Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Candylicious

 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!

I loved this challenge!  There were so many options, I had a hard time deciding which types of candy I wanted to make.  I decided to make salt water taffy, since it is a classic summer candy.  I also made chocolate truffles, flavored with orange zest.  Both recipes were very simple, and I'm planning on experimenting with more candy recipes in the future!

Salt Water Taffy

Bring sugar, corn starch, corn syrup, salt, butter and water to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches 256 degrees F

Stir in mint extract and food coloring and pour mixture into heat-proof pan

Pull warm taffy for about 20 minutes

Cut taffy into bite-sized pieces

Wrap finished taffy in wax paper

Salt Water Taffy

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon mint extract
Food coloring (optional)

1. Lightly butter a heat safe dish and spatula.

2. Sift together the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.  Add the corn syrup, water, salt and butter.  Heat on the stove top over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 256 degrees F.

3. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring and mint extract.  Pour into prepared heat safe dish.

4. Once the candy is cool enough to handle, grease hands, and pull the candy with your hands.  Pull the candy out into a rope of at least 12 inches, then fold in half and repeat.  Continue pulling candy for about 20 minutes, until glossy.  To finish, pull candy into a long rope and cut off bite-sized pieces with greased scissors.  Wrap in wax paper.

Orange Flavored Truffles

Pour warm cream and orange zest over chocolate to melt.

Beat mixture until smooth and refrigerate

Scoop out small truffles and dust with cocoa powder


Orange Flavored Truffles

3/4 cup heavy cream
Zest of one orange
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder, for dusting

1. Bring heavy cream and orange zest to a simmer over low heat.  Pour warm cream over dark chocolate, and allow to stand for 10 minutes.  Add the vanilla and stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. 

2. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature for one hour before beating it until it is thick.  Refrigerate chocolate for 2 hours.

3. Use a melon baller or cookie-dough scoop to scoop out small balls of the refrigerated chocolate.  Roll the truffles in cocoa powder to finish and store in refrigerator.

Taffy recipe was adapted from the recipe found at

Truffle recipe adapted from Tyler Florence's Dark Chocolate Truffles, found at

-Posted by Jennifer

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie is one of my dad's favorites.  I don't like coconut, so I had never made one before.  After several nights of hearing him wish for a slice of coconut cream pie for dessert, I decided to surprise him with one.  It was definitely a hit!

Bake your pie crust

Make the filling

Make the meringue topping

Sprinkle with coconut and bake

Coconut Cream Pie

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
¾ cup flaked coconut, divided
1-½  Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9-inch baked pie crust
3 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar

  1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan.  In a medium bowl, combine the milk and beaten egg yolks.  Gradually stir the milk/egg mixture into the saucepan.  Stirring constantly, place over medium heat until it is boiling and thickened, then cook, stirring constantly for 1 more minute.  Take off the heat and stir in ½ cup coconut, butter, and the vanilla; pour into the baked pastry shell, then immediately cover the filling with waxed paper.
  2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high for 1 minute with an electric mixer.  Begin gradually adding the sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Beat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until stiff peaks form and the sugar has dissolved.  Remove the waxed paper and spread the meringue over the filling (which should still be hot), spreading it all the way to the edges of the pan.   Sprinkle with ¼ cup coconut.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool, then serve.

Makes one 9-inch pie

Adapted from Southern Living 1984 Annual Recipes

~Posted by Karen

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Apple Kuchen

I recently returned home after spending a month in South Dakota for an internship with the Indian Health Service.  It was a great month, and I had the opportunity to see parts of the country I had never seen before.  I also had the opportunity to try the official state dessert of South Dakota-- kuchen!  While the meaning of the word “kuchen” can vary widely across different regions, and may refer to several different types of dessert, this apple tart is similar to the kuchen I found in South Dakota.

Prepare and bake crust.  Beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and an egg, and pour into crust.

Peel and slice apples

Toss apples with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice, and spread over cream cheese mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes, then add streusel topping

Bake for an additional 20 minutes and enjoy!

Apple Kuchen

½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla, plus ½ teaspoon
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Streusel Topping
½ cup rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Combine ½ cup butter, ¼ cup sugar and ¼ tsp vanilla.  Beat in 1 ¼ cups flour.  Mixture should be crumbly.  Press mixture into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan.  Bake for 5 minutes at 350°F, then allow to cool.
3. Beat cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and ½ tsp vanilla until mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in egg.  Pour mixture into crust.
4. Toss apples with ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.  Spread apple slices over cream cheese mixture and bake for 45 minutes
5. Make streusel topping: Mix together rolled oats, all purpose flour and brown sugar.  Cut the butter into small pieces and cut into the oat mixture to form streusel topping.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of the kuchen and bake for another 20 minutes.

Adapted from Dorothy Zehnder’s Apple Kuchen recipe, found online at:

-Posted by Jennifer