In an attempt to make some homemade gifts this year, I took inspiration from a recent Food Network Magazine article about edible offerings. I had never tried to craft candy before, but there were quite a few recipes in a little magazine pull-out that seemed simple enough to start. In particular, I wanted to make Peppermint Stars without the peppermint. I thought I could fiddle with the flavors and come up with something deliciously non-peppermint. I decided to use the classic Orange and Chocolate combo by adding orange extract and the zest of one orange.
Using the original recipe found in the link above didn’t exactly work for me. My little discs of filling were too limp to dip in the melted chocolate. They practically melted at the touch even after chilling and the process made a huge mess, wasting quite a few ingredients. Amidst the pitying comments from my sister, “Don’t worry, Martha*. Candy is really hard,” and the less than sympathetic, “You can’t be perfect at cooking everything,” from my mother, I thought there had to be a better way. I could have used sticks like Sugartown Sweets did, but the filling still wouldn’t have held up to dipping.
I went back to the recipe and made a few modifications: removed the milk, added more butter, rolled the filling out a bit thicker, and thinned out the dipping chocolate. The resulting candy was much easier to work with, but I can’t lie to you. This isn’t a throw together kind of sweet. It takes time, patience, and a considerable love of chocolate. So, yeah. Frou-Frou.
Ingredients for Filling
2 Cups of Confectioner’s Sugar
2 TBSP Corn Syrup
4 TBSP Butter
1 tsp Extract, flavors like, peppermint, orange, lemon, root beer, or almond
Zest of one Orange or Lemon (optional, if doing a citrus flavored candy)
Ingredients for Chocolate Coating
6 oz Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 TBSP Corn Syrup
1 TBSP Butter
1 tsp Water
Blend confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, butter, zest, and flavor until smooth. I found that using a mixer was easier than by hand, though you certainly can stir these up if you don’t have a mixer. A little tip: coat your tablespoon measure in cooking spray so that it slides right off into your mixing bowl.
Bring together in a ball, flatten to a disc, wrap in wax or parchment, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
I used wax paper to roll these out so that I didn’t end up with sticky sugar all over my counter. Dust the paper and your filling with some confectioner’s sugar and roll out to 3/8 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into desired shape, I used little circles so that I could make these look like peppermint patties. My circle cookie cutter measures an inch and a half in diameter.
After cutting out your shapes, insert a toothpick into each. Your fingers will thank me later. Put all of the little filling pops onto a cookie sheet and freeze until hard, about an hour. I did all of these steps the night before and then dipped them on the following day.
Melt Chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and water together over a double boiler. Not sure what that is? I use a rimmed glass bowl that sits over a sauce pan. Add water to the pan until it just hits the bottom of the glass bowl and bring to a soft boil over medium heat. Stir until the chocolate is silky and smooth.
Using the toothpicks as a handle, dip the discs into the chocolate, quickly coating the entire thing. It’s handy to have a spoon in your opposite hand so that you can hit those hard to reach places near the toothpick. Place the coated candy back onto the cookie sheet. When all discs are coated, put the sheet into the fridge until the candy coating sets up, about 20-40 minutes. Remove from fridge, pop the toothpick out, and eat.
One last thought. These candies are delicious, but you really can’t leave them sitting out, particularly if it’s warm in your house. They’ll either melt or be inhaled before they have time to melt. Store them in the fridge.
Hope you enjoy!
Thanks for reading,
*Yes, my sister calls me Martha.