Belated candy gifts

Whoops, I meant to post this before the winter holidays were coming to a close. Whoopswhoopswhoops. But life got in the way. The making of the gifts, the sending of the gifts (after the traditional gift giving day because who can keep track of pesky USPS holiday hours?), the traveling, and all that relaxing.

But I took the pictures, and I made them, and so why not? Then it’s all about figuring out what to say. Something clever? Something profound? Or just the recipe because who really reads this part anyways.

Let’s face it, you’re here for the food pictures, and the recipes. This part is mostly for me. It’s like a diary but you can skip ahead to the good bits. I get to put my profound, life-changing thoughts out there and feel comfortable knowing that most people will scroll right by them. I’m not joking, that fact is actually relatively comforting and part of what makes blogging cathartic.

That and it’s a way I can look back on medical school and say look! You can be creative! You can make things! You can write things, and have opinions all while creating tasty tasty treats! Fight injustice with your words, and make pistachio apricot bars while doing it! No, this post is not about pistachio apricot bars sadly, it’s about candy.

The type of candy that doesn’t need thermometers, or confectioners sugar, or melon ballers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s just not what it’s about right now. It’s about making it happen when you’re tired. It’s about bringing it when you’re don’t have time to go to the shop, and bringing it damn well. It’s about delicious candy. So feast your foodie eyes on my candy creations, and feel the comfort in knowing you can make beautiful, tasty things with little sleep and no thermometers, but with a lot of sass and love.

Pretzel Toffee With Pecans

1 cup salted butter
1 cup light or dark brown sugar (depending on how molasses-y you like things)
1 bag pretzel thins or saltines or ritz crackers, really any salted, crunchy cracker will do. The pretzel thins can be found in Trader Joes
8oz semi-sweet chocolate
Chopped Pecans

Line a 9×13 inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray that with cooking spray. Lay down a layer of your crackers/pretzels, etc. It’s okay if they overlap a little, but you want a nice layer of it down. Turn your oven on to 350.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Really watch the color here, if it seems like it’s getting too dark for your liking, turn it off. If you don’t know what too dark looks like, keep it going for 2.5 minutes, and then turn it off. It’s really an eye-ball it kind of recipe. If you don’t use salted butter by the way, add 0.5 tsp salt to the butter-sugar boiling mixture.

Pour the mixture carefully over your pretzel layer, covering it completely. Don’t worry if there’s a little bit uncovered, it’ll spread. Put that in your oven for 10 minutes.

Pull it out, and let it sit for 1-2 minutes to harden slightly. Then pour the bag of chocolate on top, the heat from the toffee will melt it, and spread it evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans, and some salt.

Put it in the freezer for 20 minutes, pull it out, and use whatever tool you want (hand, dull kitchen knife, etc.) to break it into pieces, and enjoy!

Trail Mix Bark

8-16 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate
Dried apricots, chopped
Dried cranberries
Other toppings you want (white chocolate, pretzels, other nuts, other fruit)

Take your 9×13 pan, line it with aluminum foil, and spray it with cooking spray.
Put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and put it in the microwave on medium high for 30 seconds, pull it out, mix the chocolate together to distribute the heat. Do this for 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted and viola! This is how you melt chocolate evenly in the microwave.

Spread that over your 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the dried fruit on it, and push it down so it sticks in the chocolate. Then add the pistachios and push down. Then sprinkle the salt on top. Put it in the freezer for 20 minutes, and break it up, and you have bark!


Trail Mix Bites

Same ingredients as above
Heavy duty plastic bag
Put your dried fruit and nuts out so you can grab them quickly, because the bites dry quickly.

Lay out a large piece of baking sheet paper. Melt your chocolate. Use a spatula to put it inside a plastic bag. This is a messy, messy process. That’s okay — don’t wear your nicest whites is my only advice. Cut the tip of the bag off, and squeeze out dollops of chocolate onto the baking sheet. As soon as you’re done, place one dried fruit and nut in the center. Do this quickly, the chocolate dries fast. Then salt it. And you’re done. Let it dry and enjoy.

3 thoughts on “Belated candy gifts

  1. I read every word 😉
    Just wondering if you really need to put it in the freezer or if that is just to speed up the cooling process ??
    How do you think the pretzel toffee would be using Earth Balance or coconut oil ??


  2. Hey Laurie, the freezer is just for the cooling process. And I think Coconut oil would be delicious and would work well, it may just not fair as well on warmer days!


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