Showing posts with label candy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label candy. Show all posts

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gin Lime Coconut Truffles #GalentinesDay

Tart and sweet with the zip of a little gin, these white chocolate and lime truffles are rolled in coconut for a little trip down the islands.

Happy Galentine’s Day! Yep, you read that right. Galentine’s Day: The day women celebrate women, breakfast style, inspired by this scene in Parks and Recreation.

Our smart and lovely organizer, Nancy from gotta get baked, is in charge once more this year, along with her co-host, Courtney from Neighborfood. Their invitation to join the fun said we must also write about a woman who inspires us. I’d like to write about 43,990,000. Give or take a few.

Many years ago, when I was living in Brunei with my father, we had a sweet lady from the Philippines working for us. She cooked, she cleaned and she helped look after my little baby half sister. I was surprised to learn that she had been a schoolteacher in her home country but could make more working as a housekeeper in Bandar Seri Begawan than she could teaching school in her village. So she applied for a job through a maid service, left her own children behind with their grandparents and moved to a foreign country to raise other people’s children.

Lirio was one of an estimated 83 percent of 53 millions domestic workers worldwide, who are women. (Source: International Labor Organization) Millions of whom leave their own families behind, to make a better living elsewhere, so that their own children will have better lives. The sacrifices they make, living with strangers, in strange lands, caring for families other than their own, are deemed worthwhile, because the support money they send home each month is crucial to the wellbeing of their families.

Here in the UAE, it is common practice to hire maids from overseas. I see them in flocks at bus stops on Friday morning, often their only day off, headed to the malls or beaches, to spend time with friends. They are laughing and smiling, enjoying their freedom and a day of rest and recreation. But I know they must miss their children, all the day-to-day milestones of skinned knees and spelling tests, afterschool snacks and goodnight kisses. I admire their work ethic, their dedication and their sacrifice. It’s never an easy job but they are doing what mothers the world over want to do, care for their children, in the best way they know how.

To read about the women who inspire the rest of our Galentine’s Day group and to check out the other wonderful recipes, make sure to scroll down to the link list below.

For the truffles:
10 1/2 oz or 300g good quality white chocolate – I use Lindt bars.
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup or 150g butter
Zest 1 lime
2 tablespoons lime juice
5 tablespoons gin

For rolling the truffles:
1 cup or 85g desiccated coconut (Not sweetened coconut flakes)
Zest 1 lime

Zest your limes and then juice them, keeping the zest and juice separate.

Add the cream and the white chocolate, broken up into squares, to a heat resistant mixing bowl. Place the bowl on top of a pot about one quarter filled with water. Bring the pot of water to a slow boil, stirring the chocolate and cream in the bowl above, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Add in the butter, cut into pieces and stir until it is melted.

Remove the bowl from the heat and add in the zest of one lime, 2 tablespoonf of lime juice and the gin. Stir until completely combined.

Leave the mixture to cool and then place it, covered, in the refrigerator until it turns solid.

Mix the zest from the second lime with the desiccated coconut.

Use a teaspoon to scoop out small amounts of the firm mixture and roll them into balls between your clean palms. Place the balls in the dry coconut and roll them around until they are well covered.

Place them directly on a serving plate or use little paper candy cups. If you are living in a warm climate, keep the truffles refrigerated until you are ready to serve. These also freeze beautifully!

This made 33 truffles but you would probably get more if you can control yourself and make them all as small as the first ones. Mine tend to get bigger and bigger as I go along.


And now, as promised, the other Galentine's Day recipes with inspiring stories. Make one for a special woman in your life! 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chocolate Praline Pretzels

The perfect mix of sweet and salty, these chocolate-covered pretzels are dipped in crunchy pecan praline. They make a great hostess gift or holiday party treat.

I am not a big sweet eater but the exception is any treat that mixes salty with sweet, like salted caramel or, indeed, these easy-to-make pretzels. You can use pretzel sticks or traditionally shaped ones, whatever you have on hand.

Chocolate Praline Pretzels

These are adapted from My Recipes. The original recipe makes only 16. I completely forgot to count how many this makes but it's a bunch. As you might guess from the ingredients list below, at least 55. Cue up a Christmas movie to watch while making them.

Butter for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups or 165g chopped pecans
1/4 cup, firmly packed, or 50g light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
7 oz or 200g semisweet chocolate bars (I used two Lindt bars.)
Butter for greasing baking pan
55-65 pretzel sticks

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and butter a 9 in or 23cm round cake pan.

Stir together your chopped pecans, brown sugar, salt and cream. Spread the mixture out evenly in the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes then take the pan out and stir the mixture.

Spread it out again and bake an addition 10-15 minutes or until sugar is slightly crystallized.

Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn the praline out onto a cutting board. Allow to cool completely and then chop finely with a sharp knife.

Spread the praline bits out on waxed paper or baking parchment.

Place your chocolate in a microwave-safe measuring cup and microwave on high for 15 seconds at a time, stirring well in between time, until just melted. You don’t want the chocolate super hot or it will be too runny.

Dip your pretzels in the chocolate.

Then lay them on the praline bits.

Cover with more praline bits.

See the pretzel sticking out? The chocolate part should be completely covered.

Wait about 10-15 seconds till the praline bits are stuck on, tapping down gently on the pile.

Remove the covered pretzels to a lined tray to harden up. You may find as you go on that the smaller bits of praline stick first so you are left with bigger pieces in your pile. Use a knife to chop them more finely, if necessary.

The work station. Not pictured: A Charlie Brown Christmas showing on my laptop.
This job takes a while but requires little brain. 

Continue until you run out of praline bits or chocolate or pretzels. I ran out of praline bits first this time, and made more than 5 dozen chocolate praline pretzels.

