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Salted Pistachio Dark Chocolate

I had an idea I wanted to try for a while, but it depended on me having the desire to shuck a quart jar of pistachios. Lord knows that is boring and depressing. You spend all that time and in the end, only a third of that jar is green gems 😉

As I was standing around with time on my hands, watching the two youngest playing, I pulled out the jar and got started. Walker cruised by and ate a 1/3 of what I produced. Good toddler, eh? Kirk was working nearby and we both watched Alistaire walking. At 11 months his walking is crazy. He rarely holds on now, walking all over, trying to keep up with Walker. And he watches us making food and eating. His appetite for food is increasing by the day, hungry he is to try new things! I realized that, in a twisted way, I have let him baby-wean. More in that being my 3rd child, I have let him decide when he was ready. And with 8 shiny chompers in his mouth, he is ready. And oh, did he want what Mommy was making….. after all, if Walker was begging for a candy, he wanted in too.

The key is having flexible molds. Having made soap and candles for years, I can say I HATE plastic molds. They break. They don’t flex. They are over priced and junky. Silicone molds though were a great invention! And you can find them in ways you wouldn’t expect. How so? Ice cube trays. I have great ones I found  at Dollar Tree for $1, that are seasonal. The ones I used in this recipe, are my heart and star ice-cube molds I had picked up at IKEA. Just make sure the designs are small (no bigger than an ice-cube or so).

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A simple recipe really, that doesn’t look simple once done. A pretty gift for Valentines Day….

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Salted Pistachio Dark Chocolate 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Directions:

Melt chocolate chips in a glass mixing bowl in the microwave, 1 minute on high, check and mix. Continue heating on high for intervals of 15 seconds, stirring until melted and smooth.

Spoon into silicone molds, tapping mold to settle chocolate, scraping across the top to level. Quickly sprinkle pistachios and salt over tops.

As an alternative, mix nuts and salt into chocolate, then pack in molds (the stars in the photos were done this way). Let cool on counter, transfer to refrigerator  Let harden for a few hours, then pop out of molds by gently pressing on bottoms. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for longer storage, or on counter for enjoyment immediately. Let warm up to room temperature before enjoying.

How many you get will depend on your mold sizes and thickness. I had 15 candies.

~Sarah

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Dark Chocolate Truffles

I’d call this lazy candy making, for really you don’t have to do a lot, no thermometers or boiling pots of sugar are involved and you get luscious bites in the end! Who wouldn’t want a small container fo these to nibble on? And they are simply elegant.

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate  chips (vegan if desired)
  • ¼ cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Add the chocolate chips, coconut oil, water and salt to a double boiler (or a heat-safe glass bowl over a pot), with a small amount of water in the lower pot. Heat over medium till the chocolate has melted, stirring gently.

Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Scrape into an 8×8″ glass pan, set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. (Should you say….oh forget about it and come back the next day, take out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften a bit)

Place the cocoa powder in a bowl. Line a plate with parchment paper.

For best results wear food grade gloves. Using a 1 Tablespoon Disher, scrape across the chocolate to scoop up. For smaller truffles a 1.5 Teaspoon Disher, works well. Roll into smooth balls quickly. Gently drop the balls in the cocoa, roll to coat.

Set on the prepared plate, refrigerate to harden, store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Makes about 12.

~Sarah

Easy Chocolate Fudge

Note… I wrote this post back in December of 2011 but never published it – with Easter tomorrow I figured it might be a good time to post it finally. Not healthy by any means but ah well!

A second take on the lazy ladies fudge this holiday.

I use Solo Marshmallow Creme as it comes in recipe ready 7 ounce tubs and has no artificial coloring added (Kraft’s has Blue added). I can sometimes find it at Dollar Tree stores so I always check during November/December!

Easy Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk (canned)
  • 1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 7 ounce tub Solo Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Have all the ingredients measured out. Line an 8×8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper or foil, set aside.

In a tall and heavy saucepan add the sugar, milk and 1 Tablespoon of the butter. Put over medium-high heat, stirring gently until it boils, bring up to 233°, add the remaining butter (cut up a bit) into the hot mixture (use a spoon to do the transfer so you don’t splash yourself!!), stir till melted and the mixture has come back to a full boil. Turn off the heat, add in the remaining ingredients and stir quickly until the marshmallow is fully incorporated.

Scrape into the prepared dish and knock the dish gently to evenly spread the fudge. Let fully cool down, you can refrigerate to speed it up. Pop out the parchment paper and peel off. Cut with a large smooth knife or pizza cutter into pieces. Store tightly wrapped and refrigerated for best results.

~Sarah

Peanut Butter Cherry Fudge

I haven’t had the energy of past years to produce candy like I normally do at the Holidays but I was up to a couple of quick batches of fudge, using the cheating method of marshmallow creme. You do what you got to do when pregnant I figure! This recipe is for my brother who loved getting it. So a bit late on the recipe, but ah well!

