12/25/14

Candy Cane Marshmallow Cocoa Dunkers

Merry Christmas! No doubt you’ve been baking and cooking all day.  Now is the time to kick back, put your feet up and give yourself the gift of a few hours of well-earned relaxation.

These candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers are a great to make your holiday ‘me’ time feel special with remarkably little effort. Especially since you don’t have to add anything extra to your grocery list for them.

Chances are that you are going to have some odds and ends left over from your holiday baking. I’m talking about that odd half cup of chocolate chips and those couple of lonely candy canes. Rather than dooming them to months of hanging out in the back of your cupboard, put them to use in these tasty candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers. All you need is a few big marshmallows (the kind you would toast over a campfire), some chocolate chips and a few candy canes.

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Start by breaking the last two inches off of each candy cane. Put the broken ends into a food processor or coffee grinder and blitz for a couple seconds until turned into fairly fine bits. I like to keep a few chunkier bits in the mix for texture and presentation. Empty the candy cane dust into a shallow bowl.

At this stage, use the remaining portion of the candy canes to create handles for the marshmallow cocoa dunkers. Simply push the broken end of the candy cane about halfway into the top of one of the marshmallows. That should be enough for to keep things in place.

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Melting the chocolate is the next step. You could do this over the stove but the quickest way is to do it in the microwave. Put the chips into a microwaveable dish and zap for 15 seconds at a time until melted. Make sure to stop and stir the chocolate between those 15 second intervals because chocolate can go from not done to overdone really quickly. Sometimes all it needs to be ready is the extra heat from a good stir through.

What chocolate you use is up to you and you can certainly mix it up or even try blends based on what you have to hand. I had dark chocolate chip so that is what I used for these candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers but milk chocolate or even white chocolate would work just fine.

Once the chocolate is melted, dip the ends of the marshmallow into the bowls and carefully move them around until they are coated. It may be helpful to use a small spoon to smooth out the chocolate coating. After that, liberally sprinkle the candy cane dust over the chocolate.

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That’s all it takes to make the candy cane marshmallow cocoa dunkers. You could chow down at this stage and enjoy them just fine as a chocolatey peppermint treat. That would be fine but it wouldn’t be going the full path to holiday treat relaxation. Nope, these babies should be dunked in a nice cup of rich hot chocolate.

Last night, I made myself a cup of Ghirardelli hot chocolate, using unsweetened vanilla almond milk and hooked one of the candy canes over the edge of the mug so that it and the attached marshmallow were adding all that extra pepperminty and marshmallowy goodness to the hot chocolate.

I loved that when I got to the bottom of the mug, there was just this one little bit of candy cane left that was waiting for permission to melt in my mouth. MMM.

Now go treat yourself!

04/8/14

Hanging with my Peeps (and other Easter candy)

If I ever need to remember that I lived outside of the United States for a long time,I just need to take a trip down the candy aisle. Many of the basic candy brands that were around when I moved to the United Kingdom are still on the shelves.  The varieties in which they are available,however, is often much different.

No time of year is that more evident than during the Easter candy sales season. Take Peeps as an example. When I left the States they were available in a couple of colors. Fast forward fifteen years and there is a veritable rainbow of Peeps available as Easter candy.

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It isn’t just the colors of the Peeps that have changed. Apparently, the Peeps flavor profile has also expanded.  Birthday Cake Peeps? I am imagining they have a more vanilla taste than the normal Peeps.

Birthday Cake Peeps

From fully chocolate covered to merely having their bird bums dipped in either milk chocolate or dark chocolate, chocolate has also become a feature of the Peeps Easter candy lineup.

Milk Chocolate Peeps Dark Chocolate Peeps

Of course, Peeps aren’t the only candies that take on unusual forms during the Easter candy season. Some brands such as Lifesavers, Nerds and Swedish Fish take on new shapes for the season.

Easter Lifesavers Easter Swedish Fish Easter Nerds Easter Jolly Ranchers

Others such as Kit-Kat and M&Ms simply jazz up the existing product to make it suitable for inclusions in Easter baskets across the country.

Easter Kit-Kat

Easter M&Ms

I may be new to all of these variations of classic American candy brands but for the most part I can understand the appeal of each variation.

However,could somebody kindly tell me what the point of Sugar-Free Peeps?

Sugar Free Peeps