No special orders for today, which means I had time to do something other than just the normal cupcakes for the case. I chose some gluten-free desserts. We seem to have a high demand for special dietary needs desserts and I try to keep something gluten-free in the case most days. Today I did three such desserts: peanut butter truffles (known as buckeyes to my Kansas friends), flourless chocolate torte (not pictured), and Death By Chocolate (one of my flourless chocolate tortes had an unfortunate accident and needed to be turned into a parfait with the addition of chocolate ganache and chantilly cream.)
Tricky Treats October 29, 2010
Halloween may possibly be my favorite holiday. It’s the only day of the year that I can dress up like a crazy person and not get weird looks from the neighbors. This year we are going to the premier of the AMC television series The Walking Dead at a local cinema, so I am dressing up as Eliza Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I mean, what better costume for a zombie show premier than a zombie hunter who gets to wear a pretty dress, right? Halloween is also the only day of the year that is solely dedicated to the consumption of candy and, let’s face it, I’m a little obsessed with candy. I love to make it for my friends and family, and I absolutely love to eat it at every chance I get. Now that Halloween is upon us, I have the perfect treat for your little tricksters: Tiger Butter Skulls and Brains! Tiger butter may be one of the easiest candies to make because it only has three ingredients and doesn’t require any special equipment. Plus, what better way to celebrate such a macabre holiday than by eating brains?
Here’s what you need:
1 11 oz. bag white chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
silicone candy molds, if desired* (skulls and brains from Wilton)
Here’s what you do:
Combine the white chocolate and peanut butter in a heat-safe glass bowl and set over a pan of simmering water to melt. Make sure to stir the mixture as it melts to keep the chocolate from burning. Once the mixture is completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and set on a trivet or potholder in your candy making area. Place a second heat-safe glass bowl over the pan of water and add the milk chocolate to melt. You can let this chocolate melt on a very low temp while you fill your candy molds.
Spray the insides of your candy molds with non-stick baking spray and then fill each mold with the tiger butter mixture making sure to leave a little space at the top for the milk chocolate. I transferred my tiger butter mixture to a Wilton squeeze bottle. This made it easier to fill the candy molds, however, I had to refill the bottle a couple to times which made the process take a little longer. To make the candies smooth, tap the candy molds on your counter to distribute the mixture. Place your tiger butter filled candy molds in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until firm.
Remove candy-filled molds from the freezer and top with the melted chocolate mixture, tapping the molds on the counter after covering each candy to distribute the chocolate, and return them to the freezer for another 10-15 minutes.
Your candy is now done!! All you need to do is pop them out of the molds and enjoy! My molds made 33 candies, but different molds may make more or less depending on how much of the mixture each one holds.
*If you don’t wish to use the candy molds, cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, pour the tiger butter mixture on and spread it out, cover with the milk chocolate, and cut through the mixture with a butter knife to make the traditional swirl of tiger butter. Chill until set and break into pieces.
The Art of Candy Making March 8, 2010
I know that making candy isn’t exactly baking, but I feel that all sweet creations fall into the same category: deliciousness. These chocolate-covered peanut butter balls definitely fall into that category. I have been making them for as long as I can remember, turning the process into second nature to me. I have seen similar recipes that have had all sorts of names, but where I’m from they are called Buckeyes. I typically only make them once a year at Christmas; I’m not exactly sure why I don’t make them more often, after all, they are extremely easy and everyone thinks that they are wonderful, plus one recipe makes about 100 candies, which last quite a while. Maybe it’s the thought of rolling all of those little peanut butter balls by hand, even though it doesn’t take very long and is so very worth the work. I decided to make them this week as a “thank you” for a friend who did me a favor. He first had them last Christmas, and loved them as everyone does: they are usually the first to be devoured from my Christmas candy tray.
Here’s what you need:
2 sticks margarine, softened
1 jar (16 oz) creamy peanut butter
16 to 24 oz of powdered sugar
1 package chocolate almond bark
toothpicks (for dipping)
wax paper (for drying)
Here’s what you do:
With an electric mixer (trust me, you do not want to mix this by hand), combine the margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl. Mix until very creamy and completely combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in 16 oz (1 pound) of powdered sugar. Once combined, the mixture should be firm enough to roll into balls, but not crumble; I think of it as the consistency of play dough. If the mixture is too sticky slowly add more powdered sugar, if it is too dry add more peanut butter. Roll the finished peanut butter mixture into small balls, about an inch in diameter, and place on a wax paper lined jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides). At this point, I like to place my peanut butter balls into the freezer for anywhere from an hour to over night. This lets them firm up a bit, which will make dipping them in the chocolate much easier.
After the peanut butter has had a chance to freeze, melt the chocolate almond bark in a glass bowl in the microwave according to the directions on the package. Make sure not to use anything plastic here or the almond bark will seize up, which is irreversible. While doing this, place sheets of wax paper over your work surface in preparation for the dipped candies. Once the chocolate is melted, remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer and begin dipping them by inserting a toothpick into the top of one of the “naked” buckeyes and dipping it in the melted chocolate, covering about 2/3 of the peanut butter. Place the now-covered buckeye onto the wax paper and remove the toothpick to use on the next peanut butter ball. Repeat this process until all of your peanut butter balls are covered.
The only thing left to do is eat them, which you can do right away. By the time you dip the last buckeye, the first one will be set up and ready to be enjoyed. I like mine to be cold when I eat them, so I keep them in the refrigerator, but to each her own.