As you may have figured out, the challenge this month was all about candy! How very exciting.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Candy is one of those things I’ve always wanted to try making but have been too scared. Having a reason to make it was the perfect motivator to give it the old college try.

And you know what? It wasn’t all that hard.

I did have a couple issues with the recipes. First, while I followed the recipe to a T, I think the Honeycomb candy had a bit too much baking soda (or maybe I didn’t mix it well enough?). In certain pieces of the finished product, it had a baking soda aftertaste that was not pleasant.

My main issue, however, was with melting the chocolate to the appropriate dipping consistency. I didn’t temper it, but tried the microwave method that many people had recommended. I think maybe I overcooked it? All I know is that it was more gloppy than silky smooth. This didn’t in any way affect the taste (they were amazing!), but it did make the process a whole lot messier and more frustrating.

By the time I finished, there was chocolate smeared on the refrigerator door handles, the microwave, all over the counter, on my face where I wiped my brow in frustration, and dripped all over the floor. I think I may have even seen a few drops on LC the cat. It’ll be a nice surprise for her the next time she decides to groom herself ;)

Filled Chocolates (made with molds)

Makes about 25 small chocolates

Ingredients:

Dark or milk chocolate melted, preferably tempered, about 14 oz
Powdered food coloring (lustre dust mixed with extract) for decoration (optional)

Other Equipment:
A small brush
Chocolate molds
A Ladle
Bench or plastic scraper
OR
A small brush or spoon

Preparation:

1. When coating the molds with the tempered chocolate, I like to do it how the chocolate pro’s do it (much faster and a lot less tedious). While holding mold over bowl of tempered chocolate, take a nice ladle of the chocolate and pour over the mold, making sure it cover and fills every well. Knock the mold a few times against a flat surface to get rid of air bubbles, then turn the mold upside down over the bowl of chocolate, and knock out the excess chocolate. Turn right side up and drag a bench or plastic scraper across so all the chocolate in between the wells is scraped off cleanly, leaving you with only chocolate filled wells. Put in the fridge to set, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Alternatively, if you’d like (or if your chocolate wasn’t tempered correctly and didin’t allow for pouring!) you could take a small brush and paint the tempered chocolate into each mold, or spoon it in if you’d like.

3. Remove from refrigerator and fill each well with the filling of your choice. With the mint filling I used, I rolled each into a small ball, put it in the chocolate filled mold, and flattened it.

4. Again take a ladle of chocolate and pour it on top of the filled chocolate wells, knocking against a flat surface to settle it in. Scrape excess chocolate off the mold with the bench scraper then refrigerate until set.

4. When set, pop your beautiful filled chocolates out of each well.

5. If decorating with lustre dust, put a small amount in a little bowl mixed with a drop or two of extract of choice. Mix well and paint in desired pattern on top of chocolates!

Sponge Candy (also called Honeycomb or Sea Foam candy)

Adapted from Christine Cushing’s Sponge Toffee Recipe

Full photo tutorial Here

Ingredients:

2½ cups (20oz/560gm) Granulated White Sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) Light corn syrup
6 tablespoons (90 ml) Water
1 tablespoon (0.5 oz/ 15g) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for greasing pan

Preparation:

1. Liberally grease a 10-inch round spring form cake pan with vegetable oil. Trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper circle. Line the sides of the pan with a parchment paper so that the parchment paper creates a collar that sits 1 to 2-inches above the pan. Liberally grease the parchment paper.
2. In a deep medium saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil (without stirring) and cook until hard crack stage, i.e. until temperature reads 285°F / 140°C on a candy thermometer (if using light corn syrup, it will be light amber, if using dark corn syrup it will be the color of maple syrup). This should take about 10 minutes. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3. Remove from heat. Working quickly, add the baking soda and quickly blend to incorporate the soda into the sugar mixture, about 5 seconds. The mixture will bubble up when you add the baking soda. Be very careful not to touch the hot mixture.
4. Immediately pour the hot toffee into the prepared pan. Let set completely before touching. Cut into pieces. It makes a huge mess. But the messy little crumbs can be saved to top ice cream. Leave candy as is and enjoy, or dip pieces in tempered chocolate and let set.


18 Comments

  1. Your filled chocolates are beautiful, and they look so special! I definitely need to invest in some candy molds.

    • Aw, thanks Katie! I went to Michaels to get the candy molds and they didn’t have exactly the kind I wanted, but these ended up working out perfectly! The chocolate making was a messy process but in the end it’s definitely cool to see that you made homemade candy! :)

  2. wow amy! making your own candy is quite a feat! i would love to make peanut butter cups one day – except with sunbutter or almond butter!

  3. Amy… wow, what a success! Your filled chocolates look gorgeous and so professional – you could sell these at a store… Chez Amy :) Thrilled to have a recipe for sponge toffee. I have – quite literally – been trying to make sponge toffee since the age of 16. I don’t know what it is about the stuff, it just never works for me. Shall try again; yours looks too good!

    • Aw, thanks Kelly! That’s so sweet of you to say :) I, too, love sponge toffee but I wasn’t completely happy with this recipe. If you do try it, add less baking soda and make sure you stir it up well. I found that the finished product had parts that didn’t have the “bubbles” in it and definitely had a salty, baking soda aftertaste. Have you had that Cadbury Crunchie they sell in the store? mmm, so good, hehe :)

  4. I’ve never made homemade candy before but have always thought it would be nice to do to give as gifts. I’m thinking my kitchen would have been even messier than yours, though, and I doubt the finished product would be as pretty. Nice work!

  5. Great job on the challenge…the chocolates look great! They really do look professional. My dad would absolutely love them!

    • Thanks, Caroline! It was a challenge indeed, but not as hard as I thought it’d be. You should make them for your dad!…Nate loves the chocolate/mint combo too, that’s why I picked it :)

  6. Your candies came out perfect. They look so delicious!!!!
    This is called Perfection….
    Love them…

  7. Oooh la la! Those chocolates look delicious!

  8. Even reading about the issues and the mess I was still drooling. These look quite impressive.

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