Friday, May 15, 2015

Valrhona Chocolate Caramels

Valrhona Dark Chocolate..melted into caramel gooey goodness.

Oh. My. Word..

This was my third batch ever of chocolate caramels.

I made the first batch using Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips. My family gave them a thumbs up. I thought they were okay.

For the second round, I went with Valrhona Guanaja bitter 70%. These caramels were definitely better. Hubby couldn't stop eating them..ahem..he ate them all!

So..I really needed to make more. I mean, I knew my sweetie would be spoiling me while I'm healing and my man likes, loves, needs his candy!

We made our forty-five minute trek to Whole Foods and while my more healthy minded hubby spends a good half hour in the produce, I'm making a beeline for the baking aisle and then the chocolate. 

They were out of my 70% Guanaja so I decided to go with the Caraibe 66% dark chocolate.
Wow! I LOVE THESE! WE love these!

My favorite caramels so far are my Peanut Butter Caramels..these are a very close second.

I hope you try them!
Here are the ingredients needed to make your chocolate caramels. You're now approximately half an hour away from pouring this heavenly candy and licking the spoon soaking your pan in hot water!
Whole Foods sells Valrhona feves (discs) by the half pound container full. I really wish they weren't so beat up..I like my chocolate pretty!
Use a heavy bottomed 4 quart saucepan. I've been using my All-Clad pan solely for candy making for over 4 years and love it.
Also a good candy thermometer is (I think) a must. I use this $35 one from Williams Sonoma.
You will also need cooking spray.
Melt butter over low heat. Add sugars, syrup, condensed milk and stir. 
There! Easy as pie..or let's say, easy as caramel.
Add chocolate and stir.
Bump up the heat to medium and continue stirring until thermometer reads 246 degrees.
 Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into prepared pan and let sit loosely covered for several hours or overnight.
Oh yeah! It's ready!
Remove candy from pan and place on cutting surface.
A lightly oiled, long, sharp knife will easily cut your candy.
I may have admired my caramels before I tasted them.   ;)
I use an 8x8 pan for my caramels and I usually cut them in 2 inch or 4 inch long pieces with the 4 being my favorite. 
My family and friends love getting these wrapped candy bar size treats as much as I love seeing the smiles on their faces!
A soft and chewy caramel.
All lined up and ready for the show.
The End!
But wait..don't forget the recipe. Keep scrolling..
 Valrhona Chocolate Caramels

2 sticks salted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1  14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 generous cup Valrhona Caraibe 66% dark chocolate (50 feves) I found mine @ Whole Foods..
or 6 oz. of your favorite good quality chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla bean crush (or vanilla extract)

Prepare 8x8 pan by lightly spraying with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and again lightly spray with cooking spray.

Melt butter over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrup and condensed milk. Stir well.
Add chocolate and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.
Attach candy thermometer and cook to 246 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pour into prepared pan. 
Let caramels sit at room temperature several hours or overnight.

Remove candy from pan and cut with lightly oiled sharp knife. Wrap caramels in wax paper. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fiori di Sicilia Sugar Cookies

Fiori di Sicilia.

Have you heard of or ever used this special flavoring?

I have an obsession with "secret" ingredients. And this cookie features two. 

The first one, Fiori di Sicilia or "Flowers of Sicily", is to be used sparingly. A little goes a long way. The scent and flavor is a heavenly mix of floral, citrus and vanilla. You can order your own here!

My other favorite is Vanilla Bean Crush. With a crazy good combination of Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian Vanilla beans, I use this liberally in my candies and baked goods.
But the best part is a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this vanilla go to support breast cancer research!
I made these cookies last week as I knew I would be down (literally and figuratively) for a while.
I've just had the first of three foot surgeries.
I will have to miss Mother's Day at church Sunday..sad..and I won't be able to kick around in my kitchen..bummer..for a while.

But on the bright side, I've made a couple of sweet treats with lots of photographs that I get to sit and sift through to keep me occupied for a few days. That and the fact that my hubby is pampering me makes recuperating not so bad after all! are the ingredients for these sweet and soft cookies.
 In case you missed the link for this flavoring, here it is one more time.
Once you make your dough and chill it, just roll into balls (I used a tablespoon scoop) and place on parchment lined pan. Bake @ 350 for 12 minutes or just until the edges are  lightly browned.
 I wanted to pretty my little cookies up. 
I think this simple tiny fondant flower does the trick along with some yummy sugar icing. 
 Roll out fondant and cut with a tiny little flower fondant cutter dusted with powdered sugar. 
Just a dab of water will hold the sugar pearl when pressed into the center of the flower.
You can just use a clean, dry paintbrush to remove the excess sugar.
 I made this simple sugar icing to dip my cookies in.
Two cups of powdered sugar stirred together with three tablespoons of milk
 and 1/4 teaspoon of Fiori di Sicilia does the trick.
 The cookies do look mighty let's get to the fun part. Dip the cookie into icing and flip back over. Sprinkle on some colored sugar and place a flower on each one.
That's so much better..and yummy too!
Fiori di Sicilia Sugar Cookies

1 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 sticks butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean crush
1/4 teaspoon fiori di sicilia
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a mixer bowl, cream coconut oil, butter and sugars.
In a small separate bowl, lightly mix eggs and flavorings. Add to butter mixture, mix well.
Combine flour and baking soda and add gradually just till combined.
Chill dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll cookie dough into one tablespoon size balls. 
Place on parchment lined baking pan and bake 12 minutes or until edges are just lightly browned.
 Let cool.

Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon fiori di sicilia
(colored sugar for decoration)

Gently stir all ingredients together.
Dip cookie into icing. Flip over and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Fondant Flowers

sugar pearls 
powdered sugar

Roll out fondant. Dust cutter with sugar and cut out flowers.
Dab a drop of water to center of flower and press in sugar pearl.

