Toasted Marshmallow Fudge

Toasted Marshmallow Fudge

It was a Fudge Fantasyland around here yesterday. Not one, but TWO kinds of fudge were made. You see it all started when I went grocery shopping and spotted a container of Toasted Marshmallow Creme by Solo. {Why did I not know about this stuff?} It was with the regular marshmallow fluff in the peanut butter aisle. I said, “Whaaat?”, picked it up, and saw a recipe on the back of the container for Toasted Marshmallow Fudge. “Hmm…might have to try that.” I thought. I gathered the ingredients and I was on my way!

toasted marshamallow fudge with creme

At the store I quickly read through the ingredients, but didn’t look at the directions until I was ready to make it. I’m not into reading directions as anyone who knows me will tell you.  When I saw that I’d need my dreaded candy thermometer I was more than a little displeased. You see, I don’t have good relationships with my candy thermometers. Notice the plural? I used to go through them as if they were supposed to be disposable. Yes, I used to buy the cheap ones and somehow I’d always drop it and crack it. Finally, I learned my lesson and got a good one. One that is a little more durable and can be used for candy or frying. This current candy thermometer relationship has lasted over 5 years now. Yay for us!

candy thermometer

Actually, the recipe was very easy to make, despite the unwelcome glass and metal “helper”. I would recommend that if you make it, get all your ingredients ready to go. Making candy on the stove is not hard, but it always seems to me like it’s never going to get to the temperature…and then all of a sudden it’s there and on the edge of scorching. Wow, aren’t I supposed to be getting you to try this? I’ll bet I lost you. Hello?

So you see there are two types I made — one vanilla and one chocolate. Another example of why you need to read the whole recipe before starting. I made the recipe for the vanilla flavored Toasted Marshmallow Fudge using the white chocolate chips as the recipe stated. It was very good, but very sweet. I’m prefer chocolate as opposed to white chocolate. At the very end of the recipe, there were some helpful hints that suggested you try it with regular chocolate chips. Well, thank you very much…I will do that Solo Company! I grabbed another container of Toasted Marshmallow Creme and got to town making a second batch with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Oh my. Yummy. I much prefer the chocolate flavor. Plus, I added in a tiny bit more of the evaporated milk in that batch so it’s a little creamier than the white. Now, let me say this. I hardly taste any toasted marshmallow flavoring. There’s just a hint of it. I was expecting more, especially since I got out my intimidating candy thermometer and all for this little fudge rendezvous. As far as fudge goes, however, it is quite tasty…and I still recommend you try it!

Toasted Marshmallow Fudge -by Solo Foods

Ingredients:
1  12oz. package of chocolate chips: white for vanilla/semi-sweet for chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
5 oz. evaporated milk (use 7 oz. for softer, creamier fudge)
1 stick of butter (1/4 pound)
7 oz. Solo brand Toasted Marshmallow Creme

**Get everything ready before you begin!**

Directions:
1. Place the chocolate chips and the vanilla in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Grease an 8×8 baking dish (or use cooking spray).
3. In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, 1 tablespoon of the butter (set aside the rest), and the evaporated milk. Bring to a full, rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Continue to stir until candy thermometer reaches 233 degrees F.
4. Add the remaining butter and marshmallow creme, still heating and stirring until smooth.
5. Bring back up to a boil, stirring constantly. {Here is where mine got a little scorched, but hey, we’re making “toasted” marshmallow fudge, right?}
6. Immediately pour the hot mixture into the bowl with the chocolate chips and vanilla. Blend well.
7. Pour the fudge into greased pan and cool at room temperature until firm.
8. Cut into squares and enjoy!
9. Try not to break your candy thermometer. A-hem.
Micha

Mini Candy Cane Heart Valentines

Mini Candy Cane Hearts

Each year I try to find something different for my kids to bring to school for Valentine’s Day besides the tiny, convenient, and inexpensive cards you find at all the stores. (Hmm, they sound really good putting it that way!) I was inspired by a post I saw a while ago on Nest of Posies’ blog but she used popsicle sticks with the candy hearts. I knew that wouldn’t transport well in a backpack to school so I just made little hearts to pass out to classmates.

I knew I wanted to make these for Valentine’s Day even before Christmas, so when I saw the mini candy canes for sale, I bought a couple of boxes back in December. If you don’t have any leftover mini candy canes, keep this in mind for next year!

