Christmas candy, Day 1

January 31, 2013

(Note: I finally found the photographs for this, so you get a late post. Which is about par for the course, since I never finished making Christmas candy, either. So there are no Day 2 and Day 3 Christmas Candy posts. Maybe Valentine’s.)

Wherein we get experimental.

I wanted to do chocolate covered cherries, which I have done many times with just maraschino cherries and chocolate bark, both white and dark. They’re cute, and they’re good. But I recall my mother doing chocolate covered cherry cordials, and there’s nothing I love any better than the ones in the box that proliferate in groceries and drugstores this time of year.

Seriously. Don’t get me a big box. I will eat until I get sick. I swear. I can’t stop. They’re worse than crack ever dared to be.

A cherry gets its sugary coating.

A cherry gets its sugary coating.

And, I had a big ol’ bag of powdered sugar left over from making cream cheese icing for the cinnamon rolls t’other day. so I thought, OK, let’s see what we can do. And I bought a jar of maraschino cherries at the grocery.

Mixed up the powdered sugar with a little butter (what I had that was room-temp, which was maybe 1/3 cup). Added a little cream to make a paste. Remembered, too late, I should’ve used the juice from the cherries to do that.

I got it a little bit thin. You want it to be stiff enough it doesn’t stick to your hands, and holds up to a dunking in melted chocolate. I patted out little balls of it…

wrapped drained cherries in it….

rolled ’em up …

and went to dipping.

The chocolate didn’t stay as thin as I would’ve liked — it was el cheapo Kroger chocolate bark, and I’ll need to get the good stuff if I want to do a lot of these. And the fact that the fondant was too soft meant I’ve got some pretty misshapen candies.

But they taste good. I have yet to see if the centers liquefy like Mama’s used to. It would probably help if I had a recipe, but, y’know, I don’t. So I winged it.

Make-Do Cherry Cordials

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 16-oz jar maraschino cherries (about 30 cherries)
  • 1/2 pound melting chocolate or chocolate bark
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Lay the cherries out on a paper towel, so they’ll drain a bit.

Blend the butter and sugar. With the mixer running, add the almond extract. Add cherry juice just one teaspoon at a time, only until the sugar starts to clump and form a rough mass on the beater. At this point, you’ll do well to take it off the mixer, clean off the beater, and work it smooth with your hands.

Take a ball of fondant about the size of a cherry. With buttered hands, roll it round and squash it flat, Wrap a cherry in it, pinching off excess. Meanwhile, have chocolate melting in a double boiler.

Drop fondant-coated cherries, one at a time, into chocolate. Use a spoon to turn them to coat well, and lift out onto parchment paper. Resign yourself to getting chocolate everywhere.

Let cool and harden; package in tins in individual candy cups.

Had some fondant left over, still had some chocolate in the double boiler. So, on a whim, I poured it out on some parchment; rolled the remaining fondant thin between two more sheets of parchment, and put the two together. I sprinkled the fondant with Craisins, and covered with another layer of fondant. It’s different. Can’t decide if it’s worth repeating or not.

Fudge and pralines are for another day. This year, my new brand of fudge is going to be nutella. Ya think? I think it ought to kick ass. Also have the stuff for chocolate pecan, white chocolate almond, and peanut butter, the old standbys.

My tiniest mixing bowl, btw, which I won in a Food 52 contest a while back, sits atop my small saucepan and makes a most excellent double boiler.

Earliest start I’ve ever gotten on Christmas candymaking. It’s gonna be a sweet Christmas. You and y’mama ‘n ’em get ready for more sweet stuff in December.

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