The pile gets tiny. 

Now box these babies up and share them with a neighbor or friend!


Christmas Week recipes! Please visit all our talented participants:


Monday, December 7, 2015

Coconut Pralines

Take a sweet pecan praline and add some coconut for a delicious candy that is easy to make and perfect for wrapping up to bring along to your holiday parties. If you can bear to share them.

I am not a big sweet eater but anything caramel or praline is one of my big exceptions. (Also sweet and salty together!) These things are easy to make and even easier to eat. Make a batch and see if you don't agree with me!

Coconut Pralines

When I was a child, my grandmother made fudge and other candies to give away at Christmas time. I don't specifically remember her making pralines, but since we were in southern Louisiana, it's quite likely. I think she would like my coconut version.

Ingredients- For about 3 dozen pralines
2 1/2 cups or 500g sugar
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml corn syrup
1/2 cup or 113g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups or 270g chopped pecans
2 cups or 175g sweetened shredded coconut

In a bowl, combine coconut and pecans; set aside. Line a pan with nonstick aluminum foil, wax paper or a silicone liner.

Put your sugar, milk, corn syrup, butter and salt in a medium-sized pot and stir well to combine.

Cook over a medium-high heat and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil.

Let it boil while stirring for 5 minutes. If you want to use a candy thermometer, you are looking for the mixture to reach almost 230°F or 110°C.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, then tip in the coconut/pecan mixture and stir well until everything is coated with the syrup.

Drop the mixture by large spoonfuls on your lined pan.

Leave to cool until the pralines harden completely.  This could take several hours or even overnight, depending on the temperature of your home.


Recipes from Christmas Week Bloggers


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chewy Pralines

These easy candies make great hostess gifts, wrapped up in a pretty dish with ribbons.  That's if you can get them out of the house before your family eats them all.  But not to worry, this recipe is easily doubled. They'd be perfect on the Mardi Gras party buffet table as well. 

Since we are from south Louisiana, Cajun country, pralines are a favorite in our family. The hard ones, the chewy ones, they are all good! My mom sent me a message recently with this recipe saying, "Can we make these for Christmas?" So we did!

Butter for greasing foil-lined pan

1/2 cup or 115g sugar

1/2 cup or 120ml light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons or 30g butter 

1/2 cup or 120ml whole milk

1 1/2 cups or 180g pecan pieces

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Line a large baking pan with foil and butter it well.  Set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup and salt in heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.  

Cook to 245 °F or 118 °C on a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, as I don’t in this rented house in Rhode Island for Christmas, this is called the firm ball stage.  Get yourself a glass of cold water and after just a few minutes of boiling, drip a little of the syrup in the glass to test for doneness.  It is ready for the next step when it forms a firm ball that can still be mashed.  Check out this link for a visual.  

Add butter, milk and the pecans and cook to 242°F or 116°C degrees, stirring constantly.

My syrup and sugar mixture hardened up when I added the milk so I just heated it gently till it melted again and stirred constantly until it was completely combined.  Once again, if you don’t have a thermometer, cook the mixture until it’s thick and sticky and looks like it will hold its shape on a spoon. 

Add the vanilla and stir well.

Spoon out onto your greased foil lined pan, working quickly.  Use two spoons, one to scoop and the other to scrape the mixture off onto the foil.  If it hardens up, gently rewarm till it loosens enough to spoon out again. 

I got 18! 

Let cool.  Makes about 15-20 pieces, depending on the size of your spoon.  Or more if you make them bite-sized.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peppermint Bark Shortbread

Shortbread is a great cookie anytime of the year but top it with peppermint bark and, suddenly, it is on top of the make-now list for Christmas cookies. Peppermint Bark Shortbread! What could be better?

This theme for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange is peppermint so I decided to make one of our family’s favorite Christmas candies, peppermint bark, and combine it with another favorite, buttery shortbread cookies.  Surely, this is what the Christmas angels eat. :)

For the shortbread:
2 cups or 255g flour
3/4 cup or 130g cornflour or cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 130g sugar
1 cup or 240g butter

For the peppermint bark:
4.6 oz or 130g peppermint sticks (or about 3/4 cup once shattered)
12 oz or 340g good quality white chocolate
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 325°F or 163°C and line your 8x8in or 20x20cm pan with parchment paper.

Melt your butter in a small saucepan and allow to cool.

Combine your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Stir well.

Pour in the melted butter and mix until you have a soft dough.

Press the dough into your prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Put your peppermint sticks in a Ziploc bag and shatter gently with a small hammer.  You don’t want to crush them completely.

Meanwhile, put your white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and melt in the microwave by zapping 15-20 minutes each time and stirring well in between.  Once the white chocolate has softened mix in the pinch of salt and all but a small handful of the crushed peppermint sticks and stir well.

Spoon the white chocolate/peppermint mixture on top of your almost cooled shortbread, spread it around and smooth it out.

Sprinkle on the reserved small handful of peppermint shards.  Allow to cool completely and almost harden before cutting into squares.


If you love peppermint like we love peppermint, this is going to be your favorite Creative Cookie Exchange month:

To join in the fun, just complete the steps below:

1. Write a blog post with recipe and original photo. The theme this month is peppermint!  We would like the recipe to be one you’re making for the first time, and photos must be original.
2. Post the Cookie Exchange badge somewhere on your blog so others can join in the fun.

Creative Cookie Exchange

3. Make a good faith effort to visit and comment on the other cookies in the Linky party. We all love cookies so that should be easy!
4. LIKE the Creative Cookie Exchange Facebook Page
5. FOLLOW the Creative Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board:
6. LINK your blog post below using the Linky tool

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!