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Chocolate Candy Recipes
Whether you want to treat a special person, sweeten a dinner party, or give indulgent gifts, these chocolate candies couldn't be any easier or more special. 
Our recipes require no tricky tempering (the complicated melting and cooling technique that most often scares off the amateur candy maker.)   Many of the recipes require melting chocolate or candy coating in a microwave.   If you prefer, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  To give the candy as gifts, arrange on a special dish covered with plastic wrap, fill a decorative glass jar, place in  cellophane bags tied with ribbon or raffia, tuck into a pretty basket,  arrange in decorative boxes lined with tissue paper, or try simple take-out cartons decorated with embellishments to match the occasion.
RECIPES
Chocolate Lollipops
Crunchy Chocolate Toffee
Chocolate-Coated Cherry Surprises
Peppermint Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Torrone
Chocolate Lollipops

(Makes about 16)

These lollipops are so easy to make; you can even get the kids involved.
No special candy-making equipment is necessary except the lollipop sticks.
Add any type of edible embellishments that you like.  Wrap them in cellophane and tie with some pretty gold ribbon for simple but delicious homemade gifts.

Ingredients:

1 pound dark or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
Candy sprinkles or silver dragees

Directions:

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper: set aside.

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir the chocolate and return it to the microwave.  Continue to heat and stir in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Use a spoon to pour 2-inch rounds of the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheets.  Place a lollipop stick in the middle of each chocolate round.
Give the stick a little twist to cover it with chocolate (this will secure the stick in the lollipop.  Arrange some of the cranberries and nuts in the chocolate.
Add candy sprinkles or other decorative edible items.  Set aside or refrigerate to harden.
Crunchy Chocolate Toffee

(Makes about 1 pound)

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking sheet with foil.  Lightly grease it with butter.

In a 2-quart microwave safe bowl, combine butter, sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Microwave on high 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Stop and stir the mixture twice during this time. Remove from microwave, and stir in vanilla.

Pour the mixture onto prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and let sit for 2 minutes.  Spread the chocolate evenly.  Sprinkle the chopped nuts and gently press them into the chocolate.  Chill until cold.

Break into uneven pieces to serve.
Place in a decorative container or on a platter to give as a gift.
Chocolate-Coated Cherry Surprises

(Makes 25-28 candies)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
25-28 maraschino cherries with stems (about one 8-ounce jar)

Dipping Chocolate:
5 ounces chocolate (milk, semi-sweet, or bittersweet work equally as well)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla.  Mix well.
Shape into 25-28 balls about 1-inch in diameter.  Set the balls on the baking sheet and chill well.

Pat the cherries dry with a paper towel. Press each peanut butter ball flat and carefully wrap around each cherry.  Each cherry should be encased to the base of the stem.  Return to baking sheet and chill 2 hours.

Microwave chocolate and oil in a small glass bowl about 1 minute or until melted and smooth.  Hold each cherry by the stem and dip into the chocolate.
If necessary, use a spoon to completely cover each cherry to the base of the stem.  Return the cherries to the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Peppermint Chocolate Bark

(Makes about 32 pieces)

Ingredients:

10-12 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
10-12 ounces vanilla-flavored white candy coating
8-10 drops red food coloring
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes   *see below


Directions:

Line a large baking sheet with foil.  Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave on high 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.  Remove when melted and smooth. Spread evenly onto baking sheet.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Melt the vanilla-flavored candy in the same way that you did the chocolate.
Spread it evenly over the chocolate layer. Add food coloring, drop by drop, over melted vanilla candy.  Use a toothpick or skewer to swirl color through the while candy coating.  Sprinkle with peppermint pieces, pressing them lightly into the candy.  Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, break into irregular pieces.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

* Before sprinkling on the peppermint candies, sift the crushed candies
through a fine strainer to remove any ultrafine, dustlike pieces.
 
Chocolate Torrone


Ingredients:

Ostia wafers (see note below)
1/2 pound honey
1 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons water, divided
2 egg whites
1-3/4 cups cocoa
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/4 pounds shelled hazelnuts, slightly roasted

Directions:

Line 2 to 3 (6 x 8-inch) loaf pans with ostia wafers or parchment paper.
Place honey on top of double boiler over boiling water and stir constantly until caramelized, about 45 minutes.

Combine 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan and let boil until caramelized.  Beat egg whites until stiff and add to honey a little at a time, mixing well.  Add the caramelized sugar mixture to the egg white mixture and blend well.

Combine cocoa with 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small saucepan; cook until creamy.  Add cocoa and nuts to the egg white mixture and mix well.  Pour the mixture into wafer-lined pans to a depth of about 2 inches.  Place another layer of wafers on the surface of the torrone mixture.
Let cool and cut into 2 long rectangular logs.  Wrap in waxed paper to store.
Cut each log into 1/4-inch slices to serve.

Note:
Traditional torrone is sandwiched between two pieces of ostia or thin sheets of unleavened wheat bread.  Ostia is often called "wafer."  You may be able to find ostia at an Italian market.  Edible rice paper may also be substituted for the ostia wafer. Place a sheet of wafer on the bottom of each loaf pan before pouring torrone mixture.  Then top the torrone with another sheet of wafer.
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