Christmas Baking-Part One-Candy

My favorite thing about Christmas is the fact that I generally have Christmas Eve off to bake all day.

This year I may have overestimated how much time I would have, so I had to start all my baking at the beginning of Christmas week. Here are all the candy recipes I used this holiday season:

Rock Candy

1 cup water
3 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
5 drops food coloring
1 Tablespoon flavor extract *OR* 1 teaspoon flavor oil (I used cinnamon)
Powdered sugar
Candy thermometer

1) Sprinkle powdered sugar lightly on rimmed cookie sheet and set aside.

2) Mix water, sugar, and corn syrup in large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

3) Boil without stirring until temperature reaches 325 degrees (Fahrenheit). Use candy thermometer to keep track of temp.

4) Remove from heat and add color and flavor. Once boiling has stopped pour mixture onto cookie sheet. Let  cool and harden.

5) Break into pieces.

I make this candy every Christmas. I always make cinnamon, and I usually make one other (fruity) flavor as well. THIS year, however, I didn’t realize until I had started the water/sugar mixture that my candy thermometer was broken. Supposedly you can test to see if the candy is ready by dropping a small amount into cold water and seeing how quickly it hardens. So I tried that.

And burned the first batch of candy. It was ridiculous.

Needless to say, I got a new thermometer before I tried to make another batch.

Peppermint Bark

1 bag chocolate chips (even better with dark chocolate)
1 bag white chocolate (I always use Nestle chips, I have never had problems getting them to melt)
1 small bag crushed peppermint candies

1) Melt chocolate chips and pour onto cookie sheet with raised edges. Place cookie sheet in freezer.

2) Melt white chocolate chips. Pour onto (now solid) chocolate base. Sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candies. Place in refrigerator to harden.

This year I melted the two different kinds of chocolate at the same time. I poured the chocolate onto the cookie sheet first, then the white chocolate, and used a toothpick to make a swirled design in the chocolate. Then I added the peppermints. Just a fun idea to make it look a little prettier!

Chocolate Truffles

2 1/2 (8 oz) packages Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (let sit at room temperature for about half and hour before you start making this recipe)
coatings: sprinkles, nuts, crushed peppermint, etc

1) Melt 8 squares of chocolate and set aside.

2) Place cream cheese in medium bowl. Beat with mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add melted chocolate and mix well.

3) Cover mixture and refrigerate one hour, or until firm.

4) Once mixture is firm, shape into balls, using approximately 2 teaspoons for each ball.

5) Melt remaining chocolate. Dip balls one at a time into melted chocolate. Return to baking sheet and sprinkle with coating of your choice. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 36.

Mint Chocolate Truffles

2 cups heavy cream
16 oz mint chocolate chips
16 oz (melted) chocolate chips

1) Heat cream in microwave until almost boiling.

2) Add chocolate chips to cream. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then mix well. Cover and store in fridge until firm.

3) Form into balls and dip into melted chocolate. Store in fridge.

My ganache was WAY too thin when I made this, but someone I talk to on a web forum told me to heat the mixture back up and add more chocolate. I should have measured the chocolate by weight instead of volume. Adding the extra chocolate fixed it, and these truffles were AMAZING.

I also made Cheesecake Bites, recipe here.

I THINK that’s all the candy I made. If I remember anything else, I’ll add it.

Next installment of Christmas baking: cookies!


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