And now for something completely different ... candy.
Why? Because on Friday, it snowed for like 36 hours. Because the Olympics are over and that makes me sad. And, mostly, because I've always wanted to try making candy.
I found this recipe for basic fondant centers in my files and, frankly, I'm not really sure of the origin. I chose to flavor them with orange and lemon extracts, but you could use vanilla, peppermint, or anything else that floats your boat. There's nothing remotely healthy or dietetic about this recipe, but its damn good fun. I'll have something healthy to post later in the week - but, for today, I'm offering you orange and lemon creams. Take two, they're small.
Orange and Lemon Creams:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- pure orange extract
- pure lemon extract
- red and yellow food coloring, if desired
- two 3 ounce bars of Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Cream the powdered sugar and softened butter together in the bowl of your electric mixer until incorporated. Add the vanilla and heavy cream and beat together on high until fully incorporated. The mixture will appear grainy and sandy - fear not, all is well!
Divide the mixture in two and place one half back into mixing bowl. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of pure orange extract to the sugar mix and a few drops of yellow and red food coloring (to make orange) if desired. Mix well on high until fully incorporated. The mixture should look smooth, not powdery. Gather the dough together and knead with your hands on a hard surface for a minute or two until the dough is smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp paper towel and reserve.
Place remaning sugar mixture into the mixing bowl, add 2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon extract and some yellow food coloring. Mix well on high to blend, then knead until smooth, cover and reserve as above.
Cover a large cookie sheet with waxed paper. Working with one bowl of dough at a time, form into small balls using a teaspoon - one level teaspoon of dough at a time - flatten the ball into a disk in the palm of your hand and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all of the dough has been turned into disks. They should look a little something like this:
Place the cookie sheet(s), uncovered, into the fridge and chill the disks for 20 minutes. While they chill, melt the chopped chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave - on high, in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until the chocolate is smooth and creamy. Dip the chilled disks, one by one, into the chocolate to cover, scraping off the excess chocolate from the bottom with a small knife or offset spatula.
Hint: I used a fondue fork to lift the disks in and out of the chocolate and a small offset spatula to scrape.
Place the dipped creams on a wax paper lined cookie sheet to dry. You may place them in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to hasten the process, if desired.
Double Hint: do not omit the waxed paper in any of the steps. It is vital, especially for the dipped chocolates. Trust me on this, I know whereof I speak!
As written this recipe will take some time and make lots of lovely chocolate creams. I didn't count ... and the husband was eating them as fast as I could make them.
Its a shame I'm not a step-by-step picture blogger, because this recipe would certainly lend itself to that. But that's not my deal and I have abundant faith in your ability to figure it out. If I can do it, so can you. You'll just have to trust me when I say its not nearly as complicated as it seems. Your finished product will look a little something like this:
They're exquisite! Though, be aware, if you're looking for an ooey-gooey-creamy center ... this is not your baby. Its more of a soft textured fondant. I loved them, especially the lemon creams, and I'm dying to try peppermint and possibly even some with lavender. Stay tuned.
This strikes me as a good project for the little humans. They seem to enjoy playing with their food and this is a hands-on recipe for sure. Just make sure those hands are clean. ;)
Since this was a first for me, I'll be submitting this post to Dinner at Christina's Friday First's feature. Be sure to pop over this Friday and check out the list of other culinary firsts!