Chewy honey-flavored candy flecked with bits of cherries and almonds provides for fun in the kitchen and tasty results.
Locked in the heart of winter, it’s dark most of the day north of the Arctic Circle. Cold, too. And if the dark and cold don’t make you want to stay inside with a good book or movie, the infamous Point Hope wind will. (It’s 9° F and blowing 40 miles an hour for a windchill of about -20° F as I write this – and that’s not particularly cold for this time of year.) Some people suffer from the lack of sunshine up here. Our kitchen is our winter sunshine. It fills our home with warmth, good smells, and lots of entertainment. Today’s entertainment – honey almond cherry nougat.
Ready to be cut and wrapped into bite-size candies.
These reminded us of the Bit O Honey candies that we both loved as kids – although they were agreeably softer and more complex in flavor.
Honey Almond Cherry Nougat
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup chopped dried cherries
- Combine sugar, honey, salt and water in a medium saucepan.
- Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Continue cooking without stirring until sugar reaches hard ball stage (250 degrees F).
- Place egg whites in a stand mixer bowl. Fit mixer with whisk attachment. Whip egg whites until they are stiff.
- While mixer is running, very slowly pour 1/4 of hot sugar mixture into whipped egg whites. Continue mixing until egg whites hold their shape.
- Return saucepan to stovetop with the remaining hot sugar mixture and continue cooking until mixture reaches hard crack stage (300 degrees F).
- Turn stand mixer on again. Pour remaining sugar mixture into egg mixture in a slow stream. Continue mixing until egg white mixture holds it shape.
- Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, and continue mixing. Mixture should look thick and satiny.
- Turn off mixer and fold in almonds and cherries.
- Pour mixture onto a buttered baking sheet. Let stand until totally cooled.
- Turn out cooled mixture onto cutting board. I coated mine with rice flour.
- Cut into 1 x 1.5 inch pieces and wrap in waxed paper.
Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com.
A yummy homemade gift or a favorite snack – either way, these pralines are easy to make and great to have around.
There is something particularly satisfying about making candy. Put the right ingredients together, add the right amount of heat, and suddenly chemistry takes over and a pot of nondescript stuff is transformed into an irresistible confection. It is magical. The process is especially satisfying when the creation results in “wow” or “amazing” accompanied by smiles from those who get to taste the samples. These Pecan Pralines will do just that. The following recipe, which uses sour cream, results in pralines that are especially light and crunchy.
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pan toast pecans by continuously stirring nuts over medium heat for 3 minutes. They should start to emit a toasted scent and be barely browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Stir in sugars, salt, and sour cream.
- Increase heat to medium-low. Whisk ingredients until sugars have melted.
- Increase to medium high. Stir frequently until mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Let mixture cool for 2 minutes, then stir in pecans until they are fully coated.
- Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet.
- Let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
Adapted from Southern Sour-Cream Pralines.
These maple walnut fudge squares were made from an especially rich, dark grade-A syrup.
The fall season and homemade candy seem to go together, and with an unexpected extra half-gallon of maple syrup in our pantry, our thoughts went straight to maple fudge. I love how food can take you home, and the maple candy Barbra created took me all the way to Pennsylvania. (Click here for more on Maple Syrup.)
Maple Walnut Fudge
- 1 1/2 cups real maple syrup
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Line an 8 inch square pan with nonstick foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Combine syrup, sugar, heavy cream and salt in a medium saucepan, preferably a non stick one; bring to boiling over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, cook 7 to 8 minutes or until mixture registers 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
- Remove pan from heat. With an electric mixer, beat in butter and vanilla.
- Continue to beat on high power for 8 to 9 minutes, or until thickened, light in color and fudge loses its glossy finish. Stir in nuts and spread in prepared pan. Let stand until firm about 25 minutes, then cut into squares.
Recipe adapted from food.com.