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chocolate coated toffee

butter toffee with chocolateHello 2017!  By now most of you are back to your daily routine.  Our Christmas decorations and tree are still up but it’ll all be put to bed come Friday – or at least the tree will be stripped and out on the sidewalk (garbage collection day).  Over the holidays I made my usual goodies as that’s what my family has come to expect and heaven help me if I change any part of that tradition (insert happy face here).  Continue Reading →

Christmas Bark

Christmas BarkIf you make your own candies then I applaud you for your dedication and patience.  Years ago, a friend of my mom’s would stop by to drop off her annual Christmas gift of handmade candy.  Mrs. Scarborough would spend hours on her candies and they looked so delicate and professional.  She would tenderly explain to mom what each one was and any that might have given her grief in the making.  My siblings and I would eye the candy and savour each mouthful…there weren’t that many to go around but boy were they delicious! I like candy/desserts that don’t require much finesse or fuss but deliver that wow factor via visual presentation and taste.  Continue Reading →

Peanut Butter Cups

handmade peanut butter cups by The Culinary ChaseWhen I was little, I wasn’t a huge fan of candy. Mom always had her candy drawer fully stocked but I was never that enticed to ‘snatch’ something from it – unless it was red licorice.  Every Christmas mom would have boxes of Ganong chocolates that would get distributed throughout the holiday season.  I would try to see which chocolate I could eat based on the diagram on the box.  If it looked like a mushy center or alcohol based, I would avoid it like the plague.  And, I would take a small corner bite just to make sure it was the one.  If it wasn’t, I would neatly place it back in the wrapper!  I can distinctly remember checking my Christmas stocking for goodies and hoping I wouldn’t find any ribbon candy in it…I know they were pretty and nostalgic-looking but that was it.  I would use it as a bartering tool later on with my other siblings (sorry mom).  Nothing much has changed since then.  I’ve long since moved away from milk chocolate (eww) and favor dark chocolate.  Visit Women’s Health Magazine for 9 health benefits of eating dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao).

Makes 12
adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

16 oz. dark chocolate (70%), chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sifted icing sugar

Fill a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Melt half the chocolate in a double boiler. Distribute melted chocolate between the cupcake liners by barely filling the bottom of each. I found that using a tablespoon helped. If the chocolate does not lie flat, drop the pan repeatedly on the counter until it is flatten and smooth. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.

peanut butter cups collage by The Culinary ChaseMeanwhile, using a hand mixer whip the peanut butter, butter, and icing sugar together until light in color. At this point, do a taste test to make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Place small tablespoons of peanut butter into each cup, then drop the pan repeatedly on the counter again, so the peanut butter layer is flattened out or smooth it out with the back of a teaspoon. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Melt the last half of chocolate, and portion small spoonfuls of chocolate into the cups, one cup at a time, immediately dropping the pan repeatedly on the counter to flatten each cup. Do this for each cup as the chill from the peanut butter will harden the top layer of chocolate very quickly. Place the peanut butter cups in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the top layer of chocolate.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Once you make your own, it will be difficult to go back to a commercial form. Keep the peanut butter cups in the fridge otherwise the filling will be too soft if left out at room temperature for any length of time. I’ll make these again but using less chocolate on the bottom and top…my gauge was a bit off making the top too thick but not too thick to enjoy.  My husband is not a fan of peanut butter but when he tried this, he was hooked.  Enjoy!