|« Re-learning the BTD the hard way and counting our blessings||Making food choices for our pets »|
Yesterday, I talked about some ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day. Today, I have a few more suggestions for that day because some of you may feel that a meal is just not the way you want to go.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients lists on those beautiful red heart boxes filled with all sorts of tempting candies? AVOID CITY!!! So, how about making your own? You can usually get the boxes from any retail candy making supply company in your city. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have one, they can also be found online. But, because of waiting for the order to be filled, you would need to do it NOW…that’s why I’m writing about this topic today instead of waiting until later when it’s closer to February 14th.
Don’t want to buy a box or got to it too late? How about making a heart box made of chocolate? The molds and directions are usually available now in arts and crafts stores in with the cake decorating supplies. Some cake decorating and candy making supply shops that do retail also offer classes on how to make these things if you feel you need more than just the instructions and some pictures that should be included with the mold pieces.
After you decide on how you want to deal with the box situation and have it all taken care of the next question is what are you going to put in it? Most candies are made with cream, half ‘n’ half, and/or contain corn syrup which pretty much rules them out for all the blood types.
Some candies that I know of that do not call for any of the above three and are therefore possibilities that you might want to consider are:
Peanut butter creams (AB's only): These get their name from their creamy texture. There is no cream used in them. They’re made from cream cheese that has been mixed with peanut butter, a bit of vanilla, some butter or clarified butter and then sweetened and rolled in roasted chopped nuts. You can vary these by dipping them in melted chocolate rather than rolling them in the nuts or you could go for broke and dip them in the chocolate after you roll them in the nuts).
Piping chocolate (use this to decorate your chocolate heart box and/or the candies that you make), butter brickle (if it’s for an O or a B because it needs butter), chocolate barks (white, dark, or milk depending on the recipients blood type and taste preferences, just melt some chocolate, stir in some bite-size blood type appropriate additions, chopped nuts for an example, pour it out onto a parchment lined baking pan and let it cool. Break it up into pieces and you’re done).
How about sugarplums? They’re dried plums (prunes) that have been pureed with brandy, shaped into balls and then rolled in sugar. Brandy is a type of hard alcohol and therefore an avoid for most blood types. To replace it you could use any liquid that you felt would taste good with the dried plums to replace it. You could vary this by using some of the moister dried fruits instead of the dried plums (like apricots, pineapple chunks, cherries or a mixture of any you feel work together flavorwise)
How about nuts and/or dried fruits dipped in chocolates? If you wanted to fancy them up so that they aren’t so much like bridge mix (which I have nothing against, bridge mix is tasty) you could drizzle the brown chocolate with some white chocolate for extra flair (or vice versa).
How do you make all these different types of candies? BEFORE the 7th of February you can find them in various candy making books (if you don’t think that you’ll be making candy much and want to just try it out some first then check some candy making cookbooks out of your local library) or round up some from online. You won’t really need to invest in a dipping fork and double boiler to temper the chocolate. You can use a plain old ordinary fork that you have in your kitchen in place of the dipping fork. For the double boiler just fill a pot with boiling water and set another pot of similar size over it. Keep the two stacked pots on a hot enough heat that the water continues to simmer. Place your broken/chopped up bits of chocolate into the empty top pot and wait. The rising steam from the pot below will melt and temper the chocolate.
Two things to be careful about: do NOT let any of the water or steam get into the top pot of chocolate. If it does, it will cause the chocolate to seize…the chocolate will then be tough and nasty…it won’t hurt you, but you won’t want to eat it. Second, after you get the chocolate melting be sure that it all melts COMPLETELY. That is the tempering part. If you do not do this there is the likely chance that not all of the solidified oils in the chocolate have completely melted. When the chocolate resolidifies, it will bloom. That means it will be streaked with various types of browns instead of being one solid color. It will not be smooth and glossy either, it will be either rough and matte finished or kinda powdery and matte finished. Again, it won’t hurt anyone who might eat it, but it won’t look as pretty. Last, but not least, be sure you use couverture chocolate NOT bakers chocolate.
Couverture chocolate is also called coating chocolate. The better name brand you buy the better the flavor. If you already have a favorite plain chocolate candy bar brand, you could even melt them and use them. If you don’t know which type of chocolate you have you can determine it several different ways. If it’s a commercially made candy bar then it’s couverture. If it makes a snapping sound when you break it, it’s couverture. If it’s a flat shaped disc it’s probably couverture. If it’s shaped like Nestle morsels then it’s probably baking chocolate. If it actually is Nestle morsels then it is baking chocolate.
The reason you do not want to use baking chocolate is that it is formulated to keep its shape as it heats in the oven during baking. Couverture chocolate on the other hand is formulate to melt easily so that it evenly enrobes whatever it’s being poured over or having dipped into it.
A piece of chocolate trivia: chocolates melting point is the same as body temperature: 98.6*F (36.66 C)