Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Candies for #SundaySupper

Soft Chocolate Candy (Beginning of kneading)I was on a candy-making roll after last week's Homemade Sour Patch Kids, so I decided to try another homemade version of a classic - Tootsie Rolls. However, like the sour candy, this concoction adapted from The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook is a bit more refined in flavour and texture. For one thing, I used the best bittersweet chocolate I could get a hold of - we're talking 75% cocoa - which made for divinely "grown up" tasting nibbles. A touch of brown sugar deepened the molassesy sweetness of the dark corn syrup, and those two components worked in tandem to make the resulting "rope" of candy pliable enough to cut and melt in your mouth but sturdy enough to hold its shape. In a sense, to compare these to a  Tootsie Roll is like comparing homemade chicken soup to Campbells - for all appearances they are alike, but one taste and you never go back.

Soft Chocolate Candy (Kneaded)Of course, divine candy - even something that is relatively simple like this one - has a price. For these, this means a lot of waiting, greasing, scraping, kneading and cleaning! I started off thinking that a quick swipe of oil on my hands alone would do the trick, but discovered that this candy is one that gets over everything - eventually I just got a cereal bowl, dumped some shortening into it and used it almost like soap to keep the candy in motion. Kneading felt like forever because of the sticky factor (it was really only about 15-20 minutes), and I would definitely invest in a bench scraper and a silicone mat for the greatest ease (some may call it a cop-out, I'm just too lazy to keep cleaning!). The "waiting" portion comes in the form of a "curing" stint that's at least overnight (although I didn't get to mine again until 3 days post-knead and it hadn't suffered). All this is so worth it in the end, though, (and a really good reason not to skip either kneading or curing) since it's a lot easier to cut into chunks, roll into chocolatey "snakes" and slice individual pieces when it's had a chance to chill out and rest. The rolling, cutting and wrapping is also a great activity for kids to get involved with - there are a lot of pieces and many hands make light work!

Chocolate Rope

When all's said and done, and you pop that first candy into your mouth, the reason for those efforts you put in becomes clear as day - it's a grown-up, more "gourmet" version of the Hallowe'en candy fest the kids will be diving into, and it's as free of additives and fillers as you'd like it to be (depending on the chocolate you choose!).

Soft and Chewy Chocolates

Since it is the Sunday before the biggest candy nosh of the year, you know the #SundaySupper group has to bring our Halloween game to the table! This event is being hosted by Kathia of Basic N Delicious - Thanks Kathia!

COCKTAILS

SWEETS AND DESSERTS

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APPETIZER, MAIN MEALS

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Candies
Adapted from The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook
Makes 90 pieces
17 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup golden corn syrup
1 tsp coarse sea salt (or kosher salt)
shortening or coconut oil, for greasing the silpat, bench scraper, knife and your hands
  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan combine the sugars, water and corn syrup.
  3. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over the chocolate, covering all the bits. Let stand 3 minutes.
  5. With a sturdy, silicone spatula, start stirring until the chocolate begins to come together into a smooth, shiny mass.
  6. Add the salt and stir in. Continue stirring for 5 minutes.
  7. Scrape mixture onto a silicone mat, lifting the edges to keep the mixture on the mat if it threatens to ooze off.
  8. Once the mixture stays put, let it sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Grease a bench scraper and the exposed portions of the silpat and begin folding the chocolate mixture over itself.
  10. Continue folding the mixture until it stiffens significantly enough to begin kneading with your hands, about 20 minutes.
  11. Knead by (well greased) hand until it is very difficult to manage, about 5 minutes longer.
  12. Scrape off the silpat and wrap well in cling wrap.
  13. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. At this point, if you don't want to wrap them right away, you can refrigerate this up to 3 months in the plastic wrap.
  14. When ready to wrap, use a knife or the bench scraper to cut off a piece of the chocolate "dough" and place it on an ungreased, clean surface.
  15. Roll it back and forth (like when you were making snakes from Play-Doh as a kid) and as it becomes pliable from the heat of your hands, gradually roll it into a long rope about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch thick.
  16. Cut 1" pieces of candy and wrap in squares of wax paper (or "Twisting Paper", available here)
  17. Stores up to 1 month in an airtight container at room temperature, or 6 months in an airtight container in the fridge.
Amount Per Piece
Calories: 36.3
Total Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 15.3 mg
Total Carbs: 5.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 0.3 g