Apart from Christmases as a very small child I had never attempted to make sweets until this Christmas. I only started doing this to draw a slightly different crowd to our gate side stand. The ‘melt in the mouth’ fudge sold very well and didn’t need an expensive new jar and lid. Although I agree with Suky it wasn’t quite chewy enough for me – so I’ll cook it until it’s golden brown next time. I packed it in little cellophane envelopes that are sold for handmade cards. With the standard red raffia bows I tried to make them look as enticing as possible. I also offered individually wrapped free samples which has had a significant impact on sales.
My hearty thanks go out to redfox for her suggestion of crunchy toffee and link to this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog. David used to be the pastry chef at Chez Panisse (Alice Waters) and is someone that I have always been a little in awe of. But his site is fun, readable and extremely helpful. And apart from the cakes, patisseries and reviews is choc-a-bloc with confectionary porn.
When I saw these chocolates on his site I just had to make them. I found 300 paper sweet cases in TKMaxx and got to work on the filling right away. Yesterday I made tempered chocolate – I’d not heard of this before but it’s essential to stop the chocolate developing a bloom in a warm room. Filling the tiny cases was a fiddly time consuming job that I’m sure will become easier in time. The result was a chocolate to die for – even Danny loved them and he hates dark chocolate. Today I will be making a milk chocolate version. They are a Rolls Royce grown up version of the Hershey peanut cups.
The crunchy toffee was a doddle to make. I made mine as thin as possible and am selling a plain and a nutty version. I had to pack them all up yesterday evening as they are totally moreish.
To make these sweets you need two essential pieces of equipment. A candy/jam thermometer (a good investment as it helps when making your own homemade yoghurt) and a large heavy bottomed saucepan. I use the same Circulon Infinite hard anodised stockpot one for all my preserving. I bought it in a sale years ago and it has proved to be worth every penny.
People bought chocs yesterday and I’ll report back on how well the toffee goes down. My idea is to keep on making new lines for the stand so it doesn’t become invisible. Apart from fresh vegetables and eggs I want everything to be a pretty and tempting treat for under £2.00. Making sweets is great fun – why not give it a whirl?
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