Sunday, April 1, 2018

Candy Making 2018

Happy Easter!

I was apprehensive about tackling candy making this year.  Work has kept me preoccupied the last couple of months; I feel like I'm always on the go and slightly behind.  I attended an experienced contra dance Friday night.  I stayed later than I intended (but not as late as I'd have liked).  It's hard to turn down good dancers and a great caller.  I awoke Saturday morning with stabbing pain in my neck/shoulders and a half-functioning brain.  Not an auspicious start!

But some ibuprofen, a large cup of tea and a chatty, lovely group of gals in the kitchen made all the difference.  The day flew by.  I plunked down on a chair after everyone had left and thought:  what a wonderfully satisfying day.  A lot of hard work, mind you, and a lot of standing in the kitchen.  I logged nearly 1.5 miles between 11am - 4pm going back and forth between the stove and the table.

Every year it's an adventure.  We've made most of these confections for a decade and yet, no matter how many notes I take, there's still gotchas.  You'd think as a crew we'd have it down pat.  But it's only once a year and little things change. Or I forget to record something that's obvious at the time, but not so much so a year later.

One thing we've nailed - the correct number of bowls, knives, cutting boards and cookie sheets.  One year one gal offered to bring equipment and aha!  things worked a little smoother.  Now everyone brings utensils.

This year's innovation came from Rob after watching me struggle with tempered chocolate that harden in the bowl before I could dip:  a hair dryer.  I thought his suggestion was outlandish, but a quick google search confirmed how right he was.  As the chocolate started to collect along the sides of the bowl, we'd hit it with a quick zap from the hair dryer and voila!  clean bowl and spatula.  I, as the designated bowl-scraper, did not make out as well.  My hands were a goopy mess of chocolate when we finished dipping (as one of my friends captured here).

I'm still learning a new toffee method of adding nuts and chocolate to the toffee as it's poured.  It saves trying to dip it all later.  This time I forgot to top it immediately, so I now have a small container full of chopped nuts and a few chocolate chips.  (Which will make great ice cream topping - so it won't go to waste.)

The spread:  Toffee, Ginger Nut Clusters, Mint Oreo Truffles, Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles
two plates of Paves, Peanut Butter Balls (and a few bunny feet), Buttercreams
Straw Nests and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

We did a great job this year - perfect peanut butter balls, pristine little ginger nut clusters, terrific looking straw nests.  I still cut the paves too big or too small, but no one cares.  (Mmm.... paves.)  Dipping went so smooth and quickly, we surprised ourselves when we ran out of stuff to dip.  Having a tempering machine for the milk chocolate helps.  There were few pigtails (when the truffle innards squeeze out of the chocolate shell).  All nicely decorated.  I need to try another raspberry buttercream - I think we'll keep that flavor for next year.

Huzzah for the crew!  I'm glad you could all make it - I haven't seen some of you in so long.  I hope you all enjoy your sweet success.


  1. It looks like a fun and delicious day was had by all. I haven't heard of some of those yummy concoctions before. What are pavs.?

    1. Paves are squares of dense ganache - the bottom half is dark chocolate, the top half is white chocolate.

  2. This looks like another wonderful day :) And that picture of you with the chocolate is great!

  3. Looks so delicious!


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