Monday, December 23, 2013

Handmade Chocolates with Recipe and the Ice in Photos

  The sun peeked out of the clouds for a just a bit this morning, but didn't stay out long enough for me to consider making up the divinity and peanut brittle. I get much better results making candy when it's bright and sunny and not humid.

   Soooo I made my dark chocolate bark and also another dark chocolate drop candy. For our tastes, since we really love the better quality dark chocolates I no longer buy those almond barks that are common in the grocery stores which are mostly milk chocolate. Instead I buy a good quality melting chocolate for the bark, and I combine lots of different dark chocolates for the drops. They come out much richer, and very smooth, and just awesome if you are a chocolate lover. I will gladly share my recipe for the drops if interested just let me know in comments.

Since retirement and moving here to the ozarks, I have gotton spoiled and just love this slab of marble for candy making and rolling out doughs. Hubby had gotton this salvage piece out of a hotel that had gotton torn down in Chicago about 50 years ago. Wow, are we really getting that old? lol  Larry is almost 70 so yep 50 years ago is about right. We had saved this piece to put into a permanent spot upon retirement. I keep it covered with glass cutting boards when I am not using it, to keep it free from getting cuts into in the surface.

  In the bark I added in slivered almonds and dried cranberries, and in the drops it has a good quality white chocolate, about about 3 different dark chocolates that I melted together and then added in fine unsweetened coconut, pecan meal, yellow raisins, and slivered almonds. 

  It has been in the single digits most of the day, so the ice is not melting off at all. When I went outdoors to feed the wild critters I also grabbed the camera. There are also a couple photos I took through the windows. Just click to enlarge the photos, some of the photos have little birds in them too.

Recipe for Kathy's Chocolate Drops

  I got this recipe from my fellow telephone operator one year. Here is the original recipe:

     Peanut Clusters

Makes about 5 dozen pieces, I usually make half the recipe.

2 pounds white bark
1 (12 ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 (12 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips
1 12 ounce bar German sweet chocolate
4 (12 ounce) cans Planter's peanuts
Combine everything except peanuts and melt in a large bowl. To melt place bowl in 200 degree oven until melted or microwave according to your machine's directions.
  Stir chocolate often until melted, then add in the peanuts stir well.
Drop by spoonful on waxed paper, let set. store in air tight containers or freeze.

Kathy's changes: Kathy's Chocolate Drops

For the white bark I use Baker's white chocolate in those ounce bars or cubes.
I use dark chocolate chips or bars from Ghirardelli chocolate and I do add the German sweet chocolate too. I also add 2 ounces of bittersweet dark chocolate.
 I usually half the recipe and then just figure out how many ounces of chocolate I need all together. 
   I melt my chocolate in a very heavy pan on top of the stove on a heat difuser, keep  an eye on it and stir til melted. You could also melt in a double boiler.
   I like to use almonds, pecans, walnuts any other nut besides peanuts. I also like to add in sometimes fine coconut, a nut meal, dried fruits-really whatever you love just add up the ounces so it totals what you need. 
   After set I keep a tin of these-wax paper between the layers-in the frig, and the rest goes in the freezer.

Kathy's Almond Bark

I use Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafters-I found a nice bag of them at a good price at Sam's club this year. Melt them as recipe above. I used 3 cups to make the amount shown. I added in slivered almonds and dried cranberries-a cup total. This is also great with crushed peppermint sticks, or anything you like. Dried blueberries are excellent too.


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