Delicious Homemade Candy from Dessert First

It may not be something we indulge in daily, but we are major candy lovers in our family, and that fondness stretches across several generations. My own grandmother always whipped up fudge, caramels, and molded cream cheese mints in her kitchen for Christmas. “Bumpa” keeps gummy worms on hand to dole out to the grandkids. As for me, I may or may not keep a stash of dark chocolates inside an empty frozen broccoli package in the freezer.

Aside from re-creating Grandma’s chocolate peanut butter fudge, my attempts at homemade candy have been primarily Pinterest fails and certainly nothing I would be proud to share or display. After seeing the sweet ideas on the blog Dessert First, I had to try again.

Anita Chu, aka Pastry Girl, is a pastry chef, blogger, photographer, and cookbook author who lives and works in San Francisco. Amid creamy custards, rich cakes and decadent pastries, she provides several unique and indulgent candy recipes and these are not your Grandma’s cream cheese mints. They're perfect for Valentine's Day, if you're looking for something special, and for satisfying your sweet tooth without all the dyes and chemicals.

Check out a sweet sampling of some of our favorites:

Honey Caramels

Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about chocolate, but I simply cannot resist the rich, buttery flavor and soft, velvety texture of a quality caramel candy. In my humble opinion, these creamy, chewy, homemade delicacies beat a plain old store-bought chocolate bar any day.

Like most traditional caramels, these treats include real butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup, but they have a couple additional ingredients that take the candies from good to heavenly. Think: sticky, golden, naturally sweet honey and coarse, subtly briny sea salt.

This layering of full-bodied flavors will make you fall in love. Love like this might last, but these caramels sure won’t, so stockpile some for yourself or you might find yourself heartbroken. Anita suggests sprinkling the wrapped candy on your table during holiday parties. You could tuck them into cute little boxes to give as gifts to neighbors, coworkers, and other acquaintances...and of course, they're perfect for Valentine's Day.

Homemade Twix Bars

Believe it or not...The most delicious “Twix” bars are the ones you will be rustling up in your own kitchen.

Seems like too much effort, with the cookies and caramel and chocolate, you say? Anita’s recipe calls for ingredients you probably have on hand right now, and making them is as easy as baking shortbread cookies, stirring up a simmering caramel sauce and dousing the caramel-y cookie bars in silky chocolate glaze. 

Caramel Lavender Lollipops

Once again, we have a sweet rendezvous with caramel and sea salt. Only this time, it has a French accent. 

These lollies are primarily caramel flavored, but they also include two significant additions: fleur de sel, which is hand-harvested French sea salt prized for its brief yet intense saltiness and its delicate, crunchy texture; and earthy, almost peppery lavender buds. Your taste buds will be amazed.

Rose Saffron Lollipops

Any girl (or guy) who adores flowers would love to receive a bouquet of these gorgeous pops. The lollies get their elegant pale pink hue from a mixture of rose water, which is light, fragrant, and floral tasting, along with rose syrup, which is darker and sweeter.

Saffron enhances the taste of these pretty candies with its complex flavor profile, and bits of rose petals add even more visual appeal while augmenting the texture.

You can find rose water and rose syrup in Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. When selecting roses to stir into the mix, make sure you choose only petals that have been grown without pesticide or fungicide. It is a good idea to taste several different flowers, too, as roses can taste sweet, sour, or even a little spicy. And similar to berries or other fruits, the deeper the color of the petals, the stronger the flavor will be.

If the idea of making your own lollipops and other hard candy intimidates you, consider Anita’s reassurance that these are actually some of the easiest candies to create. Proper equipment is essential, so get yourself a good candy thermometer, a heavy saucepan, some sucker molds, and you will be good to go.

Plan on making one of these delicious candies at home? Which one will you try first? Share your own homemade candy recipes with us!

Tags : recipes   desserts   candy   

No Comments.