Healtier Easter treats

Help yourself to health conscious treats this Easter, marzipan made with only two ingredients, raw almonds and dates. Covered in dark chocolate and some fancy decoration, these little balls of goodness will brighten your day. You can actually indulge in these goodies throughout the year.

The inspiration for these round goodnesses were these energy squares I made a few years ago, recipe in Norwegian HERE. Marzipan as many know is made of almonds, egg white, sugar / glucose and often added a little cognac, sherry or another nice liqueur for flavour. The main ingredients are almonds that needs a binder and sweetener, when I made energy squares I used dates to keep everything together so I thought why not use them to make a healthier marzipan. This is a simple idea and I am not claiming it to be mine.

To get the most out of the ingredients, I did not to blanch the almonds. The date are already dark in color, so you will not notice it when the two are mixed together, pluss you get added health benefits with the skin on.

 

I used:

100 g whole almonds

100-150 g ground/grated almonds

200 g of dates (remember to remove stones)

200 g dark chocolate

Desired edible decoration, I have used gold leaf, rosebud tea and foil with chocolate print..

Rough chop the whole almonds in a food processor. Add the dates and half of the ground almonds and continue to mince the ingredients. When everything starts to come together, add the rest of the ground almonds little by little until you get a nice and pliable dough, see image above.

The amount for the ingredients is just a guideline, the dates and almonds you might use may have a different moisture content than the ones I used this time.

Marzipan, dates and almonds

Roll the almond and date mixture into balls of the desired size.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and temperate th chocolate before use for best results. The chocolate will harden faster and get back its snap back.

Healthy treats

Dip the balls in chocolate and add some decoration for flare.

healthy treats, marzipan made with almonds and dates

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE !!!

Yummy healthy treats

Sweets for you sweet. Homemade conversation hearts for Valentines day

 

Hi there, Valentines day is coming up and why not make some personalized conversation hearts you can give your sweet heart. These candies can also be a fun ice breaker or entertainment.

Continue reading “Sweets for you sweet. Homemade conversation hearts for Valentines day”

Homemade colorfull jelly beans for easter

Homemade jelly beans

Easter is an observed holiday in Norway, Schools are out for a week during the Holy week and Holy thursday, Good Friday untill the third day of Easter everything is closed exept that the stores are open for a few hours easter saturday( Easter eve). We observe the holidays with family and friends, either spent skiing in the mountains, vacating at home or just stay at home. Here as in many countries arround the world we prepare for easter by making decoration, treats and of course the big family dinner on Easter eve.

One year I pimped some Kindereggs see post HERE

 

I used beans and beads to make my molds.

While waiting for my sweets to finish, I made some flip top boxes with a little window and little paper baggies.  DIY for the the flip top boxes HERE baggies HERE.

Jelly beans

 

1 packet 500 g cornstarch

A shallow tray or some trays dempending on the size.

1,5 dl sugar
0,5 dl glucose
0,5 dl water
2 tsp gelatin powder
2 tsp cornstarch
I like mine a little sour so I added 1 tsp citric acid

For coating

food colour and flavouring
castor sugar or superfine sugar

Homemade jelly bean recipe

Fill some trays with cornstarch, glue some beans to a stick and press them into the cornstarch to make your molds
Mix together the sugar, glucose, gelattine and cornflour until smooth then add the. Heat to 120 C  using a Candy Thermometer to check the temperature. When it reaches 120 C take it of the heat and add the citric acid.

Pour into the molds and leave to cool for at least a couple of hours.

When they are set, sift off the cornflour.

In a bowl add foodcoloring and castersugar and flavoring, stir to coat and then dip them into powdered sugar to give them the sugar coating.

I do not have a tumbler,so I thought why not use a salad spinner, it worked quite well.

Instead of spinning, I just rocked it back and forth, if i spunn the spinner the candies would not tumble. It worked quite well to just shake them about in a bowl.

Jelly bean recipe

Profeshionally made jelly beans are shiny and tumbled with edible bees wax and since I don’t have bees wax I did not bother to tumble them very long. I tumbled until they had a smooth coating and dusted them with edible luster to give them a shine.