Y'all are too sweet for stopping by my blog
Sugartown Sweets!

New members and comments are lovely icing on the cookies!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day Sweets From the Archives

 Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there!

If you are a Mom, want to be a Mom or are a Mom to be..I wish you a blessed Mother's Day.

God has surely blessed me with some amazing and wonderful Moms in my life. My own Mother, Grandmothers, Daughter and Granddaughters..just to name a few!

I am sharing with you some of the sweets I've made to celebrate this sweet day!
These super easy Mother's Day Marshmallow Roses are perfect for a last minute fun gift for Mom. Just click on the link for the how-tos.
One of my favorite edible crafts to date!
A sweet candy tray to make for this special day.
To DIY, click here for instructions.
These sweet cookie pops are fun for the kids to make!

My grandbabies loved making them for their special Mom.
Just click here to see how they're done. 
These Brown Rim cookies are my own Mom's sentimental favorite. Click here for the recipe.

Wishing You All a Happy Mother's Day From
Sugartown Sweets!

Monday, April 20, 2015

National Jelly Bean Day Clusters On a Stick

Happy National Jelly Bean Day (on Wednesday)!

These happy little jelly beans pops just might brighten up your day if you happen to live in the rain soaked zone of the U.S. as I do...even though I do love the rain!

Last week as I was "sugar thinking", these jelly bean clusters just popped into my head. As usual, when I think I've invented something new, I always google it. It just so happens that I am not the first one to think of these. I found these sweet clusters here!

The flavor possibilities are endless. Especially if you use Jelly Belly jelly beans as I the fact that there are so many candy melts flavors these days.

Check out my last post if you wanna make my S'mores Clusters Pops! we go! 

These are super high on my list of fun and simple treats to make with the grand-kiddos!
Whenever I come across a new flavor of candy melts, I snap them up.

The green, orange and color burst melts are all vanilla flavored. But keep your eyes open for new and seasonal flavors for more fun jelly bean clusters flavors combos!

The peanut butter melts with the strawberry jam beans got top marks!

The chocolate covered pineapple pops were inspired by some delicious candies I brought home from a trip to Kauai and the peanut butter and banana are a nod to Elvis!
I used 10 melts and 8 jelly beans for each pop.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the candy melts in the microwave at 30 second intervals stirring each time. Stir in the jelly beans and spoon the candy mixture over the top of a lollipop stick. Let set.

I thought the color burst melts and blue/pink jelly beans would make a perfect treat pop for a gender reveal party. I think I would maybe use a couple more melts just to make sure the color of the jelly beans are completely covered.
Oh so pretty!
Happy National Jelly Bean Day!

New members and comments keep my life sweet!

Thanks for stopping by Sugartown Sweets today.  :o) 

S'mores Jelly Bean Clusters Pops

A new S'mores treat!

And with toasted marshmallow jelly fire required!

With National Jelly Bean Day less than 2 days away, these pops are super easy to create. Check my next post to see more fun flavor combos!
Just melt the chocolate, stir in the jelly beans and spoon the candy to cover the top of a lollipop stick. Sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs and let set.

For each pop I used 10 candy melts and 8 jelly beans.
Ooey, gooey, yummy, chewy.

Need I say s'more? haha..oops..couldn't help myself!
New members and comments keep my life sweet!

Thanks for stopping by Sugartown Sweets today.
S'mores Jelly Bean Clusters Pops

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter 2015!

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

May we never forget Jesus's great sacrifice for us all!

Wishing you all a Blessed and Happy Easter!
If you'd like to make your own candy cross ornaments, click here for the link.

He Is Risen!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baa Baa "Back of Lamb" Cookies!

Lamb Cookies..with a twist..or should I say tail?!

I dunno if you're gonna think these are half as funny as I do..hahaha!

Last April, as I was in the planning stages of my baby girl's baby shower, I bought a little trio of baby shower cookie cutters. I found that same bib cutter here if you'd like to purchase one.
Anyways..baa baa back to my story. So when I got home and went through my haul, I got an upside down view of my bib cutter. Oh my word..the first thing that popped into my mind was the back of a lamb. (Maybe it has something to do with all those adorable little "Bunny Booty" treats!) I started laughing out loud. Glad nobody else was around to see me in my pantry giggling at a pack of cookie cutters. And so, here I am almost a year later sharing my silly cookies with you.

Hope they make you chuckle.   :o)
Prepare cookie dough.
 Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. I rolled mine out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut cookies and place on parchment lined baking pan. Chill pan in frig for 10-15 minutes. Bake cookies.
 Let cool.
 I wanted baby pink lambs so I used two colors of pre-made fondant. I mixed a small amount of pink with a larger amount of white. Roll out fondant.
 Place fondant onto the embossing mat and close to impress the design. I used this embossing folder..the best thing is, right now it's on sale!
 Using the bib cutter, cut out fondant pieces. 
Cutie, cutie lamb's booty!
 If you're having sticking issues, just use a little powdered sugar to dust your cutter and knife.
 Jelly Belly Jelly Beans aka Lamb's Tails.
Attach fondant to cookie and jelly beans to fondant with a small paintbrush and corn syrup.

Cookie Recipe

(slight variation to Lila Loa's recipe)

1 cup salted butter softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups flour
Cream, butter and sugar. Add eggs and flavoring, mixing well. Add baking powder and mix again. Gradually add flour on low speed just till combined. I knead the dough a little to make sure the last little bits are flour are fully incorporated. Chill dough. Roll out on lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters dusted with flour. Place cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Chill pan for 10 minutes in frig.
 Bake @ 375 for 7-9 minutes.

Happy Spring From Sugartown Sweets & Thanks For Stopping By!

Comments and new members make my life sweeter!