I use Solo Marshmallow Creme as it comes in recipe ready 7 ounce tubs and has no artificial coloring added (Kraft’s has Blue added). I can sometimes find it at Dollar Tree stores so I always check during November/December!

Peanut Butter Cherry Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk (canned)
  • 1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 7 ounce tub Solo Marshmallow Creme
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup Dried Cherries
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Have all the ingredients measured out. Line an 8×8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper or foil, set aside.

In a tall and heavy saucepan add the sugar, milk and 1 Tablespoon of the butter. Put over medium-high heat, stirring gently until it boils, bring up to 233°, add the remaining butter (cut up a bit) into the hot mixture (use a spoon to do the transfer so you don’t splash yourself!!), stir till melted and the mixture has come back to a full boil. Turn off the heat, add in the remaining ingredients and stir quickly until the marshmallow is fully incorporated.

Scrape into the prepared dish and knock the dish gently to evenly spread the fudge. Let fully cool down, you can refrigerate to speed it up. Pop out the parchment paper and peel off. Cut with a large smooth knife or pizza cutter into pieces. Store tightly wrapped and refrigerated for best results.

~Sarah

Food Find: Natural Vines Red Licorice

I grew up on Red Vines licorice and it was one of my favorite candies until I was told to quit consuming artificial dyes – it was one of the hardest things to realize I would never eat again – so when I was offered to review Natural Vines, an all natural Strawberry flavored licorice I was excited. Natural Vines is made by American Licorice who is behind Red Vines, a PNW based company that is coming up to its 100 year anniversary soon.

The candy is in bite size chunks, has a soft/chewy texture, is pleasantly sweet (nowhere as sweet as regular red licorice) and satisfying.I’d call the texture a cross between a Red Vine and a Twizzler. The hearty wheat base of the Vine and the glossy candy side of Twizzler. The pieces are solid and you only need a couple to cure a sweet tooth.

It contains: Wheat flour, cane syrup, sugar, brown rice syrup, palm oil, malic acid, natural strawberry flavor, beet juice (coloring), glycerin, licorice extract. So while it is still junk food, it is at least junk food I can eat 😉 And it is very delicious as well!

~Sarah

Coconut Peanut Fudge

This highly indulgent treat is just that – a treat. You have to eat it in little bites as the warmth of your fingers will start melting it but oh will you enjoy it!

Coconut Peanut Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (or favorite nut or seed butter)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt if your butter is unsalted

Directions:

Take the lid off the coconut oil jar and set in a small saucepan. Fill the pan with water about ¾ of the way up the jar. Heat over low until it melts.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.

Add everything to a food processor and quickly mix until blended. Pour into the prepared pan and put into the refrigerator to harden up.

Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator, slice off bites.

Note: Be sure to wash your prep dishes in hot water right after so the coconut oil doesn’t set up on you!

Mmmm!

~Sarah

Vegan Friendly Peppermint Patties

I was thinking up ideas of what to make as a gift for my brother’s birthday when I came across the recipe for Peppermint Patties in How It All Vegan! 10th Anniversary Edition: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet on page 142. The last time I tried making peppermint patties it involved raw egg whites and yeah, great in theory but I couldn’t stomach trying them (even on my best “I want to eat meat” days, raw eggs are just a big ol’ ewwwwwwwwwww). These little vegan candies on the other hand were perfect and Dave should love them!

The 10th anniversary edition of How It Vegan is a great addition to a book collection – the extra new recipes make it even better.

Peppermint Patties

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Stick
  • 2 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

Coating –

  • 1½ tsp Earth Balance Buttery Stick
  • 4 ounce semi-sweet chocolate ships (vegan friendly and organic)

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the sugar, buttery stick, peppermint extract and almond milk to a food processor, process for a minute and scrape down, then process at high for a minute until smooth and creamy.

Using a 1 Tbsp disher make balls and drop onto the baking sheet.

Freeze for 15 minutes, take out and gently/quickly roll and flatten into a circle.

Put back in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes.

To coat –

In a small saucepan melt the buttery stick over medium-low heat, add in the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until melted. Take off the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes.

Take the patties out of the freezer. For easiest results wear disposable gloves and have a second baking sheet ready, lined with parchment paper (even better? chill this sheet as well in the freezer). Using two forks dip and flip each disk quickly. Then flip onto the second baking sheet. You can use a small silicone spatula to smooth out the chocolate as needed and to apply more to any bare spots.

Pop into the refrigerator to harden up.

Makes 12 patties.

~Sarah

Indie Candy – All Natural Candy Company

I recently came across Indie Candy online and wow…a candy store where I can eat everything they sell. No artificial dyes! No artificial flavors, preservatives. All candy is vegan, Kosher and gluten free. Yeah, I am in heaven looking over this!

~Sarah

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