Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sharing One of My Hobbies With Little Bug...Candy making!

Before Little Bug and Little Monkey were born I had a pretty delicious hobby - making candy. I'm not sure when I really got into it or even how. I think it started with me making a batch of tuffles and then it just snowballed from there. I even got to the point where I was selling my candy to people I worked with (for way cheap too!) Really, I just loved making it and sharing it with others and making them happy! Plus with making all of the candy I tended not to eat it because I got so sick of chocolate!

Everything I made was hand made and molded - no machines.  Just me in my kitchen, sometimes for hours, filling little truffle molds with delicious flavored chocolate. During the Easter season I would sell peanut butter eggs and coconut eggs and could hardly keep up! And of course at Christmas gifts to colleagues always included a variety of candy.

After Little Bug, who is 3, was born I would make candy from time to time. No more selling though unless a person asked me to make a batch here and there. It was quite hard to stay in the kitchen for that long with a little one scooting, then crawling, then walking around. More time passed and Little Monkey was born (just 7 months ago). He is now at the stage where he is now all over the place but he is pretty content playing on the floor of the kitchen, sitting in his exersaucer, or swinging.

I missed making candy and people would ask me if I still did and my reply - I just don't have time anymore!!! (Or energy for that matter). When I had a free moment I didn't really want to be out in the kitchen making a mess that later I would just have to clean up. Plus there was always laundry, cleaning, taking care of the kids, etc. But now I've finally been able to manage my time so that I can have the best of both worlds.

And even better...when Little Monkey takes his naps Little Bug can be my helper!! She loves cooking with me. She is my official taste tester, a job which I am sure she loves!

The other day I just decided that I would like to get back into it. Not necessarily selling but at least making candy. So I began with two of my favorites - raspberry truffles and a concoction I tried - pumpkin truffles. For the pumpkin truffles I used my basic ganache filling recipe and then added in some pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. No measurements - just by taste. And oh man they are delicious!

8 oz. baking chocolate (I use 4 oz Bakers semi-sweet and 4 oz Bakers German chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
pureed pumpkin
pumpkin pie spice

First I chop the chocolate really fine, which makes it easier for melting. I put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Next, I heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it bubbles around the edge. Once bubbles form pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk. If there are big chunks of chocolate that won't melt I put the heatproof bowl on top of a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler and melt it on the stove. When the chocolate is melted, and lump free then I add a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree and then pumpkin pie spice to taste. Then I place the mixture into the fridge until you can scrape it with a spoon or roll  it into a ball.

Now it's time to make the shell.  I melt chocolate wafers (I use Wilton brand found at any craft store), nothing fancy. I use milk chocolate for the pumpkin truffles since it's a semisweet center. But you can use any kind you like.

I make the candy shells by pouring the melted chocolate into the molds, let them set in the fridge, and then fill them with the chilled ganache filling. Then, I put a little more melted chocolate over the filling to seal the truffle and put them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. When they are ready I pop them out, trim them up, and make them look pretty!  Of course if you wanted to you could just take the chocolate filling, roll it into a ball, and coat it with cocoa, powdered sugar, graham crackers, or whatever you like.


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