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!