Caramel Apples

After buying a caramel apple at the Evergreen Fair for my younger sister, we were determined to make our own. The attempt actually worked and here is the basic recipe we used. Mom got these cute little apples that were about half the size of regular apples.

Ingredients:
12 medium apples 
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup half and half or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
coconut, nuts, chocolate
Directions:
Wash and dry apples.  Remove stems and insert skewers. 
In a heavy saucepan over medium low heat, bring the sugars, corn syrup, butter, half and half and salt to a boil, stirring until sugars dissolve and mixture begins to boil. Cook gently to firm ball stage (246 degrees). Stir in vanilla. 
Remove from heat. Cool until the mixture thickens slightly. Hold each apple by the wooden skewer and quickly twirl in caramel. Roll in desired toppings or in sugar. Place on parchment paper to harden. 

Turkish Delight

While rereading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for the millionth time, I was curious: was Turkish Delight really good enough to betray your brothers and sisters? I am rereading this book aloud to a group of kids once a week and this is one of the treats we had together.



Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup orange juice (I used the juice of one lemon plus enough orange juice to reach 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 (.25 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla, `
confectioner’s sugar

Directions:
Bring 1 1/2 cups water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently until temperature reaches 240 degrees. Set aside and keep hot.
Stir together orange juice and zests. Sprinkle with gelatin and set aside. Dissolve cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Stir into hot syrup. Place over medium heat and simmer until very thick.
Remove syrup from heat, stir in orange juice mixture, vanilla and nuts (if using).
Spray and generously sprinkle 9×9″ pan with powdered sugar. Pour mixture into pan. Let cool in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) until set, 3-4 hours (I just left mine overnight on the counter)
Cut and coat with powdered sugar. Smaller pieces the better.

Chocolate Pretzels

We make these every holiday season and top them with red and green sprinkles. These are also the perfect thing to make with kids. My sister and I made them last week with some friends we were with and it was totally fun.

Ingredients:
Pretzels (large, mini, rods)
Chocolate of choice (dark, milk, white, butterscotch)
Sprinkles
Mini candies

Directions;
Line pan with parchment or wax paper. Melt chocolate. Dip pretzels in chocolate. I usually dip only half of each pretzel, but you can dip all of it if you want. Sprinkle with desired toppings.

When dipping pretzel rods, pour melted chocolate in a large glass or mug.
Can do patriotic pretzels with red, white and blue sprinkles or stars.
Can do holiday pretzels with red and green sprinkles.

White Trash

This is by far one of the most addictive recipes we own. It can be made with any variety of cereal and can have any nuts and dried fruits added as well. I’ve also added fish crackers before.

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Ingredients:
2 cups Cheerios
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Corn Chex
2 cups pretzels
1 cup dry roasted peanuts (optional)
1 cup plain or crispy M&Ms
1 package white almond bark

Directions:
Mix Cheerios, rice chex, corn chex, pretzels and peanuts in large bowl.
Melt white candy and pour over mixture.
Stir in M&Ms.
Spread on wax paper to cool.  Break into pieces.
Notes: to mail, put mix in Ziploc bag and stick in a box.  It doesn’t need any packing.

Makes 12 – 14 cups.

Milk Chocolate Truffles

This is my favorite truffle recipe. I absolutely love the creamy milk chocolate flavor.



Ingredients:
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 cups milk chocolate
chocolate, cocoa or chopped nuts

Directions:
In a saucepan, bring cream to simmer.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Add chocolate.
Stir till chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until firm. At least 2 hours.
Scoop into 1in. balls. Roll in cocoa or chopped nuts or dip in melted chocolate.

For different flavors:
-Coffee- stir 2-3 teaspoons of instant coffee into the cream before simmering.
-Peppermint- stir in a couple drops of peppermint oil into cream before simmering.
-Liqueur- stir in to taste

Dark Chocolate Truffles

These dark chocolate truffles are a little heavier and not as sweet as my other truffle recipes. I personally prefer milk chocolate to dark, so I these aren’t my favorite. 

Ingredients:
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups dark chocolate (11-12 ounces), chopped

Directions:
In saucepan, bring cream to simmer.  Add butter and stir till melted.  Add chocolate and stir till melted.
Pour into bowl and refrigerate till firm, about 2 hours.
Form into 1″ balls.
Melt chocolate and dip balls. Top with desired design or topping.  Let harden in fridge.

Toppings:
-Chopped nuts
-Dark chocolate (or any other chocolate)
-Cocoa powder

Caramels

We always triple this recipe into a jelly roll pan, so cooking it up to temperature takes forever. Mom had notes on the recipes reminding whoever makes these to wear long sleeve shirts and hot pads while stirring because when it boils it can sometimes splatter and burn. For some reason, a double recipe in a 9X13″ pan made the caramels too thick, so we recommend either doing two single batches or doing a triple!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
dash salt
1 cup light corn syrup
15 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Melt butter in large pot.  Add brown sugar and salt.  Stir till thoroughly combined.  Stir in corn syrup and mix well.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.  
Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches 245 degrees (firm ball).  Raise temperature if it gets stuck.
Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla.
Pour into a sprayed 9″ X 9″ pan.  Cool.
Turn onto cutting board and cut into pieces.  Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper 5 right away.

Peanut Brittle

This is Mom’s least favorite candy to make, so she usually measures ingredients, washes dishes and stirs each batch a couple times to make sure we don’t burn it. The trick is, don’t stir it the entire time, especially once the peanuts are added. Probably the most important thing to do is make sure your thermometers are working, so you don’t burn three batches like we did this year!


Ingredients: 
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
23 cups nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions: 
Line baking sheet with foil or Silpat mat.  Assemble ingredients.
Combine sugar, syrup, water, butter and salt.  Cook and stir till sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boiling.
Cook, stirring constantly, to 275 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This takes forever.
Add nuts and continue cooking, stirring constantly, till reaches 295 degrees.  Remove from heat.
Stir in baking soda.
Pour onto baking sheet.  Spread out and flatten with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Cool.  Break into pieces.  

English Toffee

This is probably the easiest of the hard candies we make. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get the nuts to stay on cause they tend to all fall off.


Ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk, melted
walnuts, chopped

Directions: 
Cook sugar, corn syrup, water and butter in pot, until it reaches 300 degrees (hard crack), stirring constantly.
Pour onto foil, Silpat or really well greased baking sheet, making sure it isn’t too thin or thick. Let cool till touchable, but warm and dab with paper towels to soak up any grease on top. Sprinkle chocolate chips over and leave for a couple minutes to melt or put it in the oven at 170 for a couple minutes.  Spread melted chocolate. Sprinkle with walnuts and press gently. Let harden. Break into pieces.