Monday, March 1, 2010

Candy Making 101: Orange and Lemon Creams

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!

Bon appetite!


Astra Libris said...

Oooh, Oooh, I am SO impressed!! Gorgeous beyond words...

Suzy said...

Wow, these look beautiful! I bet the peppermint will be delicious too.

Thanks for sharing the recipe, and thanks also for sharing the Friday Firsts link...I've been looking for more link parties to join!

Mo Diva said...

Diva, this is soooo impressive! Im expanding my culinary comfort zone... but this is still intimidating to me. they are gorg! and look delish!

stephchows said...

great job!!! they look totally professional if you ask me :) We got snow but not as much as you... apparently living in the north means less snow now a days :)

Maven said...

Those look amazing! I need to give your blog address to one of my friends - she will love this.

And the olymics... Congratulations to the USA for most medals won in an olympic games!!!

And congratulations for a valiant fight in what was probably one of the most exciting and nail biting hockey games I have ever seen. A game that could have easily gone either way.

My son was on Robson Street yesterday in downtown Vancouver for the closing of the games and he said it was pretty amazing. We are sad to see them end here too...

Katherine Aucoin said...

Very elegant and your first attempt at candy making is VERY impressive. you have inspired me to five this a try. I know they wouldn't last long at my house.

Hope the weather is warming up...we're supposed to get snow tomorrow.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow!!!! Awesome daaaaahling, hand that little plate over this direction!
*kisses* HH

The Diva on a Diet said...

Astra - aw, thanks! I had fun making them. :)

Suzy - do pop over to Christina's for Friday Firsts, she's so sweet and its a fun and inspirational event!

Mo - honestly, they're pretty easy to make. A bit time consuming but totally do-able! Thank you!

Steph - the one good thing about snow in NYC is that it melts fairly quickly ... its nearly half gone. Woohoo!

Maven - thank you too! We're big Olympic freaks here in Divaland, so I'm bummed that its over. Congrats to all of you on such a wonderful job, I thought they were spectacular. How exciting that your son was there ... would have loved to be there for the party too! You're right, that game was incredible and I'm happy with the silver ... didn't expect to beat you twice! ;)

Katherine - I think your girls would enjoy making these. Let me know how it goes if you do! :) The snow ... you can have it, we don't need any more! LOL

HH - thanks, I thought you'd enjoy these! ;)

Christina said...

Awww Diva thanks for sharing my Friday Firsts! :)

These look so yummy and I LOVE that first pic w/ the side of the bowl reflecting beautifully on the table. Nice shot!

doggybloggy said...

hullo - this recipe kicks ass! since I have a memory like an elephant it is now lodged in between no bake cookies and lemon curd....thanks.

Laura said...

OH SHUT UP! These look so great I can't believe I'm going to have to make candy now. I'm think that the making them with small people was aimed at me, of course because you live your life thinking of me!, so them boys will be helping me too.

Thanks for linking in your fake fettuccine recipe for meatless Monday my husband will love it.

biz319 said...

Definitely think those are insulin worthy - worth the effort too - good job!

Sass said...

You should deliver.

To Illinois.

In person.

I'm just sayin'. ;)

Laurie said...

Your candy is gorgeous!

I'm a little jealous of your snow. I love snow and it's so much better than all this tedious rain we've been getting.

I'm not a step by step photo blogger either, so I loved your take on that.

Lisa Michelle said...

You know..I was always the one who squeezed the chocolates in the box of candy to try and avoid the creams, but seeing yours makes me want to love them. These look awesome!

BTW - did you receive the panko? I'm worried, I hope it didn't get lost!

Pam said...

Ooooh, they all look and sound delicious! And your first attempt at it, way to go! Very good! I've kind of really had it with the snow thing!

Dana McCauley said...

Look at you! That's pretty fantastic candy making success for a novice. Way to go! I think that once you make candy from scratch, you realize why the good stuff is so expensive. It really does take skill and requires the best ingredients.

Jewels For Hope said...

yum! these look SO good! what a great way to spend a snow day!

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

For a first timer like you, boy I'm impressed. I would've not guessed.
Winter is almost over so hang in there!

5 Star Foodie said...

These look so good! Definitely would be a good project to do with my daughter!

Holly said...

My first time by your blog and Im adding myself as a follower for 2 reasons-the food look delish and 2nd you seem hilairous and I love a sense of humor;)
Come by and check us out we are new to the food blogging scene:)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks to all for the kind words about my candy explorations! I had so much fun with this that I'm pretty sure I'll try my hand at something else ... possibly salted caramels ... stay tuned!

Welcome to all the new readers, so very glad to have you! :)

Laura - well, you are "The Queen of All" ... so, naturally, this post is about you! LOL and Hugs! (I do think you kids would dig this, though. )

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous chocolates! Everyone needs a little indulgence now and again--these look like a great way to do it. ;-)

Mary said...

These look absolutely gorgeous. I can't believe - read I'm envious - that you were able to do these on your first try. I love your blog and will be back often.

Tangled Noodle said...

The last time I made candy, it was by default but these would be totally deliberate. Yes, deliberately delicious!