Nutella Hazelnut Fudge is a really quick, easy, smooth as silk fudge recipe perfect for Valentine’s day. I literally ran out of time this year between getting the book to the designer, my first zoom class last Saturday and going back to work after almost 11 months off. Talk about out of shape! Continue reading
Red Roses, dinner out, jewelry and candy headline the possible gifts for Valentine’s Day. Of all of these, candy is my favorite followed by yellow roses or tulips tied with a lavender ribbon.
So for this Valentine’s Day, I have searched my posts and come up with six candy recipes that will make any candy lover happy. They are all easy and can be made ahead so there is no last minute rush. You will notice I have a predilection for macadamia nuts for which I do not apologize. They are among my favorite nuts that are definitely worth the splurge for your Valentine.
Just in case you missed it, I like to stack up shards of candy.
This Salted Macadamia Rum Toffee candy is a special treat for the holidays. If you have a thermometer that goes to 300°F, you can easily make this candy
These Praline Squares or Pecan Candy are one of those happy accidents that comes from just enough knowledge. I found a recipe for New Orleans Praline Pieces on epicurious.com that sounded just like what I was looking for.
I had made pralines before and I remembered they always seemed grainy after they set up. So, in an attempt to make them less grainy or not grainy at all, I decided to replace some of the sugar with clear corn syrup as it is an invert sugar and helps reduce crystallization in sugar.
So out comes the pot and in goes everything except the pecans. The butter melts, a candy thermometer is clamped on and the bubbling mass cooks to a temperature of 236 degrees. I removed it from the heat and cooled it to 220°F as instructed. Continue reading
TJ’s Cowboy Bark is a perfect segment for TV. Easy, quick and absolutely delicious. Somebody first told me about Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark and I knew I had to try it. A bark is melted chocolate, spread out and almost anything you wish can be sprinkled on top. The nine ounce package of Cowboy Bark costs about $3.69. You get about 4 times that with this version. The thing that is so interesting about this bark is the add ons. How can you go wrong with oreos, peanuts, almonds, toffee bits and pretzels. Sweet and salty all at once.
Research showed that there are quite a few copycat recipes out there. I picked the one from Averie Cooks at www.averiecooks.com as my starting point. When I read comments about the Cowboy Bark on the web, the most prevalent criticism is the use of semisweet chocolate for the base. It seems people thought it overcame any of the other flavors.
I also thought the chocolate base was really thick. So in I chose instead to use half semisweet chocolate and half milk chocolate to allow all the other add ons to shine. I will say that this combination does make for a softer chocolate base – but really good.
Because all the add ons for the Cowboy Bark need to stick to the chocolate, make sure everything is prepared before you melt the chocolate. Then add them in the order of the recipe to make sure you go from large to small so they all stick to the chocolate. I added another step to insure that everything sticks.
One other suggestion is to use single stuffed oreos. I used double stuffed and they had a tendency to separate when the Cowboy bark was broken into pieces.
Cowboy Bark1 pound chocolate, all semisweet or a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate, melted
About 1 to 1 1/4 cups salted mini pretzels
7 to 8 oreo cookies cut into quarters (Trader Joe’s Chocolate Jo-Jo’s may be used also)
1/4 to 1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup roasted slivered almonds
1/4 to 1/3 cup toffee bits (Heath makes these)
Line a half sheet pan with parchment. Draw a 10×15 inch rectangle on the paper for a thin base or a 10×13 for a little thicker base. Turn the paper over and line the pan. Set aside. Have all other ingredients prepared.
Combine the chocolates if using more than one. Melt the chocolate or chocolates over a double boiler or at half power in a microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Start with the shortest amount of time. Stir the chocolate until completely melted. Spread the chocolate within the rectangle on the parchment paper.
When firm, break into pieces.
Enjoy your very own Cowboy Bark (and try to share some with others)