August 28, 2011

DB Candylicious! (Honey-sweetened Confections)

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Tempering chocolate is something I can't quite master but when the Daring Bakers ask I have to give it a whole-hearted try.  This month we were given the task of making candies and one at least had to be a chocolate confection.  So I attempted to recreate a favorite in our house, Heavenly Organics Honey Mint Patties.  Made with raw honey and unsweetened chocolate they are fantastic, and dairy and gluten free to boot!  Though I didn't do a perfect job tempering, the homemade version was fairly easy and just as tasty.  I also am submitting some delicious brittle I've been making for a travel snack lately.  The whole family is ecstatic when we have this in the house.  Thanks for the challenge Lisa and Mandy! 

Honey Sunflower Brittle
Inspired by Greek Pasteli. Roasting your own sunflower seeds makes all the difference!
Makes about a pound and a half of candy

3 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
flaky sea salt or kosher salt

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
-Spread your sunflower seeds in an even layer on a large baking sheet.  Roast in the preheated oven checking and stiring the seeds every 5 minutes until dark golden brown and nutty.  This should take 15-20 minutes.
-Set the seeds aside and line the baking sheet with parchment paper or grease well with oil.
-In a saucepan, heat the honey to soft crack stage, ~290 degrees F.  Be careful to watch for scorching and stir to prevent.  Don't be like me and walk away from cooking sugar, it will always bite you in the rear if you do!
-When the honey has reached the correct temperature add the baking soda and stir to mix.  Then dump in all the sunflower seeds and mix well to coat.  If your seeds have cooled a lot you may need some low heat to get the honey to distribute evenly.
-Spread the brittle mixture on your prepared baking sheet in as even a layer as possible.  Sprinkle on salt to taste.
-Allow the brittle to cool and then snap into serving pieces.  Store in an airtight container, ideally in between layers of parchment paper to keep the pieces from sticking together. 

Honey Mint Dominoes
My homemade version of the Heavenly Organics Honey Mint Patties
Make as much as you'd like

Unsweetened chocolate (aka baking chocolate, see links for my source)
Honey, ideally a thick raw honey with a light flavor
Peppermint oil
Shallow chocolate mold

-Temper your chocolate, directions here, and line your molds.  Chill.
-Mix your honey and peppermint oil to taste.  Fill the chilled molds and chill again.
-Top the filled molds and chill once more.
-Pop out and enjoy!  They are very good eaten right from in the freezer. 

-The challenge candy recipes can be found on this download pdf or visit our hosts Lisa at Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive or Mandy at What the Fruitcake?!.
-I buy my unsweetened chocolate from Santa Barbara Chocolate Co. Their Pure Cacao Medallions are perfect for chopping up as a chocolate chip replacement or melting to drizzle/coat things.
-I used Champion Hill Farm star thistle honey in the brittle and tupelo honey from the Savannah Bee Company in the dominoes.
-Find more candy creations submitted for this challenge by browsing the sites listed in the Daring Baker Blogroll.
And now back to the garden harvest