Tag Archives: candy

Praline Squares or Pecan Candy

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Praline Squares or Pecan CandyThese 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

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

TJ's Cowboy Bark for TJj's Cowbow BarkTJ’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 BarkIngredients for TJ's 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.  Two chocolates in a bowl for TJ's Cowboy BarkMelt 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.Melted chocolate poured into a sheet pan for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Chocolate being spread for TJ's Cowboy BarkChocolate spread for TJ's Cowboy BarkPlace the oreos on top of the chocolate,Oreos on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Bark then the pretzels. Pretzels on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy BarkSprinkle the almonds, Almonds on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Barkpeanuts Peanuts on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Barkand lastly,  toffee over the chocolate in that order.Brickle on for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Place a piece of waxed paper on top andWaxed paper on top of TJ's Cowboy Bark lightly press all the ingredients into the chocolate.Pressing the waxed paper down on TJ's Cowboy Bark Remove the paper and refrigerate briefly to set the chocolate up

When firm, break into pieces.

Enjoy your very own Cowboy Bark (and try to share some with others)

Close up of bark for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Better Than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Peanut Butter CupsToday was TV day on KMOV TV’s Great Day St. Louis.  This was my 4 minute segment.

Every once in a while I get a hankering for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. So recently I had one. I don’t know if it was me or if the formula was changed but it seemed gritty and not at all smooth like I remembered it.

So I set out to capture the taste I remembered and low and behold, I think it’s better! And not only better, but really, really easy. For ingredients for the peanut butter and two for the chocolate. So there’s no excuse for not making these Peanut Butter Cups.

The small paper liner cups can be found in grocery stores, party stores, and kitchen stores. They need to be small and just fit the cups. It is ok if they rise slightly above the cups. Continue reading

Chocolate Chocolate Truffles

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Box of trufflesAt the bakery, we were known for our chocolate.  Among the favorites were the Chocolate Chocolate Truffles.  We only offered these from October to May when the weather was cooler.  We had one client who was so funny.  I could count on her to be the first call to get these truffles.  She used to hide them in a purple box in the back of her refrigerator – until her boys got old enough to figure there was something special in the box.  Then she had to start sharing the truffles. She would tell me she ate truffles all over the world but these were the best.  I have always remembered her kind words.

The secret to these truffles is to freeze the centers before coating.  We had a chocolate tempering machine and I really miss it.  But there is a way to approximate the finish.  The truffles themselves are really easy to make and finish.  A bit of practice will make you an expert.  The first coat almost always goes out of temper, meaning they will be really dull with white streaks.   After dipping the first coat, let them come to room temperature. Continue reading

Snicker-Ama – A No Bake Super Treat

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Snicker-amaI honestly don’t remember when I came up with this Snicker-ama Tart, but I was sure happy I did.  It has several steps but half have to be done the day or several days before if desired.   it is the perfect dessert for a summer celebration when you don’t want to turn those ovens on.

My book, “European Tarts, Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking” is based on tarts made in 9″ or 11″ quiche pans with removable bottoms. ET Book coverWhile of the same general idea, this is a deep dish tart that is as easy as it is spectacular. Even the piped topping is as simple as it is pretty.  Remember, I’m the one with no talent with a piping bag so it has to be easy! Continue reading