture of pureed raspberries and sweetened condensed milk.
Then spread into the molds.
It was supposed to be a soft fudge consistency… but it never hardened. I think there was too much liquid (the condensed milk and raspberries) to the chocolate. It tasted fabulous, but 24 hours later, it was still a gooey mess.
Okay, that didn’t work (this time), but I still had one more to make… the Chocolate Toffee Bites. Again, another easy peasy recipe. Melted chocolate (same mix of semi sweet and dark chocolate) and mixed with toffee bits.
Then pour into candy molds.
Bekah helped me with this one, and loved it!
She ate so much chocolate when prepping, and pouring the candy, that the poor thing was hyped up for the rest of the night!
When I unmolded the candy, it was perfect!
Yippie! One that went as it was supposed to! Hum, maybe I should have Bekah help with the candy from now on. She seems to be my good luck candy maker.
Anyway, we packaged and delivered the candies to neighbors and family.
(and in the process got all of the remainder of the candy out of the house. Thank goodness. I ate too much of it while making it too!)
Happy Valentines Day!