All you need are mini candy canes, candy melts, sprinkles, waxed paper, and a baking sheet. A disposable decorating/piping bag or two is optional, but I highly recommended them. You can use a spoon, but they just might look a little messier that’s all. I wouldn’t recommend using a resealable bag as a piping bag because the melted chocolate will make the bag too floppy and hard to manage.

MCCH candy melts and bags

The candy melts and disposable (decorating) bags are both from Wilton and can be found at most craft stores like Michael’s or at Wal-Mart. I also purchased goody bags that were the perfect size at Michael’s.

The candy melts get melted inside a decorating bag in the microwave. There are instructions on the back of the bag, but basically you want to melt them slowly on 50% power. Put about half the candy in the bag, twist to close somewhat and tuck the end under the bag, heat for 1 minute on medium/50% power. Then heat at 30 second intervals on 50% power until it is melted – kneading the candy after each time. When it’s melted it should be thin and flow smoothly out of the bag.

First step is to lay out your mini candy canes on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. You can do this while you are melting the candy melts.

MCCH lay out hearts

When your candy melts are ready, cut off the tip of your decorating bag. (Do this only when you have your candy canes ready!) Squeeze out the melted candy, filling each heart, making sure to get where the ends meet and along the edge of the candy cane. You don’t want to overfill, but you do want to cover the whole inside.

Filling candy cane hearts

You will want to add some sprinkles after each time you fill a heart, or if you get good at filling you can do it every 2 or 3 hearts. The candy will start to set up so you want to make sure the sprinkles will stick.

Candy cane hearts with sprinkles

After my baking sheet was done, I stuck it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set up. It will set up on its own without that step, but it helps to speed up the process. If you need more, you can melt the other half of the candy melts and do another tray. I made 2 trays, used one bag of candy melts, and got about 36 mini hearts.

Notes: You can use a second decorating bag for your second batch of candy melts to make it less messy. I used just one, but I put a paper plate under the bag in the microwave to catch any drips. Make sure not to overheat the candy melts. If you do it slowly, on medium power, and kneading it at each time interval, you will be okay. If you overheat it, it may lose it’s ability to set up/harden.

Candy cane hearts

Hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day and think of making these next year if you don’t happen to have some mini candy canes lying around!
Micha

Good & Plenty® Cupcakes

These cupcakes have been on my mind for a while now and today they finally came into fruition. Now believe me, I know the deal: When it comes to Good & Plenty® candy or black licorice flavored candy you either love it or you hate it. I love it. Sometimes I even crave it. I usually have a stash put away for those moments, but recently I bought an extra box so I could use it with the cupcakes I was dreaming of.

I took a basic vanilla cupcake recipe that I found from Better Homes and Gardens, omitted the vanilla, and replaced it with the goodness that makes these my Good & Plenty® cupcakes! The texture is a little different than I am used to since I prefer a more spongy cake, but it’s still yummy. I think that even if you don’t care so much for black licorice flavored treats, you might enjoy these because they have a much more subtle flavor.

Here is the cupcake recipe, and the frosting recipe follows…

Good & Plenty® Cupcakes (Makes 1 dozen)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon anise extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Directions:
Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat softened butter until creamy on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and mix for about a minute. Add anise extract, almond extract, whole egg and 2 egg yolks and beat again until combined.

Add in half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and blend on low speed. Add in half of the heavy whipping cream and blend. Add in the rest of the flour mixture, blend, and add in the rest of the cream. Mix everything on low speed until well combined, scraping down the sides of your bowl. *Your batter will be thick*.

Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin cups (I like to use a 1 1/2″ ice cream/cookie scoop for this). Fill only about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes (or until a toothpick or fork inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean) at 325 degrees. Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with my Good & Plenty® frosting found below!

Good & Plenty® Frosting Recipe
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 teaspoons anise extract
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy. Add in the sugar and blend well. Add in the anise extract and the cream and combine well. It should be nice and light and fluffy. I added in some rose-colored gel to get the pink color (found at craft stores). Frost your cupcakes the way you’d like. Make sure to stick a few candies on top for decoration!

{For my cupcakes featured here, I took a #12 round tip and a piping bag and went around the outside edge to make a “ring”. Then I sprinkled on a combination of pink, white and black nonpareils that I mixed up. I took another piping bag with a # 1M star tip and made the swirl. I added a few Good & Plenty® candies on top and then I happily scarfed one down.}

So who out there loves their Good & Plenty® candy like Charlie?

~Micha