English Toffee, Turtles, & Candy Bark

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat around the holidays? Nancy Parent, owner of Tiers of Joy in Ludlow, showed us 3 different types of holiday candies.

Caramel:
The easiest way to prepare caramel for recipes is to purchase a bag of caramel (individually wrapped candies).
– spray a pyrex bowl with cooking spray. Make sure the bowl extends above the caramel.
– unwrap each candy (hint: squeeze 2 sides of the candies to make the wrapper easier to remove)
– place the bowl of caramels in the microwave and heat for 30 second bursts. Stir after each and return to the microwave until the caramels are fully melted and smooth (the last heating cycle may be less than 30 seconds)

If you would prefer a homemade caramel recipe please feel free to email me at nancy@tiersofjoy.vpweb.com and I will be happy to send it to you.

English Toffee

Tools:
– parchment paper
– baking sheet (1 or 2)
– spatula
– pyrex bowl for melting caramel
– microwave proof bowl for melting chocolate

Ingredients:
– caramel (as much of the bag as you want to use. Normally, when I making caramel I will do several caramel recipes at the same time so I would melt 1 or 2 bags to accommodate all the recipes I’m making)
– 1.5 cups of chocolate chips for every bag of caramels
– 1 cup toasted slivered almonds

Instructions:
– preheat oven to 350 degrees
– line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread slivered almonds on the sheet
– bake the nuts for 5-10 minutes (this heightens the flavor of any nut that is toasted)
– put the toasted almonds aside
– spread a piece of parchment paper on another (cool) baking sheet
– melt caramel in the microwave following the directions shown above.
– pour/spread caramel on to the parchment paper
– allow the caramel to cool
– While the caramel is cooling, melt the chocolate chips (the exact same way you melted the caramels in the microwave – 30 second bursts)
– Spread the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel
– Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the melted chocolate
– When cool, break into small pieces.

Turtles

These delicious candies have just 3 ingredients; pecans, caramel and chocolate

Ingredients:
– pecan halves (4 per candy so the amount will depend on how many candies you’d like to make)
– melted caramel
– 1.5 cups of chocolate chips for every bag of caramels used

Tools:
– parchment paper
– cooking sprayed pyrex bowl for melting the caramels
– microwave safe bowl for melting chocolate chips
– spatula

Instructions:
– Melt caramels by placing the unwrapped candies in a pyrex bowl (previously sprayed with cooking spray) and melted in the microwave in 30 second bursts followed by stirring and repeated until smooth.
– arrange 4 pecan halves in a cluster (to simulate the 4 legs of a turtle) for however many candies you want to make.
– spoon melted caramel over each cluster of pecans and allow to cool.
– melt chocolate chips by placing them in a microwave safe bowl and heating in a microwave in 30 second bursts, followed by stirring and repeating until the chocolate is fully melted.
– spoon melted chocolate over the caramel to form a rounded covering.

Alternatives : Consider sprinkling a little sea salt over the melted caramel to create sea salt caramel turtles.

Candy Bark

Bark is basically melted chocolate spread out on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkled with either; crushed peppermint, M&Ms, nuts, sprinkles

Tools needed:
– parchment paper
– a microwave safe bowl to melt the chocolate
– a spatula

Ingredients:
– 12-16 oz of chocolate (dark, milk or white) NOTE: If you would like to make a colored chocolate bark I would suggest you buy the colored candy melts sold in craft stores. You cannot use traditional food color in white chocolate to achieve a color. You would need to purchase a candy coloring which is oil based)>
– whatever type of candy or nuts you want for topping

Instructions:
– place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and place in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, return to the microwave for 30 seconds, stir. Repeat as needed until the chocolate is fully melted. NOTE: the last heating period may be shorter 15-30 seconds as needed.
– spread the melted chocolate on a sheet of paper
– while the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with whatever toppings you want on the chocolate
– allow the chocolate to cool
– Once the bark is cool, break into smaller pieces. It can be eaten as candy, used as a decoration on cupcakes or used to decorate a cookie tray.