Most of you know that I'm usually late posting for The Daring Bakers or Martha Monday. Usually I have no excuse but my own laziness. This time, though, I can blame it on Hurricane Irene.
Irene blew through here Saturday night, knocking out my power and, ugh, my cable. Power was restored bright and early Sunday morning but Comcast failed and failed and failed to give me my much-desired Internet and phone access until five days after Irene blew through here. FIVE DAYS! Five days without Facebook, without Wikipedia to answer all my son's questions, and without you dear blog readers. All two of you.
But here I am to tell you about my amazing wonderfully yummy candy! (Yes, this is what I ate for moral support during the storm.)
We were challenged to make two candies, one chocolate and one non-chocolate. I embarked on the non-chocolate one first. Since my boys had recently picked 20 pounds of peaches I decided to use some of them in a Fresh Peach Pate de Fruit. These are jelly-like candies. Kind of like Sunkist Fruit Gems. I pureed peaches, added sugar and liquid pectin. I boiled and boiled and boiled away until I reached the right temperature. Then I poured the hot mixture into a parchment-lined pan. The next day I encountered a big jelly-like square of peachy fruity yumminess. I sliced them and rolled them in sugar. They were a bit soft and squidgy so I let them sit out for a day or two. This dried them up a bit. They were really sweet! But also peachy and good. My neighbors had nothing but nice comments about them. It's a fun way to use up ripe fruit. Something different from jam and pies.
The next candy I tackled was the chocolate one. The challenge was really to temper chocolate and turn it into a candy. I decided to make peppermint truffles so I could practice in time for Christmas. I made a white chocolate peppermint ganache and rolled it into balls. Then came the chocolate tempering.
Tempered chocolate is chocolate that's been heated, cooled, and heated again to certain temperatures. It has a nice shine and snap to it and is worth doing if you are making candies for presents. I used the seeding method. I melted my chocolate. It was supposed to reach 120 degrees but I somehow got mine all the way up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Oops! The next step was to add a big hunk of chocolate to cool the chocolate to 80 degrees. My big hunk of chocolate was fully melted before the temperature got down to 110 degrees. Oops! So for the next 45 minutes I stirred and waited and waited and stirred. Once it FINALLY reached 80 degrees I put it back on the heat and got it up to 89 degrees. Done!
I dipped all my ganache balls into the tempered chocolate and let them harden on parchment paper. The final touch was some green pearlized powder mixed with vanilla extract and smeared on top. It added a little shine and a little glitz to the truffle. The truffles were beautiful and yummy. I will definitely be making more around Christmas. And, yes, I'll even temper my chocolate.
Thanks, Daring Bakers, for another great challenge! If you want to get the recipes and directions for all kinds of candies click on the Daring Kitchen link and get your sweet tooth ready.