Today is the last night for my decorating basics class. I'm still on the road to getting better from this cold. I really really dislike coughing. I think I have done enough of it in the last three days that I shouldn't need to for the rest of the year.
So to celebrate the last day of my cake decorating class, I thought I would post about some tasty candy that is good any time of the year. I made this around Christmas time- but they would be just as great for Easter or even a birthday. Make up a bunch and wrap them individually for Halloween.
The first recipe I found on bhg.com (Better Homes & Gardens) while looking for something to do with the buttermilk I had in the house. The second came from Food Network a long long time ago. I actually have it hand written on the back of some piece of paper somewhere in the kitchen. Luckily, the recipe is super easy with very little ingredients.
Buttermilk Pralines makes about 3 dozen or so
(recipe from bhg.com)
2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. buttermilk
2 tbl. butter
2 c. pecans, slightly chopped (you want to have lots of big pieces)
Spray the inside on a heavy 2 quart saucepan with nonstick spray. Combine the brown sugar and buttermilk in the pan and cook over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Carefully attach a candy thermometer to the pan and lower the heat to medium low. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, or soft ball stage.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the butter, but don't stir. Let the mixture cool until the thermometer reaches 150 degrees F. Once cooled down, take out the candy thermometer and quickly stir in the pecans. Doing this will further cool down the mixture, so you have to work quickly from here. Beat the mixture with the wooden spoon untul the candy feels like it's thickening, but still looks glossy.
Drop the candy by tablespoonfuls (smaller if you desire) onto wax paper a couple inches apart because the mixture will spread a little. If the mixture in the pan begins to stiffen before you can finish scooping it out, mix in a couple drops of hot water at a time until the consistency you need returns. Let the pralines cool until set and then store in an airtight container.
Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters
(The amounts are estimates. You can use more or less almonds, more or less chocolate as desired)
recipe adapted from Food Network
1/2 c toasted slivered almonds
24 individually wrapped caramels, quartered
1 c. chocolate chips
Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the almonds among 24 muffin wells (less wells if you want more almond per each candy).
On top of the almond slivers, place 4 of the pieces of caramel. This amounts to one caramel per candy. If you overfill the wells with almonds, the caramel won't be able to reach all of the almonds.
Pop the pan in the oven and watch carefully. About 5 to 8 minutes and the caramel will be melted. If left in the oven too long. it will all burn. Remove from the oven and let the candies cool just until hardened and easy to handle.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip each almond cluster in the chocolate with a couple forks and set on some parchment or wax paper to harden. Store candies in an airtight container.
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