Homemade Halloween candy

October 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
"Heath-like bars" and "Almost Junior Mints." Learn how to make homemade Halloween candy in your own kitchen. Elise Fineberg, instructor with the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of California, shows us how.

Heath-like Bars
Yield: 1, 9"x9" square pan (about 30 pieces)
Special equipment: candy thermometer

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate such as Guittard, Scharffenberger, or TCHO
  • 1 cup toasted and finely chopped whole almonds

Method:

  1. Line an 9"x9"pan with aluminum foil so that it extends up the sides.
  2. Lightly spray the foil with pan spray.
  3. Melt butter over low heat.
  4. Add water and corn syrup, stir together, and bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in the sugar and the salt then wash down the sides of the pan with a wet brush.
  6. Return to a boil and cook to 300°, stirring constantly with a figure 8 motion.
  7. Pour the toffee into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.
  8. Cool completely and break into shards.
  9. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and melt gently in a microwave or over a double boiler, only heating the chocolate enough to melt it. If using a microwave, only heat in 15-second intervals to make sure you don't overheat the chocolate. Stir the chocolate to help melt the pieces.
  10. Dip the shards of toffee into the chocolate (cover the shards as much or little as you like) and sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
  11. Set shards onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment until the chocolate sets.
  12. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Almost Junior Mints
Yield: about 20, 1 ½" discs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cool water
  • 1/8 teaspoons peppermint oil
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate such as Guittard, Scharffenberger, or TCHO
  • 2 stems mint leaves

Method:

  1. Line a half sheetpan with parchment paper and dust it lightly with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix the corn syrup, water and peppermint oil with a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar. As is becomes too thick to stir, knead it with your hands until it becomes a smooth, solid mass.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the parchment-lined pan, and pat it down until it is about ½ inch thick. Roll it with a rolling pin to smooth out fingerprints. The final thickness should be 1/3 inch. Use powdered sugar if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the parchment and to the pin.
  4. Leave the peppermint dough out at room temperature uncovered, overnight, or until it is dry.
  5. Using a round cutter (or a knife to cut it any shape you'd like) cut the peppermint dough into discs.
  6. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and melt gently in a microwave or over a double boiler, only heating the chocolate enough to melt it. If using a microwave, only heat in 15-second intervals to make sure you don't overheat the chocolate. Stir the chocolate to help melt the pieces.
  7. Remove the mint leaves from the stems, and tear each one into pieces about ½ inch x ½ inch.
  8. Using a fork, lift each disc into the chocolate and turn it over to coat. Gently remove each disc from the chocolate, tapping the fork lightly on the edge of the bowl to let the excess chocolate, drip off.
  9. Drop the discs onto a sheetpan lined with parchment, and garnish each disc (chocolate still wet) with a torn mint leaf.
  10. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.

About Elise Fineberg:
After graduating from culinary school, Elise gained invaluable creative and technical experience with Elizabeth Falkner at Citizen Cake, Traci Des Jardins at Jardinière and Amaryll Schwertner at Stars Restaurant. Cooking in the kitchens of these talented chefs shaped Elise's culinary philosophy. After a period as Pastry Chef at Emilia's in Austin, Texas, Elise returned to San Francisco and soon began work at Taste Catering where she became Executive Pastry Chef in 2003. In 2007 Elise moved up to Seattle where she joined the talented team at TASTE Restaurant. There she was recognized as Best Pastry Chef on the Rise by Seattle Magazine. Elise now joins the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California - San Francisco as the Intro to Baking and Science Theory Instructor, and is thrilled to share her passion and knowledge with the students.

About the program:
The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California - San Francisco has just launched a new Baking & Pastry program. Students can choose from a five-quarter Diploma Program or a seven-quarter Associate of Science Degree. Students train in the art of baking and patisserie and develop competencies in breads, desserts, cake decoration and buffet centerpieces. The International Culinary School also offers an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management.

For more information, visit www.artinstitutes.edu.


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