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Wrap Up the Season With Buttery, Homemade Candy

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Chocolate Cherry Fudge
Eggnog Fudge
Sea-Salted Caramels
Pistachio Toffee

(Family Features) - Homemade candy is a year-round treat, but it's especially delicious during the holidays. Stir up sweet family traditions in the kitchen this season with a few simple tools and the perfect candy ingredients. Gather a heavy saucepan and wooden spoon, along with plenty of real butter, pure sugar and high-quality chocolate.

These recipes are easy to make, from melt-in-your-mouth caramels to crunchy, nutty toffee. If your candy-making technique could use a refresher course, visit butterisbest.com for a short video demonstration of the Pistachio Toffee recipe, along with helpful hints for using a candy thermometer and testing candy temperatures.

Sweet Tips for Candy Success

  • No substitutions - real butter, not margarine or spreads, gives candy the best flavor and texture.
  • Don't double up - make only a single batch of candy at a time. Extra ingredients may prevent the mixture from cooking properly.
  • Temps on target - the bulb of the candy thermometer should be completely covered by liquid, but don't rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan.
  • Be patient - candy takes a long time to cook - don't rush it by turning up the heat.
  • Measure up - measure all ingredients before beginning a recipe.
  • Keep it fresh - store finished confections in an airtight container in a dry location. Use wax paper to separate layers of candy.

For more holiday recipes and tips for cooking and baking with butter visit butterisbest.com.

Chocolate Cherry Fudge

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preparation
    1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
    2. Remove from heat; add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until smooth.
    3. Add, almonds, cherries and almond extract; mix until well blended.
    4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Refrigerate until cool; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Serves
Makes 3 dozen pieces

Eggnog Fudge

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans,
  • 1 teaspoon rum or rum extract

Preparation
    1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
    2. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
    3. Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme, pecans and rum; mix well.
    4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool completely; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Serves
Makes 3 dozen pieces

Sea-Salted Caramels

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation
    1. Butter sides and bottom of heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add butter and melt over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrups and cream; mix well. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (firm ball stage).
    2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool at room temperature until caramel begins to set, sprinkle with sea salt; cool completely.
    3. Use foil to lift caramel out of pan. Butter a large chef's knife and cut caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap caramels individually in plastic wrap or store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Serves
Makes 3 dozen pieces

Pistachio Toffee

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preparation
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place pistachios in single layer in pan; toast 3 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and coarsely chop; set aside.
    2. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugars, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil until mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage), stirring frequently.
    3. Stir in 3/4 cup pistachios; mix well and pour into jellyroll pan lined with buttered foil. Spread mixture into large rectangle. Cool completely.
    4. In microwave-safe container, microwave chocolate 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving in 10-second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth, but not hot. Using spatula, spread over toffee, covering it completely. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and gently pat into chocolate.
    5. Place pan in refrigerator for 5 minutes, or until chocolate has set. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Serves
Makes 3 dozen pieces

SOURCE: America's Dairy Farmers



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