Yummy homemade jelly beans

Home made sweet and tart conversation hearts

사랑해요, saranghaeyo, love you, sweet heart, hope, you, me, je t’aime, L’amour, oui, elsker deg, søt, ja, cute, bff, mahal, poge, maganda, xo xo etc, the list is long. You can put what ever you want on the conversation hearts. We wrote words in different languages and a few in Chinese and Korean. I tried to learn Cantonese when I lived in Hong Kong and I remember learning the carachter above, mei wich means beautifull and consist of two carachters, sheep(goat) and big(joeng + dai=mei). So I guess if a chinese person calls you a fat sow, you should take that as a compliment 😀

What is conversation hearts made of, My youngest and I have tried to make some over the week-end.

First we tried a recipe we found HERE, but we found them to be too soft. The texture reminded us of a little bit stiffer peppermint patty and just sweet. We like Love Hearts so I tried to adjust the recipe a bit. We wanted the candy harder, a bit chalky and brittle and of course a little fizzy. I added a little hard candy ingredients and citric acid to the first recipe.

The light colored is the easy recipe, the other recipe is based on this one

2 tsp gelatine powder
1 dl sprite
o,5 dl water
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dextrose
1 kg powdered sugar
2 tps citric acid

For white: 1-2 drops green apple flavouring
For yellow: 1- 2 drops mango flavoring
For pink: 1-2 drops raspberry flavoring
For green: 1-2 drops kiwi flavoring

These are the colors and flavors I used, bu you can use the colors and flavors your hearts desire. Remember that the different brands of flavoring and coloring are different, so adjust the flavoring and coloring to your liking.

Prepare 4 bowls with food coloring and flavoring

Bloom the gelatin with the Sprite in the bottom of a mixing bowl. After 5 minutes, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the gelatin, or microwave in short 5 second bursts until melted, set aside.

Combine water, sugar and dextrose in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Boil  this mixture until almost hard candy stage, when you drop a few drops  in cold water it will harden like hard caramel, but not hard candy.

Pull this mixture off the heat and start combining the ingredients

In a mixer combine the sprite and gelatin mixture on slow speed with the sugarmix. Add the powdered sugar a cup or two at the time. Keep adding the powdered sugar until you have stiff fondant-like dough. You may not need all of the powdered sugar. If the dough gets grainy  and hard, put it in the microwave for a 10-20 seconds to soften and knead. Putting it in the microwave the candy becomes more brittle

Turn the dough out onto the counter top and knead until smooth.

Divide the dough in four and knead each part in the prepared bowls with flavor and coloring, or divide into as many portions as you would like colors/flavors and keep any dough you’re not currently using wrapped in plastic to prevent it from crusting over.

If the dough gets crusty and hard, put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften and knead.

Knead in the colors and flavors until homogenous. Taste a pinch of the dough and add more flavoring.

Roll the dough to about 2-3 mm thickness and cut out hearts or desired shapes.

Arrange the candies on a baking paper lined sheet pan and air dry for 48 hours. After 24 hours, flip all the hearts so they can dry on both sides.

If you have little letter stamps, stamp the letters before they harden or write letters with a decorating pen with edible ink when the hearts have hardened.

As I was writing this I realized that I could have made a sugarfondant paste and added citric acid.

 

Spiced candied almonds

In my houshold there is no Christmas without candied nut, specially candied almonds.
For variation I add different flavours as spices and salt. For these almonds I have used cloves, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon, typical spices for traditional goods.
I make these treats in small batches in order to be able to work fast before the hot sugar sets and hardens. Working with melted sugar is needless to say quite dangerous, it is easy to burn yourself if you are not causious. I double glove in order to protect my hands from the burning sugar, latex or vinyl disposable gloves over knitted gloves cotton or wool.
This yealds about 200 grams of candies almonds.
1,75 dl powdered sugar
0,25 dl water
2 dl almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
0,5 tsp ground dried ginger
0,5 tsp ground cloves
0,5 tsp ground cardamom

3 ss grape seed oil or other taste neutal oil

Give the almonds a quick rinse and dry them off with paper towels.

Prepare a tray with or without baking paper and coat it with the oil.

Put the powdered sugar, spices and water in a pan stir this mixture together and bring to a boil.
Add the almonds to the boiling mixture and stir the almonds around so they get a nice coating of sugar as soon the water evaporates.
Stirr the almonds around and after a short while the sugar will start to melt, remember to keep stirring so the melting mass won’t burn. the candied almonds are done when they start to give a popping sound.
Place the hot almonds on the prepared tray, cover your gloves with a little bit of oil as well and start separating the almonds with your hands.
If you want to make more just repeat and make some more to make this batch takes about 15 minutes. Play around with other types of nuts as well.