Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Candy Land

Even better than holiday cookies are holiday candies. These sweet snacks are just what you need after a hectic day of shopping or gift wrapping. They're also the perfect companion to a hot cup of coffee or tea and a relaxing book. Homemade candies are easy to make and don't have the hassle of a hot oven or a lot of pans and bowls. You can make up a batch without all the fuss and bother.

Chocolate bark is the easiest to make., It's basically melted chocolate spread over a greased cookie sheet. Swirls are made over the top to give it the appearance of a tree's surface. You can add everything form almonds (a good choice) to broken peppermint candies or candy canes. You can also make a peppermint bark using white chocolate and the swirling red food coloring through the candy to give it a true Christmas look.

My favorite candy to make are haystacks These are one of the staples of Jersey shore candy. They're just simply toasted coconut mixed in with melted chocolate chips and a two to three tablespoons of butter. The mix is then dropped into mound son a waxed paper or a greased cookie sheets. There are several variations on them, with some recipes calling for Chinese noodles and almonds along with the coconut. I prefer making mine with dark chocolate and a pound bag of shredded coconut. It's a perfect blend of dark fudge with chewy shreds. Yum.

My one friend is into making truffles for the holidays. She is a master cook and baker, with a history of creating top of the line treats. Lou uses fresh cream and the best cocoa to create mouth water ganaches. Her truffles are better than those at Lilac Chocolates, one of Manhattan's best chocolatiers. Truffles are a more labor intensive candy but worth the effort. There is an easy recipe out there that requires chocolate chips for those not wanting to get too involved. with truffle making process.

T'is the season for treats. Make up a few for you and your family to enjoy this holiday season.

Liz's Haystack Recipe

1 16 oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chips.
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 12 oz bag of shredded coconut

Melt chocolate and butter or margarine in the microwave for a minute and a half or two minutes (this depends on your microwave) Stir in coconut .until thoroughly blended. Using a tablespoon, drop onto a greased cookie sheet or one covered with waxed paper. You can use two tablespoons to create bigger mounds. Let cool in the fridge or on your porch if you have one. Store in a cool dry place until serving.

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