To celebrate the holidays and thank some of the special people in my life, I made my own candy for the first time. I’m not filing this under “Cooking for the Fearful” because, frankly, I was a little fearful going into this. Making candy has always struck me as too precise and precarious an enterprise for my less-than-exact ways in the kitchen. However, the bark recipe in particular is pretty foolproof, and mouse assembly is a breeze.
Orange Coconut Creams (from Taste of Home)
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1-1/2 teaspoons orange extract
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate
- 8 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add milk mixture; beat until smooth. Add the coconut and orange extract; mix well. Roll into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- In a microwave, melt the chips, chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip balls into chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Yield: 9 dozen.
Chocolate Cherry Mice (adapted from FamilyFun Magazine)
- 24 maraschino cherries with stems
- Waxed paper
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 24 milk chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
- 48 almond slices
- Drain the cherries and pat them dry with paper towels. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.
- Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them until smooth, working in 15-second intervals, stirring between each.
- Holding a cherry by its stem, dip it into the chocolate and swirl it around to completely cover the fruit. Set it on its side on the waxed paper and immediately press a Hershey’s Kiss onto the cherry for the head. For the ears, gently wedge two almond slices between the Kiss and the cherry. Repeat to make 24 mice.
This next one’s a recipe of my own creation…
White Chocolate Bark
- 1 lb white chocolate
- 1/2 cup chopped dried mango
- ~1/2 tsp ground cardamom