New Castle News

December 8, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Chocolate confection goes great with Christmas

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A little sweet talk seems appropriate this time of year.

Candy has always been a great gift. Opening up a box of assorted chocolates and pondering which one to sample is a moment of pure indulgence.

My husband’s preference is maple creams. My mother loved chocolate-covered nuts. In this area, buckeyes — that irresistible meld of peanut butter and chocolate — are extremely popular. As for me — anything remotely associated with chocolate creates happiness.

Each year, I try to do some candy making on my own. Sometimes, it’s molded chocolate. On a few occasions, I’ve made truffles. And this year, I decided to go with fail-proof marshmallow creme fudge — a recipe that has been in the family for years.

Creating fudge has been somewhat touch-and-go for me. If the sugar particles aren’t completely dissolved, the result is a grainy substance that certainly isn’t appealing. Nobody likes tossing messy goo into the garbage, especially with the soaring costs of ingredients. But this one comes out great every time and includes another of my favorite ingredients — peanut butter.

Today’s offerings are not only easy, but they also make a fantastic, straight-from-your-kitchen gift that most anyone would appreciate.

There’s still time to submit your favorite holiday recipes to Culinary Conversation.

And I’ll enjoy my visit to candy land.



Microwave fudge

Line an 8-inch square pan with plastic wrap.

In a 3-qt. bowl that can be used in the microwave, stir corn syrup and milk until smooth. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts, if using. With wooden spoon, beat until thick and glossy. Spread in prepared pan.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

*For double peanut butter chocolate fudge: Prepare as directed above. With the powdered sugar and vanilla, stir in 1⁄3 cup super chunky peanut butter. Spread in prepared pan. Drop additional 1⁄3 cup peanut butter over fudge in small dollops. With small spatula, swirl fudge to marbelize. Chill and cut as above.

Truffles

Stir coffee into the chocolate; set aside to cool.

Blend hot cream into the egg yolks; immediately pour into the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Cool.

Cream butter with extract and powdered sugar. Gradually add cooled chocolate and egg mixtures, beating well.

Place bowl over ice and water, and continue beating until firm enough to shape into 1-inch balls. Keep mixture over ice and water while shaping.

Roll each ball in finely chopped pecans or salted pistachio nuts, Dutch process cocoa or in a mixture of Dutch process cocoa and 1⁄2 cup finely chopped pecans. If desired, shape some of the balls around a candied or well-drained maraschino cherry quarter or a small piece of red or green candies pineapple before rolling in nuts or cocoa. Chill thoroughly.



Angel Sweets

Melt chocolate and butter in saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; cool. Beat in egg. Stir in powdered sugar, almonds and marshmallows. Blend well. Shape into 1-inch balls, roll in coconut. Refrigerate until served. Yield: 31⁄2 dozen.



Marshmallow

Creme Fudge

Combine sugars, milk and butter in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook to soft-ball stage, 238 degrees on candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. Add peanut butter, marshmallow creme and vanilla; stir to blend thoroughly. Pour into greased 8-inch square pan; refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.